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Are We Welcoming Of Those Of All Sexual Orientations?

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In alluding to inclusivity, Point 4 says that we are Christians who are welcoming of "those of all sexual orientations". Given a recent book discussion that we are having on this forum, I thought it would be good to ask: does this stance apply to:

 

1. Pedophiliacs?

 

2. Rapists?

 

3. Those who commit incest?

 

4. Sadomasicists?

 

 

Those are sexual disorientations. Whereas gay, straight, bisexual, are sensual sexual orientations that begin to develop early on in the individual and later are consummated between consenting persons.

 

Whereas the aforementioned 4 sexual assaults are not.

 

It's a bit like the conundrum when someone claims they love everybody. If so does that include the pedophile, the rapist, the person who is incestuous, the sadist? (The murderer, the burglar, the bully, etc...)

If so then what does that say about love?

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God loves the world. It may be beyond to realize this in our lives, but God still loves the world. We as Christians are supposed to follow our God. Those who commit heinous crimes are those who have been and are denied love in this world.

Edited by matt67
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To me, there are two dynamics at work here.

 

1. Homosexuality used to be considered to be aberrant sexual behavior or orientation. It is no longer considered to be so by many (if not most) behavioral psychologists, sociologists, and geneticists, etc. "What we know" (or what we claim to know) about homosexuality has changed, requiring a change in how we deal with people of that sexual orientation. In my opinion, there is absolutely nothing stopping us from seeing a similar paradigm shift with these other sexual orientations (pedophiliacs, rapists, those who commit incest, sadomasicists). As with homosexuality, it is very possible that "what we know" about these other sexual orientations will change in the future and that we will reach a point of acceptance of those sexual preferences also. There is nothing in place to stop this. The Pandora's box has been opened and it will not be shut again. Perhaps pedophilia and rape will still be considered to be aberrant, but incest and sadomasicism will be okay as long as it is between two consenting adults. Once we say that "people just are the way they are", there is no going back.

 

2. On the other hand, it is unlikely (but not impossible) that pedophiliacs, rapists, those who commit incest, and sadomasicists will be seeking to join religious communities any time soon. Religious communities (most of them) are known for standing for conservative sexual orientations. But then, religious communities are themselves odd entities. My own religious community, the United Methodist Church, is struggling right now over the issue of homosexuality. And yet they allowed a family member of mine to serve as a deacon in that church, despite knowing that he had committed incest with his own daughter for about 10 years. So you can't serve the Church if you are a homosexual, but incest is ignored. Odd things.

Edited by Wayseeker
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Homosexuality used to be considered to be aberrant sexual behavior or orientation. It is no longer considered to be so by many (if not most) behavioral psychologists, sociologists, and geneticists, etc. "What we know" (or what we claim to know) about homosexuality has changed, requiring a change in how we deal with people of that sexual orientation. In my opinion, there is absolutely nothing stopping us from seeing a similar paradigm shift with these other sexual orientations (pedophiliacs, rapists, those who commit incest, sadomasicists).

 

I think there is a huge difference between sexual orientation and psychological pathologies.

 

Further, homosexuality harms no one while the others do with the possible exception of incest among consenting adults unless it results in child birth. The incest taboo which exists in every culture has a biological basis.

 

George

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Wayseeker: On the other hand, it is unlikely (but not impossible) that pedophiliacs, rapists, those who commit incest, and sadomasicists will be seeking to join religious communities any time soon.

 

You mean openly as a rapist and a pederast, or openly committing incest? I have no doubt that there are rapists, pederasts, and those who commit incest in the church all ready. The question is, if a sin is exposed, we don't say, hey, that's okay, to each his own because God loves you. We love them as God sees them and hopefully they will see their own sins for what they are and repent.

