This is long and I regret nothing.
This is long and I regret nothing.
Let’s start at the beginning. In the beginning, GOD created the heavens and earth (Gen. 1:1). Alright, maybe we won’t go that far back.
In Genesis 19 we find the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. To be brief, let’s have the short version: God sends angels to visit Lot and his lot (see what I did there?). The townspeople (at most, at least least LEAST all of the men) all come a-bangin’ on the door saying “We want to bone. We want to bone SO. HARD. Give us those visitors.” Lot offers his virgin daughters, which doesn’t appease the menfolk (once again ALL the menfolk in the town). The angels strike them blind then blasts the town to high heavens after Lot and co. leave, and then his wife looks back and she’s turned into a pillar of salt. All the deer in the area were happy.
Logistically, there is NO town where the entire male population is gay. It didn’t happen back then, and it doesn’t happen now. It was a desire to rape. It was a desire to tear down someone’s defenses and make them dirty. The story is about rape. It’s about how (while it doesn’t appear in the 10 Commandments) rape is reprehensible. Don’t believe me? Whabam.
I would point out that your source isn’t exactly convincing to those who don’t already share this position. Furthermore, there wasn’t a singular sin in Sodom; the idea that the issue can be reduced to one particular offense is an oversimplification.
“In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion” - Jude 1:7
Let’s move forward a bit to temple prostitution in Leviticus 18:22 (“Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; That is detestable”, NIV). This one is super easy. Like, easy as pie. It’s so easy that it makes your day breezy and light. It’s not about being gay. It’s about using sex to worship other deities. Boom.
I actually dislike discussing Levitican pronouncements on this subject due to the complex nature of the Old and New Covenants; namely, the old purity laws do not hold to Christians anymore.
But, sorry, while this did have a ritual cleanliness aspect, it was certainly related to same-sex relationships, and this was the way it was understood for both Jews and Christians for their entire history. Since it is from the Old Testament purity laws, this is actually one text regarding homosexuality that Christians will not really base their arguments on if they are smart.
But, if one wants to use it, a challenge: go through the history of Jewish thought and find where you find support for the idea that this passage has nothing to do with homosexual relationships, but simply and exclusively with worshiping a false god through sex.
Let’s go on to the most famous gay couple in the Bible-Jonathan and David. Oh, and David loved Jonathan more than any woman. How romantic. Of this dynamic couple, there are these verses: “When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.” (1 Samuel 18:1-4) You try telling me that doesn’t sound like they were so in love it hurt.
This is the poverty of our age. The fact that we cannot think of close relationships that don’t involve sexual tension is incredibly damaging. If one is very close to another person of whatever gender, this must inevitably involve romantic attraction.
I’m critical of this reading. Very critical. For it collapses any form of friendship as being, in a real sense, intimately inferior to a romantic relationship, which is seen as the very highest of interpersonal relationships. Friendships are considered, in this view, as an pre-romance phase, or else something set next to as a consolation prize.
I’m rambling here, but the idea that any sufficiently close relationship must be sexual in nature is something peculiar to contemporary times. One is reading their own cultural biases and expectations into the text.
You tell me that that doesn’t sound like a wedding of sorts. I will call you a dirty, filthy liar. And their debut as a couple was even traumatic, like many of us in the GLBTQ community have to deal with. Saul, Jonathan’s dad, told him that he was bringing shame on his family. He tried to kill David. He went as far as to say this: “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen [David] the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? For as long as the son of Jesse lives upon the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established.” (1 Samuel 20:30). As the link that will go with these states, showing the nakedness of the family member is incestuous, and therefore very shameful.
In their last meeting, this is what transpired: “David rose from beside the stone heap and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. He bowed three times and they kissed each other and wept with each other; David wept the more. Then Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in peace, since both of us have sworn in the name of the Lord, saying, “The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants, forever.” ’ He got up and left; and Jonathan went into the city.” (1 Samuel 20:41-42). Let me draw emphasis to “The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants forever”. When Christians get married, it’s said that the Lord is with them, that GOD is between them. You can’t convince me that theirs was not a relationship sanctioned by the God of the Bible.
Lastly, when David found that Jonathan had died, he writes a song. This song has in it this very famous quote: “Greatly beloved were you to me; your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women”. This wasn’t a bromance, guys. This was a head over heels romance. POW.
Again, this takes for granted a modern conception of friendship and romantic love. For most ages past in Western history, it was not unusual at all for men to feel emotionally closer to other men then their own wives. Johnathan’s and David’s love for each other was held up as an example of how true men should conduct themselves, as brothers-in arms view each other. It was actually utilized as an example for how knights should view their brother knights. To introduce this reading is to paper over the far more wholesome and wider view of friendship found in the ancient and medieval worlds that we have purposefully lost, collapsing all close relationships into, by some form of perceived necessity, sexual and romantic.
That’s a dangerous and incorrect reading.
