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My Take: What the Bible really says about homosexuality
The author argues that the meaning of the Bible's passages on homosexuality have been lost in translation.
May 15th, 2012
05:39 PM ET

My Take: What the Bible really says about homosexuality

Editor's note: Daniel A. Helminiak, who was ordained a priest in Rome, is a theologian, psychotherapist and author of “What the Bible Really Says about homosexuality" and books on contemporary spirituality. He is a professor of psychology at the University of West Georgia.

By Daniel A. Helminiak, Special to CNN

President Barack Obama’s support of same-sex marriage, like blood in the water, has conservative sharks circling for a kill. In a nation that touts separation of religion and government, religious-based arguments command this battle. Lurking beneath anti-gay forays, you inevitably find religion and, above all, the Bible.

We now face religious jingoism, the imposition of personal beliefs on the whole pluralistic society. Worse still, these beliefs are irrational, just a fiction of blind conviction. Nowhere does the Bible actually oppose homosexuality.

In the past 60 years, we have learned more about sex, by far, than in preceding millennia. Is it likely that an ancient people, who thought the male was the basic biological model and the world flat, understood homosexuality as we do today? Could they have even addressed the questions about homosexuality that we grapple with today? Of course not.

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Hard evidence supports this commonsensical expectation. Taken on its own terms, read in the original languages, placed back into its historical context, the Bible is ho-hum on homosexuality, unless – as with heterosexuality – injustice and abuse are involved.

That, in fact, was the case among the Sodomites (Genesis 19), whose experience is frequently cited by modern anti-gay critics. The Sodomites wanted to rape the visitors whom Lot, the one just man in the city, welcomed in hospitality for the night.

The Bible itself is lucid on the sin of Sodom: pride, lack of concern for the poor and needy (Ezekiel 16:48-49); hatred of strangers and cruelty to guests (Wisdom 19:13); arrogance (Sirach/Ecclesiaticus 16:8); evildoing, injustice, oppression of the widow and orphan (Isaiah 1:17); adultery (in those days, the use of another man’s property), and lying (Jeremiah 23:12).

But nowhere are same-sex acts named as the sin of Sodom. That intended gang rape only expressed the greater sin, condemned in the Bible from cover to cover: hatred, injustice, cruelty, lack of concern for others. Hence, Jesus says “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:19; Mark 12:31); and “By this will they know you are my disciples” (John 13:35).

How inverted these values have become! In the name of Jesus, evangelicals and Catholic bishops make sex the Christian litmus test and are willing to sacrifice the social safety net in return.

The longest biblical passage on male-male sex is Romans 1:26-27: "Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another."

The Greek term para physin has been translated unnatural; it should read atypical or unusual. In the technical sense, yes, the Stoic philosophers did use para physin to mean unnatural, but this term also had a widespread popular meaning. It is this latter meaning that informs Paul's writing. It carries no ethical condemnation.

Compare the passage on male-male sex to Romans 11:24. There, Paul applies the term para physin to God. God grafted the Gentiles into the Jewish people, a wild branch into a cultivated vine. Not your standard practice! An unusual thing to do — atypical, nothing more. The anti-gay "unnatural" hullabaloo rests on a mistranslation.

Besides, Paul used two other words to describe male-male sex: dishonorable (1:24, 26) and unseemly (1:27). But for Paul, neither carried ethical weight. In 2 Corinthians 6:8 and 11:21, Paul says that even he was held in dishonor — for preaching Christ. Clearly, these words merely indicate social disrepute, not truly unethical behavior.

In this passage Paul is referring to the ancient Jewish Law: Leviticus 18:22, the “abomination” of a man’s lying with another man. Paul sees male-male sex as an impurity, a taboo, uncleanness — in other words, “abomination.” Introducing this discussion in 1:24, he says so outright: "God gave them up … to impurity."

But Jesus taught lucidly that Jewish requirements for purity — varied cultural traditions — do not matter before God. What matters is purity of heart.

