Annalise Burtner-Abt


Like many Christians born into a faith filled family I grew up being taught that Homosexuality is a sin. This belief started changing for me in Junior High when (while in private Christian education, as I had been my whole life) I read a verse in the Bible that put homosexuality on the same level of gossip. That verse implanted the idea in my head that maybe homosexuality wasn’t as giant a deal to God as it seemed to be to humans. The older I grew and the more time I spent in Christian education the more I began to realize the folly of legalism and how far it takes us away from Christ’s whole purpose of coming to earth.

Somewhere in my second (and final) year at Cedarville I stopped viewing homosexuality as a sin at all. I couldn’t tell you exactly why or when but I can tell you when I finally realized it. After my sophomore year at Cedarville I moved to Los Angeles to attend an acting conservatory. There I made a great many friends with a great many views that differed from mine and I loved it. I realized the thing that was lacking in my life was diversity because how can you truly know why you believe until you understand the mind of someone who doesn’t? In that first year in Los Angeles a very good friend of mine came out to me. He wasn’t hiding the fact that he was gay but he wasn’t advertising either so he felt that he needed to actually tell me in order to not feel like he was lying in our friendship. What broke my heart was that as he was telling me his words were "I know your beliefs oppose what I am…“ This statement was based on his knowledge of my Christianity and nothing could have made me more disappointed in the people that share my faith. My immediate reaction was to assure him with this statement "I love you. This is who you are and I love who you are“ It was that moment that solidified my belief that I love a God who loves his people. Exactly the way they are. That is the bottom line.

The more I thought about how I could think so differently than the way I was raised in this one area the more I came back to this single fact: My heterosexuality is an intrinsic and unchangeable part of who I am. I cannot help it, I identify with it, and I love it. Why on earth should I think it would be any different for a homosexual? And why on earth would I call such an important part of who a person is a sin?