If you are looking for support of a particular Christian view of Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual or Transgender issues, whether for or against, this site is not for you. It is designed to help all persons of the monotheiastic religions, i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Muslamic, whatever their orientation or views, to examine what we believe we know both biologically and biblically about these issues. I happened to be raised in a Christian home. I am most familiar with it and I will therefore address these issues as a Christian. However, many of the roots of Christianity reflect notions already addressed in what we call the Old Testament. Therefore, I hope these pages also will be of some interest and benefit to Jews, Muslims and those of other religions or of no religious identification.
This site will celebrate the sacredness of each of us, “created in the image of God,” without regard to gender or sexual orientation or choices individuals may make regarding either. I have designed the materials to be used in a discussion group setting or in Sunday School or Sabbath School. We will examine some arguments both for and against inclusion of the GLBT (gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transsexual) community in the life of the church, including its leadership; and those for suspension of judgment altogether. We will consider whether we are in a position to make judgments concerning others’ sexual orientation or decisions regarding their gender. We will also examine the meaning of the commands in both the Christian New Testament and the Old Testament to love and not to judge.
The Good Samaritan VAN GOGH
See http://www.abcgallery.com/V/vangogh/vangogh56.html for the source of the above photograph of the painting.
I notice in the above painting that the religious leaders are retreating into the backgroud. The man that was of a different religious orientation, from a different country, was the good neighbor. The Jews shunned the Samaritans as being reprobates from true Judaism, mixing in pagan customs with their Jewish roots. The Samaritans were the Jews who were not deported to Babylon, who survived in the homeland and adapted to local ways. When the deported Jews returned from exile, they discovered and reestablished “true Judaism.” With the new orthodoxy of the diaspara Jews, the Samaritans became the equivalent of the “bastard” in old mainstream American society. For a Jew to even touch a Samaritan would corrupt the purity of the Jew. For the Samaritan to lay a hand on the beaten man was, in the Jewish mind of that time, to corrupt the beaten man as he was being saved. And yet, the Samaritan saw this Jew in need, put aside all differences, and cared for him as a neighbor.
With whom do we identify? The compassionate “neighbor” or the self-righteous leaders of the beaten man’s religious family? With whom would an outsider identify us? Those of us in “mainstream” American religious society, how do we see the person who is the good neighbor and inclusive of all into our communities, including the GLBT community? Is such love and inclusion threatening to our sense of purity, as though it were illigitimately tainting our religious environment? Or is that person who invites the GLBT community to our church, without judgment, being the good neighbor each of is “called to be?”
For an excellent discussion of the religious connection with GLBT-bashing, both for the connection and against it, see http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2010/10/03/it-gets-better-a-theological-response-to-anti-gay-bullying. See http://www.rmnetwork.org/1-31-2011/ for activities and resources of reconciling ministries in the United Methodist Church.