This statement may seem “tolerant” on the surface, but in reality, this is not the practice of a significant percentage of LCMS pastors and churches. The statement below characterizes the attitude of many LCMS pastors and laypersons on the issue of homosexuality:
“There is nothing healthy about unnatural desires (homosexual attraction), and there is nothing healthy in pursuing them or indulging them. The people who suffer from these desires need the same help that alcoholics need, support to abstain and channel their energies into healthy activities that interest them.” (read full post with this and other comments here)
—-from the blog of LCMS pastor, Larry Peters, Grace Lutheran Church, Clarksville, Tennessee:
This comment was made by an anonymous Christian reader, but Pastor Peters, who moderates the comments on his blog, makes no attempt to correct or reprimand this comment.
And this is not the first time that I, as a (former) member of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, have run across this appalling belief. Here is a second post, written by another LCMS Lutheran pastor, echoing the same belief—same-sex attraction is a sin, not just homosexual acts—a post which I found so “un-Jesus-like”, so mean-spirited and cruel, that my intense condemnation of this position ultimately resulted in my banishment from commenting further on this blog, The Brothers of John the Steadfast, probably the most popular, and most vicious, anti-gay, ultra-conservative Lutheran website on the internet. Here is a link to this post, entitled Failing Homosexuals and below are a couple of excerpts:
LCMS Pastor Paul Harris, contributor to The Brothers of John the Steadfast confessional Lutheran blog:
“The LCMS’s latest foray into our society’s blitzkrieg of accepting sexual deviancy is found in the October 2013 issue of The Lutheran Witness. There is hope yet, but not if we don’t break from our past. True to bureaucratic thinking there is no formal backing away, let alone repenting of, the 1999 “A Plan for the Ministry to Homosexual and Their Families” prepared by The Task Force on Ministry to Homosexuals and Their Families. Yet the Witness only has one reference to once a homosexual always homosexual and the myth that there is such a thing as a Christian homosexual. There can’t be anymore than there is such a thing as a Christian murderer, liar, thief, or adulterer.
The 1999 Plan said both. Homosexual orientation is not a sin, and that you can be a homosexual and still be a Christian. On page 21 we read, “If homosexual orientation and behavior are not differentiated in public preaching and teaching, the person with a homosexual orientation will perceive himself or herself as condemned before God without redemption.” Wait a minute isn’t that what a heterosexual oriented toward his neighbor’s wife, a teen oriented toward his girlfriend, or an adult toward a child ought to perceive? Isn’t that preaching the Law as if there is no Gospel?
Later on it said this, “Sexual orientation does not invalidate Holy Baptism. God’s grace and the inclusion of the baptized into the family of God are fully present in the person of homosexual orientation. God does not love someone less because he or she is homosexual” (28). Insert “Orientation towards violence to others” and “oriented toward violence,” and “a murderer” in the italicized portions above. And if you can’t do that with the Fifth Commandment, you can’t do it with the Sixth.
In reality, the position expressed in the 1999 Plan is the same position the ELCA had in the 90s: you can be gay as long as you are celibate. This is the first step on the path to where the ELCA is today. It begins with distinguishing homosexual feelings from acts (Again try doing that with heterosexual lust and adultery; Jesus says you can’t in Matthew 5:28.). Step two is accepting celibate homosexuality. Step three is to accept homosexual acts. The reasoning that leads to this is as follows. We deny celibacy is a command from God in regard to heterosexuals, so how can say it is in the case of homosexuals? This in turn leads to the necessity of Step Four the acceptance of gay marriage. That’s the only acceptable way for homosexuals not to have to live a life of enforced celibacy.
…Preaching the Law as if there is no Gospel says there is no hope for anyone who defends any sin. I can’t stand before God and defend my heterosexual lusting anymore than he (the same-sex attracted person) can stand before God defending his homosexual lusting. But what about orientation? If we accept homosexual orientation we have no grounds for rejecting pedophile or bestial orientation.
Is there hope? Of course there is! Paul trumpets it in I Corinthians 6:9-11: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.” No more than the unrighteous, fornicators, adulterers, thieves, drunkards, or swindlers can inherit eternal life can homosexuals. But the Gospel is that no one is bound to their sins by genes, by addiction, by fate, by chromosomes. Jesus living the perfect life we can’t, and dying the guilty death we should broke the bonds of not just Death, not just the Devil, but Sin too.
We have to repent of approaching this sin differently than we do all others.”
Gary: What ignorant nonsense! This may not be hate speech (although I believe it comes pretty close), but it is stupid…really stupid…speech. It is also very harmful speech, especially for teens and young adults dealing with same sex attraction while at the same time confronting persisting social stigma attached to that attraction.
So as much as LCMS Lutherans and many other fundamentalist Christians may say in their official documents that it is homosexual acts that are the sin, in reality, these self-appointed judges and juries of Good and Evil believe that it is the attraction itself that is evil!
Medical studies have proven for a fact that the overwhelming majority of same-sex attracted persons do not choose to be same sex-attracted. Most persons who are same-sex attracted cannot remember ever not being attracted to persons of the same sex! In other words, most same-sex attracted persons have always been attracted to members of their own gender and have never been attracted to persons of the opposite gender.
So is same-sex attraction “unnatural” and “unhealthy” as these fundamentalists state above?
