Letter: Being gay is a sin only in translation

Whether by accident or design, the Kirk's mainline theological heavyweights such as Dr Iain Torrance were absent from the debate about gay ministers and the field was left to the conservative wing (your report, 24 May).

The only challenges to the misleading fundamentalist claim that the Bible specifically outlaws consensual homosexual relations came from American and African clerics.

In fact, the scriptures in the original Greek are ambiguous about homosexuality and do not contain any clear references to gay activity within a committed relationship.

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Paul did condemn homosexual orgies, ritual gay sex in Pagan temples and the sexual rape of young boys by adult males, but that would elicit general Christian agreement.

The problem is that, after having been filtered through the belief systems of the many translators, some English versions of the Bible do condemn all homosexual behaviour. The make-up of the Kirk's committee to look at the theological issues over the next two years is immaterial, since progress towards compromise on homosexual rights is unlikely.

Conservatives will continue to hold that homosexual behaviour is always a serious sin and oppose the inclusion of sexual orientation in anti-discrimination legislation.

(THE Rev Dr) John Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews

Your leaders supporting the ordination of homosexual ministers misrepresented the opposing view. No one argues that those of homosexual orientation should be denied any role in the church; the issue is that God plainly reveals that homosexual sexual activity is immoral.

Of course, failing to make this crucial distinction allows biblical Christians to be portrayed as exhibiting a discrimination akin to racism.

But surely, many will object, no one can be expected to restrain their sexual desires? Shocking to contemporary minds it may be, but yes, God does give clear boundaries within which sexual activity is not just permitted but celebrated, while outwith those boundaries sex is prohibited and falls short of its relational and creative purposes.

Indeed "all are born equal", but can anyone fill in the intermediate steps of the argument that seems to conclude that therefore there is no such thing as sexual morality?

This orthodox Christian position may be called a "badge of homophobia", but Christians know that unpopularity, ridicule and even persecution will sometimes accompany the proclamation of God's truth.

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"Homophobic" is now usually taken to mean "questioning the morality of homosexual sex", but the Bible is replete with examples of followers of Jesus who were undeterred by popular opposition.

"Moral leadership" is indeed what a church should offer, but this should involve presenting biblical standards, not endorsing contemporary values.

The sorry state of the Kirk leaves it utterly unable to fulfil this role.As the Kirk continues to drift in a liberal direction, thriving, wealthy and growing evangelical churches will begin to distance themselves from its central authority.

The remaining congregations who have abandoned Christian orthodoxy will decline at an ever increasing rate. The myth of a diluted message winning back worshippers is denied by statistics from around the world.

Richard Lucas