Homosexuality Ethics Statement
CMDA affirms the long-accepted and widely held Christian teaching that the appropriate context for sexual relations is solely within marriage, defined as a consensual, exclusive and lifelong commitment between one man and one woman. This is the view reflected throughout the Bible and in Christian texts of all denominations—Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox—throughout their history and, until recently, a view that was universal and uncontested among Christians. Commitment to this historic Christian view of sexuality benefits individuals, families, and all society.
CMDA recognizes that many individuals experience or struggle with same-sex attraction. In these matters CMDA distinguishes homosexual thoughts and desires from willful homosexual behaviors.
CMDA also recognizes that, in recent years, there has been a sea change in cultural acceptance and legal recognition of homosexuality, including voices that celebrate it and seek to make it conventional. These factors have placed Christian healthcare professionals in the position of being at variance with evolving views of sexual choices and behaviors that may be socially approved but which are contrary to a Christian worldview. Whereas the shift in cultural mores has been rationalized by a strong emphasis on the freedom of personal choice, CMDA believes that personal autonomy is not an absolute principle but one that must be weighed alongside other relevant moral principles. In matters of sexuality the broader impact of individual choices should be considered.
Because we are guided by Christ, who assisted all who sought his help regardless of sexual or social status, CMDA affirms the obligation of Christian healthcare professionals to care for all patients in need, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identification, or family makeup, with sensitivity and compassion, even when we cannot validate their choices.
Recognizing that sexuality has not only bodily but also moral and spiritual significance, CMDA views homosexuality within the following framework:
- All people are loved by God (John 3:16-17).
- All struggle with moral failure and fall short of God’s standards (Romans 3:10-12) and, therefore, need the forgiveness that God provides through Christ alone (John 3:36; Romans 3:22-24; Colossians 1:15-23; 1 Timothy 2:5-6).
- The moral authority of the Bible in matters of sexuality rests in God, who inspired and reliably guided its human authors (Joshua 1:8; Matthew 5:18, 24:35; Luke 16:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:21). The moral teachings of the Scriptures are trustworthy (Psalm 119:86a; John 17:17b), beneficial (Deuteronomy 30:19; Psalm 119:105,133; Luke 11:28), and true for all times (Psalm 119:89; Isaiah 40:8; Hebrews 13:8).
- We live in a fallen world (Genesis 3), and we are all fallen creatures with a sinful nature (Romans 3:9-12). The fall is expressed in nature and in humanity in many ways, including sexuality. Same-sex attraction is but one example of the fall, as are also extramarital sexual attractions among heterosexuals, all of which, if indulged, lead to adverse consequences (Romans 1:24-32; Ephesians 5:3).
- Having homosexual thoughts or desires is not itself sinful, but by acting on them one assumes moral responsibility. A lifestyle that is directed by pursuing sexual desires or governed by personal sexual fulfillment misses the divinely ordained purpose of sex, which is for procreation and for facilitating unity in the lifelong commitment of marriage between one man and one woman, which fosters a secure and nurturing environment for children and which reflects the unity of Christ and the church (Exodus 20:1-18; Leviticus 20:10-21; Romans 1; Ephesians 5:23-33).
- The Scriptures prescribe and promise God’s blessing on life-long heterosexual union in marriage, and chastity in all other circumstances (Genesis 39:7-9; Exodus 20:14; Job 31:1; Proverbs 2:16-22, 5; Song of Songs 8:6; 1 Corinthians 7).
- The Scriptures are uniform throughout in forbidding as sinful the practice of homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; 1 Kings 14:24; Mark 10:6; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Jude 1:7). Same-sex attraction cannot be consummated within God’s design for human sexuality and procreation (Genesis 2:24; Ephesians 5). The Scriptures affirm, however, the value of non-erotic same-sex friendships (1 Samuel 20:17).
- It is possible by God’s grace for those with same-sex attraction to live a chaste life (Psalm 51:10, 119:9-16; Romans 6:11-14, 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 6:18, 10:13; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, 5:23-24; Galatians 2:20, 5:16,22-25; Colossians 3:5).
- In our current culture, which is saturated with sexual references, there is a prevailing view that personal fulfillment is to be found through abolishing traditional sexual boundaries and following desires and passions that transgress those boundaries. One outcome of this trend is the view that same-sex relationships should be regarded as equivalent to opposite-sex relationships. In our current culture some hold to the erroneous belief that to embrace diversity means to enforce acceptance and affirmation of same-sex relationships while suppressing other viewpoints.
- CMDA believes that, in contrast to the current culture, living out one’s sexuality within God’s design will result in a healthier and more fulfilled life. CMDA recognizes that this traditional view has become counter-cultural; however, CMDA affirms that God’s design transcends culture.
- CMDA recognizes that the causes of same-sex attraction are multifactorial and may include biological, developmental, psychosocial, environmental, and cultural factors that are not of the individual’s choosing. Deciding on a same-sex lifestyle and pursuing same-sex fantasies and encounters, however, are voluntary and involve moral responsibility.
