I Am Not Defending My Support of LGBTQ Anymore

i love you

“You’re a Christian! How can you support LGBTQ people and gay marriage? Don’t you realize you are condoning sin? You are leading people into hell!”

This is Rob, Susan’s husband, and I have heard it all.

When we came out as parents of an LGBTQ child, and then as strong allies and advocates, I was pretty defensive.

More than 20 years in the evangelical church had engrained in me certain beliefs about homosexuality. To be honest, beliefs which I never really looked into. I was just running a program.

So, when the attacks and challenges and questions came, I felt like I needed to ‘defend’ my position.

My heart knew that unconditional love was indeed the bottom line and truth of God. But I needed to reconcile those things I had heard on Sunday mornings.

But I didn’t just read the printed words of whatever Bible translation was my personal favorite.  I actually looked into the passages… the context, the motivation of the author, the audience, the original language, and much much more.

And my eyes were opened. “I was blind but now I see.”

I discovered the truth… the truth of the Gospel, the truth of the heart of God, and the truth of the life of Jesus.

I discovered that unconditional love, acceptance and support for LGBTQ people does not conflict with my faith in any way.  Actually, it is a requirement of my faith.

And now something else has happened.

I have come to realize that I am not the one who needs to defend my position!

I am no longer going to defend or explain my support for, or acceptance and affirmation of the LGBTQ community and marriage equality. I am going to love and embrace.

Because I take my Bible seriously. I stand on the literal meaning of the Word and I stand on and follow the life and truth of Jesus.

And you know what…

You have the right to believe something different. But if you do not welcome and embrace lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queers and those questioning to attend and serve in your church, if you do not support full marriage equality, if you do not love without condition – it is you who needs to defend your beliefs.

Why?

Because you are the one deciding who God does and does not welcome, and the consequences of that include misrepresenting the truth and heart of God, and the rejection, condemnation and shaming of fellow human beings – even ending in tragedies like drug abuse and suicide.

I do not need to defend my position anymore.  I am not going to defend my position anymore.

I am following Jesus.

I am loving as he loves, and I am loving who he loves.

– Rob Cottrell

45 thoughts on “I Am Not Defending My Support of LGBTQ Anymore

  1. Steven, Scripture was used to support slavery ages ago and discrimination in my lifetime. Scripture was quoted by pastors that it was God’s plan…..now that the culture war on those issues are many years ago, no pastor in a church would stand up and dare to use the Bible to support salvery and discrimination. Now the easy target is the LGBT community because pastors love to preach on “sin” especially when he is sure that the majority of his congregation have no problem ever committing that sin (other than that 12 13 year old who is realizing he is made wrong). You obviously have never known a gay person from birth, every minute of their life and watch them grow up into one of the finest Christian spirited person you could ever hope to know and the joy of knowing their character and their heart. If you had you would not be so quick to speak for God and say that they cannot express emotional and physical intimacy because they then will be choosing to be rebelious against God’s word. How foolish and cold are the demands made on the gay person that God formed in their mother’s womb with a homosexual orientation. God gave them their orientation, he values their life and he wants them as Christians to be bearers of good fruit. Now you tell me how is that possible, if celabacy is their life sentence, no surprise they will be depressed, lonely, suicidal how can a person like that bear good fruit. Also, please believe all gay people when young and discovering their feeling pray for God to take away those feelings and make them straight. What teenager wants to be different from their peers. You sir by believing what has been wrongly preached for years cannot say that you are innocent of any part when a depressed LGBT person throws himself off an expressway overpass, true story “Prayers for Bobby) or the hate people feel entitled to have when a 21 year old Matthew Shepperd was left tortured and strapped to a fence, left to die. Is it really so hard to believe that for our time in history and what we know (straight people keep making gay babies) that the six verses you cling do not mean what has been preached by men through the years???

  2. Rob…:You are so right! I love the way you put it and I am encouraged by your faith. I had a man on FB tell me the other day that I was being deceived into believing that homosexuality is not a sin, and he actually sent me a prayer on FB asking God to forgive me. I was just appalled and blocked this man so I don’t have to read anymore of his posts. And he is a strong Christian man, according to one of his friends! Just so hard to understand how some Christians are so blind to the truth. Thank you for your honesty!

