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Passing this along from a friend. One small but easy way to get your voice heard. Took me about 5-10 minutes.

I’m currently a senior at Trinity College in CT working on a thesis looking at the sources of influence on the beliefs and practices of Christians who experience same-sex attraction. I’ve been trying to read, listen to, and interview numerous Christians who do have same-sex attractions, both those who believe it is within God’s will to be in a committed, monogamous same-sex relationship and those who believe homosexual partnerships are fully prohibited by God. I created an anonymous online survey as part of the project, and I have been blessed with over 100 responses, but only 19% of them are from gay Christians who believe God prohibits homosexual sex. I must say that I have been grateful to find your blog where I can read a number of posts by people who are gay but celibate. As I’ve been doing my research, it has become apparent that Christians who are gay but not willing to be in gay relationships can often find themselves with condemnation from both sides. So, this blog is a beautiful thing.

Would you consider sharing the link to my survey with your blog readers? I’ve been running it for three months now, and I will have to close it down in a few weeks so I can begin analyzing the data. It is a great hope of mine that I could get a more even response before then. I want to represent well gay Christians who obey God’s prohibition of homosexual sex, but I fear that will be difficult with such a low response rate. Here is the link to the survey, please let me know if you do post it: [link]

28 thoughts on “Survey

  1. Mark from PA

    I took the survey too. According to what I am reading here it seems that most answering this survey do not feel that God prohibits homosexual relationships. I think most people are becoming more accepting of gay people. A positive development has been that the state of California has banned reparative therapy for children. This has been found to be harmful and has even lead some to suicide. It is good that many people really care about protecting our young people.

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  2. Mark from PA

    Steve, the Church does not have a problem with homosexual persons having relationships with other people. We all have relationships with others. The Church says that we should practice chastity in our relationships with others. You speak here often of your relationships with others. This is part of being a human being. Only right wing extremists think that gay people should stay away from “decent people” and not have relationships with them. Yes, I do believe that gay people need to be careful and not have relationships with people that hate homosexuality and dislike gay people. Friendship is important and I realize that being gay means you can’t really have friendships with some people because of negative feelings that some have against gays. But it is good to have relationships with those who care about you and affirm you.

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    1. Steve Gershom

      Of course that is all true, Mark. I’m sure that if you have read my posts you can tell that I think that friendship between men is a very good thing, whether they are homosexual or not. I was referring to a sexual relationship between two men, which is immoral, and which is what most people mean when they say “homosexual relationship.”

      Reply
  3. Mark from PA

    Well, from what this survey shows, it seems that 81% of gay Christians don’t believe that sexual relationships between two men are always immoral. I get somewhat annoyed by people that hate gays and believe that sexual relationships between men are ALWAYS immoral. To many of these people, gay people are some kind of subhuman beings who deserve to be mistreated and discriminated against. A lot of what straight people do is immoral including acts of hatred and violence directed at gay people. They are so willing to point out the sins of others but don’t want to look at their own.

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  4. Mark from PA

    Steve, I was thinking about this last night and found it hard to fall asleep. I guess it was somewhat upsetting. I think most people that hate gays think that sexual relationships between men are always immoral. It may be one of the reasons why they hate them. There are surely people who think that these relationships are immoral but don’t hate gays. Hate is a very strong word. Most of these people don’t probably hate gays, they may just dislike them and find them disgusting. Some may even know some gay people that they actually like so they may accept certain people. It is best not to use always and never in statements as there are usually exceptions. It really isn’t right to stereotype a group of people as immoral. As a young person growing up I wasn’t exposed to a lot of anti-gay sentiment so as an older person it is often upsetting to me to hear harsh rhetoric from some.

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    1. Steve Gershom

      Hello Mark,

      The Church teaches that sexual acts between two men, or between two women, are always immoral. (This is not the same thing as teaching that the *people* are immoral.) Do you believe that the Church is stereotyping? Do you believe that the Church is being anti-gay?

      Steve

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      1. Mark from PA

        Steve, some people in the Church do stereotype and some in the Church are anti-gay. However, a lot of people in the Catholic Church are supportive of equal rights for gay people and for ending discrimination against gay people. Polls have shown that most Catholics are supportive of gay people. Some Catholic leaders are also supportive. Sadly, some other Catholic leaders have been all too obvious in their dislike of gay people. To give an example, the leaders of the Church in Minnesota have been notorious for fanning the flames of anti-gay sentiment in the past couple of years. Reading about what has gone on there has been painful for me. Where I live I haven’t been exposed to this type of hate and it is foreign to me. Surely you know that some states now have same-sex marriage. Do you really believe that people who are married and committed to each other; people who have even been married in religious ceremonies in their respective faiths; are immoral? If someone is promiscuous or if someone forces themselves on another person sexually, this is immoral. Loving another person and being committed to this person is not immoral.

