Part 5 in my series of questions Christians ask about gay people.
An open letter to Christians everywhere about the “adulterous Christian” analogy.
Dear Christians of the world:
Please, please, please don’t use this analogy. I know what you mean, but this one really ticks gay people off, and it gets you nowhere.
First of all, there is a huge difference between a loving, monogamous relationship—gay or straight—and adultery. One of them is two people selflessly promising love and faithfulness to one another; the other is the breaking of that vow through cheating. Even if you believe that gay relationships are inherently sinful, it’s not a fair comparison.
For “Side A” gay Christians in committed relationships, the analogy itself comes across as offensive. How many straight people would be happy to have their marriages compared to cheating?
I get it, though. People who ask this aren’t saying gay relationships and adultery are the same thing; they just believe both are sinful, and they’re asking why Christians would identify themselves with a sin.
But here’s the thing: Even celibate, “Side B” gay Christians like Ron Belgau and Wesley Hill—who both believe acting on their same-sex attractions would be sinful—still refer to themselves as gay Christians. So why do they do it?
Because there’s another big difference between adultery and being gay.
Adultery is an act. It’s something a person does: cheating on their spouse. But being gay isn’t an act. It’s what you feel, not what you do. A gay person can be celibate or promiscuous, but they’re still gay.
You commit adultery. You can’t commit “gay.”
At most, you could say that gay and straight people have different sets of temptations. (I have never in my life been tempted to lust after a woman. Straight guys can’t say that.) This is very different from calling yourself an “adulterous Christian,” which would suggest that you’re cheating on your spouse.
So, my fellow Christians, please help me educate our brothers and sisters so that I don’t have to keep answering this question for the rest of my life. With your help, someday I can introduce myself at church without having it turn into a 3-hour conversation about adultery. And that would make me so, so, so happy.
Your non-adulterous, Jesus-loving, Clue-playing, musical-humming, gay-and-shockingly-boring brother in Christ,
P.S. I apologize to all of my fellow grammar geeks out there who noticed the missing period in one of the gifs and couldn’t concentrate on anything I said after that. I promise to make it up to you somehow. Someday.