According to the dictionary, a homosexual is someone who is attracted to the same sex. Homosexuality is the sexual attraction to (or sexual relations with) the same sex.
Evangelicals believe that all human beings are born male or female. They do not believe a person is born homosexual. They believe a person chooses to be a homosexual and to engage in homosexuality. According to their interpretation of the Bible, homosexuality, the engaging in sexual relations with a person of the same sex, is a sin.
Many Evangelicals think a person can be attracted to the same sex and not commit sin. It is the act of homosexual sex that is the sin. (the same goes for sins like adultery and fornication) If a person who is attracted to the same sex abstains from sexual relations with the same sex, it is possible for them to be considered a Christian. However, anyone who engages in habitual homosexual sex is not a Christian. (though Evangelicals seem to have a different standard for adulterers,fornicators, and masturbators)
According to their interpretation of Romans 1, many (most, all) homosexuals have been given over by God to a reprobate mind. Reprobates are people (like me, perhaps) who have crossed the line of no return when it comes to God’s mercy and grace. Reprobates are beyond redemption and will certainly burn in hell for all eternity.
To a large degree, Evangelicals are a sexually repressed group of people. They spend their lives being told what they can and can’t do sexually. (and the can’s cant’s vary from church to church, pastor to pastor) The bottom line is this…heterosexual sexual intercourse between a husband and his wife is the only permissible form of sex. Often churches and pastors take the sexual prohibitions to the extreme, considering masturbation, looking at pornography, and oral sex to be sins too.
This is the world Evangelicals live in.
Back in the r-e-a-l world, we know that human beings are sexual creatures. We have a natural desire for sex. We also know there are numerous sexual orientations, including heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality. While we readily admit that environmental factors certainly affect our sexual desires, we also know that we are born with a certain sexual identity. I am heterosexual because I was born this way and so it is for the homosexual.
It is a common occurrence these days to hear of an Evangelical who has been outed as a homosexual. Homosexual Evangelical preachers, evangelists, college professors, and para-church leaders are regularly exposed and either end up repenting of their sin or leaving Evangelicalism altogether. One thing is for sure…being an Evangelical precludes a person from being a homosexual that engages in homosexual sex.
Many Evangelical homosexuals spend their lives in the closet, secretly indulging their nature, all the while living like a “normal” heterosexual. Often they marry someone of the opposite sex hoping this will “cure” them of their attraction towards people of the same sex. They will engage in heterosexual sex, father or birth children,outwardly doing all the things heterosexuals are supposed to do, but inwardly they battle with who and what they really are. Often they are depressed, desperately struggling to keep up the Evangelical façade. Some even consider suicide, a sin only slightly less heinous to Evangelicals than homosexuality.
I suppose marrying away the gay works for some, but, more often than not, this approach miserably fails. The homosexual feels trapped in a marital relationship that is not open and honest. Sometimes their spouse understands their dilemma and turns a blind eye to their liaisons with people of the same sex. Other times, the dysfunction reaches such a point that it results in divorce. Imagine the pain and suffering inflicted on the heterosexual spouse, knowing that their significant other desires a man or a woman rather than them. Imagine the pain and agony children go through when they find out their father or mother is not heterosexual. (keep in mind the family and spouse have been indoctrinated in the Evangelical view of homosexuality)
Sometimes, Evangelicals who struggle with homosexuality are told they just need to pray. When a person is tempted they are told to pray away the gay. If they will just pray hard enough, have enough faith, and trust that God will not give them more than they can bear, they will surely be delivered from their same sex attraction. If they still have this attraction? Simple, it is their fault. They didn’t pray hard enough, have enough faith, or really believe that God would deliver them. No matter what…it is their fault.
Imagine the same scenario for a heterosexual. We know that the vast majority of Evangelicals engage in premarital sex and that most Evangelical heterosexuals are NOT virgins when they walk down the aisle. (add to this number those who masturbate and it is clear very few Evangelicals actually keep the Bible sexuality code) Imagine Evangelical young adults, Nathan and Abigail, going out on a regular basis. As time goes along, they become more physical with one another. Soon they find themselves rounding third and heading for home. What should they do? Pray? Have faith? Trust that God will provide them a way of escape? (but remember masturbation is NOT a way of escape)
It is likely that Nathan and Abigail will slide right into home. They will feel guilty afterwards, promising God they will never, ever do it again. And then…just like the person who goes to Dairy Queen for the first time to have a chocolate shake…every time he passes a Dairy Queen he now wants a chocolate shake. Once sexual intercourse has taken place there is no putting that genie back into the bottle.
Do you think fornicators Nathan and Abigail will be treated the same as two homosexuals when their sexual activity is exposed? Of course not. Most every adult in the church understands youthful temptation and desire. They likely know from firsthand experience the guilt Nathan and Abigail are experiencing. As heterosexuals they understand how such things happen. However, when it comes to two homosexuals sliding into home, they cannot begin to fathom such a thing. In their eyes, homosexuality is the one sin that is above every sin, and this thinking has turned countless Evangelicals into homophobes.
Sometimes, Evangelical churches and pastors recognize that some Evangelical Christians are attracted to people of the same sex. They might even grudgingly admit they were “born that way.” But, make no mistake about it, born that way or not, the Bible condemns homosexuality, and such conduct is never permissible. (God creates us with desires and then tells us we can’t act on them. Strange way to go about things, don’t you think?) Evangelical homosexuals are told that they must live a life of celibacy. They are never permitted to love someone, to know what it is to find sexual fulfillment in the embrace of one they love. They must forsake what is essential to human nature and live like a celibate priest. (and we all know how well that works)
Evangelical homosexuals rightly consider marry away the gay, pray away the gay, or being forced to be celibate, to be offensive and a denial of who and what they are. While many of them have a strong faith in the Christian God and desire to worship him, they are usually forced to leave Evangelicalism. The good news is they often find liberal and progressive churches who will accept them as they are.
One cannot be a homosexual and an Evangelical too. Evangelicals refuse to budge on this issue, believing God and his inerrant, inspired Bible is on their side. Like with abortion, there is no common ground when it comes to homosexuality.
Perhaps you are a homosexual, either in or out of the closet…do you have a story to share? Please do so. Feel free to be anonymous if you must.