  3. I love this! This is so true and thank you for stating it with passion. What comes to mind for me is ” tell you that if these were silent, the stones would cry out.”.

  4. I agree with loving, embracing, and opening up your church to LGBTQ people. However, saying that the bible supports same sex marriage, the homosexual lifestyle, or LGBTQ people in authority positions in the church is way off target. The bible clearly states that marriage is between a man and a woman. Sodomy, adultury, fornication, are sins. Love them as Jesus loved them, but living in sin is never acceptable for a straight or LGBTQ Christian. All of this is found in my Bible. If your left hand leads you to temptation and sin, cut it off. If you want peace in your heart about your life and actions before God, then abstaining from that sin is your only recourse.

    • So I’m wondering, Bjorn, when you say the bible condemns homosexuality, are you talking about the idolatrous abuse of power over slave boys in 1 Cor. 6:9? Or the blending of a separated group for a particular purpose in Lev. 18:22? (If that’s the case, be sure to condemn eating pork and shellfish, and don’t be in the same house as a woman on her period.) Or flouting God’s direct requirement of hospitality in Gen 19? Surely you don’t mean same-sex, loving relationships between two adults, since that is not a concept in the bible. (I assume you know that, since you are knowledgeable enough to make these proclamations.) And when you talk about God’s plan for marriage as one man-one woman, are you condemning the many patriarchs throughout the OT who had multiple wives? I’m asking because God never does that… I wondered whether you are condemning something God does not condemn. And when you tell someone what their only recourse is, are you meaning to condemn something in someone that they do not feel any conscience about? Because Romans 14:22 and 1 John 3:21 tell us that if our conscience does not condemn us, then we’re all good! Can you imagine the freedom? It is for freedom that Christ has set us free (Gal. 5:1). I appreciate your heart, Bjorn, but I encourage you to seek out Jesus, who tells us in Matt. 9:13 to find out what it means that God requires mercy, not offering sacrifices (or, law). And he tells us many more times (basically) to mind our own business! I hope he shows you what he has in mind about that, my friend, which is MUCH MORE than lining out right and wrong devoid of context and compassion!

      • I was wondering what you meant by not defending your support of LGBTQ, because the case still needs to be made, people need to understand the clobber text don’t mean what they have been taught. Now I see in your answer to Bjorn how you go about ‘not defending it’. Wonderful :).

      • The new and old testament reference the sin of same sex intimacy. One can’t discredit the gospel. My point isn’t to judge because God is the judge. My point is that loving your neighbor does not mean condoning their lifestyle if it contradicts the Bible. God never told Solomon to have a 1000 wives and concubines, Gold never told David to kill Uriah and take his wife after commuting adultery with her, God NEVER promotes sin.
        1 Corinthians 6:9-11
        Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

        Jesus says you were washed of these transgressions. Forgiveness only works with a repentant heart. Turning from your sinful ways and beginning a new way of life. If your son is only attracted to men, then the Apostle Paul says live in abstinence like he did. I’m sorry.

        Mark 10:6-9
        But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

        Romans 1:27
        And the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
        The New Testament is very clear on the subject.
        As Christians are purpose is to love God and tell the world about God’s love.
        There is no moral or biblical defense for sin. Period. Repentance is the only way to come back into communion with God.

