This research paper on the challenges faced by pastoral caregivers and other issues relating to sexually identity expression introduces the document thesis statement whose contents are discussed as subheadings on the preceding pages of this monograph. It summarizes each scholarly article advocating for non-discriminatory standard for sexual orientation people and labeled syndromes of LGBT people face in today’s society. It discusses the empirical figures of articles supporting non-discriminatory regulations to protect sexual orientation expression or identity in hospital, prison, and employment sites and points out theological implications. It gives scriptures which condemn LGBT sexual orientation laying emphasis on homosexuality. It concludes with the chaplain’s response to the challenges faced in today’s work environment.
THE THESIS STATEMENT
The issues of sexual identity has led to the synthesis of multiple problems and responses from governmental agencies comprising of standard set up to guide against discrimination against LGBT people, the address of stigma labeled syndromes, empiricism of data coupled with theological implications, the action raised for theological examination, and the chaplain’s response to these challenges faced.
One of the steps taken has been to create standards of non-discriminatory regulations and to help protect LGBT people against discrimination in the heath care settings and employment sites; meanwhile, these articles reveal the steps taken through interviews, surveys, and research methods as to address the issues for resolution.
The article on the Joint Commission’s Advancing Effective Communication concerning cultural competent and patient and family-centered care conducted a research on 80% of the United States hospitals on June 4, 2010 to examine issues of performance standards and guidelines affecting hospital staff that minister to sexually orientation people who include lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT). After the deliberation, the Join Commission issued a 93 page monograph addressing issues identified by health experts as critical to delivering quality health care to diverse populations including LGBT patients and their families as mentioned. In this monograph, the Joint Commission has taken extraordinary positions on many of the most important issues in LGBT’s health and thereby developed a new general nondiscriminatory standard relating to sexual orientations and gender identity or expression.
The article on Sexual Orientations and Gender Identity addresses an examination conducted on legal, ethical, and practical ramifications of discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity, discrimination in the workplace as to enact federal, state, and local government laws, discussion concerning company policies covering discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity, raised questions of debates on morality and ethics expanding the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, sexually transitioning, and transgender people, provided an analysis expanding employment protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity, provided practical implications for employers based on current state of sexual orientation discrimination law, and finally based on legal and ethical analysis, furnished herein and made appropriate recommendations to employers. After the thoughtfulness, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was amended to encompass protection against discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, sexually transitioning, and transgender individual to ensure that all people have access to the same employment opportunities, benefits, and protection including unbiased treatment in the work environment.
The article on 2011 Addressing Sexual Orientation and Sex/ or Gender Identity Discrimination addresses an issue and conducts interviews on a public consultation on October 2010 by the Australian Human Rights Commission as to canvas the experiences and views of people who are discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The voices of those who participated in the consultation revealed that many people were denied equality and freedom as the result of discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. As the result of the revealed, the Australian Human Rights Commission released a research paper on October 1, 2010 discussing and informing participants of current legal protections from discrimination for them and providing questions for response.
As these articles advocate for sexual orientation people thereby creating non-discriminatory standards, they initiate what the larger community do legally in creating federal law to change the definition of God’s ordain institution. The anti-discriminatory law created in previous time and the endorsement of the supreme court of the same-sex marriage recently is gross national sin making pastoral works difficult in reaching this community of sexual orientation people. It posses challenges for pastoral counselors and chaplains and creates more opportunities for the church outreach ministries especially those churches who see the need to reach this group. It is a serious problem to reaching the homosexual community because they see pastoral caregivers as enemies to them. It is psychologically coded in their psychologies that pastors will eventually condemn them as the result of their sexual identity. It takes the Holy Spirit, prayer, and counseling to get one redeemed from this homosexual spirit of self-gratification.
The endorsement of legalization to accept same-sex marriage institution in cultural America also degrades this nation to the nations of the world when America has been looked at as the big brother of nations. The place where Christianity and human right seem to be respected; nevertheless, it sends bad signal even to the Muslims community of the Middle East to look down on America and Christianity.
