Trigger warning: Rape
There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that hurry to run to evil,
a lying witness who testifies falsely,
and one who sows discord in a family.
-Proverbs 6:15-20, emphasis mine
Lying lips conceal hatred, and whoever utters slander is a fool.
So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. -Ephesians 4:25
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices.
A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin.
Christians… we need to talk.
Yes, that kind of talk.
Yes, you should probably sit down.
Here’s the thing: You say you don’t hate gay people, and I don’t mean any disrespect, but I’m having a hard time believing you, because you say you believe in the Bible, and the Bible says if you lie about someone, you hate them (Proverbs 26:28), but here you are lying about LGBTQ people.
I don’t know. Maybe you personally didn’t say all this stuff. Maybe you just hit the like button or the share button.
I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt: maybe you just delivered a fact without giving any context, like “gays commit suicide more often than straight people” as an example of why being gay is harmful. I’ll give you that. It’s convenient, and it’s not technically false, statistically speaking, that gays commit suicide more often, but scripture does not call us simply not to lie, but to speak the truth.
A misleading fact is not the truth.
In the past two days, I’ve watched two different videos by conservative leaders. One was shared by Matthew Paul Turner with a disparaging comment about the sermon, and the other by a conservative friend of mine. They shared a common theme: Lies.
I have a word here for conservative pastors who think same-sex marriage is a sin.
You are always talking about “truth” and “absolute truth,” and how you’re going to be honest with your hearers and not just tickle their ears by telling them what they want to hear.
I don’t think you know your audiences. Most (if not all) the members of most of the congregations where those sermons are being preached already think homosexuality is a sin!
Ear-tickling is telling people what they want to hear and letting them walk away comfortable with their current set of prejudices, confident that God is happy about it. That is exactly what you are doing.
Saying you’re not tickling the ears of your hearers doesn’t make it so, any more than calling a skunk a petunia would. It just makes your audience feel like they’re hearing the truth. It tickles people’s ears to tell them what they’re about to hear is a hard and uncomfortable truth — then tell them something they already believe.
“But how are we lying?” you ask, partly defensive and partly out of honest humility. “What are we saying that isn’t true?”
I reach into my pocket and pull out a piece of paper. “This may take a while. But the quick version is this:
- Homoerotic behavior is this sin of Sodom / Sodomy
- Being gay by itself makes people more likely to commit suicide or be depressed
- It makes you more promiscuous
- It destroys families
- It leaves children worse-off, and
- Same-sex attraction is a choice.
You can quote other verses that seem to say homosexuality is a sin. I won’t call that a lie. I will disagree with you strongly on interpretation, but I won’t call it a lie. The Bible, in many translations, does indeed say, or at least seem to say those things. We can talk about that on another day.
I’m not here today to ask you to repent of believing that the Bible speaks about modern-day same-sex relationships or is authoritative when it seems to.
I’m here, as your brother in Christ, to ask you to stop telling these six specific lies.
If you haven’t said any version of these things, you’re off the hook. You can leave now. Everybody else, come in closer.
Lies About What the Bible Says
I promise not to go in-depth to every verse. I just want to touch on Sodom real quick. Other passages and stories are up for debate. Sodom is not.
Sodom / Sodomy
In the sermon I heard yesterday, the pastor said Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for their sinfulness, primarily homosexuality. This statement has no basis in scripture. Ignoring facts about culture and the culture of hospitality, there is no Biblical evidence that Sodom’s primary sin was homosexuality.
“But the men of Sodom attempted to gang-rape angels!”
That isn’t homosexuality. That’s about power and domination, like prison rape, which is usually perpetrated by heterosexual males.
Perpetrators of rape typically view themselves as heterosexual and, outside of the prison environment, prefer to engage in heterosexual activity. Although gay inmates are much more likely than other inmates to be victimized in prison, they are not likely to be perpetrators of sexual abuse. (Human Rights Watch, 2001, emphasis mine)
Nowhere in the Bible is the sin of Sodom said to be homosexuality. Nowhere. Gang rape is not mutually-consentual same-sex sex, but the pastor in Matthew Paul Turner’s link claimed Sodom had somehow gone down a slippery slope from acceptance of homosexuality (bad) to gang rape (worse), using the attempted gang rape as evidence that homosexuality was accepted. He built a slippery slope argument based on the outcome (attempted gang rape) and assumed the slippery slope started when Sodom legitimized homosexuality. The assumption that Sodom legitimized homosexuality, nor that its legitimization led to gang rape, is supported nowhere in scripture.
If only there was a Bible verse that made it clear why Sodom was destroyed…
This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them when I saw it. -Ezekiel 16:49-50
“Abominable things” could be just about anything, from incest to eating shellfish. It could also be attempting to gang-rape angels. So many things are described in scripture as abominations (lying, for example) that this verse cannot possibly be used to defend the claim that Sodom was engaging in homoerotic relationships.
A Chick tract titled Sin City depicts a man beaten up for protesting a gay pride parade (what a joke) in a hospital. A progressive pastor with a devil over his shoulder explains,
He magically converts the gay pastor to his ludicrous way of thinking.
“But what about Jude 7, though?”
Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
What about Jude 7? It’s irrelevant. The greek there for “unnatural lust” is “went after other flesh.” Other as in different. σαρκὸς ἑτέρας, heteras sarkas – sarkas, flesh; heteras, from which we get our English prefix “hetero,” as in “heterosexual.” Different. “Different” as in… hmmm… what would be completely different flesh? Angels!