 

As far as homosexuality, I am skeptical about the Biblical "laws" against it. I don't believe the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was homosexuality, since I am not an ancient Israelite under the yoke of the old covenant, I don't believe in stoning anyone, and, well, I have to not take Paul in saying that homosexuality is unnatural, as what he saw isn't what I see in most relationships homosexuals (or heterosexuals) have in their relationships, though he hits the mark in saying that we can relate unnaturally to one another. I once listened to a debate in which a reformed conservative used as part of his argument against gay marriage what amounted to a social Darwinist theory that gay men and women are truly abominations of natural, even in the Darwinian sense. Okay, I thought. That's a first. I find it terrible that we need to even have this discussion because no one seems to care about the sexual proclivities of heterosexual (adultery, divorce, extramarital and premarital sex) in the church. I might be more accepting of their argument if they demonized people who decided to be celibate (which they don't encourage, mind you) and not get marriage and have little Christian souls to save.

 

It's is also terrible that we cannot tell the different between, as you say, GeorgeW, the difference between sexual orientation and psychological pathologies. Why must people bring up incest when gay marriage is discussed? There is more significant damage and confusion caused by incest than gay marriage.

 

All that said, I do wonder though if we are on a downward spiral too, in thinking that we don't sin in any way when it comes to sexual immorality as we do not really know what the repercussions of our desires are.

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George wrote:

I think there is a huge difference between sexual orientation and psychological pathologies.

 

I don't know where the line of demarcation is, George, that's all I'm saying. What is "normal"? I know of heterosexual couples who think that any sex that isn't used for the purpose of procreation is sinful. I also know of heterosexual couples who, while enjoying sex, limit it to the "missionary position only" because anything else is considered to be aberrant. One person's normal sex is consider aberrant by others. And it's possible that what we might consider psychological pathology today may well be considered to be normal sexual orientation tomorrow. In the Christianity of my youth (which I no longer agree with), homosexuality was considered to be, at worst, a sinful choice or, at best, a sickness.

 

You mean openly as a rapist and a pederast, or openly committing incest? I have no doubt that there are rapists, pederasts, and those who commit incest in the church all ready.

 

Agreed. But they are not there because our churches are "welcoming of those of all sexual orientations." They are just there because people are people and, thankfully, we've haven't yet got Big Brother installing cameras in our bedrooms.

 

As far as homosexuality, I am skeptical about the Biblical "laws" against it.

 

So am I. I don't think it is a sin, especially, as has been stated, it is between two caring adults. On the other hand, I don't think it is the natural orientation of nature either. I agree that it exists, even in nature. But I think it is the exception rather than the rule and that if it were the rule, none of us would be here to discuss it. ;) So while I don't think it is a sin, it's my opinion that it is not the natural orientation. This in no way makes hetero-sex morally superior to homo-sex. To me, hetero-sex is superior only in that 1) it seems to be the natural way and 2) it is hetero-sex that reproduces the race. But my point-of-view is from pragmatism, not from morality.

 

I find it terrible that we need to even have this discussion because no one seems to care about the sexual proclivities of heterosexual (adultery, divorce, extramarital and premarital sex) in the church.

 

I agree. Hetero-marriage is in no way threatened by homo-marriage. It is the other things that you cite that are threats to hetero-marriage (adultery, rampant premaritial sex, selfishness, poor communication skills, etc.).

Edited by Wayseeker
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Neither "natural" nor "normal" are really valid criteria for determining what is optimal, positive, or good, or the opposite.

 

Many things that may be "natural" are deleterious, even dangerous and threatening to health, well-being, even life. Diease causing pathogens are natural. Toxins are found thoughout nature.

 

"Normal" merely means conformed to the norm, a common standard. An IQ of 100 is the precise norm, or normal. One with an IQ of 130 is as far from the norm, as "abnormal", as is one of 70. Anamoly doesn't imply inferiority or dysfunction.

 

"Normal" in the context of social norms, which are human structures, may include many things not neccesarily healthy or conductive to well-being.

 

To difference between such "anamolies", deviations from the norm from those that may be designated "abnormal", whether in biology or considerations of mental health, the determining criteria are function/dysfunction, positive/negative effect, comfort/distress, benefit/harm, etc.

 

Homosexuality was removed from psychological.psychiatric classification as "abnormal" because the condtio or state itself does not inherently create any of those negative affects, on the individual or others. The only "harm" involved was the suffering of distress through social attitudes.

