the unanswerable question. journalist email ethics.

Eugene Cho has been put in that very uncomfortable situation of having to answer the Question by Dan Savage, who had (inadvertently or intentionally?) released a private personal email on his own blog and the 300+ comments shows how heated a topic this is (near impossible but still necessary in our times)::

Last week, I very much enjoyed reading the thread of comments from Scot McKnight’s [jesus creed] post about the church’s lack of compassion with the gay community. I had no idea that I’d be smack in the middle of this conversation as the culprit of that bigotry…

That was initially triggered by Scot McKnight being asked the Question::

Exactly what does it look like to, as they say, hate the sin and love the sinner on this issue? This problem obviously exists with other sins, but I think this particular situation causes me the most angst. How do I love my homosexual friends and neighbors without appearing to approve of their lifestyle?

It seems to me what makes this question impossible to answer is the question behind the question: would I support legislation? would I support a theology that celebrates that lifestyle? would I support ordination? When these are the only questions that matter, to some, answers are unsatisfying except for those who can answer in the affirmative, but that disallows any other opinion in a diverse pluralistic society, like a more nuanced Christian perspective of “welcoming but not affirming“, cf. Stanley Grenz’s Welcoming but Not Affirming: An Evangelical Response to Homosexuality.

Grey is a former fundamentalist Christian, who is blogging about his new faith perspectives; in 100 Things I’ve learned about church, he writes about Gays and Judgment:

  • Most christians have no idea how much gays have suffered in the hands of so-called ‘christians’.
  • Many christians believe that all sin is equal, yet they judge gays for their sins much more harshly.
  • Every time I’ve thought someone should be excluded from the church for some reason, I find out that I should be excluded for reasons which are just as equal.
  • Most christians are unaware of the amount of promiscuity that goes on within their church.
  • Most churches would rather appear without blemish than to provide a safe forum for their members to work through issues of sexuality. Whatever the church ignores, grows.

and his 42 scenes in the life of a former fundamentalist christian, on Homosexuality:

  • I once believed that it was impossible for a practicing homosexual to be a christian, live a ethical life (christian or not), or go to heaven without denouncing their “sin”.
  • Heard the stories of many christian and non-chrisitan gays.
  • Began questioning my conservative beliefs that gays were sinners and must be converted “or else”.
  • Learned that the biblical evidence against gays wasn’t all it was cracked up to be due to bad translation, poor understanding of ancient culture and just plain missing the point.

The issue is yet all the more complicated b/c of its political subtext. According to 2 (right of center) advocacies, there is this 1989 book titled “After the Ball – How America will conquer its fear and hatred of Gays in the 90s“, which proposed these strategies to change public perception and acceptance of homosexual lifestyle, allegedly a “hidden” agenda for a homosexual movement: (cf. Putting strategies to work: the homosexual propaganda campaign in America’s media)

  1. “Talk about gays and gayness as loudly and as often as possible.”
  2. “Portray gays as victims, not as aggressive challengers.”
  3. “Give homosexual protectors a just cause.”
  4. “Make gays look good.”
  5. “Make the victimizers look bad.” They portray people of faith — people who have legitimate and biblical reasons to oppose homosexual behavior — as homophobes and bigots. They also try to “muddy the moral waters” by getting liberal churches, many of which have thrown out a great deal of the Bible, to say that homosexual behavior is just fine from a theological perspective.
  6. “Get funds from corporate America.”

[update] hat tip to Pomomusings for this latest find::

Regardless of your stance on the issue of homosexuality and the church, it is pretty impressive and important to note when three former leaders for one of the largest “You’re gay? We’ll fix you!”-ministries [Exodus International] publicly apologize for their part in the ministry.

In this LA Times article, “3 Former Leaders of Ex-Gay Ministry Apologize,” the former leaders publicly stated that Exodus International’s attempt to fix gays is psychologically harmful and has caused very serious depression in some and suicidal tendencies in others.

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  1. Jayce says:

    As a Charismatic, Bible-believing Christian, I am now wrestling with this issue. I find the Old Testament law dealt with different sins differently. Some were easily forgiven with a sacrifice, others required stoning. Sexual sin seems to be the foremost “stoning” offense.

    Why stone for sexual sin? One could point to several possible reasons; faithfulness, breaking covenant with your marriage partner, or the pervasiveness of the sin. When Israel conquored certain cultures, they were commanded by God to kill all men, women, children, and even livestock. When Israel didn’t follow through, that foreign culture began to infiltrate Israel and take them away from God. It could be assumed, then, that sexual sin has a way of infiltrating a society, taking that society away from God. But, then, Jesus forgave the woman who was about to be stoned. (Could it be partially because the man she was caught with wasn’t being treated with the same harsh penalty?) So, grace abounded from Jesus, even under the Old Testament law.

    In the New Testament, Paul specifically states (in Romans 1) that those performing homosexual acts “don’t know God”. Why, then, would a church want to ordain a professed homosexual to a leadership position. Why be led by someone who doesn’t know God?

    To put this in perspective, though, John (I John 4:7,8) states, “He that loveth not, knoweth not God.” He didn’t say this person couldn’t be “born again”. (I believe the scriptures show one can be born again and still not “know” God.)

    So, can a homosexual be born again? Yes. Do all born again Christians KNOW God? No.

    Therein lies the solution, I think. Preach and Teach the Word of God in such a manner that the hearers can come to KNOW God. Primary in this is to show the believer who they REALLY are “in Christ”. When someone begins to understand who God has already made them to be, their thinking automatically begins to change, and they begin to believe and act differently. (Romans 12:1,2)

    We have all been extended Grace, not to conform to the religious ideals of others, but to conform to what God has created us to be IN Christ Jesus.

  2. Jayce says:

    BTW… Thanks for pointing me to

  3. djchuang says:

    I’d like to agree that “Knowing God” and “knowing Christ” is a bottom line answer to real life and real spirituality, but what does that really mean? A good number of professing Christians say those words, but by their actions, they seem to mean very different things.

    Jayce, while you’ve rightly cited certain Old Testament passages about stoning for infractions against the law, you also noticed that Jesus himself was put on the spot in John 8 about whether to stone or not when presented a woman caught in adultery. Jesus’ example here shows us the best example of how to respond, perhaps for any kind of sinful behavior:

    “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

    No condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and followed with an exhortation and encouragement to leave a life of sin.

  4. Jayce says:

    Well said.

  5. Fred Conwell says:

    Jesus defines sin as lack of love (about 7 times!) What is unloving about homosexuality? And where can I take my homosexual cat to get him cured of this “sin”.

  6. Nate Myers says:

    Jesus defines sin as lack of love (about 7 times!) What is unloving about homosexuality? And where can I take my homosexual cat to get him cured of this “sin”.

    Tell me how this advances any conversation. U-N-G-E-N-E-R-O-U-S comment alert.