Does Jesus Love LGBT People?

I am always on the lookout for new topics to write about.  And some of the most fertile places are venues which espouse views different from my own.  One of the best places for conservative Christians to scout for new ideas is the Huffington Post religion section.  The Huffington Post is always in season ready for someone like me to come along and pluck a ripe piece of heresy from their tree of relativistic religious pluralism which they try to pass off as “compassionate” Christianity.  In this post, I will be giving my response to Mastin Kipp’s post: Why Jesus Loves LGBT People and Gay Marriage Doesn’t Exist.  I apologize in advance for the length.

There are all kinds of places in the Bible that can be quoted to support “traditional marriage,” New and Old Testament. There are also places in the Bible that can be quoted to support stoning your son to death if he is rebellious (Deuteronomy 21: 18-2). There are also places in the Bible that say that male and female have no boundary within the body of Christ (Galatians 3:28).

But as far as I can tell, there is nothing in the Red Letters of The Bible where Jesus preaches against homosexuality. It’s just not there. If it is, please show me so that I can stand corrected.

The first tactic I see is the attempt to muddy the debate by introducing unrelated issues.  Whether the Old Testament commanded parents to stone rebellious children is irrelevant to whether support for same-sex marriage should be supported by professing Christians.  Also not germane to this discussion is the Galatians passage which deals with faith and salvation.  But Kipp springboards from this distraction to employ the pointless notation that “Jesus never said…”.  I call it pointless because there are plenty of issues the red letters of the Gospels are silent on: beastiality, rape, child abuse, embezzling, and this should not be understood to mean the omitted behaviors are condoned.

But in this case Jesus did say something.  When the Pharisees asked Jesus about divorce, he had this to say about the nature of marriage:

2 Some Pharisees came up to Jesus, testing Him, and began to question Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce a wife. 3 And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?” 4 They said, “ Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.” 5 But Jesus said to them, “ Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6 But  from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. 7 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, 8 and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Mark 10:2-9)

Jesus is saying marriage was made for a male and female to be joined together to live independently from their parents forever.  Kipp is simply wrong when he states Jesus never addressed the nature of marriage, and wrong if he believes silence equals endorsement or permission.

What I DO know is this… Jesus DID give his TOP TWO Commandments, in fact, Jesus says that “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:40).

So, what are these top two Commandments? As a Christian, a lover or follower of Jesus, wouldn’t you want to know what these top two commandments? ESPECIALLY if “ALL THE LAW and the Prophets” hang on them?

Now, by Law and Prophets, I can only accept that Jesus meant for us to forget EVERYTHING else that we’ve heard, no matter who said it or what the Law says. This MUST include everything in the Old Testament and everything that every other prophet or disciple wrote BEFORE or AFTER Christ’s death. These are his TOP TWO irrevocable commandments that PRECEED and HOLD DOMINION over ALL OTHER LAWS and PROPHETS!

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “ ‘ You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘ You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

Now, Jesus didn’t stutter. He did not say, “Love your straight neighbor as yourself,” or “Love your gay neighbor as yourself,” or your “white neighbor,” “black neighbor,” “Christian neighbor,” “atheist neighbor,” etc. He said it PLAIN, SIMPLE and without stuttering: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

If you are a Christian or a lover of Jesus like I am, then it BEGINS and ENDS here. Why? Because Jesus said in His own words that these are the TOP TWO commandments that EVERYTHING else lay upon.

This is not out of context. This is not to be subverted because Paul said something, or another Prophet said something else in the Old Testament. Jesus was VERY clear that these two commandments TRUMP everything and everyone else and what they said.

Kipp’s first mistake is that he understands the two greatest commandments as replacements.  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…” is a reference to Deuteronomy 6:5; and “Love your neighbor as yourself” from Leviticus 19.  In fact, Jesus was directly quoting from the Old Testament here.  Jesus is summing up all the law and the prophets, not replacing them.  By loving God with all your heart, soul and mind, you would necessarily be in full obedience of the first through fourth commandments; and loving your neighbor as yourself, obedience to commandments five through ten.

Kipp conveniently wants to subjugate the words of prophets and Paul to the red letters.  This is understandable since their condemnation of same-sex sexual relations are severely condemned in the strongest terms available in the Hebrew language.  The problem with this is it diminishes Jesus.  The Bible claims ” All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16), not just the red letters.  Moreover, according to Christian theology, Jesus is God.  Therefore what Paul or another prophet wrote, was Divinely inspired by Jesus himself.

