See http://theparson.net/gays.html for the entire sermon. A portion of the first part of the sermon is set out below.
Gays—No Easy Answers; A Christian Response
By C. David Hess
American Baptists and other mainline denominations are deeply divided over the question of what is the appropriate stance the church should take toward gays in our midst. I think it important to share with you my interim reflections on the matter.
The first thing, and the main thing, I want to say is that we need to forget about simple answers. There are none. We are fooling ourselves if we think there are. There are certainly no simple answers as to how or why someone becomes a homosexual. The debate still rages as to whether it is caused by genetic or environmental factors. The two are not mutually exclusive. There is evidence that there is a genetic linkage with homosexuality (twins studies), but the same studies indicate that genetic factors alone are insufficient to cause a person to be homosexual. Some theorize that homosexuality is at root heterophobia (essentially the Freudian view). Maybe for some it is. We do not know enough to come up with any one theory or explanation as to why or how a person becomes homosexual.
There is common agreement among psychiatrists that individuals do not choose their sexual orientation. However, human beings are flexible creatures, and there is evidence that the sexual orientation and behavior of some can be modified. It is the general consensus among psychiatrists that most cannot change their sexual orientation. We in the church should keep all this in mind as we wrestle with the issue. We should not be too eager to offer simple solutions. If gays know anything, they know there are no simple answers. If we want to have any credibility with them, we should not offer any. Unfortunately we do, again and again. The answers we offer are different, but usually plagued by the same defect. They are too simple.
. . .
[Visit the above site for the rest of the sermon, which examines the inadequacy of the range of views within the church to confront the homosexuality issue.]
Old Testament scholar, Walter Bruegemann, writes in his book, Countering Pharaoh’s Production-Consumption Society Today, that the Commandment, “Do not take the Lord God’s name in vain,” means, also, that you shall not glibly claim God’s authority for your pet projects, as, for example, your fund-raiser.
What is your view of Mr. Brugemann’s interpretation of this commandment?
Is invocation of God’s judgment on the homosexual a mis-appropriation of God’s authority? How is that so, or not so?
Do you have a position among those listed by Mr. Hess? Conservative? Progressive? Moderate?
As to each, what are the benefits and the negative consequences?
What would be wrong to simply accept homosexuality, at least in some, perhaps many, cases as just nature’s creation? What if we saw it as nature’s specific gift?
What role should religion have to inform us of how we should treat people of a sexual orientation other than our own?
What evidence do we have that God loves them as they are, or that God hates the expression of their “alternative” sexual life-style?