When being gay is no choice.

I wrote last week about the lack of choice facing pregnant women after a one night stand. An abortion leads to guilt, shame and ruined relationships and having a baby leads to guilt, shame and ruined relationships. Abortion is the “choice” to opt for secret rather than public shame.

The same sort of “choice” is faced by many gay people around the world, including here in Britain. If a gay man is outed in a sexually conservative society he suffers shame, guilt and ruined relationships with “traditional” families. The other “choice” is for a gay man to suppress the feelings he has and to try to live a “normal” lifestyle or have a clandestine sexual relationship. This is no choice.  Shame and guilt for a gay man in a conservative society is either public or private. What choice is that?

What gay people face today is similar to the “choice” heterosexual couples faced in the 1970s and 1980s when sexual ethics were liberalising.  Anyone who had sex before marriage had to keep it secret.  Liberalisation of heterosexual ethics led to a call for gay sex to to be liberalised too.  And why not?  Why should only one group of people feel guilty in bed? As the Corrs say “everyone else is doing it so why shouldn’t we?”

Liberal sexual attitudes have led the gay movement to seek equal rights and justice. This is what lies behind Stonewall’s campaign “Some people are gay. get over it!” Those who follow Stonewall’s philosophy want to be guilt free and shameless.

But Stonewall have so far failed to liberalise society.  The mainstream media has arguably been moved as has government. Most people, however, especially the young, are instinctively conservative.  This should not surprise anyone who understands created order. Stonewall are doomed to fail because God made men and women for each other.  No amount of shouting about it will change everyone’s mind.  The failure to completely liberalise society will leave gay people without choice. The guilt and shame will continue, publicly or privately.

It doesn’t have to be this way.  Instead of the partial liberalisation of society we should uphold God’s good law, sex is for marriage, between one man and one woman for life (in the beginning God made them male and female and together they will become one flesh). At the same time admit that all people sin, that is break God’s good laws and face his judgement and wrath.  Our sin leads also to guilt, shame and ruined relationships at various levels and so all people suffer.    All people are guilty before God.  We must get real about it.

The only way to be real about sin is to know it and find an escape from it.  The cross of Jesus Christ provides the way for all people, gay or straight, to find true freedom from guilt, shame and ruined relationships and to find the love, mercy, forgiveness and justice of God which we yearn for (Psalm 84:1-2). At the cross Jesus frees us to make a fresh start, from our most secret of sins and shame.

The difficultly is in creating a society where there is freedom to admit and confess our guilt and shame openly.  Just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean it should not be aimed for.  For a truly free society, Jesus must be at the centre.

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:19-22

About neilrobbie

I am a 6'6" formerly ginger Scot, in a cross cultural marriage to my lovely Londoner wife. We've lived in SE Asia and since 2005, I have served as an Anglican minister in Wolverhampton and West Bromwich.
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