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Must Catholics/Christians Hate Gay People?

I put a link to this article on my Facebook page.  I wondered why people who hold beliefs antithetical to Christian doctrine would want to be Christians.  One of my friends responded:

so you have to hate gays to be catholic or christian? if you in don’t agree with everything the church tells you then you can’t be christian or catholic? not trying to debate the issue just making sure I’m clear that’s what you mean by NOT for you a little intrigued by your post for some clarification of your point of view that you mean if you think like this you can’t involved in church? courious

I hear this again and again: Christians hate gay people, and we’re not allowed to disagree within ourselves because if we disagree then what we have isn’t from God.

No and no.  Let’s lay this out:

  1. Homosexuality is a sin.
  2. Marriage is between a man and a woman.

These are both eternal truths defined by God clearly in Scripture. These truths are to be upheld by the Church, and therefore the membership of the Church.

To be Catholic, you cannot be in favor of same-sex marriage. That is not the institution of marriage that is spelled out in Scripture by the Lord himself. The long and the short of it is that we humans don’t get to define marriage or church sacraments — God, who is eternally and perfectly good, is the one who defines those things.

Our nature is fallen from grace, and therefore we don’t really understand what “good” is or what it looks like. God is who we need to look to for that, not ourselves. If we look at homosexuality as something innate to us and think that is somehow “good,” then we are missing the mark by a lot. Remember — we are not good by nature; we are sinners by nature. What we do or what we are cannot be the standard for “right.”

When we use ourselves as the standard for “right” or “good” or “fair,” we will never get to the essence of those terms because no one consistently treats others “right” or “fair.” No one is consistently “good.” Better to ask instead, “What standard are we using for good?”

Every time we judge something moral or immoral, right or wrong, good or bad, we use some kind of standard. The standard cannot be society, for society changes far too often. Opinions and social mores are up for grabs, and differ every generation. Worse, this prevents us from judging any society as “wrong” or “immoral.” Implications?  The Nazis were on solid ground when they did the Holocaust!

For reasons I’ve already discussed (fallen nature), the standard can’t be what is in our own nature.

Therefore, the standard is God.  God is outside of ourselves, and therefore not subject to a fallen nature.  God also is not a part of society, and therefore not caught in the sweeping changes of morality we see as a society.

Read God’s Word — homosexuality is condemned throughout. Read Catholic doctrine — again, homosexuality is condemned throughout. Early Church Fathers were divided on many, many issues — but this was not one of them.  (See some selected writings here.)

Homosexuality is a sin, but not everyone in our pluralistic society shares the view that sin is a problem.  Does that mean we seek to deny them equal marriage rights using our religion?  We deny them nothing.  They have the right to marry a member of the opposite sex, just as I do. Men can only marry women; men joining to men or women joining to women is not marriage. Homosexual “marriage,” therefore, is the homosexual community asking to change the entire sacrament of marriage, thereby perverting its original intent.

Fine, homosexuality is a sin.  Homosexual marriage isn’t marriage, so it’s not a denial of a right.  Does that mean I hate gay people?  On the contrary, I have gay friends (one of whom owns a lesbian bar and is the founding member of Toledo Pride), I’m a huge Elton John fan, and I’ve been to a lesbian wedding (such as it is; gay marriage is still illegal in Ohio).  Where’s the disconnect?  Well, most people are tired of this expression, but I’ll say it anyway: Love the sinner, hate the sin.

“But I was born gay! If homosexuality is a sin, and if you hate the sin, then you hate me!” Absolutely right! I’m not even going to deny that.  But I’ve already covered this: Sin is innate to all of us, and we’re all sinners.  However, each of us are susceptible to different sins. The challenge as a Christian is to learn to hate that part of ourselves, to crucify it with Christ, and live in a manner worthy of our calling. Is it hard? Yes! I’ve heard it said that Christianity isn’t tried and found wanting; rather, found difficult and left untried.

Could someone in favor of homosexual marriage become involved in church? Could gay people become involved in church? Absolutely to both!! Hopefully through church they will learn that homosexuality is a sin and that it is something that they need to put to bed (no pun intended), not a part of themselves they should explore. No different from any other sin. We wouldn’t exclude adulterers or murderers from our congregations, but Catholic priests would certainly deny sacraments to ones that remained unrepentant.

Christ came to heal the sick, which is why he is sometimes called the Great Physician. The unrepentant sinners among us are the ones who need Christ’s love the most, and therefore they need church involvement that much more.  We should never deny church attendance or involvement to a sinner, because then no one would qualify for membership.

I’m not saying I’m perfect. There’s a lot for me to work on. A lot. I don’t practice what I preach here, so trust me this applies equally to me as it does to any gay person.

The point is that we all have our challenges with living as Christ did, and this life is about that journey to becoming more Christ-like. God promises to get us there, and he works differently on each of us. Homosexuals have their challenges, as I have mine. Church is about giving each other that accountability. It’s about helping each of us on the journey. That’s the point of fellowship.

