The parable of the fundamentalist pastor and the homosexual man.
Two men went into the church to pray, one a fundamentalist pastor and the other a homosexual man. The pastor stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this homosexual. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the homosexual man stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner*.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
*This parable works on many levels but I will discuss two of them. For those who believe that homosexuality is a sin this parable works in the same way as Jesus’ original version. Although the homosexual man is a sinner (from this perspective) he is the one that goes home justified before God, rather then the pastor.
For those who no longer see homosexuality as necessarily being a sin the parable has, perhaps, a deeper level. Perhaps the true sin lies in the homosexual man being made to believe that his sexual orientation automatically makes him a sinner in God’s eyes. He was right to be humble before God and ask for mercy but for different reasons.
Which ever stance you take, looking at substituting our modern-day equivalents in there (homosexuals are, by many in the church, seen in a similar light to how the tax collectors would have been seen by the Pharisees in Jesus’ day) calls things into a new light.