This isn’t up for debate. It’s not difficult. It’s not complicated. There are only two Bible translations out there, the ISV and the God’s Word translation, that say Sodom’s sin was homosexuality, and that translation choice, judging from the greek, is completely unjustified.
In short, if you say the city of Sodom was destroyed because of homosexuality, you are lying. In addition, you are bearing false witness against your LGBTQ neighbors when you claim their sexual activities are the same sexual activities that brought about the destruction of Sodom.
If you have been saying this, either because you just hadn’t done the research or because you didn’t care, with the Apostle Paul I urge you to repent, put away lying, and speak truth each one of you with his neighbor.
Lies About Life Effects
Being gay caues higher suicide rates / more depression
Some Christians claim homosexuality is bad because LGBTQ kids are more likely to commit suicide. The CDC backs up this claim:
A nationally representative study of adolescents in grades 7–12 found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers.
But this statistic is misleading because it is assumed to mean the sexual orientation all by itself is to blame for higher suicide rates and attempt rates. That same article on the CDC website reports the exact opposite:
LGB students who did not experience homophobic teasing reported the lowest levels of depression and suicidal feelings of all student groups (heterosexual, LGB, and questioning students)…
So, to those who bring up the suicide rate to say that same-sex attraction is unnatural and teach others to do the same I say, it is not the attraction that is causing the high suicide rate, but you. You are helping create a culture where people are not accepted if they have same-sex attraction, where they are teased and feel unsafe and unnatural and are more likely to commit suicide.
Being gay makes you more promiscuous
To you, I have only three things to say:
- That’s not true, or at least not provably so or significantly so.
- Have you met straight people? Ever been near a college or university?
- If you tell someone their sexual attraction is sinful, they will hide it. It will not go away; it will go underground, and as Psychology Today‘s Christopher Ryan explains, repressed sexuality is really, really bad because it leads to all manner of bad behavior. It’s like a beach ball: if you keep it on the surface, things are lovely, but if you try to hold it down, eventually it’ll pop up somewhere beyond your control. Once again, people opposed to LGBT equality, this “result” of homosexuality is not the fault of the person’s orientation; it is yours for trying to make them not be gay, or, realistically, forcing them to repress it.
Homosexuality destroys families
No, it doesn’t. Forcing heterosexuality onto gays and lesbians destroys families. If you’re gay and you marry a woman, I have difficulty imagining that marriage is going to end well. If you think, “Well, I can change” and marry a woman, you’re still gay.
Marrying a woman won’t change your sexual orientation any more than me being forced to eat spinach several times a day will make me not want to vomit every time I smell it.
Once again, if you have influence and are encouraging people to marry against their sexual orientation, their broken family is not because of their sexual orientation. It’s because you encouraged them to make a bad decision.
Lies About Children
When I searched for “children of gay parents,” Google gave me all sorts of articles on Christian and conservative news sites filled with little anecdotes from children of gay parents who talked about how terrible it was to be raised by gay and lesbian parents.
One article on CNSNews talked about four adults who spoke out in Amicus briefs to the Supreme Court about how bad their lives were for having been raised by same-sex parents. I googled all of them, asking myself, “When did they become evangelical Christians?”
Katy Faust became a Christian in high school.
Dawn Stefanowicz became a Christian sometime around or after twelve and later recommitted her life to God, and her home life growing up could not begin to be compared to the “typical childhood” for children of gay parents: Her dad was married to her mom and also had a male partner.
I couldn’t find Robert Oscar Lopez‘s testimony quickly, but in one article he describes himself as an “evangelical values voter.”
B.N. Klein was the only member of the group who did not identify as Christian.
When I searched for “children of gay parents statistics,” I got much more reputable sources.
Children of same-sex couples are happier and healthier than peers, research shows (The Washington Post)
Gay Parents As Good As Straight Ones (Boston University)
“Extensive data available from more than 30 years of research reveal that children raised by gay and lesbian parents have demonstrated resilience with regard to social, psychological, and sexual health despite economic and legal disparities and social stigma.” (The American Academy of Pediatrics)
The statement that children of gay parents in general struggle more that straight parents is, in the first place, a lie unsupported by more than a few anecdotes, and in the second, inconsistent.
No one is saying single moms and dads should not be allowed to raise children because the children won’t have one parent of each gender. Adding in a second won’t make things worse and, in fact, studies have shown it makes things better.
One friend of mine shared a link arguing that gay marriages may be healthier than straight marriages, subtitled “Gay relationships benefit for being the very thing straight relationships are not: a union of two people of the same sex.
If two married parents is good for children, gay parents, it seems, are actually more stable.
Lies about sexual orientation
People can change / it’s a choice
This is personal. I know people. I’ve read books. There may be a few “ex-gays” who managed to “turn around” and decide they’re not gay anymore, and God bless ’em. They are the exception.
Many, like Mel White, a former ghostwriter for Billy Graham, tried every kind of ex-gay therapy imaginable but couldn’t get rid of his attraction to men. I personally know people who tried desperately to “pray the gay away,” but it was no good.
Alan Chambers, President of the Christian ex-gay group Exodus International, shut the organization down after admitting that “therapy could not change a person’s sexual orientation” (quotation from the New York Times). Exodus Internatioal had been around for 37 years. If anyone would know, it’d be him.
So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. -Ephesians 4:25
Don’t even get me started on misrepresentations of how gays are trying to take away your freedom of religion.
No wait, do.
That’s my next post.