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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. Bob

    Erik,2Cents,YeahRight,James,All re posted lies by boomerang so just read beyond these posts and if you see these names just ignore them.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • midwest rail

      Translation – " There are too many people refuting my made-up drivel, so I'll just accuse them all of being the same person and lying. " There ya go, Bob, fixed it for ya.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Who are you addressing, Bob? Do you really think there are people out there reading what you write and actually paying attention to you? Are you really that deluded?

      August 9, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • WASP

      and if you see bob, understand it to be a closet gay due aggressive attack on those that support equal rights as per this countrys founding doc-ument.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • YeahRight

      Bob, you've are a proven liar who's posts aren't based on any real facts. The posts that should be skipped over are the ones coming from you and your multiple handles, which we have caught you doing over and over again. How's that log in your eye. Duh!

      Bob, Douglas, Herbie, Pervert Alert, Junior, Nick, fred, etc...etc...

      August 9, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Cindy

      Christians read other Christians post and skip over the nonsense atheists write.

      August 9, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Cindi/Bob, please. You are beyond lame.

      August 9, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Robert

      "Christians read other Christians post and skip over the nonsense atheists write."

      Many of the posters denouncing Bob's prejudice view points are Christians.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  2. 100 Pastors Proclamation

    As Christian clergy we proclaim the Good News concerning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons and publicly apologize where we have been silent. As disciples of Jesus, who assures us that the truth sets us free, we recognize that the debate is over. The verdict is in. Homosexuality 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 sexual 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 sexual orientation, but how one lives by grace in relationship with God, with compassion 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 sexual 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.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Bob

      Actually the true translation is boomerang and cohorts are posting lies again that have already been answered with truth so why answer again you are to ignorant to listen and just as long as everyone knows that this is happening no one will care to answer knowing its a waste of time.

      August 9, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You haven't answered a thing, Bob. Stop lying. Answer the question: why are you so terrified of gays?

      August 9, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  3. James

    The scriptures actually say nothing about homosexuality as a psychosexual orientation. Our understandings of sexual orientation are distinctly modern ones that were not present in the minds of Scripture writers. A few passages of Scripture (seven at the most) object to certain types of same-sex expressions or acts. The particular acts in question , however, are sexual expressions which are exploitative, oppressive, commercialized, or offensive to ancient purity rituals. There is no Scriptural guidance for same-sex relationships which are loving and mutually respecting. Guidelines for these relationships should come from the same general Scriptural norms that apply to heterosexual relationships.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  4. YeahRight

    "Why must they be so hell bent on forcing their agenda on people who simply do not believe in it. They just can't accept the fact that the "Majority" do not believe in alternative lifestyles."

    wow are you dumb. Marriage was defined by the US Supreme Court as a civil right. 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.

    August 9, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  5. 2Cents

    This is about civil rights. The NAACP has passed a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage as a civil right, putting it stamp on an issue that has divided the black community.

    The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's board voted at a leadership retreat in Miami on Saturday to back a resolution supporting marriage equality, calling the position consistent with the equal protection provision of the US constitution.

    "The mission of the NAACP has always been to ensure political, social and economic equality of all people," board chairwoman Roslyn M Brock said in a statement. "We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law."

    Same-sex marriage is legal in six states and the District of Columbia, but 31 states have passed amendments to ban it.

    The NAACP vote came about two weeks after President Barack Obama announced his support for gay marriage, setting off a flurry of political activity in a number of states. Obama's announcement followed vice-president Joe Biden's declaration in a television interview that he was "absolutely comfortable" with gay couples marrying.

    "Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law. The NAACP's support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the fourteenth amendment of the United States constitution and equal protection of all people" said NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous, a strong backer of gay rights.

    Gay marriage has divided the black community, with many religious leaders opposing it. In California, exit polls showed about 70% of black people opposed same-sex marriage in 2008. In Maryland, black religious leaders helped derail a gay marriage bill last year. But state lawmakers passed a gay marriage bill this year.

    Pew Research Center polls have found that African Americans have become more supportive of same-sex marriage in recent years, but remain less supportive than other groups. A poll conducted in April showed 39% of African-Americans favor gay marriage, compared with 47% of white people. The poll showed 49% of black people and 43% of white people are opposed.

    The Human Rights Campaign, a leading gay rights advocacy group, applauded the NAACP's step.

