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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 • My Take • Opinion

soundoff (8,829 Responses)
  1. John

    In days gone by, it was reasonable for Christians not to question conventional wisdom about the Bible. Because everyone used the Bible to justify slavery, for instance, Christians were OK with believing that some of their fellow human beings were just another species of farm animal they rightfully owned. Later, we Christians were entirely comfortable using the Bible to justify the atrocious idea that women are second-class citizens too simple-minded to be trusted with the vote.

    And up until the Internet made readily available all kinds of previously inaccessible knowledge and information, we could be excused for believing that the Bible indisputably states that God considers homosexual love a moral abomination.

    Today, however, anyone who can read, or simply watch YouTube videos, is forced to acknowledge the absolute credibility of the universe of scholarship, and the reasoning based upon it which unequivocally proves that the Bible does not, in fact, oblige Christians to believe that homosexual love, in and of itself, is necessarily any less moral than is heterosexual love.

    That closet door is now swung wide open. The truth of the matter is now there for anyone to behold.

    Christians today who take seriously the search for truth must admit that the old axiom that homosexuality is a sin has been forever reduced in status from objective truth to subjective opinion. From fact to belief. From beyond question to unquestionably dubious.

    Believing that homosexual love is a condemnable sin, in other words, is now a choice one must make.

    And what Christian --what person at all? -- would choose ignorant condemnation over enlightened love?

    December 12, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  2. Douglas

    The die has been cast.

    LGBTQ coitus and marriage are not permitted in the Holy Bible.They are condemned outright.

    The Supreme Court will probably rule against gay marriage based on Stare Decisis of the California voter's decision in
    Proposition 22. The voters voted to reject the proposition that gay marriage was acceptable.

    The voter's choice is what lays the ground work for the Stare Decisis approach. The decision will conclude with a 5 to 4 count with old reliable Clarence Thomas, joined by Antonin Scalia, Sam Alito, John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy casting the deciding thumbs down vote on gay marriage.

    –Douglas

    December 11, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  3. Observer

    The Bible says that being gay is an "abomination", like eating lobster or Alaskan King crablegs.

    The Bible says that anyone divorcing and remarrying commits adultery unless their previous spouse was already an adulterer.

    Listen to all the HYPOCRITES picking on gays when there are FAR FAR MORE Christian adulterers who commit a TEN COMMANDMENT SIN.

    December 7, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The brainless idiots are more concerned about what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedroom than they are about children dying of starvation, the elderly living in loneliness, the homeless enduring the cold of winter without shelter, and their own children growing up with lousy role models.

      What short-sighted, misguided fools.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  4. Douglas

    The SCOTUS may very well declare gay marriage legal.
    That doesn't affect the condemnation of gay marriage in the Christian church.
    The SCOTUS can change the law as it pleases, but the SCOTUS cannot amend the Bible.

    LGBTQ coitus and gay marriage remain off limits for practicing Christians.

    Celibate LGBTQ Christians are welcome to fellowship with the congregation.
    Will some LGBTQ Chrisitians backslide occasionally into fornication?

    Yes...it's possible. But they can pray for forgiveness and the strength to reject
    and jettison the old bad self and renew their commitment to salvation.

    The SCOTUS may say no also. This is because when the Pandora's box of gay marriage
    is opened on the premise of two consenting adults...why not three, four, five, or six?

    The SCOTUS will have to take this slippery slope into consideration.

    This is why Jesus' directive of one man and one woman in Matthew 19 continues
    to serve as the model for marriage.

    –Douglas

    December 7, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, do tell, Doogie. Do you mean the way it took the "slippery slope" into consideration when it declared that interracial marriage should not be illegal?

      Idiot. Did you get your degree in law from Craigslist?

      December 7, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "The old bad self." Why would you imagine that the 'self' of anyone god created is 'bad', you fvcktard?

      December 7, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Really, Doogle, your entire premise is beyond ridiculous. How in the world are you going to enforce celibacy among 'married' gay couples, idiot? Are you going to go lie between them in bed? Make 'em wear chasti ty belts?

