What exactly are “traditional Christian values?” Are they to judge and devalue others? That doesn’t sound quite right to me. And how much of Christianity revolves around sexuality and sexual behavior? It seems to me that some are very focused on it. But what does Jesus say about sex? In the Bible, He talks about divorce and adultery (Matt. 5: 27-28, Mark 10: 11-12, Luke 16:18) and we know He frowns upon those things. Jesus also talked about lusting after others so be careful with the temptations (Matt. 5: 27-28). Outside of those things . . . well, there isn’t much else. That isn’t to say that Jesus would or wouldn’t be alright with homosexuality (given when and where he came of age, he probably wouldn’t be). But his teachings tell us nothing on the subject.
So let’s say say that Jesus calls homosexuality a sin (and yes, the Old Testament does call it a sin, but that’s Mosaic law which is a different argument). What would Jesus say about how sinners should be treated? For starters, He never spoke against the sinner but the sin itself. That doesn’t make Jesus cool with sin but he loved sinners. I’m not a huge fan of this argument because it still seems self-righteous. But I like that Jesus has more to say about love than he does about sin or judgment. “Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Cor. 16:14) seems to be something that’s missing in Larry’s letter of condemnation. And I know the following verse is more known for weddings than anything else, but “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 4:5) can apply to more than a marriage. Love for mankind should strive to be the same, shouldn’t it? Larry’s piece sure didn’t read as a letter of love for others.
Now I won’t address “lame stream media” and the oft-repeated claims of Hollywood’s stance against Christianity. But I would like to bring up some facts about psychology and psychiatry. Some may see homosexuality as aberrant but it’s been determined NOT to be a mental disorder. The American Psychiatric Association’s stance is that “there is no scientific evidence that sexuality . . . is a freewill choice” (Levin, par. 3). Homosexuality hasn’t been considered a mental disorder since 1973 when the APA removed it from the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders) and has held that there is “no rational basis . . . to discriminate against or punish LGBT people” (Levin, par. 5). And although some try to link homosexuality and child sexual abuse, there’s no evidence to show that homosexuals are more likely than heterosexuals to molest children (Harek). There is no reasonable excuse to mistrust, or even hate, someone on the basis of their sexual orientation.
What about transgendered persons? That’s been called a mental illness, yes? Well, not so fast. Gender dysphoria is classified as a disorder where someone is conflicted with either their physical or assigned gender and the gender they identify as (Parekh, par. 1). This is important to note because people can be transgendered and those people can struggle with gender dysmorphia. People who aren’t transgendered can also struggle with gender dysmorphia. Some other facts about transgender persons that you should know: they are “twice as likely to be living in poverty . . . and three times more likely to be unemployed” (Steinmetz, par. 3). And at least 40% of transgendered respondents surveyed said they had tried to commit suicide compared to 4.6% of the general population (Steinmetz, par. 3). Transgendered people are often more at risk of being victims of violent crimes rather than being perpetrators of crimes.
Gender, sexual orientation, and religion are all complicated especially when you consider we’re all flawed. We’re all “sinners”. That person next to you in traffic or standing in line behind you, they have struggles no one else might know about. They might feel alone and helpless. They might be LGBTQ. And a few friendly words might make all the difference to them. Perhaps the lesson here is that Christians should be more concerned with how to better love each other than how to better judge each other. Larry, do better Christianing.
Levin, Saul, M.D. “Homosexuality as a Mental Disorder Simply Not Backed Up by Science.” Homosexuality as a Mental Disorder Simply Not Backed Up by Science. March 10, 2016. Accessed March 20, 2018. https://www.psychiatry.org/news-room/apa-blogs/apa-blog/2016/03/homosexuality-as-a-mental-disorder-simply-not-backed-up-by-science.
Parekh, Ranna, M.D. “What Is Gender Dysphoria?” What Is Gender Dysphoria? February 2016. Accessed March 20, 2018. https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/gender-dysphoria/what-is-gender-dysphoria.
Herek, Gregory M., Ph.D. “Facts About Homosexuality and Child Molestation.” Facts About Homosexuality and Child Molestation. Accessed March 20, 2018. http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_molestation.html.
Steinmetz, Katy. “U.S. Transgender Survey: Largest Study of Its Kind Comes Out.” Time. December 08, 2016. Accessed March 20, 2018. http://time.com/4595422/transgender-survey-data-united-states/.
Phillips, Larry. “No Matter What Movies Say, Gay Is Still Gay.” Leader & Times Online. March 16, 2018. Accessed March 20, 2018. http://leaderandtimes.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=31897:no-matter-what-movies-say-gay-is-still-gay&catid=29:opinion&Itemid=58.