Dialogue anyone?

February 18, 2013

One of the hopes and aims of the creators and writers of this website is that meaningful discussion and dialogue might begin to occur between clergy of the Orthodox Church and faithful members of the Orthodox Church who are also lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered. We also hope that faithful members of the Orthodox Church who happen to be heterosexuals will begin to understand the predicament of LGBT Orthodox Christians and offer their vocal and moral support.

In the interest of such a dialogue, I was struck by a recent statement made by Roman Catholic bishops in France, a country which is witnessing history as it moves to pass gay marriage in the National Assembly. Rather sobering, the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church have made some exceptionally positive statements about gay people, gay relationships and even civil gay marriage. The document issued does not support marriage equality in France, yet recognizes the need for both sides of the argument to listen to each other, accept a common and respectful vocabulary as well as move towards a meaningful dialogue on the subject. The bishops wrote:  “The respect of all the players in the debate implies a common listening, a disposition to understand the arguments expressed and a search for shared language.” The impossibility for gay and lesbian couples to procreate naturally is often used as an argument against the acceptance of gay marriage by the Church. A few Orthodox priests and laymen have written to me expressing this same “theological imperative” as an impenetrable Orthodox argument against gay marriage. Yet, while acknowledging this fact, the Roman Catholic bishops’ letter does offer some hope by stating:

“we are able to appreciate the desire for a commitment to fidelity in a love relationship, of a sincere attachment, of a deep caring, one for the other, and of a lasting bond that goes far beyond the putdown of homosexual relationships as a simple erotic involvement…The Catholic Church calls upon the faithful to live such a relationship in chastity but she recognized, beyond the one sexual aspect, the value of solidarity, of the attention and care of the other which can manifest itself in a lasting effective relationship. The Church wants to be welcoming toward homosexual persons and will continue to bring its contribution to the fight against every form of homophobia and discrimination.”

(All quotes from French in this section have been translated by Tom Luce http://newwaysministryblog.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/excerpts-from-french-bishops-document-which-affirms-same-gender-relationships/)

Wow! I see here three significant and historical points for which the Roman Catholic bishops of France are to be commended:

-the need for debate in a respectful manner where both sides would listen to the other;

-that homosexual relationships can be loving, caring, and create a long lasting bond and that those relationships are not based solely on erotic practices;

-the Church will fight against homophobia and discrimination against homosexuals.

 

Where is the Orthodox Church in this debate? Is there an Orthodox debate on the subject of gay marriage?  There is unfortunately no real debate, no substantive discussions, no respectful listening, certainly on any synodal, hierarchical or clerical levels. There have only been proclamations and edicts issued “from on high” without any real effort to listen to and understand the desires and hopes of LGBT Orthodox faithful and the reality of their lives. Perhaps the last major statement issued by Orthodox bishops in this country was in 2003 when SCOBA (Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops) issued a statement regarding the passage of gay marriage in Massachusetts. The title of encyclical says all you need to know about whether the bishops were interested in dialogue or not: “On the Moral Crisis in our nation”. (http://www.scoba.us/articles/2003-08-13-moral-crisis.html)

Perhaps a speech on the subject of homosexuality, given by the late Coptic Orthodox Pope, His Holiness Shenouda III, best sums up the official response of both the Chalcedonian and Non-Chalcedonian (Oriental and Orthodox) Churches on the subject. “I am sorry to have to speak about an issue that has become a topic of popular discussion in the church of late. The subject is homosexuality, and it ought not to be a matter of discussion.” (emphasis mine) Asked if homosexuals had any rights under the law, His Holiness said: “What rights are there for homosexuals? The only right is to be led to repentance.” He further states that there is no love in homosexual relationships, that there is only lust of the flesh which leads to bodily, and spiritual destruction. (Ecumenical Review, Jan1998, Vol. 50 Issue 1, p79, 82) Therefore, no discussion, no debate, no understanding, no care, no compassion, no understanding of modern science – only condemnation.

