“Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that isdetestable”(Leviticus 7:22).
This is the quote that most often justifiesChristian homophobia. This essay will show that everyone, is this is what theybelieve, is welcome into the kingdom of God no matter what their sexualpreferences are. The Gay and Lesbian community should be welcomed into the houseof God instead of being turned away for being openly homosexual. This subject isthe cause of some conterversy between the church and the Gay and Lesbiancommunity. The Church seems to think that being homosexual is a choice theindividual makes in order to directly defy Gods wishes, “The Christianhomosexual position when carefully examined can be exposed for what it is atits very core: an attack upon the integrity, sufficiency, and authority ofscripture, which for the Christian church is an attack upon the very nature ofour Holy God!” (P3 Scroggs). Others think that it is just a phase thateveryone goes through, and once you fulfill your homosexual desires you cantruly be heterosexual again (Moberly).
Some people have evidence that the wordsin the Bible were translated wrong from Hebrew to Greek and then to English.They believe that this should be made known and made right. The Christian Churchis ruled by patriarchy, it was men who wrote the bible and interpret the wordsof God. This goes to show how men have been telling us what to think say andfeel since the beginning of time.
They convey their own prejudgices into thebible and tell Christens that this is what they should believe or it is a sinagainst God. These are some of the main points that will be the foundation ofthis essay. Patriarchy is the foundation of the Christian Church. The Church wasfounded by men, ran by men, and ruled by male ideologies. Until recently menwere the only ones who were allowed by the church to be Ordained Priests. It wasnot until the mid to late 1960s that women were permitted to attend divinityschool and studied seminary classes that prepared them for ordination. “Yearsafter Vatican II, theologians, canon lawyers, and biblical critics allinterrogated the tradition and found no persuasive reason why woman should notbe ordained..
.women enrolled in divinity schools and studied at seminaries inastonishingly large numbers…and so were prepared intellectually andpsychologically for ordination.
.had vocations to bepriests-intersected with a crises in the priesthood itself: with fewer men beingordained and many leaving the priesthood to marry, there seemed to be a realneed to consider womens ordination” (p680 ). But eventually they decidedagainst the ordination of women with no real explanation except that it has beenthe tradition of the church since the beginning. Men want to continue to rulethe church with their ideas of patriarchy such as no ordained women priests, andno homosexuals are sons or daughters of God. The Christian church believes thathomosexuality is a choice that people make in order to defy the word of God.Although some people have other ideas about what homosexuality really is.Elizabeth R.
Moberly, author of Homosexuality: A New Christian Ethic, says thatshe doesnt think that homosexuality is wrong. She says that homosexuality isjust a phase that everyone goes through and you have to act out all of yourhomosexual desires before you can truly be heterosexual. Therefore she believesthat you cannot condemn someone for being homosexual because everyone hashomosexual desires, some are just stronger desires than others (Molberly).Others have proof that you cannot choose your sexual preference; it would belike choosing your skin color. It is natural; you have no choice in the matter.”Something neither chosen nor changeable; heterosexuals who have made theirpeace with homosexuals have often done so by accepting that premise. The veryterm sexual orientation.
..implies biology”(p117 Skier). Some people havecome to terms with the fact that homosexuality is not a choice or a preference,it a biologically made certainty. To ask homosexuals to hide or change theirsexual orientation would be asking them to hide who they really are in order toplease the church.
Coming back to the phrase “Do not lie with a man as onelies with a woman; that is detestable” (Leviticus 18:22), and “If a man lieswith a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable.They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads” (Leviticus20:13). According to these verses the act of homosexuality is punishable bydeath, this seems to be a very serious offence. Other offences punishable bydeath, according to the bible are sins such as “cursing onesparents…adultery, incest and intercourse with a menstruating woman” (p 44Helminiak). In this the 20th century how can we conceder these serious offences?If the Christian community would see such a thing as cursing ones parents asthey see homosexuality there would be no Christian community.
Also, the list in1 Corinthians includes adulterers, thieves, and the greedy. 1 Timothy includesthat of liars and perjurers. Then why is the sin of homosexuality seen intodays society as so terrible they cannot be ordained and a sin such as greedis not given a second thought when they are considered for ordination. There arealso some people who believe that the bible does not oppose homosexuality; thispoint will be shown throughout this essay. The book The New Testament andHomosexuality by Robin Scroggs suggests that the bible does not opposehomosexuality. In the case of Leviticus he says that the bible isnt dealingwith homosexuality in general. He suggests that the answer to the condemnationobjection is to the wasting of male semen. “The condemnation of malehomosexuality acts must be seen in the context of the procreative ethic which itserved.
… since today wasting of semen may not considered sin at all, thecontemporary relevance of the law in nullified” (p13 Scroggs). Daniel A.
