Homosexuality in the Bible
All this hullaballoo about homosexuality and the Bible. Doesn't anyone understand that most of the Bible was written anywhere from 3,200 to 1,900 years ago the Bronze Age and the Iron Age? Doesn't anyone understand that they didn't think out of anywhere the same terms, concepts, or zeitgeist as we moderns do? For heaven's sake, toilet paper wasn't invented until 1867!
The fact of the matter is, homosexuality was not a sin in Bible times. That won't do for today's holier-than-thou crowd, but it's a simple fact. In many cultures, including that of the Roman Empire, it was accepted that men on their way up in the world would have to pay their dues as an older man's catamite, and that successful men of the world deserved to have their own catamites. After all, women were not encouraged to leave their harems (private rooms, whatever you care to call them), and, then as now, men thought about sex roughly every four minutes, at least. How else were successful and powerful men supposed to (a) get their jollies and (b) flaunt to the world how successful and powerful they were?
There are exactly SIX verses in the entire Bible that appear to condemn homosexuality. Here they are:
- Genesis 19:1-3. In this passage, two angels arrive in Sodom in the evening. Our hero Lot, knowing that life is dangerous in Sodom, insists on sheltering them for the evening. But every man in Sodom, both heterosexual and homosexual, surrounds Lot's house. The gang demands that the angels come out for a little homosexual gang rape. Lot offers his virgin daughters for the gang-rape, but the men insist on the angels, so the men closest to the door are stricken blind. The angels announce that they, the angels, are about to destroy Sodom, empowered by Yahweh.
The sins that are condemned are inhospitality and gang-rape, and the gang-rape is planned by a gang that is composed of primarily heterosexual men husbands and fathers. (Heterosexuals, like right-handed people, comprise approximately 90 percent of humanity, both now and then.)
- Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. Both of these verses prohibit a physical impossibility, a man lying with a male as if with a woman. The priestly writers, writing down in about 530 BCE oral tradition dating from perhaps a thousand years earlier, make no mention of love between men or women of the same gender, much less fellatio, cunnilingus, or other ways of exchanging pleasure.
Remember, now, these verses date from at least 2,500 years ago, and the original oral tradition may be up to a thousand years older. There were only a few million human beings on the face of the planet; life was nasty, brutish, and short. People took seriously God's command to be fruitful and multiply. Indeed, if Jesus had been a bachelor, no one would have listened to a word he had to say, commandment-breaker that he would have been seen as.
Remember also that these are not the only two verses in Leviticus. If you're going to claim that homosexuals are sinners based on these two verses, you must also:
- keep kosher (ch. 11) as part of keeping kosher, you may eat no fat and no blood (3:16-17, 7:22, 17:10-16), meaning no potato chips, no French fries, no rare steak, etc.; you may eat no lobsters, clams, oysters, octopus, shrimp, or crawfish (11:12), no tuna casserole (mixes “meat” and milk), and no ostrich (11:16) or crocodile meat (11:30).
- You may wear no cotton-polyester blends, or any other kind of blend of fabrics (19:19).
- You shall not “defer to the great,” making President Bush's pandering to the wealthy explicitly sinful (19:15).
- You must observe Rosh Hoshanah, Yom Kippur, and the festival of Booths (23:23-43).
- If an insect or lizard crawls across your cookpot, you must break your cookpot into pieces and throw it away. (11:30) When this rule was written, cookpots were molded out of clay by the lady of the house. Today most cookpots are stainless steel or aluminum but if you're going to insist on 18:22 and 20:13, you must also insist on 11:30.
- You may not cross-breed animals (19:19). There's nothing in the Bible against cloning, however.
- You must stone Lance Burton and all other “wizards” to death; ditto for all astrologers and all mediums (19:26-27, 19:31, 20:6, 20:27).
- You may not have a tattoo (19:28).
- You must put Jenna Bush and her sister Barbara to death for the sin of sex outside of wedlock (20:10-16). Also most other citizens of the U.S. over the age of about 16 there's no statute of limitations in the Bible.
