Is homosexuality a sin to be condemned? Is it a “choice”? Does “reparative therapy” work? According to many conservative religious groups, the answer to all these questions is “Yes.” For believers who are also straight spouses, these religious teachings create great conflict and yet another layer of suffering for both partners in a gay-straight marriage.

    My article about “The Haggards’ Dilemma” sparked an interesting exchange in the comment section that I wanted to share here. A woman who identified herself as a “fundamentalist Christian” spoke of her struggle to balance the judgmental position of her church with her own belief that God’s love extends to both gay and straight people. Her comment was answered by “Jens H.” in a very wise way. His reply is quoted in part here (in italics), with his permission.


    First of all, I’m sorry you are going through this struggle because I know it’s unfair and extremely difficult. But I commend you for having an open mind trying to find answers. I think finding truthful answers about homosexuality is especially hard for religious people because they often turn to their church for information as opposed to science. With the exception of Christian Scientists, if you were having a heart attack I wonder if you would seek medical expertise from a pastor or a cardiologist. I’m going to guess you’d seek emotional support from your pastor and heart know-how from a doctor. Why then do people seek expertise on homosexuality from the religious?

    If you seek information from the American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, and other viable non-biased research institutions on the subjects you mentioned, you’ll find the following answers to these questions:

1) Being molested as a child does not turn that child gay.

2) The vast majority of child sexual molestations are perpetrated by heterosexual men and not homosexual men.

3) The age of the sexual target (the child) is what is important to a pedophile not necessarily the sex of the child.

4) Gay people cannot convert anyone into being gay.

5) Homosexuality is not a mental illness.

However, many religious organizations such as Focus on the Family perpetuate the following [erroneous information]:

1) Gay people try to convert children and other people into being gay.

2) Gay men molest children.

3) Gay people are mentally ill.

    While there is not direct proof that people are born gay in the same way that straight people are born straight, the vast, vast majority of gay people feel they were born with a homosexual sexual orientation and it is not a choice issue. For the most part, it’s only religious people and those who do not like gay people who hold onto this choice concept.

    This then ties into your personal beliefs that gay sex is much like any other addiction or maladaptive behavior. However, gay sex is only considered maladaptive for religious people who believe it’s somehow spiritually wrong or others who are turned off by the idea. There are plenty of studies showing that same-sex couples can have equally loving and strong relationships as straight couples. So in a sense, it’s really about personal judgment as opposed to any fact about being maladaptive. . . .

    In terms of personal judgments based on religion – think of this. There are religious people who believe that ANY sex, including that in a monogamous and loving marriage, which is not solely for the purpose of procreation, is sinful. Once again, it’s seeing something through religious judging.

    If you haven’t read Carol’s books then I would highly recommend them because they are considered some of the best books on this topic. They are non-biased and full of accurate information. As you come across information on this topic always look for the source – is it coming from an organization with a religious prejudice or is it basing its information on sound science. You will see a large disparity. . . .
The more truth [we] learn about this topic the better [we] will be able to cope with it and make appropriate decisions.                                                                                    Jens H.


    I’m very grateful to Jens for submitting these thoughtful comments on Straight Spouse Connection. His insights bring balance to some confusing, conflicting issues. Debate will continue, but if we approach these painful questions with inquiring minds and careful research, clarity will surely follow. If you would like more information about my books and documentary, please visit my Website at


  1. Janet says:

    Thank you, I agree with all of the above. But I wish to point out that when my ex husband was denying his homosexuality and yet involved with an openly gay colleague, that colleague was "grooming" my children. I found the secret notes, the suggestive banter, and the wearing down of boundaries and derisiveness of my relationship with them (ages 12 and 7) as "over protective". My Episcopal rector kept telling me that more heterosexual than homosexual men molest children, and that being molested does not make you gay. However, that was cold comfort, when he was not willing to state the obvious - that this guy was taking advantage of my ex's confusion and playing a very cruel game with me at the expense of my children.
    It is a joke between me and my boys that they are so lucky that I am such a bitch. Now adults, they have acknowledged something was off about dad's friend, and thanked me for speaking up - over and over and over - and being shunned and losing friends because I was so "intolerant".
    When liberal churches turn a blind eye to the experience of the straight spouse, they force you to live someone else's lie, while proclaiming one of their own - that they are somehow enlightened and tolerant. If they cannot use you for their agenda, they do not really want you.
    Today is Easter. I attended the modern Evangelical church I have been a part of for several years that promotes MY healing - and does not send people to reparative therapies. For two services, it was standing room only, all ages, races, backgrounds. Lots of involved people, young people. My oldest boy who is now married attended the Episcopal church he grew up in. No more people than an average Sunday, despite a brunch and a brass choir. It's getting grayer - and gayer. I tried to introduce the need to have a ministry to straight spouses years ago and was politely patted on the head and told to find peace somehow.
    I agree that families like ours need to challenge the positions of Focus on the Family. But I would also like to point out that the so called "tolerant" and "affirming" and "Practicing God's inclusive love" churches are not really tolerant, affirming, or inclusive of straight spouses. Some of us have to leave in pursuit of spiritual healing, and the affirmation of ourselves as functional heterosexual people, and as Christian parents.

