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Comparison of six views of homosexuality with regard to:

Differentiating morally between orientation & behavior.
 Groups which support the various viewpoints.

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The six viewpoints, from:

bullet  "Condemnation" -- the most conservative and traditional -- to
bullet "Liberation" -- the most liberal --

are actually stereotypes. They don't necessarily fit the opinions of individual people. Many will hold beliefs that combine more than one viewpoint.

Presenting data in this way emphasizes that there are more sets of beliefs than the two extreme views that one hears so often in the media.

bullet One sentence description (repeated):
Viewpoint Description or main emphasis
"Abomination" Homosexuality is profoundly immoral at all times.
"Change is expected" Homosexuals can change their sexual orientation, with effort
"Celibacy is expected" Homosexuals must either change or be celibate.
"Marginally acceptable" Committed homosexual relationships are the least awful option.
"Equality" Seek equal rights. Homosexuality, is morally neutral.
"Liberation" Reinterpret the Bible. Homophobia, not being lesgay, is the main evil.

bullet Moral difference between homosexual orientation and behavior:
ViewpointMoral difference between homosexual orientation & behavior:
"Abomination"There is no such thing as homosexual orientation, because everyone is is fundamentally heterosexual. However, due to addiction and a perverted mind, homosexuals trapped in that lifestyle do lust for same-sex activity. There is no moral difference between homosexual feelings and behavior. Both are very serious sins:
bullet Romans 1:24 condemns men and women who simply desire same-sex sexual encounters. It refers to: "....uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts."
bullet Romans 1:26 condemns men for homosexual feelings: They "burned in their lust one toward another."
bullet Jesus equated sexual lust with behavior in Matthew 5:28 when he said: "That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
"Change is expected"Those who hold this viewpoint are divided on the existence of sexual orientation. However, many do not regard the mere presence of homosexual desires as sinful. They would not by themselves prevent a person from being saved. However homosexual behavior is profoundly sinful. Thus, one can differentiate morally between desire and behavior.
"Celibacy is expected"There is a major difference between orientation and behavior. Since a homosexual orientation is not chosen, having such an orientation with its accompanying longings is not sinful. However, homosexual acts are always disordered and intrinsically evil.
"Marginally acceptable"There is a major difference between orientation and behavior. Having a homosexual orientation is free of sin because it is not chosen and, in the vast majority of cases, cannot be changed. However, homosexual behavior is chosen and is inherently sinful. Sexual activity in a committed loving relationship is less sinful than is promiscuity.
"Equality"There can be a major difference between orientation and behavior, depending upon the context of the latter. One's sexual orientation, whether it be homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual, is fixed and unchosen. It is as sinless as having red hair or blue eyes. Sexual behavior, whether same-sex or opposite-sex, is morally neutral. It can be free of sin if it is consensual, non-coercive, safe, and within a loving committed relationship. Otherwise it is morally unacceptable.
"Liberation"One's sexual orientation is not a moral factor. Thus, the question is meaningless. "Morality is not a matter of what we do with our genitals, but of the compassion, caring and practical justice we bring to our dealings with one another." 2 Thus, sexual behavior -- whether same-sex or opposite-sex, can be moral or immoral, depending upon its context.

bullet Groups supporting the various viewpoints:
ViewpointGroups supporting the various viewpoints 3
"Abomination"This is the most conservative point of view and is held by individuals and groups at the extreme right wing of Christianity. That this includes many unaffiliated Fundamentalist churches, and the Southern Baptist Convention. 4 Among para-church organizations which support this viewpoint are the American Family Association, 5 the Traditional Values Coalition, 6 and -- before its dissolution in 1989 -- the Moral Majority.
"Change is expected"This viewpoint is held by many Charismatic, Pentecostal, Fundamentalist and other Evangelical churches. Para-church organizations that support this position include Exodus Global Alliance, 7Focus on the Family, 8 Love in Action, 9Desert Stream Ministry, and other transformational ministries. 10
"Celibacy is expected"This is the most recent position taught by the Roman Catholic Church. Several mainline Protestant Christian denominations officially accept this viewpoint, but are heavily split on the issue between conservatives and liberals. Converting to a more liberal position or a denominational schism are distinct possibilities. The largest denominations which hold this viewpoint include the Episcopal Church, USA; Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church (USA); and United Methodist Church. The only major para-church group who promotes this viewpoint is believed to be Courage, 11 a Roman Catholic group which supports homosexuals in a celibate lifestyle.
"Marginally acceptable"There are no known denominations or para-church organizations which promote this viewpoint. These beliefs are primarily found among some individual liberal Evangelical and some mainline pastors and other church leaders.
"Equality "Supporters of this viewpoint include:
bullet The United Church of Christ.
bullet The United Church of Canada,
bullet The Unitarian Universalist Association.
bullet Individual liberal pastors and other church leaders.
bullet Most of the para-church homosexual support organizations associated with the major denominations -- like Affirmation (two groups), Dignity, Evangelicals Concerned, GLAD, Integrity, Interweave Continental, Lutherans Concerned, and More Light Presbyterians. 12-20
"Liberation"Supporters of this viewpoint include:
bullet The more liberal membership and clergy of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. 21
bullet The Evangelical Anglican Church in America. 22

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Useful references:

  1. L.R. Holben, "What Christians think about homosexuality: Six representative viewpoints," Bibal Press, (1999). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store
  2. Will Leckie, "The courage to love: A gay priest stands up for his beliefs," Bantam Doubleday, (1996). Quoted in Reference 1.
  3. According to L.R. Holben, op. cit.
  4. The Southern Baptist Convention has an official home page at:
  5. The American Family Association has an official home page at:
  6. The Traditional Values Coalition is an inter-denominational public policy organization which deals with abortion access, equal rights for homosexuals, and other hot topics. Their official home page is at:
  7. Exodus Global Alliance (Exodus International before 2004) offers "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ." They have an official home page at:
  8. Focus on the Family is a Fundamentalist public policy group that provides literature, a web site, conferences, radio programs, and magazines. Their web site is at:
  9. Love in Action offers a support group, conferences, residential  programs and intensive programs for individuals and their families who suffer from homosexuality and other problems. They have an official home page at:
  10. Desert Stream Ministries ministers "the Life of Jesus to the sexually & relationally broken." Their official home page at:
  11. Courage is a support group for Roman Catholics. The have chapters worldwide. Their home page is at:
  12. Affirmation is a support group for gay and lesbian Mormons. See:
  13. Affirmation is also the name of an activist caucus of United Methodist lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. See:
  14. Dignity is a support group for Roman Catholics. See:
  15. Evangelicals Concerned is a support group for Evangelical Christians. See:
  16. The Gay, Lesbian and Addirming Disciples Alliance (GLAD) is a support group for members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). See:
  17. Integrity is a support group for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Episcopalians. See:
  18. Interweave Continental: Unitarian Universalists for Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Concerns has a home page at: 
  19. Lutherans Concerned is a support group primarily for Lutherans. See:
  20. More Light Presbyterians is a support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of the Presbyterian Church (USA). See:
  21. Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches is "a worldwide fellowship of Christian churches with a special outreach to the world's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities. See:
  22. Evangelical Anglican Church in America appears to be a very small, liberal offshoot of the Episcopal Church, USA. See:

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Copyright 2004 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2004-SEP-19
Latest update: 2004-SEP-19

Author: B.A. Robinson

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