I remember Jesus having a problem with this also: ears and do not hear; eyes and cannot see and all that. And while I am not Jesus, this frustrates me as well, and nothing more than the discussion of LGBT issues.
I have spent a little time editing this paper I wrote five years ago. (Some of the web links may no longer be valid.) I have grown a lot in that time and while I didn’t see how homosexuality could have been a sin then, I am more firm in that belief now.
The reason this comes up is the Chick-Fil-A issue and the fact that today in the day for all those opposed to gay marriage to eat at Chick-Fil-A to “show their support for God’s Law” as they see it. If this is what was going on, it would not bother me too much. We all can and do disagree about religion and theology.
What is really going on in the denial of marriage is the denial of civil rights to a specific group of people, the OTHER, much as we prohibited blacks and whites from marrying, speaking of which, there are sizable minorities in several states who still oppose interracial marriage.
This article is too long, but contains every verse I could find in the Bible that even remotely talks about or is believed to refer to homosexuality. I have hesitated putting it on here more because of the length than anything.
“Jesus doesn’t want these people in his heaven” Ronald Edward Gay, who, on December 22, 2000 entered a gay bar in Roanoke, Virginia, and, upset by having been mercilessly teased because of his last name, began shooting. Six were injured, one died.
In July 1999, Matthew Williams and his brother, Tyler, murdered a gay couple, Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder, in their home near Sacramento, California. Speaking to his mother from the Shasta County jail, Matthew explained his actions in this way: “I had to obey God’s law rather than man’s law,” he said. “I didn’t want to do this. I felt I was supposed to. I have followed a higher law… I just plan to defend myself from the Scriptures.” (http://www.soulforce.org/article/homosexuality-bibl e-gay-christian)
Not acceptable in our society, right?
But what, exactly does the Bible have to say about homosexuality? Precious little, really. There are 7,959 verses in the Bible. The following list, if one includes the entire 14 verses about Sodom’s destruction, indicates there are about 26 dealing with homosexuality. But, just for discussion, let’s say there are DOUBLE that many (just in case I missed a few or cut some passages off prematurely); so possibly (but not likely) 52 out of 7,959. Calculator drum roll please. . .6/10ths of 1 percent. What does this tell us?
To me it says the Bible doesn’t have a lot to say about homosexuality. This is congruent with my general concept of the Bible, that it is ultimately the Story of God, Man, and the interaction between God and Man.
1. The Case Against Homosexuality from the Bible
The verses, without commentary:
GENESIS 2:21-25: So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said,
This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman, ‘
for she was taken out of man.”
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
GENESIS 19:1-14: And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;
2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.
3 And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.
4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:
5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.
6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,
7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.
8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.
9 And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.
10 But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door.
11 And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.
12 And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place:
13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it.
14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said
LEVITICUS 18:22: Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is abomination.
LEVITICUS 20:13: ‘If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is abomination. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
JUDE 1:7: In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
ROMANS 1:26-27: Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
1 CORINTHIANS 6:9: Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
1 TIMOTHY 1:9 – 10 We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine.
There it is. As the catechism is stated: God said it. I Believe it. That settles it.
No more discussion necessary. There it all is, in the Bible. Homosexuality is unnatural and to be condemned. Neither can we assume that God has changed His mind about it, because this is also covered in the Bible in Malachi 3:6 “I am the Lord. I do not change.”, and also about Jesus Christ in Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same: yesterday and today and forever.”
2. The Bible is Often Misunderstood
If that is the end of it, why are there more words in this article? The devil can cite scripture for his own purpose! An evil soul producing holy witness is like a villain with a smiling cheek. (Merchant Of Venice, Shakespeare, William).
Now, there will be many who will say because of what is in this article, that I am the one twisting scripture into knots so tight they cannot be discerned and that I am the devil citing scripture for my own purpose. So be it.
Scripture, those almost 8,000 verses in one bound volume. But what Bible? 24 books for Jews, 66 for Protestants, 73 for Catholics, and 78 for most Orthodox Christians. OK, nevermind this. Everybody knows the Bible is the book they all have, seldom have read and little understand.
But, boy howdy, do they know it. Let’s see how much: 1 out of every 3 American teenagers could identify who asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” 34 percent of teens know what happened on the road to Damascus. Twenty-eight percent didn’t know who Moses was. http://www.bibleliteracy.org/site/News/bibl_news0505 12ChicTrib.htm
How many think Joan of Arc was married to Noah? How many believe Mary Magdalene was a prostitute?