 

The pathologies listed above generally would not pass that criteria for at the very least, lack of harm. At least three of them involve violation of, toward another. In the case of pedopjilia, even if the child is 'seduced', they are not psychologically competent to give consent, and that is reflected in our societies standards and laws. While some have argued incest is an exception, but it has negative effects and deleterious consequences, as well. In addition to the increased risk of birth defects and deformities of offspring, it also undermines the social order crucial to family stability and well-being. While one might argue conception could be avoided through birth control, that would add both a burden of condtion, how do you enforce it? As well as there being no 100% reliable birth control. Some argue the incest restriction should exclude only under age children (pedophilia) ignores the often fragile trust relationships of even of-age family members. Even say, a daughter, reaching age 18, is both still vulnerable to parental authority relationships with men in their family, and, the mother/wife of a man who starts eying his daughter with lust by the time she's 15, just biding the time until she's of legal age, to indulge in the act, doesn't do much for a stable family situation.

 

Perhaps in some primitive culture, harm toward others is not so well developed a social concern, but in ours, it is, and its a very important one. Its why any of us can walk around feeling reasonably safe in most situations in our society. Many of us take that for granted, don't realize that is a social luxury. On many cultures past and even some present, people cannot travel with any degree of safety without some kind of defense, protection, either weapons, or in company of suffcient others to mount defense against attack. to make rape socially acceptable would mean females having to be kept under lock and key and protected at all times, lest a man jump her where ever he finds her unguarded. Rape, what we would call rape, IS accepted in some societies, even still, under certain specified social situatuons, such as where marriages may be arranged without the female's consent or cooperation in consumation. In some societies, some women of low status are ever at risk of rape that will not be prosecuted, is allowed to some men in a society. I don't think any of us are ready to move toward that, as far as the world has come away from it.

 

Jenell

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Frankly, I am uncomfortable even discussing rape and pedophilia in the same discussion as homosexuality. This implies some equivalence that does not exist and is demeaning to gay people.

 

George

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FWIW, I don't think that homosexuality is, as is often claimed, an acceptable behavior because it is innate or 'normal.' There are innate behaviors (i.e. genetically based) which cannot be tolerated by society. No one decides to be heterosexual and no one decides to be a pedophile. So, innateness vs. voluntary decidedness is not a good criterion.

 

Ancient religious texts like the Bible or Qur'an are not, IMO, good arbiters as well. Texts, like these, written thousands of years ago in very different cultures cannot be literally applied to a modern, urban, industrial society.

 

The morality or acceptability of a behavior should, IMO, be based on other criteria. I propose the no-harm, no-foul rule. A behavior that harms no one should be morally acceptable. If we apply this test to pedophilia, it fails. If we apply the test to homosexuality it passes. Even if someone were to 'decide' to be gay, why should I care: No harm, no foul.

 

George

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No harm, no foul.

 

I like that, George. That’s why I said, imo, homosexuality in a loving relationship is not a sin. To me, a sin is something that is intentionally harmful to another. I would no more persecute a person who finds fulfillment in a same-sex relationship than I would someone who is left-handed, though most of us are right-handed. It is just something that, by its very nature, cannot propagate the human race, not that we really need it with just over 7 billion humans currently alive on the biggest rock in our solar system. So, seeing as we don’t really need to worry about propagating the human race at this point (our need for survival has been satiated), I see no reason that our need for intimate relationships cannot be fulfilled through same-sex partnerships as well as different-sex partnerships. As you say, no harm, no foul.

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WS wrote: It is just something that, by its very nature, cannot propagate the human race,

 

Well, not actually. The preference of same-sex partner, in relationship of physical sex performance, does not render the homosexial person infertile. Throughout history and even today, homosexual men and women can and do engage in heretosexual intercourse for the purpose of reproduction. In many periods of history, it was neither uncommon nor considered unusual for a person of homosexual oritentation to maintain both a long term herterosexual marriage, and one of more homosexual relationships at the same time.