I am a physician. I can tell you as fact that no medical specialty society in the United States, including pediatricians, family physicians, internists, psychiatrists, and geneticists believe that same-sex attraction is “unnatural” or “unhealthy”. None. This unanimous position among all medical specialty societies regarding same-sex attraction is based on science, not on ancient holy books and the sexual behaviors and morality of Bronze Age nomads, as is the position of the LCMS and other orthodox/fundamentalist Christian churches, ultra-orthodox Jews, and fundamentalist Muslims; religious groups that have been demonizing same-sex attracted teens and adults for millennia .
Same-sex attraction is not a disease, such as alcoholism. This is the ignorant thinking and teachings of clerics who should stick to their field of expertise…ancient holy books, superstitions, and religious rituals…not science, medicine, or psychology.
This ignorant fundamentalist teaching is the direct cause of dozens if not hundreds of American teenagers committing suicide each year. This teaching tells the young person that he or she, as a human being, is innately evil; how could he or she not be innately evil since he or she has never experienced “God-given and ordained” same-sex attraction, but has only experienced “sinful, wicked, unnatural, diabolical”, same-sex attraction?
Fundamentalist Christians, Jews, Muslims and other religious groups are free to believe whatever ancient superstitions and standards of morality that they choose. However, when they try to impose these ancient beliefs upon society as a whole, today in 21st century America, all freedom and liberty loving Americans must stand up and say, “Keep your superstitions to yourself! Don’t try to force us to comply with your Bronze Age belief systems. Keep your superstition-based morality in your homes, churches, and private schools but don’t attempt to impose them by legislation or intimidation upon the rest of us. We will not remain silent and will fight you with every ounce of patriotism to defend our constitutional liberties, if you attempt to do so!”
For the last three years, until June of this year, I was a devout, LCMS Lutheran and internet blogger, author of Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals, trumpeting the “truths” of confessional/orthodox Lutheran Christianity to the world, as my part-time “hobby”. However, I slowly began to see so many inconsistencies, gaping holes, and downright ugliness in this belief system, that I left orthodox Lutheranism and even orthodox Christianity, entirely. One of the most offensive issues is the horrific, mean-spirited manner in which fundamentalist LCMS Lutherans and other conservative Christians treat gays and lesbians, and even treat same-sex attracted members in their own churches who are trying to follow the “rules” and have chosen a life of celibacy! It is truly an ugly, disgusting, and ignorant belief system and I am truly ashamed to have ever been a part of it.
The closeted, same-sex attracted teenager sitting with his parents in an LCMS church Sunday after Sunday, listening to how evil he is just for existing, has no real voice to speak out against this terrible injustice. He has two choices: Keep quiet or be ostracized by his family, church, and church friends.
The same-sex attracted woman, faithfully attending the LCMS church she grew up in, listening to gays and lesbians being referred to as perverts and fags (yes, LCMS pastors and laypersons really do use those terms. I myself have heard them, even in a men’s bible study, in the church building itself, with two LCMS pastors present, and no one, including the LCMS pastors, raised a single word of objection), struggling with the conflict between her love for Jesus and her devout faith, and, her desire for love and intimacy, also has no voice. She must either keep quiet or be ostracized by her family, church, and church friends.
I have a voice. I have a blog that is viewed on average, 750 times per day, many of those views coming from LCMS Lutherans (It has a new name, however: Escaping Christian Fundamentalism). And I am a physician. I know the medical studies that disprove and shine the light of truth and science on the ignorant statements of pious, scientifically and medically ignorant clergymen who peddle this nonsense: nonsense that causes massive psychological suffering in this country and around the world. These same fundamentalist Christians are responsible for imposing a Christian form of “Sharia Law” on the people of Uganda, treating gays and lesbians as if they are vile, predatory criminals.
This belief system is not from any loving God. It is pure, uneducated, ignorant, nonsense! It is unadulterated bigotry and hate.
And I intend to continue speaking out for those whose voices are not being heard.
Those in positions of power in the LCMS are very much aware of my blog and my criticisms, from LCMS President Matthew Harrison, to popular LCMS WorldView Everlasting “rock star” Rev. Jonathon Fisk, to Pastor Tim Rossow, blog editor of The Brothers of John the Steadfast blog, to the staff members of Concordia Publishing House, the official publishing house of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and the pastors and work associates in St. Louis of Rev. Paul T. McCain, Publisher and Editor of the LCMS; a man who has equated loving adult gay relationships as the moral equivalent of the molestation and rape of adolescent boys.
They are all very much aware of my blog, my “deconversion” from orthodox Lutheranism, and my deconversion from the orthodox Christian Faith; and they are all aware of my condemnation of their absolutely evil behavior. And they are circling the wagons instead of “repenting”. They want to evade my criticism and the effect my criticism will have on the image of this two million member Christian Church.
They will fail.
The Internet is the doom of religious fundamentalism, of all persuasions. Superstition and ignorance are rapidly withering away; melting away under the Internet’s spotlight. Truth is now available to anyone with access to a PC or laptop.
I have formed an organization to monitor hate speech coming from the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod and from other fundamentalist religious organizations, entitled, Citizens United Against Religious Hate Speech. I encourage you to join my fight against religious bigotry and discrimination. This is how you can help:
I cannot monitor the websites of every fundamentalist Christian, Jew, and Muslim. I barely have time to monitor the fundamentalist Lutherans. I ask you to monitor your former fundamentalist religious group, or the fundamentalist religious group of your choice. Shine the light of Truth, Science, and Reason on them. Write emails and letters to them letting them know that they are being watched and monitored. Send letters to prominent members of the city or community in which they are located and from which they operate their hate speech. Let these communities see the true identity of these very ugly purveyors of hate.
We must stand up to these judgmental people! Together we can make a difference. YOU can make a difference! Join me.