Love/Hate Mail 

Bigotry’s being allowed

Bigotry’s being allowed

Since I left the United Methodist Church in 1983 (for reasons having nothing to do with sexuality), I’ve often explained to Methodist friends and family that their church simply didn’t have the option it so fervently desired of not having gay clergy. It could either welcome gay clergy or, through the standing policy of condemnation, force them into deception and denial.

This remains as true as it ever was, not only for Methodists but also for American religion at large. (It’s hardly fair for the Scene to single out Baptists, Campbellites and Catholics in this regard, since condemnation of homosexuality is still doctrine of even relatively liberal Christian groups). The question I’m more interested in lately, though, is why members of the ever-growing community of people who know better—straight and gay—are willing to permit such paranoia, hypocrisy, dishonesty and hatred to maintain a stranglehold on guardianship of the Western world’s spirituality.

Jeff Carroll

jkc@frosch.com (Nashville)

Are gays “capable” of ministry?

Professors Lloyd Lewis and Amy-Jill Levine argue that the biblical ban on homosexual acts is based on the cultural code of ancient Israel, like other prohibitions of the Jewish law. Granting this position for the sake of argument, it’s obvious that this is a purely negative argument, which proves only that the Bible cannot be quoted against homosexual behavior. It says nothing about how homosexuality ought to be treated by our culture.

Levine says that the Bible tells us to love homosexuals. Well, obviously; but this doesn’t establish that homosexual acts are acceptable. If those acts are immoral, then one should reject them while loving the person who commits such acts, just as one would best love an alcoholic by encouraging him to stay sober.

From Levine and Lewis’ negative premise, we are far from any affirmation that homosexuals have the gifts required for ordained ministry, and still further from the notion that a homosexual person is capable of pastorship. It’s astonishing to see such slipshod reasoning and special pleading emanate from one of America’s most prestigious universities.

Anthony Seton

anthonyseton@yahoo.com (Nashville)

About “the” homosexuals

In response to your June 19 cover story (“Is Your Pastor Gay?”), a great many of us accept the Bible and what it identifies as immoral behavior. The biblical standard for morality is summarized in the Ten Commandments. There are those who reject the Bible and what it has to say about immorality. And there are others, like the homosexuals, who try to change what the Bible teaches to justify their immoral lifestyle.

Rev. Mel Perry

1700 Neely’s Bend Road (Madison)

Santorum’s fan club leader writes

I am a single, black, female and a nonfundamentalist Christian. I believe that any sex outside of that between a married male and female is sinful. Will Campbell says he makes no moral judgment about homosexuality because Jesus never said anything about it (“Is Your Pastor Gay?” June 19). Jesus never said a lot of things. Jesus never said don’t drink and drive, or don’t smoke crack cocaine. Is the Rev. Campbell willing to be silent on those issues also?

And if homosexuality isn’t a sin, then neither is sex outside of marriage, or adultery or any other form of consensual sex. If liberal theologians are going to rewrite the Bible, then please be fair and rewrite it for all forms of sexual expressions, not just homosexuality.

The United Methodist Publishing House publishes the book you cited, Can Homophobia Be Cured? But the Book of Discipline, which sets the theological groundings of the denomination, says that “homosexuality is incompatible with Christianity.” But I guess you forgot that part.

Gwendolyn Colvin

gtcolvin@comcast.net (Nashville)

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