What might be most important here is to determine what Jesus means by love.  Regardless of Kipp’s implication that the words of Paul are somehow irrelevant, he does have something to say about love.  In his first letter to the church in Corinth, he defines it:

Love  is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not  arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it  does not seek its own, is not provoked,  does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

Notice that love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but in truth.  The Bible is clear that homosexual sexual relationships are sinful in several passages.  This biblical definition of love actually compels us to not rejoice in homosexuality, and by extension same-sex marriage.  Furthermore, love requires of us to be truthful about what the Bible says on the matter.  It would be unloving to rejoice in homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

Let me put it to you, the reader.  Be honest here and try to step back from the emotional investment you may have in this issue.  Would it be loving to encourage a behavior which comes with these consequences?:

At the end of 2009, an estimated 441,669 (56%) persons living with an HIV diagnosis in the US were MSM or MSM-IDU.

In 2009, MSM accounted for 61% of new HIV infections in the US and 79% of infections among all newly infected men. Compared with other groups, MSM accounted for the largest numbers of new HIV infections in 2009.

Among all MSM, white MSM accounted for 11,400 (39%) new HIV infections in 2009. The largest number of new infections (3,400) occurred in those aged 40–49.

Among all MSM, black/African American MSM accounted for 10,800 (37%) new HIV infections in 2009. Whereas new HIV infections were relatively stable among MSM overall from 2006–2009, they increased 34% among young MSM—an increase largely due to a 48% increase among young black/African American MSM aged 13–29.

Among all MSM, Hispanic/Latino MSM accounted for 6,000 (20%) new HIV infections in 2009. The largest percentage of new infections (45%) occurred in those aged 13–29. — (Centers for Disease Control)

In 2010, MSM accounted for 67% of all P&S syphilis cases in 44 states and the District of Columbia– (CDC) (See Chart)

[L]ife expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 21 years less than for all men. If the same pattern of mortality continued, we estimated that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently aged 20 years would not reach their 65th birthday. — (International Journal for Epidemiology)

Now, if we were talking about anything other than homosexuality, would it be as encouraged?  For example, if riding bicycles produced the same results, would you encourage it?  Would you consider it loving to promote bike riding if it came with the same health risks as homosexual sex?

So, if that is the case my Christian friends, let me ask you a question: If you are a straight Christian, do you want the right to marry? Yes, or no? Do you think as a straight person you have that right? Would you want that right? How would it feel to not be able to marry the person that you love? If someone said that they supported you not being able to marry the person that you Love, how would that make you feel?

Here, I think Kipp’s perspective is askew.  What people want has no bearing (or should have no bearing) on what is considered a right.  Heterosexuals don’t have the right to marry because they want it.  Traditional marriage is supported by government because it is long-term, opposite-sex sexual relationships that produce the next generation.  The government sanctions and regulates these relationships to attempt to ensure that children grow up with their natural parents and raised in a stable, low hostility environment.  The State isn’t concerned whether I love the person I want to marry.  They never asked if I was emotionally enamored with, or sexually attracted to the person I wanted to marry.  But this is all secondary to the the fact that:

  • It is nowhere prohibited for two consenting adults to make life-long commitments to each other.
  • It is nowhere prohibited for two consenting adults to make their commitment before family and friends.
  • It is nowhere prohibited to make that commitment in a religiously contextualized ceremony.  (There is no shortage of clergy who would be willing to perform a wedding ceremony for homosexuals)
  • It is nowhere prohibited to describe the ceremony as a wedding.
  • It is nowhere prohibited for same-sex partners to refer to each other as “husband” or “wife” regardless of their gender.

Even in States where same-sex marriage or civil unions are not legal, homosexuals have all the same rights as heterosexuals when it comes to marriage. What same-sex marriage advocates do not like is that they also have the same restrictions.  Rights aren’t the issue. Everyone has the same rights.  Both heterosexuals and homosexuals can marry one person of the opposite sex, of legal age to marry, who is not of close relation as defined by the State, who is free to marry i.e., not already married.  This is the definition of equal.  The law is applied to all persons exactly the same.

Jesus calls us to have empathy, compassion and an open heart for all human beings. Not just people who follow Him. Not just Christians. Not just believers. Not just straight people. BUT EVERYONE. And this includes gay people. They are your neighbors, too. So if we are to follow what Jesus is asking of us, we MUST demand that gay people have the right to marry. Why? Because to NOT do so would not be loving them as we love ourselves. And that would make us hypocrites pretending to love Jesus.

Christians and lovers of Jesus should be the first people to allow people who love each other to get married, regardless of their sexual orientation. Jesus was all about Love, not rules and regulations. But LOVE.

The former has been addressed above, and to repeat myself would be as redundant as Kipp’s reiteration here.  Jesus was an obedient Jew.  In fact, he was so obedient that he perfectly kept the Law.  As an obedient jew, he would have condemned same-sex sexual relationships as they were prohibited by the Law.  Jesus, when he forgave sinners (yes, sinners) he was notorious for parting with the phrase, “Go and sin no more“. He didn’t just “love” them as Kipp would like to believe.  He recognized they were sinners and that they needed to change that.  Jesus spoke more about hell and the need to repent than any other subject.  On a tangent, how “loving” was Jesus when he drove the money changers out of the temple with a whip?  Or called the Pharisees a brood of vipers and white-washed sepulchers?

