Special Edition – The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality

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“The base line for this issue should be no one in the world anywhere should be homophobic at all,” he said. “Once we get there, we can move on to other things.”

by Matthew Vines


The Gay Debate: View the Video – The Bible and Homosexuality

6 months ago | 391,157 views

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Turned Away, He Turned to the Bible

Published: September 14, 2012

The New York Times

In the six months it has been on YouTube, “The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality” has been viewed 350,000 times and generated nearly 7,000 comments — not bad given its 67-minute run time and lack of music, humor or even a second camera angle. It has been translated into six different languages, including French, German and Spanish, with Japanese, Korean and Arabic versions in the works. Churches as far away as Australia and South Africa have held public screenings of the video, and Mr. Vines has been invited to speak at churches from Washington, D.C., to Washington state.

“I had basically become a closeted Christian,” said Jim Augustine, 32, a member of Marble Collegiate Church who was instrumental in bringing Mr. Vines there to speak in August. “When I came into sexuality, I came out of Christianity. Matthew gave me the intellectual tools to get past that cognitive dissonance.”

In March, Dan Savage posted it on his blog and called it “brilliant.” Leonard Pitts Jr., syndicated columnist with The Miami Herald, called it “a masterwork of scriptural exegesis” in a column in May. In July, Mark Sandlin, a founder of The Christian Left, called it “the final nail in the ‘you’re being homophobic coffin’ ” in an article for The Huffington Post.

Novel or not, Mr. Vines’s arguments have made a difference to many young gay Christians struggling with issues of sexual identity. James Gooch, 21, from Princeton, W.Va., had just given up trying to “pray away the gay,” as he put it, and was struggling with depression when he came upon Mr. Vines’s video on Facebook two months ago.

“I was just compelled to tears,” he said in an interview. “I found my faith all over again in that video.” Mr. Gooch showed it to his parents as well, and says “it’s made all the difference for our family.” He has since come out to the rest of his family and friends, largely to “positive feedback.”

Beth Buchanan, a lesbian Christian in Miami, Okla., recently showed the video to her mother. “My mom cried at the end,” she wrote in an e-mail. “Since then she has been comfortable talking about homosexuality.”

Some heterosexual Christians say it has changed their minds, as well. Betsy Burns Johnson, 51, of Ottawa wrote a note on her Facebook page in May saying she was no longer so sure the Bible condemned homosexuality.

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Matthew Vines Won’t Rest in Defending Gay Christians – NYTimes.com