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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

    "To take it a step further, you notice that the GLBTQ apologists keep trying to hitch their wagon
    to the NAACP and Loving v. Virginia in an attempt to leverage off the legitimate civil rights legal struggles that
    blacks enagaged in over time. As General Colin Powell stated, it is a convenient tie but unfortunately inaccurate."

    Yo moron, the NAACP is already fighting for the rights of gays and lesbians because they know that ignorant people like you are trying to block their civil rights. Yes, marriage was defined as a civil right. Duh!

    These rights include:
    Tax Benefits
    -–Filing joint income tax returns with the I R S and state taxing authorities.
    -–Creating a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.
    Estate Planning Benefits
    -–Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.
    -–Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.
    -–Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.
    -–Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse – that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse's behalf.
    Government Benefits
    -–Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
    -–Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
    -–Receiving public assistance benefits.
    -–Employment Benefits
    -–Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.
    -–Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
    -–Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.
    -–Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse's close relatives dies.
    Medical Benefits
    -–Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
    -–Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.
    Death Benefits
    -–Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
    -–Making burial or other final arrangements.
    Family Benefits
    -–Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.
    -–Applying for joint foster care rights.
    -–Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.
    -–Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.
    Housing Benefits
    -–Living in neighborhoods zoned for "families only."
    -–Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.
    Consumer Benefits
    -–Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.
    -–Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.
    -–Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.
    -–Other Legal Benefits and Protections
    -–Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).
    -–Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).
    -–Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can't force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
    -–Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.
    -–Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
    -–Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.

    August 16, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  2. YeahRight

    YeahRight

    “Rather, it is an appeal for lawmakers to ignore those differences in order not to deny citizens the right to call things what they want to call them. “

    You are so clueless on the subject of prejudice and bigotry. So what you want to go back all allow people to call African American’s the n word. So you want to go back to the idea that women should be barefoot and pregnant. That is such a stupid argument, the laws are changing because this is about DISCRIMINATION!

    “It is a version of an appeal for the protection of free speech, and in this case it is a demand that the speech of particular persons carry the authority to define the structure of reality without regard to the basis of past decisions. “

    Well….DUH – because this is about protecting the rights of a minority from prejudice bigots like you. Duh!

    “The anti discrimination principle is appealed to not in order to show that some married couples have previously been denied the recognition of their marriage. Rather the anti discrimination principle is being used to ask that no citizen be denied the right to call something what he or she wants to call it.:

    This is one of the most stupid arguments, the laws come about because prejudice people like you want to oppress a minority group because of your hate and ignorance.

    “Hetero marriage partners will still be able to engage in inter course and procreate children; h0m0 partners will still not be able to engage in such intercourse. Pregnancy will still be possible only by implanting a male sperm in a female egg, whether that is done by inter course inside or outside of marriage, The only thing that will change is that the law will mistakenly use the word "marriage" to refer to two different kinds of se intimate human relationships. If this happens, we will need to pay close attention to the consequences”

    The problem with your stupid argument is there are straight couples that produce children the same way gays do because they are infertile. If you use your lame argument for marriage definition than infertile straight couples should be denied a marriage license as well. DUH!!!!!!!! Oh and by the way that would represent somewhere in the neighborhood of 6.7 million women who should be denied marriage because of the infertility. LMAO! LOL!

    August 16, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  3. Bob

    The answer they want is to change the law based on the principle that reality is defined by the will of individuals, but here, you see, is the slight of hand. The appeal now being made for h0m0 marriage rights is not an appeal for lawmakers to reconsider past decisions about similarities and differences between hetero and h0m0 relationships. Rather, it is an appeal for lawmakers to ignore those differences in order not to deny citizens the right to call things what they want to call them. It is a version of an appeal for the protection of free speech, and in this case it is a demand that the speech of particular persons carry the authority to define the structure of reality without regard to the basis of past decisions. The anti discrimination principle is appealed to not in order to show that some married couples have previously been denied the recognition of their marriage. Rather the anti discrimination principle is being used to ask that no citizen be denied the right to call something what he or she wants to call it. If h0m0 relationships are, in this manner, legally recognized as marriages, no realities will change. Hetero marriage partners will still be able to engage in inter course and procreate children; h0m0 partners will still not be able to engage in such intercourse. Pregnancy will still be possible only by implanting a male sperm in a female egg, whether that is done by inter course inside or outside of marriage, The only thing that will change is that the law will mistakenly use the word "marriage" to refer to two different kinds of se intimate human relationships. If this happens, we will need to pay close attention to the consequences

    August 15, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Douglas

      Bob,

      Brilliant analysis.
      To take it a step further, you notice that the GLBTQ apologists keep trying to hitch their wagon
      to the NAACP and Loving v. Virginia in an attempt to leverage off the legitimate civil rights legal struggles that
      blacks enagaged in over time. As General Colin Powell stated, it is a convenient tie but unfortunately inaccuate.

