Panelists at Christianity And/Or/Versus Homosexuality

Katie Sims / Sun Staff Photographer

Panelists at Christianity And/Or/Versus Homosexuality

April 13, 2017

Panel Asks: Is Christianity Inclusive of Homosexuality?

Print More

If Jesus were alive in 2017, would he be hanging out at a gay bar?

That’s what a group of reverends, professors and students discussed at a panel titled “Christianity and/or/versus Homosexuality” this Tuesday.

“One of the problems in American culture today is we tend to speak about groups that we differ with. We don’t speak to groups that we differ with,” said Reverend Santosh Ninan in his opening remarks.

Ninan’s statement voiced the panel’s overall theme of encouraging “exposure to diverse viewpoints within the Christian tradition.”

The panel brought together six panelists from a variety of Christian backgrounds to discuss their views on homosexuality and its place in the Christian faith. In responding to a series of questions posed by a student moderator, they voiced differing views on homosexuality that sometimes conflicted with each other.

The panel featured Reverends David Kaden, Santosh Ninan, and David McMullin, associate director of Cornell United Religious Work. It also featured Prof. Michael Ferguson, human development, Brian Patchcoski, associate dean and director of the Cornell LGBT Resource Center, and Ben Hutton ’08, a volunteer with Campus Crusade for Christ/Cornell Cru.

“If Jesus were in our midst, he would absolutely be hanging out in gay bars and walking in pride parades because this is the same guy who in our tradition is God in flesh. This is the same guy who embraced people outside the mainstream,” Kaden said. “Jesus could think outside of tight boxes.”

He added that “it is our job, as 21st century interpreters of these traditions, to privilege, in the Bible and in the Christian tradition, those elements that are inclusive and universalist.”

Panelists Hutton and Ninan both took a different stance, arguing that homosexuality is a sin. They also pointed to a misplaced emphasis on homosexuality over other sins.

“The Bible says way more about pride, greed, love of money and lust than it does about homosexuality,” Ninan said.

Hutton elaborated on this view, grouping everyone as “sexual sinners,” with the sin associated with homosexuality as one among other sins, including divorce and sex outside marriage.

“Yes, I think that homosexual sex, homosexual lust is sinful, but then I want to be quick to rope myself and everyone in this room to say, ‘you know, we’re all in that boat,’” he said. “We’re all sexual sinners in need of forgiveness and redemption.”

For this reason, Hutton stressed the importance of increasing “empathy and understanding” and a way of balancing between “endorsing homosexuality outright and hating homosexuals,” he said.

Ninan expanded on this theme of “empathy and understanding” in the context of the evolution of his views on homosexuality and faith.

He said that despite his understanding of homosexuality as a sin, he wants there to be a church “community that will open their arms, homes and hearts to welcome same-sex attracted men and women.”

“I grew up with heterosexual privilege … but God in his grace allowed me to become friends with two gay men in my early 20s. Listening to them and their stories was life changing. I’m ashamed that I carried those homophobic and evil feelings in my heart, but as a Christian, I believe that God forgives,” Ninan said.

As indicated by its title, “Christianity and/or/versus Homo­sexuality,” the panel also addressed whether Christianity and homosexuality need be viewed as potentially-conflicting, binary entities.

On this question, Ferguson argued against the Christianity or homosexuality view.

“It is our universal spiritual calling to first, take up the cross and second, queer it,” he said.

“Jesus is supremely and unapologetically queer,” he added. This is a being whose coming out story violates the boundary between virginity and pregnancy, divinity and humanity, spirit and flesh … Jesus is the original queer gangster.”

Reverend McMullin also argued against a binary view, saying the two concepts ought not to be viewed as antithetical.

“I didn’t like the idea of Christianity and homosexuality referred to as an issue and as if there is only one Christianity that exists and as if that word ‘homosexuality’ somehow or other indicates a whole variety of the ways people see life and engage in the way that they love one another,” he said.

Ultimately, the panel was, as Ninan said, a “civil dialogue,” of people speaking to each other from different backgrounds about issues on which they sometimes disagreed.

Reflecting on the value of the panel, Ferguson concluded that in creating a sort of “conversation place,” people can learn to accept their differences. And in doing so, he said “we can go to each other’s churches and worship the same God afterwards.”

  • H. D.

    “If Jesus were in our midst, he would absolutely be hanging out in gay bars and walking in pride parades because this is the same guy who in our tradition
    is God in flesh” – Not true. Jesus is always telling the world to follow Him. He never follows the world. This is shown clearly in the bible. Jesus said whoever love Him will obey Jesus’s teachings. And the Godhead will love them and come and make a home with them.

    Gay bars is not a social gathering to discuss religion. It doesn’t fit with Jesus habit of visiting synagogues to preach.
    Pride parade is about promoting giving in to the passions of the flesh. It doesn’t not fit with Jesus habit of sacrificing Himself for others. Pride of any kind does not please God. He is near to the humble, but He knows the proud a far off (Psalm 138:6).

    The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
    We are all sinner. The only difference between some sinners and other sinners is the choice. God said we either choose life or death. Life is only found in God. So do we follow Christ to receive eternal life? Or do we follow other things and receive eternal death? (Deuteronomy 30:19)

    Never for once be deluded in thinking world opinion = God opinion. God’s opinion is very clearly stated in His book, which is called the bible. We are to test all things against God’s opinion (1 Thessalonians 5:21) to know truth from lies.

    • I bet you’re a lot of fun at parties

    • Kevin

      Sunday’s coming. He is risen indeed!