 

In such as the Greco-Roman cultures, it was common and accepted practice of men, especially, to maintian an active bi-sexual life, often the primary relationship of affection and intimacy being with another man, while heterosexual sexual intercourse with a wife provided reproduction of children, and heirs. And of course in such cases, their wives were usually free to maintian intimate relationships with other females, since there was no threat to the paternity of the children she bore to her husband.

 

Even outside maintaining relationships with persons of both sexes, significant numbers of homosexuals may choose natural heterosexual intercourse with intent and purpose of having biological children.

 

I remember once reading a sci fi/fantasy novel, in which a deep space exploration craft was destroyed, leaving the surviving crew members stranded, probably forever, on a distant habitable planet. The only males among the survivors were an older man no longer sexually functional, and two homosexual men in a deeply commited relationship with one another. The others were women, and one of them soon discovered she was already pregnant, by a crew member that had perished. The author handled the matter quite sensitively, when the survivors decided they should establish a community, and reproduce a next generation toward colonizing the plant.

 

Biological capacity to reproduce is really a separate matter from intimate, personal relationship. Those that claim a homosexual relationship invalid based on inability to reproduce rarely have a similar problem with the many heterosexual relationships and marriages in which whether for reasons of biology or choice, the couple remain childless.

 

Jenell

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I’d like to make a couple more small comments about this for the sake of clarity of my point-of-view, and then I’ll back out of this particular subject.

 

First, I fully support accepting GLBT people into our society and religious communities in all levels.

 

Second, what I have a problem with is the wording “those of all sexual orientations.” In our time of “political correctness”, we often use words without considering what they mean. Words carry ideas with them, meaning, and the meaning of “all sexual orientations” is not, in my opinion, “healthy adult relationships” or “loving commitments.” The meaning of “all sexual orientations” is, to me, “No matter how you like your sex, you are welcome here.” As the word implies, it is about “sex”, not about relationships. Therefore, no sexual act is off-limits. ALL are welcomed, no matter how or where they find their sexual gratification. To me, any society or community that had a policy that ALL sexual acts are welcomed and considered to be normal would not lead to a healthy society or community. To me, “all sexual orientations” includes pedophiles, rapists, and the chronically promiscuous.

 

In closing, let me be clear: I support the full inclusion of GLBT people into our society and religious communities. But in our efforts to be inclusive, I don’t agree with the wording/language of “all sexual orientations.” I believe in having an open-door policy, but using the words “ALL sexual orientations” means that there isn’t even a door, everything is permissible and allowed.

 

Thanks for listening.

 

Bill

Edited by Wayseeker
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WS,

 

The problem I have with this point of view is that it places psychiatric disorders in the same category as normal variation. The only difference seems to be in whether society decides to tolerate it or not.

 

George

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WS,

 

To me, those of all sexual orientations.” does not mean "how you like your sex". To me a Pedofile or Rapist is not a sexual orientation. A sexual orientation is either male, female or neither/Both.

 

Joseph

 

What is sexual orientation?

 

Sexual orientation refers to an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions to men, women, or both sexes. Sexual orientation also refers to a person’s sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions. Research over several decades has demonstrated that sexual orientation ranges along a continuum, from exclusive attraction to the other sex to exclusive attraction to the same sex. However, sexual orientation is usually discussed in terms of three categories: heterosexual (having emotional, romantic, or sexual attractions to members of the other sex), gay/lesbian (having emotional, romantic, or sexual attractions to members of one’s own sex), and bisexual (having emotional, romantic, or sexual attractions to both men and women). This range of behaviors and attractions has been described in various cultures and nations throughout the world. Many cultures use identity labels to describe people who express these attractions. In the United States the most frequent labels are lesbians (women attracted to women), gay men (men attracted to men), and bisexual people (men or women attracted to both sexes). However, some people may use different labels or none at all.

FROM THE

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Thank you, Joseph, for that clarification and definition from the APA. The fact that the APA considers that sexual orientation is between adult men and women, and has emotional and romantic components, imo, goes a long way in helping me feel that my family would be safe in a "welcoming community."

