Christian Attitudes Towards Homosexuality
With recent comments from Pope Francis calling for the study of homosexual marriage instead of immediate dismissal of the issue, along with recent polls showing growing support amongst Christians worldwide for gay marriage, it is easy to forget that many people still very much disapprove. One recent example of this is a controversial billboard put up by “concerned Christians”. The billboard has the oft quoted Leviticus 18:22 on one page of an open Bible, with a somewhat redeeming “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin” on the left. A sign like this would seem incredibly out of place in Portland Oregon, but in Portland, Tennessee, this sign certainly seems to fit in with southern US “Bible Belt” culture. The billboard is causing controversy among local Christians and churches, with some denouncing it as bullying and others contributing money to keep the billboard up. This division reflects the greater division of attitudes among the global Christian church, with both sides engaging in increasingly apocalyptic dialogue, often accusing the other side of the destruction of church values. The church seems to be tending towards a more progressive stance on a global scale, and it will be interesting to see how the “hold-outs” respond to this movement. Christian fundamentalists, both in the United States and in other countries, will be difficult if not impossible to convince, and with tensions increasing the warring factions of modern and fundamentalist Christianity will likely continue to denounce each other. Could this conflict cause a modern splintering of the Church? With the Christian Right ardent on issues such as gay marriage, creationism, abortion, sexual education, and the state of Israel, the political and social divide seems to be increasing at an exponential rate. Although the pro-billboard side of the debate insists this is purely a message of love, others even within the Christian Right are debating the best way to convert the wide variety of sinners in the world. Whether this leads to a great splintering of the church between modern and fundamentalist factions or if it just fosters discussion around freedom of speech we’re yet to see, but time certainly goes on and modernist movements are constantly adapting to modern culture and fundamentalists stay firmly planted.