For whatever reason, all of us have different dispositions and face different temptations. And some, from an early age, experience same-sex attraction and desire.
Put aside for a moment whether or not we’re wired that way or whether it is simply the result of nurture, some perverse choice that we make, or some combination. Because we do know that God has created us, and we know from natural law and God’s Word what His rules for living are.
But understanding God’s word and living by it in our sex-saturated culture is far from easy—even for Christians. Too many of us still believe, “If it feels good, do it.”
That’s why I was so impressed by Mark Oppenheimer’s New York Times article about freelance writer and blogger Eve Tushnet.
Oppenheimer writes that Tushnet “came out” as a young teen. Her parents, a liberal Harvard law professor and a former attorney with the ACLU, affirmed her choice. As a result, when she went off to Yale University she was “a happy lesbian.”
At Yale—depending on your perspective—something went terribly wrong or marvelously right. Tushnet told Oppenheimer she attended a meeting of a conservative political group “to laugh at them, to see the zoo animals.”
But, she says, she was “really impressed not only by the weird arguments, but the degree to which it was clear that the people making them lived as if what they were saying had actual consequences for their lives, that required them to make sacrifices.”
That is, she was impressed by a lived worldview, particularly among the Catholics in the group, who helped her understand the meaning of sin. “It means,” she told Oppenheimer, “you have a chance to come back and repent and be saved.”
And repent is what Tushnet did, receiving baptism and joining the Church the next year.
Today she does not spend her time trying to convince the Church to change its doctrines and moral standards to accommodate gay and lesbian sex and “marriage.” Instead she works to convince gays and lesbians to embrace the Church’s doctrines and moral standards.
Oppenheimer notes that Tushnet “can seem a paradox: fervently Catholic, proudly gay, happily celibate.”
Tushnet, you see, is still a lesbian, still has same-sex desires—something she doesn’t expect will change (although I would hope it would). Nonetheless, she believes, as she has written, that same-sex love should be celebrated, “while still requiring that this love express itself in chaste friendship or mystical approach to God rather than as gay sex.”
Her story, she writes, “is the story of how love of Christ and His Bride the Church became more central to my life than lesbian love…and how, therefore, I began to interpret the latter kind of love in light the of the former.”
Good for her!
I have great respect for those who struggle with the same-sex attraction, who, like Eve Tushnet, acknowledge their disposition, embrace orthodox Christian faith, and make a commitment to chastity.
This is a model for other Christians to follow—including unmarried heterosexuals.