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Struggle and spiritual pain
May 28, 1997

Dear Rev. Pieters, I am writing with concern over my spiritual walk. I am a Christian who happens to be gay. I have struggled with this (since I have been taught that what I feel is a sin against God) to the point that I am on the verge of emotional and spiritual chaos. I have tried to seek a respite in the Word but the guilt remains. Is this conviction speaking or is it simply the voices of those who have been telling me I am wrong? I do seek to serve God but I know I am unable to deny who I am and what I feel. To make matters worse, I am constantly in fear of HIV because of three months of flagrant disobedience to God by being with several men in a short period of time (limited to kissing, oral sex, and masturbation). I now have this under control but fear it may be too late. I am being tested but am constantly stressed over all of this. To make matters worse (or better depending on the perspective), I am now in love. Can you offer some insight on this confusing situation?

Response from Rev. Pieters

Try talking to lesbians and gay men who have happily and successfully integrated their sexuality with their spirituality. I am one who considers himself to be a gay Christian. While there are some who might consider that to be a contradiction in terms, I do not. I believe, along with many others, that God loves us just as God created us -- as lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgendered, or straight people.

The love you feel is not a sin against God. How can love be a sin? In I John 4:7 and following, it says "God is love." That's an equation. So how can love be both God and a sin? It can't.

Furthermore, you seem to believe that HIV is God's punishment for gay sex, especially if you've been with multiple partners. Many, many believing Christians disagree with this notion. God does not punish people with illness. Did Jesus punish people with illness? No, he healed them. God is a healing God. God has healed, and is continuing to heal, gay men with AIDS, who are now leading active, healthy gay lives. I'm one of them. If God is so intent on using HIV to punish those of us who are gay, why would God allow us to recover, and to live long and well with HIV?

Please seek out your local Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) where you can learn more about being happily gay and Christian. Read my pamphlet "HIV/AIDS: Is It God's Judgment?" Visit the UFMCC Web page for more information about a gay-positive perspective on homosexuality and the Bible. And nurture the love you feel. It is a sacred gift, which not everyone receives! Continue to practice safer sex, always using a latex condom. Be grateful that God made you gay. Believe that God loves you as a gay man. And responsibly and safely enjoy the gift of sexuality which God gave you.

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