Although the Bible speaks out against homosexuality in numerous places, there are different approaches to the subject in Christianity. Catholic Church and Orthodoxy see same-sex intimate intercourse as a sin. The legal equality of homosexual partnerships with marriage that has taken place in some countries is also being rejected. Among Protestants and Anglicans, the treatment of homosexuality is an ongoing point of contention.

According to Catholic teaching, legitimate sexuality is limited to conjugal intercourse between a man and a woman. Homosexual acts are seen as going against the natural order given by God. At the same time, the Catholic Church condemns discrimination against those concerned. They are to be treated with respect, compassion and tact. "Homosexual people are called to chastity," says the catechism. The Eastern Churches also consider practiced homosexuality to be a sin, but not the mere inclination to it. In Protestantism, there is a wide range in dealing with same-sex sexuality. Many evangelical Christians reject them as a violation of God's commandment. In the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), on the other hand, homosexual pastor candidates are not generally rejected; some regional churches also allow blessings for homosexual couples, which the Catholic Church rejects because it fears that such cohabiting couples will be too close to marriage. In the North Elbian Church, a self-confessed homosexual recently ran for bishop for the first time, which caused a lot of tension. The dispute over gay bishops within the Anglican World Communion is even sharper. The Bible evaluates only the concrete sexual behavior, but not the basic disposition to homosexuality. The purity and sanctification commandments of the Old Testament clearly forbid it (Lev 18:22). The apostle Paul, who emphasizes the close link between faith in creation and natural law, also saw the homosexual practices of his Greco-Roman environment as a turning away from God and his creation (Rom 1:26). In contemporary theology, it is emphasized across denominational lines that it is not within the power of the individual to determine his or her sexual orientation, but that he or she must deal with it responsibly.

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Christina Cherry
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