feels rift over homosexuality
Homosexuality has stirred debate in many denominations.
The controversy surrounding gays and lesbians and their
role in Christianity was highlighted this spring at TCU.
Brite Divinity School was the center of focus when an
openly gay administrator, who is also a Christian Church
minister, said a church official discriminated against
him because of his sexuality.
TCU is affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples
of Christ), and even though this denomination has a reputation
of being nontraditional and accepting, this spring has
proved that even a progressive religion has to grapple
with new trends.
A rift in the Christian Church was exposed: Many in the
church support gays in all their roles, including serving
as ministers, but on the other hand, only one of about
30 Christian Church regions will ordain a gay ordination
The Christian Church is not the only denomination struggling
to define the roles of homosexuals.
The Episcopalian Church is also caught in a controversy.
Gene Robinson was consecrated as the first openly gay
bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Church in fall 2003, and
ever since, the Anglican church has been passionately
debating whether this is in line with church policy.
The Roman Catholic Church holds that although being homosexual
is not a sin, gay sex is. The Catechism, or official doctrine
of the church, says that homosexual acts are against natural
law and cannot be approved under any circumstances.
But the church adds that homosexuals should be accepted
with respect and compassion because their sexuality is
not chosen and is often a trial. Gays should lead a life
of chastity just as other unmarried people should, the
The United Methodist Church also affirms the rights and
liberties of homosexuals. A practicing, self-avowed homosexual
cannot be ordained, though. The General Conference of
the United Methodist Church sets forth these standards
in the Book of Discipline.
Theres some ambiguity on how things are interpreted,
of course, said the Rev. Brian Young at the Wesley
Foundation at TCU. Its not an easy issue.
Even things that seem very clear may not be clear in other
peoples eyes. The church is struggling, as everyone
is, but theres open discussion and dialogue about
The church and the people within the church are not of
a single mind.
The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest of the Baptist
bodies in the United States, holds that marriage was created
by God for one man and one woman for life, said Emily
Quesenberry with the TCU Baptist Student Ministries.
Hopefully, every church would be friendly and welcoming
and loving, Quesenberry said.
But homosexuality is outside of the realm of Gods
plan, she said. A homosexual act is a sin just like premarital
sex, she said.
Scott Ward, a second-year graduate student of music performance,
said, For every single denomination, theres
that many different views on sexuality. I actually admire
churches that can make a decision as a denomination. I
think denominations are afraid to make a decision because
they dont want to alienate someone.
Its all a matter of interpretation.
Freshman music education major Tricia Tedford agreed.
Every church is different and every person has a
different interpretation of the Bible and whats
in it, she said.
The problem in almost any religion is that people want
to rely on Scripture, said Daryl Schmidt, chairman of
the TCU religion department.
Its not adequate to hide behind Scripture,
The Bible and early Christians were against war and capitalism,
he said, and yet these are accepted in our world today.
Theres no such thing as a consistent literalist,
Culture changes, and the understanding of things also
changes, including the understanding of what is set forward
in religious doctrines, he said.
Julius Tsai, a TCU religion professor with a specialty
in Eastern religions, called the struggle over homosexuality
a grapple with the rhetoric of purity. Christians
are not the only ones dealing with such hard questions,