Penn. pastor attracted to men insists he’s not gay — but preaches acceptance anyway
A Presbyterian pastor in western Pennsylvania told National Public Radio that despite the fact that he finds himself sexually attracted to men, he is not homosexual.
In a “Sunday Conversation” segment, Pastor Allan Edwards of the Kiski Valley Presbyterian Church said that “I think we all have part of our desires that we choose not to act on,” and that for him, those desires include his sexual attraction to men.
Edwards first realized this attraction in the mid-1990s, when he was in high school. “I didn’t know anyone else who experienced same-sex attractions, so I didn’t talk about it much at all,” he said, adding that there was also “a pretty immediate realization that it was in conflict with my faith.”
At the small Christian liberal arts college he attended, he worried that “if I started talking to other guys about this, I’m going to get ostracized and lambasted,” but “I actually had the exact opposite experience — I actually was received with a lot of love, grace, charity: some confusion, but openness to dialogue.”
Edwards continued his theological studies, and eventually determined that “Jesus accepts the rest of the Scripture as divined from God — so, if Jesus is who he says he is, then we kind of have to believe what he believes.”
“For me,” he said, “it’s not just that the religion was important to me, but communion with a God who loves me, who accepts me right where I am.”
He met his wife Leeanne — with whom he is expecting a child this summer — at a Christian summer camp, and although they did not click immediately, he eventually told her about the feelings he had been struggling with.
“I don’t want to be gushy or romantic,” he said, “but I just melted inside, and thought, this is someone who understands graciousness. This is someone who understands acceptance, and this is someone I want to spend as much time with as possible.”
He told the Daily Mail that “I’m not universally attracted to all men, nor am I universally attracted to all women. I am physically, emotionally, and spiritually attracted to my wife.”
Still, as their relationship blossomed, Leeanne “wondered if he was going to be able to put something like that behind him, or if it was going to be something that would affect our relationship.” She noted that “there’s always going to be situations where a partner is sexually attracted to someone else and isn’t necessarily dealing with sexual attraction with their partner.”
Edwards also told The Daily Mail that although he “preach[es] on issues of sexuality when they come up in the scripture text that day, but it’s not a hobby horse of mine.”