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CLERGY COLUMN

I was visiting new people in our area one evening not long ago. A man came to the door, so I introduced myself, handed him a flier and invited he and his family to our church. He told me that it was just he and his partner living there. We talked for some time about the area, friendliness of the people and his plans for a bed and breakfast.

Several times during the conversation, he mentioned his “partner,” also calling him his husband. We continued in what I perceived as a friendly conversation for 15 minutes or more. He then stopped and said he’d like to ask a question. He began to ask if he and his partner would be welcome at our church, to which I was prepared to tell him everyone is welcome, but he stopped short and said I didn’t need to fear, he wanted my honest answer (I would not give anything but an honest answer) and that he really wanted to know what I believed about his situation with he and his partner. He stressed I shouldn’t be hesitant or afraid to answer candidly. I told him I believed homosexuality is a sin.

I was prepared to continue our discussion and stress that it is no greater sin than any other; the Bible says all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Just as an adulterer, drunkard, glutton, covetous person, thief, liar or any other sinner, which we all are, he and his partner would be welcome and treated kindly at our church. I was not given the opportunity. He abruptly said good-bye, turned, walked into the house and closed the door. I was stunned by the suddenness of his departure and just stood there for a moment.

I recognize that I was an uninvited guest at his door, yet he chose to engage me knowing who I was. If the roles were reversed and I responded as he did, I would be labeled intolerant, a homophobe and probably a host of other derogatory terms. I was friendly to him throughout the conversation. My attitude did not change as he revealed his homosexuality. I never thought it necessary to interject my heterosexuality into the conversation. If given the opportunity, I would have engaged a discussion of why I hold to my position and would have listened as he defended his. It seems to me he was only willing to continue to converse if I was in agreement with him and that I was expected to conform to his thinking.

As I drove away, many questions came to mind. Why was he so concerned that I, a stranger, know of his homosexuality? Why was it necessary for him to have my approval to continue a conversation? Why do homosexuals define themselves by their sexual orientation, as though it is the most important aspect of their being? Why am I expected to allow his belief to be imposed on me and on my children? I am not forcing him to accept my position. Why am I derided and often shouted into silence for my belief? Why do those who say they want Christians to stay out of their bedrooms insist on bringing what they do in the bedroom out into public? Why is the only acceptable diversity politically correct diversity? Why am I accused of being hateful simply because I disagree?

Alas, my questions are often never answered.

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