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Can Homosexuality & Christianity truly co-exist?

30th November 2022

The relationship between homosexuality and Christianity has varied over the years between churches, there are still various countries that homosexuality is a crime in meaning there still does not seem to be a middle ground when it comes to the two in many parts of the world. There seems to be an unsaid rule that you must be one of the other. You must pick a side. Carl Quist investigates whether if the two lifestyles can co-exist.

Homosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behaviour between members of the same sex or gender. Whereas Christianity is a religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Conflict between the two communities has been around, since the first decades of Christianity. Christian leaders have written about homosexual activities thought-out history considered the behaviour as immoral and sinful.

“Do not practice homosexuality having sex with another man as with a woman. It is detestable sin.”

- Leviticus 18:22

The Bible is very precious to Christians, it is stated to be God’s very own written word. It is a form of guidance many areas in life. Therefore, as a Christian you most follow the rules set in the bible to live a life of no sin which leads you to heaven after death. This why most Christians are totally against the idea of Homosexuality because it is stated as a sin and Christian should width hold from sin.

Ebenezer Kumi Opoku is a 23-year-old content creator who has a 30k following on TikTok. He recently went viral of TikTok for expressing to his following that he does not consider himself as a queer man anymore.

Ebenezer stated that he went on a spiritual journey as he felt like he was going through an identity crisis. On this journey, he felt like he became closer to God. He had the revelation that the life he was living was not right. Ebenezer dealt with not only physical but mental abuse, even from his mother due to him being Gay.

He said: “I just felt an urge to share my experience with my followers because who knows what someone else could be going through the same exact thing.

“Growing up in religious household I did feel the pressure changing who I was, I was constantly condemned.

“Before I even came out as gay, everything I did was labelled as gay because I was feminine man. So, from an early age, I was told me being myself as a flamboyant man was wrong and that if I did not change my ways I will burn in hell.

I constantly felt uncomfortable, there were cases where I was physically getting attacked in church because of my sexuality. I went through both verbal and physical abuse growing up in my house just because I was Gay. Even before I was able to come to terms with it, my family had already put it on me and decided I will get punished for being Gay.

—Ebenezer Kumi Opoku

“I would buy colourful clothes; my mother would take the clothes out hit me with them then throw them away. It was so bad to the point that I could not leave the house because I had nothing to wear.

“My mother even came into my school to verbally attack my friends and teachers because they supported my lifestyle. I would even leave school frighten to go back home.”

This is a prime example why some queer individuals fear going to church due to the overload of religious trauma. Religious trauma syndrome (RTS) occurs when an individual struggles with leaving a religion or a set of beliefs. It often involves the trauma of breaking away from a controlling environment, lifestyle, or religious figure.

A qualitative research project which interviewed members of the LGBTQ+ community who have spent two or more years in an Evangelical church setting found that participants were subjects to mis-characterisation and viewed as moral threat, and consequently experienced erasure, social distancing, and suffered psychological trauma.

Ebenezer believes that you can only be Gay and still call yourself a Christian to a certain extent.

He said: “When I was at my lowest, I decided to block everyone out and build my own relationship with God, learnt his word for myself not hearing through the lips of someone else as things are all conveyed to us differently.

You can be both, but it will not truly work because of the truth in the what the faith projects, calling yourself gay and Christian is living to way are contrary to the way God wants you to live.

—Ebenezer Kumi Opoku

“I am not saying come to God and you will be straight, it does not work like that, we all have different journeys. When I decided to give my life to Christ it was not to stop being gay, it is hard to example he was just speaking to me, that is when saw the sins and desire that I once thought was right, I did not see them in the same way as I once did.”

The pressure from some families helps push the narrative that you cannot live that lifestyle and still call yourself a Christian. But not everyone falls under that pressure.

Matthew Jules, a 20-year- old queer man who is a Law student at Warwick University, publicly made it known about his opinion on Ebenezer’s viral video.

He stated: “I am not him so I cannot speak on his experience, but I do not agree with the idea that you cannot call yourself a true Christian whilst still identify as gay.

My sexuality has never been a factor for me not to feel comfortable in church, I exist as evidence that I can be queer and still believe in God.

