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At Ethical Views of Christian Denominations from ReligionFacts they categorize these issues as:

     Sexuality: Premarital sex, Adultery, Homosexual Behavior
      Marriage: Divorce, remarriage, same-sex marriage
        Gender: Women in Leadership, Gender roles in marriage
Life and Death: Abortion, Contraception, Euthanasia, Removal of life support, Suicide,
                Death Penalty, War, Military Service, Tobacco Use
Homosexuality: In the early 21st century the issue of homosexuality has been a hot topic in Churches, Politics and the news.

In particular the ordination of gay ministers has caused significant dissension in the Episcopal, Lutherin and Presbyterian (USA) churches.
See: Standards for Church Leaders

Over $74 million total was spent on campaigns both for and against California's Proposition 8 ballot initiative in 2008, which banned same-sex marriage and was passed 52% to 48%. It was subsequently overturned in court.

Conservative politicians love to use "family values" as a talking point, usually meaning opposition to gay marriage.

Most of us believe that the Bible is clear about homosexuality and adultery being wrong. The Presbyterian Church in America, a smaller more conservative Presbyterian detonation, does not allow homosexuals or women to serve as clergy, deacons or elders.
In 2011 the Presbyterian Church USA , the largest Presbyterian domination, voted to allow the ordination of homosexuals. In 2014 they voted to allow gay marriage.

Churches seem to be ranking three of these issues as:

Really bad - Homosexuality
  "What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person's heart,
  that evil thoughts come--sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice,
  deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.  All these evils come from 
  inside and defile a person." [Mark 7:20-23 ]
       Bad - Adultery
Not so bad - Female leadership
  Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak,
  but must be in submission, as the law says. 
  As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches.
  They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says.
  If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home;
  for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. [1Cor 14:33-35 ]
  A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.
  I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. (NIV, 1 Timothy 2:11-12)
  See What Does the Bible Say About Women in Ministry?

Homosexuality and Adultery:
Christ had a lot to say about adultery and next to nothing to say about homosexuality. See Levititicus 18:22 and 20:13 lists homosexuality along with incest and adultery as a sin.

Christ had a lot to say about adultery and next to nothing to say about homosexuality.
See Christian Ethics Some people say that his reference to sexual immorality (the King James translation uses fornication here) in Mark 7:20 refers to homosexuality.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:9 that homosexuality will keep you from entering the kingdom of God.

Matthew 19:9 says, "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."

What if you view these in terms of harm done? My personal ranking, bad to not so bad, is:

  1. Adultery in terms of damage to families. (I'm referring to adultery which leads to divorce or severe marital discord.) *
  2. Spousal abuse. It's hard to show that the Bible's relegation of women to second hand citizens (Several women played a prominent role in Jesus life so you can dispute this) leads to spousal abuse. That's like proving that pornography leads to rape. *

    Note: I am flipping the argument around, saying the Church's interpretation of the Bible is causing the problem and strong women are not the problem.

  3. Homosexuality - If Homosexual marriage reduces the incidence of promiscuity in the gay community it could have some good.
There have been studies identifying all of these as some sort of brain handicap, which is out of the control of the individuals.
So should you sympathise with these people and show them compassion just like you would to someone who gets cancer?

* I suspect there are those who would make a case that if submission of wives, which occurs in several places in the Bible, was instilled in Christian women, then # 1 and 2 above would not be as likely to break up families. I don't know anyone who has.

I agree with the exclusion of homosexuals from ordination in mainline churhes because of their promotion of this lifestyle (e.g. Gay pride parades). Adulters may brag about their exploits while watching football with their male friends, but they don't make public displays of it.

In 1992 the Presbyterian Church USA Special Committee to Study Human Sexuality published a 200-page report "Keeping Body and Soul Together: Sexuality, Spirituality, and Social Justice". This report which proposed relaxed views of pre-marital sex, homosexuality and other contensious issues and created a lot of controversy within the church getting national media attention. It was ultimately voted down.


Gays and Women
Standards for Church Leaders
Political Issues (Abortion, Homosexuality, Environment, Evolution, ...)
Gay Marriage
Comparison Chart of Ethical Views of Christian Denominations - ReligionFacts
Gay Marriage
Political Issues (Abortion, Homosexuality, Environment, Evolution, ...)
Rise of Women Pastors

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last updated 9 Aug 2011