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  5. Caitlin

    I can only speak of myself and many of my good friends and family members as examples, but I certainly don’t hate people who identify as gay or find them “disgusting.” I stand in the position that I think there are a number of actions are immoral (and therefore cause the person to be ultimately unhappy), these include not only homosexual actions, but also sex outside of marriage, the use of contraception and various other actions. I myself have committed actions that I believe are immoral of course — we all face temptations. But I don’t hate people. I have a number of gay friends, just as I have a number of friends who live with their significant others etc. I Its not my place to hate or to judge anyone. However, while we should love anyone that doesn’t preclude believing certain actions to be immoral.

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  6. Mark from PA

    Steve, think of the harm it does to a young gay person who has parents that believe that gay people are disordered and inferior human beings. Think of the harm when this kid’s parents dislike gay people and think that even committed relationships between gay people are immoral. What if you are a boy or young man and your parents believe that it is sinful for a gay man to EVER have an orgasm. Some Catholic actually believe that gay men should never have an orgasm. They think they should remain pure. I don’t know if there is medication that parents can give their kids so that their bodies don’t produce semen or sperm because they view this as sinful. Really it is just part of normal male biology. I remember a priest telling me that the way some in the Church treat gay people is wrong because they are hurting kids. I remember another man telling others of how when his dad found out he was gay that he subjected him to repeated beatings. Then he forced him into reparative therapy which almost cost him his life until he finally refused to submit to this quackery for his own mental health. Who was immoral, this man or his father?

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      1. Mark from PA

        Steve, modern science is discovering more about homosexuality. They know a lot more than they did 50 or 100 years ago. But still there is a lot more to know. Why are some people gay? Some fundamentalist Christians just view being gay as a “lifestyle” that people choose. More and more we are discovering that being gay has biological and genetic origins in many people. The Catholic Church is not opposed to science and doesn’t have a problem with scientific truth. I think the Church’s teachings regarding homosexuality will evolve as people learn more about it. I find some Church documents on homosexuality to be troubling. To give an example, one document says that they are against “unjust discrimination” when it comes to homosexual persons but then goes on to give examples of instances where they justify discrimination against gay people. These documents were written after I was a teen so when I was younger the Church was going in a direction of being more affirming of gay people but some people in the Church didn’t agree with this.

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      2. Mark from PA

        Steve, I have issues with some Church documents on this issue. To give an example from the October 1986 letter of the CDF to Bishops on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons. “The proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when current legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large, should be surprised when … irrational and violent reactions increase.” I find this statement to be chilling. It basically sets gay people aside as a separate group of beings who are disordered, and therefore inferior and defective human beings. I disagree with this. It pretty much goes on to say that if gay people want to press for equal rights and treatment that they need to be prepared to accept violence when they press for equality. It almost seems to excuse violence that those that hate gay people may direct at gay people. This letter does has some positive aspects to it but it almost seems to have been written by two persons with opposing views. The end result is confusion. Are you trying to tell me that if a person does not accept that gay people are disordered, that they are not good Catholics? Have you been following the situation in Uganda where there is a law that will make the homosexual condition a crime which will result in prison sentences and in some cases even the death penalty for people who are homosexuals? Sadly, the Catholic Church has been somewhat tepid in their response to this law in a country which is 42% Catholic. It is a dangerous thing to make some people less than fully human, to take away part of their humanity.

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  7. Mark from PA

    Steve, are you telling me that if a man kisses another man or if a woman kisses another woman that this is always immoral? I think one needs to be careful when dealing in absolutes. You may not like certain things but this does not make them immoral. I spoke frequently with a man on a religious site. This man was a social worker, he lived with another man who was a teacher. They were guardians for a teen with disabilities who couldn’t live with his single mother as she couldn’t adequately help her son. The men also had adopted a younger boy. They were members of the United Church of Christ and were married in this church. They were active in their church and the one man also had a part-time position as church secretary. Would you label these men as immoral? No, I do not accept that sexual relationships between two people of the same sex are always immoral. But I do admit that sometimes sexual activities between people of the same sex are immoral and also sometimes sexual activities between people of the opposite sex are immoral. Rape and prostitution are two examples.

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  8. Sky

    Mark,

    (I hope you don’t mind if I step in, Steve, but I can only watch your skull hit this wall so many times.)

