iOS app Android app More

Mark Driscoll, Pastor Of Mars Hill Church Seattle, Says Masturbation Can Be Form Of Homosexuality

First Posted: 10/21/11 10:25 AM ET   Updated: 10/21/11 10:25 AM ET

Mark Driscoll, Pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, is no stranger to controversy.

His hip, 21st century approach to leading his megachurch -- where the New York Times notes most members claim "Fight Club" is their favorite movie and the band plays Bruce Springsteen's "Born To Run" to warm up for the hymns they'll perform during the service -- has had people talking -- and protesting -- since he founded the church in 1996 at the age of 25.

Though Driscoll and his congregation may come across as surprisingly liberal in some ways -- tattoos and nose rings are a common sight at Mars Hill -- their approach to Biblical teachings is less so. They rail against premarital sex, feminism, modern interpretations of the Bible, and viewing Jesus as "a Richard Simmons, hippie, queer Christ... a neutered and limp-wristed popular Sky Fairy of pop culture that . . . would never talk about sin or send anyone to hell."

And they're not huge fans of homosexuality -- a fact not lost on a group of protestors that showed up to picket a satellite branch of Mars Hill in Portland earlier this week. But while a church having an anti-gay stance won't turn many heads, a new claim by Driscoll that masturbating can be a form of homosexuality might.

In a new free online eBook entitled "Porn-Again Christian: A Frank Discussion On Pornography and Masturbation," Driscoll writes:

"...Masturbation can be a form of homosexuality because it is a sexual act that does not involve a woman. If a man were to masturbate while engaged in other forms of sexual intimacy with his wife then he would not be doing so in a homosexual way. However, any man who does so without his wife in the room is bordering on homosexuality activity, particularly if he's watching himself in a mirror and being turned on by his own male body."

According to Driscoll, masturbation is permitted if a (straight) couple is doing it together or if a man traveling for business does it while looking at naked pictures of his wife, but otherwise, it's a no-go. If you're a woman (or heaven help you a lesbian!), Driscoll doesn't have much to say to you because "masturbation is more widely practiced among men... In fact, no survey seems to have discovered any culture in which more women masturbate than men... This may, in part, be explained by the more convenient and visible external nature of male genitalia."

Looking for more enlightened approaches to homosexuality and religion? Check out 15+ inspiring LGBT religious leaders:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Rev. Dr. Nancy L. Wilson

    Rev. Dr. Nancy L. Wilson is Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches

  • Dr. Ibrahim Abdurrahman Farajaje

    Dr. Ibrahim Abdurrahman Farajaje is Provost of Starr King School for the Ministry, Professor of Cultural Studies and Islamic Studies, and Sufi. Taught the first divinity school class in the US on African-American faith communities and HIV prevention.

  • Bishop Gene Robinson

    Bishop of the <a href="http://www.nhepiscopal.org/" target="_hplink">Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire</a>.

  • Rev. Ouyang Wen Feng

    Reverend Ouyang Wen Feng founded a gay-friendly church outside Kuala Lumpur and is thought to be the country's only openly gay pastor. Although he now lives in the U.S., he frequently returns to Malaysia to call for gay rights, despite the country outlawing homosexuality.

  • Imam Daayiee Abdullah

    Imam Daayiee Abdullah is the imam and religious director of <a href="http://daayieesplaceofinnerpeace.com/MASJID_ANNURAL_ISSLAAH.html" target="_hplink">Masjid An-Nur Al-Isslaah</a>, and the co-director of <a href="http://www.mpvusa.org/" target="_hplink">Muslims for Progressive Values</a>

  • Bishop Mary Douglas Glasspool

    Bishop Mary Douglas Glasspool serves as the Assistant Bishop of <a href="http://www.ladiocese.org/" target="_hplink">The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles</a>.

  • Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum

    Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum serves as the spiritual leader of <a href="http://www.cbst.org/" target="_hplink">Congregation Beit Simshat Torah</a>, the largest LGBT synagogue in the world.

  • Rev. Troy Perry

    Rev. Troy Perry founded the LGBT denomination of <a href="http://mccchurch.org/" target="_hplink">Metropolitan Community Churches </a>(MCC) in 1968.

  • Larry Yang

    <a href="http://www.larryyang.org/home.html" target="_hplink">Larry Yang</a> is on the Spirit Rock Teachers' Council and a core teacher at the new East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, Calif.

  • Pastor Manny Santiago

    Pastor Manny Santiago is the pastor of <a href="http://www.ubcseattle.org/" target="_hplink">University Baptist Church</a> in Seattle, Wa.

