So Matthew Vines has written a book, now, expanding on the ideas in his video The Gay Debate, which is good, because damn did it need some expanding. As it was, I didn’t feel confident that anyone I linked it to would find enough evidence in it to have his words actually be considered instead of dismissed with the kind of condescension we usually get from people who call themselves ‘Bible believing Christians’, as if there were any other kind. You know who I mean – the inerrantists, the literalists, which I have ranted about here before so moving on. Samantha’s post here makes a lot of great points, and I’m happy to see her footnote at the end because I do think it’s very important for that to be addressed; this is not a binary any more than it is a zero sum game, and bisexuals exist too.
The idea that being gay is antithetical to being Christian is something that needs to be confronted head on, like any institutionalised lie, and while like Samantha, I found Matthew’s video talk to be somewhat lacking in that department, because there is so much more that could be and should be said, it sounds like the book rounds it out some. So anyone who believes that the Bible does not leave room for any acceptance of us in any frame of reference…read it.
If you care about intellectual honesty and whether or not you might possibly be wrong about your interpretation of what the Bible says about us gay people, that is. If you don’t know any gay people that you care about, or you don’t care about finding out why many Christians, even people who have ‘a high view of Scripture’ (gag me, please) and a traditional evangelical background can find room for saying, being gay is not a sin, being gay and in a relationship is not a sin, and these are the verses why, then go on about your gay-hating business and keep your fingers in your ears singing lalala.
But make no mistake: it is hate that you are entertaining when you insist to us that our very existence is a sin, contrary to our own lived experience. It is harmful. It is causing pain and suffering when you try to suppress and oppress us within your own subculture, and even outside of it, just because you believe that being gay is a sin, whether you admit that we don’t have a choice in it or not. We know the tears of blood and agony that we have shed over this, the grief and fear and desperation, whether or not we’ve managed to hold on to some kind of faith or left it all together. The legions of us that you have driven out or driven away, the legions of us who have survived with scars and depression, the legions of us who have not survived but rather committed suicide due to brokenheartedness, discrimination and bullying will testify to the fact that your belief, however sincerely you believe it, is harmful, it is actively causing harm, and therefore should not remain unexamined.
And if you examine it, honestly and carefully, in the light of truth, in light of the fact that the verses you cling to in order to justify your position are manifestly mistranslated and/or misinterpreted – and I am a linguist, I know whereof I speak, I am not taking anyone’s word for this, it is fact - then you must judge for yourself whether or not you are letting your own ‘tree of theology’ or belief bear bad fruit. Whether or not you are in violation of the second Greatest Commandment. Are you loving your neighbour as yourself? Are you letting your pride of conviction, your pride in being ‘right’, stand in the way of love and truth? Are you living the message of grace and mercy that Jesus himself extended to those who were looked down on, marginalised and outcast in his own time? I think not.
He has shown you, o man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you; but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.