        • I appreciate you hanging in here, Bjorn! So I have a couple of thoughts for you. So which people on that list will not inherent the kingdom of God: remember, the word homosexual was not introduced into the Bible until 1946. It does NOT refer to gay people we know today, but men married to women who also had sex with temple prostitutes, powerless slaves and young boys. So, to put them in the “bad” category will get much less objection than two adult men who have never been attracted to women. That group is NOT who the bible means, and it’s important we keep that in mind. (Check my RESOURCES page for more.) Who else do you include those from that list? Idolators? By that I mean people from your church who don’t give to the needy because they worship their bank accounts. The greedy? That’s even more people from most churches! Do you see how convoluted this gets? Far be it from me to discredit the gospel — and what is the gospel? It’s the astoundingly good news that Jesus came on earth to give us life! Peace! Joy! To show us what it means to love! That’s what he came for! NOT to give us rules. I promise you, Jesus did not come to give us rules to keep. God said that as far back as Genesis! In fact, Jesus had PLENTY to say to those who wanted to enforce the rules, and it wasn’t pretty. He wasn’t even happy with their detailed, amazing attempts to keep the rules, which they kept better than any of us keep them. He should have been overjoyed, if keeping the rules was the endgame. It’s not: it’s life, dependent on Jesus.
          I appreciate your fervor, Bjorn, but the bible is NOT clear on the subject. Read Matthew Vines’ latest book or Brownson’s book. They will show you what you don’t understand about the context here. Someone’s “lifestyle” (another subject for discussion: which lifestyle? Two monogamous married men? Or male prostitutes?) is not up for us to condone or not. That’s where the church has missed it. it’s about correcting people when JESUS SAID: “Love God, love others. All the rest of the law and the prophets fits under that.”
          If your heart really aches for these people who have been hated, rejected, excommunicated, murdered, and driven to suicide, then use the RESOURCES I have found for you, and dig in. Find out where the disconnect is between our interpretation and life in the real world. (Find out what it means that God desires mercy, not sacrificial offerings.) If you just want to argue your case, I will not approve any more comments — not to be mean, but because you’re the one with more work to do, if your interest is really to understand. I’ve done my work. I have no conflict about this. You do. Your view keeping you from loving people Jesus died for, without condition. (Who are we to wait until we condone their behavior? God did NOT give us that job!) So the ball is in your court. All the best to you.

          • Can you not love someone even if you disagree with their life choices? I try to love everyone but that doesn’t mean I condone their actions. It seems that you are doing exactly what you accuse Bjorn of doing. You narrow the passages to what you believe them to be without leaving any more room for interpretation. You state the bible is not clear on the issue, but you state your facts as if the are. (Such as the statement about married men having sex with the powerless boys and temple slaves) I agree the New Testament is not about rules but about love. Yet, the bible makes it abundantly clear what God’s views are on this subject. It is easier to condone ones actions then it is to stand up for what is right. Once again I love everyone and have friends that are gay, but I cannot twist the scriptures to agree with your viewpoint.

          • Stephen, yes, we don’t have to agree with others’ life choices to love them. But much of what LGBTQ people have experienced from those who don’t agree with them is NOT love, and doesn’t feel like love, because it’s from someone who’s holding out for them to change. (Even though they think they ARE loving!) I’m offering another explanation for those verses (based on extensive research by those I reference), that would otherwise only condemn people who couldn’t change their orientation if their life depended on it (and sometimes it’s felt like it has), who NEVER chose that orientation, and they’re being told either to change or be alone the rest of their lives. I’m not the one twisting scripture. I don’t pull out six verses, out of context, and apply them to a completely different situation than they were written for. I have been open to seeing that perhaps we have badly misunderstood a very passages written worlds away, millennia away, to people of very different cultures. Given all that, seems like very little room for hubris on having found the only interpretation — which is the one that requires OTHERS to pay such an exorbitant price. (Of being always alone, or married to someone they’re not attracted to.) But here is what the bible is abundantly clear on: OUR job is to love; our job is NOT to try to eradicate sin; our job is to seek mercy and justice, not sin-free living. We have failed on so many fronts on which the bible is VERY clear. I believe we have misinterpreted, but way beyond that, we are playing God. And we are shoving people far from Christ. We are saying God is good with this and not with that — and the “that” are REAL PEOPLE who have now turned far away. People recoil when I mention anything about God or especially about Christ. Christians have conditioned that response — how can we justify it? They don’t want an “excuse” to be gay either, and mean old Christians won’t let them be. No, the church has conditioned them to believe God hates them, has no place for them. Jesus always gives life. Point them to Christ, as he told us to, and let him deal with it. He never said clean up the fish when we catch them. He explicitly told us NOT to judge God’s servant. We are out-of-bounds by deciding what’s okay and what’s not, when Jesus’ offer is not to make bad people good but to make dead people alive.

