Christianity is no excuse for homophobia

There are three main Bible verses that some Christians choose to live by. The first is to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” Matthew 22:37-39. The second pertains to the Golden Rule, Matthew 7:12 states that “all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them,” meaning treat others the way you wish to be treated. And lastly, Christians believe that having faith is crucial because “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” John 3:16. 

The purpose of Christianity is stated to be that, “Through belief in and acceptance of the death and resurrection of Jesus, sinful humans can be reconciled to God and thereby are offered salvation and the promise of eternal life.” While Jesus is often the model for loving one another and guiding those who are lost, Christianity must not be used as an easy way out to practice homophobia. 

Many Christians claim that the Bible forbids them from supporting the LGBTQ+ community and same-sex marriage. However, it is necessary to keep in mind the time period the Bible was written in, but also the literal translations of the difficult Hebrew language. For instance, Leviticus 18:22 states in English that, “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable.” The Horizon, a publication of Westmont College, explains that when this passage is read in Hebrew, the original language the Bible was written in, it means “‘You shall not lie with another adult man as one lies with womankind.’ … The words, ‘as one lies,’ in this passage and in Leviticus 20 only appear one other place in the Bible — Genesis 49:9, when Rueben sleeps with his father’s wife — and should be understood to indicate an incestuous act.” This verse is referring to Genesis, where two male relatives have relations. At first glance, this verse comes across as homophobic, but after dissecting the language, it is simply against incest. 

Debates pertaining to sexual identity are common within Catholic Church, as scandals surrounding male adolescent abuse from priests have become quite prevalent. According to a New York Times article, Gregory Griten was on a sabbatical retreat at the age of 17 when he was asked to “rank which he would rather be: burned over 90 percent of his body, paraplegic or gay. Each chose to be scorched or paralyzed. Not one uttered the word ‘gay.’ They called the game the Game of Life.” Practices like these fuel homophobia. Additionally, Jesuit father Klaus Mertes estimates that about 50 percent of Catholic church clergy are queer, according to CNE News. Priests need their jobs to retain their housing and insurance, so the consequences of being outed far outweigh being an ally to the LGTBQ+ community. 

To counteract beliefs that the Bible is in support of homophobia, along with other “colorful” positions on women’s rights and abortion, a new movement called Modern Christianity has grown. Modern Christianity takes the fundamental idea of loving one another and challenging traditional views to create systemic change by putting words to practice, like helping those who are underprivileged and preventing social injustices. Modern Christians believe that there isn’t just one path to salvation, and that repenting sins isn’t the only method of “serving God.” Unlike the traditional views of Christianity, Modern Christians welcome all races, sexual orientations and traditions, similar to the Episcopalian practice, a Christian denomination. There isn’t a correct way to be religious, but if one is trying to be inclusive of all people, Modern Christianity is a path to do so.

In Christianity, one builds their own relationship with God, but what people fail to realize is that Jesus is there to help those who are lost, not shame them for who they are. Being a Modern Christian doesn’t make a person a “bad Christian” because faith looks different for everyone. Where problems surrounding homophobia start to occur is when people mistake the ideals of what Christianity stands for. 

If by misunderstanding biblical language leads Christians to think same sex relationships are a sin, there’s never going to be acceptance among the LGBTQ+ community within the Catholic Church. Devoted Christians strive for each person to repent their wrongs, but being queer isn’t one. Being a Christian means admitting your mistakes, taking the time to find answers to unanswered questions and loving one another rather than bringing people down in hopes of living a “perfect life.”