Faith and Sexuality
Sometimes I am lucky enough to get emails from people who have read my books and liked them enough to tell me so. Probably my most treasured example of this came from a gay man who had used the passage in my novel “Captain's Surrender” where my hero Peter Kenyon realises that God does not condemn him for being gay, as a tool to help a friend through the painful process of coming out himself. In a very small way, I had helped a man to reconcile his sexuality with his faith, so that he could be at peace with both.
I've been a Christian since my twenties. I had a conversion experience at university which left me utterly convinced that God existed, but – because I had been brought up as an atheist – with no idea of what God was really like. I started going to church, learned a whole lot about grace and mercy and God's loving kindness towards humanity, and his sacrifice whereby he redeemed the world as a free gift to anyone who believed in him.
This was all very good news. But then I ran into the teaching that being gay was a sin. There were people even saying that being gay was the kind of thing that would damn your soul to hell. I couldn't accept this. I thought it was horrific to condemn anyone for love. Surely the whole point of Christianity was that “God is love, and those who live in love live in God and God lives in them”?
I was plunged into a terrible period of doubt and despair. Did I give up my faith – which I knew was true – and thus damn myself? Or did I somehow have to accept that people could have been created gay so they could be damned? What kind of a God would do something like that?
All I could do was to look more carefully into what the Bible actually said on the subject – find out if there was any doubt, if there was evidence for my belief that being gay could not be wrong.
I looked, and I found it. It turns out that all of the passages in the Bible which have been taken to condemn homosexuality have been taken out of context, or refer to prohibitions in Jewish ritual which are no more binding on Christians than the command not to eat prawns. It turned out that all that persecution over the centuries, all that fear, all of it was based on prejudices read into the Bible rather than read out of it. If you don't believe me, there's a good start to your own research here:
On the one hand this was a great relief – yet again, God had proved to be better than I had thought. His love was still for everyone, not limited by petty nonsensical rules about which tab went in which slot. It was possible to have both ones sexuality and ones faith without compromising either.
On the other hand, I was angry. Why did nobody know? How could the church continue with ugly, soul-destroying condemnation, with nothing but prejudices to back it up? What was Christian about that?
I still feel that anger. That's the reason I wrote both Captain's Surrender and False Colors with a hero who has to learn to reconcile his faith and his sexuality – a hero who comes out at the end accepting and celebrating both.
That's what I wanted to say here too. You don't have to choose. If you are being told you can't have both your sexuality and your faith, that is a false message. Ignore it. You can. Love is love, and God is love, and there is no quarrel between them.
Apologies to those who don't have a faith and therefore don't see why having to give it up is like having to give up a lung. But for those who do, the loss feels like one that cannot be survived, so I am glad to be able to say that God loves everyone he has made, and he made you well.
Alex Beecroft was born in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and grew up in the wild countryside of the English Peak District. She studied English and Philosophy before accepting employment with the Crown Court where she worked for a number of years.Now a stay-at-home mum and full time author, Alex lives with her husband and two daughters in a little village near Cambridge and tries to avoid being mistaken for a tourist.
Alex is only intermittently present in the real world.She has lead a Saxon shield wall into battle, toiled as a Georgian kitchen maid, and recently taken up an 800 year old form of English folk dance, but she still hasn’t learned to operate a mobile phone.
Alex writes mostly m/m romance in the historical and fantasy genres.
Her latest novel is Under the Hill, a fantasy in which a sleepy Northern English town is invaded by angry elves, and her latest novella is Blessed Isle, an Age of Sail tale of mutiny and shipwreck on the high seas.
To find out more, visit her website on http://alexbeecroft.com