NEW YORK (Christian Examiner) -- The New York Times is calling for Christians to abandon Bible teachings and adopt a more modern belief system that embraces homosexuality, or at least its columnist Frank Bruni, a former food critic turned would-be theologian, says so.
Using the controversy which erupted during the NCAA basketball championships about Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Bruni said "so-called religious freedom laws...portray homosexuality and devout Christianity as forces in fierce collision." But, he said, they are not "in several prominent denominations, which have come to a new understanding of the Bible..."
"And homosexuality and Christianity don't have to be in conflict in any church anywhere," he offered.
Christians merely need to surrender "beliefs ossified over centuries" he said.
Bruni asserts that Christians' "continued view of gays, lesbians and bisexuals as sinners is a decision" that "ignores the extent to which interpretation is subjective, debatable."
"It's a choice," he said.
The issue of choice and homosexuality as sin also erupted in Missouri, where the 22-year pastor of James River Church in Springfield, led an effort to overturn that city's transgender bathroom rights ordinance.
Leading up to the April 7 citywide vote, James Lindell had a conversation with 12,000 attendees on two church campuses that stopping sin is simply a matter of choice and that homosexuality, according to the Bible, is sin.
Lindell clarified that "homosexual sin is not the only serious sin," and pointed out that adultery, stealing, cheating, being abusive and being a drunkard could "keep you out of Heaven."
But he also shared that none of these had to keep someone from entering Heaven.
"It is possible for someone who has practiced a life of adultery to stop," he said in hismessage, A Biblical Look at Human Sexuality. "It is possible for someone who has been a life-long alcoholic to stop. It is possible for somebody who has a cutting tongue and a big mouth to stop. It is possible for someone who is engaged in homosexual behavior to stop."
Referencing Martin Luther regarding centuries-old biblical principles and modernity, Lindell quoted "the great reformer" saying "'If you preach the Gospel in all aspects — with the exception of the issues which deal specifically with your time — you are not preaching the Gospel at all.'"
For his part, Bruni said in his column, Bigotry, the Bible and the Lessons of Indiana, that "scattered passages of ancient texts" are incompatible with "advances of science and knowledge."
He said "the debate about religious freedom should include a conversation about freeing religions and religious people from prejudices that they needn't cling to and can indeed jettison, much as they've jettisoned other aspects of their faith's history, rightly bowing to the enlightenments of modernity."