      You see, you can't stand on moral high ground when you have NAMBLA marching with you in your "Pride Parade".
      NOTE: After NAMBLA was exposed, the GLBTQ Pride parade people asked them to keep low key, sort of like the crazy uncle you keep under wraps so nobody knows it runs in the family.

      You can't stand on moral high ground when HIV infected gay men are under no legal obligation to warn their "partners" and acquaintances that they harbor and can easily transmit the disease through filthy and disgusting acts of depravity that would make a sailor blush.

      You can't stand on moral high ground when you take the Holy Bible and say that all passages prohibiting same-s@x coitus don't apply to you because this is 2012 and the shrinks tell me it is OK to tongue out the termination of the alimentary canal of my "partner".

      The whole thing is pathetic, but it is revealing to see these truths played out here in this forum so graphically by the GLBTQ apologists who have no shame.

      Great work Bob. You remain the heavyweight champ in this forum. It is time for the GLBTQ apologists to take their marbles and go home.

      Best, Douglas

      August 16, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • Bob

      Officials will be required to recognize as a marriage any fleshly Intimate bond between two people who want to call themselves married. Which means that there will no longer be any basis for deciding legally between a hetero union and a h0m0 relationship. Which means that there will be no legal basis for restrictions against a h0m0 couple obtaining children in any way they choose, for such restrictions would be discrimination. And it will mean that when a mature mother and son, or father and daughter, or trio or quartet of partners comes to the courts or to the marriage bureau to ask that their fleshly active relationship be recognized as marriage, there will be no legal grounds to reject the requests. Because it would be now unjust to recognize hetero marriage as something exclusive and different from h0m0 relationships, then it will be unjust not to grant the request of other partners to call their fleshly intimate relationships marriage.

      August 16, 2012 at 7:32 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Your crystal ball(s) are defective, Booby. Best return them and get a new set.

      You can attempt to predict whatever you dream up in your fevered, shallow little brain pan. We don't base our laws on what might happen. We base them on the preservation of rights and protections. Have any laws been passed that fulfill your dire predictions in states where gay marriage is already legal? No? Then what's your rationale for insisting such will happen, you nincompoop?

      August 16, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • YeahRight

      "Which means that there will be no legal basis for restrictions against a h0m0 couple obtaining children in any way they choose, for such restrictions would be discrimination."

      Your prejudice and bigotry is hysterical because the experts have already stated that social science has shown that the concerns often raised about children of lesbian and gay parents—concerns that are generally grounded in prejudice against and stereotypes about gay people—are unfounded. Overall, the research indicates that the children of lesbian and gay parents do not differ from the children of heterosexual parents in their development, adjustment, or overall well-being.

      August 16, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Furthermore, you blithering idiot, "obtain children in any way they choose'? What kind of nut-case ARE you? Do you think kidnapping will suddenly become legal, you moron? Gays in some states have to go through far more legal rigmarole to adopt than straights do. If gay marriage were legal, why would you think they'd be given some right to "obtain children" that is any less rigorous than the legal processes straights must follow?

      How can you be this stupid and still remember to breathe?

      August 16, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • tallulah13

      Bob is a champion of little more than hysterical conjecture. His best (and only) weapon is his complete ignorance. Too bad for Bob that the rest of the civilized world is starting to recognize that ignorance-based discrimination is immoral.

      August 16, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • YeahRight

      "Because it would be now unjust to recognize hetero marriage as something exclusive and different from h0m0 relationships, then it will be unjust not to grant the request of other partners to call their fleshly intimate relationships marriage."

      Prejudice stupid people use to say the same thing when whites where trying to marry African Americans. We all know that their prejudice and hatred weren't based on any real facts. Exactly the same issue with Bob here, so understand when you read his posts why prejudice like this so WRONG and bad for our society.

      August 16, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  4. YeahRight

    "Gays cannot procreate so why should they marry,"

    This is how dumb Bob is gays have Children and the experts have stated social science has shown that the concerns often raised about children of lesbian and gay parents—concerns that are generally grounded in prejudice against and stereotypes about gay people—are unfounded. Overall, the research indicates that the children of lesbian and gay parents do not differ from the children of heterosexual parents in their development, adjustment, or overall well-being.

    As for why they should be allowed to marry it's because marriage is a civil right and has nothing to do with your god. 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 15, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Bob

      So then the way you apply the law the fact that you cant marry your sister or brother or child is against the law now so they should be allowed to do that too??

      August 15, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "So then the way you apply the law the fact that you cant marry your sister or brother or child is against the law now so they should be allowed to do that too??"

      This shows again how clueless you are, incest and being a pedophile is illegal. Duh! LMAO! Keep showing the world you're prejudice is based on lies and not facts. LOL!