    "We could not be more pleased with the NAACP's history-making vote – which is yet another example of the traction marriage equality continues to gain in every community," HRC president Joe Solmonese said in a statement.

    August 9, 2012 at 10:48 am |
  6. Erik

    "APA Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) was responsible for this change"

    Being gay is not a choice science, in fact, is actually not in dispute on this matter.

    All major medical professional organizations concur that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be changed, from gay to straight or otherwise. The American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and European Psychological, Psychiatric, and Medical Associations all agree with this, as does the World Health Organization and the medical organizations of Japan, China, and most recently, Thailand. Furthermore, attempts to change one's sexual orientation can be psychologically damaging, and cause great inner turmoil and depression, especially for Christian gays and lesbians.

    Reparative therapy, also called conversion therapy or reorientation therapy, "counsels" LGBT persons to pray fervently and study Bible verses, often utilizing 12-step techniques that are used to treat sexual addictions or trauma. Such Christian councilors are pathologizing homosexuality, which is not a pathology but is a sexual orientation. Psychologically, that's very dangerous territory to tread on. All of the above-mentioned medical professional organizations, in addition to the American and European Counseling Associations, stand strongly opposed to any form of reparative therapy.

    In my home country, Norway, reparative therapy is officially considered to be ethical malpractice. But there are many countries that do not regulate the practice, and many others that remain largely silent and even passively supportive of it (such as the Philippines). Groups that operate such "therapy" in the Philippines are the Evangelical Bagong Pag-asa, and the Catholic Courage Philippines.

    The scientific evidence of the innateness of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism is overwhelming, and more peer-reviewed studies which bolster this fact are being added all the time. Science has long regarded sexual orientation – and that's all sexual orientations, including heterosexuality – as a phenotype. Simply put, a phenotype is an observable set of properties that varies among individuals and is deeply rooted in biology. For the scientific community, the role of genetics in sexuality is about as "disputable" as the role of evolution in biology.

    On the second point, that there is no conclusion that there is a "gay gene," they are right. No so-called gay gene has been found, and it's highly unlikely that one ever will. This is where conservative Christians and Muslims quickly say "See, I told you so! There's no gay gene, so being gay is a choice!"

    Take this interesting paragraph I found on an Evangelical website: "The attempt to prove that homosexuality is determined biologically has been dealt a knockout punch. An American Psychological Association publication includes an admission that there's no homosexual "gene" – meaning it's not likely that homosexuals are 'born that way.'"

    But that's not at all what it means, and it seems Evangelicals are plucking out stand-alone phrases from scientific reports and removing them from their context. This is known in academia as the fallacy of suppressed evidence. Interestingly, this is also what they have a habit of doing with verses from the Bible.

    This idea of sexuality being a choice is such a bizarre notion to me as a man of science. Many of these reparative "therapists" are basing this concept on a random Bible verse or two. When you hold those up against the mountain of scientific research that has been conducted, peer-reviewed, and then peer-reviewed again, it absolutely holds no water. A person's sexuality – whether heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual – is a very deep biological piece of who that person is as an individual.

    The fact that a so-called "gay gene" has not been discovered does not mean that homosexuality is not genetic in its causation. This is understandably something that can seem a bit strange to those who have not been educated in fields of science and advanced biology, and it is also why people who are not scientists ought not try to explain the processes in simple black-and-white terms. There is no gay gene, but there is also no "height gene" or "skin tone gene" or "left-handed gene." These, like sexuality, have a heritable aspect, but no one dominant gene is responsible for them.

    Many genes, working in sync, contribute to the phenotype and therefore do have a role in sexual orientation. In many animal model systems, for example, the precise genes involved in sexual partner selection have been identified, and their neuro-biochemical pathways have been worked out in great detail. A great number of these mechanisms have been preserved evolutionarily in humans, just as they are for every other behavioral trait we know (including heterosexuality).

    Furthermore, there are many biologic traits which are not specifically genetic but are biologic nonetheless. These traits are rooted in hormonal influences, contributed especially during the early stages of fetal development. This too is indisputable and based on extensive peer-reviewed research the world over. Such prenatal hormonal influences are not genetic per se, but are inborn, natural, and biologic nevertheless.

