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Question 65.
Hello Fr. Christopher,
My name is M..... and I am from the class you came to visit last year at the Grammar School, and I wanted your opinion with a matter that is very important to me.
It's about same-sex relations. I wanted to ask why does the church hate and discriminate the gay community, if Jesus' message was to love everyone?! Why does the Church - who preaches this message, discriminate against homosexuals?
I also would like to know your own honest opinion about the subject.

Thank you
God Bless.

 

Answer to Question 65.

Dear  M.....,
Who have you been talking to? The church doesn't hate or discriminate against homosexuals or anyone else. There might be narrow-minded individuals, including some priest, who react very negative to others who are different from them, but that is only their personal reaction and opinion and it does not mean that the whole church shares in their misplaced sentiments.
Everyone is God's creation and as such everyone is special to God who is love. If the church preaches against homosexuality she is condemning the sexual act and not the individual. It is the church's responsibility to teach her members what is right from wrong. The church doesn't single out the act of homosexuality but condemns all acts of sexuality outside of marriage. We are all sinners and each of us do things that are not pleasing to God. As the church teaches against all sins does that mean that she hates and discriminates against all people? This is a wrong way of understanding what the church does. Her mission is to make people aware of their sins and give them the help and support so that they can correct themselves. The church is a hospital for sick souls: Christ is the Head Physician and the Priests are his many doctors specialized in many fields of spiritual ailments. But just as there are good knowledgeable and experienced doctor and others not so experienced, so too are there good experienced priests and others inexperienced.
Our spiritual sickness is a result of our sins which acts like a barrier between us and God; they restrict us from progressing spiritually and to re-establish our relationship with God and eternal life we must cleanse ourselves of these barriers. This is what the church tries to help us do through the medicinal sacraments that she offers us.
If at times the church's preaching is felt like a slap on the hand is it done with love similarly to when a parent might slap his/her child to correct him. The Church hates sin because it is a disease that spiritually harms her children whom she loves.
Christ is love and his Church preaches love. If a priest shows prejudice to certain people it is because he himself has not understood his role as a priest. Priests are not judges of the people, but doctors who must show love, compassion and concern for their patients. If there is judging to be done we leave that to God and God alone.
Every Thursday evening I give a talk in English and a few years ago I gave a talk on homosexuality. The talk is on my website so if you visited it you might have read it. If not, read it carefully and you should understand how the church looks at the problem of same-sex relations. (See TALK ON HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE ORTHODOX CHURCH)
You asked that you would like to know my own honest opinion on the subject.
Because I was born and raised in London, I am very open-minded and possibly more that the average Cyprus born priest. Saying that, my opinions are what I have written in the talk otherwise I wouldn't have written it.
If after reading it you have further questions on the subject I would be more than pleased to help in any way. If you would like us to personally meet at the church for a more confidential talk then send me another email to arrange a meeting.


With love in Christ
Fr, Christopher

 

 

Fr. Christopher,

Indeed, that is the true meaning of church that I would like to exist. But, there are many people who call themselves Christian, and do very, very, discriminative acts. For instance, last year, a man said Jesus appeared to him, and Jesus asked him to kill his best friend, when he found out he was gay, because the Bible says gays shall be put to death
Last month, on a school bus, a group of people shoved batteries down their gay classmate's throat, because he preferred figure skating to hockey. They said they did it to rid the world of his evil and do God a big favour
Another story, a Christian group who goes to Church on Sunday went and vandalized their friend of 20 years house, the day after they found out he was gay, and said that they would do God's work and remove him from this world. And a staggering amount of parents kick their children out when they find out they're gay.
Ironic: being who you are, being punished for it, and being punished for love, is a much greater sin than projecting hate, violence, and killing someone else for who (s)he is. I lose faith in the world every time I hear these stories. I know that it's people who do these acts, but the Church does have some responsibility as well.
3 years ago, a priest brought a poor, innocent, 16 year old gay teenager to the altar on his Church, pinned him to the floor, and performed an exorcism on him to rid him of his "gay demons". That boy was so traumatized and guilty (because he felt he really had demons, and was a shame to his family) that he could not speak for an entire week.
Another example, a priest, after finding out one of the people who came to his Church every Sunday for 30 years, after finding out he was gay, told him to leave, never come back, and that God would one day condemn him to Hell were he belonged, and encouraged the others in that Church to further discriminate him.
These stories really do astound me and get me so angry, that the very people who preach acceptance and love, can be so hateful to innocent people, who have done nothing wrong.
And all of the above, are sadly, true.


Dear M.....,
When we refer to Christians we must mention which denomination of Christians we are referring to because not all Christians are the same. There are many so called Christian churches that fanatically preach the laws of the Old Testament like the death of immoral sinners and a tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye and forget about the New Testament teaching on love and forgiveness. People are brainwashed to believe that they are chosen and that their self righteousness gives them the right to judge and condemn people to hell. They actually believe that they have been called by God to cleanse society from the evils of sin. You only have to hear a sermon from one of their preachers to know that they have no idea of Christ's message. The usual format is "sinners will be condemned to hell" with no mention of God's love and compassion for mankind. The stories you mentioned sound very much like things done by members of these deluded and extremely fanatical churches which have misinterpreted the Gospel message. I cannot imagine that anyone Orthodox would do any of these things except for maybe a parent disowning his child because he cannot face the shame of his sexuality.

When you read about Christians doing these unchristian things to others you must keep in mind that western Christianity has for many centuries lost its spiritually and true purpose. Christianity has become a formality with emphasis on punishment in eternal hell if people don't obey the law to the letter. They have forgotten what St. Paul said: “we are not under the law, but under grace” (Rom. 6: 14), and that “the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” (2 Cor. 3: 6)

There is only one true Christian Church which Christ and the Apostles established more than two thousand years ago. This church was founded on love and forgiveness for as Christ said "let him who is without sin cast the first stone." This same church is the Orthodox Church and all other churches calling themselves Christian are breakaways of this original church. As such they have not been established by Christ, but rather are self-established and have changed the teachings of Christ and the Apostles to suit their own ideas of what is right and wrong. Christ said: "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13:35)

The stories you mentioned have nothing to do with love for each other thus those who committed them are not disciples of Christ. If they are not Christ's disciples then whose disciples are they? If they do not preach the Gospel of Christ then whose gospel are they preaching? The answer is given to us by Christ himself. The Jews also believed that they were righteous because they were descended from righteous Abraham but Christ told them: "If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham." (John 8:39) Ye do the deeds of your father... Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. (John 8:41-44)

Christianity means not only to love God with all thy heart, mind and soul, but also to love every man. If we cannot love our fellow men then in truth we don’t love Christ, because he has created each man in his own image and likeness. Christian love transcends above someone’s physical appearance, social standing, ethnic origin, weaknesses, intellectual capacity and reaches the soul, the unique personal root of a human being where the image of God is.

In the parable of the Last Judgment (Matthew 25:31-46) Christ tells us that love and only love is the criterion with which we will be judged. Being a "good" Christian by attending all the services, fasting, praying and zealously and fanatically keeping all the laws to the letter will not save us if at the same time we do not practice love to people who are in need of our help; for as Christ said “Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me” and “Inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.”

With love in Christ
Fr. Christopher