      August 15, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Bob

      So what about sister brother marriages you didn't address that. Lets see if you ever will

      August 15, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • Bob

      Same feces different post what a loser

      August 15, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "So what about sister brother marriages you didn't address that. Lets see if you ever will"

      Once again folks Bob proves his really bad reading comprehension skills. Well duh moron...did you miss the word incest in my post. LMAO! Thanks for continuing to prove my point about you to the world. LOL!

      August 15, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Bob

      Can you say sodomy??

      August 15, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • YeahRight

      Obviously you don't understand the definition since it has to do with straight couples. LMAO!

      August 17, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  5. Henry James

    Believing and Truth are not the same thing. When you believe in spite of the evidence to the contrary, it just makes you confident and wrong. This closed mindedness prevents you from learning the real Truth. If you do not allow yourself to learn Truth then you are swimming upstream against the current of reality and make your life harder than it has to be. Often it is not you that pays the most for your beliefs but those closest to you. Many times the people that realize you are wrong and do not want you ruling their life and making it worse. I wonder how many families have been destroyed due to sons and daughters being shunned out of intolerance?

    August 15, 2012 at 1:34 am |
  6. Bob

    I am the LORD.You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination So when it says you shall not lie with a female as with a male and before this they talk about relationships that couldn't mean that we are talking about any physical contact it could it? Like not only paid relations but also no relationship that is physically intimate? Or are you saying God doesn't know how to communicate correctly.What I have found to those new here they post the same stuff over and over in a effort to persuade you that its true so I guess we will have to do the same thing.You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and of her daughter, nor shall you take her son's daughter or her daughter's daughter, to uncover her nakedness; they are blood relatives. It is lewdness.You shall not marry a woman in addition to her sister as a rival while she is alive, to uncover her nakedness.Also you shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness during her menstrual impurity. You shall not have intercourse with your neighbor's wife, to be defiled with her.You shall not give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the LORD.You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. Yup Im sure this last sentence has nothing to do with gays or same gender relationship gays are just Platonic aren't they???? God said I have made them man and woman and out of man he created woman for a help mate. The two shall be as one in Gods eyes and he said procreate and fill the earth. Gays cannot procreate so why should they marry, They violate the law of God when they cannot populate the earth and if God is holy and counts them one then how does a Holy God consider 2 people of the same gender copulating??? He didnt say I have made another of the same gender to be a help mate. No where in the Bible does it give approval to same gender relations.

    August 14, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Douglas

      Bob,

      Good work, as usual.

      There are no provisions for "gay marriage" in the Holy Bible.
      If GLBTQ folks want to co-habitate, that is OK. However, a careful review
      of Biblical instructions mandates that celibacy be maintained in any same s@x
      Christian pairing.
      Jesus gently told the harlot to sin no more as he rescued her from the mob ready to stone her
      for selling her flesh. And so it is with our GLBTQ brothers and sisters..."go and sin no more".
      Go and be celibate!

      To my GLBTQ brothers and sisters, you have my support and prayers of goodwill to proceed.

      Best, Douglas

      August 14, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "I am the LORD.You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination"

      LMAO This is how stupid and prejudice Bob is Christians don't follow Leviticus anymore, it's part of the Holiness Code, a ritual manual for Israel's priests.. LOL! LOL! All poor prejudice Bob is trying to do is justify his unfounded prejudice toward the gay community and everything he posts is lie after lie proving he is a TROLL and not a real Christian. LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL!

      August 15, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • YeahRight

      "I am the LORD.You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. Yup Im sure this last sentence has nothing to do with gays or same gender relationship gays are just Platonic aren't they????"

      Yup you're proving over and over again you have poor reading comprehension skill and don't actually know the bible at all. You're hysterical grasping at snippets of text to try and justify your unfounded prejudice and bigotry toward the gay community. You're a great example of Christian intolerance and nothing like the example of your Christ in the bible. LMAO! Because if your god is real, you're going straight to hell because of all your lies and bigotry. LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL!

      August 15, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Melvin

      "There are no provisions for "gay marriage" in the Holy Bible.
      If GLBTQ folks want to co-habitate, that is OK. However, a careful review
      of Biblical instructions mandates that celibacy be maintained in any same s@x
      Christian pairing."

      No it doesn't. The Scriptures at no point deal with homosexuality as an authentic sexual orientation, a given condition of being. The remarkably few Scriptural references to "homosexuality" deal rather with homosexual acts, not with homosexual orientation. Those acts are labeled as wrong out of the context of the times in which the writers wrote and perceived those acts to be either nonmasculine, idolatrous, exploitative, or pagan. The kind of relationships between two consenting adults of the same sex demonstrably abounding among us - relationships that are responsible and mutual, affirming and fulfilling - are not dealt with in the Scriptures.

