It's the Underlying Doctrine that Causes the Real Harm!

Where do your 'personal' values come from?

Do you primarily listen to your age-groups peers? Or perhaps your moral compass was set within your family? Or, is it your church and its views that guides your values? Is it perhaps some combination of all of these? What is it like to be part of a minority group in today's society? Don't think for a minute, if you identify as LGBTQ, that you aren't part of a minority group, because you most definitely are.

How does your church or religion view minority groups? People with red hair or green eyes are definitely a minority group… but they seem to be acceptable today. Left handed people are also a minority group and they are accepted in today's world (although it was definitely a curse in the Middle Ages). What about the LGBTQ minority group… now we are in a much more complicated territory aren't we?

Just why do the leadership of world religions consider LGBTQ people to be 'totally depraved' or 'intrinsically morally disordered'? What do these terms even mean? How and when did our religious leadership even come to this form of thinking about LGBTQ people? Are you even aware that all three Judaic derived religions believe that 'everyone' is born a sinner and can only be saved by the actions of church leadership on their behalf?

What is phenomenology and what does it mean in today's world? How does phenomenology explain why Hitler thought it was acceptable to eliminate all Jews? Could phenomenology also explain the attitude of world religions towards the LGBTQ community?

What is ontology and what does it say about your 'true nature', and how does it fit into this discussion? For a better understanding of the hostility of religious leadership towards LGBTQ people, where it comes from and what it may mean for you, please read on…

A look at how Christian doctrine translates into beliefs and practices that damage LGBTQ people

The majority of Christians grow up with a generalized belief system. Many clergy. in a wide range of churches. lament the relative theological ignorance of most of the members in their churches. That should be no surprise. Theology is the realm of clergy—they go to seminary to study it. The regular folks just need to know what they believe and why. Right?

That is to say, they hold a generalized belief system.

However, what most Christians don't understand is that they get that generalized belief system from two principle places: culture and church. Millennials more than Baby Boomers, and Gen Z'ers more than Millennials have a belief system highly informed by their culture. One need look no further than the position most Christians (and particularly younger believers) have on a range of subjects (like abortion, women's rights, homosexuality, pre-marital sex, etc.) to understand that it is very different than that of their clergy, and probably their parents.

Then there's the beliefs they get in church. The majority of these believers grew up in the church, one way or the other, and attended Sunday School, Bible Study or Youth Fellowship. They may have gone through Confirmation training, etc., and if Roman Catholic they prepared for First Communion and purportedly studied the Catechism. Those experiences typically occur at a young age (elementary through high school) where the tendency is to accept information at face value, and not to question what is being taught. Add to that the informal teachings that are absorbed, and it becomes quite a lot of content—most of it unfiltered. James Finn recently pointed out in a Medium article on homosexuality titled Sometimes Church is Child Abuse, that "LGBTQ kids live a in world where gay means bad and where casual, cutting jokes are background noise." As he points out, they internalize a lot of that negative background noise. The straight people are clueless about this background noise and the impacts caused by this constant messaging about being different and bad. He's talking about hearing peers as well as authority figures refer to "the gays," or hearing them make disparaging remarks, or having the experience of being shunned.

Kids that grow up in the church are constantly bombarded with a different kind of background noise too—the kind that informs and bolsters their belief system, whether they understand it or not.

So, where do we end up? With a majority of Christians carrying a set of beliefs, the majority of which are based on theological doctrine that they don't know about and/or don't understand. They tend to think they understand the belief system that they have, as if it's the "distilled essence" of the doctrines, but couldn't explain them to you if they were forced to.

A classic example is the opposition to homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Prove me wrong, but while the majority still think homosexuality is wrong or sinful or abnormal (that number is decreasing year on year), and therefore by extension they oppose same-sex marriage, the majority can't tell you why they are in opposition. Specifically, they can't tell you why beyond the generalized beliefs they're been taught, topped off with the informal views and biases they've absorbed. Most can't even tell you the Scripture passages on which opposition is based, let alone the Church doctrine that describes it.

The majority of them would be surprised to learn the underlying theological doctrine and what it teaches. They'd be shocked to find out that however they want to describe or qualify their opposition to homosexuality, in theological terms they are subscribing to the doctrine that homosexuals are "depraved sinners" (Protestant) or suffering from an "intrinsic moral fault" (Roman Catholic).

Are those terms you're familiar with?

Origins: Where Did The Theology Come From?

