For as long as many can remember, questions about homosexuality and its relation to the Bible have surfaced.
On Oct. 29, three local church affiliates joined a crowd of questioning faces to discuss how LGBT and faith collide.
The panel consisted of Steven Andrews, pastor at Parkville Presbyterian Church; Brian Kirk, pastor at First Christian Church of St. Joseph; and Suzanne Shay, children’s minister at First Christian Church.
The panel allowed audience members to ask questions regarding LGBT and faith, which were answered through the panel members’ knowledge and notes taken from the Bible.
According to the panel, there are only around 6 or 7 passages in the Bible that discuss anything that could be related to homosexuality. There are passages within the Bible that talk about same gender sexual activity, however, homosexuality is never directly mentioned in the Bible.
This could be because of the time period, in which the people did not know about sexuality. Sexual orientation, in biblical times, meant nothing.
Instead, the Bible talks a lot about a type of relationship that is not loving and affirming.
In the Bible, sex was for the purpose of procreation–not joy. This being said, many could argue that homosexuality is wrong strictly because it stops procreation.
Kirk argued that two people can still compliment one another and blossom in a relationship without ever having children.
“It’s not only about biology, it is about feelings and relationships,” Shay said.
There is also not a specific reference to bisexuality in the Bible. Eunuchs, which are described as men without part of the male anatomy, are mentioned as people who defied traditional gender expectations.
“Eunuchs are talked about as a modern day stereotype of gay men,” Andrews said.
During the panel, it was also discussed how the Bible’s focus around sexual acts of men and not women faltered toward sexism.
Andrews stated that a lot of the negative images we perceive about women come from scripture.
In biblical times, women were not treated as they are today. Instead, they were treated as property. The women were meant to cook, clean, and be wives in the simplest sense of the word.
“The biblical understanding of marriage is not a relationship,” Shay said. “It’s proprietary.”
There were people among the audience who were supportive of the idea of homosexuality and its relation with faith, as well as audience members who were unsure of how homosexuality was considered “okay.”
The panel quickly turned into a heated discussion about homosexuality being unnatural. Reliable information was given from both sides of the discussion, revealing what is both said and unsaid about homosexuality in the Bible.
Clyde Clark, attendee of the panel, and also a member of First Christian Church, spoke several times during the discussion.
“Homosexuality happens in multiple species,” Clark said. “And those species aren’t ruled by a Bible.”
Clark also admitted his understanding that there was a very divided point of view about homosexuality during the panel. He also admitted that it was expected.
Kirk discussed his personal beliefs about homosexuality. He discussed how the Bible talked about relationships as treating people with love and compassion, and trusting in the love of God.
According to him, this concept does not mention a specific gender or sex. Kirk also shared about his relationship with his own partner, and how it was very loving–exactly how relationships are supposed to be.
“Homosexuality is just another aspect of human sexuality,” Kirk said.
Another topic discussed at the panel was the idea of Heaven and Hell, and the fate of homosexual persons. The panel quickly pointed out that Jesus’ focus was not about Heaven and Hell, but about the here and now.
Overall, the panel brought up a discussion with many honest questions. Andrews, Kirk and Shay all agreed that a person’s views on homosexuality depends on their own interpretation of scripture.
“In the Bible, you’re not going to get a lot of blatant answers for certainty,” Clark said.
Clark also stated that the panel had reiterated everything he had searched for himself.