There are countless other pronouncements, writings, and commentaries by various Orthodox patriarchs, synods, bishops, jurisdictions, priests, and laymen that can be found in official publications and on websites as well as in personal books and articles. However, we know that in smaller, quieter and more pastoral settings, LGBT Orthodox are being listened to, are being pastorally cared for, are respected, and are receiving the holy mysteries by Orthodox priests who are smart enough to know when their patriarchs and bishops are wrong. The following is a selection of the words of one of the more compassionate, intelligent and braver Orthodox priests in this country, Father Robert M. Arida, a priest of the Orthodox Church in America and pastor of Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral in Boston.

“Is the legalization of same sex marriage/union a threat to the Orthodox Church’s stance on matrimony, being the sanctified union of one man and one woman? …Given our Church’s biblical, patristic, liturgical and canonical sources one eventually detects that there is no universally consistent and accepted teaching in marriage as to its origin, purpose and goal…If the Church is going to respond to the legalization of same sex marriage/union it seems that it should begin by considering how to minister to those same sex couples who are being legally married come with their children and knock on the doors of our parishes seeking Christ. Do we ignore them? Do we, prima facie, turn them away? Do we, under the rubric of repentance, encourage them to divorce and dismantle their family? Or, do we offer them, as we offer anyone desiring Christ, pastoral care, love and a spiritual home? (emphasis mine) Indeed the Church has never sailed these uncharted waters. But our history teaches us that what is new need not compromise Christ who is the ‘same yesterday, today and forever.” (http://holytrinityorthodox.org/articles_and_talks/Response.pdf)

The Orthodox bishops in this country have made it painfully obvious that they are not interested in dialogue with LGBT faithful. They, along with Orthodox bishops from around the world, have decided to ignore the discoveries of modern biology, psychology and other sciences, while they continue to defend ignorant views and compassionless actions. Father Arida has combined erudite understanding with pastoral compassion and contemporary realism. One can only pray and hope that a few bishops listen to him instead of listening to other bishops who remain locked within cold and dark inns. There is a dim light shining from the cave.

  1. Rachel Said,

    Ignoring modern biology, psychology and other sciences is too true.

  2. andre Said,

    Rachel,
    Yes, I think that this aspect bothers me almost as much as the lack of compassion. I often wonder how they added to the divine services “for those who travel air….”
    Thank you for your support.
    Andriy

  3. Julie Anon Said,

    As the former partner of a person who would, if he felt free to express his identity, be “gay”, I would welcome such dialogue. I am particularly disturbed by the trends in Russia to demonize those who identify as LGBT and even to legislate against their existence. If my former spouse had been nurtured in a way that allowed him to be himself, he would have been spared years of suffering. There is a deep longing within me to speak of these things, but almost no venue for this expression.

  4. andre Said,

    Julie,
    My heart breaks for stories like yours. Russia and to a lesser extent Ukraine, are very difficult places for LGBTQ people to live. Belarus is almost impossible for our community. I just wonder where Russia sees the persecution going. Do they hope to eliminate every gay person in Russia? I just hope that others who were or might be persecuted start to speak up. They are not listening to the European Union, perhaps they will start to listen to their own people. Certainly the LGBTQ community need straight allies in the government, society and the Church.
    We have much prayer and work to do to support our brothers and sisters.
    I wish you inner peace and thank you for your support of this website.

    Andriy

  5. Noel Warren Said,

    Hi Fr Andre, I have decided to stop my critical rants and look for any positive moves from within the church. The statement of the French Catholic Bishops is one. I do think the ordinary Catholic priests and the laity are getting restive and are sick and tired of hypocisy and scandal. The recent Vatileaks scandal includes homosexual behaviour within the Vatican. Gee, are we surprised? Hardly!. Hopefully this restiveness will spill over into the Orthdox Church. I note the Church of England is opposing the bill allowing gay marriage which will or has already been pased in the UK. Things are always different on the ground. In my Anglican Parish the priest is openly gay and loved by all. He used to conduct blesseings for gay couples but the Bishop shut it down. We have a mass for gay people once a month with a cheerful dinner afterwards. The Bishop turns a blind eye in order to avoid controversy.
    One of our Ministers of the Sacrament (lay, not in holy orders) paints his toenails and wears feminine blouses etc. He is a talented costume designer. No one complains. We had a tranvestite parishioner who has since moved on. After mass one Sunday two elderly very Anglican matrons asked to speak to the priest. He was anxious because he feared it would be about our tv friend. They told him if anyone complained about him/her they would have to answer to the matrons. If you knew them you would never want to cross them. I am hoping the straight laity will give you support you never expected. Best Wishes, Noel.