Helminiak, Ph.D., author of What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality saysthat the translation of the words “man-lying-with-man” was translated fromHebrew to Greek wrong. The Hebrews had no word for homogenital behaviortherefore it was translated as “the man who lies with a male the lying of awoman” this phrase could have been translated one of two ways. The first being”lying of a male” and the second “lying with a male.” One is interpretedas any homosexual act and the other as an act of male prostitution.
This authorbelieves that the sin is not the act of homosexuality but is the act of maleprostitution. These are some ways of interpreting this bible verse. The story ofAdam and Eve is often used to defend homophobia among Christians.
The sayingthat is most often used for this purpose is that God created Adam and Eve, notAdam and Steve. They conclude from this story that man and woman were made inGods image together and this is the way that God intended. But nowhere in thisstory does it condemn same-sex relations. The point of this story is oftenoverlooked, it was to paint a picture of a sad and sinful state and to insistthat this was not Gods doing. God created the good in the world but peoplemisuse creation, so life becomes hard.
Genesis is a lesson about religion,Gods way and our sin, not a lesson about sexual orientation. Nothing in thosetwo chapters suggests that heterosexuality, in contrast to homosexuality, was aconcern in the authors mind. People may argue that it is not what the Biblesays, but what it doesnt say.
Since the Bible does not actively supporthomosexuality, it must be that the Bible condemns it. But this conclusion is notvery logical. It is simply that we do not know the actual opinion on thesubject. Some scholars actually point out positive instances of homosexuality inthe Bible.
1 Samuel 18:1-4 shows the affection on the part of the prince,Jonathan, toward the Shepherd boy, David: “The soul of Jonathan was bound tothe soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul…Jonathan made acovenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. Jonathan strippedhimself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor,and even his sword and his bow and his belt.” The story goes on to say thatKing Saul finds out about the relationship between Jonathan and David and callsit perverse and refers to Jonathan a bastard. King Saul says that Jonathan hasbrought him shame with his nakedness, which implies to sex in biblical times.When Jonathan and David part it demonstrates intense sorrow: David rose frombeside the stone heap and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.
Hebowed three times, and they kissed each other and wept with each other; Davidwept more. Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, since both of us havesworn in the name of the Lord, saying, The Lord shall be between me and you,and between my descendants and your descendants forever.” He got up andleft; and Jonathan went into the city. (1 Samuel 20:41-42) Finally atJonathans death David concludes his grieve with his words: I am distressedfor you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to mewas wonderful, passing the love of a woman” (1 Samuel 20:41-42) This suggestthat the relationship between Jonathan and David was more than a friendship andit leaves you feeling sorry for the boys that King Saul did not respect theirrelationship. Other examples of positive instances of homosexuality in the Bibleis in the book of Ruth 1:16-17 and Daniel 1:9. There is no historical evidencein the bible to defend the homophobia of people today. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10states, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral.
..nor homosexualoffenders…will inherit the kingdom of God.” The Hebrews words that aretranslated into homosexual in this text are arsenokoita and malokoi.The translations of these vary but we know the general meanings of the words.
Malokoi has no specific reference to honogenitality. Variousinterpretations of this word are effeminate, boy prostitute, or sissy. The wordarsenokoita on the other hand, makes reference to male same-sex acts. Itis often interpreted as homosexual, sodomite, child molester, pervert, or personwith infamous habits. The translators of this combined the two wordsmalokoi and arsenokoita into one and came up with homosexual.Although in a later (1977) edition of the bible the words were changed to read”sexual pervert” and then once again in the 1989 New Revised standardversion translated the two words separately as “male prostitutes andsodomites.
” As the author of What the Bible Really Says About Homosexualitysays, it seems that as prejudices changed, so have the translations of thebible”(Helminiak). The church is run by patriarchy and whatever they interpretto be evil is, therefore they view homosexuality as evil and everybody believesit. The parable written in Genesis 19:1-11 and in Judges 19:22-25 is the storyof “The Sin of Sodom.
” The parable is that of an old man who welcomes twoangels into his house to stay the night in safety. Soon after the angels settledin, all of the men of the town of Sodom came to the old mans house anddemanded that he turn over the two strangers to them so that they could have sexwith the two strange men. The old man told the men no and that this was a wickedthing that they wanted to do. Instead, he offered the men of the town his twoyoung virgin daughters, and said that they could do whatever they wanted withthem if they left the two young men alone. That night the daughters were rapedby the men of the town and left on the porch to stay there until sunrise. Thenext day the angels left the city of Sodom with The old man and his family andthe Lord destroyed the city of Sodom.