      August 15, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • YeahRight

      "There are no provisions for "gay marriage" in the Holy Bible.
      If GLBTQ folks want to co-habitate, that is OK. However, a careful review
      of Biblical instructions mandates that celibacy be maintained in any same s@x"

      Actually prejudice Douglas aka Bob is WRONG which is why there are now thousands of gay churches welcoming and marrying gays. It's prejudice bigots that twist the scriptures to try and justify their hatred. The writers of the Bible had no idea of sexual orientation and wrote it based on their straight view points. The experts have now proven that 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."

      We all know that prejudice bigots like Douglas aka Bob can't handle the REAL facts so they lie over and over again.

      August 15, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Bob

      How being a atheist do you know and personally interpret what is said in the Bible about gays??? How do you know you are not quoting a bunch of off the wall goof balls which is really the truth. Since you have no knowledge for yourself and are just a echo of someone else

      August 15, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "How do you know you are not quoting a bunch of off the wall goof balls which is really the truth. Since you have no knowledge for yourself and are just a echo of someone else"

      This is coming from a poster that is using well known hate groups as his source of facts! I am using hundred of thousands of experts with proven facts. LOL!

      August 15, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  7. Erik

    "GLBTQ fornication"

    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 14, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  8. YeahRight

    "The unintended consequence of these supportive actions have opened a virtual Pandora's box, revealing a smorgasboard of s@xu=al depravity that runs the gamut from NAMBLA"

    This just shows the deep prejudice and hatred that Douglas aka Bob has towards the gay community.The experts around the world have proven this prejudice view is WRONG. 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."

    Social science has shown that the concerns often raised about children of lesbian and gay parents—concerns that are generally grounded in prejudice against and stereotypes about gay people—are unfounded. Overall, the research indicates that the children of lesbian and gay parents do not differ from the children of heterosexual parents in their development, adjustment, or overall well-being.

    August 14, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  9. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Bob, have ya figured out what the ankle bracelet is yet?

    Or are you still trying to read the back of the Cheerios box?

    August 14, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Bob

      Actually after going back and forth with you guys I like the cereal boxes much better. They have more to say that is factual.

      August 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "They have more to say that is factual."

      That's why you can't handle the fact that hundred of thousands of experts have proven you wrong. LMAO!

      August 15, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  10. 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 14, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  11. Bob

    Gods heart is still after Israel only a few countries came back to their original land and no country but Israel retained their original language Praise be to God for telling us this would happen and indeed it has in our time. What a witness of who he is.
    Jacob’s descendants would regain control of Israel
    Bible passage: Amos 9:14-15
    Written: about 750 BC
    Fulfilled: Since 1948
    Israel would be brought back to life
    Bible passage: Ezekiel 37:10-14
    Written: between 593-571 BC
    Fulfilled: 1948
    Isaiah spoke of a Israel being reborn in one day
    Bible passage: Isaiah 66:7-8
    Written: perhaps between 701-681 BC
    Fulfilled: 1948
    Israel would be re-established as a united nation
    Bible passage: Ezekiel 37:21-22
    Written: between 593-571 BC
    Fulfilled: 1948
    The second Israel would be more impressive than the first
    Bible passage: Jeremiah 16:14-15
    Written: sometime from 626 to about 586 BC
    Fulfilled: 1948
    Ezekiel predicted when Israel would be re-established
    Bible passage: Ezekiel 4:3-6
    Written: between 593-571 BC
    Fulfilled: 1948
    The people of Israel would return to “their own land”
    Bible passage: Ezekiel 34:13
    Written: between 593-571 BC
    Fulfilled: after May 14, 1948
    God would watch over the people of Israel
    Bible passage: Jeremiah 31:10
    Written: sometime from 626 to about 586 BC
    Fulfilled: 1948, etc.
    Israel’s army would be disproportionately powerful
    Bible passage: Leviticus 26:3, 7-8
    Written: perhaps around 1400 BC
    Fulfilled: 1948-49, 1967, etc.
    The fortunes of the people of Israel would be restored
    Bible passage: Deuteronomy 30:3-5
    Written: perhaps 1400 BC
    Fulfilled: 1948, etc.

    August 14, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  12. Douglas

    Bob,

    Excellent work in your preparation of well-grounded posts here, explicating the concepts of orthodox Christian practice.

    The word of God , through the Bible, is eternal. Attempts by apologists for GLBTQ fornication to describe and adhere to a revisionist interpretation of the Bible continue to fall short. Declarations by so called "100 Pastors" and citations from Psychological and Psychiatric fraternities that support GLBTQ fornication have done more harm than good.

