Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Gift of Homosexuality

June is the month for gay pride celebrations throughout the country. These events originated as a way of honoring the anniversary of the Stonewall riots that began on June 28, 1969. Since that night, much has changed in the way our society treats the LGBT community. But how deep is this transformation?

Mainstream religion, including the Catholic Church, now acknowledges that sexual orientation is not a choice, but an act of discovery. This should lead to an obvious question: Why would God create same-sex attraction? We are reluctant to ask this question, however, because we would prefer to leave the answer unspoken.

Most faiths, including the Catholic Church, continue to believe that homosexuality is an aberration in the natural order. They may now view it as a benign or tragic error, rather than a perversion, disease, or evil, but the basic judgment still stands. For all our polite talk of tolerance, most Christians still see heterosexuality as God's design, and homosexuality as ... well, something else.

What if we're wrong? What if homosexuality is part of God's design, and intentionally so? If creation is one of the chief methods by which God instructs us on Truth, then what might they be trying to teach us in this circumstance?

The Church talks of the unitive and procreative purposes of sexuality. On paper, they state that both aspects must be present for a sexual relationship to be morally sound. In reality, however, Christianity has long favored procreation. What if God is trying to tell us that it should actually be the reverse? After all, which is of greater detriment to our humanity: refusing to produce offspring or refusing to love?

Procreation is a joyful wonder, and necessary for the survival of our species, but we were created for so much more. It is no accident that sexual intimacy is used to model the relationship between God and the believer. The emotional and physical delights of sexuality are not fringe benefits, but fuel for the most essential of human relationships. What if homosexuality is meant to be a visible sign of the primacy of love?

As evidence, I offer the lived experience of people who are not strangers to us. They are our siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, friends, co-workers, and even parents. We know them, we know their love, and we know that it is no different than the love we straight, married people share with our spouses. All such love is a beautiful form of grace, and none of it is ever a mistake.