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Is Homosexuality a Sin?

In this document by Parents and Friends of Lesbian and Gays, nineteen theologians of differing backgrounds were asked these two questions. Their responses follow.

Question 1 - In your opinion, does God regard homosexuality as a sin?
Question 2 - In your opinion, do the Scriptures object to homosexuality?

Rev Dr William R Stayton (Baptist -- minister, certified sexologist, associate professor of psychiatric and human behaviour, servant on faculty of LaSalle University's graduate department of religious studies, holder of master of divinity from Andover Newtown Theological School and a Th.D. in psychology from Boston university):

Q1: Absolutely not! There is nothing in the Bible or in my own theology that would lead me to believe that God regards homosexuality as sin. God is interested in our relationships with ourselves, others, the things in our lives, and with God (Matthew 23:36-40). There is nothing in the mind of God that could be against a loving, sexual relationship, freely entered into, without coercion, among sincere adults whether gay, bisexual or straight.

Q2: There is nothing in the Bible regarding homosexual orientation. In fact, the Bible does not concern itself with sexual orientation. It does speak out probably against gang rape, male prostitution for religious purposes, and pederasty (sex between an adult and youth). I lead bible study programs on this subject and am convinced that the Bible does not address the issue of a person's sexual orientation.

Bishop John S Spong (Episcopal -- bishop, most published member of the Episcopal house of bishops, author to 11 books and 50 published articles, phi beta kappa graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, holds masters in divinity and an honorary doctorate in divinity from Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary, received honorary doctorate in divinity from St Paul's College):

Q1: Some argue that since homosexual behaviour is "unnatural" it is contrary to the order of creation. Behind this pronouncement are stereotypical definitions of masculinity and femininity that reflect rigid gender categories of patriarchal society. There is nothing unnatural about any shared love, even between two of the same gender, if that experience calls both partners to a fuller state of being. Contemporary research is uncovering new facts that are producing a rising conviction that homosexuality, far from being a sickness, sin, perversion or unnatural act, is a healthy, natural and affirming form of human sexuality for some people. Findings indicate that homosexuality is a given fact in the nature of a significant portion of people, and that it is unchangeable.
Our prejudice rejects people or things outside our understanding. But the God of creation speaks and declares, "I have looked out on everything I have made and `behold it (is) very good'." . The word (Genesis 1:31) of God in Christ says that we are loved, valued, redeemed, and counted as precious no matter how we might be valued by a prejudiced world.

Q2: There are few biblical references to homosexuality. The first, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, is often quoted to prove that the Bible condemns homosexuality. But the real sin of Sodom was the unwillingness of the city's men to observe the laws of hospitality. The intention was to insult the stranger by forcing him to take the female role in the sex act. The biblical narrative approves Lot's offer of his virgin daughters to satisfy the sexual demands of the mob. How many would say, "This is the word of the Lord"? When the Bible is quoted literally, it might be well for the one quoting to read the text in its entirety.
Leviticus, in the Hebrew Scriptures, condemns homosexual behaviour, at least for males. Yet, "abomination", the word Leviticus uses to describe homosexuality, is the same word used to describe a menstruating woman. Paul is the most quoted source in the battle to condemn homosexuality ( 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 and Romans 1: 26-27). But homosexual activity was regarded by Paul as a punishment visited upon idolaters by God because of their unfaithfulness. Homosexuality was not the sin but the punishment.
In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul gave a list of those who would not inherit the Kingdom of God. That list included the immoral, idolaters, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, and robbers. Sexual perverts is a translation of two words; it is possible that the juxtaposition of malakos, the soft, effeminate word, with arsenokoitus, or male prostitute, was meant to refer to the passive and active males in a homosexual liaison.
Thus, it appears that Paul would not approve of homosexual behaviour. But was Paul's opinion about homosexuality accurate, or was it limited by the lack of scientific knowledge in his day and infected by prejudice born of ignorance? An examination of some of Paul's other assumptions and conclusions will help answer this question. Who today would share Paul's anti-Semitic attitude, his belief that the authority of the state was not to be challenged, or that all women ought to be veiled? In these attitudes Paul's thinking has been challenged and transcended even by the church! Is Paul's commentary on homosexuality more absolute than some of his other antiquated, culturally conditioned ideas?
Three other references in the New Testament (in Timothy, Jude and 2 Peter) appear to be limited to condemnation of male sex slaves in the first instance, and to showing examples (Sodom and Gomorrah) of God's destruction of unbelievers and heretics (in Jude and 2 Peter respectively).
That is all that Scripture has to say about homosexuality. Even if one is a biblical literalist, these references do not build an ironclad case for condemnation. If one is not a biblical literalist there is no case at all, nothing but prejudice born of ignorance, that attacks people whose only crime is to be born with an unchangeable sexual predisposition toward those of their own sex.