“It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles,” reads Matthew 15. “What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”

Or again, Jesus taught, “Everyone who looks at a women with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Jesus rejected the purity requirements of the Jewish Law.

In calling it unclean, Paul was not condemning male-male sex. He had terms to express condemnation. Before and after his section on sex, he used truly condemnatory terms: godless, evil, wicked or unjust, not to be done. But he never used ethical terms around that issue of sex.

As for marriage, again, the Bible is more liberal than we hear today. The Jewish patriarchs had many wives and concubines. David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, and Daniel and the palace master were probably lovers.

The Bible’s Song of Songs is a paean to romantic love with no mention of children or a married couple. Jesus never mentioned same-sex behaviors, although he did heal the “servant” — pais, a Greek term for male lover — of the Roman Centurion.

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Paul discouraged marriage because he believed the world would soon end. Still, he encouraged people with sexual needs to marry, and he never linked sex and procreation.

Were God-given reason to prevail, rather than knee-jerk religion, we would not be having a heated debate over gay marriage. “Liberty and justice for all,” marvel at the diversity of creation, welcome for one another: these, alas, are true biblical values.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Daniel A. Helminiak.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Gay marriage • Opinion

soundoff (8,832 Responses)
  1. YeahRight

    "Enact laws that the majority of voters voted against and the list goes on."

    Well DUHHHHH Bob it's how our consttution was written so that the majority don't suppress the minorities with their bogus ideals that aren't based on any facts. It's why marriage was defined by the US Supreme Court as a civil right in the interracial marriage case back in 1967. Recognized federal civil rights law in the United States is grounded in the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. By this standard, marriage has long been established as a civil right.

    The operative constitutional text is section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1868. The relevant passages read as follows:

    No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws

    A federal appeals court on May 31st ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional because it denies equal rights for legally married same-sex couples, making it likely that the Supreme Court will consider the politically divisive issue for the first time in its next term. This most likely will be decided in the courts and since most courts keep ruling in gays favor they should be able to over turn all the unconstitutional laws prejudice bigots have been trying to pass.

    July 3, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  2. Proclamation

    As Christian clergy we proclaim the Good News concerning Lesbian, Gay, Biseixual and Transgender (LiGBiT) persons and publicly apologize where we have been silent. As disciples of Jesus, who asisures us that the truth sets us free, we recognize that the debate is over. The verdict is in. Hoimoseixuality is not a sickness, not a choice, and not a sin. We find no rational biblical or theological basis to condemn or deny the rights of any person based on seixual orientation. Silence by many has allowed political and religious rhetoric to monopolize public perception, creating the impression that there is only one Christian perspective on this issue. Yet we recognize and celebrate that we are far from alone, as Christians, in affirming that LGBT persons are distinctive, holy, and precious gifts to all who struggle to become the family of God.

    In repentance and obedience to the Holy Spirit, we stand in solidarity as those who are committed to work and pray for full acceptance and inclusion of LGBT persons in our churches and in our world. We lament that LGBT persons are condemned and excluded by individuals and institutions, political and religious, who claim to be speaking the truth of Christian teaching. This leads directly and indirectly to intolerance, discrimination, suffering, and even death. The Holy Spirit compels us:

    -to affirm that the essence of Christian life is not focused on seixual orientation, but how one lives by grace in relationship with God, with compasision toward humanity;

    –to embrace the full inclusion of our LGBT brothers and sisters in all areas of church life, including leadership;

    –to declare that the violence must stop. Christ’s love moves us to work for the healing of wounded souls who are victims of abuse often propagated in the name of Christ;

    –to celebrate the prophetic witness of all people who have refused to let the voice of intolerance and violence speak for Christianity, especially LGBT persons, who have met hatred with love;

    Therefore we call for an end to all religious and civil discrimination against any person based on seixual orientation and gender identity and expression. All laws must include and protect the freedoms, rights, and equal legal standing of all persons, in and outside the church.

    July 2, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Bob

      Very interesting mr proclamation but with no name, no church, no scriptures, its no way gay enjoy the day. There is no support for gays in the Bible.

