Monday, January 26, 2009

"Homosexuality is Not Unnatural"

Following is an excerpt from “Homophobia – No Compromise Possible,” a 2004 essay by Bishop John Shelby Spong.

Bishop Spong’s wise words are a timely antidote to the
foolishness we’ve been hearing of late from the Roman Catholic hierarchy.


The emerging new consciousness . . . asserts that homosexual people are neither morally depraved nor mentally sick, since one’s sexual orientation is not a choice; but something to which one awakens. It is like the dawning realization that one is male or female, part of a particular race or nation or even right or left-handed. A just and moral society cannot be erected on a premise that some human beings are subhuman or perverted, not on the basis of their doing but on the basis of their being. It matters not what any source of ancient wisdom has previously declared.

The Bible, for example, was once quoted to support slavery, to oppose science and to prevent women from achieving equality. On every one of those issues the Bible was quite simply wrong. To quote it now to uphold the evil of homophobia is no less wrong. These efforts will fail as they always do. The ultimate tragedy is, however, that some church leaders, ever on the wrong side of great moral questions of history, never seem to learn history’s lesson that any prejudice once publicly challenged by a new consciousness is doomed.

As I survey the debate on this issue in all parts of the Christian tradition, a tragic failure of leadership is once again depressingly obvious. The Roman Catholic hierarchy simply takes the old definition and labors first to defang it and then to perfume it. They call homosexuality “unnatural,” or “a deviation,” urging that it be suppressed wherever possible and controlled where not possible. Homosexuality, however, has now been incontrovertibly identified as present in the world of higher mammals. It also appears to be a stable and unchanging percentage of the human race at all times and in all places. These data suggest that homosexuality is not unnatural at all but is a minority aspect of the created order that appears quite normally in all higher forms of life.

- John Shelby Spong

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The Many Manifestations of God’s Loving Embrace
In the Garden of Spirituality - Joan Timmerman
Perspectives on Natural Law – Daniel Helminiak
Perspectives on Natural Law – Gregory Baum
The Pope’s “Scandalous” Stance on Homosexuality
Stop in the Name of Discriminatory Ideology!
Celebrating Our Sanctifying Truth
Compassion, Christian Community, and Homosexuality
The Bible and Homosexuality

1 comment:

Brian R said...

Bishop Spong is a wonderful man. It is a pity that his theology is so unorthodox as to attract attack from the fundamentalists.