- CMDA recognizes that, for individuals who struggle with same-sex attraction, choosing not to act on same-sex erotic desires may be difficult. Similarly, many individuals who are sexually oriented to the opposite sex also struggle with erotic desires that are contrary to the teachings of Scripture.
- Approval of same-sex marriage is harmful to the stability of society, the rearing of children, and the institution of marriage. If the only criterion for marriage were mutual consent or commitment, then there would be no logical grounds to prohibit polygamy, polyandry, or incestuous unions.
- Adoption into homosexual environments puts children at risk. Children need both male and female influences in their social development. Children should not be exposed to the promiscuity that the gay culture promotes, just as they should not be exposed to heterosexual promiscuity. Homosexual relationships are typically brief and successive. Children reared by same-sex couples are at increased risk of later engaging in homosexual activity.
- Among individuals who engage in homosexual acts, there is an increased incidence of drug or alcohol dependence, compulsive sexual behavior, anxiety, depression, and suicide. These consequences are harmful to the health of same-sex patients and are associated with increased medical costs to society.
- Some homosexual acts are physically harmful because they disregard normal human anatomy and function. These acts are associated with increased risks of tissue injury and transmission of infectious diseases.
- Homosexual behavior can be changed, even when desire persists. There is valid evidence that many individuals who chose to abstain from homosexual acts have been able to do so.
CMDA Recommendations for the Christian Community
- A person struggling with same-sex attraction should evoke neither scorn nor enmity, but rather our concern, compassion, help, and understanding. Christians must respond to the complex issues surrounding same-sex attraction with grace, civility, and love.
- Christians should welcome inclusion of same-sex-attracted individuals, affirming them as equal without condoning their sexual choices and behaviors.
- The Christian community and especially the family must resist stereotyping and rejecting individuals who do not fit the popular norms of masculinity and femininity. Parents should guide their children in appropriate gender identity development. For children who are experiencing gender identity confusion, the Christian community should provide appropriate role models and informed guidance.
- The Christian community must help society understand that traditional marriage is good and a part of the natural order. CMDA is concerned that to redefine marriage in a way that includes same-sex relationships will have detrimental spiritual, emotional, cultural, and medical repercussions.
- The Christian community must condemn hatred and violence directed against those involved in homosexual behavior. Love for the person does not equate with support of the decision to engage in a gay or lesbian lifestyle.
- The Christian community must encourage and strongly support those who wish to abandon homosexual behavior.
- CMDA affirms family life in the paradigm of fathers and mothers rearing their own children as well as adoption of children by a married mother and father. However, CMDA cannot affirm the adoption of children by same-sex couples, because such placement deliberately excludes the parental role model of one sex and is thus detrimental to the best interests of the child.
- Christian communities must seek for ways to minister to children in families of same-sex couples in ways that offer them the love of Christ.
- The Christian community is to be a refuge of love for all who are broken – including sexually broken – not to affirm their sin, nor to condemn or castigate, but to shepherd them to Jesus, who alone can forgive, heal, restore, and redirect to a Godly, honorable, and virtuous way of life. God provides the remedy for all moral failure through faith in Jesus Christ and the life-changing power of the Holy Spirit.
CMDA Recommendations for Christian Healthcare Professionals
- CMDA advocates culturally competent medical care of patients who identify as gay or lesbian. Such care requires our compassion, an open and trusting dialogue, a genuine effort to understand and respond to the patient’s psychological distress, and acceptance of the person without necessarily agreeing with the person’s sexual views.
- CMDA believes that the appropriate medical response to patients who identify as gay or lesbian should be to support and encourage them in areas we can affirm and to help them understand themselves as people God loves and who are made in his image, even when we cannot validate their lifestyle choices or sexual behaviors.
- A patient’s wishes regarding hospital visitation rights and surrogate medical decision-making by a committed same-sex partner should be respected.
- CMDA believes that Christian healthcare professionals should avoid participating in any reproductive technology procedures in which children are brought into a family other than that of a married husband and wife, or in which children at any stage of biological development are marketed as products. This would include surrogacy-for-hire or in vitro procedures for non-married heterosexual couples or same-sex couples.
CMDA Recommendations Regarding Nondiscrimination
- Christian healthcare professionals, in particular, must care for their same-sex-attracted patients in a non-judgmental and compassionate manner, consistent with the humility Jesus modeled and the love Jesus commanded us to show all people.
- Christian healthcare professionals who hold to a biblical or traditional view of human sexuality and marriage should be tolerated in a diverse society and permitted to express their views in civil discourse free from exclusion, oppression, or unjust discrimination. Healthcare professionals who hold the position that same-sex relationships are harmful and inconsistent with the will of God must not be stigmatized or accused of being bigoted, phobic, unprofessional, or discriminatory because of this sincerely held and widely shared belief.
- Healthcare professionals must not be prevented from providing support and counseling to patients who request assistance with abstaining from homosexual behavior.
Unanimously approved by the House of Representatives
April 21, 2016
Ridgecrest, North Carolina