Bishop R Stewart Wood Jr (Episcopal -- graduate of Dartmouth College, masters degree in counselling from Ball State University, masters and doctorate degrees in divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary):

Q1: No. Our sexual orientation is a given, something we discover about ourselves -- some might say "a gift from God". How one relates to others -- caring or exploiting -- is the source of sin.

Q2: I am aware of the concern for certain homosexual acts and see no addressing [in the Scriptures] of the condition or orientation.

Rabbi Jeffrey Lazar (Reformed Judaism -- educator at Temple Sinai in Atlanta, holds bachelors degree from Syracuse University, bachelors and masters degree in Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union College, member and trustee of the National Association of Temple Educators):

Q1: First of all, I do not know what God thinks. In my opinion, homosexuality is not a sin, but an alternate lifestyle. In my opinion, homosexuality by itself is not immoral. When sex is used to corrupt, for prurient and/or exploitative purposes or selfish reasons or to hurt someone else, this is immoral.

Q2: The Bible, in my opinion, is very clear in its objection to homosexuality.

Rabbi Janet R Marder (Reformed Judaism -- associate director for the Union of American Hebrew Congregations Pacific Southwest Council, graduate of University of California at Santa Cruz, co-chair of Nechama, an AIDS/HIV education program for the Jewish community):

Q1: The God I worship endorses loving, committed, monogamous relationships, regardless of the gender of those involved.

Q2: I believe that the Hebrew Bible strongly condemns homosexuality. While it is part of my tradition, I do not regard all Biblical laws as binding on me. The Biblical condemnation of homosexuality is based on human ignorance, suspicion of those who are different, and an overwhelming concern for ensuring the survival of the people. Since the Bible regards homosexuality as a capital crime, it clearly assumes that homosexuality is a matter of free choice, a deliberate rebellion against God. We have learned from modern science that people do not choose to be gay or straight; hence it is neither logical nor moral to condemn those whose nature it is to be gay or lesbian.

Rabbi Dr David Teutsch, PhD (Reconstructionist Judaism -- executive vice president and director of contemporary civilizations at Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, holds bachelors in general studies from Harvard University and masters degree in Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union College and PhD in social system science from the University of Pennsylvania):

Q1: Homosexuality -- as is true of heterosexuality -- is a naturally occurring sexual orientation that can be expressed in more ethical and less ethical ways. In itself homosexual love making is not sinful.

Q2: The Scriptural references to homosexuality make no comment on lesbianism. They object to male homosexuality on three grounds: cultic prostitution, unnaturalness, and "spilling seed" or Onanism. Homosexuality has been shown to be natural in animals and humans. Gay men today are not involved in cultic acts. And the spilling of seed through heterosexual, homosexual or masturbatory acts is not an issue for me. Thus I take this prohibition no more seriously than many others, such as that against lending money at interest, that do not make sense in the first place.

