I have just read Dan Halstead’s letter of June 14. It is clear that he has a limited understanding of both science and theology.
Let’s begin with science. First of all we understand in 2023 that being homosexual, bisexual or transsexual are not sins per se, but they are genetic characteristics. Being homosexual or heterosexual are differences on the level of whether one has brown or blue eyes or blonde or black hair. Now anyone may misuse the God-given gift of sexuality, but to be homosexual is not a sin, but a great and wonderful gift from the loving God.
I learned in 1962 through the statistics in Kinsey’s Sexual Behavior in the Human Male that there are many men that experiment with homosexuality and there are women who also experiment. I also learned in 1967 that there is a way of explaining these characteristics through the use of a scale of sexuality. One may be 99% straight through 99% homosexual. The people who have the most confusion are at the 50-50 mark.
I also learned in 1968 in my first zoology class that homosexual behavior is common throughout the animal kingdom. Sexuality is a fascinating study subject for those who are truly curious and not interested in persecuting others. I’m truly sorry that Mr. Halstead did not have the educational advantages that my parents provided for me.
Now let’s take up the theological aspects of his letter. Let me state upfront that I believe that there is a supreme being we usually call God, and that he sent his Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption; who made there, by his one oblation of himself once offered, a full perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world (BCP, 334). If God therefore, did set his bow in the heavens as a promise to mankind, then that bow belongs to us all equally.
In addition, Genesis 1:26 says Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image according to our likeness;” … and in 1:27 “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them;”(NRSV 12). If God created humans with all of His/Her characteristics, then he created homosexuals and heterosexuals together. There is noting said about the “sin” of homosexuality until Leviticus.
Why do we then have the prohibitions against homosexuality? These are proclaimed because Israel was a small tribe and needed every man to carry a spear for the defense of the society. If you believe there was no love between men, read the book of First Samuel stories about David and Jonathon, and particularly 2 Samuel 1:1 the song of the bow. Then there is Sodom and Gomorrah. We just discussed this in my Bible study class. Most thinking people believe that the story is more about rape and the violation of the hospitality laws. There is no shred of archeological evidence that the cities existed and the textual story is full of contradictions.
Jesus says nothing about homosexuality. To summarize: Paul’s writings on sexuality are admonitions about the dangers of sinful pagan societies. Remember that Paul was a Pharisee and learned in Jewish law. He had a great struggle to modify his thinking of dietary laws. Baptists are now using Paul to keep women in subservient roles to men, causing schism in their denomination. I hope Mr. Halstead and his supporters have their “Road to Damascus” epiphany. I will pray for them.