Recognition of LGBT rights: “Love” for people or renunciation of faith?
Growing stronger in the world are voices that call for reconsideration of the Church's attitude to LGBT ideology, necessitating it by treating sodomites “with love”.
The chief German bishop of the RCC, Georg Betzing, declared the need to change the attitude of the Church towards sodomite marriages, as well as recognize the right of women to become "priests". Betzing's words are far from being the first and not the only ones. Not so long ago, the world was shocked by the statement of Pope Francis, in which he spoke positively about sodomites and called for legalizing their "unions".
Now Joe Biden, whos is known for his active promotion of LGBT ideology, has come to power in the United States, the most powerful state in the world. There is no doubt that in the very near future the issue of accepting this ideology will be raised with renewed vigor before the religious organizations of the world. And, for sure, word number one in promoting LGBT people will be "love". After all, even Pope Francis thinks in a similar vein – they say, if God loves all people, then does He really make an exception for sodomites? In addition, a lot of homosexuals form couples based on "love". Why then does the Church discriminate against them?
However, the issue of recognizing LGBT rights by religious organizations is not as simple as it might seem at first glance.
Why did Christians refuse to offer pagan sacrifices?
The entry of a person into the Church of Christ is accomplished through the Sacrament of Baptism, just as further life in the Church is sustained through the Sacraments. At the same time, a person may not realize or even not know the fullness of the Church's doctrine or its moral precepts. However, the very act of Baptism is the boundary that determines whether a person is in the Church fold or not. In this regard, it is useful to recall the history of the Baptism of the eunuch by the Apostle Philip:
“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Go south to the road-the desert road-that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means "queen of the Ethiopians"). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it." Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asked. "How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading: "He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth." The eunuch asked Philip, "Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?" Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?" Philip said to him, “If you believe with all your heart, you can.” He answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8: 26-39).
The eunuch's confession of faith was very simple: “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,” but this confession contains in itself all the faith of the Church and all moral laws.
An opposite example can be cited, when the Apostle Peter uttered the words of renouncing Christ, without intending at all to renounce Him: “Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said. But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.” He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!” After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.” Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.” (Matt. 26: 69-75).
In the era of early Christianity, the denial of Christ also took place in the symbolic language of sacrifices. Few people believed in idols at that time in the Roman Empire, let alone state officials, who were relatively more educated people. The Romans, as a rule, did not force the conquered peoples to abandon their beliefs and their deities. The main, but not the only, accusation against Christians was their political unreliability. It was possible to believe and worship anyone, including Jesus Christ, but at the same time it was necessary to participate in any common cults, since this was a symbol of loyalty to the supreme power of the Roman Empire.
Any participation in the sacrifice, be it formal or not, is a renunciation of Christ. Christians would rather agree to cruel torture and death than renounce their Lord
In some periods of Roman history, participation in the cult of the emperor, who was considered a deity and officially called "Dominus et deus noster" ("Our Lord and our God"), was mandatory. Participation in these cults did not imply faith in them; one just had to make the necessary sacrifice and then continue to believe as they please. Almost all such sacrifices were considered a mere formality, which, nevertheless, was mandatory. And only Christians and Jews refused to do this, arguing that one cannot even formally worship idols, that this is a renunciation of the One God, Who alone must be worshiped. Christians refused to throw a “meaningless” piece of incense on the altar of the idol or even not to throw it, but to buy a relevant certificate (this was also practiced) and at the same time remain a Christian. Any participation in the sacrifice, be it formal or not, is a denial of Christ. Christians would rather agree to cruel torture and death than renounce their Lord.
In our time, such a symbol of renunciation of Christ, most likely, is the recognition of the rights of sodomites. In order to understand this, one should pay attention to how homosexuality is viewed by modern science and public opinion.
LGBT and society: from “unthinkable” to “existing standard”
Until May 17, 1990, according to the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization, homosexuality was recognized as a psychosexual disease and had the number 302.0. Then it was excluded from the WHO list of diseases. In 1994, homosexuality was no longer considered a disease in Great Britain, in 1995 – in Japan, in 1999 – in Russia, in 2001 – in China, etc. But the so-called depathologization of homosexuality began much earlier. While a 1978 American Psychiatric Association survey found that 68% of psychiatrists considered homosexuality as pathology, a similar survey conducted in the mid-90s showed that only three out of 198 respondents considered homosexuality a disease. The most famous Soviet and Russian sexologist Igor Kon wrote in his article "On the normalization of homosexuality": "The abolition of the diagnosis involves not only and not so much political considerations, but profound changes in understanding the nature of sexuality, sexual health and the philosophy of medicine itself."
Until May 17, 1990, according to the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization, homosexuality was recognized as a psychosexual disease
Today, official medicine considers homosexuality to be completely normal, and it is not homosexuality being recognized as pathology but psychological discomfort a gay may experience. With few exceptions, scientists agree that homosexuality is completely normal, moreover, it can be congenital or caused by hormonal and other characteristics of the human body. Since about the 80s, scientists have been actively looking for the "gay gene" and most likely they will "find" it, because people who fund such studies really look forward to it. One of the main arguments for recognizing the "normality" of sodomy is the fact that homosexual behavior is common with about 500 species of the animal world.
