Issue Of The Year

The Bond That Breaks: Will Homosexuality Split the Church?, by Don Williams (BIM Publishing Co. [Box 259995, Los Angeles, CA 90025], 1978, 176 pp., $4.95 pb) and Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? Another Christian View, by Letha Scanzoni and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott (Harper & Row, 1978, 160 pp., $6.95), are reviewed by Tim Stafford, west coast editor, “Campus Life,” Palo Alto, California.

For the past twenty years a small homosexual minority has become visible. They have been received with a degree of tolerance, rather than repression. Because of that homosexuals have made their own communities, particularly in large cities. But tolerance has not been enough. Homosexuals want full acceptance. In Miami, they demanded and got an ordinance prohibiting any discrimination against homosexuals, even in private religious schools. That launched a national debate.

The legal issues were complex. Could civil rights be denied citizens who had committed no illegal actions? On the other hand, weren’t the civil rights of parents being threatened by an ordinance telling them they had to accept homosexuals as their children’s teachers?

But beyond the legal questions, homosexuality itself was being debated. The same question has been, and is being, thrust on the major Christian denominations. Churches have tolerated homosexuals—that is, they have left them alone, so long as they made no issue of their presence. You don’t see evangelists invading homosexual communities. But that, too, wasn’t enough. Homosexuals want the right to be ordained, which is in effect asking for the church’s blessing.

To some Christians nothing could be more blatantly political. They see Christians responding to political force, not to the voice of God. ...

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