A letter in which it is shown that evangelicals in America and Africa, denying basic human rights, are courting the state in order to make laws and amend constitutions in order to limit same-sex relationships according to their evangelical take on the Bible.
Dear Steve of Other Sheep:
I am a vocal anti-homosexual activist. I am a Bible teacher from Nairobi, Kenya. I am able to show you from scripture why I believe you are wrong, and everyone like you. I can show you, from the Bible, what is the natural divine intention that God purposed in human sexuality. I do not support the execution of homosexuals anywhere in the world (a reference to the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality bill of 2009). But I do believe this problem has a spiritual solution.
It was great knowing you, but I am sorry that our friendship cannot continue. I have removed you as a friend on Facebook. I will pray for your salvation. Our relationship must be an impersonal relationship. Please unsubscribe me from the Other Sheep eNews.
Pastor and Bible Teacher [name withheld], Nairobi, Kenya
Email dated Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Dear Pastor of Nairobi:
I believe we must build a society where my understanding of the Bible and your understanding of the Bible does not mean that I infringe upon your civil liberties, and that you infringe upon mine. Regarding the question of policing same-sex relationships (as in the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 and as in the amending of state constitutions in America), it is my opinion that evangelicals have become the new inquisition, the new archbishop that all must follow, the new state regime where the laws of the evangelical Bible are to be written into state constitutions. This is obviously true in America where the civil liberties of sexual minorities have been limited by amending state constitutions, won, in large part, by the efforts of evangelicals. The same can be demonstrated now in Uganda where evangelicals play a significant role in society and where the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 has been recently introduced.
The basic human right to believe according to the dictates of one's conscience without harassment from any religious or secular body, state or church, is being challenged today in America and Africa by the intersecting of the Bible, homosexuality, and society. In civil society, the citizen chooses freely to submit, or not submit, to the evangelical understanding of the Bible, or whatever the sectarian view. In a free society, the state does not impose upon its citizens an evangelical understanding of “the natural divine intention” of God.
Marriage is a civil institution. Not a religious institution. My civil right to a same-sex marriage does not infringe upon anyone’s civil right to an opposite-sex marriage. Why do evangelicals need to limit my civil rights in order for them to freely enjoy their civil rights? Why do evangelicals ask the state to restrict my options in marriage to that which is unnatural (that is, it is unnatural for me to marry the opposite-sex), while heterosexual evangelicals enjoy the state’s protection in marriage to what is natural for them? Should I not, naturally, be given the same right to marry according to my nature, too?
No homosexual, in order to enjoy the rights and privileges of marriage, should have to marry the opposite sex. That would be contrary to his or her nature and would serve only to disrupt the order of society where unnatural unions (homosexuals with heterosexuals) result in broken lives due to unfilled emotional and physical needs. How unnatural, therefore, for a homosexual to be joined in marriage with a heterosexual. How unnatural for intellectual society to reject a homosexual who would naturally refuse to marry a heterosexual.
The Reformation taught us this: The state must forever be the state. And the church must forever be the church. The one should not rule the other, directly or indirectly. What evangelicals may call unnatural in context of its own code of morality, the state may rightly call natural in terms of its moral responsibility to uphold the civil liberties of all, i.e., marriage between two consenting adults for all, not for some. The state and the church must be free to function without bowing to the other. Same-sex marriage is a civil question. Consenting same-sex adults, therefore, are not “worse than beasts” as Nigerian evangelical Yusufu Turaki gives credence to in his article on “Homosexuality” (page 1355, Africa Bible Commentary). Same-sex couples do naturally what opposite-sex couples do naturally: they make a life together. Both should be granted marriage and protection from the state.
At the very core of my being I am same-sex oriented, just like most evangelicals are opposite-sex oriented. I believe God smiles upon the joining together of two individuals who complete and complement one another. For a heterosexual evangelical to marry the opposite sex completes and complements him or her. For me to be married to my same-sex husband (August 25, 2008) completes and complements me. Ironically, in terms of sexual orientation, it is not opposites that attract, but sameness: heterosexuals attract heterosexuals and homosexuals attract homosexuals.
Evangelicals need to stop and back off and be the church again, allowing the state to be the state, both in Africa and in America. The evangelical church will actually win laurels from society, and rightly so, when they realize that same-sex marriage is a civil question and not a religious question and that LGBT people are a valid minority that need the same rights and protection under the law like any two heterosexual adults who consent to marriage.
Rev. Steve Parelli
Other Sheep Executive Director
Metropolitan Community Church clergy
October 27, 2009. Bronx, NY