But, before we can offer the needed accountability, we have to be clear on what constitutes a sin, which is (in my view) the real reason the young man in the article was denied confirmation. If you give approval to those who practice a sin, then you aren’t modeling Christ for unbelievers. Worse, you’re inviting the same judgment on yourself.

I hoped that would clear things up for my friend.  She’s a dear friend and I’d hate to lose her over what I would actually consider a non-issue.  Fortunately, she enjoyed that treatment and said she learned some things.  So kudos for remaining open-minded to other perspectives!

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About Cory Tucholski

I'm a born-again Christian, amateur apologist and philosopher, father of 3. Want to know more? Check the "About" page!

Posted on November 23, 2012, in Apologetics, Marriage, Morality, Religion, Roman Catholicism, Sin, Theology. Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. “Change the entire sacrament of marriage”. “Marriage” is not a Christian construct, to be defined as the Catholics define it. There was marriage in China, say, before Christian missionaries went there.

    Marriage is defined by law, and law changes. Laws against interracial marriages have been repealed in the US.

    A lesbian may cleave to another woman, just as a heterosexual woman may cleave to a man. Where they intend to live together life long, in civilised countries- Spain, Sweden, soon Britain and France- they may marry. Thank God.

    Your false interpretation of God’s will is irrelevant to marriage. Thank God, increasing numbers of Christians no longer hate gay people for who we are. My own church welcomes gay people, and accepts our God-given sexuality. You do not have to call our marriages “marriage”, you can assert that the Sun goes round the Earth for all I care like earlier deluded Catholics, but marriage is not yours, and you have no right to define it for anyone else.

    • You’re absolutely right — the Catholic Church did not and does not define marriage. And that is literally the ONLY thing you’re right about. Everything else is dead wrong.

      The entire point of the post was that God defines marriage and did so in the Bible. The Church defends that definition. Maybe you need to reread my post. You apparently didn’t get it.

      Since God defines marriage, that means law doesn’t define marriage. There are laws governing marriage, but that’s different than granting us the right to marry. The original intent of government is to defend our God-ordained rights; it is not the role of the government to create these rights.

      That there is marriage apart from Catholicism or Christianity is irrelevant. It actually hurts your point rather than mine. God gave us marriage before we spread out over the globe; he gave it to the first man and the first woman. That is why it is widespread and we don’t need the Catholic Church to bring it to us. That there is marriage apart from statutory law hurts YOU because it means something other than those statutes define marriage — and that is MY point.

      Your next mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find a biblical argument in favor of gay marriage. Until then, you’re not addressing any point I’ve made.

  2. You claimed that I did not get the point of your post, so I re-read it. Mmm. Badly expressed, silly ideas, not well organised- but not complex. I did understand, I assure you.

    David and Jonathan.

    The Centurion’s pais.

    By “the first man and the first woman” do you mean Adam and Eve? LOL. Tell me, in what order was creation? Was it Adam, plants, animals, and last Eve as in Genesis 2, or was it plants, animals, and finally male and female together as in Genesis 1?

    • Well, you’re going to need more than assertions in reply.

      What’s silly and why?

      How is it badly organized?

      I suppose David and Jonathan and the Centurion’s pais are supposed to form your biblical argument in favor of homosexuality. Well, I’d love to hear your argument as to how you think David and Jonathan qualify as anything more than best friends. The Centurion’s pais is just stupid. Summary here. Actual scholar here [PDF]. Pais does NOT mean “gay lover”; that is one of its many meanings but the magic of context renders that an invalid reading.

      And digest this about Genesis 1 & 2.

  3. If I have to do better than assertions, Cory, then so do you.

    I had a look at the rubbish you cited. Wow. Are you really a young earth creationist?

    What about all those scientists who seek the truth? Does God just allow the Devil to blind them, or are they involved in a devilish conspiracy? The trouble with young earth creationism is that it gives too much power to the devil, and requires too much of the follower of Christ: to believe something which is evidently not true.

    It does show that you are not going to respond to reasoned argument, though.

    • My position on the age of the earth has nothing to do with anything. We are discussing the issue of homosexuality. The fact that you’re throwing a red herring into the mix shows it is YOU that won’t respond to ANY argument, reasoned or not.

      I have responded to plenty of well-reasoned arguments. Just read more of my blog! However, nothing you have given me is a well-reasoned argument. Your previous comment was nothing but bald assertions, and this one is a rabbit trail I’m not chasing.

      So stick to the topic or move on.

  4. Young Earth Creationism does matter, and is the heart of the matter here. If you are young-earth creationist, you believe something which is demonstrably false, and demonstrably unChristian. It shows you are proof against rational and Christian arguments alike. Your position is more nuanced, but you assert that Genesis 1 and 2 are inerrant, literal and historical. So you are attempting to sideline the fossil record.

    Homosexuality is natural and innate, in part genetic, in part caused by the intra-uterine environment. You will call that an “assertion”. Well, go and look up the science. Try to look at it without your prejudices.