    1. Yes, some people within the Church stereotype, but what does this have to do with same-sex genital activity? “Polls” have very little to do with ethical discourse. The Church concerns herself with Truth when dealing with morality, not public opinion. Besides, Catholics being “supportive” of homosexual people does not necessarily mean they are supportive of same-sex genital activity. This distinction is not often made.

    2. Your points are far too polarizing. You are dividing Church leaders and the everyday Christian into two camps: one where gay people are hated and one where homosexual activity is free and moral and good. However, it is perfectly possible to love your neighbour and decry his/her actions. I don’t need to tell you that Jesus did this quite often.

    “Loving another person and being committed to this person is not immoral.”
    True, but that does not mean we are free and clear to do whatever we want with this person. You are confusing charity with eros.

    3. You group the terms “disordered” and “inferior” together, which is again very polarizing. Just because a parent believes homosexuality is disordered does not mean they think their child inferior. Would you not say the same of a person who has Down’s Syndrome? Surely this is disordered (at least in a cognitive sense), but this child is not inferior or without value – nor does the Church discount the value of homosexual persons.

    4. The Church, in her wisdom, would not make such blanket statements as “gay people should not have orgasms.” If a gay person is not having sex within the context of a Christian marriage, then he or she may very well never have an orgasm, but it is not one’s “gayness” that makes it so. It is the fact that certain actions are moral and certain actions are not. Plain and simple.

    5. The Catechism of the Catholic Church acknowledges that the genesis of homosexuality is mysterious. Scientific truth confirms this. Currently, multiple fields regard homosexuality as resulting from some combination of genetic and environmental factors. How exactly that combination works out is unknown, but it is far from the “born this way” slogans we often hear.

    6. The Church has never given “examples of instances where they justify discrimination against gay people.”, nor does it condone violence towards gay people. No papal declaration to date has stated that ‘these people’ can be married and ‘those people’ cannot. They have simply clarified what constitutes a marriage and what does not.

    7. We do indeed need to be careful when dealing with absolutes, but the Church is largely absolutist for good reason. No pope has ever said that relativity does not exist: only that it is “dangerous”. And this is true. A hypothetical case could be made for an exception to almost any rule, taking into account preceding or simultaneous good, due proportion, and so on and so forth. But what does that open the door to?

    If you tried hard enough, I’m sure you could finagle a very specific situation where same-sex genital activity was the appropriate action, but it would still contain a high quantity of evil. It is not a matter of “liking certain things”, but of objective moral truth.

    8. A social worker who cares for children with disabilities and adopts young children is still capable of sin, no matter how honourable he may be. You are again assuming that we label this man’s very person as immoral, when it is solely his ACTIONS that are cause for concern. Just because I give to charity does not mean I am not responsible if I commit murder. This isn’t to say that his caring for disabled children is not a good and beautiful thing, but it is not a free ticket to do whatever he wants. Right action in one situation does not negate wrong action in another.

    If your chief concern is with the morality/immorality of homosexual activity, then I suggest you stop with the highly affective anecdotes and focus on the issue at hand. You’re making an awful lot of excuses.

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  9. Mark from PA

    Sky, thank you for your comments. I read them and am trying to understand what you are saying. It is somewhat difficult for me to understand some Church documents as they are often contradictory regarding homosexuality. I read one document that stated that unjust discrimination was wrong but then went on to state that it was fine to discriminate against gay people when it came to certain jobs, such as teachers and coaches and also in the armed services. The Church didn’t really speak out in favor of ending discrimination against gays in the armed services (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell). These are interesting times for the Church because in certain states same-sex marriage is now legal. In the future how will the Church accept these people and their families? Also from what I have read, at least 30% of American priests have a homosexual orientation. These men can provide good role models to Catholic youth but most priests are silent about that. Many are afraid of discrimination and people that dislike gay people. Sky, I think my main concern is treating gay people as people of worth and dignity. In regard to Catholics thinking that their child is disordered and inferior, I actually don’t think that most Catholics think like this. It seems to be more common in the fundamentalist sects. “Always Our Children” a document by the US Catholic bishops is a positive resource. There are good groups such as Fortunate Families and Rainbow Parents that support families and children.

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  10. Mark from PA

    I think a problem with some people’s view of gay people is that some straight people see the central part of gay relationships as “same sex genital activity” whereas many gay people see the central part of their relationships as love and commitment. I think a majority of people that dislike gay people discount the love and commitment that gay people have for each other because they view gay people as inherently disordered and inferior beings. Many of these same people have no problem with straight people living together in sexual relationships.

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