Today, I tread into dangerous waters—a discussion of the matter of homosexuality and gay marriage from a religious point of view.

While I do my best to be a good Christian, most days I fall woefully short. Active for many years in leadership positions at my local Presbyterian Church, I have listened for years about the proper treatment of and roles for those who are homosexual in their sexual orientation. Can they be married in the church? Can they serve in ordained positions?

As a 65 year old man, my personal position has evolved over time. I respect those who struggle with what is the right thing in terms of answering the two questions posed above. It is frustrating to me that some who are gay or lesbian seem more interested in their sexual lives than in helping to build the Kingdom of God on earth. It is even more frustrating to listen to those who shout loudly that the Bible demands that only relationships between a man and a woman are acceptable within the church. From where I sit, this is nothing more than “hunt and peck theology.”

A simple Google search yields the claim there are 100 Bible verses that deal with homosexuality. A closer looks, however, shows these include verses such as James 4:12. That passage highlights the fact there is only one lawgiver and judge and asks “who are you to judge your neighbor.” Hard for me to see precisely how this is on point.

If you inquire about what Jesus had to say about homosexuality, the single reference is Matthew 19:1-8. It is actually about if it is lawful for a man to divorce a woman. The claim it is a condemnation by Jesus of homosexuality rests on highlighting that Jesus emphasizes that God “made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason, a man will leave his mother and father….” The conclusion we are being urged to reach is that since Jesus said this, and is also connecting back to “the law,” that law contained negative statements about homosexuality, so this means Jesus is denouncing homosexuality.

There are, to be certain, specific verses condemning homosexuality in the Bible, particularly in the New Testament writings of Paul.

So, what exactly is it that makes me so critical of those who say the Bible requires Christians to not accept homosexuality, much less gay marriage? It is that these same people are perfectly content to ignore so many other passages in the Bible.

For example, in Matthew, Jesus says “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” Again, in Matthew (5:27-28), Jesus says that if we even lust in our heart, we are committing adultery. Remember, as the joke goes, adultery is still one of the Ten Commandments. In Mark, (10:11-12), the story told in Matthew of Jesus with the Pharisees discussing divorce adds that it would also be adultery for a woman to divorce her husband and marry again. In Luke (16:18), the addition is “the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

Just which Protestant church is it that does not perform marriage ceremonies for people who have been divorced? Which Protestant church is it that forbids men or women who have been divorced from serving in ordained positions in the church? In the Catholic Church, there is an annulment process that allows for remarriage, but that is an action of the church, a way to attempt to be faithful to Christ’s teachings. Still yet, in secular life, we know, and accept, these people without any criticism. At least within the Protestant denominations, you would have to logically say there is a willingness to simply ignore the “red letter” passages (words attributed to Christ himself).

What of other theological demands we seem content to ignore? How about what Paul has to say in First Corinthians (14:34-35)? “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 church.” I assume most Christian churches are not faithfully observing this admonition, or the one later in this book that requires a woman to keep her head covered at all times.

There is ultimately one passage in the Bible that has guided me to my position on the topic of the day. Galatians 3:26-29 captures my sentiment. “So, in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed themselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave or free, nor is there male or female, for you are one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

My denomination is in the midst of deciding the definition of marriage. The new definition to “two people, primarily a man and a woman,” will soon be official. Am I to believe that in Christ, every one of the items that separate us cited is eradicated and the single division that will remain is sexual orientation? How is that even barely possible.

You may not agree with me in terms of where I have arrived for my own position on the matter of homosexuality or gay marriage. You may, for any number of reasons, decide that marriage should still remain only something between a man and a woman. But please cease and desist from saying your position is nothing more than doing what the Bible demands. You cannot have it both ways. You cannot be part of ignoring all sorts of specific statements and instructions contained in Holy Scripture, including the words of Jesus Himself, and cloak your position in Biblical requirements. Any use of logic makes this abundantly clear.