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Minister: "I Have Done a 180" on Gays

Minister: "I Have Done a 180" on Gays

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A former Presbyterian minister describes the evolution of his views on homosexuality from condemnation to acceptance in an essay published Sunday by the online magazine Salon.

Early in his career, writes Murray Richmond (pictured), "I did not believe one could be a practicing homosexual and a Christian." He began to change his mind because of interactions with three people, he says. He had a long online conversation with a man struggling to reconcile his homosexuality with his Christian beliefs; he had a gay parishioner request an exorcism to turn him straight; and he met a woman whose husband, a minister, had left her for another man -- yet she was not bitter and still considered her ex-husband "the best minister she had ever known."

"These experiences shook my worldview," Richmond writes. "It became clear to me that none of these men had chosen to be gay, just as I had never chosen to be heterosexual." Later, when he gave up his church ministry to become a hospital chaplain, he took time to do further study of the Bible's statements on homosexuality and concluded that "they were not as clear as I had supposed they were. At this point, I have done a 180 on the topic. And I believe it's a change for the good."

Richmond, now working as a legislative aide in the Alaska state senate, ends his column by noting, "The constitution of the Presbyterian Church does not explicitly forbid a pastor from being a thief, a murderer, or an egotistical jerk. ... It does prohibit a gay person from becoming a pastor. All I can ask is: Why?"

Read the full essay here.

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