  2. Carol Grever says:

    Dear Janet,
    As I've said so many times, each family's situation has some unique aspects. Yours is a good example. It appears that your strong protection of your sons was effective and appropriate. And you've now charted a spiritual path that fulfills your own needs. I celebrate that and respect your personal decisions. It is not my purpose to criticize a particular denomination--only to point out that some churches' teachings about homosexuality are factually inaccurate and should be questioned. I'm glad that you've found a satisfying church home and wish you well on your path.
    Carol Grever

  3. eve says:

    In reference to the points made by the gentlemen, JenH., I must point the hypocricy in his statement. He is willing to use the psychological aspects NOW to support the gay lifestyle, when just a few years ago this same psychological group was condemned as being wrong when it stated that gays were mentally ill. Can't have it both ways, Jens. Condemn when they speak against gay lifestyle, but quote them when they support it. That's just pure hypocrisy. And, not very "wise," either. Just another pro-gay speaker being touted as being wise and thoughtful.
    And, I certainly disagree with his statement about being molested does not "turn" someone gay when the very basis of problems of males/females having been molested is sexual identity confusion. I should know. I'm a therapist and have been for 20 years. Wrong again, Jens.
    And, all this warm&fuzzy thinking doesn't change what the bible says about homosexuality. Why would God condemn something that cold not be controlled? If one is born gay, why not choose to be celibate like the converts in Corinth did? Celibacy is practiced by many hetro folk, as well. It is practicing homosexuals that are condemned, not just being a homosexual.
    This "thoughtful" guy hasn't done anything other than to parrot what the pro-gay crowd has been putting out for years. And, part of a concentrated attack upon Christianity as far as I'm concerned.
    If one has a problem, just change your thinking to say it's not wrong. Simple.

  4. Jerry J Bigner says:

    First, I just have to wonder why you (eve) have such a “bee in your bonnet” about Jen’s comments? What’s going on with you to produce such reactions to his very knowledgeable and rational comments?
    Let’s go over your main points individually:
    1. The American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association voted to remove homosexuality in 1974 and 1977 from the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) that defines authoritatively what is mental illness, respectively. This move was the result of the findings from the significantly large number of research studies as well as from clinical observation of members that it was a mistake to include this sexual orientation as a deviant, unnatural, mental illness. The removal took place as a means of correcting an error done through ignorance and misjudgment by placing it in this Manual. This action of removing it was not hypocritical as you maintain but an intelligent adjustment and acknowledgment that homosexuality is not evidence of mental illness.
    2. Apparently, you (as a therapist of 20 years) use your singular experiences to discount the findings of numerous research studies that outweigh your assertion that having been molested acts as the basis of sexual identity confusion. Obviously, you have been dealing with a biased sample of clients in order to make this statement.
    3. And you, like the many others with whom you identify in your religious orientation, continue to draw from the Old Testament tenets in order to condemn homosexuality instead of drawing from the New Testament that teaches love, acceptance, and tolerance. Christ himself ordained that Christians disdain and drop from their consciousness these old and outdated beliefs. Modern day theologians also have repeatedly drawn to our attention the selectiveness by which these tenets were enforced, even in the days when the Bible was being written, e.g., do you always wear a covering for your hair when in church?; do you believe it’s permissible to sell your daughter into slavery? Do you eat bacon and ham and seafood? And to buy into the belief that celibacy is the answer to every sexual problem . . . well. . .
    4. Now I’d like to ask who is attacking whom here . . . you with your holier-than-thou self-righteous statements in relation to Jen’s remarks that you call parroting and part of a concentrated attack on Christianity ? Projection, projection, projection!
    Apparently, you are but another one of the Religious Right, Moral Majority, Focus on the Family-type who insists on not being confused with the facts about this issue since you’ve already made up your mind.

  5. Jenni says:

    Hi all - if you are interested I've posted a response to Jen's H in "The Haggards Dilemma" as that was where my part in this discussion started.

  6. daffodil says:

    I respect Jens H comments BUT, Yes I am a Believer and in the Bible it does say it IS a sin. My husband professed to be a born again Christian yet we are divorcing because I found out about his proclivities. I am hurt and angry. In our church there is a clear doctrine on homosexuality, coming from the Bible. It is just not right within the boundaries of scripture and to profess belief in front of God and take Communion, to me it is a sin that he will deal with. He lied to me and the church for ten years, forgiveness comes, but it will take a very long time in my heart even though I know I am supposed to forgive to all because I am forgiven. I am aware of the scripture. Still, To lie to me and our church, only God can forgive.
    Oh yeah, Jerry, I am a "Holier than thou Right wing, conservative, moral majority, focus on the family person". So please, don't attack, I admit what I believe in, and that is God's Word. It is my belief and I stand behind it. It is still a sin. And it hurts those who have had to deal with this deception.
    I find what you said offensive to those that do believe in the one true God. There are are more of us out there than you know. Please be careful in your wording, there are "actual" Christians out there who read this.

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