  6. Nikola Said,

    Hi! Thank you Fr Andriy for writing and keeping this website alive. You have our support and I feel really happy as gay orthodox to hear a word and see that someone cares. I come from Serbia, and it is also bad there, maybe not bad as a bit to east but still, There are a lot of homophobic-nationalistic-clerical- right-wing movements there and they are supported, not oficially, by church. Our church schould embrace us, but no, they are laughing and hurting a person thirsty for living water – word o Our Lord, Holy Communion, Liturgy, support. I was at monastery, going to service, but when I saw all this horrors and how they “stab” brothers and sisters, I went away. That does not mean that I stop loving and living with Christ, cause forgeting him is not possible, but I just can’t go to service and speak with preast. wounds are too deep, and I try to find a way to forgive cause I want to forgive. Today I live in happy marriage with great guy in Germany. I just wish that one day I can go to service and without any problem say that I have a husband and than be a part of Liturgy with others. I hope all bothers and sisters in world will have that opportunity, to be accepted and not pushed. But lets not despare cause Christ is with us, and where is Christ, in Christ and with Christ, there is not dark.
    Once again, thank you Andriy.
    Nikola

  7. andre Said,

    Nikola,
    Thank you for your comment and support this website as it means a lot to me. Everyday this website receives emails from Orthodox LGBTQ from around the world who are looking for support. They love their Church and want to be active members – and many are – but also know that they cannot change who they are and who they love. Who we are as LGBT people is a gift from God.

    The Orthodox Church in the former Soviet Union, Serbia as well I imagine, still has miles of road to travel. Their first task is to remove the vestiges of the Soviet, Communist past. This may take a generation or more as the recent election of the Patriarch of Bulgaria has shown. Societies in these traditional Orthodox countries are becoming more polarized. The Church, on one hand, becomes more “traditional” and supportive of regimes that are quite dictatorial. On the other hand, numerous people, especially younger people, embrace the worst of the West, finding no solace in the Church and only seeing its harshness. One frequently has to search long and hard to find Christ in His own Church. Yesterday I watched an interview with a bishop, a younger bishop from Ukraine, who said that homosexuality is the same as murder. Can you imagine what LGBTQ Christians must think and experience when they hear a bishop say such horrible things? Instead of offering the bread of compassion or living water – as you mention – we are offered stones and snakes.

    I am happy that you are in Germany with a man that you love. Do not forget that in spite of what you have experienced in some Churches, there are Orthodox parishes in the world which are calmer and more Christ centered. We can only pray, hope and speak out that there might be more.
    I wish you all of God’s graces, inner peace and true joy.
    Please stay in touch.
    Andriy

  8. J. Rizk Said,

    There is room in the Church for anyone who is struggling against same-sex attraction and living a life of repentence carrying this cross, or struggling against any other passion, carrying their cross. However, there is no place in the Church for anyone who supports or encourages homosexual activity.

    The Orthodox Church and the Holy Bible is absolutely clear taht homosexual activity is an abomination, just like adultery, fornication, or any other sin.

    Regardless of the cause, whether psychosocial or biological, if one wants to be an Orthodox Christian, one must struggle against ANY sin or inclination. The man who has inclinations to lust after a woman or many women must carry his cross and deny himself and bend his will to God’s will and fight these inclinations. Likewise the person who has inclinations to of ramantic or sexual attractions to persons of the same gender must carry his cross an deny himself and bend his will to God’s will as revealed in Christ, the Scriptures, and the Church.

    One can NOT in anyway promose tolerance for homosexual activities or lifestyle (or any sin for that matter) and call himself Christian, because then one would not be followig Christ.