Kalb writes, “Why has the equivalence of same-sex and opposite-sex relations suddenly become a moral and social absolute? That it has is plain to see. In the Supreme Court’s recent Windsor decision, which struck down much of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the majority found that the only reason for denying equivalence is a desire to harm same-sex couples. Overcoming this supposed bigotry is now an overriding foreign-policy goal of the United States. It is worth complicating our difficult situation in the Middle East, for example, to fly the rainbow flag over our embassy in Tel Aviv. Nor is general acceptance of homosexuality enough? Prominent voices call for stamping out opposition as hate speech, since its very existence destroys equality by affecting the social environment.”
The acceptance of the same-sex marriage in the United States is not only something national, but it is a global issue which has ethical and moral implication to the world at large. America has sent the largest missionaries into the world in previous time to preach the Gospel message and if this nation can endorse such thing, it is a disgrace. This is a challenge to pastoral caregivers and the Christian community in the cultural America. Before the approval of same-sex marriage by the Supreme Court, the church of America specifically, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) has voted and allowed individual congregation to ordain same-sex partner. This has brought a schism in the Lutheran World Federation thereby dividing the church as the result of disagreement between the church in Africa and the west. The world is looking at the church to make decision when it comes to such issue. The amendment of the Marriage Act in the federal has a root cause. There is a saying which states that if you see several things happening, the first thing which happens does the most harm. The thing which happened previously concerning the advocacy of same-sex marriage and the ordination of same-sex partners by the church have synergistic effect which has led to legalization of the same-sex marriage in cultural America.
The next issue of sexual identity has been the issues relative to the address of labeled syndromes among sexual orientation of LGBT people being labeled. This psychological imagery printed on the code of their psychologies tends to create challenges for people like the pastoral caregivers whom they think to be against them as the result of the truth of scriptures being preached. The presumptions that sexual orientation people has been labeled by conservative Christians as being psychologically ill as indicated below is another system of labeled. The article below carries this message of labeled.
The article on Sexual Orientation and Reason discusses the falsehoods religious and social conservatives prone to believe concerning homosexuality, sexual orientation, and sexual identity. They believe that homosexuality is believed to be mental illness; therefore, homosexuals are psychologically disturbed and are capable of hiding their pathology. Homosexuality is a choice and it is not a causation as the result of biological or genetic influence as supported by Pseudo-science, all homosexual persons could change their sexual orientation and embrace their intrinsic heterosexuality if they willed the choice and repent and open to spiritual healing, and homosexual relationships are always disordered, unstable, emotionally abusive, or worse and homosexual parenting is always distorted, abusive, predatory, and narcissistic. The article concluded that according to Hooker’s seminal study and her physical and psychological investigation of homosexual men indicates and proves that homosexual men are as just as psychologically healthy as heterosexual individuals and this is profoundly misunderstanding of her research. The expert diagnosticians rated the psychological adjustment of the homosexual sample as equivalent to the heterosexuals. It was clear in the data from this select sample that sexual orientation had no direct bearing on psychological adjustment with respect to people mental state.
As assumed by conservative Christians without empirical examination that homosexuality is termed or categorized as mental illness followed by another examination to prove that homosexuals are as normal as heterosexuals according to the research and report; however, one can not actually come to the conclusion that this research study is creditable. Homosexuality is not the original sexual identity according to absolute truth of scriptures; therefore, homosexuality is the manifestation of the sin nature in humanity. Man has the ability to change this orientation provided they are willing to do so. This change of orientation is real; unfortunately, the proponents of this movement are being used to stop the message of ex-gay. Yarhouse states that it is noteworthy that most of what is available on homosexuality, GLBT issues, and sexual identity are not scholarly resources, nor are they empirical studies. Rather, they are books written from the perspective of people who claim that God has brought them out of homosexuality. I see these as primarily ministry resources, but I think they belong in the discussion of integration resources because they have historically dominated the landscape, perhaps as a result of the gap in the integration literature. The ex־ gay movement has tended to send the message of hope for healing of homosexuality (and a change to heterosexuality). That message has been widely criticized by mainstream GLBT community and the stories of “ex-gays” and vilified in the media and entertainment. The message of healing and heterosexuality from ex-gay ministries has been tempered to some degree in recent years, perhaps in response to criticisms by the mainstream GLBT community and research suggesting less frequent and less dramatic change in attraction or orientation for most who attempt such change.
