Sunday, July 4, 2010

Homosexuality and Religion

For a long time, I was homophobic and believed that homosexuality was very sinful and of course that it was a choice. After leaving the cult, I read a lot of Christian theological literature. One of the books I read was An Introduction to Christian Ethics by Roger H. Crook. His theological position is conservative. In this book, there is a chapter on homosexuality. He quotes Mel White's book Stranger at the Gate (I did not read that book itself). Mel White wrote that, being a Christian, he struggled with his sexual orientation for 25 years, but still was a gay. In conclusion, Roger Crook writes that homosexuality is not a choice, that to be a gay is not a sin and that gay Christians should have monogamous committed relationships like heterosexual marriages. To me, it sounded very strange. Later, I read several other testimonies of gays who struggled with their sexual orientation because their Christian churches told them that homosexuality was a sin, but they could not change their orientation. From these stories, it seemed that homosexuality was not a choice. Eventually, I decided to study more about this subject: various biblical interpretations, people's testimonies, psychological articles, and so on.

As a Christian, I believe that the Bible is inerrant. However, interpretations of the Bible may contain errors. In the past, people believed that the Bible says that the sun goes around the earth. Not only Roman Catholics, but also Protestants, including the leaders of Reformation Martin Luther and John Calvin, condemned Copernicus because they believed that his teaching was heretic. Eventually, it became clear that Copernicus was right and Christian theologians changed their interpretation of the Bible. Also, for many centuries, Christian believed that God created the universe in 6 literal days and that it was about 6000 years ago. Later, it was clear that this teaching contradicts the science. Although there are Christian theologians who still believe in 6 literal days, many new interpretations were invented to reconcile the Bible and science, such as the theory that 6 days were actually 6 epochs and the theory of the interval between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. Most Christian theologians believe that the Bible and the science cannot contradict one another. So, when there is a seemingly contradiction between them, it may be because of the wrong interpretation of the Bible. The psychological science says that sexual orientation is not a choice and that it cannot be changed. Many people report of their attempts to change their orientation that were not successful. In addition to reading popular homophobic interpretations of some verses of the Bible, I read alternative interpretations of the same verses. In my opinion, they are more in agreement with the principles of hermeneutics than those that condemn homosexuality. For example, I do not understand why Christians use Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 to prove that homosexuality is a sin while they do many things prohibited by Leviticus because they believe that Christ canceled the Old Testament Law.

Unfortunately, sometimes the wrong interpretations and applications of the Bible were used against some groups of people. For example, the Bible was used to support slavery of black people, to deprive women of civil rights, to ban interracial marriages, to support anti-Semitism, and so on. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, American televangelists had two favorite subjects: anti-communism and homophobia. Now their anti-communist and anti-Russian teachings such as that Russia is Gog and Magog are not so popular because they are wrong. However, homophobia is still popular. Well, most Christians believe that one of the main subjects of the Bible is God's love. However, instead of love, homophobic sermons are filled with hatred. In the Gospels, Jesus spoke a lot about God's love to all people, but He never spoke about God's hatred to gays or God's condemnations of them as many preachers do.

Mel White served as a pastor, seminary professor and writer for famous evangelists, including Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, and Jerry Falwell.

For 30 years, Dr. White had served the evangelical Christian community as a pastor, seminary professor, best-selling author, prize-winning filmmaker, communication consultant and ghost writer to its most famous and powerful leaders. From the beginning the media pictured Mel as an employee of these leaders on the "religious right." Although Mel did not work with nor write speeches for these leaders, he was hired by national publishers to write books -- primarily "autobiographies" -- for his ghost-writing clients including Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy, and Pat Robertson. (

He did graduate work in communications and film at University of Southern California, received his doctorate and was a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary for over a decade. During this time he also worked as an evangelical pastor. He produced, wrote, and directed 53 documentary films and television specials, focusing on stories to inspire and inform the struggle to be human. He is also an author; among his 16 books (nine bestsellers), he wrote about the Philippines' Ninoy and Corazon Aquino ("Aquino"), the Jonestown tragedy ("Deceived"), David Rothenberg, the child burned by his father ("David") and talk-show host/producer Mike Douglas ("When the Going Gets Tough").