          • Susan,

            I would agree that it is unfortunate that some “Christians” have condemned the person and not the sin. I would also agree that we are not God to cleanse sin, but we are to proclaim the Word of God and let God do the work. I would have to disagree with your statement about conscience, I can personally say that it is easy to fool oneself into believing they are doing what is right but be completely opposite. That is why I am so glad we have the scripture to help us in our own infirmities. That is my measuring stick. My heart is deceitfully wicked and I would much rather here what I believe to be true than the actual truth. Why else did God appoint preachers? Why else does he command us to meet together. It is much to easy to be led astray. Paul even seeks of this in Timothy. I believe if we ever met we would be friends and have great conversations. As for not showing true love because we are waiting for them to change, if this is true what about Christ and us? Did he not really love us because he was waiting for us to realize the errors of our ways? I think resources are great but when they contradict with scripture, I have to turn back to scriptures. I believe God made the scriptures relevant for all time, and not just for a specific era of time or society. One last thing I should clarify, from your statement (which I could have misunderstood) you believe that homosexuality is not a choice. I believe everything in life is a choice. We might be predisposed to certain things in our lives but we decide if we are going to act on them or not. I have my own struggles but I still decide whether or not I will perform on them or not. Thank you for this intellectual discussion. It has been a pleasure!

          • You’re welcome. So here’s a little puzzle for you: if scripture is the be-all end-all superseding even conscience, then how in the world did Peter welcome the Gentiles, whom scripture to that point said were NOT part of God’s chosen people? In a vision (it was such a departure, God gave it to him 3 TIMES!), God showed Peter something different from what his scripture showed him! He told him to eat non-kosher, to prepare him for including Gentiles. How do you reconcile that? If “resources” are less important than scripture — and I hope you know I meant resources as a studied, exegetical understand of scripture — than I can imagine you standing with the Catholic Church as they jailed Copernicus because his “resources” (observable discoveries about space) CONTRADICTED scripture… many more verses than the measly 6 concerning same-sex relations of any kind… Your mindset is what kept those discoveries labeled heresy for hundreds of years! Scripture is not B&W and was never intended to be! It’s a love story between God and humankind. Paul himself decried a B&W interpretation of it. Read Galatians! Jesus ALWAYS feels loving to me, even when he’s showing me some shocking revelation about myself. Not so with fallible, self-interested humans, even good ones. 🙂 Best to you.

          • Susan,

            For scriptures above conscience, you answered that with God giving Peter visions. The scriptures we have went through a rigorous examination by the church and had to meet certain criteria. As for Copernicus, I am unaware of what scriptures contradict his declarations. Please enlighten me on those. As for feelings, generally they lead us from the truth which is why we have an anchor in the scriptures. I put my trust in what God authored through man them what man has written about what it thinks God has said. Paul speaks about how men will be willingly ignorant. It seems you discredit scripture to make your points, but then stand by it when it suits you. When Bjorn started using scripture you immediately stopped approving his posts. If you could defend your views why would you do this? He was not being hateful or malignant. It is easy to stand for something when all you allow are comments about how great your ideas are. Unfortunately, you feel it is easier to compare people to the Catholic Church then defend yourself with the scripture. At the very least you have read this and can think on it. I wish you the best of luck and hope you spend some time reading material on the opposite viewpoint as much as you defend your viewpoint. God bless!

          • I am busier than you could possibly know. I have written at length, with great patience, about these things for more than a year. Anyone who really wants to know can read the many resources on my resources page, without taking up my time to rewrite what I have already gone to great lengths to provide. While you are parsing scripture, to defend your interpretation, people are being pushed away from God. I am going after them. God bless you too.

          • Stephen, I found sites in two seconds that show verses to justify slavery and a flat earth and earth-centered universe. There are plenty more, this was just a second’s work. The takeaway from this — and this whole issue — must be that we cannot throw people away based on scripture that stands to be reevaluated in the next century. We cannot throw people away for any reason. A scripture-based theology is destined to fail; we must be Spirit-based (Galatians 5:1).