From this source of literature, there is a probable indication that people have been changed from homosexuality orientation to heterosexuality; unfortunately, the gay community is being used to stop this message and to turn it as propaganda. It is sadden that Satan is busy with people’s lives without realizing that they are in the error. As chaplaincy takes place in the health care settings and prisons, it is probable that people of such characteristics may think psychologically that they have been labeled by the heterosexual community; hence, this issue poses challenges for chaplains who want to reach these people with the message of hope and restoration. Chaplains are labeled by these groups as preachers who speak against their sexual orientations and identities. These are some of the challenges faced by the chaplaincy ministry. As the topics on homosexuality proliferates in the cultural America, it has reached to governmental level concerning antigay discrimination; therefore, legislation has been enacted to provide protection for homosexuals regarding discrimination and giving them legal right to marry as approved by the Supreme Court of America. Such thing which is ethically and naturally wrong tends to discredit America on the international scene and creates serious problems for the America society including the church ministry (Chaplaincy) and the religious community at large. Thomas and Olson state that homosexuality has long been one of the most contentious topics in American cultural life. In addition to basic disagreements about the morality of homosexual acts and relationships, recent decades have witnessed an ongoing litany of public policy debates over such related issues as the status of gay persons in the military, protections against antigay discrimination, and, of course, the legalization of gay marriage. While the motivations and interests behind these disagreements and debates have arguably been quite complex and multidimensional, many popular depictions of these conflicts have presented America’s discord about homosexuality as simply the inevitable result of an underlying culture.
The endorsement of such lifestyle in America is a barrier to the message of the gospel and the works of pastoral caregivers who are placed strategically in hospital settings to help diverse population. Not only patients are these sexual orientations, but also hospital staff such as nurses, doctors, and other health administration workers formed part of this minority group found in our generation. The endorsement of this lifestyle has not only been approved by the Supreme Court of America, but its endorsement has entered into the church arena; as the result, it continues to create problems for pastors who are working among diverse populations to bring healing, hope, and restoration through counseling, message of the gospel, and prayer. Jesus declares in the Gospel that the house divided against it can not stand. If the church of Jesus Christ that supposes to speak against such lifestyle can go into voting to approve it, it serves as embarrassment for the religious Christian community of the world at large. Dreier states that an Ethiopian friend recently expressed to me her grief that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and her home church, the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY), had allowed their disagreements over homosexuality to divide them: It is very painful for me to think that this issue has become a hindrance between my church and churches in the west, especially when I think about those missionaries who died in the desert to bring their church to our country. At its 2009 Church-wide Assembly in Minneapolis, the ELCA voted to allow individual congregations to ordain same-sex partnered clergy and to publicly recognize same-sex partners, if they so choose. This decision punctuated an emerging schism within the seventy-million members Lutheran World Federation (LWF) between those Lutheran church bodies that reject homosexual behavior.
As stated previously that such lifestyle poses barrier to the Gospel message that pastoral caregivers preach. If this can happen in the church, what message of hope that transitions LGBT sexual orientation people can pastoral caregivers or the church of Jesus Christ bring to this minority group who has the misconceptions that this is their God’s ordained identity? These compromises with humanity who have created a religion of self-gratification have posed problems for pastors and the Christian community thereby labeling the church of God to be part of this practice. What impart will pastoral caregivers make to this minority group in the hospital and in prison settings if the church is labeled as one of them?
EMPIRICISM AND THEOLOGICAL
Empiricism of data showing public support through research, interviews, and surveys as indicated or demonstrated in various documents including scholarly articles and many others coupled with theological implications pose challenges for pastoral caregivers. A literature review conducted recently gives data which support LGBT people. Approval of such practices in the nation is the challenge to the religious community which the chaplaincy ministries in the hospital and prison settings are not exceptions to these challenges imminent.