Church History is also a subject most believers aren't knowledgeable about—beyond the big events like the Apostolic Period, when the Reformation began, the Counter-Reformation, Vatican II, etc.

Quick fun quiz: What was the date of the Council of Carthage? What was the date of the Third Lateran Council? What was the publication date of Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion?

What? You don't know! In fact, you're stunned because you're being asked about subjects you've never heard of before! Well, welcome to Practical Theology 101. Here's the quick answers for you:

Fun stuff, right?

While we're talking history, it's worth noting that most major theological doctrines were defined between the 4th and the 16th centuries. You know, that period of time when everyone thought the sun orbited the earth, that disease was caused by demons, that heaven was right up there in the sky, etc., etc. There was a reason it was called 'The Enlightenment' when it came along in the late seventeenth century; incidentally, anyone for another dose of it today…?

Let's take the ones on homosexuality in chronological order. What most people, let alone most Christians (or other followers of religion for that matter), don't understand is that Christianity came into being and developed in the Graeco-Roman world where they didn't have the concept of homo or hetero sexuality. There were just people, and people had sex. Sure, they had cultural norms, but most of them would really surprise modern Christians. For example, it wasn't a surprise at all for a man to have a same-sex relationship as long as it conformed to his status in society. Specifically, that meant wealthy aristocrats shouldn't be in submissive positions with the lower classes. In Greek culture it was the norm for young to middle age men to have a mentoring and sexual relationship with a teenager, which would eventually lead to the youth departing and marrying a woman. And so on, and so on.

And it was into this cultural milieu that Christianity appeared in Judea. It's worthy of note that Jesus is not quoted as saying a word about homosexuality, though there are clear passages where he is speaking to prostitutes and against other kinds of immorality. Yes, everyone thinks Judaism condemned homosexuality, but it all hinges on how less than six passages are interpreted, and they don't hold up to scrutiny.1 All the Leviticus passages are in a context of describing things that defile a person and are an abomination—such as eating pork or camel, eating any seafood without fins or scales, having sex with your wife during her period, etc.

Does anyone pass that test? Do modern day Christians?

Also, it's not clear at all that "laying with a man as a woman" (the usual translation), means what we're told it means: male on male sex. The point is that it is not definitively clear. But that strain of interpretation came into Christianity through St. Paul, a former Jewish rabbi, and a pretty literal one at that. Yet, for the first twelve hundred years, excepting occasional government condemnation or local church denunciation, the Christian church did not condemn homosexuality. Rather, it went along with the cultural norm. Then in the 12th Century things changed, and coincidentally in the same time period that homosexuality was proscribed, the requirement for clerical celibacy also came into being.

Interestingly, a quick look at the Third Lateran Council is somewhat illuminating. While on the one hand it decreed that all clergy guilty of sodomy be removed from office or confined to penitential life in a monastery, in contrast, if the guilty were laity they were to be strictly excommunicated. The specific language? "Let all who are found guilty of that unnatural vice for which the wrath of God came down upon the sons of disobedience and destroyed the five cities with fire, if they are clerics be expelled from the clergy or confined in monasteries to do penance; if they are laymen they are to incur excommunication and be completely separated from the society of the faithful!"

Striking, isn't it? And there is a rather major "or" in the above statement. The guilty clergy get sent on a retreat in a monastery, while the regular folks are excommunicated! What's up with that? Who knows! But it illustrates the usual difference between the clergy and the people, where the axe mainly falls on the latter. One rule for them and one for the rest of us? Not exactly 'ten commandments' stuff, is it?

The Third Lateran Council begins the condemnation, though, which continued to develop in the Catholic Church because now clergy were bound to be celibate (in all ways) and expected to enter into some kind of mystical "marriage" to the Virgin and be the bride of Christ. Then along came the Reformation. What should not be forgotten is that the leaders of the Reformation were all raised and educated as Roman Catholics. Then they broke with Rome over one or more specific doctrines or practices (sola scriptural, sola fide, etc.). Many Reformation leaders wrote theology and defined doctrine, but it was John Calvin who wrote the magnum opus in his theological tome.

