For centuries, people have been arguing whether or not the Bible condemns same-sex relationships. As we are all aware, Christianity is a deeply divided religion. In fact, many people see it as being composed of two quite separate groups -- conservatives and liberals, respectively. They share little more than the name of the religion and the text of the Bible. However, they can't even agree on that. There are over a hundred versions of the Bible in the World today.
Conservative Christian theologians tend to accept English translations of the Bible as authoritative and consider it the one and only truth. They interpret passages literally, and consider the text applicable to today's situation. From their point of view, homosexuality is a sinful, chosen, unnatural and abnormal lifestyle hated by God.
More liberal theologians tend to follow a wider variety of translations, and to be more concerned with instances of copying errors in the original Hebrew or Greek, of forgery, mistakes in translation and biases among translators. They consider some passages as not being valid today, because there have been clear and obvious mistakes shown in different versions of the Bible throughout the centuries. They also see many issues, including same-sex marriage, from the standpoint of human rights. One of the most intimate and important of these rights is the freedom to make a lifetime commitment to the person you love.
The authors of the Bible do seem to condemn what they regarded as sinful sexual activities. These were rape, ritual pagan sexual behavior and prostitution, all of which were considered sinful whether they occurred in opposite sex or same sex. Another important factor is the biblical ignorance in the Western World. A recent study found that 38 percent of Americans polled were certain the Old Testament was written a few years after Jesus' death. Ten percent believed Joan of Arc was Noah's wife. Many even thought the epistles were the wives of the apostles. And in general, these are the people that pass the assumption that the Bible condemns same-sex relationships down the generations.
Over the centuries, people have used interpretations of the Bible to justify the most terrible things. It has been used to incite the crusades and the inquisitions, to support slavery and apartheid, to persecute non-Christians, to support the Holocaust, to oppose medical science and much, much more. As Shakespeare once said: ''Even Satan can cite Scripture for his purpose.'' And let's think about this: even if you believe that the Bible itself is beyond reproach, that it is infallible in every way, what about the person reading it? We are human and that makes us fallible. We can misunderstand and misinterpret these ancient words. After all, maybe the Old Testament authors simply assumed all people were created heterosexual, just as they believed the earth was flat, that there were heavens above and hell below, and that the sun moved up and down.
Slowly but surely, more and more Christians are realizing that homosexual orientation and behavior are just a normal human sexual expression among a minority of adults. It is not changeable or chosen. Like all sexual behavior, it can be a sin if it is exploitive, violent, unequal or manipulative. But within a committed relationship, it is simply an expression of the love every true Christian will recognize as the basic principle of their faith.