    Having said that, in the realm of legal rights, partnership rights, and anti-discrimination protections, the gay gene vs. choice debate is actually quite irrelevant. Whether or not something is a choice is not a suitable criterion for whether someone should have equal rights and protections. Religion is indisputably a choice, but that fact is a not a valid argument for discriminating against a particular religion.

    August 9, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  7. YeahRight

    "these are all reposts lights on nobody home so don't bother."

    Poor Bob is desperate to justify his unfounded prejudice and hatred of the gay community. He is a classic case of a homophobic. LOL! Just remember when you read his posts under all his various names that he uses that it comes from a place of hate and willful ignorance!

    August 9, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  8. Bob

    We all know the claims that the gays and atheists make saying that all professionals say gay is ok well the reasoning is not scientific study as I have said before. It was political pressure the kind they brought against Chick Fil A. This is lying and subversive and manipulative tactics we see are the only thing they have to justify their cause. I have posted below the reasons that there were changes to the diagnosis of gay and none of it had to do with science or studies. As they lie about the acceptance of gays so they lie about the Bible don't let them. The gays are to blame but as we see here the socialists and atheists are even more so. One of the reasons that this all changed was to come into line with other countries definitions and nothing to do with reality or what we here in the US or wanted.
    The third
    edition of the APA Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) was responsible for this change. The paradigm shift in mental health diagnosis in the DSM-III was neither a product of growing scientific knowledge nor of increasing medicalization. Instead, its symptom-based diagnoses reflect a growing standardization of psychiatric diagnoses. This standardization was the product of many factors, including: (1) professional politics within the mental health community, (2) increased
    gov involvement in mental health research and policymaking, (3) mounting pressure on psysts from health insurers to demonstrate the effectiveness of their practices,,,, Alan Stone, president of the APA in 1976, concluded that social psy and social activism, “carrying psyc on a mission to change the world, had brought the profession to the edge of extinction” (Wilson, 1993, p. 402) so Boomerange care to rethink who is the liar here???

    August 9, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • midwest rail

      8,026 responses, and at least 10, maybe 15 % are from one person. Yep, obsession is a mental disorder.

      August 9, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • WASP

      @bob: seek help for your paranoid delusions. the gays folks and atheists aren't out to get you. we do not live in a socialist nation, nor is anyone other than big business attempting to set up that type of government. everyone has equal protection under the law, we are merely pointing out that a group is being excluded from that protection due to s-e-x-ual orientation; and attempting to correct that wrong..........kindof how it was done for females and minorities in the 60's and 70's. if you don't like progression forward then you are free to live in a cave.

      August 9, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • Bob

      Wasp after the lies and manipulation of the Bible by all here to get gay marriage bludgeonly approved I really am not interested in what you have to say. All that are in opposition should have learned to present the facts instead of relying on deceit and ridicule and ,manipulation. It shows a character that nothing matter except getting your own way. Facts don't matter, respect,, regardless if you feel you are not being respected and caring all thrown out the window. So anything you could say well is irrelevant. I have found that every dirty trick and lie that the atheists and gays have accused the Christians of doing they have actually done. I applaud the Christians that stood for this disgusting behavior and know what is in store for us if gay marriage is approved. Which is only the tip of the iceberg as far as problems. I plan to continue to reveal the truth against the lies posted here.

      August 9, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The person exhibiting the most hate and disrespect here is you, Bob. You have presented NO facts. None. You've lied repeatedly. You are exactly the sort of xenophobe the makes all Christians look bad.

      Who in their right mind would want to be ANYTHING like you?

      August 9, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Paul

      @Bob Being gay is not a crime and it is not a sin. Stop using God to justify your prejudice. Religion is about loving one another. You're just looking for an excuse to hate

      August 9, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • WASP

      @bob: the declaration of independence states that same gender marriage is protected, don't believe me read the thing docu-ment that founded this great nation.
      "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

      now to clearify " endowed by their creator" my wife and i both contributed equal parts of our DNA to create my son, thus ALL humans have the same rights to be happy.
      given there are things such as arranged marriage, marrying livestock and marrying genetic relations that are dubbed illegal due to the endangerment of not just the human population, but also on the grounds that a minor nor livestock can CONSENT to anything as covered by american law.
      oh and one more thing the only freaks i've ever seen trying to marry their daughter to a man three times her age or wanting to marry animals have ALWAYS been you religious freaks, so if the gays and atheists are so evil; why is it the religious that are doing all the messed up stuff in history?