Genesis 2:24 says “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother, and they will become one flesh”. Ruth 1:14 says “At this they wept again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye but Ruth clung to her”. In the very beginning of this book, we find our heroines after a famine. Naomi and her husband and kids move to this land called Moab. Here, the three menfolk died. Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah (Naomi’s mother-in-law) are left alone. As Orpah leaves to go back to Bethlehem after the men died, she begs Naomi to do the same. She can’t. As a matter of fact, she clung to Ruth like Adam and Eve clung to each other. Then, to throw more about their relationship out there, to make it clear as the sunshine in June, Ruth says “Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die-there I will be buried. May the Lord do thus and so to me, and more as well, if even death parts me from you!” (Ruth 1:16-17) Eventually, Ruth gets married to a man, but in the book, it’s not a marriage of love. It’s convenient, and when she gives birth to a son, it is said “…For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is more better to you than seven sons, has given him birth”. The relationship between those two women is far more important than any son (even though the child was David’s grandfather) or any man. There is an entire book of the Bible dedicated to the perfect relationship. And it’s a lesbian relationship. Bang.
Read what I wrote about Johnathan and David. It applies here also.
Well, that takes care of the Old Testament. OF COURSE nothing like that happened in the New Testament, right? Jesus wouldn’t associate with those types of people, right? Wrong.
Let’s start with Mathew 8:5-13. The story is of Jesus healing a Centurion’s servant. Interestingly, the word servant in ancient Greek is “Pais” which has three different meanings depending on context, meaning son, servant, or male lover. Yes. Male lover. These lovers were often younger than their masters. They were servants, but with a more sexual purpose, and this was acceptable in the time. Or course, now you can’t go out and buy a male lover, but let’s take into consideration all the things you could buy biblically, including a wife. Luke, who also writes of this, calls the slave an honored slave. This isn’t just some Joe Schmoe who does the laundry and gardening. This one’s special. This one is special enough that a man is coming out of his way to ask for Jesus to heal him. No other healing we read about is for someone outside of the person doing the asking’s family. He risked ridicule by this guy that he had only heard rumors about. Jesus came and healed him. He didn’t condemn him, nor did he turn him away. He just said, “I’ll be there. I’ll heal him, and don’t you worry.” Ka-chow!
This is a poor reading of this, based upon spurious speculation to fit the text to an ideological end. Why, why I ask, given your linguistic exposition of the word “Pais”, can it not be “son” or “servant”.
Oh, the word actually has more meanings than that. It also refers to fighting pairs, close comrades, brothers-in-arms, etc etc. One finds it referenced in Greek texts on military doctrine.
You seem very sure that your interpretation of this is correct. Yet knowing the surrounding cultures viewed homosexual behavior (poorly), and how the Romans viewed (it’s more about power relations and dominance then about romantic affection), you choose, by far, the most unlikely reading.
“But..but…but born that way? No! It has to be a choice!” Hahahaha no. Mathew 19:12 says “For some are eunuchs because they were born that way, others were made that way by men, and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept this.” A born eunuch is incredibly rare, and more commonly accepted is that a “born eunuch” was the term for a gay man. Baby, they were born that way, so says Jesus. Not everyone was born to get married. Don’t you think he’d know? Ka-pow!
Considering this has always been seen as a clear injunction to celibacy, you are reading in a peculiarly modern conception of romance into what would have been understood as a call to refrain from sexual relations, especially given what other things Christ spoke on the topic.
In Acts 8, we read of an Ethiopian eunuch who wished to learn the scriptures. Philip helps him, regardless of the fact that he’s someone that many would just pass on by. Now, this wasn’t just any eunuch. This was the Treasurer to the Queen of Ethiopia. What better guardian for a woman than someone who has no interest in women? It is commonly accepted that these men would not be interested in women at all, but rather men.
No, it is quite clear that the text is speaking about one who has been castrated. This was commonly done in many courts, as a way to make the person completely dependent upon the monarch for social standing, identification, and protection of Queens and princesses from assault.
The connotation you are giving it is simply not supported in ancient literature.
But let’s get back to our eunuch. He would have been told that he’s unacceptable in the eyes of God. He still is trying to learn, regardless. He’s interested in learning, and no one will help him until Philip shows up. Our friend Phil doesn’t discriminate. He doesn’t say that this Ethiopian dude’s interest in men is bad. He says that if you believe wholeheartedly, then there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be baptized. Boom.
There is nothing biblically saying that being gay is wrong. If anything, it’s praised and not hidden away. After all, didn’t Jesus say “Love the Lord thy God and love thy neighbor as thyself”? I don’t think he’d discriminate if the neighbor was gay.
Theologically speaking, the question about homosexuality is often confused. It isn’t orientation that’s the issue. If someone is attracted to both sexes, the same sex, different sex, no sex, or any combination, that isn’t really the problematic aspect. Desire isn’t sinful.
The focus is on the acts, not the orientation.
Furthermore, how would you interpret Romans 1:24-27?