By D. Johnson
This Op-Ed was originally published in the Coeur d'Alene Press. The author provided permission for North Idaho Pride Alliance to share on our blog.
Crucial conversations can be difficult, yet they are important in helping people learn, understand, and live together in a more thoughtful way. Our community, and the world at large, has been engaged with a vital and controversial topic for a very long time, “homosexuality.” Consider with any conversation do you listen to respond, or listen to understand? I hope you will be able to read this with the intention to understand.
The Bible is the basis for thousands of religions, each interpreting scriptures in unique ways. Scriptures have been used to promote war, while others promote peace. Over many centuries, religious views have changed, and text interpretations have been reconsidered. In 1633 Galileo was called a heretic and stood trial in the church while daring to challenge scriptures that claimed the earth was the center of the universe. His use of a telescope proved the error. In 1830 those who opposed slavery were called unchristian. The debates were incredibly difficult, even bringing our nation to war, yet love prevailed.
We see this same dogma used to marginalize and harm LGBTQ individuals, with six scriptures within the over 30,000 included in the Bible. By viewing them with the certainty of human understanding, yet without the cultural or vital overarching love that is required, we lose the meaning. Those claiming the Bible is unchanged have not considered that the word homosexual was added to the Bible in 1946. Dr. Luther Weigle led the translation team to create the Revised Standard Version (RSV) from the King James version, which was required to remain the same for a 10-year period for publishing purposes. There is factual documentation at the Yale Divinity Library with the verification of an error in translation for 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, with a noted concern, this would cause the Bible to be used as a “sacred weapon” against LGBTQ. Sadly, during the mistranslated time several other translations (NAS, LB, NIV) referenced the erroneous wording. Whether you choose to research and learn this fact, it will still remain.
Bible scholars have researched other “clobber passages” and many now admit we have gotten this wrong. Change needs to occur to honor others and acknowledge all humans are created in His image. What have Bible scholars considered that have changed their view? What harm is your theology causing to others? Simply denying the harm is no longer enough, the pain is real.
Parents are no longer being bullied into silence or shame. In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality as a mental condition. Accusing fathers of being distant, or mothers overbearing is not accurate and easily dismissed. There are thousands of parents and allies uniting to support LGBTQ, which is a research-proven method to reduce suicide and mental issues. They are choosing to respect their child(ren) instead of using a loving God to condemn them. “Love the sinner, hate the sin” is now seen for the deep harm it has caused.
More people are now acknowledging their orientation, and seek to live as they were divinely created. Our next generation is calling out the bullies, and are standing beside those being marginalized. Acknowledging that they did not “choose to be straight” any more than another who did not “choose to be gay” while forced to endure the shame and stigmatism of previous generations. LGBTQ who “prayed to be straight” or who were forced into harmful conversion therapy now understand the deceit of those who claimed to change their orientation. The stories of those who now apologize for their role in this conversation is healing and moving forward in better understanding.
What is tragic, is that God has been used as the “bad guy” in this battle. He is portrayed as a wrathful, angry, and punishing being, especially by those claiming to represent Him. God is just, loving, and trustworthy. Please take the time to think of someone you love who may be affected by this harmful theology. Might you compassionately consider learning more and fully loving them. A few resources: EmbracingtheJourney.org, Changing Our Minds — Rev. Dr. David Gushee, Torn — Justin Lee, Unclobbered — Pastor Colby Martin, North Idaho Pride Alliance. Remember, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” — Jesus
D. Johnson is a Hayden resident.