      August 9, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  9. Bob

    75 percent of this page are re posts from other pages that this one loser atheist, yeah has re posted. No longer is his name yeah but boomerang he is like the troll under the bridge that you have to pay to cross. The terrible thing is they don't even know how stupid they are subjecting all to their dribble over and over again.So if you read this page know most of it is guarded by boomerang and not relevant at all. JP,,Shawn,,Matthew,,YeahRigtht/alias boomerang,,John,, these are all reposts lights on nobody home so don't bother.

    August 8, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You failed math, didn't you Boob? It shows. Most of the posts here are from you and they would embarrass anyone who passed 3rd grade.

      August 8, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "75 percent of this page are re posts from other pages that this one loser atheist, yeah has re posted. No longer is his name yeah but boomerang he is like the troll under the bridge that you have to pay to cross."

      This is why Bob has been proven a liar over and over again on this blog. Plus the fact that they have been busted over and over again using multiple handles show the hypocrisy of this poster. What an idiot. LMAO! LOL!

      August 9, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  10. Nick

    yeahright: you must be the one with reading comprehension issues. Keep on LYAO!

    Judith: did I say ANYTHING about "hate" or "bigotry"??? The "alternative lifestyle" folks are the ones full of hate, thus they protest Chick-fil-A for simply standing up for what they believe in, & then go to the restaurants to flaunt "kisses"? Why must they be so hell bent on forcing their agenda on people who simply do not believe in it. They just can't accept the fact that the "Majority" do not believe in alternative lifestyles.

    August 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why must they? Ever hear of Rosa Parks?

      August 9, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  11. Jackie

    The Levitical laws do not apply to Christians in light of Christ's fulfillment of the law. The other very few references to same-sex behavior are in a context very far removed from loving relationships. The statements you find in the Bible about homosexuality were written for a specific audience at a specific time and place and are not relatable to 21st century gays in committed relationships.

    August 8, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  12. JP

    Is homosexuality a sin?

    Self-indulgence is a sin. But the relationship of two people of the same sex may or may not be self-indulgent.

    Abusing the neighbor is a sin. But the exploration of relationships among homosexuals as they search for partners, evaluate their existing formative relationships, and relate to each other may or may not be abusive.

    Disobeying what God commands in the Bible is a sin. But, we have biblically-derived criteria for assessing and applying specific commands by reading them against larger themes.
    Turning your back on God is a sin. Homosexuals are often among those who have turned their back on the church, and may be sinning because they also rejected the God they found in church. The church needs to be in mission to homosexuals with the message of Jesus and who God really is.

    Yielding to your passions, even celebrating them is a sin. Homosexuals do include those who have done this. But it is not an inherent aspect of being gay.

    Since we see people who have dedicated themselves to God, and for whom their gay sexual life is integrated into that decision and we see that their sexuality does not draw them away from church we must conclude that being and living gay is not a behavior in and of itself that produces pain to the neighbor and leads one away from God.

    By the criteria the scripture sets for us for what is godly life, and by the reasoning scripture asks us to employ, homosexuality cannot be described as against God’s law.

    If this seems like a rather quiet sort of justification for homosexuality, then perhaps it is because the grand clichés of this debate have been shouted at us for too long. But look at the Bible: it's demands and vision cut across all categories, not staying on the surface but penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart, rejecting all forms of self-justification, all forms of attack on the "other " and all forms of escape from God's assessment of our behavior. How on earth could we have ever thought that a series of flat rules was all God wanted to tell us on morality?

    August 8, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  13. Shawn

    Let me start this off with a quote from a famous lesbian, Lynn Lavner:

    "There are 6 admonishments in the Bible concerning homosexual activity, and our enemies are always throwing them up to us – usually in a vicious way and very much out of context.

    What they don't want us to remember is that there are 362 admonishments in the Bible concerning heterosexual activity. I don't mean to imply by this that God doesn't love straight people, only that they seem to require a great deal more supervision."

    I am going to attempt to keep this short and simple, so here we go.

    Some claim that Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 clearly say that homosexual sex is an abomination. In fact, it merits death. Isn't it obvious that God hates homosexuality?

