Monday, July 23, 2012

Are All Gay People Doomed to Hell?

Readers of this blog know that I am an extremely vocal opponent of gay marriage, and that I believe in (and strongly adhere to) the Church’s teaching regarding homosexuality.
This might lead many people to conclude that I believe all gay people are evil, and are therefore going to Hell.
Is that true? No! A thousand times no! A "gay" sexual orientation is not an automatic ticket to Hell. Indeed, I am absolutely sure that there are “gay” people will go to Heaven, just as I am sure that there are “straight” people who will go to Hell.
But does not the Bible explicitly condemn homosexuals? If the Bible condemns homosexuals (see 1 Corinthians 6:9), then aren’t all gay people doomed to Hell?
The answer is no.
It must first be noted that the question should be more accurately phrased. The word gay, as the word is commonly accepted and understood, refers to sexual orientation. But the word “gay” implies acceptance of one’s homosexual condition. It implies that sexual attraction is irresistible, and that those who are gay automatically engage in homosexual behavior.
The technical and far-more accurate term is same-sex attracted (SSA), which implies no such thing. Not everyone who is attracted to the same sex engages in same-sex physical interaction, just like not everyone who is attracted to the opposite sex engages in heterosexual physical interaction.
The question should be rephrased to ask: Are all people who experience same-sex attraction people going to Hell?
Once again, the answer is clearly no. Same-sex attraction constitutes a persistent temptation to sin, for individuals who have it. For this reason, the Church considers it “objectively disordered.”  But temptation is NOT sin.
I can be tempted to commit all sorts of horrible acts – murder, theft, jealousy, deliberately spilling Gatorade. But that does not mean I actually commit those sins. Man has free will; he can accept or reject sin as he pleases. Temptation is not irresistible – and it is insulting to argue that same-sex attracted individuals are incapable of resisting temptation.
It is true that all those who willingly participate in same-sex relations, knowing the Church’s teaching and accepting the Church’s authority, AND who die unrepentant of their sin, will go to Hell. Those who knowingly break the law of God cut themselves off from the Kingdom of God.
The same is true of “straight” people who commit adultery, if the same conditions are present. The same is true of those who deliberately kill, who practice idolatry, and who miss Mass on Sunday. Sexual sin is not the only thing that keeps people from God; the Kingdom of Heaven is not reserved for the "straight" alone.
Those who suggest otherwise should consider Jesus’s warning to the self-righteous Pharisees: “Amen, I say to you, that the publicans and the harlots shall go into the Kingdom of God before you.” (Matthew 21:31) Indeed, those suffering from temptations of the flesh (and unwilling to acknowledge their faults in that regard) may be far closer to the Kingdom of Heaven than those of us inclined to spiritual pride.

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