So then, does my calling for “a moratorium on debates over what qualifies as sin in other peoples’ lives” translate into a call for the end of conversation on the morality of homosexuality? Yes. Insofar as we have open, public—even civil—conversations about the sin of people we do not know, then yes, we must stop having this conversation. Though, this is not exactly what Anderson thinks it is. Am I requiring that all Christians believe that homosexuality is not sin? Of course not. Within any community there are always variations on belief, and I don’t see this is as a problem. What I do think is a problem is the urge to identify and then judge the sins of strangers.
Let me clarify: it seems to me that if I were gay, the morality of my sexuality would be a central question. Further, if a close friend and fellow believer asked me to consider with him whether sexual sin exists in his life, we would of course have the conversation. This is not strange—we all have close friends, sometimes we refer to them in Christianese as “accountability partners”—who have invited us to speak into the intimate details of their lives. But when I read scripture, particularly through the Gospels, I don’t see any invitation to issue judgment about the sins of people we do not know. I see Jesus do so in such instances when he says “Go and sin no more,” but I also hear Jesus saying, “judge not, or you will be judged,” and that business about twigs in people’s eyes.
I’m fine with being proven wrong on this, and the last thing I’m trying to do is prooftext with the Bible. I really don’t believe that’s the way we are intended to read it. A different approach, then, is to look at the spirit of the Gospel, to look at its earliest implementation in the first century church, and ask myself whether making pronouncements about people’s particular sins seemed to be a priority. I submit that it did not. That it still should not. I took this question to my friend, the priest of my parish, and he wisely pointed out that sin in the Bible is hardly ever talked about in terms of this or that action, but rather as a state that we all live in. In that way, it’s not the kind of thing we identify in others’ actions because it is more than that, it is our very nature.
Read, as they say, the whole thing.