Public opinion also changed 180 degrees. If earlier homosexuality was a shameful and condemned phenomenon, now it is not only recognized as normal and even fashionable, but also a guilt complex is imposed on people of traditional orientation vis-à-vis LGBT people for the humiliation they suffered in the past.
At the same time, no one will deny that the Holy Scriptures have an extremely negative attitude towards sodomy. Here are just some quotes: “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman: this is detestable” (Lev. 18:22); “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads” (Lev. 20:13). “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error” (Rom. 1: 24-27). In accordance with the Holy Scriptures, the Church also recognizes sodomy as a mortal sin.
Now homosexuality is not only recognized as normal and even fashionable, but also a guilt complex is imposed on people of traditional orientation vis-à-vis LGBT people.
Sodomy is a sin for the Church and a norm for society
Thus, a dichotomy arises: on the one hand, the Church condemns sodomy as a sin, but on the other hand, society is made to believe that sodomites are not to blame for being like that. Genes, hormones, the hypothalamus (the part of the brain responsible for sexual behavior) and so on are to blame. Ultimately, all this reasoning leads to the fact that it is God Who supposedly created the Sodomites like that. Then why does God severely condemn them in the Holy Scriptures: “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men” (1 Cor. 6: 9-10).
There are two ways out of this dichotomy: either to recognize God as cruel and unmerciful, Who creates people in order to then send them to eternal torment, or to admit that the Holy Scriptures are not so sacred and must be revised taking into account the "achievements" of modern science. This is the trap set for Christians. In some ways, this is akin to the question that was posed to the Lord Jesus Christ: “Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be sincere. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said, so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. So the spies questioned him: “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” He saw through their duplicity and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on “Caesar’s,” they replied. He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent” (Luke 20: 20-26).
There are two ways out of this dichotomy: either to recognize God as cruel and unmerciful, or to recognize that Holy Scripture is not so sacred and is subject to revision taking into account the "achievements" of modern science
The above dichotomy is resolved in this way: we live in a fallen world where sin has perverted both our human nature and nature in general, and this, by the way, also explains the homosexuality of animals. "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned" (Rom. 5:12). Man has generally become "comfortable with sin". But God by no means deprived man of his free will. A person can submit to sin or he can rule over it: “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it” (Gen. 4:7), the Lord said to Cain when he only intended to kill his brother.
For example, scientists point out as many as 29 genes responsible for the development of alcoholism. But this does not mean at all that the carriers of these genes will necessarily become alcoholics. Svetlana Borinskaya, a researcher at the Institute of General Genetics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said in one of her interviews: “Now we already know that a person can get genes from their parents responsible for the development of alcoholism, but the probability of becoming an alcohol addict is 50%. We must remember that nature gives us freedom of choice." God always lets man feel free to choose between sin and commandments. If a person has a genetic or some other predisposition to any sin, this does not mean that he does not have free will. This means that he will need more help from God in the fight against this sin but can receive a greater reward in heaven for such a victory.
In the modern world, however, it is not customary to talk about the sinfulness of human nature. On the contrary, man in his present fallen state is recognized as the yardstick of all things. “A person, his life and health, honor and dignity, inviolability and safety are recognized in Ukraine as the highest social value” (Article 3 of the Constitution of Ukraine). And if a person's sinfulness is taken out of brackets, and he is recognized as "the highest value", then we find ourselves in the grip of the above dichotomy.
Protestants have long recognized the rights of LGBT people, and now Catholics have taken this path. But neither the former nor the latter are ready to recognize God as cruel and merciless. This means there remains only the second option left, i.e. to correct the Bible. But this entails simply disastrous consequences for Christianity.
Consequences of “tailoring” the Bible to society's expectations
First, if the Bible is “wrong” in its condemnation of homosexuality, then it may be wrong on other issues as well. Accordingly, the authority of Scripture as God's revelation to people is destroyed. Having “corrected” the Bible once, people will correct it again and again, adjusting it to their sins. The Bible as the Logos will disappear. There will be a situation about which Amos prophesied: “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord, when I will send a famine through the land — not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD. People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the LORD, but they will not find it” (Amos 8: 11-12).
Secondly, Holy Scripture is written by the prophets (Old Testament) and the apostles (New Testament). And the Creed contains the following words: "I believe <...> in the Holy Spirit <...> Who has spoken through the Prophets." That is, we confess that the Holy Spirit spoke through the prophets, and then through the apostles. Recognizing the "fallibility" of Scripture, we thereby deny the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church, both Old Testament and New Testament. And if the Holy Spirit is not in the Church, then who performs the Sacraments, who forgives sins, who makes us partakers of the Body and Blood of Christ? If the Holy Spirit is not in the Church, then “our faith is in vain”: “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and so is your faith” (1 Cor. 15:14).
Therefore, recognition of the LGBT people’s rights is not some kind of "condescension" or "love" for sodomites – this is the actual renunciation of Christianity, this is the piece of incense that we are called, even formally in whatever way, to throw on the idol altar, which in no case should be done. Because whether we are aware of it or not, whether we internally agree with it or not, we will thereby perform an act of renunciation.