      July 2, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      More manure from the Boob, piled higher and deeper.

      July 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Now watch while he calls me the 'antichrist'.

      July 2, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • YeahRight

      Bob, It's the letter a hundred clergy men signed in apology to the gay community. LMAO! You really don't know crap about this subject do you. LOL!

      July 2, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Bob

      I wouldn't know why 100 clergy out of thousands would write a letter to the gays unless they themselves are gay and want to start a church for gays. Now you have a built in congregation, the pharisees in Jesus time didn't want Him because they worried about loosing their church.

      July 2, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You wouldn't know why? Gee, maybe they realize that gays aren't damned or evil, Boob. Maybe they're not as ignorant as you are. Maybe they're more concerned with loving others than excluding them.

      July 2, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Bob

      Some times love takes doing whats right not glossing over whats wrong. If you love someone you dont let them continue in sin or on the wrong path.

      July 2, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yeah, right. Calling them "perverts" is very loving. Clueless Boob.

      July 2, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Bob

      Speaking of the wrong path, other Bob, you can sure be sent down the wrong path by following the evil instructions in the Christian book of nasty AKA the bible, wherein you see horrid demands from Christian god like these, in both New Testament and Old:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.

      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      July 2, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Bob

      Evil Bob ,,,,,you make a great argument to return to the days when God did indeed kill people for sin, at least we wouldn't have to deal with the likes of you. But in every scripture you gave God was actually protecting Israel against people like yourself that would lead them away to worship other gods. something this society does on a regular basis. Corporations worship money and not the people they sell products to. The gov thinks they are above the people and don't care if they strip the middle class of all the money and protect their rich buddies. Enact laws that the majority of voters voted against and the list goes on. I will choose my God over any of the current directions that man has been saying are so great. I trust Him more than I trust you or anyone else, to determine my future. You are a moron with moronic ideals and I sure wouldn't want you anywhere near my life,even to think that anything you say could turn me away from God who has given me my possessions healed me and even protects me and my friends and family is just inconceivable. You see I am not a Sunday Christian but one who loves the Lord and has a relationship with Him. I know you don't understand this and as most that read this. But the Christians will know and understand and that is important. You are a product of someones mistake, your belief, ideals, vengeance are a product of sin and someone not making the right decisions and not having a relationship with God. People often wonder why the world has become so harsh well this is why, we are dealing with the product of sin.Now I realize that you are probably a cut and paste phantom but it doesn't matter either.

      July 3, 2012 at 7:30 am |
    • Bob

      Tom I never said perverts you betray your own thoughts on gays and your own language.

      July 3, 2012 at 7:31 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yes. You did. And more than once.

      July 3, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  3. Michael

    This one goes out to all you fundamentalist Christians out there. Selah! I may be too narrow addressing this to just the fundamentalists. Many traditional Christians also fit the bill. Really, it’s anyone who believes that homosexuality is a sin, and that somehow God, infinite and eternal creator and sustainer of the very Universe, is ‘against’ a tiny human behavior that harms no one. So, in other words, uneducated and ridiculous people everywhere.

    Officially, the majority of Christian churches say that homosexual behavior is a sin, thus proving that the theologians behind those churches don’t understand their own Bible. There are a whole bunch of goofball laws written down in the Old Testament that everyone ignores. Why is being bigoted toward homosexuals the one people latch onto?

    The various Christian brands go through the Old Testament, picking and choosing the parts they consider cool. No one accepts the whole thing. No one. I mean, when was the last time a cheating spouse was actually put to death in keeping with the commandments of the Bible?

    Using the Old Testament to determine if something is a sin is simply a matter of human and not godly opinion. It’s meaningless and certainly not ‘the word of God’. His teachings aren’t some basket of fruit for you to pick over. You either have to accept the old law in its entirety and start killing lots and lots of people or reject it in its entirety. Hand-picking the stuff you like is bogus, especially when you only pick the stuff that seems to legitimize your meanness to other people.

