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How we should love

Justin Lee, David Nystrom, and Wesley Hill speak at the "How Do We Love?" event on Oct. 7. Conrad Frommelt and Catherine Streng reiterate that our differing beliefs regarding homosexuality should not be used as a justification to treat others with less dignity than they deserve. | Aaron Fooks/THE CHIMES

 

With multiple events, an article from President Barry Corey and a revised position paper on Biola’s stance on homosexuality, this conversation has begun to show its complexity. With all this attention, we find ourselves needing a reminder. Why has Biola started talking about sexuality at all?

Well, approximately 10% of men ages 18-44 and 10% of women ages 18-44 identify as something other than heterosexual, according to the website for the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. Even if we assume these numbers may not be entirely representative of Biola’s population, they represent the larger population of the United States. This means in part that we, as citizens of a wider culture, need to have some foundational understanding of sexualtity.

We find ourselves undecided. We do not know how to properly apply what the Bible seems to say about sexuality and same-sex behavior to the way we interact with people on a daily basis. As far as we can tell, heterosexual marriage seems to be advocated and same-sex relationships discouraged.

But does this mean homosexuality, either behavior or same-sex attraction, is a sin? A reasonable and honest reading of many of the passages that pertain to homosexuality in the Bible seem to say homosexual sex is a sin. Same-sex desires appear related to homosexual behavior, but may not fall under the same moral category.

For the sake of argument, let us focus on homosexual behavior as a sin. As Christians then, how should we treat people who sin? Honestly, we should invite them to Church and let them sit next to us.

Our beliefs about homosexuality should not be a justification to treat people with less dignity than they deserve as humans created in the image of God.

Fundamentally, we were meant to exist in healthy and fulfilling relationships with one another. Denying anyone this opportunity strips them of their God-given dignity. As a Christian community, we cannot take away both the potential for human connection found in the church and in romantic relationships. We have to pick one.

If we do not allow people who identify themselves as LGBTQ in the church, we refuse to acknowledge them as fellow humans in need of God’s grace. In effect, we cut them off from the main source of Christian relationship both with God and with other believers.

If we do not allow them into the Church as full members, we cannot then require them to live a life of celibacy. To require a life of celibacy without the support and strength of the Church feels cruel and all but impossible.

People who identify as LGBTQ need deep, intimate relationships as much as those who identify themselves as heterosexual. Obviously, meaningful friendships exist outside of these two contexts. But the Church and romantic relationships serve as two major ways humans connect with one another.

Determining whether homosexual desires or behaviors are sins or not is an important question. In the meantime, we need to reach out and welcome the hurting. Sin, after all, distinguishes all of us church-goers. Love should too.

Your Turn.  Post a Comment

  1. jerry lewis

    HeteroSexual Christians are so merciful. October 16, 2014

  2. jerry lewis

    From the Caspar Star Tribune:

    If we're going to limit talk to logic, we must include all of it, like how policies, discrimination, and hatred against gays and the gay family support system promotes AIDS, and the "logic" of expecting economic growth by means of infinite population growth---just to mention two examples.

    Also, can they not sense the offense in stumping for a two-tier hierarchy for marriages? This bad idea reveals a weakness of character within all who feel a need to be recognized and treated as more special than their brethren.

    Chuck Anziulewicz
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    Chuck Anziulewicz - October 18, 2014 12:05 pm
    I'd always heard that it was better for people to get married rather than simply shacking up together.

    The morality of Gay marriage is comparable to the morality of Straight marriage: It is morally and ethically preferable to encourage people toward monogamy and commitment, rather than relegating them to lives of loneliness and possibly promiscuity. So YES: Supporting marriage equality is the true conservative position.

    Studies have repeatedly shown that the benefits are substantial:
    1: Married couples typically contribute more and take less from society.
    2: Married couples support and care for each other financially, physically and emotionally and often contribute more to the economy and savings.
    3: Individuals who are married are less likely to receive government entitlements.
    4: Individuals who are married statistically consume less health care services, and often give more to churches and charities.
    5: Married couples are better able to provide care and security for children.

    So what sense does it make to exclude law-abiding, taxpaying Gay couples from this place at the table? Why is it, for example, that Straight couples are encouraged to date, get engaged, marry and build lives together in the context of monogamy and commitment, and that this is a GOOD thing … yet for Gay couples to do exactly the same is somehow a BAD thing? To me this seems like a very poor value judgment.

    Couples do not need to marry to have children, nor is the ability or even desire to have children a prerequisite for obtaining a marriage license. There are also countless Gay individuals and couples who are raising adopting children into healthy, well-adjusted adulthood.

    As Judge Vaughn Walker said in the decision on California's Prop. 8 Case: "Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the stability of opposite-sex marriages." It was a view shared by the courts in the Golinski case against DOMA, where a Bush appointee in the Northern District of California concurred: "The exclusion of same-sex couples from the federal definition of marriage does nothing to encourage or strengthen opposite-sex marriages." October 20, 2014

  3. jerry lewis

    After 20 minutes in a guy named Deepak mentions fleetingly the fact that the more one asks for sympathy, the less people respect you....national tv program in India.

    http://www.satyamevjayate.in/accepting-alternative-sexualities/episode-3watchvideo.aspx?uid=s3e3-ev-v1&lang=english October 20, 2014

  4. Michelle

    It doesn't matter what we want or how we think it should be or how same sex marriage helps or hurts society and the government or money system. What really matters is what God thinks and what he created us to be. What stance does He take on the matter. Forget your statistics and your opinions. Read the Bible and find out what God wants us to do. October 27, 2014

  5. Steve

    We should treat homosexuals with no less dignity than we would treat those who have relations with animals, because God spoke about both of these lifestyles in the same breath in Lev. 28. December 27, 2014

  6. Brandon Banda

    Yes, Steve. And by that I hope you mean that we treat "them" with the same dignity with which you treat your own family. Because everyone is a sinner. February 17, 2015

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