Further Gay Education for the Conservative Evangelical

I recall a conversation I had last year with a bi-married man, who is also an ultra-conservative evangelical Republican, and who is puzzled by my reality of longing for a life-long relationship with a man. He is, still, heavily attracted to men, and daily desires to have sex with men, even though he is married to his wife. He is not only repulsed by my desire for a committed, monogamous relationship, but is (or was) unaware that many gay men long for the same. He has absolutely no longing to be engaged in a romantic relationship with a man but only wants to use men for his sexual gratification.

I do not know this man personally; I met him through a Facebook contact, and then we communicated via private message, and then by phone. His primary source of male-to-male sexual encounters tend to be through viewing pornography. Whether or not this man actually encounters men for sex I cannot remember. I do know, however, other bi-married men, both inside and outside the church, who actually engage other men sexually and not merely through fantasy. These men, too, do not necessarily desire to develop a same-sex, monogamous, life-long committed relationship. They are relatively happy to remain married to their wives while encountering men, anonymous or otherwise, on the side.

Are gay men, by nature, promiscuous, perverted, and typical to shun forming committed relationships? The answer will depend upon the one you ask. For example, the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia views homosexual committed relationships no better than mere roommates, and even snidely argues for criminalizing homosexuals for homosexual acts by use of the "flagpole sitting" analogy. (link) (This man is lauded by political and Religious Right conservatives.) Scalia unconvincingly argues:
Of course it is our moral heritage that one should not hate any human being or class of human beings. But [and one could sense that a "But" was next] I had thought that one could consider certain conduct reprehensible [consider the use of the word reprehensible] -- murder, for example, or polygamy, or cruelty to animals -- and could exhibit even "animus" toward such conduct. Surely that is the only sort of "animus" at issue here: moral disapproval of homosexual conduct[.] (link)
The word reprehensible is typically used to refer to an act rather than of a person who commits an act. (An individual can, conceivably, commit a reprehensible act and still not be considered, ontologically, reprehensible.) So, he laments and considers reprehensible -- that which is deserving of severe rebuke or censure, disgraceful, shameful, delinquent, unworthy, objectionable, condemnable (link) -- murder, cruelty to animals and two members of the same gender loving one another and wanting to commit themselves solely to one another in an expression of genuine love, care, and concern.

Mind you, the current man in the White House, Donald J. Trump, adores Scalia, and seeks to fill his shoes with a Scalia-like-minded individual. (link) He vows, however, to protect the rights of all Americans, even members of the LGBTQ community (link); even though his right hand man, Mike Pence, has failed to do so during his career, stating that "societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family." He also ignorantly calls "being gay" a deliberate choice made by an individual and insists that barring LGBTQ persons from the right to wed is not discrimination but "an enforcement of God's idea." (link) Pence, though, is comparatively tame.

Take Peter LaBarbara of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality when discussing the case of Barronelle Stutzman, who refused to provide a public service for two gay men desiring to wed based upon her "religious freedom" to discriminate against them, in the same manner Christians did against people of color prior to the Civil Rights era: "We at AFTAH are not attorneys but we do know this: in a free society, anyone -- Christian florist, Muslim cake-maker or atheist wedding chair-supplier -- should have the liberty not to use their business to celebrate homosexuality-based 'marriage,' which we, as Christians, regard as sin on steroids." (link) (emphasis added) Evidently, there is sin, and then there is "sin on steroids." Where in the Bible is such supported? Nowhere. The only so-called steroid-induced sin (or a sin that cannot be pardoned) is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (cf. Mark 3:28-30).

Consider, as well, North Carolina Baptist pastor Charles Worley, who thinks he can "cure" this country of homosexuality by putting LGBTQ persons in a concentration camp, since homosexuals cannot reproduce. (link) Sure, the man is a reprobate and a moron, not understanding that homosexuals derive from heterosexuals, and that his "cure" would inevitably fail. But these kinds of ideas are perpetuated by people who erroneously call themselves Christians. I assure everyone that such people are godless reprobates. The "God-Hates-Fags" Westboro Baptist "church," though small in numbers, still maintains its voice as well as its supporters. If only "Christians" who maintain this view were smaller in number!

