King on gays: ‘I don’t expect to meet them should I make it to heaven’

Congressman speaks exclusively to the Herald


U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, suggests gays won’t make it to heaven.
What’s more, in an interview, King intimated that the divorced or cohabitators could be thwarted in the pursuit of eternal salvation as the Christian faith teaches it.
Those assessments from the conservative western Iowa congressman came during his forceful takes on a preliminary document released by a collection of Catholic bishops that calls for broader acceptance of homosexuals and people who are divorced or living together without being married.

“I would say that what was a sin 2,000 years ago is a sin today, and we need to stick to that principle,” King said in an interview with The Jefferson Herald.

The report from the bishops — which at the time of the interview King said he had “picked up little pieces in the news” about — is not a final guiding document, and is expected to generate animated debate in the church worldwide.

“I owe it to Pope Francis to read it carefully and read it with precision before I pass judgment on it,” King said. “I would just say that in fact to pass judgment on his document seems a bit presumptuous as I hear myself say that.”

Among other things, the synod document says “homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community,” and “with homosexual unions, there are instances where mutual assistance to the point of sacrifice is a valuable support in the life of these persons.” For the divorced, the report calls for “great respect.” And with regard to cohabitation, the working language includes the following thinking, “Such unions can display authentic family values or at least an inherent desire for them.”

King declined to say whether he thought divorce or cohabitation are sins.

“I think that I’ll not comment on that part,” King said. “I’ll just say that what was a sin 2,000 years ago is a sin today, and people that were condemned to hell 2,000 years ago, I don’t expect to meet them should I make it to heaven. So let’s stick with that principle.”

When pressed on the people he believed are included in the “condemned” category, King said, “Let me say it isn’t to me to pass that judgment, and those who choose a lifestyle that I’ll say is not one that’s annointed and favored by my faith — or their faith, for that matter — that’s between them and God.”

According to The New York Times, a final report from the Catholic bishops will be issued after the synod to be disseminated and discussed worldwide over the next year. There will be a second synod in Rome next October, The Times reports, but in the end, after all the consultation and debate, it is Pope Francis who will ultimately set the course.

The Jefferson Herald asked King, a member of St. Martin’s Catholic Church in Odebolt, if he would leave the church should Francis take it in a more progressive direction on foundational family issues.

“I have not the read the document so I couldn’t say,” King said. “These are, of course, delicate topics to deal with.”

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