Certain names have been changed.
When my dad found out I was a Christian, he asked me if I was okay with my Uncle Tony being gay. I never had a problem with my uncle before my conversion; Uncle Tony is one of the nicest guys in the world. Was I now supposed to hate my family because my religion?
Of course I can understand why some one would assume that. Before I became a Christian, I thought Christianity was just about hating gays, witches, and liberals. Every time I saw a Christian on TV, he was usually ranting about either Bill Clinton, rock music, or the "gay agenda." It wasn't until some one actually told me about God's love that my view of Him changed. Unfortunately, there are many others that still think God is hate--both Christians and non-Christians.
Two of the most extreme examples of Christians that are vocally anti-gay are Fred Phelps and the late Jerry Falwell. I still can't believe that Falwell went on TV and publicly said that lesbians were partially responsible for the September 11th attacks. The last time I checked, lesbians weren't behind the cockpits of those planes. But Falwell looks like a member of GLAAD compared to Phelps. No doubt you've all seen Phelps and his cult crash funerals across America, holding signs that say "God Hates Fags." Phelps is the Osama Bin Laden of Christianity; even Falwell was appalled by Phelps protesting Matthew Sheppard's funeral!
I don't really want to get into the whole "Is it a sin?" debate, but I can understand why it's such a controversial issue. On one hand, you have Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-27, and a few other places in the Bible that, according to most mainstream Chrisitians, do not condone homosexuality. But on the other hand, the issue isn't as simple as two men or two women having sex. Uncle Tony and his husband David geniunely love each other, and you can't really choose who you fall in love with, can you? So that's why I try to avoid that debate. I'm still trying to figure it out myself.
But I do know one thing. As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors, no matter who they are. Gay or straight, we're all in the same boat. We're all born into this crazy world kicking and screaming, confused about what's going on. We're all messed up, and we all have our own little issues. And, most importantly, Jesus died for us all. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't remember reading anywhere in the Bible "For God so loved the world . . . except those dirty queers." Maybe you have a different Bible translation than I do.
Besides, I never understood why some Christians focus only on homosexuality, as if that's the only sin in the Bible. As Jim Wallis pointed out, "Jesus didn’t speak at all about homosexuality. There are about 12 verses in the Bible that touch on that question ... [t]here are thousands of verses on poverty. I don’t hear a lot of that conversation." Also, if God "hate fags," then technically God hates us all, because we are all sinners. Take 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." Why doesn't Phelps stand outside of bars holding signs saying "God hates drunks?" When a big CEO is arrested for alleged crooked business practice, why don't we hear anything from the Church?
A few weeks ago I updated my Facebook status saying I was leading my first Bible study. Uncle Tony, who is on my friends list (pratically all my dad's side is on Facebook), replied and said he used to go to Bible studies and tried to pray away his homosexuality. "But then I realized all the people who hated me claimed to be Christians," he said. I wrote him back and said, "I love you no matter what." And I meant it, too.