March 24, 2008
How to: respond to anti-gay Christians
As you sat shovelling chocolate into your mouth this weekend, did you consider how sinful you were? No not with the gluttony, with the gay thing. The Church hates homos, right? Abominations and Sodom and all that bad stuff, right? Not necessarily – Lesbilicious is here (via our pals at the BBC) to help you stack up on ammo, so next time some God-squadder starts quoting chapter and verse, you can fire a few back.
Before we get started, a few general points. There are actually very few mentions of homosexuality in the Bible. When it is mentioned, it’s usually only in relation to men (as you’d expect from such a misogynist book). And Jesus didn’t anything specific to say about the gay thing. Now let’s get going.
“You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; that is an abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22)
Gay = wrong, simple as that. God says it, it’s clearly His word, end of.
Fair enough. But some context please: burning incense is also an abomination (Isaiah 66:3). God’s not keen on cotton-lycra underwear either (Leviticus 19:19) haircuts (Leviticus 19:27) or women having sex when it’s their ‘time of the month’ (Leviticus 20:18). But more than anything else, God hates shrimp, he really really does Leviticus 11:10), (Leviticus 11:11), (Leviticus 11:12).
2. Sodom and Gomorrah
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is another classic staple of homophobic Christians. In a nutshell, it’s the story of how Lot has two angels staying in his house. Men from the town of Sodom surround the house, and say to Lot: “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, and let us know [have sex with] them.”
To protect the angels from an act which Lot describes as “wicked”, he offers the crowd his two virgin daughters instead. The crowd are not satisfied and break in – the angels make the men from Sodom blind, and the town is eventually destroyed by “fire and brimstone”.
The men of Sodom were immoral and wicked for wanting to practice homosexuality, and they were punished for that sin.
Yes the men were wicked, but not because they wanted homosexual sex – it was because they wanted to rape the angels. And on a slightly separate matter, why did Lot offer his daughters to would-be rapists? And why doesn’t the Bible seem to mind that?
3. Jesus on marriage
“Man shall leave his father and mother, and be made one with his wife; and the two shall become one flesh.” (Mark 10:7-9)
And “That is something which not everyone can accept, but only those for whom God has appointed it. For while some are incapable of marriage because they were born so, or made so by men, there are others who have themselves renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven. Let those accept it who can.” (Matthew 19: 10-12)
Jesus is clearly stating that heterosexuality is the only true option. Only people incapable of having children of men who were castrated are exempted from hetero marriage.
Yes, Jesus is stating the case for marriage, but he also makes it clear that some people are not born for straight marriage – ie they are homosexual in nature. What’s more, that’s ok.
4. St Paul
St Paul. Now there’s a homophobe. Writer of such classics as “God has given [people who worship false gods] up to shameful passions. Their women have exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and their men in turn, giving up natural relations with women burn with lust for one another; males behave indecently with males and paid in their own persons the fitting wage of such perversion.” (Romans 1: 26-27)
And “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
Homosexuality is clearly an offence against God.
St Paul’s writings are clearly of their time, and he wrote many other verses which we have no problem ignoring: “a woman brings shame on her head if she prays or prophesies bare-headed; it is as bad as if her head were shaved.” And “man does not originate from woman, but woman from man” (1 Corinthians 11, 2-16)
In the second passage, the original greek word that was translated to ‘effeminate’ was ‘malakoi’. It literally meant ‘soft’ and sometimes referred to young boys who would receive anal sex, often for money. In some Bibles it’s translated as ‘morally weak’. The original Greek for ‘homosexual offenders’ was ‘aresenokoitai’, which referred to a male prostitute who served heterosexual or homosexual clients. At any rate, the sin here is prostitution, not homosexuality in itself.
So is it Good News, Bible?
To sum up, yes the Bible does include a fair amount of anti-gay rhetoric. But it also has a whole bunch of crazy stuff that anti-gay Christians are happy to ignore while they pursue their own agendas.
It’s worth remembering too that the Bible is a series of writings that were assembled, re-written, copied, translated, re-interpreted, lost, found, copied again, re-written again, translated again, re-interpreted again and finally translated again. Is it still God’s exact word? God only knows.
Crucially, are the anti-Christians right, and are we all going to Hell? No idea. But if all the gayers are there, at least it’ll be one helluva party…
The following sources were consulted for this article: BBC News The Purple Pew Christ Covenant Metropolitan Community Churches Women Priests.Want more? This Wikipedia writer has a lot to say on the matter.
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