Yet another Baptist pastor, the narcissistic, shock-jock, attention-seeking and bombastic Stephen Anderson, foolishly and sophomorically insists that homosexuals cannot be saved. (link) He is convinced that every single gay man and every single gay women is "a rapist or molester." (link) Now, Anderson and his ilk are special breeds of reprobates, and I most likely should avoid using them as examples of Christians who torment LGBTQ persons. But even someone like Robert Gagnon suggests that "homosexual practice is a more serious violation of Scripture's sexual norms than even incest, adultery, plural marriage, and divorce." (link) Gagnon reinforces extremists by the propagation of his views. Still, consider that people, some of whom erroneously consider themselves Christians, in actuality perpetually mock, bully, beat up, and murder LGBTQ people merely for existing. (link/link/link) My point is that these so-called extremists have their own ideological cousins in our culture.

Let us revisit our original question: Are gay men, by nature, promiscuous, perverted, and typical to shun forming committed relationships? Answer: Have you ever visited a gay male dating website? There are scores upon scores of gay men hoping and desiring to form a monogamous committed life-long relationship. Do some gay men merely want to remain single and have sex? Absolutely! Just like there are many straight men who want to remain single and have sex. Too often conservative evangelicals confuse the issue of male sexuality with homosexual male sexuality; they tend to forget that straight men and homosexual men share one common reality, male sexuality, and think that an over-sexed libido is the sole problem of male homosexuality but not of sanctioned male heterosexuality.

I want to love and be loved. I know most of you know that already because I have voiced that desire for some time now. I want to see that loving look in his eyes looking back at me -- a look filled with a thousand words that never need to be spoken. I want to feel his hand take mine, merely because he wants to touch my skin, a small gesture of a deep-seated love. I want to need him as much as he wants to need me. I want to, ten, twenty, thirty years from now, look at him with that same abiding love that I gave him when we first fell in love. I want to hold him, and be held by him, with an embrace that shakes the soul. I want to nurse his wounds, cook him meals (I'm a good cook), help heal his hurts, doctor his colds, soothe his anger, give him space to think, to feel, to be; I want to watch him grow, develop new passions, travel new paths. I want what every other human being wants: to love and be loved.

Conservative evangelicals like Robert Gagnon are convinced that homosexual men, in particular, cannot truly love one another; but, instead, we feed our necessarily inherent narcissistic tendencies. Never mind the inherent narcissism of heterosexual men. They have an agenda to promote. But what is love? Does the Bible not teach us what true love is: a self-sacrificial disposition that lives and dies for another (1 John 3:16)? Is love not, according to St Paul, patient, kind, and not jealous? Love "does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." (1 Cor. 13:4, 5, 6, 7 NASB)

I want to experience love like this -- and I want to do so within the context of a same-gendered relationship. The Robert Gagnons of conservative evangelicalism can spout off their presumptuous opinions about the wishes and desires of homosexuals but their certainty is not tantamount to reality. His exegetical meanderings are simply based upon a particular hermeneutic, just like everyone else, and in no sense whatsoever indicates that he is correct. I happen to think of his work as less convincing than most other conservative evangelicals because of his outlandish ideas about homosexuality. He discredits himself, in my opinion, and cannot be deemed authoritative. His philosophical views regarding homosexuality simply do not reflect reality -- certainly not my reality.

The answer to our primary question is no. Or, stated positively, many gay men are highly respectable, just like many straight men, and desire to love and to be loved by another man. They, like me, long for a self-sacrificial love that lasts a lifetime. Perhaps some have not considered this aspect to the gay male but this is a lasting reality for many, many of us, and we deserve to be respected for desiring the same kind of love as experienced by heterosexuals. A healthy self-sacrificial love experienced by two human beings is not diminished merely because two of those human beings happen to be of the same gender. If thought otherwise by an opponent of the same then the burden of proof rests with such a one to evince his supposition. I have yet to read a convincing case that self-sacrificial love expressed by two members of the same gender is, ipso facto, rendered invalid.


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My name is William Birch and I grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition but converted, if you will, to Anglicanism in 2012. I am gay, affirming, and take very seriously matters of social justice, religion and politics in the church and the state.