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This is my statement on a delicate subject, one on which there has been a lot of heat and little light generated in the past few years.

The issue is homosexual behavior and, in particular, one's attitude toward it and relationship with persons who one is reasonably sure engage in it. I have studied the issues fairly thoroughly during the past few years, and have decided to take a position on it.

A key definition:. The word "homosexual" means a person attracted sexually to persons of the same gender. Such a person may, or may not, act on that attraction.

It is plain to see that scripture proscribes "perversions," and that seems to include both homosexual and heterosexual perversions. But there is the argument that when homosexual activity takes place only in an adult loving long-term domestic relationship, such activity is NOT proscribed by scripture, anymore than when heterosexual activity takes place under the same conditions.

This argument does NOT claim that scripture condones such activity, only that it is silent about it. The argument is developed well, I think, in a book by the Catholic theologian Daniel Helmaniak; all the relevant biblical texts are discussed. My notes and review on that book are on my website at:

Notes on Helmaniak's book

and a similar set of notes on a book countering Helmaniak's arguments by Thomas Schmidt are at

notes on Schmidt's book

I've studied those books, and many more, and have engaged in internet dialog on the subject extensively in the past years. I have come down on the side of Helmaniak's position. I personally know a number of homosexual persons, some of whom practice their attraction, and some who do not. On the basis of both scriptural arguments and knowledge of people, I must take the position, unpopular as it may be in American Christianity, that the specific case I cite above is, as far as I can discern, not a "sin" in the eyes of God.

Helmaniak's scriptural arguments are persuasive in convincing me that the Bible does not proscribe that case; arguments from scientific findings all indicate the homosexual condition is caused by a combination of genetics and upbringing, most probably more the first, and that personal choice seldom has anything to do with it.

In the end, I have to say my position is not 100% sure; I could be wrong. I have two choices:

1. I can side with fundamentalist Christianity, Dobson and his FOTF being one source I might follow, and declare that all homosexual activity of any kind anywhere is a "sin" in God's eye's, or

2. I can declare that I find no reason to include the specific case I cite above as "sin."

If I take position 1, and I should have taken position 2, I do grievous hurt to some of God's people, falsely accusing them of sin where there is no sin as far as God is concerned. When I do this, I have read into scripture what is not there; I have added to God's word.

If I take position 2, I may, indeed, be wrong, but I have done no harm to anyone. I have failed, it might be argued, to have studied and understood God's word as much as I should, but then, that is probably true of all of us anyway.

So even if I were 50:50 on the issue, I'd have to select position 2.

Feel free to challenge me on any of the above; I am used to talking about it and I think I can respect all opinions. I'd be delighted if you'd "buy" my position, but it is enough if you just hold it as a "live option" in your own thinking.

John W. Burgeson
Stephen Minister
Denver, Colorado
8-7-2001


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