    Yes, depending on which translation you are using, Leviticus does say, "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female, it's an abomination." However, a few points must be made about this statement:

    a) It appears in Leviticus, which was given to preserve the distinctive characteristics of the religion and culture of Israel. However, as stated in Galatians 3:22-55, Christians are no longer bound by these Jewish laws. Even if you, for some reason, argue that these "laws" are still important, then you surely follow all of them, right?

    It is interesting that people who use Leviticus against the gay community forget the part that talks about religious sacrifices, making women sleep in tents outside during their period, the dietary restrictions placed on them and how to cleanse a leper, all of which appear in Leviticus.

    The laws of Leviticus are completely obsolete for today's Christian; however, even if you do claim to live by the laws of Leviticus, it is not fair to pick and choose which laws you are going to live by, or condemn a people by, if you are not going to follow the others. You should not need any more convincing evidence than this; but if you do, be my guest.

    b) The word that was in the original work, "to'ebah," which was translated into Greek as "bdglygma" actually means "ritual impurity" rather than abomination (or enormous sin). These passages in Leviticus can be translated to not mean homosexual sex generally, but only limiting homosexual sex in Pagan temples.

    c) This passage does not denounce homosexual behavior as a whole, but just the specific act of anal sex. This was meant for the prevention of disease. It was ruled unclean because it was physically unclean; however, hygiene has made wonderful advances since that time.

    d) These passages in Leviticus can be interpreted in many ways. I have seen it interpreted by scholars and priests to mean: "don't have sex with another man in your wife's bed;" "don't have sex with another man in the temple;" and "don't have sex with another man and pretend he is a woman," just to name a few.

    I have never seen an interpretation in any Bible, or from any scholar, that specifically says to never have sex with a man.

    Some claim the Bible simply does not support gay marriage. Chapter two of Genesis defines marriage as a holy union between a man and a woman. And later, in Matthew 19:4-5, Jesus himself reiterates the traits of a traditional marriage. How can you argue that anything other than celibacy is honorable for gay and lesbian people?

    Yes, marriage is a holy union. However, in these passages, while Jesus reiterates (but does not require) the traditional marriage, he also provides an exception for eunuchs (castrated men – or otherwise impotent men, in today's terms), and allowed them to be married, saying that this law is given to those to whom it applies.

    Because these eunuchs were born sexless, God made an exception for them because it was natural. The same applies to the Gay community today. Science has proven homosexuality is completely natural, so it seems God would allow for homosexual marriages.

    In Matthew 19: 4-5, Jesus encourages a traditional path, but does not discourage alternatives, except in the case of divorce.

    Jesus did stress purity of marriage, but not in regard to the sexes of the people within it. It can be seen that the reason that churches are against homosexual marriage is not because it is explicitly said by God, but because of a lack of instruction to specifically allow it.

    In the time that the Bible was written it would have been impossible to foresee the future to be able to specifically allow or forbid homosexual marriage.

    Some claim, in Paul's letter to the Corinthians, he lists homosexuals amongst the many sinners who will not inherit the kingdom of God. Doesn't that make God's position on this vice very clear?

    If we look at the other types of people listed in this passage, we can understand what it is actually talking about. Law breakers, thieves, adulterers and drunks are specifically mentioned. The word "homosexual" was not found until the 1890s, so it would have been impossible for it to be in the original version.

    What actually appears in the original is Paul condemning those who are "effeminate" and "abusers of themselves with mankind." In this context, the original Greek word, "malakos," is translated into effeminate, or soft, which, more than likely, refers to someone who lacks discipline or moral control.

    In this passage, when Paul condemns "abusers of themselves with mankind," he is speaking of male prostitutes.

    Then there are the people who claim that, even though science has proven that people don't choose their sexual orientation, the fact remains that homosexuality is unnatural. Romans 1:26-27 tells us that humans have a sinful nature, and therefore commit sins against God. Certain people are predisposed to be alcoholics and pedophiles, but that doesn't make their actions any less immoral. God tells us to "tear out your eye" if it makes you stumble. Why can't you just accept homosexuality as the part of your nature you must deny?

    Because the Bible has gone through so many translations, and through the hands of many people (some being non-believers), it is not surprising that the meaning has become a little fuzzy in parts.

    Homosexuality is normal. The phrase "para physin" appears in the original text for this verse. This term is often translated to mean "unnatural;" however, more accurate translation would be unconventional.

