It always drives me a bit crazy when I hear people “quoting” the Bible especially when it’s obvious that they know little about what they are quoting. It gets worse when people try to use the Bible to justify their persecution of homosexuals.
To put things in perspective… did you know that the Bible contains more than 31,000 verses? There are less than a dozen verses that say anything about a sexual act between men. Looking at simply the numbers of verses , it’s clear that the Bible was much more concerned about other things… oh like… gluttony, greed, economic condition, and treatment of fellow human beings.
There are only nine biblical passages that are invoked by people who wish to justify their persecution of homosexuals. The verses are:
- Deuteronomy 23:17
- I Kings 14:24
- I Kings 22:46
- II Kings 23:7
- Leviticus 18:19-23
- Leviticus: 20:10-16
- Romans 1:26-2:1
- I Corinthians 6:9-11
- I Timothy 1:10
The Deuteronomy and Kings passages simply forbid prostitution by both men and women. What more can be said?
The Leviticus passages are part of the Holiness Code. This code prohibits eating raw meat (Sushi anyone?), planting 2 different kinds of seeds in the same field (Whoops, there goes crop rotation and many of our gardens), wearing garments that are made from 2 different kinds of yarns (Guess I need to get rid of my silk and cashmere sweater), tattoos (Ok…a lot of people in this day are going to hell), adultery (How many people are guilty of this?), sexual intercourse during menstruation (Medical science tells us this is entirely normal and completely healthy.), and homosexual acts. The point here is we focus on one taboo and say that the others are excusable? Many of us need to drop our self-righteous pretensions if we’re to use these passages as justification for persecution. If you accept one rule as “God’s law,” don’t you have to accept them all?
The last 3 references are the most cited. All these references originate from St. Paul. He was concerned with homosexuality because it was one of the behaviors that represented sensuality and something that was contrary to his spiritual idealism. Lust and sensuality in anyone was considered abnormal and a sin by his ideology. To say that homosexual lust and sensuality is different than heterosexual lust and sensuality is not logical and makes no sense. For St. Paul anyone who put their interest ahead of God was condemned and that condemnation falls equally on everyone — not just homosexuals.
Passages in the Bible have been used by advocates of slavery; they have been used to keep white churches white; the Bible has been used to justify sexism and to keep women quiet; it has been used to justify things that many of us would consider as wicked and evil but it has also been used as an inspiration to liberate many people including blacks and women. It includes metaphors of redemption, renewal, inclusion and love which belong to and are applied to everyone and not just the exclusive domain of the religious right.