Does God hate gay people? … Keeping homophobic Christians busy …

Gay people are still struggling to come out, are ridiculed, attacked, and killed for our sexuality. Why is this? It is apparently the word of God that homosexual acts are sinful. Homosexuality is mentioned six times in the Bible. I want to take a look at two aspects of this:

  1. Are these six passages actually anti-gay?
  2. Can homophobic Christians really be obeying the Bible themselves?

[Note: I have sourced all biblical quotes via www.biblegateway.com/passage, using mostly the New International Version for clarity. Where a passage is well-known, including the first three of the six passages below, I have used the King James Version.]

The six passages in the Bible believed to refer to homosexuality

Genesis 19:5
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.

Leviticus 18:22
Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

Leviticus 20:13
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Romans 1:26-27
God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual 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 shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

I Corinthians 6:9-10
Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

I Timothy 1:9-10
We also know that the 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 the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers.

The legitimacy of anti-gay biblical verses

The translation and interpretation of the above biblical verses has been brought into question, often by people who would like both to practise Christianity and wholly experience their gay sexuality. Scholarly debate over the legitimacy of apparently anti-gay passages in the Bible includes, for example, placing those passages in proper historical context. Such research is presented in the following two works, examples of which I outline below.

Genesis 19:5
The verb ‘to know’ here does not have a sexual connotation and is used 943 times in the Old Testament, including ‘to know’ God. The people of Sodom’s sins were injustice, idolatry, inhospitality to strangers.

Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13
In the first five books of the Bible, which includes Leviticus, God addresses His chosen people, the Israelites, and gives them a Holiness Code to live by which is specifically for them at that period in time. It includes such laws as:

  • Leviticus 19:19
    Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.
  • Leviticus 19:27
    Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.

For reasons that are not apparent to us at this time, such laws would have made sense within that culture. At a time when the Israelites were trying to increase their population, a man should not waste his seed in non-pro-creative sex. The vast majority of Christians believe that they are not bound by these ancient laws.

Romans 1:26-27
Paul is notoriously difficult to translate, added to which this passage exists within the specific context of idolatrous religious practices.

I Corinthians 6:9-10 and I Timothy 1:9-10
The word in these verses that is translated as ‘homosexuals’ or ‘men who have sex with men’ is made up of two words, meaning ‘male’ and ‘bed.’ The word is not found anywhere else in the Bible nor in the literature of Paul’s time. It could equally be translated as ‘male prostitutes with female clients,’ which was a common practice in the Roman world.

Three different types of biblical law

Theologians have divided Old Testament laws into three types. These distinctions do not exist within the Bible itself. And these different types of laws co-exist in close proximity to each other, especially in the early books of the Old Testament.

  • Moral (for example, telling the truth)
  • Civil (for example, stoning an adulterer to death)
  • Ceremonial (for example, not wearing clothes made of two fabrics)

There is some confusion and disagreement around this today. Many Christians believe that the ‘ceremonial’ and ‘civil’ laws were based within time and culture and no longer apply, for example the law on not eating pork because it is unclean (Deuteronomy 14:8) was appropriate in a society without refrigeration.

The idea that Jesus came to create a New Covenant, which nullified the Old Testament ‘ceremonial’ and ‘civil’ laws is widespread. Many Christians believe that only Old Testament law that was repeated in the New Testament now applies (The last three of the six passages against homosexual acts appear in the New Testament). However Jesus is quoted as having said:

Matthew 5:17-19
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no 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.

It seems that many Christians are ignorant of the above theology and instead take the approach that any biblical teachings that are inconvenient for them to follow are “symbolic,” whereas anything convenient is to be taken literally. The anti-gay Leviticus passages are still quoted liberally, whereas the surrounding passages are ignored.

