I remember a kid a few years younger than me back in high school. I was playing basketball with his twin brother while he watched. I was wearing a WWJD bracelet and he asked me what it meant. I told him. Then he asked me the strangest thing. “Does God hate gay people?”
I shrugged, “He doesn’t hate anyone, I don’t think.”
“But if you have sex with a man then you can’t go to heaven right?” he pressed.
“Hmmm, if you’re gay, you can ask for forgiveness and God promised to forgive you.”
“What about if you had gay stuff done to you?” he asked quietly.
Taken aback, I really, at that time, didn’t know. “I don’t know,” I told him. “It’s not your fault.”
“Could you still not get into heaven?” he asked.
“Would you still have to ask for forgiveness?”
This memory hit me the other day, jarring like getting laid out by a linebacker. That kid was probably being sexually abused, I feel awful about it now. I don’t even remember his name. What the hell did I say to him? I don’t blame myself. I answered him as best I could with the knowledge that had been passed down to me from the pulpit, Sunday school arts and crafts, and youth group trips filled with sexual tension.
I’m kind of peeved that the best thing I ever heard in a church about homosexuality is that, “All sin is equal in the eyes of the Lord.” I don’t remember what the worst thing I ever heard was, but then at the time that I still went to those sorts of churches I didn’t really see anything wrong with what they were saying.
Is it really all equal? Is loving someone of the same sex the same as child rape? Do you really need to ask forgiveness for both. Are both the same in the “eyes of the Lord?” Is God wearing beer goggles while he passes judgement and damnation, salvation and redemption through grace?
It’s not a simple matter.
No one knows the answer really. To know the truth would be to know what God thinks and the ultimate hubris of man is forming religions and labeling things black and white when in reality we have no fucking idea how to judge the beautiful and ugly rainbow of colors that make our big weird world.
People will always look for ways to divide ourselves. Political parties, sexual orientation, race, nationality, income, football teams, geographic locations, diet, Star Trek captains, music, Jennifer Anniston and Angelina Jolie…
Christians are supposed to love God and love their neighbors. Do unto others as you would do unto yourself. There must be church pews filled with self-loathing…