    The homosexual lifestyle, if that means tolerance or promotion of same-sex attraction, sexual activities or romantic or erotic affections between people of the same gender must alwasy be condemned, shunned, spoken-against, and avoided by anyone who wants to be a Christian.

    The same applies to any sin. If I am a man who is inclined to fornicate and to look with lust at women, I must not tolerate or promote lust or fornication or sexual activity outside of marriage or romantic or erotic affections without a woman to whom I am not married, all such activity must be condemned, shunned, spoken-against, and avoided by anyone who wants to be an Orthodox Christian.

    Romantic affections between a man and a woman, sexual activity between a married man and a woman are the ONLY expressions of sexuality blessed, approved and promoted by God throughout the Bible and the Church.

    All other abberations are perverions and inclinations from our FALLEN nature. The fallenness of our nature may include not ony psychosocial abnormalities, but perhaps even biological abnormalities that may predispose one to such inclinations. This in no way justifies acceptance of sin. In ALL circumstances, whether one is inclined to homosexual attraction by choice, by phychosocial predisposition, by biological predisposition, by fallen nature, or by unknown factors, the Orthodox Christian is to bend his will to God’s will, regardless of the cause of sin and to crucify himself to do God’s will. God’s will is Holiness for all of Christ’s followers, which is an IMPOSSIBILITY for someone who chooses to accept or promote or tolerate homosexual activity just as much as it is an impossibility for somone who insists on following their inclination to fornicate or steal or murder or lie without repentence and calling these things acceptable.

    It is shameful that any group of people who call themseves followers of Christ seek to promote tolerance of sin. Should the person with same-sex attraction be ashamed of their same sex attraction. YES, they should be because it is part of the fallen nature brought on by sin which has infected all humanity. Should I be ashamed of my inlincation to sin (whatever the sin is) YES, I should be and I am. I don’t promote it and ask that my sinful inclinations be accepted or tolerate it. What do I do then, I condemn my sin, just as Christ on the Cross condemned sin in the flesh. I seek renewal of my fallen nature adn I seek repentence.

    Can a person with same-sex attraction (or any inclination to sin) enter the Kingdom of God and be accepted by Christ? Yes, by carrying one’s cross, denying one’s self, striving with God’s grace to live a life in accordance with God’s will, and looking to Christ who saves us from our evil passions and inclinations to sin.

    How does a person who desires to follow Christ enter the Kingdom of God and go to heaven and be a true Christian? NOT by accepting his fallen nature and falsely stating that his same-sex attraction is normal and that his homosexual activities are acceptable to God, but the opposite, by condemning his sinful nature, asking for its regeneration in Christ, and struggling against such evil passions all one’s life… this is a cross for the person with same-sex attraction, whatever its source, becasue it is against the will of God.

    True love is telling others the truth, not condemning them by lying to them and telling them to accept the lie that sin and their sinful inlinations are acceptable to God. True love for others is to tell them to stay away from others who will cause them to accept sin and impurity.

    Groups who form “homosexual communities” should be communities focussed on repentance and living according to the will of God. They should be ashamed of their fallen nature, just as I am ashamed of mine, but in Christ, am being renewed day after day by Christ’s grace. Such communities should not be forming formus, and communities to promote acceptance of the sodmoite or homosexual lifestyle. If they want to do a service, they should form groups to focus on Christ and living a pure life.

    One may not be able to have a solution to changing one’s attraction to the opposite gender in order to live a normal life (at least not in the very short term), but one may certainly focus on carrying one’s cross and focussing on Christ.

    It is also sad that people struggling against this sinful inclination define their self identity as “gay” or “homosexual”. This ought not to be the case. A person who is inlcined to commit adultery does not define his identity as belonging to the “community of adulterers” but as a person who is a sinner, as are the rest of us who have fallen into various sins and in need of repentence. Rather the homosexual ought to define themselves as a person who is inclinded to have same-sex attraction and struggling to live a Christian life by focussing on Christ and avoiding sin, just like the rest of us.

