Somewhere in North Carolina, a Christian pastor preached that he would like to see homosexuals rounded up and put in cages.

It's no surprise that this caused some controversy, but really, why is this so shocking? Are we all not well aware of the mainstream Christian view on homosexuality? If this has gotten a little hazy and obfuscated in recent years, let's review:

Leviticus 20:13
"If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense."

Romans 1:26-27
Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Don't you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people-none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 

1 Timothy 1:8-10
Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine.

That there is the Bible, folks. The Word of God and ultimate moral authority for Christians, the lens by which they are commanded to view the world. And other than that Leviticus verse I indulged in there, this is not just the crazy Old Testament that no one really listens to anymore, it's the Apostle Paul, author of the majority of Christian doctrine, just preachin' the gospel and givin' it to us straight.

So, it's pretty clear what the official Christian stance is, right? How could these verses possibly be misconstrued? They're not subtle. These are not translation issues. Homosexuality is a sin, placed in the same sentence as murder. And God hates sin, so therefore God hates everything homosexuals do in their romantic lives, from sweet little high school crushes to anal penetration to loving, committed, long-term relationships.




So why is there such an uproar over Pastor Charles Worley's comments? Isn't he just dramatically articulating the very same view that most pastors are silently thinking? Yes, his is an extreme expression of this view and very few Christians would approve of his choice of words, but what's the practical difference? It comes from the exact same belief: that being gay is wrong, and God hates it. Outside the murky waters of Lutheran and Episcopalian churches, which are officially supportive but internally conflicted, most Christian churches officially believe homosexuality is a sin. So who cares if they aren't always expressing it loudly or offensively? It's the thought that counts, right?

If anything, I might respect pastors like Worley more for actually embracing the full implications of their belief system instead of trying to brush aside their brand's harsher aspects in order to appeal to a wider audience. I absolutely disagree with him, I absolutely think he's a chieftain of a backward, primitive tribe, but at least he's not nervously avoiding the stance his religion actually, officially, takes.

I ask what's worse? Embracing a religion full of repugnant beliefs and acting on them with sincere conviction? Or embracing a religion full of repugnant beliefs and politely pretending they aren't there?

Note: I write this from the perspective of someone who was born and raised in Christianity, attended church twice a week in a variety of denominations, read the Bible cover-to-cover dozens of times, was a pastor's son and a pastor's brother-in-law, served as a worship leader, wrote worship songs, and didn't break away from any of this until I was 21. I know of what I speak.


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