In Toledo, OH, Central United Methodist church’s new billboard is causing quite a stir. The billboard says “Being Gay is a Gift from God.”
The message is connected to a month-long sermon by Pastor Bill Barnard. “We really believe that being gay is a gift from God, and it’s not anything that anyone has to apologize for or be ashamed about,” he says. “So that’s how it came to be.”
The entire story – including how other churches in the community have responded – is fairly intriguing, but the billboard’s message itself raises an interesting question:
Is being gay a gift from God? If you’re able to accept that homosexuality isn’t sinful (a high hurdle that many people cannot clear), is it appropriate to consider it a “gift”?
Saying that being gay is a “gift” seems to imply that homosexuality is something extraordinary that is given by God for a purpose. Interesting, right? Is our sexuality ordinary (as is often argued in debates about marriage equality and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”), or is it remarkable? Is our sexual orientation a gift, or is it more like brown hair, big feet, or a fondness for fondue — spiritually neutral traits that seem more like biological placeholders than “gifts”?
So, if you’ve been given the “gift of gay,” riddle me this…
Is gay a gift? Or perhaps the better question is, if gay is a gift, why did we get it? What is it meant to teach us, the church, or the world? And, if homosexuality is a gift, is it a gift you want, or one you’d rather send back?
Other than being our chosen route toward intimacy and orgasm, does homosexuality serve a purpose?
Is being gay a gift from God?