In getting to know me, many people are surprised that I’m Christian. In an already religiously unaffiliated society, LGBTQ members are twice as likely to have no affiliation. This trend makes sense considering 73 percent of Christians believe homosexuality is a sin.

The argument — one that’s been passed down for generations — is pretty easy to understand. The Bible is God’s word, and therefore the entirety of its content is rules for us to follow. Since a number of Bible verses (arguably between six and 12) condemn homosexual relations, Christianity condemns homosexuality.

But do these verses condemn homosexuality? Many hear the argument in my last paragraph, skim through the verses and immediately write homosexuality off. To an extent, I can understand why they’d reach this conclusion. First, they’ve probably always heard that homosexuality is sinful, so they have no reason to think otherwise. Second, with verses like “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination,” it’s easy to make quick assumptions.

Contrary to popular belief, these verses don’t concretely condemn homosexuality. Regardless of which verse you’re reading, it’s important to note they discuss only male homosexual sex. I won’t bore you with each verse, but a simple Googling of “homosexuality verses” proves this point. There is a logical explanation for only addressing sex. During biblical times, homosexual relations consisted predominantly of older men with boys and men with their male slaves. These sexual acts were often forms of rape to show dominance, so it makes sense why the Bible would condemn “practiced homosexuality.” This explanation also illuminates why these verses address homosexual men. Only one verse arguably addresses women’s homosexuality, yet even this verse contains ambiguity in its reference to lesbian acts. These acts were culturally irrelevant to women, so the Bible didn’t need to address them.

If these verses are addressing homosexual acts of domination, this means that the Bible never addresses homosexual relationships. There’s a reason for this — these relationships rarely, if ever, existed. Marriages were dictated by parents, and parents based marriages on familial connections, financial gain and land. Love was frequently subordinate to benefitting the family. Therefore, homosexual relationships were outside cultural norms. For example, the man’s parents were expected to provide the woman and her parents a dowry of money and gifts. If two men tried to marry, this essential marriage tradition would become muddled. Customs like these created an expectation that men marry women, so relationships complicating the traditions weren’t given serious thought.

Nowadays, relationships are different. We typically choose long-term relationships based on a romantic connection, and since my previous argument assumes the Bible doesn’t condemn homosexual relationships, the Christian religion should have no problem with homosexual relationships.

I wish that I could dedicate more words to this argument because there’s so much more to discuss. Unfortunately, I need to spend my remaining 400 words saying other things.

Like how it’s not fair that Christians judge me for my lifestyle. I know for a fact that part of my community looks down on my pursuit of another young gentleman. It stings because some of these people are my friends, yet they seldom make the effort to hear my position — let alone take it seriously. Though they won’t challenge my belief to my face, I know from enough sources that it’s a topic they’ve discussed with each other. They see me going against the church’s opinion, so they assume I’m wrong.

But the truth of the matter is, I don’t think I’m wrong, and I shouldn’t feel shame for believing I’m right. My reasoning stems from more than my opinion benefitting my personal life. I’ve done my biblical research, and I hold my belief because it takes the Bible — Christianity’s ultimate frame — into consideration. Since many hold the opposite stance because “that’s what we’ve always believed,” I would even argue that my opinion is more God-rooted than theirs.

However, this doesn’t mean that I’m judging your opinion if it’s different than mine. It saddens me that many have opposite beliefs on a subject so important to my life, but if your stance stems from a clear and argumentative interpretation, I’ll respect your belief. I’ll even hear out what you have to say. Likewise, though, it’s only fair that you hear my argument, and when I settle into a relationship, it’s not your place to assume my decisions are sinful. Like any other Christian, I’m merely following what I believe is right.

Because — besides the biblical arguments — I feel God directing me on this path, and I’ve felt this for a long time. For too many evenings than he can remember, mid-teenager Michael laid his head on his pillow, clutched his comforter in his developing palm and prayed an assortment of prayers. The “God, take these (gay) feelings away from me” prayer; the “God, help me through this” prayer; the “God, I want a love of my life so badly, but if I’m gay, I’m not allowed” prayer; the “God, everyone will treat me differently if I really am gay” prayer; the “God, let your will be done, but please just give me some comfort” prayer. After reciting these prayers more times than he can remember, mid-teenager Michael woke up every morning to realize that absolutely nothing had changed. Though God doesn’t give us everything we ask for, he wasn’t even providing his fundamental promise to ease stress in trying times. After enough prayer sessions ending in nothing but restless anguish, mid-teenager Michael came to the conclusion that there must be an explanation for his God’s actions. That despite an overwhelming consensus on the topic, something was missing. That something was wrong. That lying underneath a seemingly one-sided debate existed a gray area more complex than the consensus made it appear.

Michael Schramm can be reached at mschramm@umich.edu.

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