      • You are my champions! 🙂 Rob, thank you for the post, Susan thank you specifically for your response to Bjorn’s comment. You both give voice and life to a stance I have believed in for years but have been too jaded, uneloquent, an inneffective to communicate. Thank you for speaking for me.

    • I fully agree With this comment. Crossing the threshold from loving the sinner and hating the sin to both loving the sinner and loving the sin is a clear anti-Biblical view. The very posting above, which claims to no longer defend a view, is in and of itself a defense and more specifically a self justification.

      Let me be clear, some of the kindest people I have met and interacted with choose to live a homosexual lifestyle. I interact with no issue and see them as a person no different than any other. I am not a “homophobe” nor is many, if not most, Christians I know, despite what Hollywood and main stream media would portray. Each of us have our own sins, but to embrace, accept and portray those sins as acceptable in the eyes of Christ is just not accurate.

      Lastly, I see not how the sexual preference of a person is such a focal point. You will not see me putting a bumper sticker on my car with a sticker that says “I have sex with women” nor will you see me go to small children at school and tell them “you really should only have sex with the opposite sex.” If, as a biblical heterosexual, these statements would be inappropriate (as I feel they would) why then is it culturally acceptable for homosexuals to boast and publicly discuss their sexual life and which orphus they choose no use for sex.

      Let us all, homo and hetero alike, remove the inappropriate conversation and let each of us as sinners with our own vices allow and admit that The Lord must work on each of us to make us better people.

      • Dear “Anonymous” — we need to ‘love the sinner and forget the sin’, because others’ sin is none of our business. Jesus TOLD US not to worry about others’ sins. Christians have made sexual orientation the focal point with every beating, shunning, shaming, bullying, rejecting act. THESE CHRISTIANS ARE WRONG – AND THEY ARE NOT CHRIST-LIKE. Other people’s behavior is none of our business. How are YOU doing? Do you overeat? Are you putting money above trusting God? Have you ever been angry at someone? Have you had a stray sexual thought? Do you suddenly wonder why this is my business? IT’S NOT! Nor is orientation anyone else’s. But culture has made it their business by allowing bullying and marginalization. Back off and let God be God and we can be us. People make better friends than gods.

      • “…why then is it culturally acceptable for homosexuals to boast and publicly discuss their sexual life and which orphus they choose no use for sex.” Where does this statement fit in with ANY of what was stated above. And in your next line you reference “inappropriate conversation”…..the irony.

  5. Rob:

    Great post! I too have grown up in church all my life. When Nick came out as gay (he is a teen), I knew that our family had to change. It has been a couple of months and it is a process. I know the arguments all to well from the Conservative side of Christianity, of which I am still a part of. I also am educating myself on what is truly biblical. It is not easy but well worth it.

    One day I hope that I will not have to defend myself. I do take issue with your statement that I have to “defend” my beliefs if I don’t “welcome” and “embrace” LGBTQ individuals in my church and if I don’t believe in “Marriage Equality”. Quite frankly, I don’t have to “defend” my beliefs if my beliefs are not concrete and if I am considering changing them. For instance, I am not on the “Marriage Equality” bandwagon, but I am open to it. In other words, I am not sure what to defend since I am not sure where my position lays?

    I even have asked myself that if one day my son wants to marry a man do I have the right to pick and choose his life? Or, would I reject him and his soulmate? The answer us no to both.

    I do know this, if a same sex married couple comes into my Conservative Church with their kids, they had better be welcomed and loved and accepted like everyone one else! In fact, my question for the first married gay couple that comes to my church is this, “Why would you want to hang around a sinner like myself?” We in the church need to stop pointing fingers and instead extend a hand to all who walk in our churches.

