In my prior 5 blogs I have been trying to explain my status as a Bob Dole/ Colin Powell republican which means that as per the tea party, far right segment of the republican party, I am deemed to be a RINO, republican in name only. For me being a fiscally conservative just means that I want government programs to be essential and to have them work efficiently with accountability to avoid contract overruns; duplicate and overlapping services; mistakes and fraudulent activities. Dogmatic utterances as either “no new taxes” and/ or “tax cuts only” make no common sense for example, when the US needs to update its crumbling infrastructure to compete with other world economies and especially when the American Society of Civil Engineers has been giving the US infrastructure , a GPA of D+.
It is my contention that many of this tea party, far right group also claim to be of the Christian faith while disrespecting our President; denying the preponderance of scientific evidence about the existence of climate change at the hands of humans; spouting proclamations like Obama Care will destroy the American economy; stealing American citizens’ votes by implementing voting ID laws designed to keep qualified voters from the ballot box; and declaring that homosexuality and gay marriage is an abomination according to explicit scriptural writings.
For social issues, I am libertarian. As a Christian, it is important for me to act in a way which is consistent with my faith while not judging others and for not imposing my beliefs on anyone. For instance, my faith would never allow me to spread slander and hateful words that I have heard from many who call themselves Christians towards our U.S. President Barack Obama. Yes, too many do not hesitate to say he is a Muslim; he is not a U.S. citizen even though his Mom is a U.S. citizen; he is a subversive who is out to destroy this country and he definitely does not love it. I keep wondering if I am reading the same bible which admonishes me against spreading slander, gossip and bearing false witness. When I hear words like this coming from the mouths of those who claim to be Christian, I cringe with embarrassment because I know this spiteful rhetoric reflects poorly on those of us who do not suffer from the diseases of hate and racism.
Yes, as a Christian, I am on the side of same sex marriages and for anti discrimination laws for the LGBT community. I do read my bible and it is clear to me that we all are sinners who require mercy. In addition, the few (6) bible verses with reference to homosexuality, that I have read, studied and researched are not as clear and specific on this subject as many would have you believe. These passages are not pertaining to long term, committed, loving gay marriages. What they are specific and clear about are the sins of hating your brother being equivalent to murder; lust, adultery, debauchery, and idolatry with the worst being the sacrifice of children. I would encourage Christians to lead by example in their own lives before judging and telling others how to behave. Does anyone remember Jimmy Swagert and Jim Baker? Personally, I would never want to interfere with good, decent people experiencing the happiness and joy of being in a committed, marital relationship with a loving, supportive partner of either sex. I would never want to see good upstanding members of my community being unfairly treated because they are gay.
For those readers who are not professed Christians and who do not read the Bible, the instinct is understandable for you to be asking the question, why should there be any engagement with peoples whose minds are so closed and unwelcoming? My first answer is that it would be preferable to change peoples hearts towards being more welcoming and inclusive of the gay community along with being supportive of anti discriminatory legislation. More importantly, if you think a gay teenager can feel isolated under normal circumstances, just imagine them being a part of a Catholic or evangelical Christian family, church and school. Then magnify this young person’s feelings multiple times and yes, these young people do exist in the these Christian communities. For any young person who has been brought up in a strict, conservative Christian church, finding out that he or she is gay can be devastating. It doesn’t have to be this way!!!
And for me it is so simple. The God that I know would never want any young person who loves Him to feel isolated from Him and then turn away. God made this young person and loves him/or her as is, which is gay. No, this is NOT a choice. So any church member who is placing this young person in this untenable situation and not welcoming of him/ or her, is what’s wrong.
The solutions of conversion therapy and /or the demand of the young person to practice abstinence is not more of a option than forcing a heterosexual individual to be subject to conversion therapy or to a life of celibacy. Yes, this is a matter of equivalency because you would be requiring peoples to act against who they are, which is the way God made them.
One young Christian man, Matthew Vine has written a book about this exact situation, titled “God and the Gay Christian.” He has also developed an outreach program to talk to Churches and their members about this subject in an attempt to transform hearts for the better by the sharing of his story.
His narrative starts just over 3 years ago (2012 & 19 years old) when he returned home from Harvard for the Christmas holidays. His Dad, Mom and he had been long time, church going members of a conservative Christian church in Wichita, Kansas. At about 19 years of age, Matthew figured out he was gay. Even though, he had a very close, loving relationship with his parents, he was still fearful of talking to them about his sexuality. According to what he had been taught for years, his being gay was not accepted by his church and his Dad was an elder and part of the governing body of this same church. After a lot of trepidation, Matthew opened up to his Dad. At first the Dad was gracious by saying that he was glad that Matthew told him but later, the Dad returned home with a few Christian books about being an ex-gay individual, indicating that being gay was a choice. His Dad, Monte had to admit to his son that he was worried about him not being right with God. The Dad, Monte said he was basing his thinking on scripture and to deviate from this would put his son in harm’s way. They both agreed to take time to review and study the scripture verses together for themselves. Fortunately, Monte had an open mind and he came to the conclusion that the scripture verses about homosexuality had nothing to do with the type of committed, supportive and long term relationship that his son, Matthew wanted.
Monte Vine changed his thinking regarding gays and gay marriage just when his church was considering accepting gay clergy into the fold. Mr. Vine who was part of the governing body spoke up in favor of this new policy with an explanation for his recent enlightenment. Unfortunately, he was by himself and the governing body elected to separate their church from the main denomination. When this transition was final, Monte resigned from his position and withdrew his membership.
Matthew Vine’s Dad and Mom have been visiting many churches and they have been extremely supportive of their son writing his book and developing an outreach program.
This is an excerpt from Wikipedia about the Vine family:
“In March 2012, Vines delivered a speech in front of a congregation at College Hill United Methodist Church, detailing his controversial belief that “the Bible never directly addresses and certainly does not condemn, loving, committed same-sex relationships.” The presentation was recorded on video and uploaded to YouTube, where it went viral through its sharing on social networks. The clip was noted for its detailed treatment of the Bible verses that are generally translated to refer to homosexuality, and for the claim that once original languages and context are taken into consideration, some Bible references are more ambiguous than many people realize. Some scholars pointed out that the material of the video was largely not new, but the format made the formerly ‘fringe’ material more accessible to the general public. Since then, the video of the speech has been seen more than 700,000 times on YouTube and has been featured in The New York Times.”
I have footnoted below, the video and a transcript of Matthew Vine discussing the bible verses they reviewed with their reasoning about these verses. I also added a link of a Christian Mom’s story of how she regrets her treatment of her gay son before he passed away.
Note: This blog was updated on 4/12/15
1.) Transcript – Matthew Vines www.matthewvines.com/transcript
www.reformationproject.org/ The Reformation Project is a Bible-based, Christian non-profit organization that seeks to reform church teaching … Have you read Matthew Vines‘ new book yet?