    A person should not belong to a “homosexual” community or the so-called, “LGBT” community bcause such lables reinforce that this is somehow a legitimate community wiht legitimate needs of acceptance of suce a lifestyle that is justified, from a Christian perspective. A Christian tempted to belong to these communities is often misled into believing that it is O.K. to accept your sinfulness and not struggle against it. This is deception of the worst kind and that leads away from true focus on Christ and true repentence.

    It is not the same as the Black community. Being Black is not a sin. Engaging in Homosexual acts is a sin.

    THIS IS THE TRUTH.

    A great, short book on the topic of same sex attraction and the Christian Faith from an Eastern Orthodox Christian perspective by Father Thomas Hopko is of great help on this topic…

    Also, a great Saint in the Russian Orthodox Church is the Late Father Seraphim Rose who was a practicing homosexual before he converted to Orthodoxy and repented when he realized that this lifestyle was against God’s will. He was ordained a celebate Heiromonk and carried homosexuality as a cross and through his life-long repentence and struggle against it, he fought the good fight and reposed in the Lord in peace as an example to many who struggle against sin.

    May the Lord open all of our eyes to accept the Bible and God’s plan for each of us to live according to His will in the purity of celebacy or in purity of marriages of one man and one woman.

  9. andre Said,

    Sir or Madame,

    I thank you for your email to this website. Considering the extreme length of your email comment, you must be very interested in the subject of homosexuality and the Orthodox Church. I will make only some general comments as the answers and reply to many of the issues you raise have already been addressed on the website. Specifically concerning Father Hopko’s book, please see the reflection entitled “Dueling theologians”. Concerning Father Seraphim, may he rest in peace. He was obviously called to be a monk, to live a life of celibacy. This is not the case for most people, and especially those who serve the Church. The Church in her wisdom knew this and allowed and allows married men to be priests

    First of all LGBT persons do not struggle any more or less than heterosexuals when it comes to sexual attraction. There is indeed a place for us in the Church. We were created by God as lesbians, gay, bisexual or transgendered. I myself was baptized and chrismated as an infant in the Orthodox Church by my great uncle who was ordained to serve the needs of those Ukrainians imprisoned in the camps during World War II. I went to an Orthodox church as a child, confessed, communed and served in the altar. I went to an Orthodox seminary as was ordained by an Orthodox bishop and served the Church, to the best of my abilities. To say that I do not belong in the Orthodox Church is offensive. Perhaps I am a great sinner than you, I accept that, but it is not because I am a homosexual.

    The Bible is clear on many beliefs and practices that the Church not only does not support – has never embraced – kosher eating laws, stoning people for not observing the Sabbath or not honoring ones parents, not allowing women to speak in Church or believing that people with problems with alcohol – a scientifically proven addiction – will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

    Scripture is also very clear that the Bishop should have only one wife. How many Orthodox bishops today are married to women? Jesus Christ is very clear that people should not be divorced unless for the sin of adultery (St. Paul prohibits it all together) and yet the Church in Her mercy offers marriages a second and third time The Church Fathers and the holy canons also could not agree on numerous subjects. For example -what priest today forbids a woman from approaching the chalice during her period of menstruation? Today we understand the biology of this very natural, monthly occurrence and are closer to God because of it.

    Love expressed by homosexuals in monogamous, loving relationships are blessed by God, because they were created by God. Everyone struggles against the passions – some more than others – yet the love that is expressed sexually between two men or two women is not evil, it is just as loving and full of life as the loved expressed in a heterosexual marriage. God knows our hearts and how He created us, it is up to the Church to recognize this, accept the sciences of biology, psychology and others, and offer same-sex couples the same mysteries (sacraments) that the Church offers to people who are heterosexuals.

    The love that you have for your wife or husband (or future wife or husband) is part of fallen creation and yet she is given to you for salvation. I and other gay persons are also part of fallen creation and we are given a same-sex spouse by God for salvation.

    I thank you for your great attention to this website and I pray that your heart will soften towards your brothers and sisters who are LGBTQ. They are deserving of your love and support as your heterosexual brothers and sisters. Therefore we invite you to stay, learn and to listen.

