metta8 saidWhy Christians are embracing their LGBT neighbors
John 4:18, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”
That's really a sweeping generalization. We Christians are not monolithic; even within denominations, there are a wide variety of opinions.
In the Episcopal Church, of which I am a member, we generally (but not totally) agree that doctrine is established by scripture (i.e., the Bible), tradition, and reason, with reason being informed by experience. Doctrine is NOT
determined by the Bible alone!!
Although many events have influenced the Episcopal Church, there was one event that had a dramatic effect. The Episcopal Church is ruled by the General Convention which meets every three years. It includes deputies who have been elected by each individual parish; they are not pledged to uphold any particular viewpoint. At one General Convention, a book, A Book of Revelations
, was distributed to everyone at the convention by Integrity, the organization for gay men and women in the Episcopal Church. The book contained numerous real stories written by gay men and woman detailing how being gay had affected their lives and, in many cases, how their religious beliefs had influenced them. Reading the book made it inescapably clear that one does not choose one's sexual orientation. Once the deputies understood that, they had to acknowledge that discrimination based on sexual orientation is wrong because it violates the law, "Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself," and obviously it was wrong to discriminate based on an unchosen characteristic; previously discrimination had been based on the assumption that those of us who are gay are so by choice. So, that one book changed the course of the General Convention.
As a result of the above, it should be obvious that the way to change Christian attitudes towards gay men and women is to make it inescapably clear that sexual orientation is not chosen and rarely, if ever, can be changed, and that attempts to change sexual orientation are often destructive. That is not always easy to do since to rationalize discrimination, people have to believe that sexual orientation is chosen. Moreover, it is difficult for people to admit that they have been wrong for many years.
In denominations in which members tend to be better educated than average and have higher income levels, it is easier to change attitudes; in that respect, the Episcopal Church qualifies.
In any case, Christian attitudes towards gay men and women vary considerably although in general, there is much more support than there was a few decades ago.