It’s Pride Month, a month to recognise the LGBTQ+ community, with the media doing their bit by highlighting the impact some LGBTQ+ people have made on society. It would be churlish to ignore this impact and I’m happy to acknowledge men like Alan Turing and his massive contribution to ending World War 2. What about the wonderful artist David Hockney, the war poet Wilfred Owen, the writing of Oscar Wilde or the music of Freddie Mercury? Great talents who have all made a significant contribution to the world.. Stephen Fry is a man of great intellect, wit and humanity. His openness about his mental health battles has been inspiring, and means far more to me than the fact he is gay.
Sadly, Christians are often vilified for having a negative response to the LGBTQ+ community. We’re seen as being judgemental and the media play a part in this. You may well remember the former Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, who was continually asked whether he thought gay sex was a sin during the national election, although for some reason they didn’t ask the other candidates! Tim Farron was unfairly backed into a corner because the one word answer they wanted wasn’t possible. Such a question requires a far more detailed and loving response.
I’ll begin my response by going back to the time when Jesus walked upon the earth, where on more than one occasion he is seen with so-called ‘publicans and sinners’. What their sins were we’re not told but they were society’s rejects, something the LGBTQ+ community knows all about. In the company of Jesus these ‘sinners’ felt at home. They knew he loved them, with more love than they had ever known. He is the judge of all the earth but he didn’t judge them, he simply loved them. I firmly believe that if Jesus was alive today the LGBTQ+ community would know how much he loved them and they would flock to him.
The apostle Paul had to put right a church whose attitude to people was judgemental. He said, “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.” (1) There were then, as there are today, people who were sexually immoral, people who committed acts society itself regards as wrong such as paedophilia, incest, rape. There were also people obsessed with greed, criminal people who swindled others, and idolaters, people who chose to worship gods of their own making while rejecting the one true God. Paul says you have no right to judge them, keep your nose out and say nothing. However, if those people claim to be Christians, and are therefore in the Christian community, you can comment but still do it in a non-judgemental way.
So, do we have a view on gay sex? Not particularly. If the gay, queer, non-binary, trans person is not a Christian then I have no comment at all, except that I’m going to love them like Jesus did. I’m not going to judge them and I’m not going to condemn them. I know they will be welcomed by our church members. However, if that person is a Christian, then in a loving, gentle way it is right to remind them of the Bible’s teaching on sex. Throughout the Bible the only sex that is sanctioned by God is that which takes place between a man and woman who are married to each other. All other sexual activity is considered wrong, and we have to maintain that as a truth of God applying to all people, rather than single out a subset of society and point the finger at them.
I hope this makes clear that Christians are not, as part of their faith, homophobic and critical of the LGBTQ+ community. Like Jesus we love them, and if that is you we love you. If you have ever come to our church and felt unloved, or condemned, then please forgive us. We wouldn’t have done it deliberately. We want you to share in the love of Jesus as much as anyone else and we long for the opportunity to tell you about him. When Jesus died on the cross it was for all people, irrespective of sexual orientation. If you don’t feel welcomed by Christians you will be very welcome at the cross of Jesus.
- 1 Corinthians 5:9,10