Tag Archive: Lesbianism

What Evangelical Christianity Taught Me About Homosexuality

phil robertson aids

Guest post by ObstacleChick

Reading Bruce’s recent post titled Evangelicals Say They Love LGBTQ People, But do They Really? made me start thinking about my experiences as a former evangelical Christian as well as my conversations with people whom I know are still in that community.

Most of us probably know someone in the LGBTQ community. Even fundamentalist evangelicals probably know someone, perhaps at work or at school, or perhaps even someone in their church who is struggling with how to reconcile the teachings of their religion with their true sexual identity. Evangelicals pay a lot of attention to other people’s sex lives, and there are rules surrounding “proper” expression of sexual activity. Basically, here are the rules – sex is only to be practiced between a married man and woman (and some sects teach that it is only for the purpose of reproduction). Everything outside that narrow definition is a sin, a choice, and forbidden. (Please read, Are Evangelicals Fundamentalists?.)

Here are specific statements I learned while I was in evangelical Christianity.

Being gay is a result of a homosexual male molesting an underage boy. This was a common theme I heard, that boys were molested by homosexual men and then the boys would “turn gay” through learned behavior. The concept was that the boys would not have become gay on their own, but because they were forced to engage in homosexual acts with an adult male, then they started to like it or thought it was normal and continued engaging in homosexual activity throughout their lives.

This concept is wrong on so many levels. First, of course, is the concept that homosexual males are all pedophiles seeking out converts. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, I remember the evangelical adults having quite an uproar over the group NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association). Evangelical adults believed that the existence and activity of NAMBLA proved that homosexual men were preying on people’s young sons in order to convert them to homosexuality. In fact, NAMBLA was a fringe homosexual group that was denounced by the majority of the homosexual community, and it later disbanded in the mid-1990s.

Another reason this concept is wrong is that it assumes that homosexuality is merely a learned behavior. There is no acknowledgement that people are born homosexual or heterosexual or bisexual or anywhere on the evangelical sexual spectrum.

Homosexuality is a choice. I heard a lot of evangelical people talking about homosexuality as a choice – that people choose whether they are going to be gay or straight. Their thought was that people were tempted to try sex with someone of the same gender, and that the sin clouded their vision of “God’s plan” for human sex. If someone were truly repentant of their sin of homosexuality and prayed for God’s forgiveness and guidance, then they could overcome the desire to have sex with someone of the same gender – in essence, “praying away the gay.”

Homosexuals should remain celibate for life. For the few evangelicals who might concede that maybe homosexuals were born that way (not because God made a mistake, but because something went wrong during gestation to cause someone to be born with gay tendencies), homosexuals should never have sex. I suppose this makes sense if your belief is that God only approves of sex between a married man and woman (for the purpose of reproduction); then all other sex is sin. This concept made it a little more palatable for Christians to “love the sinner but hate the sin.” As long as the person wasn’t having sex, then the Christians could pretend that he wasn’t really gay after all. And maybe God was curing homosexuals of their sinful, lustful desires.

(I had a huge argument with my mother about this one time. She became more involved in evangelical Christianity as she grew older, and she bought into the idea that homosexuality was a sin and an abomination. She believed, as her Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church taught, that homosexuals should remain celibate through life. She also had a problem with the idea that homosexuals were born that way. Our fight occurred when she said these things, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I asked her if she liked men or women, and she said, “you know I like men.” I asked her what if she was told that her liking men was a sin, that God ordained that she should like women. She said, “I would never like women.” I reaffirmed that in our hypothetical scenario liking men was a sin, so what was she supposed to do, as God ordained that she could only have God-approved sex with women, and she said, “Well, I don’t know.” I asked her if she thought it was right that because she liked men, and God did not approve of her having sex with men, if that meant that she MUST remain celibate for life? She got flustered and kept repeating that homosexuality is a sin. She did not like this argument, and she never brought up homosexuality again).

Lesbians were rarely, if ever, mentioned. I only heard evangelical Christians talking about homosexual men. I don’t know if it was just that they did not want to acknowledge that lesbians existed. Most white cisgendered heterosexual males I know find woman-on-woman sex tremendously arousing, so maybe these repressed evangelical Christian men secretly hoped to encounter women having sex with each other. Maybe they didn’t consider it “real sex” because a penis wasn’t involved. Maybe they just thought women didn’t have sex drives so therefore lesbian sex doesn’t actually happen except in pornography. Maybe evangelical Christian males only felt threatened by homosexual men because they feared being lusted after by homosexual men. I don’t have the answer to this question.