    The unintended consequence of these supportive actions have opened a virtual Pandora's box, revealing a smorgasboard of s@xu=al depravity that runs the gamut from NAMBLA to growing ranks of pedophile teachers, emboldened by the brazen behaviors seen in "Pride parades" and an increasingly risque mainstream media that panders to the lowest common denominator in entertainment.

    The Bible provides a way out and a prescription for healing through GLBTQ celibate living.

    Keep up the good work. You have made a difference here and many of the GLBTQ apologists look twice in the mirror everyday now as they come to grips with how they can begin to extricate themselves from the abyss in which they now exist. You have extended the hand of fellowship and cited the error of their ways. Thanks for your profession of faith and adherence to scriptural principles.

    Best, Douglas

    August 14, 2012 at 2:24 am |
    • YeahRight

      "Declarations by so called "100 Pastors" and citations from Psychological and Psychiatric fraternities that support GLBTQ fornication have done more harm than good."

      You are such a liar. It's why the laws in this country have been changing. It's why the courts are ruling against prejudice bigots like you. 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 14, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • YeahRight

      "The unintended consequence of these supportive actions have opened a virtual Pandora's box, revealing a smorgasboard of s@xu=al depravity that runs the gamut from NAMBLA to growing ranks of pedophile teachers, emboldened by the brazen behaviors seen in "Pride parades" and an increasingly risque mainstream media that panders to the lowest common denominator in entertainment."

      This too is another LIE – keep proving to the world you are not a real Christian but a prejudice troll who has no facts to back yourself up. 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 14, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Bob

      Yeahright
      I agree.
      "Judge not". That's part of the deal. We should all spend a lot more time judging ourselves against whatever ideal we see as appropriate, and not concern ourselves so much with what other people are doing. And that goes for every theist and atheist out there.
      Personally, I'll start demanding perfection from others the day I can deliver it myself.
      Nobody hold their breath.
      Wow did you say this I cant believe it what happened here??

      August 14, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
  13. Bob

    ... Those fu/ k ing fundies who live across the street from me think it’s OK if they try to convert others to their idiotic religion whenever they want. Every time I look over at their house during dinner time and use my binoculars to peek through their window, they’re praying! I mean, what gives them the right to shove Christianity down my throat whenever they feel like it? ...

    August 13, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
  14. Bob

    Midwest Rail lets see does the rail have something to do with the bracelet?? like how could you use a rail or is it a slang for some other pleasure toy and how would you use a bracelet with that?? I haven't a clue will wait for your reply.

    August 13, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Bob, what is your IQ?

      August 13, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Jen

      Why do I get the feeling that Bob is one of those that posts in 'men seeking men' on craigslist frequently? Time to get out of the closet Bob. Nobody else is as obsessed with gays as you are.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • midwest rail

      It took literally thousands of posts, but Bob finally typed four words that contained an element of truth. Says Bob : " I haven't a clue..." Well done, Bob, I knew if we waited long enough, you'd finally tell the truth about SOMETHING.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No kidding, Jen. He's the one posting under "Married man seeks warm, caring gentleman to explore feelings."

      August 13, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
  15. JS

    Christians are increasingly divided over the issue of the acceptance and inclusion of gay persons into the church. The debate itself is usually framed as essentially pitting the Bible, on one hand, against compassion and social justice on the other. Our Christian hearts, runs the (usually impassioned) argument, compel us to grant full moral and legal equality to gay and lesbian people; our Christian faith, comes the (usually impassioned) rebuttal, compels us to cleave, above all, to the word of God.

    Compassion for others is the fundamental cornerstone of Christian ethics; the Bible is the bedrock of the Christian faith. What Christian can possibly choose between the two?

    The answer is that no Christian is called upon to make that choice. The text of the Bible on one hand, and full equality for gay and lesbian people on the other, is a false dichotomy. God would not ask or expect Christians to ever choose between their heart and their faith.

    Reconciling the Bible with unqualified acceptance and equality for LGBT people does not necessitate discounting, recasting, deconstructing or reinterpreting the Bible. All it takes is reading those passages of the Bible wherein homosexuality is mentioned with the same care we would any other passage of the book.

    We can trust God; we can trust that God is loving.

    And we can trust that we can - and that we certainly should - take God, in this matter, as in all things, at his Word.

    If there is no clearly stated directive in the Bible to marginalize and ostracize gay people, then Christians continuing to do so is morally indefensible, and must cease.

    What cannot be denied is that Christians have caused a great deal of pain and suffering to gay persons, by:

    Banning their participation in the church, thus depriving them of the comforts and spiritual fruits of the church;

    Banning their participation in the sacrament of marriage, thus depriving them of the comforts and spiritual fruits of marriage;

    Damaging the bonds between gays and their straight family members, thus weakening the comforts and spiritual fruits of family life for both gays and their families; and

    Using their position within society as spokespersons for God to proclaim that all homosexual relations are disdained by God, thus knowingly contributing to the cruel persecution of a minority population.

