I had to sit and think about this a while. I’ve wanted to talk about it, but I’m well-aware that this is an explosive topic. If you haven’t noticed, there’s been a real campaign on television to move homosexuality into mainstream entertainment. ER, one of the few TV shows I watch regularly, had two plot threads dealing with it recently, and both plot threads are ongoing.
So, for what it’s worth, here are my thoughts.
I do not hate–or even dislike– gay people. I’ve had several gay friends–one of my dear friends and fellow singers died of AIDS, so I have felt that loss. I associate with the gay couples in my neighborhood, have had them in my home and I’ve been to theirs. I have written a gay character into the first Fairlawn book.
BUT–my character in Fairlawn is a gay man who loves Jesus, and as a result, he lives a celibate life. (I have to credit Lisa Samson, who did this first in her novel, Tiger Lily.)
The problem, I think, lies in how you define “gay:” does “gay” mean someone who is actively living a homosexual lifestyle, or does it mean someone who is attracted to people of the same gender? Sexual temptation is not sin. Sexual surrender is.
When I first found out that my friend Glenn was homosexual, I called him and begged him to come to my city to talk to a Christian counselor. He fit the stereotypical profile: a sensitive young man, difficult relationship with this father, an artistic bent. He assured me that he wasn’t living “that lifestyle,” but he said he’d felt “this way” his entire life.
Obviously, he lived the lifestyle at some point, because he contracted HIV and AIDS. But his comment made me realize that this is not a problem easily solved. As Jeff Watson says:
“While a heritable gene may predispose a carrier toward physical height, heredity does not require anyone to play for the National Basketball Association. Stated differently, even though a person may be born with a vulnerability toward manic depression or alcoholism, one’s personal outcomes can be modified by choice and by experience. If a boy with a sensitive disposition is marked as “different” by his father and is subsequently rejected by male authority figures, peers, and potential heterosexual partners, he may experiment with the temporary anesthesia of homosexual companions. What starts out as a relatively “free” act can become less so over time because of the biological power of repetition.
“Homosexuality can be changed. The vast majority of young people who adopt homosexuality eventually give it up.10 An overview of secular therapies suggests an approximately 50 percent success rate, with Masters and Johnson reporting 65 percent in a five-year follow-up.11 Successful approaches focus on treating social anxieties rooted in father-to-son gender-identity injuries12 and on encouraging Christian forms of abstinence, self-discipline, and mutual accountability.13”
Angie here again: The current “politically correct” stance holds that anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, has the right to pursue sexual pleasure and gratification without limitation.
9 Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. You say, “Food was made for the stomach, and the stomach for food.” (This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them.) But you can’t say that our bodies were made for sexual immorality. They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies.
Blunt talk ahead: I am married, so I am not free to have sex with anyone other than my husband. If I were single, I would not be free to have sex with anyone else. If I were widowed, I would still be commanded to control my sexual impulses in a way that honored Christ. I am a slave to Christ, not to my own appetites.
So–about that gay gospel band. If it is composed of people who battle a common sexual temptation, okay, and why not have a band for gluttons (I’d join that one) or chorus for coveters? Surely we all have enough besetting sins that we could form clubs of all kinds.
No matter what our temptations and weaknesses–and we all have them–we can find victory in Christ if we are willing to surrender and trust him. But we have to come to that place of surrender.
11 M. F. Schwartz and W. H. Masters, “The Masters and Johnson Treatment Program for Dissatisfied Homosexual Men,” American Journal of Psychiatry 141 (February 1984): 173–81.
12 Joseph Nicolosi, Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality: A New Clinical Approach (New York: Jason Aronson, 1991).
13 E. M. Pattison and M. L. Pattison, “Ex-Gays: Religiously Mediated Change in Homosexuals,” American Journal of Psychiatry 137 (1980): 1553–62.
Jeffrey A. Watson and Charles R. Swindoll, Biblical Counseling for Today : A Handbook for Those Who Counsel from Scripture, Swindoll leadership library, 189 (Nashville, Tenn.: Word Pub., 2000).
Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible : New Living Translation., “Text edition”–Spine., 2nd ed., 1 Co 6:9 (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 2004).