Rabbi Marc H Wilson (Independent Traditional Judaism -- holds bachelor degree in sociology from DePaul University and a bachelor degree in Hebrew Literature, holds a Hebrew Teacher and Principal license from Hebrew Theological College, columnist in nine newspapers and via one wire service):

Q1: No, not so long as the behavior is:

bulleta) not obsessive (as would be true, likewise, of heterosexuality)
bulletb) responsible and safe (ditto as above)
bulletc) non-abusive (ditto as above)
bulletd) the manifestation of a loving, respectful relationship (Jewish Bible, Old Testament)

Q2: [It was sin] only insofar as that at that [biblical] time homosexual behaviour was a manifestation of abusive sexual practices associated with idolatry and fertility cultism, and thus an "abomination" because of the association, not because of the intrinsic "relationship". Also, because it was "unnatural", that is non-procreative, understandably in the tribal times when procreation was of highest priority.

Bishop Stanley E Olson (Lutheran -- holds undergraduate degree from Wittenberg University, seminary trained at Luther-Northwestern Seminary, holds an honorary doctor of divinity from California Lutheran University):

Q1/Q2: Biblical scholars are busy restudying the few verses which have often been regarded as anti-homosexual. One thing is clear, these few verses do not refer to homosexuality as we understand and use that term today. The Biblical texts do speak against sexual exploitation and rape whether committed by persons with a heterosexual or homosexual orientation. The great message of Scripture is of a God of unbounded love for the human family. If God has any preference at all, it is for "the least", "the lost" and "the last". God's amazing grace, compassion and salvation is open to everyone. Jesus is very clear in placing his gospel beyond the limitations of churches and denominations. He says, "I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also. So that there shall be one flock, one shepherd" (John 10:16). Here is a partial list of verses that has every right in being equally addressed to homosexual or heterosexual Christians: Galatians 3:27, John 3:16 , Romans 3:21-24, Ephesians 2:8-9, Acts 10.

Dr Carl O McGrath, PhD (Former Mormon -- was a member of church for 50 years, past Stake high councillor, resigned from church over church's position on homosexuality in 1989, holds a PhD from the University of Washington and currently serves there as a clinical assistant professor):

Q1: My sexuality is a God-given state of being which includes natural erotic attractions and desires. In moving from infancy to adulthood, part of my work is to allow myself to experience my eroticism in ways that enable me to discover who I actually am, not who society says I should be. I believe that the Creator of our natural erotic attractions, whether they are for opposite or same-sex persons, views our eroticism as an intrinsic and beautiful part of who God intended us to be. God did not intend that there would be one way of being sexual. Even among heterosexual people, there is no one "right" way to be sexual. Our uniqueness comes from the creativity of God at the most basic level. I believe God is pleased when we respond to our unique form of sexuality in ways that are life-giving. I believe that it is life giving when sexual relationships reflect a high degree of mutuality, love, and justice.

Q2: The Scriptures of my religious tradition include the Holy Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. There are five references in the Bible that I grew up believing to be Scriptural proof against homosexuality. However, I now believe it would be a mistake to rely upon these references in forming my conclusions about homosexuality for the following reasons:

bulleta) What I have learned from living my life is that those references in the Bible are not speaking to the truth I have experienced in relation to how God views homosexual love.
bulletb) Although the General Authorities of my church have expressed strong negative opinions about homosexuality, none of our latter day Prophets have proclaimed revelation from God on this issue, including President Spencer W Kimball who has probably been the most outspoken on this topic.
bulletc) None of the words we attribute to Christ make any reference to homosexuality.
bulletd) None of the latter-day Scriptures make any reference to homosexuality.

Rev Dr George R Edwards, PhD (Presbyterian -- professor emeritus of new testament theology at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, holds masters in divinity from LPTS and a PhD from Duke University, taught new testament theology studies at LPTS from 1958-1985, member of Society of Biblical Literature):

Q1: God does not regard homosexuality as a sin any more than heterosexuality. Sin is lack of respect for God; it is a lack of love or respect for other persons. Whether gay or straight, therefore, one may sin against God or others. But God forgives us when we sin and strengthens us in resisting sin. We are led by God's forgiving love to become more respectful and loving toward God and towards others, even those we don't "like".

