By Josie Camarillo
Over the past few weeks, a number of Facebook posts, including a friend’s public “coming out” have pulled my attention in the direction of the homosexuality debate raging in our society and particularly in faith communities right now. There are a wide range of stances across America, across the globe, and even among Christians (see this article and this video for just two differing examples on this spectrum) on this hot button issue. Sometimes, these discussions and opinions are shared respectfully, but often the stories that make the news are much more negative. Regardless of my personal opinions on the topic, it pains me to see the hateful words used by others – including my fellow Christians – during some of these discussions.
At this point, my intention is not even to share my exact view or debate that opinion. Like many others, there are times I still wrestle with where to stand, but what I do know is how I want to stand and how I want to approach others.
No matter what side of this debate a Christian individual chooses to fall on, I firmly believe that he or she has a responsibility to remember the “golden rule” of our faith: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12) or as Jesus urges in Mark 12:31, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Hatred fuels the fire of dissension. In my opinion, there is enough division in the Christian church and the world as it is without hating one another over this issue. Productive debate is one thing, but hatred is another. Even if someone believes homosexuality to be a sin, I would encourage him or her to remember,
1) Everyone sins in some way and in that regard, sins are not necessarily “worse” than one another (see James 2:10), and
2) You can love someone and be respectful toward them and also hate their actions or sins. As St. Augustine said, “Love the sinner, but hate the sin” (or as Gandhi said, “Hate the sin, love the sinner”). It is even biblical (see Matthew 5:43-48)
I imagine that there are few faith perspectives who would disagree with the idea of loving your neighbors – caring for others around you, perhaps even despite some decisions or actions of theirs with which one may disagree. The concept of loving one’s enemies might be a little rarer, but that is not my place to say. What do you say? Despite, or perhaps because of, your stance on homosexuality, how do and how will you respond to others?
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- How I discuss homosexuality as a Christian and why - November 7, 2014
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- How I found my calling as a social worker at age 21 - April 28, 2014
- How, why I celebrate St. Patrick’s Day - March 17, 2014
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- Belief in hell - February 24, 2014
- Beefcake vs. bikini: Checking my biases about Spokane baristas - February 21, 2014
- Whitworth in the snow - February 18, 2014
- Churches and technology: The good, the bad and the ugly - February 17, 2014