- A God-fearing man may not marry a divorcée or a rape victim (21:7). (Most of the rules in Leviticus pertain only to men, since women are considered subhuman by many of the authors the Bible.)
- If the daughter of a priest becomes a prostitute, she must be burned to death (21:9). How compassionate the priestly authors of Leviticus were!
- You will be exiled if you see a close relative naked, even accidentally (20:17-22).
- No priest may have acne or any other kind of blemish or physical imperfection (21:16-23).
- Anyone who blasphemes Marilyn Manson for example must be stoned to death (24:13-23).
- When a prisoner is executed in a capital punishment case, the executioner must also be put to death. Ditto for whoever puts the executioner to death. And so on, ad infinitum. (24:17, 21)
- It's perfectly all right with “the gods” (elohim) if you want to own slaves, but they may not be of the same nationality as yourself. Leviticus recommends that the U.S. obtain its slaves from Mexico, Russia, Cuba, and Greenland. (25:44-46; not Canada, because Canada is a dominion rather than a nation.)
- If you do not follow these rules, and many others, as scrupulously as you insist on applying these two verses of Leviticus, you are a hypocrite, and may safely be ignored.
- Romans 1:18-22. According to this passage, hardened idolaters are given up to lust and impurity. Heterosexual women commit “unnatural” acts, as do heterosexual men. Moreover, these idolaters are filled with every kind of wickedness and evil, from murder to gossip. The crime is idolatry, not homosexuality.
- 1 Cor. 6:9-10 and 1 Tim. 1:8-11. The first passage says, and this is an exact translation into modern colloquial English, “Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit God's Perfect World? Do not be deceived! Fornicaters, idolaters, adulterers, softies, manfkers, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers none of these will inherit God's Perfect World.” The second passage says, in modern English, The law is not for the innocent, but rather for the lawless, the ungodly, and unholy, for “those who kill their father or mother, for murderers, fornicaters, manfkers, slave traders, liars, perjurers,” etc.
St. Paul probably coined the word “manfkers.” The fact that these people are lumped in with serious criminals murderers, slave traders, perjurers, etc. shows that St. Paul did NOT mean to include all heterosexual women among the "manfkers." Nor did St. Paul include as serious criminals people who ingest a little marijuana (a common weed in his part of the world and era), sass their parents, or read other people's mail. “Softies” was probably meant to refer to the receiving partner in anal sex, but once again, no one brings up fellatio, cunnilingus, or other ways to exchange pleasure. I believe that with the word “manfkers,” St. Paul was once again invoking rape the first-century equivalent of the abuses that go on in men's prisons, NOT the first-century equivalent of mutual love and commitment.
So there we have it a condemnation of homosexual gang rape; two prohibitions of a physical impossibility (and by the way, Lev. 11:6 says very clearly that hares chew their cud!); a scare-tactics announcement of what happens to heterosexual men and women who engage in idolatry; and two condemnations of homosexual rape. Six verses out of 31,174, which in case you're interested is 0.000192468 percent. The Bible also contains 321 verses that condone slavery (1.0297 percent).
The verse in Genesis dates from approximately 920 B.C.E., although it is probably older. The verses in Leviticus were probably inscribed onto parchment around 500 B.C.E., when the highest level of technology available was the war chariot. The verses in Romans and 1 Corinthians date from approximately 60 C.E. The verses in 1 Timothy probably date from approximately 90-120 C.E.
Anyone who claims to be a Christian, however, is compelled to ignore these verses altogether, since they are superseded by the two Great Commandments: to love God with all one's heart and mind and soul and strength, and to love other human beings as much as you love yourself. Period. No exceptions. Jesus did NOT say, “except black people, except women, except homosexuals, except left-handed people, except children, except Romans (or Roman Catholics), except feminists, except liberals.” Jesus said EVERYONE.
If you just said, “Yes, but”, stop right there. “Yes, but” is NOT Christian.