Biblical laws to keep homophobic Christians busy

Christians who like to take the above six passages as a literal, divine condemnation of homosexual acts, tend wilfully to ignore a hefty list of other biblical edicts. Those who quote Leviticus really need to be paying attention to all the biblical laws below. Those who quote only the New Testament passages need only obey all laws in the respective section below.

Old Testament

Exodus 22.18
Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

Exodus 31.15
Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day is to be put to death.

Leviticus 19:19
Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed.
Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.

Leviticus 19:27
Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.

Leviticus 20:18
If a man has sexual relations with a woman during her monthly period, he has exposed the source of her flow, and she has also uncovered it. Both of them are to be cut off from their people.

Leviticus 27:30
A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord.

Deuteronomy 14:8
The pig is also unclean; although it has a divided hoof, it does not chew the cud. You are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses.

Deuteronomy 14:9
Of all the creatures living in the water, you may eat any that has fins and scales. But anything that does not have fins and scales you may not eat.

Deuteronomy 15:1
At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts.

Deuteronomy 21:18-21
If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death.

Deuteronomy 22:5
A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.

Deuteronomy 22:8
When you build a new house, make a parapet around your roof so that you may not bring the guilt of bloodshed on your house if someone falls from the roof.

Deuteronomy 22:20-21
If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the young woman’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.

New Testament

Matthew 5:29
If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away.

Matthew 5:30
If your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away.

Matthew 5:39
If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

Matthew 5:40
If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.

Matthew 5:42
Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Matthew 5:44
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Matthew 6:25
Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.

Matthew 7:1
Do not judge.

Matthew 23:9
Do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.

Mark 7:10
Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.

Luke 14:26
If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:33
Those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

1 Corinthians 11:13-16
Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.

1 Corinthians 14:34-35
Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

1 Timothy 2:9
I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes.

1 Timothy 2:12
I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.

Are there any other good examples of often ignored biblical law that I have missed here?
Do you have any experiences of anti-gay Christians who don’t follow the above laws?

Posted on by natasha holme in Home page and tagged ,

4 Comments

  1. Posted November 17, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    I guess this page could be summarised down to two points;
    1. The passages that are claimed to depict homosexual relations as sinful, do not in fact do so.
    2. Conservative Christians pick and choose which parts of the Bible they follow, so if they are not being consistent, then their claims to follow the troublesome passages are unreasonable.

    In regards to claim #2, I think you have a point. But your point is not as strong as this page would suggest. The Bible (eg NIV) portrays male homosexual sex as being so serious that it prevents those sinners from going to heaven (1 Corinthians 6:9). IE it’s not an insignificant sin. And some of the sins in your list are generally regarded as not applying to Christians (EG Exodus 31:15 was superseded by Matthew 15:11 and Deuteronomy 14:8 was mitigated by Mark 2:27 etc).

    In regards to claim #1, the claims made above are not widely accepted. EG the claim that Romans 1 is made in the context of idolatory. True, but if you look at the phrasing, eg in verse 26, it seems that the criticism applies to the sexual acts themselves rather than being due to an idolatorous context. In regards to the word with component parts ‘men’ and ‘bed’ (arsenokoites), to claim that the word “could equally be translated as male prostitutes with female clients” is just not true. While the word is not completely free of ambiguity, the component parts are ‘men’ and ‘bed’ and there is no component part for ‘female’, so a female inference is far less likely than a male one. And furthermore, if you look up the relevant dictionaries for their definitions of the word, you find that the dominant translation is homosexual sex.

  2. Posted September 8, 2013 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Fuck you ass holes for hating gays. There’s nothing wrong with having gays there people to! If anyone is going to hell it’s going to be people like you.

  3. Kirk
    Posted April 4, 2014 at 4:02 am | Permalink

    I must say this is a very well-written post. You find strong arguments for your case. I admire the effort.

    • Natasha Holme
      Posted April 4, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      Thank you very much, Kirk. Having been brought up by a Bible-bashing father who believes that being gay is a sin, this is a subject close to my heart.

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