Amongst the literatures reviewed, three-fifth or 60% of them actively support LGBT and therefore enact regulations which prohibit discrimination against sexual orientation people in the hospital settings and work environments including patients and staff members while one-fifth or 20% of them passively or indirectly support LGBT people without creating non-discriminatory standards for them and one-fifth or 20% actively speak against LGBT providing scriptural or theological rationale to substantiate and to prove the arguments.
It has been proven historically, scripturally, and practically that when people decide to become their own bosses or self-centeredness thereby rejecting God’s sovereignty and his rule over their lives, they produce themselves religions which become oppositions to God’s commandments and his will and people who are not part of the original attempt sometimes join the minority or the majority fools in order to gratify their desires based on some political agenda, sectionalism, or nepotism. This is historically, scripturally, and practically proven as recorded in Romans 1:21-32. It records that the children of Israel made themselves gods as they dissuaded Aaron to allow them do so; as the result, they committed indecent acts which included homosexuality and lesbianism. The bible says that they were inflamed with rusts; therefore, God gave unto them a reprobate mind which made them do those things that were not natural and ethical. The men exchanged the natural affections with men and so the women too.
There is nothing new under the sun. The issues of sexual orientation, advocacy, and enacting of non-discriminatory standards to protect the LGBT people in our today’s societal environment are the repeats of history. Government of nations or politicians or interest groups have been created to advocate for these groups not on the basis of looking at ethics and morality, but they do so to satisfy political agenda because they have rejected God and set themselves up to be gods of their lives. Lesbianism, homosexualism, bisexualism, and transgenderism are religions of self-gratification of today’s generations who have rejected God and his identity and have decided to allow non-moral biologically impulses to control them. Sexual orientation or biological impulses that control today’s minority society (LGBT) is the result of sin in humanity. God created male and female to be complementary sexual counterparts; therefore, any sexual orientation which exists contrary to what God has ordained in the genesis is affront to God’s ordained sexual orientation and sexual identity. Gagnon in his article states that scripture makes a distinction between intense biological “orientations” people experience and the identity that is available to them “in Christ.” Indeed, Christians have in the cross the ultimate paradigm of self-denial. A person’s experience of homosexual orientation is no exception to the distinction made between biologically-based besetting conditions and self-identity revealed and constructed by God in Christ. On the contrary, the unregenerate man is contagiously at risk to be prone and to be actively controlled by these impulses as the result of the sinful nature. What can the Christian psychologists or counselors do to minister to the regenerate and the unregenerate individual? The Christian psychologists or counselors should use scriptures to differentiate between Christian identities constructed by God in Christ to that of the biologically besetting conditions impulses which tend to control the regenerate and the unregenerate individual in Christ and outside of Christ. These cases are handled differently based on their uniqueness; therefore, approaches varied on counseling methodology.
There is the common saying which states that the voice of the people can be the voice of God. If the LGBT sexually orientation minority people can be discriminated against in various settings by the majority groups as seen in these articles, it indicates that such lifestyle is not natural because it was not so from the beginning as God has intended it to be; therefore, the advocates or sympathizers of these groups are in the wrong because they compromise and support the wrong doing in society. In my opinion, anything that is not normal for human to carry out, if carried out as in the case of the children of Israel and today sexually orientation minority group (LGBT), can have spiritual psychological bearing because people who commit sin, do so from their mindset. This is the reason; scripture encourages us to renew our mind according to Romans 12:2. If the social and religious conservatives say that homosexuality is a mental illness, they could not be wrong because it is an abnormal lifestyle for anyone to indulge into. If Hooker’s seminal study of physical and psychological investigation of homosexual men to that of heterosexual men presented similar empiricism of data, the creditability of this research study is questionable and if credibility still exists according to study, such empirical data should not be used to present homosexual sexual orientation similar to heterosexual sexual experience.