The Roman Catholic Catechism

The tradition of the Catholic church has understood the 6th Commandment (You shall not commit adultery) as encompassing the whole of human sexuality. While the church asserts that human sexuality is central to being fully human, it establishes certain limits on that sexuality. It developed its doctrine from the core concept of sexual purity (by this, it is understood that any sexual act—including masturbation—outside of marriage is forbidden). It then goes on to describe what constitutes normative sexual identity: namely heterosexual between man and woman, within the confines of marriage and leading to a family, and characterized by fidelity that does not include adultery. Having defined what is normative, it then addresses homosexual acts with terms such as gravely depraved, unnatural, closed to the gift of life and excluded from sexual complementarity (which in Catholic doctrine speaks to the basic defining characteristic of marriage as a relationship in which two people improve or emphasize each other's qualities and exists only between men and women).

Worth noting is that since the Third Lateran Council, the Catholic church has consistently declared homosexual acts to be intrinsically disordered. It acknowledges the presence of homosexuals within the human population, but denies the biological basis of homosexuality and emphasizes, instead, personal choice by the use of the term 'inclination', and then adds 'objectively disordered' to the definition.

The focus on "homosexual acts" is built on the false premise that acts can be separated from the person. If the condition of being homosexual is biological, then homosexual acts are a natural extension of the human condition. The acts cannot be separated from the person. This brings into further focus the overarching context of the Catechism, that the only sexual act that has any validity is that between man and woman in marriage. If then, homosexual acts are unnatural and intrinsically disordered, and the acts cannot be separated from the person, then homosexuals themselves (the persons) are intrinsically disordered and gravely depraved.

So, if you think about gay sex, you are considering engaging in an intrinsically and gravely disordered behavior. Considering it, thinking about it, desiring it with another person, are all mortal sins. But, if you do it, then you become the behavior. You become intrinsically and gravely disordered

If anyone, as a homosexual person, is not open to the "traditional" acts of marriage, that person has chosen to turn away from God. That, in and of itself, is a mortal sin, in that one has just excommunicated oneself. Claiming to be homosexual is a choice, in the eyes of Church Doctrine, and that choice necessarily removes you from the grace of God.

The Protestant Development

Most Protestant churches are direct or indirect descendants of Lutheranism or Calvinism, and in most respects their theological positions are similar or the same. Arminianism split from Calvinism (and is represented by American Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals and Nazarenes) but are essentially the same as Calvinists on 'Total Depravity.' The theory of Total Depravity forms the 'T' in the Calvinist five doctrinal summary points TULIP,2 and the T in the Arminian five summary points of FACTS. It is one area where there is significant similarity within the two theories. While we focus on Protestantism here, remember that Roman Catholic doctrine is essentially the same, just that it uses different terminology.

Both Calvinists and Arminians believe that due to the fall of man, all people are born in sin and under the sentence of divine condemnation. Sin impacts and corrupts every aspect of being: flesh, mind, inclination, heart, motives, etc. Humans, by nature and volition, are not willing to seek God, return to God, or reform themselves, rather they are inclined to turn away from God. Humans cannot even think or do good in and of themselves. They cannot of their own merit, work, or thoughts achieve salvation. They cannot even, of themselves, believe the gospel. God must take the initiative in salvation.

The Lutheran view does not use the term 'Total Depravity' but rather 'bondage of the will.' The sinner's will is viewed as fallen, and hence in bondage to sin, so the net effect is the same. The sinner is unable to come to God without the grace of God. Humans no longer have any remnant of the divine image in which they were created . Humans suffer a complete lack of freedom in spiritual matters and are unable to spiritually grasp and therefore to believe or trust what is heard or learned. In this teaching, faith itself must be bestowed by the Holy Spirit.

Bottom line for almost all of them? Homosexuals are depraved sinners by nature or by choice.

Anglican Communion

A separate observation needs to be made about the Anglican Communion (which includes the Episcopal church), which originally broke from the Catholic church under Henry VIII and was strongly influenced by Scottish Calvinists, but has maintained a hybrid doctrinal position over the centuries. The Anglican Communion contains a wide range of beliefs on homosexuality, and the majority of members believe that heterosexuality or celibacy is required of Christians, yet equally stress tolerance toward others.

Assisted by theologians and clergy from the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, the Church of England defined their newly developed Calvinist doctrines in the Westminster Confession of 1648, though it was never formally adopted into church law. The majority of theological thinking was aligned with Calvinist doctrines, though Anglican churches are diverse and not all churches or dioceses must agree on all issues to be in the Communion.