Q2: The Scriptures are very important because they teach us God's love for all, gay or straight. But the Scriptures are old, thousands of years old, written even before the word "homosexual" existed. Same sex acts involving the genitals -- we call these "homogenital" -- seem in Scripture to be thought of as a result of idol worship. See, for example, Romans 1:18-27. Nor do the Scriptures seem to understand what we mean today by "sexual orientation". Sexual acts which are injurious, disrespectful, or unloving toward the other person are wrong. So I believe that the Scriptures approve of homosexuality and even homogenital acts that are kind, generous, loving, and respectful of the other person, just as in the case of heterosexuality or heterogenital acts.

Rev Harry L Holfelder (Presbyterian -- chair of AIDS Interfaith Network of Baltimore and is senior pastor of local church, is active with the Maryland Interfaith Legislative Committee):

Q1: No, I do not think that God regards homosexuality as a sin. I believe that one's sexual preference is first and foremost a matter of biology (creation) and only secondarily a matter of choice (responsibility). Since I also believe that all God creates is good, I conclude that human sexuality (not a matter of choice for anyone) is good, whether that sexual expression be heterosexual or homosexual.

Q2: A careful and sensitive reading of the Scriptures does not lead to the automatic conclusion that homosexuality is a sin. There are passages, especially in the "holiness literature" that suggests this conclusion. However, the overall message of Scripture in this matter is far more positive than negative. Biblically, the issue is the goodness of human sexuality and the use of that gift in covenant relationships. For me a more important question is that of the relationship of God in Christ to a human being. In this relationship I see no barriers, even sexual ones.

Sister Mary Ann Ford (Roman Catholic -- member of Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for 39 years, holds masters degree in mathematics and in pastoral ministry, has taught in mathematics and religious instruction in high schools and later colleges, chaplain of the Detroit chapter of Dignity for the past 15 years):

Q1: Two truths are especially relevant in thinking this through. First we have a theological point. God, the one who has made all of creation, loves and cherishes all creatures without exception. Second, modern psychology shows us that homosexual orientation is set by age five or six. Most psychologists agree that it is not a matter of choice, whether orientation is inborn as some think or acquired very early as other say. How then could an all-loving God possibly violate Divine nature and regard homosexuals as "sinners"?

Q2: Contemporary Biblical scholars are indicating that the idea of homosexual orientation was unknown to the writers of the Sacred Scripture. Certainly they had no knowledge of the Kinsey research which established the existence of a continuum along which all of us are somewhere between the end points of totally heterosexual through bisexuality to exclusively homosexual. Many of the oft-quoted "condemnatory passages" may assume that heterosexuals are acting out of their violation of their "nature".
There also is question as to whether words which appear in our English texts refer in some cases in the original languages not to homosexuals but male prostitutes which were used in pagan worship. Certainly, nowhere does the Bible legislate on the matter of loving sexual activity between consenting adults in committed relationships.

Sister Jeannine Gramick, PhD (Roman Catholic -- member of School Sisters of Notre Dame since 1960, holds PhD in education from University of Pennsylvania, was assistant professor of mathematics and education at the College of Notre Dame Maryland, conducts theological, sociological and ministerial workshops nationwide on the dimensions of homosexuality):

Q1: God has created people with romantic and physical attractions to the same sex, as well as those with attractions to the opposite sex. Many, if not most, people, we are now discovering, have both kinds of attractions in varying degrees. All of these feelings are natural and are considered good and blessed by God. These feelings and attractions are not sinful. Most Catholic moral theologians now hold that homogenital behaviour, as well as heterogenital behaviour, is good and holy in God's sight when it is an expression of a special and unique love which one person has for another. Both homosexual and heterosexual genital expression can be sinful if they are manipulative, dishonest, or unloving actions.

