by Reverend G. William Ames
August 1996

Same sex marriages will destroy the family...All homosexuals are despised by God and will burn in Hell...Homosexuality is an abomination against God...Gays should be banned from the military... Gay, lesbian and bisexual kids should not be protected by law in public schools...Have you heard just about enough?

I have. Young gay people of any age are subjected to an endless litany of derogatory statements about their sexuality usually delivered by any number of extreme right organizations of the Christian church. As a result of this brow beating and gay bashing in the name of God, many gay youth are led into lives of shame, sadness, forbidden secrets, despair, self-destruction and denial of their true sexual orientation. Many end up living tormented lives filled with hopelessness and a sense of alienation and/or isolation. And unfortunately, many end up taking their own lives due to a misinterpretation of God's word.

God's Word recorded in the Bible is the guide by which Christians are to conduct themselves. However, many different interpretations of His word have been developed by mankind's attempt to uncover the mystery and majesty of His Word. Denominationalism of the Christian Church, which feeds the hunger of exclusion and elitism, has also resulted in a variety of doctrinal statements relating to the interpretation and meaning of the Bible according to each particular group's practices and beliefs. That, along with many other variables like the insatiable need for control over the lives of others, unfortunately, continues to cloud and distort the New Testament message of humility, mercy, forgiveness, compassion and most of all, love.

The Bible attempts to relate to us that Christianity is a way of life and not simply a ritualistic endeavor undertaken every seventh day of the week. One thing that Christianity is not is a way for one group to raise itself above another group. Grab your Bible and read the parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector. As Christians, whether we are gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, etc.; we have a right to claim God as our Father and Christ as our Savior. We are all His creations made according to His will and not the will of any man-made faction or denomination. God gave His Son to die on the cross for all people so that those who decided to follow Him would be made one with the Father. On the cross at Calvary, where Christ was crucified, mankind's sin nature was judged and the penalty was paid once for all. Our sexual orientation was not a part of that "sin nature". Our sexual orientation was created in us, by God, when we were conceived. It is not sinful in and of itself, however, the way we use it and abuse it comes into question. But that's another issue - an issue of personal choice, the free will of mankind, and the rules or principles each one of us decides to live by.

A great book that delves into the more technical aspects of interpreting the Bible in regards to the homosexuality issue is "What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality," written by Daniel A. Helminiak, Ph.D., an ordained priest of the Roman Catholic Church and published by the Alamo Square Press, P.O. Box 14543, San Francisco, CA 94114. I suggest that any one who has been disturbed by this question, purchase this book and read it thoroughly. Its a quick read of 109 or so pages. The religious technical jargon is kept to a minimum and when it does come up, Dr. Helminiak provides understandable explanations. But for the purpose of this column, I will not try to explain away the issue. I will simply provide an outlet for those gay youth or questioning youth who may have questions about religion in relation to their sexuality. And I will continually advocate that gay Christians have a place in the Church, as parishioners or as clergy. God has a purpose for each and every one of His creations. The great adventure is to discover what His purpose is for our lives! Don't let the negativity of another smother your desire to allow that purpose to unfold in your life. And don't stop believing; He died for All of us, not just a select few.

If you have issues, concerns or questions about religion and your sexuality, please email questions to geoffa@usa1.com. I will do my best to answer each and every question. If I don't have an answer to your question, I will attempt to refer you to some one who may be able to answer you. Any questions submitted may be presented in this column. Also, if you're uncomfortable about using your real name, use a pseudonym (fake name) but please state your real age. Thank you.

Reverend G. William Ames, A.S., B.A., is an ordained minister of the United Christian Fellowship, Elk Grove, Illinois, a non-denominational Christian ministerial organization of men and women dedicated to serving the Lord by serving His people. Church planting, pastoral services and outreach ministry are a major focus of the UCF. Rev. Ames holds a Diploma in Biblical Studies and is currently working towards a Master's degree in Psychology and Biblical Studies with a New Testament concentration. He has worked extensively in the field of law enforcement, human services, mental health and mental retardation. At present, Rev. Ames works as a human resources professional with a major social service agency. His present ministries include providing pastoral services to the mentally retarded in institutional settings and pastoral counseling and care to prison inmates in a substance abuse program. He is in the process of writing an inspirational book based on essays provided by gay youth about the impact of religion on the process of coming out, their struggles and their successful transition. Rev. Ames resides in Massachusetts.
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