    Christians do not deny that they have done these things. However, they contend that they have no choice but to do these things, based on what they say is a clear directive about homosexuals delivered to them by God through the Holy Bible. They say that the Bible defines all homosexual acts as sinful, instructs them to exclude from full participation in the church all non-repentant sinners (including gay people), and morally calls upon them to publicly (or at least resolutely) denounce homosexual acts.

    Without an explicit directive from God to exclude and condemn homosexuals, the Christian community's treatment of gay persons is in clear violation of what Jesus and the New Testament writers pointedly identified as the most important commandment from God: to love one's neighbor as one's self.

    The gay community has cried out for justice to Christians, who have a biblically mandated obligation to be just. Because the mistreatment of gay persons by Christians is so severe, the directive from God to marginalize and ostracize gay people must be clear and explicit in the Bible. If there is no such clearly stated directive, then the continued Christian mistreatment of gay and lesbian people is morally indefensible, and must cease.

    The Bible is not a contract, or a set of instructions, with each passage spelling out something clear and specific. It is not a rulebook for being Christian. It is instead a widely varying collection of poetry, history, proverbs, moral directives, parables, letters and wondrous visions. We would be foolish to fail to understand that not everything in the Bible is a commandment, and that Christians cannot take any small section of the Bible out of its own context, and still hope to gain a clear understanding of its meaning.

    We can be confident that Paul was not writing to, or about, gay people, because he simply could not have been, any more than he could have written about smart phones or iPads. We do not know what Paul might write or say today about gay people. All we know is that in the New Testament he wrote about promiscuous, predatory, non-consensual same-sex acts between heterosexuals.

    If we are to rely on the Bible, then we must take its text as it is. It does condemn homosexual (and heterosexual) sex that is excessive, exploitive and outside of marriage. It does not, however, address the state of homosexuality itself - much less the subject of homosexual acts between a married gay couple. Christians therefore have no Bible-based moral justification for themselves condemning such acts.

    Because there was no concept of gay marriage when the Bible was written, the Bible does not, and could not, address the sinfulness of homosexual acts done within the context of gay marriage.

    The Bible routinely, clearly and strongly classifies all sex acts outside of the bonds of marriage as sinful. But, because there was no concept of gay people when the Bible was written, the Bible does not, and could not, address the sinfulness of homosexual acts done within the context of marriage. Christians therefore have no biblical basis for themselves condemning such acts.

    In fact, by denying marriage equality to gay people, Christians are compelling gay couples to sin, because their intimacy must happen outside of marriage, and is therefore, by biblical definition, sinful.

    Being personally repelled by homosexual sex doesn't make homosexual sex a sin.

    Christians cite as additional evidence of the inherent sinfulness of homosexual acts their raw emotional response to such acts. It is understandable that many straight people find homosexual sex repugnant (just as many gay people find heterosexual sex repugnant). It is normal for any one of us to be viscerally repelled by the idea of sex between, or with, people for whom we personally have no sexual attraction. It may feel to a straight Christian that their instinctive negative reaction to homosexual sex arises out of the Bible. But all of us necessarily view the Bible through the lens of our own experiences and prejudices, and we must be very careful to ensure that lens does not distort our vision or understanding of God's sacrosanct word.

    "The greatest of these is love."

    The overriding message of Jesus was love. Jesus modeled love; Jesus preached love; Jesus was love. Christians desiring to do and live the will of Jesus are morally obliged to always err on the side of love.

    August 13, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Bob

      You know what JS stands for doesn't know jack Shi feces and a liar to boot

      August 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • midwest rail

      You are SO cute when they take the ankle bracelet off, Bob. It's a good look for you, you should really try to keep it off.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Bob

      What is this ankle bracelet, it sound like something you are very familiar with whats it used for your S&M don't you think that its something you should not bring out into public and keep to yourself??? Could you explain it to me?? Is it some kind of gay device??? How is it that you know about this I would like to know how a supposed atheist knows about gay toys.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nobody could really be that stupid. Bob has to be a Poe.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Having read the majority of Bob's posts, then I'd say yes, someone can really be that stupid.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Bob

      God said I will use the foolish things of the world to confound the wise so which is it??

      August 13, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Jason

      "God would not ask or expect Christians to ever choose between their heart and their faith."

      Have you ever actually *read the bible*? It is clear the answer is no. Stop making stuff up and pretending it is Christianity. God says the heart of men is corrupt and above all deceitful, the thing he is always calling us to do is choose faith in him, follow him, and allow him to renew our minds so that we can comprehend clearly the truth.