Q2: When read at face value, the Scriptures have nothing positive to say about homogenital behaviour. However, most Christians do not interpret the Bible literally; they try to understand the Scriptures in their historical and cultural context and see what meaning the Scriptures have for us today.
The Scriptures were written approximately 2000 or more years ago when there was no knowledge of constitutional homosexuality. The Scripture writers believed that all people were naturally heterosexual so that they viewed homosexuality activity as unnatural. Women today are pointing out that the inferiority of women expressed in the scriptures was a product of culture and the times in which the Bible was written; it should not be followed today, now that we are beginning to appreciate the natural and God-given equality of men and women.
Similarly, as we know that homosexuality is just as natural and God-given as heterosexuality, we realize that the Biblical injunctions against homosexuality were conditioned by the attitudes and beliefs about this form of sexual expression which were held by people without benefit of centuries of scientific knowledge and understanding.
It is unfair of us to expect or impose a twentieth century mentality and understanding about equality of genders, races and sexual orientations on the Biblical writers. We must be able to distinguish the eternal truths the Bible is meant to convey from the cultural forms and attitudes expressed there.

Rev C Robert Nugent (Roman Catholic -- co-editor of "The Vatican and Homosexuality", holds degrees from St Charles College, St Charles Theologate, a degree in library science from Villanova University and a Masters of Sacred Theology from Yale University Divinity School):

Q1: I do not believe that God regards homosexuality as a "sin" if homosexuality means the psychosexual identity of lesbians or gay persons, which we know from contemporary scientific studies is within the boundaries of healthy, human psychological development, and which seems to be as natural for some people as heterosexuality is for others. If homosexuality means the emotional, intimate bonding in same-gender relationships of love and friendship, I believe that since God is love, where there is authentic love, God is present.
Where god is present, there can be no sin. If homosexuality means same-gender erotic, physical expressions of union and pleasure, the possibility of personal sin exists in homosexuality -- as it does in heterosexuality -- depending on the interplay of three factors including the physical behaviour itself and its meaning for the person, the personal motives and intents of the person acting, and the individual and social consequences or results of the behaviour. For many people, sexual behaviour which is exploitative, coercive, manipulative, dishonest, selfish or destructive of human personhood is sinful; for all people "sin" means freely acting contrary to one's deeply held moral or ethical convictions, whether these come from organized religion or a personally developed value system. In speaking of the "sinfulness" of same-gender genital expressions, the Roman Catholic Bishops of Washington say that "...no one except Almighty God can make certain judgments about the personal sinfulness of acts (The Prejudice Against Homosexuals and the Ministry of the Church, Washington State Catholic Conference, 1983).

Q2: Catholicism uses four major sources for principles and guidance in ethical questions like homosexuality: scripture, tradition (theologians, church documents, official teachings, etc), reason, and human experience. All are used in conjunction with one another. Scripture is fundamental and primary authoritative Catholic source -- but not the only source. Biblical witness is taken seriously, but not literally. An individual scriptural text must be understood in the larger context of the original language and culture, the various levels of meanings, and the texts' applications to contemporary realities in light of the role of the community's and its official leadership role in providing authoritative interpretations. Both Jewish and Christian scriptures do speak negatively of certain form of same-gender (generally male) sexual behaviour (not same-gender love), especially when associated with idol worship, lust, violence, degradation, prostitution, etc. Whether scriptures condemn all and every form of same-gender sexual expression in and of itself for all times, places and individuals is the topic of serious theological and Biblical discussion and debate.
Same-gender expressions of responsible, faithful love in a covenanted relationship between two truly homosexually oriented people not gifted with celibacy is not something envisioned by scriptures. Whether this form of homosexuality violates biblical or anthropological principles of sexuality and personhood -- especially in light of current scientific knowledge and human experience about the homosexual orientation -- is a key issue facing the churches and religious groups today.