—Matthew Jules

“I love going to church, always have and always will, but I would be lying if I said I do not worry about societal trauma, societal discrimination as I was constantly told growing up that gay people end up in hell. Comments like this would then take a toll on my mental health, there was nothing I could do about it as I grew up in an area were homophobe ran rapid.

“I am second-generation immigrant, so due to parents going up in a country where homosexuality was absolutely demonised. This affected me from being comfortable to come out to them and people around for years.”

This is where Ebenezer and Matthew are different - Ebenezer had the pressure of a toxic household whereas Matthew did not. Matthew may have not had 100% support of his religious family, but they were not against him either, he had the privilege of going to church with no-one knowing his sexual preferences, which allowed him to still comfortable in church as gay man and a Christian.

Some may agree that that if the church knew about Matthew’s sexual preference it could have affected his experience in an unpleasant way.

Primary reason for homelessness for LGBTQ+ youth

Half of young LGBTQ+ community are left homeless after coming out, according by the Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT). Their research suggests that 77% of those cite familial rejection or abuse as the main cause, and 45% of those identify with faith background. The Trust says the majority are from Muslim and Christian families.

Many Christians have various views on God, God is described as unique, sovereign, unchanging, loving, and caring. Some struggle to believe that the God they know, and love would condemn people to hell for their sexuality. Therefore, some Christians choose to have a personal connection to God as the bible tends contradict itself.

“God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

—Romans 1:26-27

They are many more bible scriptures like this that convey homosexuality as lifestyle that is not supported by Christian. This puts queer individuals who consider themselves Christians in a rough patch as they are told they cannot enter the kingdom of God. This leads to some queer individuals changing their ways, depriving their sexual emotions and desires as they believe if they genuinely want to be considered a child of God, they cannot do both.

Now that we are in a post-modern generation, the relationship between homosexuality and Christianity has developed. Although most Christian denominational churches regard homosexuality as sin, the LGBTQ+ community are being received into the congregations and allowing them to have roles within the church. There are now openly lesbian, gay, and bisexual bishops, pastors, and priest. The gay rights movement increased the discussion within some Christian churches about the topic of inclusion which then led to increased churches accepted gay marriages to place under them.

There are still several churches that are not open to the idea of inclusion due to many reasons. Pastor Nana, a minster at Divine Life Assembly, stated that every church had its own domination with its own beliefs.

He said: “What I believe is that you cannot teach the word if you do not accept the Lord in your life. “Therefore, I cannot judge a gay man’s relationship with God, I can only go off what the bibles says. I do not like to mix my personal values with my faith.

“I am not gay so I will never be able to understand that way of life but, for example, if I could change my accent I would. So, if someone says they do not like it I cannot do anything about it, the same way I cannot change my beliefs or the way I am to accommodate someone else.

“I believe we should love everyone no matter what and that goes for people who identify as gay. I do not think any Christian should go out the to hate them or even worst kill or harm them in anyway.”

Pastor Nana stated why he would not accept gay marriage in his church.

If I go to a Mosque and say I want to bring drums to play and bring my choir to sing, they will say no because it is not a part of their religion. So, you cannot expect me to do it if it is not a part of my religion.

—Pastor Nana

Minster B. Clement, a minster, author, and entrepreneur, has been vocal about how she is conflicted about the whole issue about being Gay and a Christian.

She said: “I am not coming from an angle of right or wrong, or whether I have decided or made up my mind. I am conflicted but still on a journey when it comes to the whole idea of it.

“Church is for everybody, everyone who is seeking Christ is welcomed, I cannot think of anybody that Jesus turned away so we should not do the same. So, yes, I do think LGBTQ people should be welcomed into the congregation.

When it comes to gay marriage this where I am most conflicted. A union is original planned for people so if I put a full stop there, I would find it exceedingly difficult to accept same sex marriage.

—Minster B. Clement

“Pretty much what I think is that I am not sure if people are born Gay or if it is a lifestyle of choice. But, if the case is that they are indeed born gay, I would find it difficult to say they cannot be Christian. On the other hand, if being gay is learned behaviour or a chosen lifestyle it is then incompatible with the bible.