This parable is one that is very famousfor justifying homophobia among Christians. The very word sodomite was taken torefer to someone who engages in anal sex, and the sin of Sodom was taken to bemale homogenital acts. The old man claims that what the men of the town is a sinagainst God and is even willing to give up his daughters virginity to stop themfrom committing such an evil deed. The word for sex was originallyinterpreted as “to know.” In the days that this story took place “toknow” did, sometimes, have sexual implications associated with it. Whetherthis story was one of those cases or not is disputable. It could have meant thatthe men of the town simply wanted to find out who these men were because theydidnt like the fact that the old man was inviting strangers into their town.Another way of looking at the phrase “to know” is that it refers to not onlymale-male sex, but also male-male abuse and rape (Helminiak).
The author of TheNew Testament and Homosexuality thinks that the sin this parable is referring tois not that of natural homosexuality but rather that of homosexual acts bypeople who are not homosexual “a pervert is said to be a person who engages inacts contrary to his or her orientation. Thus a heterosexual person who engagesin homosexual activity is a pervert, just as a homosexual person would be whoengages in heterosexual acts” (p14 Scroggs). Although, some insist that thissin in this parable is nothing to do with homosexuality at all. They say that itrefers to the sin of inhospitality. There was a cardinal rule in Sodom that saidcitizens of Sodom were to offer hospitality to travelers because the nights inthe deserts were so cold the results of spending the night in the desert couldbe fatal to the traveler. This rule was so strict that people couldnt evenharm an enemy who had sought refuge for the night. So, The old man believed thathe was upholding the law of hospitality by not exposing his guests to the abuseof the men of Sodom (Helminiak). There are many passages from the bible itselfthat proves that the sin in this parable was that of inhospitality.
“Theprophet Ezekiel (16:48-49) states the case baldly: this was the guilt of yousister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, surfeit of food and prosperousease, but did not aid the poor and needy. The sin of the Sodomites was thatthey refused to take in the needy travelers” (p40 Helminiak). Jesus himselfmakes reference to Sodom, and the issues is rejection of Gods messengers inMatthew 10:5-15: “These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions:…
Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and staythere until you leave…
If any one will not welcome you or listen to your words,shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly I tellyou, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day ofjudgment than of that town.” In this reading there is absolutely noreference to sex but a direct reference to the rejection of Gods messengers.
There are other less direct biblical references to Sodom: Isaiah 1:10-17 and3:9, Jeremiah 23:14 and Zephaniah 2:8-11. The sins listed in those places areinjustice, oppression, partiality, adultery, lies and encouraging evildoers.”The Bible often uses Sodom as an example of the worst sinfulness, but theconcern is never simply sexual acts. Least of all is the concern homogenitalacts” (p41 Helminiak). The irony with this parable and how it is interpretedby todays society is that now the gay and lesbian community is not welcomedinto society as God wants all people to be instead they are shunned and madeoutsiders.
They are disowned by their families, separated from their children,fired from their jobs, and beaten and killed in the streets. All this is done inthe name of religion and supposed Christian morality. This is the behavior thatthe bible truly condemns. “So those who oppress homosexuals because of thesupposed sin of Sodom may themselves be the real sodomites, as theBible understands it” (p41 Helminiak).
Thorough this essay the question ofwhether or not the Bible really opposes homosexuality has been asked andanswered with the belief that the Bible does not oppose homosexuality. Withcareful examination of the texts in the Bible that is used by Christians toattack homosexuals for being what they are it has been proven that homosexualityis not a sin but is merely used by homophobics as a justification for theirhomophobia. The belief that Gays and Lesbians choose their sexual orientation todefy the word of God is wrong because they have no choice whether to behomosexual or heterosexual, we are the way we are because that is what Godintended. “God doesnt make Junk” is a famous Christian saying, itstime that Christians paid attention to what it is saying. Numerous people haveanalyzed the quotes taken from the bible that was stated throughout this essayand they agree that there is no reference to homosexuality being a sin. If thesepoints are not enough to convince fellow homophobic Christians that theirhomophobia is coming from the wrong place then it is asked of them, did thebible not say that God loves EVERYONE? Well which one will it be: God screwed upwhen he made homosexuals and they are evil, or God loves everybody? The choiceis yours to make.
BibliographyHekminiak,Daniel A., Ph.D. What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality.Episcopal Bishop of Newark NJ. 1994 Moberly, Elizabeth R.
. Homosexuality: A NewChristian Ethic. James Clarke & Co. Ltd.. 1982 Siker, Jeffery S.
Homosexuality in the Church: Both Sides of the Debate. Westminster John KnoxPress Louisville, Kentucky. 1994 Scroggs, Robbin. The New Testament andHomosexuality. Fortress Press Philadelphia.
1983 International Bible Society.The Holy Bible., Zondervan Publishing House. 1984