Rev Dr William F Schulz, DD (Unitarian Universalist -- president of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, a phi beta kappa graduate of Oberlin College, holds masters in philosophy from University of Chicago and doctorates in ministry and divinity from Meadville-Lombard Theological School, board&enspmember of numerous organizations including People For the American Way and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, author of numerous books and articles, appears on national radio programs and in nationally-distributed newspapers, listed in Who's Who of America):

Q1: I do not believe that God regards homosexuality as a sin. In the first place, of course, I do not believe in an anthropomorphic God who defines or delineates sinful behaviour. But even if I did, I cannot believe such a God would reject any of His/Her children on the basis of their affectional orientations. If He/She did, such a God would not be one to whom I would want to pay homage.

Q2: While the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures) certainly condemns what it refers to as sodomy, it also condemns a whole host of other practices (e.g., sleeping with a menstruating woman) which have long been accepted as reputable. Most of the Old Testament is surely not an appropriate resource from which to obtain guidance regarding contemporary ethics! Turning to the New Testament, we discover that Jesus has nothing whatsoever to say regarding homosexuality. Inasmuch as he frequently condemned others of whose behaviour he disapproved (e.g., the money-changers in the temple), it is significant that he makes no reference to homosexuals or their practices.

Dr Karen Lebacqz, PhD (United Church of Christ -- professor of Christian ethics at Pacific School of Religion, holds bachelor degree in Biblical history from Wellesley College and masters and PhD in religion and society from Harvard University, phi beta kappa member and past president of the Society of Christian Ethics):

Q1: What God does regard as sin is oppression, injustice, persecution, disrespect for person. This sin, then, is homophobia, gay-bashing, discriminatory legislation toward lesbians and gays, refusal to include lesbian/gay/bisexual people into our churches and communities. To force any people, whether for reasons of race, age, or sexual orientation, into a "ghetto" -- this is a sin.

Q2: Yes and No. Yes, in the same sense that the Scriptures object to wearing clothes of different fabrics, eating pork or other kinds of meat, and women speaking in church. That is to say, the Scriptures are a human product which reflects the cultural limitations of their time. Thus, they speak negatively about a number of practices that are routinely accepted today, including certain sexual practices. Some of these sexual practices are engaged in by both heterosexually and homosexually oriented people.
No, in the same sense that the Scriptures do not speak clearly to the phenomenon that we today call "homosexuality". That is, Scripture speaks negatively about certain behaviours, most notably temple prostitution, not about basic orientation or about loving and committed gay/lesbian relationships. (A possible exception here is the praise of the relationship between David and Jonathan.)

Rev Dr James B Nelson, PhD (United Church of Christ -- professor of Christian ethics at the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, holds bachelor degree from Macalester College and a bachelor and masters and PhD in divinity from Yale University, visiting scholar at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and visiting professor at numerous other institutions, consulting editor of "Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality", honorary doctor of Sacred Theology from Dickinson University and award-winning educator for the United Church of Christ):

Q1: I am convinced that our sexuality and our sexual orientations, whatever they may be, are a gift from God. Sexual sin does not reside in our orientations, but rather in expressing our sexuality in ways that harm, oppress, or use others for our own selfish gratification. When we express ourselves sexually in ways that are loving and just, faithful and responsible, then I am convinced that God celebrates our sexuality, whatever our orientation may be.

Q2: The scriptures actually say nothing about homosexuality as a psychosexual orientation. Our understandings of sexual orientation are distinctly modern ones that were not present in the minds of Scripture writers. A few passages of Scripture (seven at the most) object to certain types of same-sex expressions or acts. The particular acts in question, however, are sexual expressions which are exploitative, oppressive, commercialized, or offensive to ancient purity rituals. There is no Scriptural guidance for same-sex relationships which are loving and mutually respecting. Guidelines for these relationships should come from the same general Scriptural norms that apply to heterosexual relationships.