“One of the reasons I did not become a Christian earlier on in life is because I knew if I were to say I am one, I would fully have to live my life as one according to the world of God. For example, I could not say I am a Christian and be bedhopping or still smoking, living a life of sin. I honestly believe when you come in connect with Jesus you are convicted with things you do in life.

“I do know a good amount of people who are gay and identify as Chirstian are conflicted. I know a particular guy who is gay but when he encountered Christ, he could not continue his lifestyle because it is not compatible with his faith, so his solution was to abstain from being in any type of relationship.

“Some do not agree with that, they believe God should take them as they are. I find that hard to go by, if it is a lifestyle choice like smoking, because when you come in contact with Christ, he cleans you up. I do not see why homosexuality would be any different.”

It is an endless debate on what causes homosexuality. Some may say they were born this way and it is just an inner feeling just like the way heterosexuals have feelings and attraction for each other. There is the argument that it is just a lifestyle choice, a desire, and people see desires as things you should not always act on.

Scientists do not yet know the exact cause of sexual orientation, but they theorise that it is caused by complex interplay of genetic, hormonal, and environmental influences and do not view it as a choice.

Ramone Akeal, a London fashion stylist, said he knew he was Gay from an early age. He said: “I first knew when I realised, I had attraction towards boys more than girls. I grew up not liking football, instead I enjoyed music and dance more. Plus, my first intimate encounter was with a boy not a girl.

I do not believe it is a choice I did not wake up one day and I decided to be Gay, it does not work like that. My attraction came naturally just like how everyone else does, it is not that hard to comprehend.

— Ramone Akeal

Ramone believes both Homosexuality and Christian can co-exist, saying: “I did grow up around Christians and yes it was hard because they strong beliefs. However, some are open minded and believe that God made us this way for a reason, and he loves us regardless so if God can expect so can they.

“I did not really explore my sexuality at an early age, I was aware of it but kept it to myself, so I did not feel uncomfortable in church. I was not affected in anyway.

“I believe two can co-exist, I was watching a video where two men were debating ‘is homosexuality unnatural.’ One of the guys made an argument that animals (Gods creations) participate in homosexual activities for certain purposes.

“Lucky enough for me, in my line of work, I never had an issue with a client due to their religious beliefs against my lifestyle as a queer man.

“Penguins have same sex parents and adopt children to keep them safe, lions do it for their pride and ego which strengthens their mentality. So, if Gods creations are naturally participating in those activities, then so can humans. We were made this way on purposes by God.

Vakaris Merkas a psychology student at Greenwich University, stated that he believes Christians who are homophobic are not real Christians.

“I will always feel comfortable going to church and being around Christians because a real Christian will always be there to love and to be there in a time of need. He stated.

I believe Christians and homosexuality can co-exist together because when it all said and done at the end of the day. We are all people facing the same struggles in life which we can all help support each other and hopefully learn from each other too.

—Vakaris Merkas

“We all need to just need to educate ourselves, so we can evolve as a society.”

Even through the world we are living in is growing homosexuality is still criminalise in 69 countries and almost half of these are in Africa. Many of the laws criminalising homosexual relations originate from colonial times.

And in many places, breaking these laws could be punishable by long prison sentences. It says the death penalty is the legally prescribed punishment for same-sex sexual acts in Brunei, Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and in the northern states in Nigeria. A lot of these countries are high on religious values and take pride upholding them.

Furthermore, times are changing with so far, 28 countries in the world recognise same-sex marriages, and 34 others provide alternate partnership for same-sex couples.

When it comes to Idea of the two communities co-exist it can be possible, with the information gather it conveys that it is only up to a person individual belief. As we have heard from individuals who identify as Gay and are Christians just as we have heard from an individual who does not identify as queer anymore due to his personal and religious beliefs.

As an individual you cannot determine another person's relationship with God, so rightfully so no one can say if a person who identify as Gay cannot be Christian. Nor can you force your beliefs onto another person. Some Christians strictly go by the word of the Lord, the Bible. They have every right to. Church is a place Grace and Love just because one is not right for you does not mean there is not one for you. As Christians it is your Job to love one another the way you would love yourself, it is the greatest commandment.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

Mark 12:31

As society grows the relationship will grow with it. Furthermore, both communities to co-exist the main denominator is respect. It is all about respect when respect is given it will be received.