One day I received a call from one of the leaders of a group people comprised of scholars from a conservative evangelical university, a prominent abbot and Buddhist priest and a key activist from the LGBTQI community in Portland Oregon. They asked me to consult with them about their need to respectfully communicate to a group of Ugandans who were pushing the then controversial but now void anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda. Briefly, for those who might not be aware of the past regarding the national debate about homosexuality and sexuality in Uganda; the bill was passed and signed into law, but due to a vigorous law suit led by a group of Ugandan lawyers, the bill was found to be unconstitutional by the Ugandan Supreme Court last year. Knowing the cultural, religious and ideological landscape of Uganda, I was interested in the trajectory of the issue both from the national and global perspective.
That’s why consulting with the group was fascinating. As a participant in the group, I got to learn about different approaches and worldviews about sexuality. It was the Buddhist priest who acknowledged and noted that “sexuality is complex” and people needed to approach the subject with a compassionate attitude. I think this is major point in Andrew Marin’s book titled Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community. Marin narratives the story of John, a Christian who came out to him when he writes:
… what struck me as so significant … was the fact that the man sitting in front of me pouring his tortured heart out was the former student body president of the most well-known evangelical university in the country! At that moment I realized this topic was no long the “battle of all eternal sanctity” as I had always been told it was. This topic, just like John, is about building bridges to those among us whom we let go without a second thought”
Andrew the author, was raised in a conservative Christian background, was taught to have a certain mentality about sexuality until he met John who helped shift his mindset to a loving point of view. This is why I agree with the Buddhist priest who noted that sexuality is complex and compassion can go a long away. How then should people go about conversations about sexuality? I believe people should pay attention to what Andrew writes about “‘the judgmental lifestyle,’ the kind of “take-the-splinter-out-of-your-brother’-eyes” religiosity that Jesus talked about in the Sermon on the Mount” which all human beings are prone to. A persistently judgmental attitude can stand in the way of compassion and meaningful dialogue.
Consider “retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, a conservative evangelical and potential GOP presidential contender’s recent comments. Carson asserted Wednesday morning on CNN’s “New Day” that homosexuality is a choice because people “go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay.” This is not helpful in a time when the discussion about complex matters such as sexuality need bridges builders and not bridge burners. Carson “apologized for commenting Wednesday that prisoners’ changes after they leave jail proves being gay is a choice, but said that the science is still murky on the issue.”
 Andrew, Marin, Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2009), 26.
 Ibid., 12.