 

Bill

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I would like to add a couple of points here, if I may....

 

Sadomaschism is not a sexual orientation, but simply a type of sexual behaviour. It is more than possible that people into S&M, bondage, role-play, etc are sitting beside you in church already. As long as people are consenting, what kind of sex they have is their business, IMO. Would it change your mind about the people you know if you knew about their particular, personal kinks? Would you want to be judged by yours?

 

Rape is also not a sexual orientation. Rape is not about sex, but about control, power, and denigration. If you like your sex (as it was phrased above) through the force of a knife to someone's throat against their will, that's not a sexual orientation, but a whole different issue. Everything I've heard/read about rape indicates that the people who commit these kinds of crimes are not typically able to be rehabilitated, so there isn't much of an argument for a "reformed" rapist. Do I think they should be included from the church community? If there is a chance that they might harm a member of the community, than the community has a responsibility to look after itself. Of course, that's not to say that you might not be surprised by someone's behaviour (just because they haven't raped before, doesn't mean they might not tomorrow) but knowing what we know about sex crimes, it's wise to be cautious. I believe that prison study/worship programs are a positive idea, though.

 

Homosexuality is not related to these other issues, and considering homosexuality in the same conversation as child rape gives life to a dangerous, unsubstantiated slippery slope. Are some homosexuals child molesters? Yes - but so are some heterosexuals. Again, rape is not about sex.

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I work with some of the criminal people you have discussed in this thread. As others have pointed out, homosexuality has nothing to do with the others in the list who partake in criminal offending.

 

There are usually mitigating circumstances in why a person chooses to abuse children, or rape or commit other crimes; things that have happened to them in their past at a critical time in their development, which allow them to behave without remorse in their partular "normalised" behaviour. A child abuser I dealt with some years ago was repeatedly raped by his father every other night as a young boy, always together with violence. The boy grew up to do the same, to seek out opportunities to act out what happened to him and he did this through a church group. The investigation uncovered that over a 5 year period he sodomised many young children. Most parents were unaware but some did become aware and chose to pray for him together with him rather than report the abuse. Imagine how their son felt when he gets the courage to reveal the offending that has taken place against him and they do nothing except pray, and so the systematic sodomy continued night after night. I'm getting off track... :rolleyes:

 

I suppose my point is the people who commit these types of crimes are damaged, possibly beyond repair with regard to right thinking. They can try to control their feelings if given the right tools to do so but they may "fall off the wagon" on occasion. When they do so, lives are destroyed as a consequence. They will seek out opportunity to offend or at least fantasise about offending, so church groups, scouts, youth groups are attractive places for certain people with particular interests. There is a trust that comes with being with such organisations, which is not earned but tends to be given simply by association with that organisation. There are signs for others to see if their eyes are open to the signs.

 

These people are in our community whether you like it or not and they always have been. Be smart as to risky situations but be Christian in your values I suppose is what I am saying. If you are aware of their feelings and they are trying to control that side of them, support them. What other choice do we have? People are still people. Just be smart about it. I know of at least one male in my congregation who has sexual fabtasies about young children. He is married with a couple of kids and a puppeteer amongst other things. I simply manage situations where my kids are at church in whatever environment so that I know there is no oppportunity for him to offend - he has not offended that I know of, simply had the thoughts.

 

Just be kind and be smart.

 

I'm rambling again.

 

Regards

 

Paul

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Paul,

 

Good thoughts, thanks.

 

George

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In alluding to inclusivity, Point 4 says that we are Christians who are welcoming of "those of all sexual orientations". Given a recent book discussion that we are having on this forum, I thought it would be good to ask: does this stance apply to:

 

1. Pedophiliacs?

 

2. Rapists?

 

3. Those who commit incest?

 

4. Sadomasicists?

 

What do you think? Should we really be open to "those of ALL sexual orientations" or should lines be drawn? If you think lines should be drawn, where should those lines be? Would you be comfortable worshipping or fellowshipping with someone who has the above mentioned "sexual orientation" for the sake of inclusivism?