    A blessed lent and glorious Pascha for you.
    Andriy

  10. J. Rizk Said,

    Sexual or romantic/erotic expressions have always been clearly condemned by the Church, the Church Fathers, and the Bible. Love is never evil. Sexual activity between persons of the same gender is wrong.

    The sciences of biology, and psychology, only reveal our fallenness. The drunkard who is addicted to alchohol does not accept his addiction as normal and should not promoted as an acceptable lifetyle but as an addiction that needs the Grace of God to overcome. Bishops/ priests being married and menstrating women taking the sacraments or not are a matter of discipline and respect, a different category than accepting or promoting a clearly prohimited lifestyle. While the Fathers may have had differences of opinion about certain matters, they have been universal in NEVER ever approving of homosexual activity.

    God never leads people into temptation by giving them a “same-sex” partner. Rather, people choose this lifestyle when their psycology or fallen biology inclines them to do so but, as St. Paul said, “they have not yet striven to bloodshed against sin.”

    Love is Holy. Same-sex eroticismm is NOT. And falls short of the glory of God and his intention at creation. This is the definition of sin, it misses the mark.

    What is condmened is not the sinner, but the unacceptable lifestyle, especially when Holy, Baptized saints, give into to such passions- they are not from God.

    Love is Holy, Pure, a gift from God. Homosexual activity is neither, even if it is hides under the guise of the word “love” in as much as fornicators of any orientation can claim that their activity is justified because they love each other or ther “God gave me my boyfriend as a gift to love and express my sexual love to” is obviously not truly from God but is fornication.

    Love between members of the same gender can never be full of life as the love expressed by the God-ordained opposite-sex marriage because it has no potential to participate in the natural-life creating process and because the Husband is the Head of the wife, just as Christ is the Head of the Church… this ideal can not be lived in a same-gender sexual relationship.

    It is not possible that any ordained Orthodox priest or bishop can ever consecrate a same-sex union and call it marrigage, God forbid. The Anglican church has done that and has been split into two.

    Any Orthodox person who promotes such a lifestyle, even a clergyman is liable to excommunication, without delay, upon failure to repent and upon insisting on such a view accepting homosexuality as acceptable to God. This is because such a view is completely incompatible with the Fath and Holiness of the Church and because such persons no longer believe what the rest of the Church believes on the sanctity and holiness of marriage, and can therefore no longer be called, Orthodox.

    It is not the person but the throught process and acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle that is condemned by the Church.

    “women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men” (Rom 1:26-27).

    So even though homosexual desires feel natural, they are actually unnatural, because God says they are. He also calls all sexual involvement outside of marriage immoral. (There are 44 references to fornication—sexual immorality—in the Bible.) Therefore, any form of homosexual activity, whether a one-night stand or a long-term monogamous relationship, is by definition immoral—just as any abuse of heterosexuality outside of marriage is immoral.

    If God had intended homosexuality to be a viable sexual alternative for some people, He would not have condemned it as an abomination. It is never mentioned in Scripture in anything but negative terms, and nowhere does the Bible even hint at approving or giving instruction for homosexual relationships. Some theologians have argued that David and Jonathan’s relationship was a homosexual one, but this claim has no basis in Scripture. David and Jonathan’s deep friendship was not sexual; it was one of godly emotional intimacy that truly glorified the Lord.

    In the beginning the Creator made them male and female. For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh (Matt 19:4, 5).

    Homosexual activity and pre-marital or extra-marital heterosexual activity are all sinful attempts to find sexual and emotional expression in ways God never intended. God’s desire for the person caught in the trap of homosexuality is the same as for every other person caught in the trap of the sin nature; that we submit every area of our lives to Him and be transformed from the inside out by the renewing of our minds and the purifying of our hearts.

    1 Corinthians 7:2 (ESV)
    But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband

    Leviticus 20:13 (ESV)
    “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination”

    While some laws were specifically for the Jews and Christians are not under law, this sentiment against homosexuality is universal in both the Old and New Testament, just as Christians should still not murder or bear false witness, or commit fraud. The Church Fathers, the New Testament, and the Holy Tradition of the Church attests to this.