Ok, a little more on point: why is there not a consensus on the manner and meaning of baptism or the sacrament among believers if the Bible was inspired by God?
Over the years, we now know many misused scripture to support bloody crusades, inquisitions, slavery, apartheid, the Ku Klux Clan, and segregation; to oppose medical science; to condemn interracial marriage; to execute women as witches. How in the world could people have followed Jim Jones to the kool-aid bar in Guyanna, or David Koresh? How could Hitler have believed he was doing God’s will while exterminating 6 million Jews?
Because, that is what they believed to be in the Bible. This is the intentional ignorance of which I spoke at the start of this long article. We believe what we want to believe is in the Bible, and leave all the giving real and meaningful context and higher critisism to those false liberal Christians. And we come up with pithy phrases to help us through: if it was good enough for Moses or Abraham or David or Daniel (who never knew Jesus), its good enough for me; love the sinner, hate the sin; I am more worried about the Rock of Ages than the age of rocks (so said William Jennings Bryant in Inherit the Wind) as a defense for not wanting to reconcile science with the Bible and a sneer at those who struggle with it.
Perhaps we’d best look at those scriptures again, but first a little commentary on “Proof-Texting”. This is a rather odious practice I learned when I was a kid. It was done during what was called a “Scripture Chase” game. The game entailed memorizing certain verses which could provide answers to life’s questions. Question: How are people saved? Proof-text: John 3:16. Ok, so not all are bad.
Two Latin words carved into a marble wall in an ancient church in Rome: “Scrutamini Scripturas,” which means search the Scriptures may be at the root of the problem.
Left to our own devises, we proof text, which really is the pulling of verses out of context and drawing conclusions from them. We then piously cite these verses the rest of our lives as evidence of our belief. I am sure Hitler had his favorite (Yes, I know some, but refuse to cite them. You want to know, look them up.)
Here is my one of my favorites: Is masturbation a sin? Genesis 38: 9-10 says But Onan . . . spilled his semen on the ground . . . What he did was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so he put him to death also.
Notice the ellipses? That is the way people cite these verses to demonstrate the Bible is against masturbation, but these verses have absolutely nothing to do with masturbation, as can be seen from the full, in context, story (Genesis 38: 6-10):
Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so the LORD put him to death.
Then Judah said to Onan, “Lie with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother.” But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother. What he did was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so he put him to death also.
See any masturbation in there? I don’t. What I see is the violation of the commandment to impregnate his dead-brother’s wife.
This practice leads directly to the next topic: a Bible within the Bible.
3. The Bible with in the Bible, or Picking and Choosing our special verses
Before commenting on the verses cited as opposing homosexuality: Picking and choosing? How can we choose some verses to obey and others to ignore? The Bible commands a lot of things we do not do today. Just a few:
DEUTERONOMY 22:13-21 If a man takes a wife and, after lying with her, dislikes her and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, “I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity,” then the girl’s father and mother shall bring proof that she was a virgin to the town elders at the gate. The girl’s father will say to the elders, “I gave my daughter in marriage to this man, but he dislikes her. Now he has slandered her and said, ‘I did not find your daughter to be a virgin.’ But here is the proof of my daughter’s virginity.” Then her parents shall display the cloth before the elders of the town, and the elders shall take the man and punish him. They shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give them to the girl’s father, because this man has given an Israelite virgin a bad name. She shall continue to be his wife; he must not divorce her as long as he lives. If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl’s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from among you.
DEUTERONOMY 22:22 If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel.
DEUTERONOMY 22:23 24 If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death the girl because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you
DEUTERONOMY 25:11-12 [This one is especially interesting] If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity
LEVITICUS 18:19 ‘Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period.
Enough? Yes, but there are more. Just gobs more. MY favorite two “abominations are incense and women wearing mens’ clothing . Look these up.
Yeah, but. . .they say. . .My point is clear: obey the whole thing or believe that Jesus somehow relieved us of the obligation, but please do not be so self-righteous as to proclaim you know which ones God wanted to continue and which He did not.
Now, this is Old Testament, and Jesus did away with this, right? Matthew 5: 18 20: For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle shall in any wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. For I say unto you that unless your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
4. Commentary on the verses used in Case against Homosexuality from the Bible
Now, quickly, back to the cited verses:
GENESIS 2:21-25 this is one of two stories of the creation of humankind, male and female, and it is NOT consistent or reconcilable to the other one. It says some things about the nature of men and women and is one of the verses cited to say women are subservient to men because men were made first, but it says NOTHING at all about homosexuality. [Just for kicks, the other male-female creation story is: Genesis 1:27 (simultaneous creation): So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.]
