After Anderson Cooper told the world he was gay last week, Pastor Craig Gross wrote an article for CNN offering a response to what Cooper did.
Here’s what Gross intended to say (in my mind):
A lot of Christians say homosexuality is a sin, but they ignore all the other sins in the Bible. You would never see a gay pastor in an evangelical church… but you see fat ones all the time! Christians just ignore the whole “gluttony is a sin” thing. So, Christians, lay off on Anderson Cooper. Love him like you would anyone else.
But in the process of saying all that, here are some of the things that he actually wrote:
Most Christians believe you should just help your friends to not be gay when, in all honesty, only Christ can do that.
Umm… no. Christ can’t help your friends “not be gay” because sexual orientation isn’t an on/off switch. (Also, Christ doesn’t exist…) You would think, pastoring to porn stars as Gross does, he would have met people who are LGBT and learned at least that about them… I guess not.
Then there’s the obligatory Bible quoting:
After I tweeted [about Anderson Cooper coming out] I got e-mails and a direct message asking the same question: “You still like him now?”
I was saddened by that reaction and started thinking: What would happen if we read the Bible and, instead of highlighting certain passages, we took it all for what it is — truth.
In 1 Corinthians, the Bible says don’t indulge your body with food or sex: “‘Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food,’ and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”
If you indulge your body with sex via pornography, affairs, strippers or hookers, and your secrets are exposed, you will not be preaching on Sunday. Sexual sin is not tolerated in our churches. If clergy are caught in these things, they’re disqualified.
What if you indulge your body with food? Well, then you can pastor some of the largest churches on the planet and have the most successful broadcasts on the religious channels and sell a lot of books.
God loves gays and Jesus is for them. God loves the fat preacher. Homosexual activity and overeating are both sins — just like speeding, gossip, lying and cheating. I think I did all of those just today.
All are forgivable in Christ and, with the leading of the Holy Spirit, can be changed. Just remember that change does not happen overnight.
And wherever you are at on that journey, I think there should be a place for you at church. Because there’s probably one in heaven.
Gross didn’t say this in the piece, but he actually quoted 1 Corinthians 6:13.
Maybe he didn’t get that specific because only a few sentences prior to that, in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, the Bible talks about how gay men (who don’t change their ways) will most certainly NOT go to Heaven, directly contradicting what Gross writes in the rest of his essay:
… Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
It’s hard to believe Gross missed that passage when he was writing this piece… but, you know, why include it when it goes against his narrative? That would be too honest.
This is why Christians should never quote from the Bible. Whatever passage you want to use to justify your point, atheists can just as easily cherry-pick something that contradicts it. It’s not hard.
This is also why it’s hard to take Christians seriously when they try to use the Bible to justify putting LGBT individuals on equal footing. If Christians support that, that’s great, but it’s going to happen in spite of what the Bible says, not because of it.
If you support gay rights, the mainstream Christian church (especially evangelicals) wants nothing to do with you. It’s because they know the Bible doesn’t support marriage equality. You’re lying to yourself if you believe otherwise.