      What utter nonsense. Grow a brain, you moron.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  5. John

    " LGBTQ folk can transform their lives and jettison the excess baggage of fornication forever."

    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.

    November 14, 2012 at 9:11 am |
  6. Douglas

    The journey from fornication to celibacy is not easy for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters striving to live
    as Christians in an unforgiving world.
    Coming from a place of rejection, many LGBTQ folk find the acceptance and affirmation they have been seeking for years
    when they begin their quest for Christian living.
    In many of the roundtables I've facilitated over the years, I have witnessed the stunning transformation of LGBTQ folks from lives of fornication to lives of celibacy.
    Anything is possible through Christ. His grace is sufficient.

    Honor and respect LGBTQ celibates at your place of worship. Let them know you are praying for their deliverance from sin.

    With allies by their side, LGBTQ folk can transform their lives and jettison the excess baggage of fornication forever.

    Through the practice of celibacy souls will be delivered and saved.

    Start a celibacy support circle at your place of worship today!

    November 14, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • Phil

      "Start a celibacy support circle"

      This person is not someone who understands what real loving relationships are about. The belief that sex is not important is a dangerous and intimacy-eroding myth. Sex provides an important time-out from the pressures of our daily lives and allows us to experience a quality level of closeness, vulnerability and sharing with our partners. If your sex life is unfulfilled, it becomes a gigantic issue. People like Douglas are dangerous for our society and don't understand the fundamental of human intimacy, gays or lesbians.

      November 14, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • James

      " deliverance from sin"

      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.

      November 14, 2012 at 9:10 am |
  7. Brent

    Religion-based bigotry is the foundation of anti-gay attitudes in our society and in the minds of a majority of Americans, particularly persons of faith. The term religion-based bigotry was coined because it best fits the description of the problem. The term religion-based bigotry encompasses the attitudes of prejudice, hostility or discrimination that are falsely justified by religious teachings or belief. We will never see full and equal rights unless we address the root of people’s anti-gay attitude.

    Religion-based bigotry is not synonymous with bigotry. It is a uniquely vile form of bigotry as the prejudice, hostility and discrimination behind the words are given a moral stamp of approval.

    Faith in America’s core message is that religious–based condemnation and rejection of LGBT people cause great harm to LGBT individuals and our society.

    We have learned that when we focus on the harms caused by religious hostility toward gay people – its destructive role in the lives of gay and lesbian Americans and explaining that being gay is not a lifestyle choice but is how you are born– persons of faith can understand why religion must no longer be misused to justify hostile attitudes and actions toward LGBT people.

    November 11, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  8. Elaine

    "Remember Sodom and Gomorrah!"

    In Genesis 18, the story about the angels coming to Lot's house, we learn that the reason they were coming to destroy Sodom was because of the wickedness that ALREADY existed in the city. The exact form of wickedness is not mentioned in that story!

    Let's just reinforce this CRITICAL piece of information. In the story of Sodom, in Genesis 18, God had ALREADY decided to destroy the city BEFORE the attempted rape of the angels – which incidentally was perpetrated mainly by heterosexuals since ALL the men of the city were involved, and we know that throughout history, gays have only represented about 10% of the population. Also, if they were homosexuals, why would Lot suggest that they take his daughters instead? That just doesn't make sense if the men were gay.

    So just to get this straight, the event that took place at Sodom was an act of violence and rape, mainly by heterosexuals. It had nothing to do with a loving relationship between two people of the same sex, and homosexuality was NOT the sin of Sodom in whatever form. The story of Sodom in Genesis 18 was about violence and domination, the same type of event that takes place in prisons and occupied countries, but it was NOT the reason for God's decision to destroy the city, and to use this story as a basis for prejudice against homosexuality in general is like comparing rape to marriage. There is NO similarity!