    • HP

      Well said H.D.! Agree 100%.

  • Kevin

    ““If Jesus were in our midst, he would absolutely be hanging out in gay bars and walking in pride parades because this is the same guy who in our tradition
    is God in flesh”
    Gay bars, swingers’ clubs, and brothels. No, Our Saviour would most assuredly not be hanging out there. AIDS wards at the hospital, battered women’s shelters, and homeless shelters ARE where He would be, and where His Church needs to be. As in now. His Church should not be wasting precious human capital arguing about whether He would “hang out” in places of public sexual sin. Again, no, He wouldn’t!
    Homosexuality is not a sin that should be normalized by ridiculous assertions such as the one above.

  • Alan

    Jesus was 30 years old and unmarried at a time when all Jewish men were married by age 16. He spent his time with a bunch of guys who seemed to also lack wives. So, in 2017, would Jesus associate with gay men? Duh.

  • Ivy Privy

    “I didn’t like the idea of Christianity and homosexuality referred to as an issue and as if there is only one Christianity that exists…”

    Yes, many different Christianities exist. Also many non-Christian religions. We are to believe that the Creator of the universe cares so deeply about us that He sent Himself/His Son among us, but couldn’t be bothered to deliver a clear message that wouldn’t be misinterpreted. I cannot believe in an all-powerful, all-knowing God that incompetent, but I can believe that everyone is making up their own God. It seems more in tune with the available evidence.

  • Ivy Privy

    As Jesus said about gay marriage: “…”
    That’s right, absolutely nothing. He had a lot more to say about and against divorce, which many Christian denominations now accept.

  • Patrick W

    Matthew 244 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
    5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many
    Luke 1726 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.

    27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.

    28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;

    29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.

    30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

  • Anon

    Congrats, you have an all male panel!

  • Ivy Privy

    Patrick W: It takes quite a stretch to get from the quotes you provide to homosexuality and/or gay marriage.
    Matt 24:4 is clearly a reference to false prophets. I have no idea how you spun that one, but the spinning is happening in your head, not in the text itself.
    As for Luke 17, again you are linking mention of Sodom to homosexuality, although nothing in Luke 17 clearly spells that out. It is simply a reference to unpreparedness when God-caused disaster comes. And why didn’t you continue on a few verses more? These seem as relevant to homosexuality as anything you quoted:

    [34] I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
    [35] Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

    • Patrick W

      Just because you don’t understand it, doesn’t mean it isn’t right, and perhaps it is your head that is spinning and you who has the inability to understand even simple statements. The article lays out and identifies a FALSE Christ that attends gay marriages and hangs out in gay bar, and Christ Himself warned AND prophesied that at the end of time before His Second Coming, where we are now, that there would be many people inventing false Christs that do not exist and He warned you not to follow them and not to be deceived. Makes perfect sense! The”Christ” in the article does not exist EXCEPT in warnings from the True Christ ABOUT FALSE Christs!

  • “Is Christianity Inclusive of Homosexuality?”

    No you faggots.

  • Gray

    “It is very, very common for people to say, “But Jesus never said anything about homosexuality!” — Dear friend, Jesus is a member of the Godhead. Jesus has existed eternally in perfect union with the Father and the Spirit, which means when rocks of fire and brimstone were coming down on Sodom and Gomorrah, He was not absent, nor was He in disagreement. We don’t think about the fact that Jesus is a member of the Godhead. He’s a member of the Trinity, and as such, you can’t divorce Him from the God on the left side of the book because He IS the God on the left side of the book.”

  • Patrick W

    Ok, I already posted something that Christ DID say about homosexuality to prove everybody wrong that was saying “What did Jesus say about homosexuality? Oh, that’s right, He didn’t say anything!” That is a lie, as I showed before when I posted about the end days being like the Day of Lot. People who make and love a lie tried to reason and explain away and lie away that the Scripture from Luke 17 didn’t apply; but I have another one that came STRAIGHT OUT OF CHRIST’S Mouth! So, before you people try to tell your lies and say that what Christ said, and what I say it means, isn’t what Christ meant, and neither is what I say it means; I will post you a Scripture that will be a WARNING for you, or it at least SHOULD BE A WARNING TO YOU! Remember this isn’t the verse, but a verse WARNING you BEFOREHAND about twisting the Scripture I will be posting that are Christ’s Words and DO HAVE TO DO WITH HOMOSEXUALITY AND EVEN GAY MARRIAGE AND CHRIST’S STANCE ON BOTH, WHETHER YOU WANT TO ACCEPT IT OR NOT!
    First, the “WARNING SCRIPTURE”: Revelation 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
    13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
    14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
    15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, AND WHOSOEVER LOVETH AND MAKETH A LIE!
    The Scripture AGAINST gay marriages and homosexuality: Matthew 19:4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
    5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
    6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
    Now, anyone who has read that AND READ the WARNING as well, can love and make a lie and say that it doesn’t have to do with homosexuality, and doesn’t have to do with gay marriage; BUT it DOES! There is one man and one woman, not two men or two women; IT ALSO says “WHAT GOD HATH JOINED TOGETHER, LET NOT MAN PUT ASUNDER”. I argue that God hath joined together ONLY a MAN and a WOMAN IN ALL CASES; and to let two men or two women marry, is MAN PUTTING WHAT GOD HATH DONE ASUNDER; or in other words replacing what God did and what God wanted with what MAN did or what MEN wanted. PERIOD! If you disagree, you are wrong!