The largest gay advocacy group in the U.S. has released a “guide for LGBTQ evangelical Christians” asserting the compatibility of an active homosexual lifestyle with faithful Christianity.
This month, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released “Coming Home to Evangelicalism and to Self,” the sixth in a series of guidebooks for people of faith on how to reconcile homosexual practice with the requirements of religion.
The guide states:
Evangelical Christians who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer often find it difficult to be fully themselves in their church communities. They may have been taught that sexual or romantic relationships that are not heterosexual are sinful through sermons, Sunday school classes, pastoral counseling or implicitly through the culture of the congregation.
“Yet, these same LGBTQ people of faith know deep within that they were born this way. The church’s ruling against them contradicts their own profound awareness of self,” it reads.
Evangelical churches are often hostile to gays, the guide asserts, by failing to celebrate same-sex marriages or asking gay people to practice chastity.
They may “require the member to be celibate, forbid the member from serving the church in any type of leadership role or refuse to celebrate or officiate a wedding ceremony to the person they choose,” it says.
The HRC Foundation’s Coming Home series is designed “to help LGBTQ people live fully in their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, and live fully in their religious, spiritual and cultural traditions,” the text explains.
In the guide, HRC recommends moving away from literal interpretations of biblical texts condemning homosexual practice, favoring instead “a spiritual encounter with God” that does not demand giving up a gay lifestyle.
“Several passages, spread across the Old and New Testament, appear to name same-sex behavior as a grievous sin and even depict those who practice it as outside the grace of God,” the guide acknowledges. “It is sometimes Scripture that offers the greatest challenge to LGBTQ evangelical Christians, who feel that their inherent nature is in conflict with biblical teachings.”
Yet those passages “appear to clash with the all-important, big-picture values that run throughout the Bible. Those values are captured most succinctly in the Golden Rule, spoken by Jesus (Matthew 7:12), who quotes the ancient Hebrew text,” the guide explains.
The key to living a fulfilled gay, Christian life is by overcoming an “either/or” mentality, the guide suggests, which would demand making a choice between a homosexual lifestyle and faithful Christian practice.
There is no reason to make a choice, HRC proposes, because Christianity and homosexual practice are not incompatible.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome.