by Joseph Adam Pearson, Ph.D., (As answered by a gay Christian biologist)
I have written this for those whose guilt has been etched deeply by the official positions of various Christian denominations as well as for those whose pain has been exacerbated by the unkindness shown to them through the actions and reactions of church-goers. It is my hope and prayer that the seeming dilemma between homosexuality and Christianity be resolved and a higher spiritual understanding of sexuality be settled within their minds once and for all, both now and throughout the rest of their earthly days.
The overwhelming majority of people believe that homosexuality is immoral. I do not. I believe that homosexuality is amoral and that homosexuals individually are either moral or immoral.
Within the Bible, we are informed that “God is no respecter of persons.”(2)
I believe that. And, I believe it applies not only to earthly appearance but also to physical expression, personality, and sexual orientation. I believe that the Creator cares not one jot, iota, or yod about any aspect of our being human except that we try to reflect Him and His loving ways in all that we do. Metaphysically speaking, love is the only real thing that can be multiplied and bear fruit.(3) I do not believe that any sexuality (heterosexuality or homosexuality) is an expression of God. Rather, I believe that sexuality is, at worst, a parody of — or, at best, a parable of — the creative powers of the Lord God Almighty and the communion His saints have with one another in their at-one-ment with Him.
Some time back, while pondering the idea that I had a spiritual message to convey, this malingering thought would press to the forefront of my consciousness: “Who will believe what you have to say? You are a homosexual.” I was troubled, because, although I felt comfortable with my sexuality, I felt most others would be uncomfortable with it (to put it mildly). I felt sure that any good that I might try to do would be prefaced by: “Dr. Pearson, an acknowledged homosexual . . . ” I knew people would erroneously use what I was to try to define who I was, and am.
I remember mentally working out arguments to justify and vindicate my homosexuality should I ever come to public or private trial concerning it until — one day after earnestly praying to the Lord for an answer to give my then-imagined, but perhaps now-real, detractors — I inwardly heard (writing while hearing) these words from the Holy Spirit: “If I am cursed, then I am joined to my Master, who was cursed of all men. In this, then, do I rejoice that I am cursed of men, for in that curse I receive the blessing of God wherewith I am received into the body of Christ: rejected by man but accepted by God, and delivered by Him from the hand of my own iniquity and sin.”
Yes, it’s true, the Lord God Almighty answered my prayer! Not only that, but the answer swept over and settled in my soul. I understood. I heard. It spoke to me as no biological, psychological or sociological argument had.
Later, in Bible study, I came to better understand the scriptural foundations for the answer I received:
In his letter to the Corinthians in Galatia, St. Paul wrote: “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, ‘Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree.'”(4)
Paul was referring to the Old Testament passage that states: “He that is hanged is cursed of God.”(5) While we all know that Jesus was not hanged in the now-common sense of the word — and certainly was not lifted up to the limb of a sycamore tree — he was hanged in the sense that the ancients understood the word, that is, “hanged up” for all to see. You see, hanging was viewed primarily as a warning to potential wrongdoers. In many cases, bodies were hung up after execution rather than for execution. Both the Apostles Paul and Peter independently affirm their acceptance of that usage through their allusions to the hanging of Christ.(6) In other words, Jesus also — which is to say, like homosexuals — had been cursed by the letter of Mosaic law.
Thus, as I now understand it, what the Lord’s Holy Spirit said to me was this:
In that Christ Jesus, God’s Chosen, was made a mock for us that we might be reconciled to the Creator, and that His crucifixion won us pardon (if we so believe), so then does God’s mercy extend to all souls in dust who feel the scorn of the lion (that is, the Devil) through the unkindnesses of humankind. The Creator will not turn His love away from any who suffer — even if they suffer only a fraction of the passion of His firstborn — for they remind Him of His Son. In other words, in the Creator’s sight all reviled are joined to the one who suffered the ultimate rejection.
On a number of occasions, I have heard the following statement uttered by so-called Christian fundamentalists to combat the possible social acceptance of homosexuality: “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” The ignorance of that statement astounds me both as a Christian and as a biologist. Because it is simplistic and reductionist, the statement fails to take into consideration the multivariate nature of this world. It fails to take into consideration that there might be a third kind or gender, not neuter but “gay.”
Many unusual phenomena related to sexual identity occur within the natural world.
1) Certain avians and fish undergo spontaneous sex reversals and are even capable of reproduction in their newfound gender.
2) Various unfertilized insect eggs develop into males.
3) The females of specific flying insects possess “XY” sex chromosomes and the males possess
“XX,” and even some human anomalies exist in which anatomic females have “XY”
chromosomes and anatomic males have “XX” chromosomes.
4) An all-female species of fish has been discovered, the Amazon molly, whose eggs develop
through parthenogenesis (stimulation of ova without the customary fusion of
male and female cells).
And, most importantly:
5) A whole range of human intersex states exist that fit on a continuum between normal male and female anatomical sex (normal used here in the sense of “population-normed,” or “that which occurs most frequently”).
The issue of human sex identity is a complex one. There are many legitimate questions regarding the genetic (or, chromosomal) status, phenotypic (or, anatomical) status, psychological (or, gender identification) status, and sociological (or, society-assigned) status of sex identity. In humans, sex identity may be determined by chromosome composition (46,XX for female and 46,XY for male). However, genetic testing is not always the best indicator of sex. Why? There are a fair number of individuals who fall into intersex categories.
1) Those with abnormal chromosome composition (including 47,XXY; 45,X; and, 45,X/46,XY mosaics);
2) Genetic males who differentiate into anatomical females due to androgen inaction or insensitivity; and,
3) Genetic females who differentiate into anatomical males from exposure to abnormally high amounts of androgens either in utero from their mothers’ hyperactive adrenal glands or post partum from their own hyperactive adrenal glands.
Since as many as 0.1% of the population fall into intersex status categories,(7) there may be more than 6,000,000 people on earth whose sexual identities are in question using one basis for classification or another.
Since these people are not “real” Adams or “real” Eves (the definition of real here left in question), are we to assume that intersex individuals were not created by God? No. We should never use the presence, absence, or size of external genitalia; numbers and kinds of chromosomes; sex hormone blood levels; or muscle dimensions to classify “real” men and “real” women.
Though sex identity is not equivocal with sexual preference (however, from a statistical standpoint, the two are positively correlated), the point I am trying to make is that not all things are as black and white as some Christian fundamentalists would like them to be. Today, within the biological community there is legitimate debate about the biological basis of homosexuality in the light of recent scientific work that links brain morphology and sexual preference as well as research on identical and fraternal twins that demonstrates statistical significance in favor of a genetic contribution to sexual orientation. Thus, it is more than likely that some seemingly unnatural and sinful behavior (“unnatural” and “sinful” from the standpoint of Christian Fundamentalism) is part of nature. Then, are we to assume that God makes only some people and not others? Or, are we to assume that some Christians are ignorant of truth? To be sure, it is somewhat queer to me that so many have abandoned the foundational Christian principle of love in order to judge and condemn others about whom they know so little. The only way that Christian Fundamentalism proves that some people are not really of God is through the hatred it has engendered.
Yes, there was a time when no blemished thing could come before the Lord, as indicated by the following passage from the Bible: “He that is wounded in the stones [testicles] or has his private member [penis] cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord.”(8)
However, during Old Covenant times, the Lord God Almighty was trying to establish within the hearts and minds of some very primitive people that He is sovereign and that He is worthy of perfect sacrifice (of which Christ Jesus was to become, and remain, the only embodiment), much the same as He established His tabernacle and its appointments as a figure of things in heaven.(9) Remember, according to the Old Testament, the people of that day were “stick necked” and “rebellious,” ungrateful for the things that the Lord was doing for them, and gross with regard to spiritual understanding.
Concerning them, even Moses had this to say: “‘Ye have been rebellious against the Lord from the [first] day that I knew you.'”(10) Thus, in order to help them subdue an unyielding spirit, they were subjected to various rules, regulations, and ordinances by the Lord.
