Last year, Matthew Vines published a book that was controversial for a number of reasons, but let’s just start with the title: God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships.
Vines basically offers his own understanding of why the so-called “clobber verses” don’t really condemn homosexuality as many Christians believe. As you can imagine, a lot of progressive Christians praised Vines’ approach. For an evangelical Christian, this was a radical move.
But Humanist James Croft offers a very different kind of response to Vines’ book.
Croft focuses on why, even if Vines is right, it’s still not good enough:
First, Vines’ view — alongside that of many “accepting” evangelicals — is in fact still a deeply conservative view of human sexuality and relationships. His “affirmation” of LGBTQ sexuality extends precisely as far as the edge of the marital bed. Vines believes that sexual same-sex relationships are OK as long as they occur within the confines of a marriage. All those who wish to pursue sexual and romantic satisfaction outside of marriage are explicitly denigrated by Vines as lost in unbridled lust for which marriage is the “remedy” — the same demeaning rhetoric the religious right has always used to condemn LGBTQ people, now limited in use only slightly to non-married, non-monogamous LGBTQ people.
… Vines calls us not to a celebration of our sexuality, and to responsible exploration of it, but to limited satisfaction of our desire within the confines of a slightly expanded conservative Christian model. This is not “fully affirming”.
There’s more where that came from.
In essence, Vines’ affirming theology is still a far cry from full acceptance of LGBT people. And if a gay evangelical Christian falls far short of that mark, what hope is there?
Sometimes it’s good when you’re criticized by both the Right and Left because it means you’re doing something right. But it could also mean you’re doing it completely wrong. If Croft is right, there’s still no way to reconcile evangelical theology with LGBT acceptance. And if that’s true, we’d all be better off with people ditching their faith.
***Update***: There’s a response from Vines as well as a follow-up from Croft here.