Angela was at Harding in the 2000s. She lives in Searcy, Arkansas and works as an administrative assistant.
I had always been told that it was wrong, being gay. It was a phrase that was always a little taboo and said with disgust. "He's a little light in his loafers." "He's got too much sugar in his tea." "He's limp-wristed." I realized there was a lot behind those seemingly innocuous phrases. Since I realized that as a young teen, there had always been something working on me ... I honestly didn't know what I thought about it in terms of being right or wrong, but I knew that it wasn't right to joke about someone's life like that.
At some point after high school, I found out that one of my best friends from elementary school was gay. We came from a small town, and (of course) there had been rumors, but—since he didn't date in our town—we didn't know for sure. I was so grateful when he felt safe enough to share his heart with me. That's probably where my opinion on being gay began to actually form. I had discovered just how much gay people had suffered at the hands of fellow sinners-depending-on-grace … whose most important commandments (from the mouth of Christ himself) were to love God and to love others.
After high school, I went to Harding. I did know gays and lesbians, but—being in the environment of Harding—no one really talked about it. If people were out, they were really only out to a select group of trusted people. And it's sad really ... because I've noticed that the more things are repressed, the worse they're likely to get. (Take one of Harding's rules—drinking for example, though I could be wrong—I noticed that students were more likely to be reckless with the things they had to hide. Things like drinking in private, drunk driving back to the dorm before curfew, etc.)
It just saddens me when anyone feels as though he or she is completely alone. And that's how we have made gay people (Christian or not) feel—that they are filthy, unworthy, savior-less sinners.
How about gluttony? Jesus died for that. Gossiping? Jesus died for that. Premarital sex? Jesus died for that. Idolatry? Taken care of by Jesus! But one man’s love for another man? “Ew,” people say, “Okay, Jesus loves them, but he hates their sin. They just need to change."
It just never made sense to me that one of the mottos of the church is the verse "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," but when it came down to it, we tended to feel that sins committed by straight people weren't making them fall nearly as far as sins by our gay brothers and sisters.
I don't completely disregard the Bible on this topic, as much as people who disagree with me might suspect ... I just don't think it's saying what we've been told it's saying. In all my study, I never got the impression that the words in the Bible for "homosexuality" and "effeminacy" are the same as monogamous, committed gay relationships we have today.