In the Book of Acts, it is recorded that St. Philip was directed by an Angel of the Lord, as well as by God’s Holy Spirit, to minister the gospel to an Ethiopian eunuch so that he could accept Jesus as the Messiah.(11) If during the early days of the New Testament, a eunuch (who would have been prohibited by the letter of Mosaic law from approaching the Lord) could receive salvation, then surely during these latter days homosexuals (also cut off from the congregation of the Lord by the letter of Mosaic law) can be saved — that is, received by Christ into His Kingdom. To be sure, homosexuals do not need to be saved from their homosexuality, unless of course they are indulging in a hedonistic and sinful lifestyle, just as any heterosexual in bondage to lust of the flesh needs to be saved from that appetite. It is spiritually and emotionally unhealthy for anyone to view others as objects for self-gratification.
St. Luke wrote, “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone presses into it.”(12)
St. John wrote, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”(13)
And, St. Paul wrote:
1) “You are not under the law, but under grace;”
2) “I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteems one thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean;”
3) “The letter [of the law] kills, but the spirit [of love] gives life;” and,
4) “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.'”(14)
Keep in mind that it was those who were legalistically-minded (that is, strict adherents to the letter of Mosaic law) that were offended by Jesus’ deeds and eventually saw to it that he was condemned to death. Also, those who call themselves Christian should remember that at one time even the Gentiles were not part of God’s chosen.(15)
Why can’t more believers in Christ be like St. Peter, who said, “God has showed me that I should not call any man ‘common’ or ‘unclean.'”(16) No one is permitted by the Lord God to judge or condemn another: “You are not pardoned, O man, whoever you are that judges: for wherein you judge another, you condemn yourself.”(17)
I am saddened that, for many Christians, the issue of AIDS has been turned into an issue of homosexuality. Why am I saddened? I think homosexuality is one area in which the organized Christian Church has given sanction to anti-Christian attitudes of condemnation and judgment as well as behaviors that are offensive to Christ, all of which turn many away from where they might be looking during their final days. The spirit of condemnation now operates through many who profess that Jesus is their Savior. It runs rampant through their hearts and minds and souls. For some strange reason, it “sets right” with many Christians — at least many that I have heard and seen— to take such a stand.
Once, when visiting a self-identified “spirit-filled” church, I heard the pastor make a joke about homosexuals during his sermon. It received a good laugh from the audience; however, it made me feel badly for those homosexuals who may have been in the congregation and who had already suffered rejection by many and were seeking the Lord, only to be rejected (that is, made fun of) by one of His “servants.” Brothers and sisters, believe me, whenever cruelty raises its ugly head, you can be sure that whoever raises it is not testifying of Jesus’ love and power to save.
Like King David — who chose to have retribution meted out by pestilence rather than by the hand of man(18) — I think that the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) should be feared less than men. Viruses come nowhere near the power of evil that can be generated through human beings who have given themselves over to malice, malevolence, and condemnation. Certainly, humans are responsible for more damage and suffering than any infectious agent.
Yes, there are those Christians who would agree that homosexuals may be “saved” but only on the condition that they repent and change their ways (that is, not act on their sexual orientation). From my vantage point, it is plain that such as these believe corporeal flesh to be the true reflection and likeness of God as well as believe that the carnal nature, which animates that flesh, to be His Nature, — ideas that I see as entirely incongruous and erroneous. Really, there is little I can say to clarify my views on homosexuality for them, because, for as long as they hold to such thinking, their understanding of sexuality (among other things) will remain earthbound: They will not be able to grasp God’s indifference to sexual orientation. (Do not misinterpret here that I am saying the Lord is indifferent to human behavior.)