  • Rev. Scott Anderson

    Rev. Scott Anderson is the first openly gay PCUSA minister ordained after the church voted to allow individual presbyteries to set their own ordination guidelines around sexual orientation

  • Rev. Pat Bumgardner

    The Rev. Pat Bumgardner is currently the Senior Pastor of <a href="http://mccny.org/wordpress/" target="_hplink">Metropolitan Community Church</a> of New York.

  • Rabbi Steven Greenberg

    Rabbi Steven Greenberg, the first openly gay Orthodox rabbi, is Director of Orthodox Programs for <a href="http://www.nehirim.org/" target="_hplink">Nehirim</a>, the organization for GLBT Jewish culture and spirituality.

  • Bishop Yvette Flunder

    Flunder is founder of the City of Refuge, United Church of Christ, in San Francisco and of The Fellowship, an international group of Christian leaders that she serves as presiding bishop.

  • Irshad Manji

    Irshad Manji is a Muslim and founder and director of the <a href="https://www.irshadmanji.com/Moral-Courage-Project" target="_hplink">Moral Courage Project</a> at New York University's School of Public Service.

  • Archbishop Carl Bean

    Archbishop Carl Bean founded the <a href="http://www.unityfellowshipchurch.org/mainsite/" target="_hplink">Unity Fellowship Church Movement,</a> a primarily African American and LGBT denomination.

  • Rev. Malcolm Boyd

    Rev. Malcolm Boyd is an Episcopalian Priest and author of "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Are-You-Running-Me-Jesus/dp/1561012750" target="_hplink">Are You Running With Me Jesus?</a>"

  • Justin Lee

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Coloradem"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://i.huffpost.com/profiles/466930-tiny.png?20091015162513" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Coloradem">Coloradem</a>:<br />Justin Lee is the founder and Executive Director of the Gay Christian Network.

  • William R. Johnson

    William R. Johnson - First Openly Gay person ordained in a mainline denomination (United Church of Christ) and founder of the UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns and Maranatha: Riversiders for LGBT Concerns at the Riverside Church, NYC.

  • Rev. Robin Reiter

    Rev. Robin Reiter is the Founder and director of Sacred Abundance Ministries

  • Rev. August Gold

    Founder of the Spiritual Center - NYC, Author, speaker, life coach.

  • Jimmy Creech

    Jimmy Creech was defrocked by the United Methodist Church and lost his ordination for performing same-sex commitment ceremonies. He is the author of Adam's Gift: A Memoir of a Pastor's Calling to Defy The Church's Persecution of Lesbians and Gays.

  • Minister Mychaeltodd

    Executive Director of Fig Leaf

  • Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson

    Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson is Senior Pastor at Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, TX

  • Bayard Rustin

    Bayard Rsutin was the Quaker activist who not only mentored Dr. King in the principles of non-violent, non cooperation, but also helped found the Southern Church Leadership Conference. Rustin was the chief organizer of the '63 March on Washington, as well as of the first Freedom Rides in 1947. Because Rustin was openly gay, he had to remain behind the scenes in the Civil Rights movement, as his sexuality was the target of attacks by anti Civil Rights antagonists.

  • Candace Chellew-Hodge

    Candace Chellew-Hodge is the founder of Whosoever: An Online Magazine for GLBT Christians that was founded in 1996. The magazine was the first of its kind on the internet has continued to be a resource for the LGBT community since then at whosoever.org. She is also the author of Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians published in 2008.

  • Rabbi Denise Eger

    Rabbi Denise Eger serves at Congregation Kol Ami and long time LGBT activist

  • Rev. Peter J. Gomes

    Rev. Peter J. Gomes (who passed away earlier this year) was longtime pastor of The Memorial Church at Harvard. He came out in 1991, saying "I am a Christian who happens as well to be gay. Those realities, which are irreconcilable to some, are reconciled in me by a loving God."

  • Pastor Dennis A. Meredith

    Pastor Dennis A. Meredith is the Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA

  • Pastor Darlene C. A. Franklin

    Pastor Franklin is the Pastor of Agape Spirit Life Ministries in Detroit. She is a leader in social justice and a pioneer in spiritual equality for the LGBT Community.

  • Rev. Roger E. Hayes

    Rev. Hayes is the Senior Pastor of Church Of The Holy Spirit Fellowship located in Winston Salem, Nc

  • The Rev. Elder Jim Mitulski

    Rev. Jim Mitulski, pastor of MCC New York City, came to MCC San Francisco. Under Jim's leadership for 15 years, the church entered a period of sustained growth during the devastating years of the AIDS epidemic and shifted from being a place to meet on Sundays into an integrated part of the San Francisco queer community.

  • Dr. Herukhuti

    Dr. Herukhuti, Founder of Black Funk: The Center for Culture, Sexuality, and Spirituality; author of Conjuring Black Funk: Notes on Culture, Sexuality, and Spirituality; and practitioner of traditional African and African Diasporic spirituality.

