I was intrigued today to see the following video, posted by the self-titled ‘ANGLICAN CHURCH LEAGUE’, active in the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, Australia, which features the conversation of an Australian Baptist Minister with an English commentator where they discuss the Victorian (Aus.) State Legislation to ban what has become known as ‘Gay conversion Therapy’. (The U.K. Government is currently in the process of intention to enact similar legislation in that country).
This practice of G.C.T. has now been banned by many world jurisdictions as being potentially harmful to the individual Gay person where they are subjected to any process that professes to change their self-acknowledged sexual orientation from homosexuality to becoming heterosexual – a practice judged by most reputable social scientists nowadays as being potentially harmful to the person concerned.
Homosexuality, once considered by most Christian Churches as aberrant, or a freak of nature; leading to spiritual condemnation of the person exhibiting homosexual behaviour; has now been considered by social, psychological & medical authorities as being within the spectrum of a natural sexual etiology common to both the human and the animal worlds – rendering LGBT+ people free from the opprobrium once thought to be appropriate to their situation. As a direct result, homosexuals are no longer subject to criminal prosecution in most western societies.
The Church Universal has had to come to grips with the situation, requiring a new assessment of the spiritual implications of a condition that – once considered to be aberrant, against nature, and therefore ‘sinful’ – is now broadly accepted by the scientific world as biologically natural to a small percentage of human society who can no longer be blamed for their innate gender/sexual-orientation. (The natural phenomenon of same-sex relationships is also evident in the life of other creatures).
However, certain fundamentalist Christians, for whom every word of the Bible is ‘true’ and binding on all believers, there are certain indications – especially in the Old Testament that are considered to indicate the condemnation of homosexuality. These include the proscriptions from the Book of Leviticus, and a mistaken view of the Sodom and Gomorrah story which actually describes a profound offence against the Jewish tradition of hospitality. St Paul, in the New Testament, has been see, by some commentators, to be critical of same-sex relationships; whereas the context refers more properly, to homosexual prostitution – then common in the Gentile world.
It is important to understand that Jesus, in the Gospels, is never seen to be critical of faithful same-sex relationships. One of the healing stories is of Jesus healing the ‘beloved servant’ of a centurion (Gentile) thought to have been in a possible same-sex relationship in the context of the time. Also, in his discourse on unfaithfulness in marriage, in Matthew, chapter 19, Jesus mentions ‘eunuchs’ (unable or unwilling to procreate) as being in 3 categories, one of which is “eunuchs from their mother’s womb” – a category now thought to possibly refer to innate homosexuals.
Pope Francis, Head of the Roman Catholic Church has pronounced his own belief that LGBTQI people are made in the Image and likeness of God, needing to be respected and treated as such, without discrimination.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand