When Murray Richmond became a Presbyterian minister in 1989, "homosexuality was an invisible issue," he writes for Salon. But over the next five years, "it became The Issue," and Richmond found himself forced to choose a side—and chose the "incredibly obvious" one, he recalls. "It seemed clear that I could not fully accept, ordain, and marry gays." But as he voted, year after year, to "hold the traditional line and limit the role of gays in the church," he "felt increasingly uncomfortable. What I believed was biblically correct began to feel less and less right in my heart."
Then he started interacting with gay Christians who were struggling, or had struggled, with their sexuality, including one gay man who asked Richmond to perform an exorcism on him as a last resort. At the same time, Richmond's own marriage was crumbling. "It became clear to me that none of these men had chosen to be gay," he writes. "How could I condemn someone for something that was really not their fault?" In doing more study, he found that biblical passages dealing with homosexuallity weren't as clear-cut as he had expected. He concludes, "At this point, I have done a 180 on the topic. And I believe it's a change for the good." Click for his entire column, including his thoughts on why homosexuality has become "such a lightning rod for self-righteousness."