I thought I'd repost a letter to the editor of Presbyweb in response to this column:
I can't share agreement with the letter's applauding Rev. Bruce Becker's column on his "wildly heterosexist God". He uses a number of standards, none of which seem to proceed from a form of moral reasoning.
The first standard is universability, but there's a number of practices which are deemed to have a worthy office in the church which cannot be universalized, one being celibacy. The eunuchs in the NT have a place in the kingdom even though the whole world could not be that. When Paul describes the gifts, it's clear that there are a wide range of callings which are unique, play a part, but could never be universal. A life of integrity is not uniformity, it's living out one's unique calling which may not necessarily look like someone else's calling.
The second standard is his use of nature, which can only tell us what is, not what ought to be. That is Bruce Becker commits the naturalistic fallacy; something supporters and opponents of this issue frequently fall into. His fine descriptions of the love, commitment, mutuality which he appreciates seeing in heterosexual couples has little relation to descriptions of body parts and procreation that nature arguments tend to devolve into.
The third standard is his use of the Bible, which is as fundamentalist as they come. Bruce Becker pretends as if the Bible's understanding is uniform and ignores the diverse sexual and relational situations we find in the text. Applauding Abraham may be fine, but ignoring his multiple wives, as if the Bible is a mirror image of his ideal vision of the heterosexual nuclear family is ahistorical, maybe even a form of eisegesis.
He seems to also treat heterosexuality and homosexuality as moral categories. Most of us who support glbt inclusion don't suggest that homosexuality is a virtue, always a good. Rather it's the particular relationships in question, whether they build up love, mutuality, commitment, the development of moral possibilities among those in the relationship. But Becker seems to treat heterosexuality as an unmitigated good, something that can't be reflective of his own pastoral experience
Focus on sexual orientation in the end evades the moral question, because finding out what gender one is attracted to, seems to give us little clues to whether we have a stable, loving, mutual, growth filled, committed relationship or not. One can find examples in both orientations where this was the case and sadly too many times we can find broken, destructive relationships as well. The church's business is to build up the prior.
It's nice to know that Becker has gay connections, though I don't know if he has informed them that his stomach "wrenches" when in thought of their sexuality. I hope the church can at some point be in a place to have a discussion about the moral life and how sexuality relates to that without personal ickness but with a seriousness and reflectivity that the moral life demands. It's the best way to be faithful to the God who is the God of the best and the highest in life.