Emergents are not so much pro-gay or pro-lesbian as they are convinced that sexuality is more complex than many acknowledge. They are committed both to the Bible, which has strong denunciatory language for homosexual practices, and to live alongside gay and lesbian friends and family members.
That is, I think, the attitude of many a young Christian. Obviously, some refuse to see the sinfulness in homosexuality, but even for those who acknowledge the Bible’s teachings, they have grown up in a world that often prefers to treat gay men and women with dignity rather than hatred.
Where I grew up, homosexuals were treated as garbage, even taken out and beaten just for sport. I think the newer attitude is far closer to God’s.
I find the scriptures quite plain in denouncing homosexual acts and quite plain as treating homosexuals as people to be loved. But we’ve never been good at hating the sin and loving the sinner. Rather, we tend to treat the sinner as too loathsome to have around.
And the worst of it is this: because Christians have treated gay men and women so shamefully over the years, we’ve lost our moral standing to say that homosexual relations are wrong. And it’s entirely our own fault.
But we must resist the temptation to surrender to the world’s culture and ignore God’s teachings on the subject. Rather, our task is to rebuild our moral standing by truly loving the homosexuals we encounter, even those who are sexually active. I mean, Jesus showed compassion to prostitutes and adulters. We can do no less.
And for those in our churches who have homosexual feelings but who resist them and remain chaste, well, we should treat them as the heroes of the faith they are. Many of our heterosexual members don’t do as well.
For more on the subject, see the series “Letters to a Gay Man in the Churches of Christ.”