Rev. Vera I. Bourne Responds
Thank you for the love and concern you have shown for those of us who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and Christian. I am one of those whose faith is based on the text you quoted - John 3: 16 - one whose whole life here on this earth and future in the next is based not on my own accomplishments but on the accomplishments of Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Eternal God, who lived and died for my sins and so provided the way of reconciliation back to God.
The relationship I have with God is not a matter of debate; it is between myself and God, as is every person's relationship with our Creator. The fact of my salvation is not for any person to weigh up or judge, and Jesus did warn his hearers against judging others (see Matthew 7: 1-5). Nowhere in Scripture does Jesus condemn loving relationships between people of the same sex.
As I note you equate "normal" sex with the potential of reproduction, I wonder what your attitude is to those who are born intersexed. Currently one child in every thousand in Great Britain is born without defined sexual organs - they have undeveloped sexual organs of both genders, and no matter how extensive surgical procedures are carried out, upon reaching adulthood these children will never be able to reproduce. Do you include these in your condemnation? A similar number of animals are also being born intersexed. In nature, homosexual behaviour is as normal as heterosexual behaviour; in fact it is simply a variant of sexual behaviour. Those of us whose life is spent on rural properties see evidence of this daily.
I agree that the story of Sodom as detailed in Genesis presents us with a horrifying situation, one which confronts both homosexuals and heterosexuals. Imagine a city against which God had predetermined destruction, before Abraham interceded in an attempt to change God's mind. What crimes must they have committed there! We do witness the efforts of men within that town to rape God's holy angels - something which is almost beyond our comprehension - but one which Scripture describes elsewhere as a lust for "different flesh" (see Jude 7). And we also see Lot offer his two virgin daughters to the crowd to appease their sexual lust. I find no evidence recorded there of any homosexual behaviour.
God has not left us unaware of the reasons for the destruction of Sodom. In Ezekiel 16 verses 49 and 50 we read: "Behold this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good." In verse 52 we hear God warn the inhabitants of Jerusalem that even the sins of Sodom were not as gross as those they had committed.
Other Scriptural texts which confirm the sins of Sodom may be found in:
- Deuteronomy 29:22-28 -- serving false gods;
- Deuteronomy 32:15-19, 21-25 and 31-33 -- apathy, sacrifice to demons, idolatry and gluttony;
- Isaiah 1:2-4, 9-10, 20 and 23-31 -- forsaking God, showing contempt to God,
- Isaiah 3:8-11, 15 -- oppression, discrimination.
I believe that all God has made is good; does not Scripture assure us of this fact? That we are different from each other demonstrates the diversity of God's creation. In the past there was a tendency to twist Scripture to justify slavery and apartheid. Nowadays most Christians deny the validity of such arguments. I believe God loves all that has been created, and that includes both you and me. I believe we each have the capacity to discover the fullness of God's love, forgiveness and grace. I believe we could start the process of mutual understanding by regularly praying for each other, asking that we hear each other's voice clearly and that we may be reconciled in Jesus. May God continue to bless you.