    With love, in Christ, to those who seek the Truth, and struggle against whatever is not acceptable to the Lord. May He continue to renew our Nature, and may we not “exhchange the truth of God for a lie.”

    Peace and Grace.

    +
    ICXC
    NIKA

  11. Nikos Said,

    I read the long mail of the person saying I am evil and need forgiveness . Yes I am as all humanity needing forgiveness but I just see in their argument they completely miss the point and start of with Gay equals sin and wrong’ and then self fulfil the arguement .

    And as for claiming that biology and genetics only show sin is in bred so to speak is truly blasthemy against. God because who made us if not. God and what would he do about the parents of gay people ?

    In any case I am left wondering what hang ups these people have because. They do not seem to be exercised about social injustice . Do we claim that the many sins in the heterosexual world negate heterosexuality ?? And the hypocrisy in the church . Yes I have so often found. Christ outside the church and not in .

    What saddens me even more than the ignoring of reality and science is the hatred in sone quarters of the church directed against us, especially from un – reformed Eastern Europe . I am sick and tired of it . Christ never condemned slavery so are we to expect slavery is ok?? No Christ did not enter human history as a teacher to codify every aspect of human behaviour . He showed us how we should live in love to face each situation in this way . This is not a cop -out or a buying of an easy secular agenda but as. God / man CHRIST showed us in His life and death and resurrection the human condition in which. God emptied himself in love .

    Those that want codified desert society rules should look to Islam and Judaism and I say this with respect for. Both .

    What ever one’s views why is it for some the existence of a small minority in every culture of 4-6% seen as such a mortal danger to marriage and rest . I would have thought there are far more heterosexual dangers to it in our society . When I hear these people talk it is as if. Christ has fled from their face . In sadness. Nikos

  12. MDG Said,

    I am very curious about the assertion that “We were created by God as lesbians, gay, bisexual or transgendered.”. On what basis do you believe that God created people in this way, or that God has provided you with same sex spouses? Merely stating these things does not in anyway make them true.

    I’m also interested in the many assertions about modern science, as if anything has been proven. Yes, there have been some studies which draw conclusions in favor of the belief that LGBT inclinations are biological, Yet many others that seem to indicate the reverse. It seems to me nothing has been proven on either side.

    I do think that individuals should not be called evil, and the church should be open for all. As others have stated, that does not mean all behaviors are accepted. Fr. Arida’s question about legally married same-sex couples attending a church is a thorny issue which is sure to be handled in multitude of ways, and sadly I’m sure some will be heartbroken. It is indeed a very difficult issue.

  13. andre Said,

    Thank you for your comment and interest in dialogue on this vital topic. The reason that I and many LGBT people believe that God created them in this manner, is because their own life is proof of this. I would ask, how do heterosexuals know that God created them as straight. Only from their own lives – their thoughts, feelings, and intuitions do people really know who they are. Many LGBT have tried to act in a manner that is considered “normal” or opposite to what they truly felt. This has had mixed and even disastrous results, as the recent exposes of “ex-gay therapy” have shown. And so, we do not simply “state they are true”, we live this truth. How would a straight man know that he loves his wife?

    I am not a scientist, but I do read various studies in the area of gender and same-sex attraction. What is obvious, is that gender and attraction are topics that are not easily understood. Your statement that “many others seem to indicate the reverse”, is not true. There are studies which are quite inconclusive, but I would question your assertion that many studies indicate the reverse. Such studies are in their infancy when it comes to science. For example, many holy fathers of the Church believed that the Earth did not move – it took up until Copernicus and Galileo to prove otherwise, and for this they were both admonished and ridiculed by the Church – albeit the Roman Catholic Church. There is relatively little funding to explore the topics of sexuality, as the result would probably not be a money maker, in comparison to drug development.

    Concerning the good pastor Father Arida, he is to be lauded to raising the question that the laity have had for quite some time. It remains to be seen if the Church will silence him and stifle all discussion on these vital issue which affect so many people.

    Andriy

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