      February 14, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
  16. YeahRight

    "Ask Him for His truth in every situation. "

    LOL! Bob you've been shown the truth over and over again yet you continue to deny it. You're the one who is a liar and spreading your prejudice hate against the gay community, you have no idea what compassion or love is about, the very thing your Christ demands.

    Even your religion can't change the REAL truth. Because of the aggressive promotion of efforts to change sexual orientation through therapy, a number of medical, health, and mental health professional organizations have issued public statements about the dangers of this approach. 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."

    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.

    Social science has shown that the concerns often raised about children of lesbian and gay parents—concerns that are generally grounded in prejudice against and stereotypes about gay people—are unfounded. Overall, the research indicates that the children of lesbian and gay parents do not differ from the children of heterosexual parents in their development, adjustment, or overall well-being.

    By t

    August 13, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  17. Bob

    Do you want to see God move in your life? Then lay down your pride and false Gods and return to Him and He will return to you. He is the only way. He is waiting. In your repentance you will find that His mercy and compassion awaits you. Draw from His wisdom. He will not forget those who long for His presence. The Lord longs for your worship. In seeking holiness and brokenness you will obtain His favor. Let your passion be His my passion. Seek Godly character so that His river of love can flow through you. Accept personal responsibility for your sins. Renounce every false God. Come, remove all your stained clothes of the past and He will replace them with a robe washed in blood. Ask Him for His truth in every situation. Return to the Lord and He will set you free. Renounce all things that are not of Him in your life. Let sin no longer be your master. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them . Trust in the Lord and He will do incredible things in your life.

    August 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • Judith

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

      August 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  18. Don

    The most beautiful word in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is "whosoever." All of God's promises are intended for every human being. This includes gay men and lesbians. How tragic it is that the Christian Church has excluded and persecuted people who are homosexual! We are all created with powerful needs for personal relationships. Our quality of life depends upon the love we share with others, whether family or friends, partners or peers. Yet, lesbians and gay men facing hostile attitudes in society often are denied access to healthy relationships. Jesus Christ calls us to find ultimate meaning in life through a personal relationship with our Creator. This important spiritual union can bring healing and strength to all of our human relationships. Changing Interpretations…the Impact of Study

    Biblical Interpretation and Theology also change from time to time. Approximately 150 years ago in the United States, some Christian teaching held that there was a two-fold moral order: black and white. Whites were thought to be superior to blacks, therefore blacks were to be subservient and slavery was an institution ordained by God. Clergy who supported such an abhorrent idea claimed the authority of the Bible. The conflict over slavery led to divisions which gave birth to some major Christian denominations. These same denominations, of course, do not support slavery today. Did the Bible change? No, their interpretation of the Bible did!

    Genesis 19:1-25
    Some "televangelists" carelessly proclaim that God destroyed the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of "homosexuality." Although some theologians have equated the sin of Sodom with homosexuality, a careful look at Scripture corrects such ignorance. Announcing judgment on these cities in Genesis 18, God sends two angels to Sodom, where Abraham's nephew, Lot, persuades them to stay in his home. Genesis 19 records that "all the people from every quarter" surround Lot's house demanding the release of his visitors so "we might know them." The Hebrew word for "know" in this case, yadha, usually means "have thorough knowledge of." It could also express intent to examine the visitors' credentials, or on rare occasions the term implies sexual intercourse. If the latter was the author's intended meaning, it would have been a clear case of attempted gang rape. Several observations are important.

    First, the judgment on these cities for their wickedness had been announced prior to the alleged homosexual incident. Second, all of Sodom's people participated in the assault on Lot's house; in no culture has more than a small minority of the population been homosexual. Third, Lot's offer to release his daughters suggests he knew his neighbors to have heterosexual interests. Fourth, if the issue was sexual, why did God spare Lot, who immediately commits incest with his daughters? Most importantly, why do all the other passages of Scripture referring to this account fail to raise the issue of homosexuality?

    Romans 1:24-27
    Most New Testament books, including the four Gospels, are silent on same-sex acts, and Paul is the only author who makes any reference to the subject. The most negative statement by Paul regarding same-sex acts occurs in Romans 1:24-27 where, in the context of a larger argument on the need of all people for the gospel of Jesus Christ, certain homosexual behavior is given as an example of the "uncleanness" of idolatrous Gentiles.

    This raises the question: Does this passage refer to all homosexual acts, or to certain homosexual behavior known to Paul's readers? The book of Romans was written to Jewish and Gentile Christians in Rome, who would have been familiar with the infamous sexual excesses of their contemporaries, especially Roman emperors. They would also have been aware of tensions in the early Church regarding Gentiles and observance of the Jewish laws, as noted in Acts 15 and Paul's letter to the Galatians. Jewish laws in Leviticus mentioned male same-sex acts in the context of idolatry.