For those who are genuinely struggling to reconcile what they feel inside is true concerning homosexuality with the views of the Christianity they love so much (such views seemingly at variance with those feelings), I need to add this:
When I pretended that I was a heterosexual so others might accept me, I was in effect rejecting God because I was living a lie. It was not until I became honest with myself and others that I was able to come to the real truth, which is to say, to the reality of Christ. That is not to say that I believe homosexuals have a license to licentiousness. Quite to the contrary, no. Unless one has been called to celibacy, I believe in the unadulterated sharing of the life and love of the Lord within the sanctity of a monogamous relationship. I believe that one of the highest relationships that can be achieved among souls within this earthly flesh is the one attained between two faithful helpmates who put God first and each other second. My mate and I have been with each other for 18 years and neither one of us has been unfaithful to the other. This is one of the “secrets” to the longevity of our relationship.
What determines whether an individual is homosexual or heterosexual, I do not know. As a biologist, I believe that the cause may be different for different individuals. Perhaps there are some cases that are environmentally-caused, some emotionally-caused, others genetically- and/or hormonally-caused, and still others caused by a combination of any or all of those factors. However, with some psychotherapeutic exceptions, I don’t think the cause should really matter. What I do think should matter is that no one become enslaved to sexuality or to fears concerning it. I even think that the so-called “curse” of homosexuality can be turned into a blessing for those homosexuals who do not become involved in a frenetic escape from it in sexual addiction or in unhealthy repression of their own homosexual feelings.
Through the challenge it presents. To perceive that one does not fit into an accepted mold or pattern can help lead one to the conclusion that people who are spiritually-minded are really strangers, foreigners, and pilgrims in this world. Such recognition is necessary, I think, before we can be fully returned to a heavenly home, where God expresses Himself through us without measure. With adversity, rejection, and suffering often comes enlightenment; however, generally speaking, the gifts of adversity, rejection, and suffering are not often gratefully received by souls in dust nor viewed as spiritual gifts. (I am not saying here that we should abrogate our responsibility to be active politically, demonstrate publicly, and stand up for our rights in outrageous ways.)
To those Christians who grieve because of how they perceive their own homosexuality or the homosexuality of someone they truly love, I would like to call their attention to something else St. Paul wrote: “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, has God chosen, yes, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: That no flesh should glory in His Presence.(19)
I challenge them to evaluate that word of wisdom in the context of homosexuality and today’s world. Also, to evaluate the relationship of this world to the sphere in which God operates and His true Shekinah-glory is manifested. The Lord God Almighty does not care that narrow-minded heterosexuals playing religion might be offended if He accepts homosexuals into His Kingdom. In fact, God often chooses to confound people who think they have all of the answers. “No flesh should glory” also means that neither heterosexuals nor homosexuals should think that one sexual orientation is better than the other: Though it is perfectly alright to celebrate our sexuality, no human being should revel in animal instincts.
Now, some of the things that the Apostle Paul has written must be understood in terms of their historical and cultural contexts.
For example, that which concerns a woman’s long hair being “a glory to her,” or that which commands women to “keep silence in the churches.”(20) Such is not the case in his absolutism about God choosing to exalt things that are despised by men. It reminds me of God saying to Moses: “I WILL BE GRACIOUS TO WHOM I WILL BE GRACIOUS, AND WILL BESTOW MERCY UPON WHOM I WILL BESTOW MERCY.”(21) It reminds me of this praise that Nebuchadnezzar offered God: “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He does according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and no one can stay His hand, or say unto Him, ‘What doest Thou?'”(22) It reminds me of Christ Jesus’ saying to Peter concerning that Apostle’s speculation about what would happen to “John the beloved” (the man that Jesus loved): “‘If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to you?'”(23) It reminds me of the heavenly voice which spoke to Peter and said, “‘What God has cleansed, call not unclean.'”(24) Finally, it reminds me of the Lord’s response to Paul when besought by that man to remove a thorn from his flesh: “‘My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.'”(25)
If the Lord God Almighty has chosen to extend His dispensation to homosexuals (and I believe He has), then who are mere mortals to tell Him that He cannot or that He should not? The Lord chooses to whom He is merciful (thank goodness mankind does not choose, for no one would have ever become a Christian). Who are any of us to question the authority or the sovereignty of the Lord God Almighty. What audacity! How full of self-pride and willfulness that is!
