Delivering the Church From Homophobia

Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart tackles a pastor's homophobic remarks in an effort to dispel the seemingly unshakable belief among some religious leaders that "homosexuality is a sin and a choice."

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After listening to a pastor's remarks, the Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart tries to dispel the seemingly unshakable belief among some religious leaders that "homosexuality is a sin and a choice." He explains, rather, that it is a "God-given trait as immutable" as his skin color.

I took a stand against religion-based anti-gay bigotry while sitting in the front pew for my aunt’s funeral in North Carolina over the weekend. She had lived in Raleigh, but she was laid to rest at a Baptist church in her birthplace of Severn, N.C. Her minister and fellow church members drove up for the solemn occasion. While her pastor delivered kind words about her work and dependability at the church bookstore, his guest eulogy gave way to a harsh sermon about who can and cannot get into the kingdom of Heaven. Now, I can’t speak for the whores, drunkards, adulterers and thieves who might have been present, but this openly gay man was enraged ...

The foundation of the preacher's inappropriate-for-the-occasion sermon rests on the belief that homosexuality is a sin and a choice -- that one day we decided to defy God's will and be gay, rather than it being a God-given trait as immutable as my skin color. Jimmy Creech, a former pastor in the United Methodist Church and a co-founder of Faith in America, tackles this head-on in an essay he contributed to "Crisis: 40 stories revealing the personal, social, and religious pain and trauma of growing up gay in America."

Being gay is not about behavior; it’s about relationships. It’s about whom an adult loves, marries, and creates a family with. Behavior is something one does on occasion; sexual orientation is someone’s inescapable identity. A gay person who is not sexually active is still gay. Sexual orientation is as fundamental and constant as one’s DNA. Unlike behavior, which one can choose to stop, no one can stop being gay or lesbian -- any more than someone could choose to stop being straight.

Read Jonathan Capehart's entire blog post at the Washington Post.

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