    I am sure you can find articles, also looking into the Greek, asserting that pais is lover. My search here is not who has the best articles, but what is the truth. God accepts non-celibate gay people. We are not damned. Now, there are books on the stages of the argument, against as well as for, and I am not going to play games with you here.

    I would talk of God’s Love, and I am sure you can go off on detailed arguments on that too.

    • A few comments.

      First, my position on the age of the earth. I don’t think it has anything to do with this argument, since the argument is about homosexuality and you are only using this red herring to attack my reasonability. Of course, this is its own fallacy (ad hominem). I debated long and hard about not saying anything and letting you believe whatever you will about me.

      Why would I do that? Assume I was a YEC. That has nothing to do with my ability to make an argument. I can still propose a good argument against homosexuality, which you would have to deal with on its own merits. Sidestepping it by waving me off as a YEC isn’t dealing with the argument, it’s dealing with ME.

      That said, I am emphatically NOT a young-earth creationist. I think YEC-ism is a cult, much like the folks at Evidence for God from Science believe. YECs like Holding, however, still produce excellent apologetics resources.

      I have nothing against YECs specifically. My entire extended family (including my wife) are YECs. Many CAA members that I respect are YECs. They are Christian brethren, and I respect their arguments even if I disagree with their conclusions — which is similar to the conclusion I present below regarding you.

      One last time: using something someone believes to disprove everything they say is a fallacy. That is not how reasonable people argue. Now that I’ve told you my position, I hope we can put it to bed.

      Second, I have stated in other posts on this blog that I, too, believe homosexuality is innate — but that makes no comment on its goodness or morality. All sin is innate to our fallen natures, so “Homosexuality is inborn” is a really bad argument.

      Third, I’m not a Greek scholar but I do know that words change in meaning over time and pais did NOT mean “gay lover” or “subordinate in pederasty” until long after New Testament times. Within the NT, it ALWAYS refers to a young child or a servant. We can’t ascribe a meaning to the text that isn’t there; and if pais wasn’t used that way at the time of composition, then your favorite definition isn’t what it means. Period.

      Finally, gay people are no more damned than any of us, for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But we are also urged to live in a manner worthy of the calling to which we are called, which gay people who are living in homosexual relationships are NOT.

      Does that mean you’re going to hell? Well, I wouldn’t say that. Probably not. It means that you have a sin in your life and that must be dealt with. It doesn’t mean God loves you less; he did, after all, call you to be a Christian.

      You will have to deal with this in your own time and in your own way. I see you’ve given this issue a lot of thought, and I applaud that. However, I think you’ve come to the wrong conclusions and I’m not afraid to say that you have. Just as you are not afraid to say that I’ve come to the wrong conclusions.

  5. Ok let me get this straight if god made us in his own image & made us who we are & doesn’t want us to be afraid of who we are then why is being an LGBTQAP member if you don’t know what that is here you go
    L-lesbian
    G-Gay
    B-Bisexual
    T-Transgender/Transexual
    Q-Queer/ questioning
    A-Asexual
    P-Pansexual
    Why is it wrong. I’m pansexual that means I don’t care about gender or sexual orientation I like them all. I have heard the word of god telling me to not be afraid of being who I am that he made me like this if your saying its wrong your going against gods word & that my friends is a sin if you still don’t believe me then show me where in the bible it says that lbgtqap is a sin

    • Good question. There are actually five passages that tell us homosexuality is a sin. Two in the Old Testament and three in the New Testament: Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; and 1 Timothy 1:8-11. I’ve made the longer case in this blog post, which addresses each verse as well as a couple of possible objections. Note, please, within that post I state the following:

      All references in the so-called “clobber passages” are references to the act of homosexual intercourse, not to homosexual love. Therefore, homosexual love is acceptable to, even encouraged by, God. Homosexual sex is not accepted.

      Since it is the act of intercourse that consummates a marriage in the Bible, and homosexual persons can’t do that, homosexual marriage is not acceptable to God.

      It is not love that we object to. Love whomever your heart leads you to, but you can’t properly marry a member of the same sex.

      Now, I would like to know what Bible you’ve read to get the message that we should be ourselves and not be afraid of who we are. Because the Bible I read tells us not listen to ourselves (Jer 17:9), that our fleshly desires are evil (Rom 7:18) and must be resisted (Rom 8:1-8); make no provisions for the flesh and walk away completely (Rom 13:13-14). Jesus himself said to deny ourselves (Mt 16:24).

      Please show me these verses that say I should keep on living old way. I’m not seeing them.

  6. I’m pansexual & I love god if I’m a sinner so be it I’m not going to change who I am because people hate LGBTQAP members god made me this way & he made us in his own image so if he hated LBGTQAP members than that means he hates himself & I seriously doult he hates himself so yea explain that one to me
    L-lesbian
    G-Gay
    B-Bisexual
    T-Transgender/Transexual
    Q-Queer
    A-Asexual
    P-Pansexual

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