Everything’s boring, utterly boring – no one can find any meaning in it. Boring to the eye, boring to the ear. What was will be again, what happened will happen again. There’s nothing new on this earth. King Solomon, Ecclesiastes 1:8 & 9, The Message version
The Bible records homosexual acts almost from the beginning of time. In Genesis 19 angels arrive in the ancient city of Sodom to warn Lot of the city’s impending demise. Knowing the atmosphere of his hometown, Lot hurriedly ushers the messengers into his home. However, he is too late as men, young and old, surround his home calling out to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” As King Solomon so eloquently states in Ecclesiastes, “there is nothing new on this earth,” and today, over 2000 years later, the debate on homosexuality continues.
According to Pastor David Brown, Ph.D. of Logos Communication Consortium, Oak Creek, Wisconsin, the homosexual movement launched to the American forefront during a riot in June 1969, at Stonewall Bar in Greenwich Village, New York. What began as a routine police raid turned into a three day confrontation when homosexuals began throwing bricks at police officers. This event is now celebrated annually as “Gay Pride Week.” In his epistle, “An Open Letter to My Christian Friends,” Ed Madden would like us to believe that homosexuality is a “preconscious condition” forced upon select human beings by God himself; though his essay paints a heart wrenching portrait of the plight of homosexuals, it makes a hasty generalization about the entire Christian community, raises questions about the accuracy of his indictment against the church and lacks data, scientific or otherwise, to support his claims.
Though gaining mainstream acceptance, homosexuality remains one of the today’s most controversial issues, especially in the church, where Biblical theologies teach that homosexuality is a sin. Madden takes us inside the four walls of the church and offers multiple examples of the blatant mistreatment of homosexuals. For instance, the parting words of a Southern Baptist minister to his gay brother, “I hope you get AIDS and die like all the other faggots.” Or a father saying to his son, “Tell me if you’re ever coming home, so that I can leave town.” Such malicious words, spoken by a family member, would cause even the strongest of souls to recoil. This venomous language is inexcusable. When asked in Mark 12:28 what the most important commandment was Jesus responded with, “Love the Lord your God with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Madden would have us believe that no one in the church practices this edict when it comes to homosexuals. That is simply not the case. Numerous Christian organizations such as Stephen Bennett Ministries’ The Parents Group, Parents and Friends of Ex-gays & Gays, Exodus International and Mastering Life Ministries exist for the purpose of teaching Christians how to respond compassionately to homosexuals. The people involved in these ministries preach a gospel of love to all individuals, regardless their sexual orientation.
When Madden writes of the homosexual “condition” his verbiage is a denigration of his own argument. According to the Encarta Dictionary, a condition is defined as a physical disorder, a disturbance to the usual functioning of the mind or body. A condition may be altered, and according to a report released in 2003, by Dr. Robert Spitzer of the American Psychiatric Association, homosexuals can change their sexual orientation. Dr. Spitzer, responsible for having homosexuality removed from the psychiatric list of medical disorders, is a prominent psychiatrist who is viewed as a champion of gay activism. In his studies, 200 + homosexual volunteers were placed in reparative therapy. At the end of 16 months, the majority of participants reported a predominately heterosexual orientation, lasting 5 years or more. If someone has the capability to change then could it not be argued that their circumstances were chosen rather than hardwired into their existence? Madden also claims that he did not choose to be gay but that his orientation is a preconscious condition. Such terminology has Freudian connotations written all over it. Freud, however, did not believe that humans are born homosexual but rather bisexual and that sexuality is determined by experiences with parents and others. Freud also believed that humans are born polymorphous perverse, that any number of objects could bring pleasure. If sexual orientation, as Madden maintains, is a preconscious condition, rather than a choice, what criteria would prevent incest and bestiality from being categorized in the same manner?
By accusing Christian families of promoting hate towards homosexuals Madden uses the same type of gross generalization that he feels homosexuals are victim to. In an attempt to pronounce a guilty verdict on all church going people, he points to the hateful behavior of a select group of adolescent boys. One representation does not provide sufficient evidence to bring an indictment on an entire culture. Madden’s early church experiences were with the Church of Christ. That denomination’s doctrine includes a section devoted specifically to honesty that reads, “honesty is the divinely appointed standard for men.” Madden claims that homosexual Christians learn, in the church world, to be dishonest. By blaming the church Madden is shifting responsibility off of his own shoulders. Dishonesty is a choice, not a mandate.
Madden is correct in stating that certain individuals, within the church, do not behave towards one another in a Christ-like manner. However, rejection, self loathing, suicidal thoughts, and feeling invisible are not conditions reserved for homosexuals alone. The church should not be divided into “us” and “them.” Instead, all Christians should come together, broach this division from a Biblical perspective, and allow God to bring healing.