    The homosexual practices cited in Romans 1:24-27 were believed to result from idolatry and are associated with some very serious offenses as noted in Romans 1. Taken in this larger context, it should be obvious that such acts are significantly different from loving, responsible lesbian and gay relationships seen today.

    What is "Natural"?
    Significant to Paul's discussion is the fact that these "unclean" Gentiles exchanged that which
    was "natural" for them, physin, in the Greek text, for something "unnatural," para physin. In
    Romans 11:24, God acts in an "unnatural" way, para physin, to accept the Gentiles. "Unnatural" in
    these passages does not refer to violation of so-called laws of nature, but rather implies action
    contradicting one's own nature. In view of this, we should observe that it is "unnatural," para
    physin, for a person today with a lesbian or gay sexual orientation to attempt living a heterosexual
    lifestyle.

    I Corinthians 6:9
    Any consideration of New Testament statements on same-sex acts must carefully view the social
    context of the Greco-Roman culture in which Paul ministered. Prostitution and pederasty (sexual relationships of adult men with boys) were the most commonly known male same-sex acts. In I Corinthians 6:9, Paul condemns those who are "effeminate" and "abusers of themselves with mankind," as translated in the King James version. Unfortunately, some new translations are worse, rendering these words "homosexuals." Recent scholarship unmasks the homophobia behind such mistranslations.

    The first word – malakos, in the Greek text-which has been translated "effeminate" or "soft," most likely refers to someone who lacks discipline or moral control. The word is used elsewhere in the New Testament but never with reference to sexuality.

    The second word, Arsenokoitai, occurs once each in I Corinthians and I Timothy (1:10), but nowhere else in other literature of the period. It is derived from two Greek words, one meaning, "males" and the other "beds", a euphemism for sexual intercourse. Other Greek words were commonly used to describe homosexual behavior but do not appear here. The larger context of I Corinthians 6 shows Paul extremely concerned with prostitution, so it is very possible he was referring to male prostitutes. But many experts now attempting to translate these words have reached a simple conclusion: their precise meaning is uncertain. Scripture Study Conclusion…No Law Against Love

    The rarity with which Paul discusses any form of same-sex behavior and the ambiguity in references attributed to him make it extremely unsound to conclude any sure position in the New Testament on homosexuality, especially in the context of loving, responsible relationships. Since any arguments must be made from silence, it is much more reliable to turn to great principles of the Gospel taught by Jesus Christ and the Apostles. Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. Do not judge others, lest you be judged. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love . . . against such there is no law. One thing is abundantly clear, as Paul stated in Galatians 5:14: "...the whole Law is fulfilled in one statement, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself".

    August 13, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Bob

      yeah/boomerang why do use everyone else s name to post your trash???

      August 13, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "boomerang why do use everyone else s name to post your trash???"

      This is Bob's delusional mind so where else has this been posted on here? Nowhere because it hasn't and I didn't write it. Keep showing the world what a liar you are. LMAO!

      August 13, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Bob

      Wow I started to read this bs and nearly puked at what was being said God acted in a unnatural way?? So the one that set the rules defined time and tide and set everything in motion acted in a unnatural way. The writer doesn't mean supernatural way either he is judging how God acts in claiming that the grafting in of the gentiles is unnatural. So he places himself above God to justify his own personal distorted lies. Like God didn't have a plan for them all along or that somehow He made a mistake and went against His nature. This is the kind of tripe that they sell on the streets in the gutters and some poor slob buys it what a load of poisoned horse manure

      August 13, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "God didn't have a plan for them all along or that somehow He made a mistake and went against His nature."

      This shows the really poor reading comprehension skills of this poster. LMAO! LOL!

      August 14, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  19. Bob

    100 gay biased dead pastors all a stain to the faith What I am really amazed at is I have not seen any church exclude gays yet you listen to these atheists and you would think no one lets them attend. Attendance is not a problem, marriage, intercourse and being the head of a ministry is. Another lie from those that don't know and the atheist who doesn't give a dam about the words i the Bible. This is a repost from boomerang/yeahright that he believes if said enough will find acceptance in the Christian community. These atheists don't care they have their own agenda.

    August 13, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • YeahRight

      “100 gay biased dead pastors all a stain to the faith”

      Another lie from Bob because he doesn’t actually have any facts to back

      “ These atheists don't care they have their own agenda.”

      The only one with an agenda here is Bob to spread his unfounded hate and prejudice of the gay community. He has NO facts to back up his bias claims. He’s been proven a liar over and over again on this blog. He is not a Christian by a prejudice hateful troll.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Robert

      Bob you're wrong Catholic and Methodist churches, all too often come down on the side of condemnation and rejection of others rather than on the side of grace and Christian love. There are some Churches that do exclude gays from their services.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  20. 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 13, 2012 at 10:50 am |
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