Homosexuality is not a sin, says Pastor Eugene Peterson

Homosexuality is not something that can be flaunted, but it is also not right or wrong, according to "The Message" translator and pastor Eugene Peterson.

(WIKIMEDIA COMMONS /Clappstar)Eugene Peterson lecture at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle, Washington sponsored by the Seattle Pacific University Image Journal. 16 May 2009.

In an interview with Jonathan Merritt of Religion News Service, Peterson discussed his stance on the morality of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. The Presbyterian pastor recalled that when he was still an associate pastor, some of his church members were lesbians, but they did not make a fuss out of the issue.

In addition, Peterson revealed that a young musician stood up one day and expressed the intention to apply as the music director of the church. The young man admitted that he was gay, but nobody questioned his position in the ministry.

At that point, Peterson acknowledged that society is currently at a transition phase in terms of debates on lesbians and gays. He said he has come to know a lot of LGBT individuals whose spiritual lives are at par with his own.

"I wouldn't have said this 20 years ago, but now I know a lot of people who are gay and lesbian and they seem to have as good a spiritual life as I do. I think that kind of debate about lesbians and gays might be over," Peterson told Merritt. "People who disapprove of it, they'll probably just go to another church. So we're in a transition and I think it's a transition for the best, for the good. I don't think it's something that you can parade, but it's not a right or wrong thing as far as I'm concerned."

When asked if he would agree to officiate a same-sex wedding ceremony in his church, Peterson simply said yes.

However, Peterson retracted his comment on same-sex marriage a day after his interview with Merritt was published. The Christian author instead affirmed his Biblical stance on the issue, lamenting the confusion that his statement caused, Christianity Today reported.

Peterson noted that Merritt asked him a hypothetical question, something that he said pastors do not usually entertain. He claimed that he was merely put on the spot but decided later on to retract his controversial comments on same-sex marriage and homosexuality after spending some time praying and reflecting.