Many Christians hold that homosexual behavior is sinful and require that LGBT persons be repentant of such behavior in order to be accepted or remain in Christian fellowship. An LGBT person who is unrepentant, who continues in homosexual behavior, is considered to be continuing in sin and is liable to church discipline and/or exclusion from fellowship. These beliefs come directly from scripture. For many Christians, if the Bible says something is sin, then it is sin. Period.
But I would like to point out the hypocrisy of this as it pertains to divorce and remarriage. The dominant view of divorce among Christians today is that it is not preferable, but that it is allowed in certain circumstances, such as infidelity and abandonment by an unbeliever. But what is not discussed as often is the issue of remarriage. Jesus teaches about this in Matthew 5:32 -
"But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery."
And again in Matthew 19:9 -
"I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."
And Mark 10:11-12 -
He answered, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery."
And Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, 15 -
"To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife... But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace."
And for Old Testament exclamation, Malachi 2:16a -
"I hate divorce," says the LORD God of Israel...
While it can be conceded that marital unfaithfulness and abandonment by an unbeliever are legitimate grounds for divorce, scripture does not allow divorce for any other reason. Therefore, according to the Bible, anyone who divorces for any reason other than infidelity or abandonment by an unbeliever and then later remarries is an adulterer.
So is this adultery sinful? Most Christians do not demand that remarried divorcees repent of their adultery and end their sinful and immoral behavior. Most do not cry out through political punditry that remarried divorcees are a threat to the institution of marriage and the family values of our nation. Christian politicians are not lobbying for legislation or constitutional amendments against divorce and remarriage. Isn't divorce a significantly more direct and damaging threat to marriage than homosexuality? Isn't God's Old Testament hate of divorce equivalent to His calling homosexuality an abomination? Adultery and homosexuality seem to be equivalent in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 -
"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."
So why do Christians treat the two issues so differently? If there is a hermeneutic that allows for the acceptance of remarriage, why can't we also be accepting of homosexuality?
Pardon me for being cynical, but I think it is easy for Christian leaders to take a hard stance against homosexuality. Leaders cannot speak out so strongly against remarried divorcees because there are too many of them attending their churches. Half of all marriages in America end in divorce, and the number one cause of those divorces is financial stress. To take a solidly conservative Biblical stand against all those who have remarried after such a divorce would clear the pews in a hurry!
But do Christians truly avoid teaching these verses because it would be unpopular? Or is it that we don't believe them? Do we just decide for ourselves what we think is right and trust that God agrees with us, regardless of what the Bible says? Could our interpretation of these passages regarding divorce and adultery really be that dependent on our own ideas of morality?
So I ask again, what is the hermeneutic that allows Christians to accept the adultery inherent in most remarriages? And if such a hermeneutic exists, why is it not applied to other sexual sins, such as homosexuality? And if it does not exist, why do Christians accept unrepentant remarried persons into fellowship but not unrepentant homosexuals?