Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Bible & Homosexuality

About 25 years ago someone showed me a pamphlet entitled "What the Bible Says about Homosexuality."

I opened it, and the inside was blank--a powerful statement.

Most of what we think the Bible says about "homosexuality" is wrong.

In the Genesis account of Sodom and Gomorrah, the actual sins involved are gang rape by heterosexual men  and inhospitality (to the extent of violence) toward guests.

In Romans and other New Testament letters, words that are translated as "homosexual" or "homosexuality" refer to situations that involve adultery or temple prostitution.  

There is no statement about long-term, faithful commitment between two men or two women.

Jesus made no statement on homosexuality, though he spoke up against casual divorce, which was available to men in first-century Israel but not to women.

Nevertheless, opposition to all things same-sex has become associated with Christianity in public debate in the last thirty years.

In my course on Women and Religion, we follow current news in the areas of religion and women's issues, so lesbian and gay issues in the news come up.  Because we don't have time to address them fully in the classroom, I did a lecture on the subject, available on YouTube with this link:

This past week there has been renewed interest in the issue of gay rights because the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's Proposition 8.

Don't jump to conclusions about what the Bible says just because the Roman Catholic Church and the Mormon Church put millions of dollars into getting Proposition 8 passed in 2008.  Find out for yourself what the Bible says.

There are many books on the subject--such as:

Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? Another Christian View by Letha Dawson Scanzoni and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott (Harper & Row, 1978)

Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality by John Boswell (University of Chicago Press, 1980)

The Church and the Homosexual by John McNeill (Sheed, Andrews, & McNeel, 1976)

What God Has Joined Together? A Christian Case for Gay Marriage by Letha Dawson Scanzoni and David G. Myers (HarperCollins, 2005).   

For a quick introduction to the few passages in the Bible that may seem to make a statement on homosexuality, use the YouTube link above.

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