In addition, he ghost wrote several books for fellow evangelicals, including Billy Graham ("Approaching Hoofbeats"), Pat Robertson ("America's Date with Destiny"), Jim Bakker, and Jerry Falwell ("If I Should Die Before I Wake" and "Strength for the Journey"). In all those writings, however, he never wrote against homosexuality. White began coming out privately and gradually during the same period that the religious right stepped up its anti-gay rhetoric. Since 1993, he has devoted himself full-time to justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, and has worked on their behalf in the media, in the political process, and with fellow religious leaders. (

Mel White is married to Gary Nixon. They are co-founders of Soulforce. Some booklets by Soulforce (direct links for downloading):
What the Bible Says - And Doesn't Say - About Homosexuality by Rev. Mel White, co-founder of Soulforce
What the Science Says - And Doesn't Say - About Homosexuality by Jeff Lutes, MS, LPC, Executive Director of Soulforce
Southern Baptists May Not Say "God Hates Fags" as Fred Phelps Does -- But The Effect is the Same This booklet compares the harsh anti-gay rhetoric of the Southern Baptist Convention with that of Fred Phelps. The material presented is taken directly from SBC resolutions, quotes from Southern Baptist leaders, and quotes from Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas. Topics covered include marriage, society, HIV/AIDS, Sex, civil rights, and more.

In video lecture Homosexuality and Religion he speaks about his experience and the Bible. I think it is worth watching.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Another video by Mel White: How Can I Be Sure That God Loves Me, Too?

There are many Christians, including Christian ministers, whose experience was similar to Mel White's. One of them was Dr. Rembert S. Truluck (1934-2008), the author of Steps To Recovery From Bible Abuse. He was:

Doctor of Theology from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY, 1968. Southern Baptist Pastor from 1953 to 1973, Professor of Religion at Baptist College of Charleston, SC, 1973-1981. (

His story can be read here:

In 1991, soon after I became a Christian, I watched television sermons by Jimmy Swaggart. I watched them every week for six months. His main subjects were Christ's second coming and speaking in tongues. He never spoke about homosexuality. Then, his sermons suddenly stopped and in television news it was said that he had to leave his ministry because he was found to be with a prostitute. Recently, I learned that eventually he resumed his ministry, but now he likes to speak against homosexuality. Moreover, he even threatened to kill gays:

A Canadian television station has apologized publicly to viewers for a telecast of American evangelist Jimmy Swaggart's television program in which he threatened to kill gays.

The program, aired last week on Omni 1, a Toronto multicultural station, and throughout the US, has also prompted an investigation by the Canadian Radio Television Commission, the government agency which regulates television.

During the program, a rambling sermon by Swaggart who is trying to rehabilitate himself after an arrest for soliciting a prostitute, the televangelist turned to the subject of gay marriage.

According to a transcript of the program, Swaggart said: "I'm trying to find the correct name for it ... this utter absolute, asinine, idiotic stupidity of men marrying men. ... I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I'm gonna be blunt and plain; if one ever looks at me like that, I'm gonna kill him and tell God he died."

The remarks were met with applause from his congregation.


In 1987 Swaggart in a tearful sermon begged forgiveness from his followers after being found with a prostitute.

I checked Wikipedia and found out that Swaggart was involved into two scandals with prostitutes in 1988 and 1991. In February 1988, he was found wiht a prostitute the first time and gave an apology sermon. However, his ministry was first suspended and then he was defrocked and removed from the ministry by the Assemblies of God. He decided to start non-affiliated and non-denominational ministry. On October 11, 1991, Swaggart was found, for the second time, in the company of a prostitute. Then, he temporary stepped down from his ministry again. His current ministry is non-affiliated and non-denominational.

Well, Swaggart who "begged forgiveness from his followers after being found with a prostitute" now threatens to kill gays because he "is trying to rehabilitate himself after an arrest for soliciting a prostitute"! I would say he chose an extremely odd way for self-rehabilitation. However, unfortunately, when televangelists speak against homosexuality, they increase their popularity and rating because homophobic Christian fundamentalists like these sermons. This is why Swaggart chose this way. And he obviously does not care what the Bible really says about homosexuality. He does not care that some of his followers may really kill gays after listening to his sermons (and there are cases when people killed gays because they believed that it is what the Bible says). The only thing Swaggart cares about is his popularity and self-vindication.

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