Considering homosexual sexual orientation to be similar to heterosexual sexual experience is the direct attempt to say that homosexuality is normal lifestyle and nothing is wrong with it morally. This is also a challenge concerning sexual identity issue in the field of research. Is the empirical data concerning such research creditable?
One of the issues of sexual identity discussed in this document is the attempt to carry out theological examination as to figure out what scriptures say about the issue at hand. The article listed below gives specific themes as to examine the issue of sexual identity which is not part of the original orientation God has intended for human kinds.
The article on Scriptural Perspectives on Homosexuality and Sexual Identity examines and addresses specific themes from scripture and theology that might be helpful for Christian psychologists and consequently explores the relationship between Christian identities to that of biologically based orientations. At the conclusion of the study, theologically, the article indicates that exclusive same-sex attraction can not be given greater weight than the commands of God and should not be integrated into a homosexual identity. Scripture never teaches that our God-ordained identity is the sum total of our biological impulses, but it teaches that our true identity that God has given us is often significantly at odds with our most intense, innate urges and the cross of Christ provides Christians with the ultimate paradigm of self-denial, not of self-gratification and self-preservation, and finally scripture teaches that same-sex intercourse is a great affront to God’s deliberate creation of male and female as complementary sexual counterparts.
According to the genesis account recorded in Genesis states that so the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field, but for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man, for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame [(NIV)].
In the beginning, God created male and female for sexual complementary. He did not create male and male and female and female. Same-sex attraction is at odds with God’s ordaining nature for humanity as well as same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is ethically, naturally, biologically, morally, and theologically wrong. A man leaving his father and mother and cleaving to his wife is very clear in scripture. Wife does not indicate man, but wife indicates a woman. In Greek a woman is called “gunaika” while a man is called “adra.” The bible did not say man leaving his father and mother and cleaving to man, but it says that a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to the woman (his wife).
THE CHAPLAIN RESPONSE
The chaplaincy ministry is dedicated to ministering to diverse groups of people in regardless of religions, creed, geographical origin, nationality, ethnicity, social economic status, sexual orientation etc. Chaplains are called to all people (Muslim, Christian etc.); therefore, they are called to minister to sexually orientation minority group without discriminating against them relative to their sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender identity and many more. The call to minister to sexually orientation does not allow the chaplain to compromise with this minority group as to encourage this behavior, drives, and desires. Chaplains are to love them without pre-condition. Jesus was sent to minister to sinners; similarly, chaplains are called and sent to minister to all diverse populations including lesbians, gays, bisexuals, sexual transitioning, and transgender. Chaplains can target such population in the health care setting by loving and showing concern for them without condemning, but giving the truth about God and explaining to them who they are in God and the original sexual orientation God has intended for mankind in general and they are inclusive in the original sexual orientation plan. The presence of chaplain brings encouragement to patients and even makes them to cope with their grave condition in the situation of palliative care. Rodriguez states that placing spiritual care of the patient on line with the physical is to acknowledge the deepest part of the person. Their heart and soul are touched in ways which can’t be touched by just anyone. It is the presence of someone who brings “church,” regardless of the patient’s own denomination. Memories of a patient come to mind who claimed that my visit, and our sharing, conversation, and prayer, meant a great deal to her. She said that her own pastor couldn’t or wouldn’t come to see her, but that my presence made all the difference. She went on to say, “You don’t even know me, and you brought me such comfort, when no one else would.
The interaction of this chaplain with the patient brought some levels of satisfaction and encouragement to the patient. The presences of chaplains with sexual orientation people can help alleviate some of these stigmatizations of labeled printed on the psychological codes of LGBT people. Chaplains are encouraged to positively interact with this minority group as to change these misconceptions about labeled. Chaplains are God’s representatives; therefore, they are hopefully anticipated to bring healing and restoration through the power of the Holy Spirit while they are with patients.
As this problem of gender identity or sexual expression continues in today’s work environment, the chaplaincy ministry remains committed to face imminent challenges not only from sexual identity issues, but also from core problems or issues which have not been discussed in this document. It is a work which requires cultural competent in understanding human diversities and responding to every eventual problems that come at front.