HIV and AIDS are God’s punishment for homosexual activity. While most people were careful not to necessarily utter this comment so succinctly, many evangelicals would dance around this idea. They would try to couch it in terms of “bad consequences can happen as a result of sin.” I heard many people say that they would not donate money towards HIV/AIDS research because they didn’t want to promote more homosexual activity. This is the same type of faulty reasoning in which parents do not want sexual education in schools because teaching kids about sex and sexual safety would promote kids having sex. But what can be expected from people who believe that all sex outside married sex between a man and woman (for the purpose of procreation) is sin? To them, participating in sex outside that strict parameter is sin, and sin has dire consequences (for the wages of sin is death – Romans 6:23). In their minds, it all makes sense: sin = death.

My experience is that people who aren’t bound by any religious exhortations about sexuality get to know people as individuals and are only concerned about the person’s sexuality if there is some sort of attraction between the parties involved. It seems that the people most concerned with other people’s sexual orientation are the ones bound by their religion’s rules. When I went to college and was shedding evangelical Christianity, I became friends with several homosexual men. One friend was the son of a Baptist minister, and his father cut him off until he “stopped being gay” (which of course never happened). Another friend came out during our friendship, and he said that he was afraid which friends were going to accept him and which were going to condemn him. Through the years, I have befriended many gay people, both male and female, and I work in the fragrance industry which draws a higher percentage of gay employees than some other industries do. People are just people regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Everyone wants to be treated with respect. Everyone wants to be loved and to find someone to love.

One of my gay friends put it well. He said, “I would never have chosen to be gay, it’s just who I am. Growing up in an era in which gay people suffered discrimination, were called horrible names, told that we were making a choice or that we were automatic pedophiles, that we were thrusting our “lifestyle” on others, that we were breaking down the concept of the nuclear family or of moral society, why would I have ever chosen this?”

Linda Italiano Says God Delivered Her From Lesbianism

deliverance

Linda Italiano is the latest person to publicly profess that Jesus has delivered her from a life of carnal relations with the same sex.  Italiano, age 52, was a practicing lesbian for 34 years. In 2014, she started attending Life Church in Williamstown, New Jersey, a garden-variety Evangelical church with a charismatic flavor. Italiano writes:

It wasn’t until I started attending church in early 2014, that I saw a different way of living and thinking. This was where my plan and God’s plan collided. As I began attending week after week, I started to understand the Word of God, but I had it in my mind that lesbianism was going to be the deal breaker. I thought that if the church wasn’t going to condone it that I would leave. I also thought that once everyone found out about me I would be asked to leave or I would feel unwelcome.

Thankfully, I was wrong about all of this. I requested a meeting with the pastor where I told her everything and I was met with love and respect. I was also shown exactly what the Bible says about homosexuality and it was made clear to me that it was unacceptable and wrong. I came away from that meeting still feeling welcome and accepted in the church, but understanding that homosexuality is a sin like any other sin. I understood that the Word of God is more important than anything else, and He is the answer to all of my problems. It did not take very long before I was completely delivered from the homosexual lifestyle and I totally renounced it. God did for me what I had been unwilling or unable to do for myself.

Normally, I would leave sexually confused people like Italiano alone. It’s her life, each to their own. However, she has published her story and it was recently featured on the CHARISMA website, so I thought I would give her story the attention it deserves. Italiano recently posted a link to her coming-out story on Facebook. (link no longer active)  Here’s how some of her friends responded to her born-again heterosexual experience:

linda italiano facebook

According to Italiano, her slide into decades of scissoring began at age 18 when her older brother was killed in a car accident:

In 1980, a month before I turned eighteen, my older brother was killed in a car accident. This was the event that changed everything for me. I went from a stable person with goals and dreams to an angry, hopeless, directionless person. My family started growing apart immediately after the accident as we each dealt with the loss separately. This began many years of victim mentality thinking, which hindered me in a big way as it colored all of my decisions going forward.

