As far as I can tell, the general Christian response to homosexuality has been rather negative in recent and older history. This post is borne out of a conversation with my wife concerning homosexuality and Christians, especially those who feel themselves to one degree or another attracted to the same sex. I've had a few thoughts, and I'd like to lay them out.
As a background, I was raised in an environment where the general response to gays and lesbians was hostility. I had a friend who was close to a gay guy, and that made me quite uncomfortable. I was also, for a long time, hesitant to admit that any of my friends who were not of the denomination of my preference could not go to heaven. Now, due to God's steadfast love and never ending mercy, my paradigm has been altered; as the rock shifted beneath me, I began to understand that what I was standing on was not Christ.
I have a friend who is both Christian and homosexual. Three years ago, I would not have thought this possible. That was one of the cardinal offenses against God, as were being in the wrong church and thinking the Bible had flaws. As for one's denominational preferences, the more I associated myself with those of a different religious species (Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, etc.), but of the same genus, (Protestant), and eventually of even a different genus (Catholic), I came to discover these people were not really any different than I was. They weren't evil; they never set out to pervert the Bible as I was told, and they loved the same God I did. As it turns out, my friend is the same way.
Side story: I had a great conversation with a minister in the summer of 2010 about human sexuality. It encompassed many things, but what sticks out most to me is his description of how one person changed his entire outlook on things. "I could have told you every reason why homosexuality was a choice," he told me, "and exactly why it would send you to hell. At least until my brother came out of the closet. It wasn't a choice for him any more than being heterosexual is a choice for me. It's just the way he is, and he cannot change that." The same is true of my friend. Having been part of a Christian band herself, she told me that coming out to her family was nothing compared to coming out to God.
Should any person be terrified to tell God who they are? Most of us have this problem. I loathe telling God that I've screwed up and looked at porn. I hate saying that I lied about something, or that I was rude to someone and failed to represent his son. Even now, I don't like admitting that I ever thought certain groups deserved punishment more than others, homosexuals included. I hate living up to my character flaws, but without those flaws, what need would I have for God?
As I wrestled with sexuality and Christ, a question occurred to me, one so cliché that I hardly dare use it, but here it is: What would Jesus do? Lame, overused, but nonetheless worth asking, in my opinion. And realistically, what is the answer? The American Jesus would have us condemn them and say they are not worthy of the love of God. American Jesus seeks self-preservation and security. But the Jesus of the Gospels has something different to do. While Jesus himself never spoke on homosexuality, I can imagine his response.
This is the Jesus who ate with tax collectors and sinners, who were the scum of Israel's time; the Jesus who sat down and spoke with not just any woman (which would have been bad enough!), but a Samaritan no less (who were deemed Jewish half-breeds); the Jesus who hung next to a thief who begged forgiveness and gave it freely; the Jesus who made all dirty things clean. If this is the Jesus we follow, should we respond any differently?