Archive for July, 2010

Biblical Self-Defense: What does the Bible REALLY says about Homosexuality?

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

On Pride Sunday, June 27, Sojourners Open & Affirming group facilitated the worship service and several members of the congregation offered the following remarks.

Too often, religious groups misuse a few passages from the Bible to justify the oppression of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Too often, we do not know how to respond to these texts or know what they really mean. As a result, dialog with these religious groups–be it in person or in society—has the potential to make LGBTQ people feel badly about themselves.

We would like to speak about each of these so-called “clobber passages” in the Bible, in detail, removing the fear they can sometimes instill. There will be a different reader for each passage, and this presentation will take the place of the sermon. There is much information to be shared, and many of you may be hearing this for the first time. After each reader speaks, we will pause for a minute or two to give you time to reflect.

Genesis 19:5 “Where are the men who came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them.”

Sodom and Gomorrah is a story in the Bible of two cities, whose inhabitants are said to be wicked, and God has decided to destroy them. Two angels visit Abraham’s brother Lot, who lives there, and give him the news and a means of escape. The men of S&G hear that Lot has visitors and they all march to his dwelling, aiming to do bodily harm to the angels. Lot tries to satisfy the men with offering them his daughters(!), but their anger was not appeased, and as they tried to break Lot’s door down, the angels blinded all the men outside the door.

I was taught that the grave sin of S&G was homosexuality, but if you look at this scripture objectively, it is a difficult case to make. God’s Rule of Living for Genesis is hospitality. If you weren’t friendly to your enemies, you could lose your life. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah showed zero tolerance for anyone different than themselves, and instead, are gang-raping folks to subdue and humiliate them. It’s not just a few bad apples—every man in the city—young and old the Bible says–comes out to defy Lot and demand his visitors be turned out. Do you suppose that every man in the city is gay? Hmmmm . . . not even in San Francisco. And if they were all gay, then why did Lot offer them his daughters . . .

For those of you that know me, know I love seeing the irony in life. So, here’s some irony: Suppose we are right about Sodom & Gomorrah’s sin being that of inhospitality—or intolerance—to word it a bit differently. These religious groups today would be guilty of that very same grievous sin . . .

Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13 “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman.”

The book of Leviticus is a code of ethics, and includes 769 rules or codes that were only meant for the Jewish men who were from the tribe of Levi who were going to be priests during the Old Testament. Some of these rules include:

Don’t eat shellfish.

Only wear clothes made of one type of fiber.

Burn the witches.

Only grow one crop at a time.

Please also remember that this was the time when God was growing the Jewish nation. It was not acceptable to ‘waste the seed’. Two men could not procreate, so sex between folks of the same sex was frowned upon during this time, as was masturbation. These Jewish laws for the priests of Levi do not apply to us.

Romans 1:26&27 “Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another.”

What was natural? Paul wrote the books of Romans and Corinthians, for Christians at a time when the Greeks were exploring the humanities, which certainly fostered a more open view of sex. Unfortunately, they were going overboard, and STDs were pretty common. Heterosexual folks were finding sexual partners of all persuasions. In other words, Paul was saying if you are heterosexual, then having homosexual sex is not natural for you. It is highly likely that Paul is speaking out against promiscuity and advocating for moderation—which happens to be the theme of Romans, Corinthians, and I Timothy!

Corinthians 6:9, 10 “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind . . .shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

And I Timothy 1:9, 10. “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, . . . for them that defile themselves with mankind, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine . . .”

“The Greek word used in both these passages are the same and literally mean ‘the male who has many beds’. Thus, the entire phrase means a male with multiple bed-partners; a promiscuous man. Everywhere that the word koitais is used in the plural in the Bible denotes promiscuity. The English word ‘homosexual’ was not coined or created until 1868. If you see the word ‘homosexual’ in the Bible, it has been inserted.

Perhaps you are wondering if Jesus had anything to say about homosexuality? He did not. Thank you for taking the time to listen with an open mind and receive the Word of God.