In 1980, the drinking age was eighteen, much to my detriment. It had become increasingly difficult for me to spend time at home because my mother was taking out all of her unhappiness and hurt on me. I had become her target for all that was lost in our family. I began to spend much of my time in bars. I drank to excess from the start and I quickly became an alcoholic. I also met a woman who introduced me to lesbianism. I chose this lifestyle for thirty years or so until I became a Christian in 2014.

Drinking for me was like a job. I lived in fear of withdrawal and tried unsuccessfully to walk that line between maintenance drinking and blackout drinking. Blackout always won. This lasted until the age of thirty-three when I finally stopped drinking.

Even though I was sober, I was aware that there was still a huge void in my life. I started living a more solitary existence and was full of fear. I had very little self worth and was settling for crumbs from people in my life when I should have been expecting more.

I developed a plan. I was going to find a woman who would treat me well and I would spend the rest of my life with her. I had convinced myself over the years that I was born a homosexual, even though there was evidence to the contrary, and I thought this was the only path I could take. Being around homosexuals for so long, the idea was reinforced in me that I was only attracted to women and that same-sex attraction was a positive thing.

Was Italiano a homosexual? Is she still a homosexual? I don’t know. Only she can answer that question. What I do know is that homosexuality is as normal as heterosexuality and bisexuality, and all the Bible quoting in the world won’t change this fact.

I find it interesting that Italiano sought out a church where most of the staff, including the lead pastor, is female. The pastor of Life church, Jamie Morgan, also has a deliverance story to tell. According to Morgan, at age 26, she was “miraculously delivered from alcohol, agoraphobia, fear, anxiety attacks, depression and nicotine.” In a blog post titled, Fear is a Liar, Morgan writes:

I was saved at twenty-six years old. I was an alcoholic, filled with fear, anxiety, worry, and depression. One night, I fell to me knees and said, “God, I can’t do this anymore. The way I’m living my life isn’t working. I’ve even tried living like others thought I should. That’s not working either. I want your plan for my life. I don’t know you, but your plan for my life has got to be better than anything that I can come up with. I give you my life. I give you my heart. I ask you, Lord, to take this messed up girl, and if you can do anything with her life, to do it.” And He did it. He delivered me from all my fears. He delivered me from alcoholism. He delivered me from panic attacks. I was agoraphobic. I was so scared of panic attacks that I couldn’t go anywhere. I was a prisoner in my own home. But I sought the Lord, just as Psalm 34:4 says. I cried out to Him and He delivered me. After I prayed that prayer of salvation, it felt like shackles fell from me. From that point on, I had to renew my mind according to the Word of God. As I did, I was able to maintain my deliverance.

Here’s Morgan’s Facebook response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage:

Dear Christian who has embraced the apostasy of same-sex marriage:

I ask you to prayerfully read, and somberly consider, this plea…

“Did God really say…?” was the strategy the enemy used in the Garden and the same cunning he uses today. Getting us to doubt any part of God’s Word remains his deadliest weapon. A true follower of Christ makes the quality decision, from which there is no turning back, that God’s Word is the Truth – no matter the cost, public opinion, philosophies of this world or political correctness – even if we have close friends or family members that are in the homosexual lifestyle. It is a non-negotiable for which the true Christian will die (and many have). If you are a Christian, and have caved to societal views on this or any issue, you have been deceived by Satan. Deception, when given root and not repented of, will spread to your entire life – and could eventually effect where you will spend eternity. I implore you to repent for doubting God’s Word as the Truth and for practicing “Cafeteria-style Christianity” which is no Christianity at all. And I implore you to recommit yourself to believe and stand on God’s Word as the only authoritative, inerrant and infallible Truth that exists on the face of the earth.

In Christ’s infinite love,
Pastor Jamie Morgan

The assistant pastor, Marie Campbell, also has a similar deliverance story, having been delivered by a divine encounter with Jesus from “IV drug addiction and alcohol.”

Cults like Life Church are the worst of their kind. They deliberately seek people who are substance abusers or are struggling emotionally and mentally. They offer them them a hot shot of Jesus, neglecting to share with those they prey on that once they are hooked on Jesus they will be expected to conform to Morgan’s fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible. (Morgan is a graduate of Oral Roberts University)

Sadly, Italiano has surrendered her will and reason to Morgan, Life Church, Jesus, and the Bible. Whatever her problems might have been or still are, they have been swallowed up by Evangelical moralizing and puritanism. Time will tell if Jesus is enough to keep her from returning to the arms of another woman.