Dreier, Sarah Kristin. Disagreements over Homosexuality Divide Afriean Churches and the ELCA, Religious Database with ATLASeries, 34 no 2 Spr 2014
Frank J. Cavico, Stephen C. Muffler, & Bahaudin G. Mujtaba, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination in the American Workplace: Legal and Ethical Consideration, Vol. 2 No. 1; January 2012
Gable, Rodriguez Josie. Rightsizing the Organizational Structure Through Work ReEngineering; or, A Hospital Chaplain’s Perspective on the Meaning of Words, Identity, and Reality, Religious Data Base with ATLASeries, The Journal of Pastoral Care, 48 no 2 Sum 1994
Gagnon, Robert A. J. Scriptural Perspectives on Homosexuality and Sexual Identity: Journal of Psychology and Christianity, vol. 24 no. 4, Christian Association for Psychological Studies, 2005, pp. 293-303.
Jones, Stanton L. Sexual Orientation and Reason: On the Implications of False Beliefs about Homosexuality, Wheaton College (IL), 1978
Yarhouse, Mark A. Integration in the Study of Homosexuality, GLBT Issues, and Sexual Identity, Religious Data Base with ATLASeries, Journal of Psychology & Theology, 40 no 2 Sum 2012
Sociology of Religion 2012, 73:3 239-272 doi: 10.1093/socrel/srs031 Advance Access Publication 25 June 2012 Evangelical Elites’ Changing Responses to Homosexuality, Religious Data base with ATLASeries, 73 no 3 Aut 2012
The Australian Human Rights Commissions, 2011 Addressing Sexual Orientation and Sex/or Gender Identity Discrimination, October, 2010
Commission’s Advancing Effective Communication, Cultural Competence, and
Patient and Family-Centered Care: A Roadmap for Hospitals, Provisions Related
to the Care of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Patients and
Their Families, June 4, 2010
The Joint Commission’s Advancing Effective Communication, Cultural Competence, and Patient and Family-Centered Care: A Roadmap for Hospitals, Provisions Related to the Care of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Patients and Their Families, June 4, 2010, pp. 1-7.
Frank J. Cavico, Stephen C. Muffler, & Bahaudin G. Mujtaba, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination in the American Workplace: Legal and Ethical Consideration, Vol. 2 No. 1; January 2012, pp. 1-20.
The Australian Human Rights Commissions, 2011 Addressing Sexual Orientation and Sex/or Gender Identity Discrimination, October, 2010, pp. 9.
Stanton L. Jones, Sexual Orientation and Reason: On the Implications of False Beliefs about Homosexuality, Wheaton College (IL), 1978, pp. 1-20.
Mark A. Yarhouse, Integration in the Study of Homosexuality, GLBT Issues, and Sexual Identity, Religious Data Base with ATLASeries, Journal of Psychology & Theology, 40 no 2 Sum 2012, p 107-111.
Sociology of Religion 2012, 73:3 239-272 doi: 10.1093/socrel/srs031 Advance Access Publication 25 June 2012 Evangelical Elites’ Changing Responses to Homosexuality, Religious Data base with ATLASeries, 73 no 3 Aut 2012, p 239.
Sarah Kristin Dreier, Disagreements over Homosexuality Divide Afriean Churches and the ELCA, Religious Database with ATLASeries, 34 no 2 Spr 2014, p 188-199.
Robert A. J Gagnon, Scriptural Perspectives on Homosexuality and Sexual Identity: Journal of Psychology and Christianity, vol. 24 no. 4, Christian Association for Psychological Studies, 2005, pp. 293-303.
Genesis 2:20 -25.
Rodriguez Josie Gable, Rightsizing the Organizational Structure Through Work ReEngineering; or, A Hospital Chaplain’s Perspective on the Meaning of Words, Identity, and Reality, Religious Data Base with ATLASeries, The Journal of Pastoral Care, 48 no 2 Sum 1994, p 114-116.