Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Challenging a Defense of Celibacy for Gay Christians

My online friend Donny/Stuffed Animal shared an editorial from the Advocate titled "In Defense of Celibate Gay Christians" and asked me to offer my opinion. I have three thoughts:

1. It really doesn't matter to me if a gay man or a bi lesbian or a heterosexual man decide to choose celibacy.

2. The editorial writer is kind of naive if he truly believes that most LGBT people are choosing celibacy for the same reasons that heterosexual people are.

3. The editorial writer must think that we readers are naive by falling for his double-speak -- i.e., "This shift in thinking has helped any religious lesbian, gay, and bisexual people recognize that their desires are natural, not sinful" and "Some lead a life of celibacy because they still believe same-sex sex is a sin."

Those two quotes summarize the reason why most LGBT people and more specifically most LGBT people of faith are unimpressed with the notion of faith-based celibacy. Almost always, heterosexual people choose celibacy because of some inner calling -- to serve in the priesthood or as a religious leader, as an example. By the same token, LGBT people of faith are almost always pushed by external church forces to seek celibacy. It's not a calling for us. It's a demand.

Let's make something clear. The Bible clearly states that celibacy is wonderful vocation, but it also clearly acknowledges that most people are not meant for lifelong celibacy. The Church does a disservice to LGBT people when it insists on universal celibacy for this one group of people. Any other church member is groomed and prepped for marriage. LGBT people are told from our earliest years that our relationships are contrary to God and to Christianity.

That is false teaching and that is wrong.

Celibacy works best as a gift, not a tax. That's an important message for all to acknowledge this.

1 comment:

Donny Jacobs said...

Jon,

I am disturbed by op-eds like this one. They argue that, in order to be inclusive, the Gay community (a term I use reservedly, because I don't think we are just one community) has to make room for "ex-Gay" folks and others who basically don't support equality.

It's the natural extension of the idea that it's OK to tack an endless stream of letters onto the LGBT acronym (LBTQQAII, etcetera). This is my feeling: You can't be everything to everybody! You've got to draw a line somewhere, and I draw it at Bible bigotry.

A friendship with a Lesbian minister I had ended when I began to bear down on Bible bigots in my blogposts. She had a "live and let live" attitude toward haters in her congregation.

She was OK with an interpretation of Scripture that Gay people are wicked. Now, she didn't agree with it, but she would embrace it for the sake of "church unity."