In recent times, as culture and society became more accepting of gay rights, and then the laws changed to make homosexuality and same-sex marriage legal, a real controversy has developed within the Anglican Communion. Part of it concerns how much and what sort of disagreement over these issues may exist while still calling it a "common faith". Acceptance of homosexuals and same-sex marriage has become a contemporary example. In 1998 the bishops of the Anglican Communion upheld the traditional Christian teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman and that those who are not called to marriage so defined should remain celibate. They passed a resolution stating that homosexual acts are "incompatible with Scripture," though it contained a statement about ministering pastorally and sensitively irrespective of sexual orientation. The dispute is unresolved and has become a deep and bitter division between the traditionalists who essentially see it as a depraved sin and the progressives who feel the need to be accepting. Over 80% of Anglican bishops worldwide are in the traditionalist camp.

So, what does it all mean?

In practical terms what it means is that this definition of original sin has to do with the fallen nature of mankind. The idea is that we are not sinners because we sin, but that we sin because we are sinners. That is to say, humans are fallen, fundamentally bad and unable to do anything good in and of themselves. This is where Protestants and Roman Catholics differ from Eastern Orthodox, who subscribe to the view that humans are essentially good, but just do bad things because of the fall. The Western Church has the contrasting view, that humans are essentially bad and can inherently do nothing good themselves.

Although the Catholic church differs from Protestants in its point of departure and how they develop their doctrines condemning homosexuality, two things apply to both: it begins with what is defined as natural and what is not, and both churches reject current medical thinking that homosexuality is a biological reality and not a psychological disorder. That view is totally at odds with contemporary psychiatric and psychological understanding—in 1973 the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the list of psychopathologies in the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

What is being described is the part of philosophy called ontology: the nature of being. Whether you label it as 'total depravity' or 'intrinsically disordered,' the notion is that you are fundamentally broken and bad as a person. That is your state of being, your human nature. Not just that you may do bad things, but that you are bad. Bad to the bone! That's why the consequence of the concept is that you can't do anything good in and of yourself…unless you're saved first. As Reformed theologian R.C. Sproul puts it, "The body, the mind, the will, the spirit—indeed, the whole person—have been infected by the power of sin."

The point of this piece is not to run a class in theological doctrine, but rather to illustrate how deep and how fundamental the concept of brokenness and sin and badness is within the doctrine of 'total depravity.' The Catholic doctrines correspond to this notion of essentially bad and broken.

That matters, because all of those churches have a doctrine of salvation, by which one can be freed or redeemed from that sinful condition by the sacrifice of Christ. Regardless of how that salvation is understood and what is required to achieve it (and there's lots of variation), the result is that the believer is among the saved, and no longer depraved. For some this includes predestination and notions like "once saved, always saved." But the point is that believers are no longer what they were, suffering from 'total depravity.' They have undergone an ontological change and instead of being depraved they are now saved, numbered among the righteous!

What kind of sin is that?

All of this should make you wonder why those same churches consider homosexuality a depraved sin. Or, the Catholic equivalent of suffering from an intrinsic moral disorder. Don't lose sight of the fact that intrinsic is an ontological term meaning "of nature," which is to say that being morally disordered is the natural state for a homosexual!

To be labeled a depraved sinner implies (in practice) something beyond being a usual or common sinner. Beyond, even, being a sinner who fell from grace and practiced a reprehensible sexual sin. It might be worth a pause here to note that sins like adultery and pre-marital sex are forgiveable. But not homosexuality?

Why is that?

The answer starts to explain the use of a term like 'depraved sinner,' because it is an ontological statement that re-defines the homosexual into a different category of being. You see, it's not good enough (or is that bad enough!) to say a homosexual has committed a sexual transgression. Rather, those who practice this sexual behavior are re-categorized. Do those who commit adultery get re-categorized as 'depraved sinners?' No! They are described as having committed a sexual transgression, having sinned, having fallen, and requiring repentance for restoration.

Why does this happen? Could it be because what is in view is sexual identity, something so fundamental to personal being that it has to be dealt with as constituent of the whole person? It would seem so, and then that view is compounded by the conviction that the behavior is not considered normal.

Heterosexuals are considered normal people even if they commit adultery or live in sin. Homosexuals, in contrast, are considered a lesser, deviant type.

In fact, what happens is that homosexuals are re-categorized because of their sexual identity, they are now considered something different. They are no longer normal people, regular members of the human race; that is, Homo sapiens. Rather, they have been made into something different, something apart.

This is a very important point of departure, and requires one to pause and consider the existential reality and the consequences associated with it. What takes place in the case of homosexuality is something that has been described in a school of thought called phenomenology. It's worth taking a few minutes to get informed about this.

