Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Spong's Done Arguing About Homosexuality

I haven't read anything by John Shelby Spong recently not because I find him disagreeable but because I don't really think he has said anything knew in a while. But a friend sent me Spong's recent email posting and I found it interesting:
I have made a decision. I will no longer debate the issue of homosexuality in the church with anyone. I will no longer engage the biblical ignorance that emanates from so many right-wing Christians about how the Bible condemns homosexuality, as if that point of view still has any credibility. I will no longer discuss with them or listen to them tell me how homosexuality is "an abomination to God," about how homosexuality is a "chosen lifestyle," or about how through prayer and "spiritual counseling" homosexual persons can be "cured." Those arguments are no longer worthy of my time or energy...

I make these statements because it is time to move on. The battle is over. The victory has been won. There is no reasonable doubt as to what the final outcome of this struggle will be. Homosexual people will be accepted as equal, full human beings, who have a legitimate claim on every right that both church and society have to offer any of us. Homosexual marriages will become legal, recognized by the state and pronounced holy by the church...
Spong deserves enormous credit for the pioneering leadership he provided on this issue. Long before mainstream Christianity had joined the battle for glbt equality Spong was up to his keisters in the struggle. So it is good to hear him say that the battle has been won.

Is he right? Is the battle over? I think it is. I stopped arguing with conservatives about this issue several years ago for the same reason. The final outcome is no longer in doubt and I see no purpose in arguing with the "flat-earthers" who can't seem to see that they are making the same kind of arguments once made by Christians who defended slavery. Whatever the Bible may say about homosexuality, followers of Jesus should be welcoming homosexuals with open arms and celebrating their out, open, and married presence in the church.

It's one of the (but not the only) reasons I don't do denomination stuff anymore. We are still fighting the battle there and all the while the denomination dies. And the conservatives don't care; they are going to take the ship down. So be it. I have more than enough to do welcoming those wounded by these church wars and figuring out together how we move forward and live into a new and liberating vision of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

So bully for Spong!

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