    Proof for this can be found in 1 Corinthians 11:14 where Paul uses this phrase to refer to men with long hair (unconventional, not unnatural) and in Romans 11:24 where Paul uses this phrase to refer to the positive action God made to bring together the Jews and Gentiles.

    All in all, homosexuality is obviously not a sin, unless you take passages from the Bible and add your own words or you just try really hard to interpret it that way. Let's just remember Galatians 5: 14, where Paul stated, "the whole Law is fulfilled in one Statement, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'

    August 8, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • pmclean1319

      Just wanted to say thank you for such an informative and well thought out response. I honestly learned something.

      August 9, 2012 at 8:29 am |
  14. Matthew

    Homosexuality is not a sin according to the Bible. Any educated Christian would know that. Scholars who have studied the Bible in context of the times and in relation to other passages have shown those passages (Leviticus, Corinthians, Romans, etc) have nothing to do with homosexuality. These passages often cherry-picked while ignoring the rest of the Bible. The sins theses passages are referring to are idolatry, prostitution, and rape, not homosexuality. That’s why Jesus never mentions it as well. There is nothing immoral, wrong, or sinful about being gay. Jesus, however, clearly states he HATES hypocrites. If you preach goodness, then promote hate and twist the words of the Bible, you are a hypocrite, and will be judged and sent to hell. Homosexuals will not go to hell, hypocrites will. This is very similar to the religious bigots of the past, where they took Bible passages to condone slavery, keep women down, and used Bible passages to claim blacks as curses who should be enslaved by the white man. People used God to claim that blacks marrying whites was unnatural, and not of Gods will.

    August 8, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  15. Bob

    See the spider’s web, and behold in it a most suggestive picture of the hypocrite’s religion. It is meant to catch his prey: the spider fattens himself on flies, and the Pharisee has his reward. Foolish persons are easily entrapped by the loud professions of pretenders, and even the more judicious cannot always escape. Philip baptized Simon Magus, whose guileful declaration of faith was so soon exploded by the stern rebuke of Peter. Custom, reputation, praise, advancement, and other flies, are the small game which hypocrites take in their nets. A spider’s web is a marvel of skill: look at it and admire the cunning hunter’s wiles. Is not a deceiver’s religion equally wonderful? How does he make so barefaced a lie appear to be a truth? How can he make his tinsel answer so well the purpose of gold? A spider’s web comes all from the creature’s own bowels. The bee gathers her wax from flowers, the spider sucks no flowers, and yet she spins out her material to any length. Even so hypocrites find their trust and hope within themselves; their anchor was forged on their own anvil, and their cable twisted by their own hands. They lay their own foundation, and hew out the pillars of their own house, disdaining to be debtors to the sovereign grace of God. But a spider’s web is very frail. It is curiously wrought, but not enduringly manufactured. It is no match for the servant’s broom, or the traveller’s staff. The hypocrite needs no battery of Armstrongs to blow his hope to pieces, a mere puff of wind will do it. Hypocritical cobwebs will soon come down when the besom of destruction begins its purifying work. Which reminds us of one more thought, viz., that such cobwebs are not to be endured in the Lord’s house: he will see to it that they and those who spin them shall be destroyed for ever. O my soul, be thou resting on something better than a spider’s web. Be the Lord Jesus thine eternal hiding-place. A new piece for all

    August 8, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • YeahRight

      "How does he make so barefaced a lie appear to be a truth?"

      Bob you choose this scripture because it really applies to yourself. You know that log in your eye concept. LOL! You've been proven a liar over and over again which is why you should practice what you posted hypocrite. The REAL truth is 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."

      August 8, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Bob

      The third
      edition of the APA Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) was responsible for this change. The paradigm shift in mental health diagnosis in the DSM-III was neither a product of growing scientific knowledge nor of increasing medicalization. Instead, its symptom-based diagnoses reflect a growing standardization of psychiatric diagnoses. This standardization was the product of many factors, including: (1) professional politics within the mental health community, (2) increased
      gov involvement in mental health research and policymaking, (3) mounting pressure on psysts from health insurers to demonstrate the effectiveness of their practices,,,, Alan Stone, president of the APA in 1976, concluded that social psy and social activism, “carrying psyc on a mission to change the world, had brought the profession to the edge of extinction” (Wilson, 1993, p. 402) so Boomerange care to rethink who is the liar here???