    So the Old Testament is out.

    Before we all start playing REM’s “Losing My Religion,” consider this denying someone the right to marry is not Christian, and certainly not American.

    The people who are opposed to gay marriage, and by extension, gayness itself have no excuse. They are bigots and bigots alone. They can’t use their special book to justify their hate, even according to the special book itself. They have no one to thank but themselves. They take the Lord’s name in vain and feel righteous about it

    Yes, they take the Lord’s name in vain. Most people believe incorrectly that this commandment is about cussing, but it’s not. It’s about using God for yourself, for your own vain (personal) ends. They hold the Bible in the air and use it like a bitch to bolster their own prejudices and bigotry and hate and that is vanity, all is vanity.

    The teachings of Christ are plain enough: love and forgiveness, tolerance and healing, acceptance and rebellion. Nothing more, nothing less. Nothing more needed. Add what you will to it, it still won’t be from the Christ. It will come from your own (black?) heart.

    Jesus Christ is the origin of the word ‘Christian’. Perhaps we should pray about that a bit more.

    Today’s Christians tend to be followers, accepting of the notion that religion is just a box built by someone else into which they must stuff their spirit. They are naive and willingly line up like lemmings wherever told. They have a casual ignorance that tells them the Beast will come in the obvious guise of science or secularism or liberality. They cannot conceive of the Father of Lies actually lying to them.

    Sinclair Lewis said that when fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying the cross. When the Beast comes to the world, you can bet your sweet ass he will be thumping the Bible and preaching a hate disguised as love.

    July 2, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Bob

      So a majority of the churches dont support gay marriage and they are the ones that are in error. YUP I CAN SEE IT TOO. It couldn't possibly, maybe,,pulling out of thin air,,, that you have the wrong idea could it????

      July 2, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  4. Bob

    Co 7:2 But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.
    1Co 7:3 The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.
    1Co 7:4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
    1Co 7:5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
    1Co 7:6 But this I say by way of concession, not of command.
    Deu 22:5 "A woman shall not wear man's clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman's clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God.

    June 28, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Cut-and-paste, cut-and-paste. Can't you come up with anything else, you nimrod?

      June 28, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      So, Bob, what consti.tutes man's clothing or women's clothing? Given the alledged perfection of The Babble, I assume there's a definitive list to guide the faithful.

      June 28, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yeah, it's funny that nothing in the Bible describes pants, briefs, shorts, skirts, blouses, dresses, bras, panties, hosiery, high heels, flats, thongs, or any other clothing, Bobby.

      June 28, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  5. YeahRight

    "Jill thanks that is probably the best rebuttal I have heard yet."

    Heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

    June 28, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  6. Bob

    Hey you guys who want gay marriage may have bigger worries the big O gave I.5 billion to the Mus Brotherhood and they are here in the US to establish Sharia law. Tampa is the meeting ahead of the picking of a candidate and then the national meeting.

    June 28, 2012 at 7:21 am |
  7. Seriously

    I don't get why Bob is called self-righteous when he's simply quoting scripture. Why attack an individual who believes in something different than you (in his case, the words in the Bible as a moral code for living a life pleasing to God) if you're seeking equality? Who's being hypocritical now???

    June 27, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
  8. lc

    Well last time I check the bible stated "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". Leviticus 20:13

    June 26, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  9. Vic

    @ Bob. Even Gandhi was a great admirer, if not a follower, of Jesus. As he famously said "I like your Crist, but I don't like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ".
    It is time for christians to start acting like christians. Stop judging and just show love and respect for people. It is not up to us to judge.

    June 25, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
  10. Toma Joel

    Thus says The Lord concerning that which is obvious, a warning made plain, which shall go greatly unheeded by those with veiled heads: This is but the first of many things, which men in the churches have built up in their pride, that shall be struck!...

    For they build themselves up for show, a false goodness...

    Foolish servants, who forsake the poor and the needy,
    In favor of the praises of men...

    FALSE GLORY! Says The Lord in His jealousy.

