Many religions condemn homosexuality and homosexual relationships. If you are a member of such a church or community, these teachings can be among the hardest, most painful aspects of coming to terms with sexual identity – your own or that of a loved family member or friend. Family members may feel they are being forced to choose between their religion and their loved ones. LGBTQ persons may feel they are forced to choose between their religion and their true identity. Out of this pain much harm has been done. Parents have thrown children, even minor children, out on the streets. Seeing no way to reconcile their sexual orientation with their faith, LGBTQ persons have committed suicide.
There are a lot of questions: Can LGBTQ persons be saved? Can religious or psychological counseling help LGBTQ persons to be straight? What is my responsibility as a person of faith and a parent or friend?
Those of us who have been in this situation recommend taking things slowly. Gather information about the teaching of your own denomination and the organizations within it that are reaching out to LGBTQ persons. Find out about the many inclusive faith communities. Why have they decided to welcome and accept LGBTQ persons into their congregations? What can you learn from their approach to the issue?
For many of us, the Christian and Hebrew Scripture are authoritative. Few of us, however, can read and understand the nuances of the original languages: Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. Nor do we understand the social context in which these Scriptures were written. We are relying on translations that may or may not be accurate. Biblical scholars do not agree on the meaning and the interpretation of many of these passages. It’s important to read a variety of commentaries.
The resources below can help you to begin your exploration. In the end you may find that both your faith and your family is stronger.