Back to “Why I am no longer an Adventist”

His second reason is this:

Gay people need to love and be loved, get married, be included as full members of the community.

It is with great reluctance that I approach this topic at all. In my experience, positions have hardened to the point where rational discussion is impossible. No matter what I say, many will condemn me. But I see so many people with the same feelings, and the topic needs to addressed.  I fully expect nobody will be pleased by what I write here. But this is one of many “elephants in the sanctuary.” I wish I could avoid it, but I find I no longer can, in good conscience. It is not, I believe, the most important issue facing the church today. But it is related to what I believe is the most important issue, which is turning the hearts of the fathers to the children, helping Adventist parents to cherish their children and develop saving relationships with Jesus. So I cannot just let it go.

Here again, is reason 2:

Gay people need to love and be loved, get married, be included as full members of the community.

First of all, depending upon what these words mean precisely, it’s not clear to me why this would make someone leave the Adventist church. This is worded in such a way that anyone who disagrees with it seems unreasonable. Lets look at it piece by piece.

Gay people need to love and be loved

On first glance, it’s difficult to understand why this was included. For Christians, who are even told to love their enemies, what group or individual would this not be true about? Think of any group or individual you wish, and substitute that for “Gay people.”

Let’s see: Capitalists; communists; moderates; pastors; chemists; journalists; politicians; used car salesmen; serial murderers; psychopaths; movie stars. . . . you get the point. Everyone needs to ‘love and be loved.’ So why include this phrase? What does it add to the discussion?

Get married

I find this more troubling, not for the more obvious reason. I can think of quite a few young adults who are not currently looking for a mate, and whose parents are quite vocal about their ‘need to find someone and settle down.’ In my experience, this does not lead to harmonious relationships. There may be many people who may ‘need to get married,’ but they don’t always appreciate being told that.

“. . .and be accepted as full members of the community.

Frankly, if someone is loved, as per the first clause, this would naturally follow. Don’t see why this would cause someone to leave the Adventist church.

Of course, you may think I’m being obtuse, missing the point. Not really. What I did was take the words literally in their simplest sense.

Oh, you may say, “You’re just being coy. You know what he/she really means. Be real about gays getting married.”

OK. Gays can marry on exactly the same terms as anyone else. Exactly as I can. If I’m single, I can marry any eligible member of the  opposite sex who will consent to marry me.

But now you may be getting frustrated with me. You’re thinking I know it really means “Gays should be allowed to marry each other. Gay men should be allowed to marry gay men, and lesbians should be allowed to marry lesbians.” If that’s what the person means, then he/she should say it, explicitly.

Because if the idea behind “Gays should be allowed. . .to get married” really means they should be allowed to marry each other, then “allowed to love and be loved” may really mean, “Christians should endorse homosexual sex.”

I want to be clear here. I’m not, in this post, taking a position on homosexual sex. All I’m doing is trying to understand why “former Adventist” felt like this issue would make him leave the Adventist–or any other– church. I may be mistaken, but I think this is a central issue for a good number of people today.

They say, “Gays should love and be loved, get married, be included as full members of the community,” but it really means, “Unless the church endorses homosexual sex, I don’t want to be part of it.”

Whether the church should or should not endorse homosexual sex is a topic worthy of discussion. But let’ be open and honest about what we’re asking for.

Some people, “former Adventist” apparently among them, consider homosexual sex an expression of love. Others consider it only indulging unhealthy lust. So the question in dispute is whether it is love, or lust, or perhaps something else altogether. We need to address that squarely and honestly.

If what he/sh wants is endorsement of homosexual sex, by starting out with “Gays should love and be loved,” “former Adventist” commits the logical error of begging the question.  He/she states the conclusion “it is love” as an assumption, as a given. For him/her, it may be. There may be no room for discussion. That’s the prerogative of every individual. But in that case, “former Adventist” should be willing to declare, “Homosexual sex is an act of love, and the church should recognize it as such, by endorsing gay marriage and accepting such couples and individuals openly.”

That discussion is for a different time. But honesty is for every time.