Because of this story, I have for 55+ years believed erroneously that women have one more rib than do men.
GENESIS 19:1-14 The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is NOT about sex, not really. But DO NOT Trust me. Please advise me about all the homosexual activity in it, please. Ok, well, it is hinted at.
But so is, well, here’s what happened. Two angles go to Sodom, Lot sees them and takes them home and feeds them and as they are preparing to go to sleep, (Genesis 19: 4 – 8) the men of the city, even the men of Sodom – both young and old, all the people from every quarter -compassedthe house around. And they called unto Lot and said unto him, “Where are the men who came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them.” And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him and said, “I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters who have not known a man. Let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes. Only unto these men do nothing, for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.”
A lot of stuff was going on. Read it please if you skimmed over it before, and then understand that when Jesus spoke of Sodom, he did not speak of homosexuality. Ezekiel 16:49 has this to say about Sodom: Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom: pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
LEVITICUS 18:22 and LEVITICUS 20:13 Well and sure, these do speak against homosexuality.
Even when pulled out of context, they speak against homosexuality. In context, the verses are in the Jewish Holiness Code, which spoke of many things, a few of which were cited above. Most of the things in this code are not thought of as bad things today. Except, of course, those things we do not want to tolerate, such as homosexuality, issues we do not struggle with, or maybe we do and use these to reinforce our fear?
If you choose to follow the code, then yes, God did speak out against homosexuality and a lot of other things each and every one of us, whether homosexual or straight, have done and according to the code, should be dead because of it:
- Leviticus 19:13 The wages of him that is hired shall not remain with thee all night until the morning.
- Leviticus 19:28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.
- Leviticus 20: “`For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death. He hath cursed his father or his mother: his blood shall be upon him.
JUDE 1:7: Covered in the discussion of Sodom in Genesis 19 above.
ROMANS 1:26-27 Let’s look at a broader passage:
(23-32) Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and to birds and fourfooted beasts and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies among themselves. They changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessedfor ever. Amen. [Start the homosexual cite] For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men, working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense for their error which was meet. [end the homosexual cite]And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind to do those things which are not fitting, being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity. They are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, spiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affections, implacable, unmerciful. And knowing the judgment of God, that those who commit such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but have pleasure in those who do them.
Then the very next verse (Romans 2:1): Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art who judgest; for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself, for thou that judgest doest the same things.
Make up your own mind.
1 CORINTHIANS 6:9 and TIMOTHY 1:9 10 A little word definition now (uh, oh, higher crtisism). What did Paul say in Greek and what did that mean to the people who first read what Paul wrote? The original Greek text reads “malakoi arsenokoitai.”
The Greek word used was “malaokois”, which Greek Scholars say probably means “effeminate call boys.”. However, when Jesus used the words, it was used by Jesus to refer to the garments rich people wore. In the second century, St. Clement used the stem of the word (malaokoi) to refer to those who were “effeminate”. At the time the NT was written, ‘effeminacy’ was not equated to homosexuality. It was used to refer to harlotry-and heterosexuals vainly obsessed with appearance. In other words, Jesus did not speak of being against homosexuality-but against being self absorbed (vanity.)
As for “arsenokoitai”, the exact definition of the word seems to have been lost over time. The word’s original meaning and the confusion around the interpretation of the term seems to have contributed to the widely held misconception about the Bible, and homosexuality.
Here’s the point, in regards to the use of the word “Homosexual” in English translations: there were perfectly good words available Paul could have used had he wanted to mean “Homosexual” in the way we understand it today. “Paiderasste” was the standard Greek term at the time for sexual behavior between males http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_bibc1.htm
In closing, even if Homosexuality is a sin (and I really do not think it possibly can be because of my beliefs about the nature of God, but this is a topic for another day), we are commanded not to hate, but to embrace the sinner, to bring him or her into communion.
If Paul taught us anything in Romans, if Jesus taught us anything in the Sermon on the Mount, it is that we are all sinners, and have all fallen short of the Glory of God and are all in need of salvation, we all need God to act in our lives and reconcile us to Him. We cannot do it ourselves and we cannot point at other’s sins and say they are worse than ours. They aren’t.
Picture is from this web page: LOL Theists