I answered a question on Twitter a little over a month ago for someone who asked how it was possible to be both a queer and a Christian. I decided to gather my response and post it here in bulk since it’s been a while since I’ve answered that question in great length on social media. For those interested, here’s my take on that question. Oh, and as always, I welcome questions and healthy conversation around this matter so feel free to ask them:
Alrighty, so I grew up a very devout Christian. I was very legalistic in my approach to the Scriptures. I studied them a lot over the years. My journey started off with my understanding being that homosexuality and anything that wasn’t heteronormative was sinful (even in thought), abominable, and worthy of hellfire. Several Scriptures come to mind that seemingly supported this view (Rom 1:26-27; Lev 20:13; Jude 1:7; etc)
‘The Scriptures were clear’- or so I thought. ‘God made one man for one woman. Jesus even affirmed it in Matt 19:5’. That was often used as the “clincher” Scripture, but let’s start with that one. Was Jesus writing a prescription for marriage in that text or was He simply requoting Genesis to answer a very specific question that wasn’t even about the nature of marriage at all? Indeed, His reply to that question was about divorce. From here, more questions arise about marriage in of itself and how God actually envisioned it. (We’ll come back to this topic)
Now, your question was about how queer and Christian can coexist. Let us consider the subject of identity. There are traits that humans are born with that are undeniable and sometimes immutable such as our racial identity, genetics, etc. These are things that agreeably are fixed, if you will, that though imperfect we’ve come to accept they are a part of our identity and how God chose to design us. I firmly believe that our attractions are no different.
There are movements and people who believe that a person can become “ex gay”. This is typically classified under conversion therapy. In recent years, however, it has since been widely disproven, even by the founders of said movement themselves, that conversion therapy actually works. The statistics also show that these ‘desires’ do not go away and that more harm than good occurs. What does that say about our attractions and desires? To me, this speaks volumes to the fact that they too are a part of us, interwoven in the framework of our being by the Supreme Being Himself. Just as our other traits were intentional designs, so was this.
Now, there are people who believe that, “Okay, so it’s okay to acknowledge our identity, but it’s not okay to act on any same-sex desires”. When I first started on my quest for knowledge, that’s what I believed too, and I certainly don’t knock the LGBTQ+ Christians who believe such. I decided to go a little further though and went back and looked at those seemingly black and white Scriptures. An easy go-to is Sodom and Gomorrah. Before I go any further, if you’re willing, I’d like to hear your input on that passage. [*He never responded]
Alrighty, so I’m just gonna continue. People often attribute the destruction of S&G to homosexuality. However, Eze 16:49 states that it was their lack of hospitality. The men of that city were fully intent on gang raping the angels that came to Lot. In Jude 1:7, the “going after strange flesh” line is referring to the angels. From these findings, there is no clear indication that homosexual relations in of themselves were the cause of God’s anger and destruction against that city. Rape, pride, mistreatment of the poor and needy have been named, though.
Let’s now go to Lev 20:13. Here we have a passage that explicitly states that at the time, a man lying with a man as with a woman was considered abominable and punishable by death. Before digging into that, I will give a greater insight as to why my feelings are the way they are about this particular passage. For that, I will be quoting something I wrote on another platform almost 2 years ago to give a fuller perspective. Mind, this part will be long as it is very thorough and Twitter only allows a set number of characters per tweet.
“I just take it all back to Jesus. What did He come here to do? What was the baseline of all of His teachings while He was here? So many times, when the Pharisees were trying to speak to Him and hammer down on the letter of the law, Jesus, through love, showed us that the spirit of the law was far superior. He showed us how love and the law could cohabitate.
Let’s look at the man and woman who were healed on the Sabbath (Luke 14:1-6) (Luke 13:10-17). While the Pharisees were focused on the legalities of His actions of healing on the Sabbath, which in a sense were valid, Jesus took it a step further and added love to the equation. If a child is stuck in a well on the Sabbath, who would not lift a hand to pull him out, He asked. Basically, at what point does love come in & offer us a superior solution? Several other passages (particularly the ones where He is being challenged by the Pharisees on various facets of the law; Mark 12:13-17, Luke 10:25-37, John 8:1-11, Mark 2:15-17 and more) echo the same sentiments.
A more excellent Way, Jesus is. He took what was used to lay a foundation (Gal 3:10-28) and teach us of what was to come (Heb 8:1-5) and built upon it. He fulfilled and established it (Eph 2:14-16, Matt 5:17-20), providing for us a better covenant (Heb , thus making the previous one obsolete (Heb 8:13).
