Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"Who Says Homosexuality is a Sin?" Part I

Josh Gould wrote this. The picture has little to do with this, but I thought the picture was funny by itself. ;)

There’s an ancient quote that says, “any interpretation of scripture which leads to hatred or disdain of other people, is illegitimate.” Some of you might recognize this quote from The Charter of Compassion that was launched a few years ago by Karen Armstrong. Rabbi Meir Baal Hanes who lived during the second century first uttered it and made it famous. St. Augustine also came to the same conclusion, but said it in different words.

So what does this have to do with homosexuality? Well, it doesn’t take much effort to see how evangelical Christians oppress and discriminate against someone who identifies as homosexual. These Christians claim that marriage is between one man and one woman and that anything else would destroy the sanctity of marriage, as God established in the Bible. They go out of their way to stand up against issues like same-sex marriage to the point where they pass amendments to ban such an idea. The media especially enjoys plastering their networks with video and pictures of people holding up signs that say, “God hates fags” and “God says fags should die.” Where do they get these ideas from and how can they be so bold as to speak on God’s behalf?

These ideas and interpretations about what God speaks through the Bible come from a place of hatred and, according to Rabbi Meir, this makes them illegitimate. But what exactly are they interpreting? Within the pages of the Bible, there are six verses that are commonly used across the board by Christians opposed to homosexuality: three in the Old Testament and three in the New Testament. Let’s take a look at the one that is arguably the strongest, most used verse in the Old Testament. We’ll find this verse in chapter 18 in the Book of Leviticus. It might be helpful to follow along in your own Bible, so feel free to turn there and skim down to verse 22. It reads, “do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, it is detestable” (TNIV). Before we begin breaking down the verse, a little context on Leviticus might be helpful.

For the rest, click below.




  1. Without putting a lot of thought into it:

    1. I don't buy is premise that because some people use a certain interpretation of scripture to justify hateful, unloving attitudes, that the interpretation must be flawed. In other words, I don't see any problem saying: The Bible condemns homosexuality as sin, but also requires that we show love towards homosexuals. There are many Christians who are hateful towards people who commit all kinds of sin. Using his argument you'd have to conclude that the Bible doesn't condemn any sin, because people use the Bible's condemnation of specific sins as an excuse to hate people who commit them. The problem is not that such people are bad at interpreting the Bible, it's that they are arrogant, legalistic hypocrites.

    2. Who is this guy? I mean I don't know anything about him. Is he a Hebrew scholar? What's his background and education? Does he know what he's talking about?

    3. He's over generalizing here. To hear him tell it, it sounds like every Christian who believes that homosexuality is a sin is a member of Westboro baptist church. There are a lot of Christians who genuinely believe that Homosexuality is a sin, and that they should still treat homosexuals with love and respect and try to win them to Christ. I would argue that the people he's singling out as being so hateful very likely are not even Christians.

    4. He seems as closed minded as the people he's trying to convince. In the end he's not just arguing that his interpretation of the passage might be right, and that if there's a possibility that passage isn't speeaking about homosexuality, then we should be cautious in our approach to dealing with the issue, instead he's claiming that he is absolutely right, and that full acceptance of homosexuality is absolutely the Biblical teaching that all Christians must embrace.

    1. Hey Dave!

      1. I think I agree. His exegetical use seems to be born out of a misconception.

      2. I don't know.

      3. I think Justin Lee, a gay christian, said it perfectly in that "he disagrees with Christians who think homosexuality is a sin, but to single them out as homophobic is wrong."

      4. Based on his exegesis, I'm not convinced. In fact, I'm kinda annoyed that he is taking an absolutist perspective where I think humility (in all regards, conservative and liberal) is far more charitable.

      So, I think I agree for the most part, and where I do disagree is a minor point. ;)

      Thanks for the comment.