  • Archbishop Michael Seneco

    Archbishop Michael Seneco, the presiding bishop of the North American Old Catholic Church- a progressive Catholic denomination with ministries in 23 states.

  • The Rev. Dr. Katrina D. Foster

    Rev. Dr. Katrina D. Foster is an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) pastor. In 2007 she came out of the floor of her denomination's national assembly, after which the bishops put forth a resolution allowing them to abstain from discipling lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pastors with families and not face disciplinary action themselves for not bringing charges against these pastors.

  • Rabbi Andrea Myers

    Rabbi Andrea Myers is the author of the book, "The Choosing-A Rabbi's Journey from Silent Nights to High Holy Days", an activist and mother.

  • Author Jay Michaelson

    Jay Michaelson is a writer, scholar, and actvist whose work focuses on the intersections of religion, spirituality, sexuality, and law. His newest book, "God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality" shows that the Bible supports equal rights.

  • The Rev. Dr. Neil Thomas

    The Rev. Dr. Neil Thomas is currently the Senior Pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Los Angeles.

  • Rev. Canon Susan Russell

    Rev. Canon Susan Russell is the Associate Pastor at All Saints Pasadena, CA, past president of Integrity, HRC Religion and Faith Council.

  • Pastor Bradley Schmeling

    Rev. Bradley Schmeling is Pastor of Gloria Die Lutheran Church in St. Paul Led the way for full inclusion of LGBT clergy in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

  • Rev. Michael S. Piazza

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/mjk_h4pj"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/mjk_h4pj">mjk h4pj</a>:<br />Senior Pastor of Virginia-Highland Church in Atlanta, President of Hope for Peace & Justice, Co-Executive Director, Center for Progressive Renewal

  • Rev. Michael Hydes

    Rev. Michael Hydes is the Pastor of New Light Metropolitan Community Church in Hagerstown, MD

  • The Rev. Jeff R. Johnson

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/vagtsama"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/602710258/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/vagtsama">vagtsama</a>:<br />The Rev. Jeff R. Johnson was one of the first openly gay seminarians in the Lutheran church (ELCA) and a founder of a Lutheran movement to extraordinarily ordain publicly identified LGBT people. Ordained in 1990, Pastor Johnson currently serves University Lutheran Chapel of Berkeley, CA.

  • Bishop George R. Lucey, FCM

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/wjfreeman"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/wjfreeman">wjfreeman</a>:<br />The Most Reverend George R. Lucey, FCM, Presiding Bishop of the American National Catholic Church. The denomination has parishes and ministries across the U.S.

  • Rabbi Tracee Rosen

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/lilalexei"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/lilalexei">lilalexei</a>:<br />Rabbi Tracee Rosen joined Temple Gan Elohim in September 2010. Before coming to Phoenix, she was the senior rabbi of Congregation Kol Ami, a Reform and Conservative congregation in Utah, from 2003-2010. Prior to that, she served as one of the rabbis at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California with Rabbis Harold Schulweis and Ed Feinstein. She was ordained in the second graduating class of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, CA, where she received numerous awards for academic excellence. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Jewish Studies and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Prior to rabbinical school, she was a banker, working for one of the top banking corporations in the country. Rabbi Tracee, her life partner, and their daughter, recently relocated from Salt Lake City to be closer to family.

  • The Rev. Jeff R. Johnson

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/vagtsama"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/602710258/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/vagtsama">vagtsama</a>:<br />The Rev. Jeff R. Johnson was one of the first openly gay seminarians in the Lutheran church (ELCA) and a founder of a Lutheran movement to extraordinarily ordain publicly identified LGBT people. Ordained in 1990, Pastor Johnson currently serves University Lutheran Chapel of Berkeley, CA

  • Bishop Christopher Senjonyo

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/frank_mcmullan"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/frank_mcmullan">frank mcmullan</a>:<br />Bishop Christopher Senjonyo, Uganda

  • Rev Mervyn Kingston

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/frank_mcmullan"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/frank_mcmullan">frank mcmullan</a>:<br />Rev Mervyn Kingston, Ireland

  • John McNeill, SJ

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/frank_mcmullan"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/frank_mcmullan">frank mcmullan</a>:<br />Fr John McNeill

  • Sr Jeannine Gramick

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/frank_mcmullan"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/frank_mcmullan">frank mcmullan</a>:<br />Sr Jeannine Gramick

  • Archbishop Desmond Tutu

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/frank_mcmullan"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/frank_mcmullan">frank mcmullan</a>:<br />Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South Africa

FOLLOW HUFFPOST GAY VOICES

Filed by Noah Michelson  |