 

I don't really understand why number four is in that list?

Also, what if people are one of the first three but recognize it is wrong to act on the feelings they have because it hurts others? Shouldn't they be allowed to be a Christian and join this blog? Thoughts and actions are two different things...

 

It is just something I wanted to ask, I have no real answer to all my questions. I just wonder what you, and others, think.

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This is a dead thread. Inactive for years and I don't think any of the posters are still around.

 

Have you have read Romans? Chapter one is often used to preach against homosexuality, so that might be a good place to start.

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This is a dead thread. Inactive for years and I don't think any of the posters are still around.

 

Have you have read Romans? Chapter one is often used to preach against homosexuality, so that might be a good place to start.

I have read it. All I read is a text about lust, not love which just leads me to believe that the concept of loving, committed homosexual relationships wasn't something that the people of that time understood. All I interpret is that homosexual lust is not something positive. It tells me absolutely nothing about the value or the sinful nature of a loving, committed homosexual relationship. Sleeping around and satisfying lust is completely different from finding someone that you love and building a life with them.

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As Burl mentions, this thread hasn't been contributed to for some time, however threads are never 'dead' as all threads are available in our archive and any new comments always appear to all members as 'new content', so threads often get reignited by new members coming along.

 

I don't understand why any of those groups are on the list as a sexual orientation, because by definition sexual orientation is simply about what gender one is attracted too - heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual.

 

S & M is simply a 'practice' so to speak and can be enjoyed by homosexuals, heterosexuals and bisexuals alike.

 

The others are not an orientation so to speak, but obviously they may be an 'attraction' for some, and in all instances they are criminal in our modern society because they usually don't involve consent and usually harm others.

 

As for deciding who can and who can't participate here, anybody is free to contribute and participate in the Forum as long as they follow the forum etiquette/guidelines. As for whether they should be 'allowed' to be a Christian or not, well I don't have that call and I'm not sure anybody else on this earth can decide who is and who isn't allowed to be a Christian (although I'm sure many think they can).

 

Personally, I think the author of Romans didn't like homosexuality for whatever reason. Probably not all that unusual - gays have always been a minority group in our society and like most minority groups, they often suffer at the hands of the majority! Thankfully our society has developed over time and many now recognize the legitimacy of homosexual and bisexual sexual orientations and accept these sexual orientations. Unfortunately, many still believe that the writings of some people nearly 2000 years ago necessarily applies to society today. I see no reason for that to be the case but if some of the writings are useful, then great.

 

For me, I couldn't care less for sexual orientation and my golden rule would be if you do no harm, then you're alright by me.

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I have read it. All I read is a text about lust, not love which just leads me to believe that the concept of loving, committed homosexual relationships wasn't something that the people of that time understood. All I interpret is that homosexual lust is not something positive. It tells me absolutely nothing about the value or the sinful nature of a loving, committed homosexual relationship. Sleeping around and satisfying lust is completely different from finding someone that you love and building a life with them.

I agree in a general way but I don't think you can get all of that out of Romans 1. You are also missing a good bit.

 

Paul's point is that 1) God makes his presence obvious by natural observation and 2) that denying God in the presence of such overwhelming evidence results in God gradually letting such humans slide back to their animal natures.

 

Homosexuality is only used as an example of Paul's greater point, and we really do not know specifically what type of homosexuality Paul was talking about. The homosexuality of Rome was not what we see today. For example, pederast/catamite relationships were normal.

 

Watch Ben-Hur again. Some of those Romans were gay, yet not a single chariot had a rainbow bumper sticker! ;-)

 

It really is irrelevant. Romans is not a sermon on sex. Taking a self-selected verse or phrase and using it out of context is a terrible way to read the bible, but people do it all the time. That is called proof-texting and it is intellectually dishonest.

 

The overarching point of Romans was encouraging the Jewish Christians to accept the Gentile Christians as equal and complimentary. I think today accepting Christians of differing sexual orientations is a fair parallel to Paul's insistence on accepting familial/cultural differences.

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