    For their works are perverse in My sight, and their words contemptible. Therefore, because they have robbed Me, I will rob them. I will tear them in pieces, with every foundation collapsing... No wall shall be left standing... And they shall become as those, whom they have forsaken. And they shall no more preach from their finely-crafted pulpits, standing tall among all their expensive ornaments, broadcasting lies with all their purchased devices.

    I am The Lord!...

    I will not share My glory!...

    Neither shall they pollute My name, anymore!

    Behold, all these great churches of men,
    Who have accomplished great gain in the world,
    Shall become the offscouring among the nations...

    Says The Lord.

    http://www.TrumpetCallofGodonline.com

    June 24, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  11. Bob

    And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
    Rom 8:3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent His own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin's control over us by giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins.
    Rom 8:4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
    Rom 8:5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.
    Rom 8:6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.
    Rom 8:7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God's laws, and it never will.

    June 22, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  12. Bob

    yeah john janet all cut and paste same dribble different day all a lie

    June 21, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • .

      That log in your eye must be huge.

      June 22, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Bob

      Sorry I am not condemning anyone I don't have to I am just rightly speaking the word of God if you feel condemned then maybe you have the problem.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  13. YeahRight

    "God knows you,, made you,, and gave you a life,"

    That includes the gay community. Heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of SocialWorkers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured."

    June 21, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  14. John

    "'If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act;"

    Some argue that since homosexual behavior is "unnatural" it is contrary to the order of creation. Behind this pronouncement are stereotypical definitions of masculinity and femininity that reflect rigid gender categories of patriarchal society. There is nothing unnatural about any shared love, even between two of the same gender, if that experience calls both partners to a fuller state of being. Contemporary research is uncovering new facts that are producing a rising conviction that homosexuality, far from being a sickness, sin, perversion or unnatural act, is a healthy, natural and affirming form of human sexuality for some people. Findings indicate that homosexuality is a given fact in the nature of a significant portion of people, and that it is unchangeable.

    Our prejudice rejects people or things outside our understanding. But the God of creation speaks and declares, "I have looked out on everything I have made and `behold it (is) very good'." . The word (Genesis 1:31) of God in Christ says that we are loved, valued, redeemed, and counted as precious no matter how we might be valued by a prejudiced world.

    There are few biblical references to homosexuality. The first, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, is often quoted to prove that the Bible condemns homosexuality. But the real sin of Sodom was the unwillingness of the city's men to observe the laws of hospitality. The intention was to insult the stranger by forcing him to take the female role in the sex act. The biblical narrative approves Lot's offer of his virgin daughters to satisfy the sexual demands of the mob. How many would say, "This is the word of the Lord"? When the Bible is quoted literally, it might be well for the one quoting to read the text in its entirety.

    Leviticus, in the Hebrew Scriptures, condemns homosexual behaviour, at least for males. Yet, "abomination", the word Leviticus uses to describe homosexuality, is the same word used to describe a menstruating woman. Paul is the most quoted source in the battle to condemn homosexuality ( 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 and Romans 1: 26-27). But homosexual activity was regarded by Paul as a punishment visited upon idolaters by God because of their unfaithfulness. Homosexuality was not the sin but the punishment.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul gave a list of those who would not inherit the Kingdom of God. That list included the immoral, idolaters, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, and robbers. Sexual perverts is a translation of two words; it is possible that the juxtaposition of malakos, the soft, effeminate word, with arsenokoitus, or male prostitute, was meant to refer to the passive and active males in a homosexual liaison.

    Thus, it appears that Paul would not approve of homosexual behavior. But was Paul's opinion about homosexuality accurate, or was it limited by the lack of scientific knowledge in his day and infected by prejudice born of ignorance? An examination of some of Paul's other assumptions and conclusions will help answer this question. Who today would share Paul's anti-Semitic attitude, his belief that the authority of the state was not to be challenged, or that all women ought to be veiled? In these attitudes Paul's thinking has been challenged and transcended even by the church! Is Paul's commentary on homosexuality more absolute than some of his other antiquated, culturally conditioned ideas?

