Many have condemned Pope Francis’ October 2020 endorsement of same-sex civil unions, state-level legal relationships. Others claimed the pope was discriminatory because he did not explicitly condone samesex marriages or think gay men should be allowed to be in the clergy.
The Catholic Church is not the only religious group struggling with the topic of homosexuality. The United Methodist Church is splitting into two denominations, one in support of homosexuality and one traditionalist denomination maintaining its position against the homosexual lifestyle.
By Oxford Languages’ definition, homophobia can be as simple as a dislike for or as strong as a prejudice toward LGBT+ community members. While the word “phobia” implies a fear, homophobia has been used to describe everything from refusing to make a cake for a homosexual wedding to death penalties for homosexuals.
Christians are often accused of homophobia, often specifically because we stand for God’s holy design of sexual relations: one man and one woman united in marriage. It is never wrong for Christians to make a stand for biblical principles, and it is always wrong for us to accept or condone what God defines as sin.
As Dr. Pettit discussed in chapel last week, homosexuality is a sin. Paul writes in Romans of how those who “changed the truth of God into a lie” are given up to “vile affections.” (Rom. 1:25-26) Paul expounds in Romans 1:27, “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly.”
However, true homophobia––prejudice against or hatred of homosexuals––is also sin. Prejudice is never biblical. We are never called to hatred but to love others as Christ loved us. Christians should not condone the homosexual lifestyle, but they should also not hate, degrade or condescend to those who identify as homosexual.
Christ showed mercy, grace and love to those who struggled with sexual sins. When the Pharisees tested Christ by asking if the woman caught in adultery should be stoned in accordance with the law, Jesus replied, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:3-7) The Pharisees walked away, for they were all guilty of sin. They could not judge her. And the one individual who had every right to throw a stone, to condemn her for her sin, looked at her and said, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (John 8:11) Instead, He took the penalty for her sin.
Homosexuality is a sin, but so is hatred and cruelty. Christians may often face false accusations of prejudice for standing for Scripture and the sanctity of marriage, but those accusations should never be founded. Instead, members of the LGBT+ community should find us respectful of them and sharing the hope of the Gospel in humility and compassion. We should be the introduction to true love, not hatred.
For who are we to cast the first stone?