This blog has been prompted by something Miss California allegedly said. The wonderful Stephy has blogged on this here:
but rather than blog on her Comments I'm setting down my thoughts in my own blog.
A few years ago we had a major issue at the church I attend when someone in an active same sex relationship applied for membership. At the time I came within a whisker of leaving the church when the vote went in favour but, in retrospect, this had more to do with the way the issue was handled than the outcome. I was starting from the view that the Bible banned homosexuality and nothing in the discussions changed this point of view because there was no attempt to examine and explain the scriptures. Instead the arguments in favour were all based on modern social thinking to the point where one person said that if we rejected this it would go against everything she was learning in her secular counselling course. I'm sorry but a secular source is not an authority within the church.
However since then I have learnt to read the scripture in a contextual way and this raised all sorts of questions that a literal word based reading doesn't even think about. Firstly in the Old Testament the arguments against homosexuality are based on the need to grow the population and the treatment of women as breeding machines and property; neither of which are consistent with Jesus' teaching on the place of women in society and marriage. Secondly Paul's teaching in Romans may have coloured by his view of temple prostitution (male and female) having been brought up in a Greco-Roman town and so may only apply within that historical context. Thirdly I usually get the "God made them male and female" argument thrown at me when trying to discuss this but there are a significant proportion of the population (between 0.05% to 1% depending on where you get your figures) who are transgender; i.e. neither male or female in the conventional understanding of those terms.
As a result I have moved from an "anti" position to one of "not sure but I don't see Jesus condemning it." Interestingly the person who nearly split the church by joining now only appears when his "son" comes to church parade as a Cub Scout lending credence to those who say a lot of these issues are politically motivated; I for one am happy to see him there and make a point of speaking to him and making him welcome.
If you want to know more I would recommend the book An Acceptable Sacrifice (ISBN-10: 0281058512) which was written to inform the debate within the Anglican Church (without much success from what I've read) for further reading.