    Three other references in the New Testament (in Timothy, Jude and 2 Peter) appear to be limited to condemnation of male sex slaves in the first instance, and to showing examples (Sodom and Gomorrah) of God's destruction of unbelievers and heretics (in Jude and 2 Peter respectively).

    That is all that Scripture has to say about homosexuality. Even if one is a biblical literalist, these references do not build an ironclad case for condemnation. If one is not a biblical literalist there is no case at all, nothing but prejudice born of ignorance, that attacks people whose only crime is to be born with an unchangeable sexual predisposition toward those of their own sex.

    June 21, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  15. Janet

    "God knows you,, made you,, and gave you a life,, so anything that is not of God in your life is a conflict with how your made."

    The Biblical condemnation of homosexuality is based on human ignorance, suspicion of those who are different, and an overwhelming concern for ensuring the survival of the people. Since the Bible regards homosexuality as a capital crime, it clearly assumes that homosexuality is a matter of free choice, a deliberate rebellion against God. We have learned from modern science that people do not choose to be gay or straight; hence it is neither logical nor moral to condemn those whose nature it is to be gay or lesbian.

    June 21, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  16. Bob

    If you have the Holy Spirit in your life then these king of false interpretations don't happen. Why because He is the Spirit of truth and will tell you all things that the Father says He will convict and warn you when things are not right. it is really easy to silence His speaking to you the more you don't listen or follow His lead the smaller His voice becomes the louder your own becomes. The Bible says quite alot about Him and Jesus ministry didn't start till He was baptized in the Spirit. It was the Spirit that had the power for Jesus to do the miracles He did. Yes Jesus is God but also our model He was a man no different in most ways to each one of us. If your walk is dry no life having trouble in reading the Bible or having trouble really feeling the presence of the Lord then ask and you shall receive. The Bible talks about the Father gives good gifts find out the best and find out why He said I didn't leave you as orphans. God knows you,, made you,, and gave you a life,, so anything that is not of God in your life is a conflict with how your made. Its not worth keeping either it will be a distraction a hindrance and it will turn you away from God. Its not worth it, There is no greater peace, love and joy than knowing in fullness our Lord. It is not religion but relationship it is knowing the author not just the words. Want to walk in power peace protection and joy then know whose you are FOR SURE.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • Jill

      Bob, don’t obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent. Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently.

      So there brown stare. Feed your inner walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril.Think about how you can stripe the sea.

      Trundle the bosun over the carport incessantly in Cairo, but fear not the egglant and discarded loom chagrin. Wendy isn't watching you from the submarine with pancakes and rabbits. If there was, you wouldn't be so turbulent.

      Garbage out just like the candle in the kitty so. Go, go, go until the vacuum meets the upward vacation. Sell the yellow. Then trim the bus before the ten cheese please Louise. Segregate from the koan and stew the ship vigorously.

      And remember, never, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

      June 22, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Bob

      Jill thanks that is probably the best rebuttal I have heard yet., Makes much more sense than yeah or tom or any of the rest at least it also wasn't a lie was not full of deception and has humor wasn't a cut and paste even if it was meant wrong. Thanks

      June 22, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  17. Bob

    Had a great afternoon talking to a Iranian woman who accepted Jesus. It was really interesting she was filled with the Holy Spirit and loves the Lord. What a blessing she is but she is one tough cookie. She would also go to the prisons for ministry and talk to the girls. They didint like what she had to say in the beginning but then as things progressed they came and said how much they liked her and that she never changes. She told me how she got saved and how Jesus appeared to her and she didn't know what was expected of her. She had to ask again for confirmation it was Him and He appeared again and then she felt so much different lighter and the cares of the world lifted from her. It was then as she went through her day happy that she realized that indeed there was something to this after all.Its funny when people don't know how to be with the Lord she said that she didn't want to tell anyone at first because they may think she was crazy. Just a real presence of the Lord and good fellowship. Thank you Jesus

    June 20, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I had a great afternoon with Queen Elizabeth II! We had tea at Buckingham Palace and then strolled in St. James Park. What a lovely day! Tea with scones and clotted cream and strawberry preserves!

