The following web log posting is from the Reverend Debra Haffner (debrahaffner.blogspot.com). I share her thoughts because they are brilliant. And, because I am proud to say that she was one of my seminary professors (she taught my human sexuality course). Rev. Haffner is a Unitarian Universalist minister with a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary and a Master of Public Health degree from Yale. Enjoy her wise words below:
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
The Sin is NOT Homosexuality
I've read a lot of the news reports on Rev. Barnes' resignation from his megachurch after he "confessed" his homosexuality. They all quoted a religious leader on the right who declared homosexuality a sin, and several stated their belief that homosexuality was a choice. None directly quoted a religious leader who flatly countered these positions. Let me do that here.
There is no sin in being homosexual or in engaging in same sex eroticism in a loving, just relationship. The sin is homophobia, the denigration of our neighbors because they are physically and emotionally attracted to people of the same sex. The sin is heterosexism, the presumption that heterosexuality is normative for all people and morally superior. The sin is forcing people to deny their God-given gift of their sexuality and to suffer to try to live their lives in a way that is antithetical to who they really are. The sin is violence and discrimination against GLBT persons and denial of their civil rights. The sin is when any of us, whether heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual, violate our commitments to our partner and hurt our families. The sin is making sexual decisions that hurt us and hurt others.
Reverends Haggard and Barnes are primary evidence against the myth that people choose their sexual orientation. Both confess that they have struggled with their same sex attractions their whole lives. They tried to pray it away; they tried to marry it away; they tried to make it go away by having sex with women they loved; they tried counseling to make it go away. From the news reports, it certainly seems that they did everything they could to "change."But, they couldn't. No more than I could change my sexual orientation...or you change your's. It's time for the churches that condemn homosexuality to learn that lesson. It's time for the congregants to think through what it means to "love your neighbor as yourself."
I am reminded of this line from I believe Meister Eckart, "When will grown men and women stop believing in a God that makes them sad? It is a lie, any talk of God that does not comfort you."