To my friends who happen to be homosexual, I write this: Because the world is afraid of us (it always fears what it does not understand), it has tried to suppress the natural development of our affections and emotions. And, since it has tried to repress the healthy expression of our sexual orientation as well as suppress knowledge of our existence, many of us — without positive role models of any kind — were consigned by society to lead lives in sordid, backroom-type, sinful activities. Because our personalities were fragmented, we were eaten up from the inside out by unhealthy sexual desires. However, it is time for us to break from the bondage of such a mental, emotional, and spiritual miasma.
We need to resist the unhealthiness and sinfulness engendered by prevailing attitudes and actions propelled by Satan’s spirit of condemnation. We need to take charge of our lives. We need to understand that our Creator loves us and that He couldn’t care less about our sexual orientation (unless we have not come to terms with it).
What are the responsibilities of homosexuals?
They are the same as heterosexuals. In Romans we read, “I beseech you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”(26) Thus, we should accept our rejection by mankind as well as our acceptance by God, taking time to be holy all the while. (Again, this is not to say that we should be passive in our struggle for justice and equality.)
When they feel especially sad and lonely, shouldn’t homosexuals be able to turn to the one who knew the ultimate rejection, Christ, that their burdens might be shared? Can not Christians who happen to be homosexual have the same hope as Christians who happen to be heterosexual? Are homosexuals covered by God’s grace? Yes, yes, and yes. Believe me, daily I prove God’s saving grace and I witness of it to you.
If you happen to be heterosexual, perhaps none of what I have written here makes sense to you. That’s all right. Just remember to keep your judgments to yourself, to refrain from unkindness to me and others like me, and to try and not be too surprised when you meet many of us in heaven. And, if the idea of “faggots”(27) burning brightly for God is repugnant to you, then perhaps you are not yet fit for the Kingdom of God. For this reason, I pray that you permit God to change you.
(1) ©1994 by Joseph Adam Pearson (TXU 643-369 United States Copyright Office). From an earlier, unpublished version c 1992 by Joseph Adam Pearson, Ph.D.
(TXU 528 551).
(2) Acts 10:34. (See also: 2 Samuel 14:14, 2 Chronicles 19:7, Romans 2:11, Ephesians 6:9, and 1 Peter 1:17.)
(3) Read Genesis 1:28 and Mark 12:28-31.
(4) Galatians 3:13.
(5) Deuteronomy 21:23.
(6) With regard to Paul, see Acts 13:39; and, concerning Peter, see Acts 5:30, Acts 10:39, and 1 Peter 2:24.
(7) Jean D. Wilson, M.D.
“Sex Testing in International Athletics,” 1992
Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 267, No. 6, page 853.
(8) Deuteronomy 23:1. See also Leviticus 21:16-20.
(9) Refer to Hebrews (Especially Chapters 9 and 10.)
(10) Deuteronomy 9:24.
(11) Acts 8:26-39.
(12) Luke 16:16.
(13) John 1:17.
(14) Romans 6:14 & 14:14; 2 Corinthians 3:6; and, Galatians 5:14.
(15) Refer to Romans, Chapter 9.
(16) Acts 10:28.
(17) Romans 2:1.
(18) 2 Samuel 24:13-15.
(19) 1 Corinthians 1:27-29.
(20) 1 Corinthians 11:15 & 14:35.
(21) Exodus 33:19.
(22) Daniel 4:35.
(23) John 21:22.
(24) Acts 10:15.
(25) 2 Corinthians 12:9.
(26) Romans 12:1. (Further pertinent verses are found in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 and 6:18-20.)
(27) Metaphysically speaking, faggots are “embers.”
Reprinted with permission:
(The author gives permission to reproduce the following article provided that it is reproduced in its entirety, including author’s name, post office box, and all footnotes.)
Dr. Joseph Adam Pearson, President
Phoenix Evangelical Bible Institute
Post Office Box 7469
Phoenix, AZ 85011