      Wonderful.

      June 20, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Jade

      Tom, if you don't care then why even bother commenting? Just because you don't believe in God doesn't mean others don't.

      June 21, 2012 at 2:41 am |
    • Jill

      Bob, don’t obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent. Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently.

      So there brown stare. Feed your inner walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril.Think about how you can stripe the sea.

      Trundle the bosun over the carport incessantly in Cairo, but fear not the egglant and discarded loom chagrin. Wendy isn't watching you from the submarine with pancakes and rabbits. If there was, you wouldn't be so turbulent. Stew it, you precipice.

      Garbage out just like the candle in the kitty so. Go, go, go until the vacuum meets the upward vacation. Sell the yellow. Then trim the bus before the ten cheese please Louise. Segregate from the koan and stew the ship vigorously.

      And remember, never, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

      June 22, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  18. YeahRight

    "'If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them."

    Christians don't follow Leviticus anymore, it's part of the Holiness Code, a ritual manual for Israel's priests.. So are you going to tell women now they have to marry their rapists and all the other sins listed in that particular scriptures? Duh!

    June 20, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Bob

      yeah like you would know

      June 20, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • TC

      Bob, let's make this simple. Do YOU follow ALL of the laws for ancient hebrew priests in the Holiness Code? If not, why not, when you quote those laws to others?

      Can you point to ANY Christian groups who do as well?

      June 22, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Bob

      Lets be clear if you have Jesus as Lord and don't follow the codes that are the basis for the Holiness code then you would really have to question the walk of that person. I will say this when Jesus came the code did change but Jesus made it very clear He didn't come to abolish the law. He did also change the eating of animals, sacrifices, forgiveness of sins and the way and relationship we have with God. But as for the law they are still there. Sin is sin.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Bob

      Then why aren't you out killing gays, fornicators, unruly children, and hunting down witches?

      June 22, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Bob

      Silly Hawaii we are hunting the witches, right here

      June 22, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  19. Stephanie

    Finally, someone with sense to acknowledge what all the mistranslations and wrong interpretations of the bible have done to the world. Thank you Mr. Helminiak!!! The voice of reason in a desert of misunderstanding!

    June 20, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Bob

      you a lesi too?

      June 20, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • TC

      Bob, are you trying to say that anyone who cares about gay folks must also be gay? If so, you are saying that Jesus himself was gay, since he loved us enough to die for us ALL.

      June 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Bob

      Gays can and do accept Jesus and God will be the one to judge, but in being gay it is a sin like any other but we don't perpetuate sin we abolish it in our lives. We don't nurture it and allow it to bring us into other sins it is seldom that we sin only one sin even a lie can be two three or four sins it multiples.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  20. Bob

    'If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.

    June 19, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why are you not dead, then, boob? You're the one ogling the dr@g queens in South Beach.

      Better tighten that tin-foil chapeau, boob. Lightning can strike you at any time, you closeted little coward.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Bob

      if you ever get to SB look me up Ill be more than happy to discuss this face to face

      June 20, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So you'll be the one with the royal blue and green striped stuffed cod-piece and the huge red hat that's embossed with the phrase "We are Family", right, Boob?

      June 20, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Jade

      Tom, you are a self righteous jerk. Sorry to say.

      June 21, 2012 at 2:44 am |
    • TC

      This doesn't apply to a gay man, of course. Not only are the laws for ancient Hebrew priests not applicable today, but NO gay man lies with another man in the way he would lie with a woman.
      He's GAY, for goodness sake – he wouldn't be with any woman in the first place.

      June 22, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Bob

      Maybe you shold tell us how it goes since you seem to know.

      June 22, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Bob

      Maybe you should tell us how it goes since you seem to know.

      June 22, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.