It’s that simple. Based on these top two commandments, I believe that Jesus would support gay people getting married.

On top of that, the idea of gay marriage is absurd. We live in a time where we are being asked to open our hearts, expand our minds and step into a larger world view. Marriage isn’t gay or straight, any more than voting is male, female, white, black or yellow. There’s just the right to vote. The right for every HUMAN BEING to vote. And the same goes for two consenting adults who want to get married.

Calling it “gay marriage” is akin to “separate but equal.” It’s still not fully recognizing the closed mindedness of such a label.

Based on The biblical teaching of marriage, sexuality, and sin, I know Jesus would not support same-sex marriage.  I agree that the idea of “gay marriage” is absurd.  Gay individuals already can get married as noted above.  What is at issue is whether same-sex marriage should be legal.  Should we alter the nature of marriage to appease the feelings of a miniscule population?

Does Kipp really believe any two consenting adults should be permitted to legally marry?  Father and son/daughter? Grandmother and grandson/daughter? Brothers, sisters, or brother and sister?  If not, is “separate but equal” ok for them?  Are those prohibitions closed-minded?

I have a problem when people try to justify a certain point of view with the Bible when the view is explicitly condemned therein.  Narrow parameters such as only consulting the red letters, or diminishing the value of the whole of Scripture is both intellectually and spiritually dishonest.  The Bible condemns, in the strongest terms possible, homosexual sex.  There are no passages in the Bible which discuss homosexual sex in a positive light.

One is free to support same-sex marriage.  But trying to justify it with the Bible is dishonest.  I understand the desire to do so.  The Bible holds authority.  If you can make it sound as if Jesus is for it, then the opposition is arguing with Jesus, and that’s a no-no.

Overall, I find Kipp to be either uninformed biblically, or intentionally manipulative.  He exhibits a very shallow and whimsical view of Jesus that simply isn’t supported by the entirety of Scripture.  Much like Dr. Janet Edwards’ attempt to show biblical support for same-sex marriage (See: Smoke And Mirrors), Kipp displays a selfish approach to this issue.  One wroght with emotional appeal but no substantive content.

To answer the question, yes, Jesus does love LGBT people. But love does not require letting someone continue in their sin. Jesus loves sinners by forgiving their sin when they repent and seek it. He loves them by warning them to sin no more. And he loves them by not pandering to them letting them believe they are not sinning.

Comments

  1. Excellent post. Exactly how I would have responded.

  2. Nice deconstruction of Kipp’s argument.

    I agree with most of your points. As a Christian, I do not support the sin of homosexuality, but as an American, I do not want to see any legislation based on religious views.

    Maybe it would be better if the government just stopped recognizing any kind of committed relationship between two (or three, or four) as some kind of legally binding contract.

    • Thanks JP

      But would you agree that if we were to forego all government approved marriage because of the controversy is akin to the kindergarten policy that if you don’t want to invite ALL the kids to your party, you can’t ask any?

      Obviously the analogy isn’t sound, but is the solution to abolish all marriage because samessex marriage is controversial? I mean, opposition for samesex marriage doesn’t have to come from religious arguments, under the samesex marriage tab you’ll see that I argue against it and don’t invoke “icky” or religion. I have also seen many secular arguments in favor of traditional marriage.

      • This doesn’t exactly answer you question (sorry), but I think Christ would say to the kindergarten kid to invite everyone to the party.

        I am not saying abolish all marriage. But marriage as a covenant with God doesn’t need government support, regulation, or otherwise.

        • JP

          I definitely agree Christ would tell the kid to invite everyone.

          And I also agree that government isn’t required for marriage. My bullet points show that. Homosexuals can get married already. I don’t know how much I would object if the State decided to step out of the marriage support. But I think they saw some long term benefit in encouraging it.

  3. Marshall Art says:

    Indeed, the state sanctioning of traditional marriage is seen as beneficial move for the state itself. Those benefits are not recognized by just any other arrangement of people.

    I don’t think Jesus would tell the kid to invite everyone if it included those who would negatively influence the behavior of the rest. It is within Christian doctrine to cast out the unrepentant and to not yoke ourselves to the unbeliever.

    “We live in a time where we are being asked to open our hearts, expand our minds and step into a larger world view.”

    And herein is a great aspect of the problem. We are being asked to open our hearts to all manner of behavior simply because some people want the behaviors to be recognized as morally benign, not because they truly are. We are being asked to be OF the world. Even an atheist is at risk doing this.

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  1. […] the interests of reasoned and intelligent debate, here is John (original context here).I am always on the lookout for new topics to write about.  And some of the most fertile places […]

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