I’m grateful to all the Christians who have respectfully argued against some of the claims this chart makes. Thank you for contextualizing and elaborating on the verses mentioned. To be perfectly honest, none of it is all that mind-blowing, despite being very well-argued.
Here’s what actually amazes me:
Many Christians I knew growing up in a very religious community seemed to view marriage as a more-or-less universal objective to be met by everyone, as if the human experience itself would be incomplete without marriage as a fundamental component of it.
According to all of the scriptural interpretations offered here so far, lesbian and gay Christians clearly do not have the option to enter a marriage, or any relationship akin to it, with a partner of the same gender*. Those Christians must be willing to accept a life without a committed, monogamous partner relationship (which I would just call a “marriage,” but I am trying to be respectful of the biblical definition of marriage for the purposes of this comment), and perhaps living without that kind of relationship — which, again, most straight Christians consider a foundational one in their own lives — is the particular burden or “brokenness” that gay and lesbian Christians are asked to bear**.
I feel I’m able to articulate what I have thus far because many Christians are expert at delineating the different paths that straight and non-straight Christians, respectively, are asked to follow. Yet, when I ask them questions like this:
“Outside of their relationships with God, what kinds of human relationships do you think have the potential to engage gay Christians in the kind of deep emotional intimacy that heterosexual Christians (and married couples generally) aspire to in their marriages?”
or “What do you think would be the most fulfilling or meaningful aspect of a lifelong pledge of celibacy?”
or “How do you make the gay Christians in your faith community who strive to live chastely know that they are loved and valued, both by you individually and by your wider church community?” …
…I get mostly crickets. Occasionally I hear, “Well, they can make friends.”
That lack of generosity and imagination blows my mind far more than swashbuckling exegetical maneuvers ever have.
*An aside: I wouldn’t deny anyone’s personal claim that, through their faith, they were able to rid themselves of unwanted same-sex desire, and/or were made to be able to feel heterosexual desire. From personal experience, however, I believe those cases are exceedingly rare, and that most people have little or no sense of control over, nor realistic prospects of changing, the sexual desires they feel and likely have always felt. (The agency that all people have, of course, is in choosing whether or not to act on those desires.)
**Another aside: One of the more encouraging conclusions I’ve drawn from reading many personal comments from individual Christians on this issue (I have odd reading habits, I know…) is that far fewer gay people nowadays will have to know how it feels to be called “broken,” sometimes by people who haven’t taken even five minutes to get to know you. Finding new words to communicate the belief that, in God’s judgement, every human begins life from an already-fallen moral status would do wonders for making that idea itself more palatable, and I’m heartened that many Christians try earnestly to do just that.