Of all the theological statements by non-affirming Christians about LGBT+ people that are dehumanizing and heartless, this one tops my list. Fortunately, his writing style is very academic and not accessible, though I think if you were to put this statement into the common vernacular it would be so disgusting to so many that it wouldn’t be accepted at all.
What disturbs me most is that he says that the shame people feel when they are closeted is deserved. This is directly stigmatizing to LGBT+ people for their person-hood, not their behavior, because being closeted has everything to do with who we are and nothing to do with what we have done. Also, there’s a mention of us not being able to reconstruct in ourselves the image of God. Because apparently it’s destroyed when we come out. So yeah, he’s saying the image of God is for straight people or people who are pretending to be straight.
“The unnaturalness of homosexuality manifests itself in an almost universal experience of shame prior to coming out in the open. Thus, social pressure, homophobia, and other forms of ostracizing cannot be charged as the only culprits for intense shame among homosexuals. Paul contends that the root of this experience proceeds from ‘receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error’ (Rom. 1:27). Shame is therefore private before it is internalized, since internalization is a process of identification with shame. It is a formidable project indeed to reinvent oneself once the Creation pattern for humanness has been discarded. It is equally an impossible task to match the image of the reconstructed human with one which would incorporate fully the image of God.” -Miroslav Kis
Kis was an ethics professor for decades at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, at Andrews University. Let me just point that out again, the man taught ethics. This chapter was also presumably reviewed by the editors, three other seminary professors, one of whom was a psychologist, H. Peter Swanson. The other two are Roy E. Gane and Nicholas P. Miller (in case you were wondering). These are VERY well respected men in the Adventist church. And the paper was presented at a public forum on homosexuality in 2009 at Andrews University, flagship educational institution for the Seventh-day Adventist church. So it’s not like it slipped under the radar or was the thought of just one guy. There were lots of ears and eyes on this one. It can be considered representative.
With all the Adventist pastors saying how we need to love LGBT+ people better, I would just love to not have to be the one to point this stuff out. This is the problem. It’s not some rogue church members who are homophobic. It’s in the fabric of the educational and administrative system. Y’all have some housecleaning to do.