A Church Tower in a Shopping Center! A Restaurant in a Church! Is This Evolving Christianity?

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on 26 November 2009 0 Comments
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A. Wiant from Gainesville, Florida, writes:

If we are to presume that being gay is just a personality trait of a minority of people and that gay people should be welcomed into the Christian community as "equals" (whatever that means in this context), how do we consider pedophilia as a perversion of the human condition to be segregated and punished if the source has similar roots in the mind? If this is so, why do we as a society feel that pedophilia can and should be treated and homosexuality should be considered a normal variation? (This is an academic question and does not reflect my own feelings in this matter.)


Dear A. Wiant,

I hope that your last sentence is correct, but by repeating some of those outrageous charges you appear to give credibility to them.

There is an overwhelming difference. Pedophilia has a victim and is an act carried out by heterosexual people far more frequently than by homosexual people. Pedophilia is a strong person exercising his or her will against a vulnerable person. For any person to act in such a way as to violate the dignity and will of another person is always wrong. Pedophilia is thus always wrong just as rape and child abuse are always wrong, for all these have a victim.

Both homosexual and heterosexual people can violate their partners. Prostitution is the mutual using of two people and is practiced among homosexual and heterosexual people. These are acts, however, that people do in their insecurity to meet their emotional needs. The proper response is to condemn any victimization, but then to work to address the insecurities out of which these distortions flow.

There is nothing about heterosexuality or homosexuality per se that necessitates a victim. Homosexual love and heterosexual love are both based on mutual giving and receiving. Both create wholeness and holiness in life.

Your suggestion (whether academic or personal) that to accept homosexual persons as equal to pedophiles is simply an uninformed opinion arising out of a deep-seated homophobia. Prejudices always thrive on ignorance. I hope you will examine this attitude and if this question reflects your attitude, rid yourself of it.

My best,

John Shelby Spong



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