      August 9, 2012 at 7:08 am |
    • YeahRight

      Poor Bob has reading comprehension issues and 480,000 experts have proven you WRONG! You are so desperate to justify your hate that it's hysterical. The laws are changing because the facts speak for themselves, something you don't have. LOL!

      Oh by the way people, this is at least the third or fourth re-post of this comment proving that Bob is a liar and a hypocrite. LMAO! LOL! LOL! LOL!

      August 9, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  16. Douglas

    The good book welcomes our GLBTQ brothers and sisters at the foot of the cross where every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. As the move toward celib@cy gains momentum, more and more of our GLBTQ brothers and sisters will come back home and reap the rewards of salvation. Two lesbians, Julie and Amber, are out, proud, and celibate and are active members of our prayer group. Extend the hand of fellowship to our GLBTQ brothers and sisters and help them on to victory at the foot of the cross.

    Best,
    Douglas

    August 8, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • YeahRight

      "The good book welcomes our GLBTQ brothers and sisters at the foot of the cross where every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. As the move toward celib@cy gains momentum, more and more of our GLBTQ brotehrs and sisters will come back home and reap the rewards of salvation"

      Bob I thought were against copying and pasting and using mulitple handles. LOL! Again idiot, gays are normal human beings and deserve to have loving long term intimate relationships.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."

      August 8, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  17. YeahRight

    "If you think this is not a real effort to change the mentality and try to brainwash each and everyone of us look at how many times this lying pointless post is reposted ask yourself who is doing this?"

    The only one who is lying and using bogus reports to support their unfounded prejudice and bigotry is YOU. 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."

    August 7, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Bob

      If you will look at Yeahs posts you will see that the topic starts with one or two lines that are new the rest is the same stuff that has been proven wrong before. This is a great example of trying to program everyone without any truth and facts just repeating it over and over and over again.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And your posts are more of the same sh!t, piled higher and deeper, Booby. You haven't posted a single fact, just a rehash of your own silly prejudices and ignorance. You've proven nothing whatsoever about the facts Yeah has written. That's why he posts them for you over and over-he and others are waiting for you to prove that what is posted is untrue.

      All this time and you can't even figure out how to cite any reliable source that backs up your silly nonsense.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • YeahRight

      "If you will look at Yeahs posts you will see that the topic starts with one or two lines that are new the rest is the same stuff that has been proven wrong before"

      This is another great example of Bob's lies since all the major organizations disagree with his prejudice view point and he has posted bogus prejudice reports over and over again. His lying alone proves he is only a prejudice bigot.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  18. Bob

    If you think this is not a real effort to change the mentality and try to brainwash each and everyone of us look at how many times this lying pointless post is reposted ask yourself who is doing this?

    August 7, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • YeahRight

      "pointless post is reposted ask yourself who is doing this?"

      That's why you do the same thing over and over again. What a liar.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  19. John

    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 .

    August 6, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Nick

      God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness
      Romans
      18 For kthe wrath of God lis revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be mknown about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, nhave been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,7 in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they obecame futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 pClaiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and qexchanged the glory of rthe immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

      24 Therefore sGod gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to tthe dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for ua lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, vwho is blessed forever! Amen.

      26 For this reason wGod gave them up to xdishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, ymen committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

      28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, zGod gave them up to aa debased mind to do bwhat ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know cGod’s righteous decree that those who practice such things ddeserve to die, they not only do them but egive approval to those who practice them.

      August 6, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Bob

      Nick good one :)

      August 6, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "23 and qexchanged the glory of rthe immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things."

      Yo – moron, did you just skip over this part of the scripture or what. They were using sex to worship a pagan god. Duh! it has nothing to do with what we now know about the long term loving relationship of a gay couple. You might want to look into your poor reading comprehension skills. LMAO!

      August 7, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Judith

      @Nick Bigotry or prejudice in any form is more than a problem; it is a deep-seated evil within our society.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  20. tay

    I would love to share this with you and your guest...It's a truth ministry that can help...
    Please click on the link or go to You tube and type in "TGHC Conroe". New messages are posted every week!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myUfzeQuEK8&feature=relmfu
    ...start at 26:23

    and

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fe8ZfFEVArE
    ...start at 22:15

    LOL in Christ

    August 6, 2012 at 12:47 am |
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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.