How can the Phenomenon be so destructive?

Phenomenology considers the 'Self' in contrast to the 'Other.' It can occur in two forms. One is internal, the other external, and the external is the one that matters here. The external 'Other' is different and dissimilar to the 'Self.'

Stop for a second and reflect on that. The proposition is the creation of a different and dissimilar Other, that is separate from the Self. That means not just different, but separate from you. This concept is the basis of what the military does to prepare warriors to kill the enemy, as well as the basis of hate crimes, mass murders, pogroms and genocide.

How does it work? Simple. By creating a characteristic of 'Otherness,' a state of being that is alien to the social or religious identity of the person, of the Self. In other words, you are enabled to think of 'that person' as being the Other, as being fundamentally different than you.

In this case, the Other is understood as distinct and separate from the normal order of things, different from social or religious norms. In other words, the Otherness is their difference from you, their non-conformity to what your culture or society or institution or religion define as normal and acceptable. And the consequence? Otherness becomes a condition of disenfranchisement and exclusion. The other is alienated—placed at the margins of society and community…or outside of it.

It's what slaves experienced when they were considered to be sub-human, a different category lower on the scale than normal humans. They could be kept as slaves because it wasn't much different, really, than keeping a horse or a cow! Military indoctrination convinces warriors that anyone outside their group is the Other and therefore subhuman—and can therefore be killed with impunity.

This reductive action, redefines a person as someone who belongs to a subordinate category…even a separate category to be condemned. Othering excludes persons who don't fit the norm of the social group, or who have become the targets of the social group, in order to exclude or displace them. This is how the Nazis managed to build support for the holocaust against the Jews and the genocide against Gypsies and homosexuals.

Does it have to be that radical?

In a word, no! However, the process at work, the phenomenological process, is the same…whether the end result is genocide or run of the mill condemnation and persecution.

Where Ontology and Phenomenology meet

Let's look at a couple of other conceptual examples of ontology at work, which may help pull all this together at a practical level.

The first has to do with a different way of looking at and understanding human beings. We all know that the scientific name of humans is Homo sapiens. But different humans demonstrate different behaviors and those generate different understandings and labels.

Max Frisch, the Swiss author, wrote a book called Homo Faber wherein he conceived of humankind as "man the maker." He thought of humans as workers whose world view is based on logic and technology, and characterized by a rational ideology that produces things. Clearly this is in contrast to almost all other species on the Earth who do not produce things, but the assertion in the novel is that the work, the making of things, has overtaken the true nature of being human.

In a completely different realm, Fr. Alexander Schmemann, the Eastern Orthodox Christian theologian, used a similar model when he described what he viewed to be the true and ultimate purpose of human beings, specifically those who have achieved spiritual union with God in Christ. For him they became Homo adorans, the person who worships and praises God.

Homo sapiens, Homo faber, Homo adorans. Which is it? Does it matter?

It matters because these are ontological concepts that result in different categories of humans, humans with a different nature. Now, you might think this is all an intellectual construct, and you may be right. But don't forget how effective the Nazis were in doing this same kind of thing.

So, what is the consequence of this re-categorization when, say, someone who was lost and then saved and then acknowledges that they're homosexual? If that person is in the Reformed tradition (the Protestant denominations derived from The Reformation), then initially they were lifted from their former condition of Total Depravity through the grace of God, by the redemptive work of Christ and the quickening of the Spirit, and then later they acknowledge that they are homosexual. Now what? Now that they recognize that their true identity includes a sexual identity that is not of their own choosing, is biological in nature, and is as much a part of them as the color of their hair or eyes?

Let's hold that theological question for just a second and think about eye or hair color.

Here's a couple of interesting facts. Do you know that green eyes and red hair only appear in 2 percent of the human population?

Yes, it's true. Just two percent of the world's population has green eyes, and the cause is genetic. In people with green eyes, the OCA2 gene produces the protein responsible for melanin, the HERC2 gene controls the OCA2 gene by turning its protein production on and off. The presence of at least one genetic variation in the HERC2 gene can reduce the amount of melanin produced, leading to green eyes.

Fun fact: there's no green pigment. Instead, because of the lack of melanin in the iris, more light scatters out, which make the eyes appear green.

Then there's red hair, which is found in somewhere between one and two percent of the human population. Red hair usually results from a mutation in a gene called MC1R, which codes for the melanocortin-1 receptor.