    • I agree Nate. I appreciate your thoughts and your hearts, and I understand your comments. My point in saying that others are the ones who have to “defend” their beliefs is because of the harm being done to an entire group of people – including driving teens and adults to things like drug abuse and suicide – because of those beliefs. But again, I understand and appreciate your point. : )

      If you want to really go deep on educating yourself on what the Bible says and does not say about this entire issue… check out http://astore.amazon.com/freed086-20/detail/0802868630

      Thanks.

      – Rob

      • Rob,

        Thank you for your post. I realize that having a gay teen son in a Conservative Christian household is a challenge to our beliefs. Once Nick came out (he is 13) my first reaction was that he was and will always be my son. From there it was a question of accepting him and the LGBTQ community. It has been a gradual process to say the least. I also realize that not all Conservative Christians hate gays nor do all “open minded” people support gays like they lead on.

        I know that the church has done a horrible job in loving and accepting gays. I even apologized to my son for what the church has done. The church does need to welcome anyone from the LGBTQ community with open arms.

        My relationship with my son has gotten closer since he came out and I am appreciating who God made him to be. My wife accepts Nick and loves him but struggles. I understand that. Somewhere in the future we as Nick’s parents have to come to the realization that we accept ALL of Nick. We are a lot closer and will continue to get closer. Right now he does not really care about “Marriage Equality”. Nick is more interested in his hair and looks and what he will do Friday night. He is a typical teen. I have spoken to Nick to not be looked down upon for being gay nor allowing himself to being used by some straight girls because hanging out with a gay teen guy is the “in thing” right now. He and I talk and he will sometimes out of nowhere talk to me about being gay. He is educating me!

        As for defending a position, it is something that my wife and I may do for a while. I do not want to take 20 years. We love our son and want what is best. I told him two things when he came out. Number one is to follow Jesus and number two, if he needs to speak to us because if being bullied or feeling depressed to speak with us.

        Finally, I have looked at the link.

    • Hey Nate, Awesome comment. I think you make some good points. I think that since you are in the process of developing your opinion, or stance on the topic, I’m guessing you would also be unlikely to demand that someone like Rob, or me, to defend their position.

      By the way, reading your comment, I find myself thinking you really do know your position at some level. You are too close to the heart of God to chose anything else! 🙂

      Peace,
      Sharon

      • Sharon,

        I would ask you or Rob to defend your position to learn as well as know what all sides believe. Being asked to defend one’s position is not always to be viewed as an attack on such a position.

        I know that right now my wife and I are not talking about having a gay son to close family right now. It is not always wise to express a position when it is not warranted.

        My focus is to walk with my teenage son as a gay teen and understand things from his perspective as best as I can. Right now, “Marriage Equality” is not on my son’s radar. I want to go at his pace and not mine.

        Finally, I realize that my son may one day want to have the discussion on “Marriage Equality”. I believe that I will be supportive and love him unconditionally if he wants to marry a man.

        • I think that Rob’s idea is that the ones who are loving as Christ loves, and as Christ directs us to love, are not the ones who need to defend their position. I don’t think he meant people authentically wresting through this issue, but those who reject anyone from the church who are in an indefensible position. Nate, you have demonstrated enormous love and compassion for your son over these months you’ve walked through this with him. That’s the authentic wrestling we’re asked to do, to hear someone else’s viewpoint, not just put a lid on them with our understanding of the “rules.”

          • Susan,

            I understand what Rob is saying. I too have been so much part of that camp that I have realized that having a gay son has really taught me to love more than I thought that I could. Having a gay son is more about rules from the church and doctrines that are harmful. I love my son and mostly to God by showing this to me.

  6. Sadly, five years after telling me that he is gay, my son is still not ready to share who he is with the world. The fear of persecution, of judgment, and of hatred and rejection are still too much for him to accept. And sadly, most of that fear comes from our religious communities. We all have a responsibility to continue to fight for the day when all LBGT people can feel free to be who they are and who God made them to be without fear of retribution. And as his mother I look forward to the day when I can be openly proud to say that my son is gay. I will never, ever give in to the notion that I have to defend who he is or equally as important defend my beliefs that God lovingly made my wonderful, courageous, and beautiful son to be exactly who he is. Thank you Rob!

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