Take into account Matthew 5:13-43, where He totally broke down our sinful behavior to a microscopic level, getting to the root of our sin. Lust starts at the heart, not the deed. Being angry at a brother or sister bears much more weight to God than what many may perceive. Divorce, (though lawful) mattered way more to God than the law could show. And on and on Jesus stripped down the root of our sins and showed us that love was the goal and should lead the way. Was He abolishing the law? No. He was merely making sense of the intent behind it and giving us a new directive, one that was not so ‘black and white’- Love. Remember, ‘the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ’ (John 1:17).
How does this all correlate? Well, there are several laws and statues in the Old/New Testament which seem* to no longer apply to believers of today, such as tattoos, what to do with unruly children, hair length for men/women, women and their menstruals, etc. Why? Because these things are now interpreted through the lens of love, that’s the best way to put it (Matt 22:36-39).
Now, let’s get back to Leviticus. For a portion of this, I will quote @geekyJustinLee because he does a great job laying some groundwork on studying this text:
“Please understand that “abomination” in Hebrew refers to anything forbidden for the Israelites. For instance, Leviticus 11 says that eagles are an abomination, and so are owls, storks, various types of water creatures, “and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth,” just to name a few. Locusts, by the way, aren’t abominations. Still, abomination or not, the prohibition of male-male sex is pretty straightforward. And at the beginning of the passage, God tells us why He’s giving these rules – because He wants to keep the Israelites pure and separate from the polytheistic cultures surrounding them (Lev. 18:1-4). This helps explain why the Israelites are forbidden to shave (Lev. 19:27), get tattoos (Lev. 19:28), wear clothing made of mixed fabrics (Lev. 19:19), or have sex during a woman’s period (Lev. 18:19).
It also helps explain the rather strange comments about things like sacrificing children to Molech (Lev. 18:21) and eating fruit too quickly from a tree (Lev. 19:23); and why the Israelites are forbidden to have sex with a woman and her daughter (Lev. 18:17) but nothing at all is said about sex outside of marriage or having multiple sexual partners. Outside of the context of keeping the Israelites separate, it would be a very odd collection of rules. I’ve heard people quote Leviticus to forbid homosexuality and tattoos, but other than that, people generally don’t turn to Leviticus for moral guidance. There’s something very haphazard about that approach to the Bible, picking and choosing passages like side dishes at a buffet.”
So considering how the law was a foreshadow of what Jesus came here to do-which was establish it and give us a vivid picture of what it looks like through love- we can then go and take a long, hard look at every tenet of the law, including Lev 20:13 and reexamine it through the lens of love-just like Jesus did in His entire ministry.
I want to now go back to the topic of marriage. Scholars would argue that God’s “true” design for marriage was that it was for one man and one woman. However, the Bible doesn’t support that as the only view and we don’t even look far to see that. Gen 4:19 Lamech took two wives. So many of our Biblical heroes, sheroes, and others were involved in polygamous marriages. In fact, God even affirmed it in 2 Sam 12:8 when He declared to David: “And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more.”In fact, the only time polygamy is disallowed is when someone is seeking the office of an elder or overseer 1 Tim3:2, Tit 1:6.
One man and one woman may be A view, but it is certainly not the only one. The Bible paints a vivid picture of that; thus, dispelling that particular argument against same sex marriage.
Another argument is that people of the same sex cannot procreate as God commanded . However, I believe that that argument has no bearing as well and that it totally leaves out of the discussion people who have health issues that prevent that from being possible. It makes it seem as though people are in sin because they cannot or choose not to bear children which is absolutely false!
Another argument I’ve heard is that a couple is not able to ‘unified’ and compliment one another if they are same sex. However, this also presents a false definition of what unity truly is, especially considering how the church body works 1 Cor 12.
I’m getting more into nuance, but I don’t want to drift away from the main topic, which is “How can a person be both queer and Christian?” The answer simply is this: Jesus came and gave the OT an upgrade (Heb 8:6) and gave us liberty (1 Cor 10:23) to be who we are in the context of love (Rom 14) (Matt 22:36-40). But how can we love ourselves if we are not first honest about who we are and our attractions?
And so, I will end with this, Jesus said that if we abide in His Word, that we are truly His disciples and that we would know the truth and the truth would set us free. And that, Petr, is how someone can be both Queer and Christian #Selah
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