Rev Dr Professor John B Cobb Jr, PhD (United Methodist -- recently retired from Ingraham Professor of Theology at the School of Theology at Claremont and an Avery Professor at Claremont Graduate School, holds masters and PhD from the University of Chicago Divinity school):

Q1: Surely being attracted to persons of the same sex is not, as such, a sin. But of course how we act in our attractions, towards whichever sex, is often sinful. The ideal is to be responsible and faithful rather than self-indulgent. Unfortunately, society does not encourage responsible and faithful relations with persons of the same sex. That makes the situation of the homosexual very difficult.

Q2: Certainly some of the Biblical writers objected to homosexual acts, but there is surprisingly little attention to this topic. The opposition of the church comes from other sources much more than from scripture. There are more scriptural reasons to oppose homophobia than to oppose homosexuality.

Bishop Melvin Wheatley Jr (United Methodist -- ordained elder of the United Methodist Church who retired in 1984 after 33 years as pastor and 12 years as bishop, honorary PFLAG director due to services to gay and lesbian people in the church):

Q1: Of course not! The preponderance of evidence now available identifies homosexuality to be as natural a sexual orientation for a significant percentage of persons as heterosexuality is the natural sexual orientation for the majority of persons. Homosexuality is an authentic condition of being with which some persons are endowed (a gift from God, if you please), not an optional sexual lifestyle which they have willfully, whimsically or sinfully chosen. Certainly one's sexuality -- heterosexual or homosexual -- may be acted out in behaviours that are sinful: brutal, exploitative, selfish, superficial. But just as surely, one's homosexual orientation as well as another's heterosexual orientation may be acted out in ways that are beautiful: tender, considerate, mutual, responsible, loyal, profound.

Q2: The Scriptures at no point deal with homosexuality as an authentic sexual orientation, a given condition of being. The remarkably few Scriptural references to "homosexuality" deal rather with homosexual acts, not with homosexual orientation. Those acts are labeled as wrong out of the context of the times in which the writers wrote and perceived those acts to be either nonmasculine, idolatrous, exploitative, or pagan. The kind of relationships between two consenting adults of the same sex demonstrably abounding among us -- relationships that are responsible and mutual, affirming and fulfilling -- are not dealt with in the Scriptures. Dealing with those relational realities is one of the tasks we are about in our time.

this document by Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is enhanced for modern web browsers and annotated in hypertext by Dignity Canada Dignité



Matthew 23:36-40

I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation.
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.
Look, your house is left to you desolate.
For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, `Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"

Genesis 1:31
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the sixth day.

Romans 1:18-27

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Altthough they claimed to be wise, they became fools
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.
In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor sexual perverts
nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

note: 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:8-10 list arsenokoitai among those who will be excluded from the Reign of God. This obscure term has been translated "homosexuals" but its exact meaning is debated.

John 10:16
I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Galatians 3:27
for all of you who were baptized into Christ¸ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Ephesians 2:8-9

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--
not by works, so that no one can boast.

Romans 3:21-24

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Acts 10

At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment.
He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.
One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, "Cornelius!"
Cornelius stared at him in fear. "What is it, Lord?" he asked. The angel answered, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.
Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter.
He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea."
When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants.
He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.
About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray.
He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance.
He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners.
It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air.
Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat."
"Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean."
The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean."
This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon's house was and stopped at the gate.
They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.
While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Simon, three men are looking for you.
So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them."
Peter went down and said to the men, "I'm the one you're looking for. Why have you come?"
The men replied, "We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say."
Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests. The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went along.
The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends.
As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence.
But Peter made him get up. "Stand up," he said, "I am only a man myself."
Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people.
He said to them: "You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.
So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?"
Cornelius answered: "Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me
and said, `Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor.
Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.'
So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us."
Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism
but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.
You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached--
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
"We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree,
but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen.
He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen--by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.
All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.
The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.
For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said,
"Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have."
So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

Dignity Canada Dignité is Canada's organization of Roman Catholics who are concerned about our church's sexual theology, particularly as it pertains to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons. We work in collaboration with other Catholic organizations seeking reform in our church's leadership and teachings.