Fun fact: The pigment found in red hair that makes it red is called pheomelanin.

So, there's two interesting data points, and not the least interesting is the numbers: about two percent of the human race have green eyes or red hair. And you noted, of course, that they're both genetic mutations, right?

What do those two data points have to do with anything? Well, Kinsey estimated ten percent of the male population to be homosexual, though his studies are now dated. The Movement Advancement Project data, based on Gallup surveys, estimates the current US LGBT population to be between five and ten percent.

Green eyes and red hair at two percent. Homosexuals at five to ten percent. Interesting!

Green eyes and red hair are demonstrably genetic traits. Homosexuality is a mix of genetics, gestation and biology. In other words, in the case of all three, they are not choices: they are characteristics or attributes that are biologically determined. Do we discriminate against those with green eyes or red hair? Do we treat them as The Other?

This is an important question because it shows how belief systems come into play for certain things and not others. There are dramatically more homosexuals than people with green eyes or red hair, but the former are condemned by most religions and the latter are not.

Attempting to explain this takes us back to the doctrines of Total Depravity or Intrinsic Morally Disordered and the label that is applied to homosexuals in most Christian churches, as well as in most of Judaism and all of Islam. It means that they are not just judged as being sinful, rather their nature, i.e. their sexual identity is specifically condemned as a special and particularly reprobate type of sin, which merits a special categorization of their being.

They are not just among those who commit sexual transgressions. Rather, because sexual identity is so fundamental, such a core and constituent part of a human being, and somehow this form of sexual identity is so offensive to many religious people, they are considered to be of a different category.

In these doctrinal model and all the belief systems that derive from it, homosexuals become The Other. They are considered to be Homo depravus, a separate and deviant type of person.

But does it have to be that way?

Beyond the culture wars: an alternative approach.

No, it doesn't have to be this way, and there's also a demonstrable historical fact that illustrates the point: Left-handedness!

The Book of Matthew describes how God will divide nations on the Day of Judgment, "as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats; and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left," with those on the right sent to the kingdom of Heaven and those on the left "cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."

Just so you didn't miss it, the goats are the sinners who are sent to hell. Now let's think about left-handed people. Did you know that left-handed people comprise only 10 percent of the population? Gee, another coincidental number. In the same range as the number of homosexuals in the human population, and five times as many as those with green eyes or red hair!

Remember the earlier point that all these doctrines that condemn homosexuals as 'depraved sinners' or as suffering from an 'intrinsic moral fault' came into being during the Middle Ages? Another practice that came into being then was the condemnation of being left-handed. It was attributed to demonic possession, leading to accusations of witchcraft.

We still have residuals of that in the English language. Sinister, today meaning evil or malevolent in some way, comes from a Latin word simply meaning "on the left side." Remember, that's where the goats are going: to the sinister side because they were sinners!

Left being associated with evil likely comes from a majority of the population being right-handed, biblical texts describing God saving those on the right on Judgment day, and images depicting Eve on Adam's left. And, of course, from ignorance, fear and lack of knowledge of how life actually works! In contrast, the Latin for "right" is dexter, and it finds its way into positive words like dexterous, and the French word for right (droit) is found in adroit.

Do you know anyone who is left-handed? Are they a witch or a warlock? Are they a sinister sinner? Does anyone believe any of this superstitious nonsense anymore? No, because we understand that being left-handed is biological, and not a sign of being a witch. We now know that homosexuality is a mixture of genetics, gestation and biology. We're long overdue to give up on classifying it as a 'depraved sin.'

Except, it has become one of the battle flags of the culture wars, and until religion either loses the culture wars or gives up on this battle flag, it will continue damaging LGBTQ people because of its very doctrines. The doctrines that were defined back when left-handed people were considered sinister, and those condemned of witchcraft were burned at the stake!

Christian zealots have ruled the world before. We called it the dark ages


1 The Old Testament passages that are the basis for the doctrinal position condemning homosexuality are: Genesis 1: 27, Genesis 18:20 and chapter 19, Deuteronomy 23: 17-18, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. New Testament passages are: Romans 1: 26-27, I Corinthians 6:9 and Timothy 1:10. A brief analysis of them is available at

2 TULIP is the acronym for Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of the Saints. FACTS is the acronym for Freed to Believe by God's Grace, Atonement for All, Conditional Election, Total Depravity, Security in Christ