    The aftermath of Sodom aside, let's take a look at other passages of Scripture that mention the sin of Sodom. Here are 14 references to Sodom and not one of them mentions homosexuality!!!!! The overwhelming themes are idolatry, immorality and inhospitality! To me, this indicates people like Bob and HeavenSent have taken things out of context!

    Deuteronomy 29:17-26 – the sin – idolatry and images to false gods – "Why has the Lord done this to the land? . . . It is because this people abandoned the covenant of the Lord . . ."

    Deuteronomy 32:32-38 – the sin – idolatry – "He will say 'Now where are their gods?'"

    Isaiah 1:2-23 – the sin – idolatry, rebellion, injustice, murder, greed, theft, covetousness, mistreating the poor – "They have rebelled against Me."

    Isaiah 3:8-19 – the sin – idolatry, arrogance – "Their words and deeds are against the Lord, defying His glorious Presence"

    Jeremiah 23:10-14 – the sin – idolatry, adultery, lying by priests and prophets – "Both prophet and priest are godless. . . . They prophesied by Baal and led My people astray."

    Jeremiah 49:16-18 – the sin – idolatry, arrogance, oppression, pride of the heart – "The terror you inspire and the pride of your heart have deceived
    you. . ."

    Jeremiah 50:2-40 – the sin – idolatry, pride, false prophets – "Her images will be put to shame and her idols filled with terror. . . . . For she has defied the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. . . . . Their shepherds have led them astray."

    Lamentations 4:3-6 – the sin – cruelty and failure to care for the young and poor – "My people have become heartless."

    Ezekiel 16:49-50 – the sin – "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned: they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me."

    Amos 4:1-11 – the sin – idolatry, oppression, mistreating the poor – "I overthrew some of you as I overthrew Sodom . . . . yet you have not returned to Me."

    Zephaniah 2:8-11 – the sin – idolatry, pride, mocking – "This is what they will get in return for their pride, for insulting and mocking the people of the Lord Almighty. The Lord will be awesome to them when He destroys all the gods of the land."

    Luke 17:26-29 – Jesus speaking – No specific sins mentioned

    II Peter 2:1-22 – the sin – idolatry, living after ungodliness, lawlessness, arrogance, blaspheming, adultery, greed, corruption, depravity, boasting, lust – "But there were also false prophets among the people . . . . ."

    Jude 1:7-8 – the sin – sexual immorality and perversion, i.e fornication after strange flesh (angels, see Genesis 6:1) KJV

    The dictionary defines "perversion" as "a sexual practice regarded as abnormal". That means that a heterosexual practicing homosexual acts is perverted as in the case of ALL the men of Sodom wanting to engage with the angels (strange flesh). However, since sex with the same gender is normal for a gay person, there is no perversion associated merely by the sexual act.

    Note also that, while the word "abomination" has been used with reference to homosexuality, the biblical interpretation of the word "abomination" relates to any act of uncleanness as set out in the Holiness Code, such as eating shellfish, trimming your hair, touching the skin of a dead pig (should we stone the entire NFL?), wearing clothes of two kinds of material (polyester/cotton) – the list is long. How can we discuss one sin to the exclusion of all others?

    This is an enormous subject, which has been reduced to simplistic values. It is plain and simple prejudice to portray homosexuals as immoral just because of the gender to whom we are attracted. Of course there are immoral homosexuals, just as there are immoral heterosexuals, but simple orientation carries no implication of morality or immorality.

    Our sexuality is God-given. God made us the way we are. It follows naturally that He loves us exactly the way He made us. So long as we embrace marriage with the same standards as any monogamous, loving heterosexual relationship there should be no barrier against us.

    When gays are only asking to have their loving relationships acknowledged and respected, why is there so much fear and anger? To strengthen marriage, why not take a stand against divorce and separation, instead of opposing love and commitment? Jesus spoke of divorce, but he never mentioned homosexuality. I believe that was because homosexuality was not even an issue in His day. Love was love. Love IS Love!

    "Protect marriage? Puhlease. With a 50 percent divorce rate, rampant domestic violence, Las Vegas drive-through chapels, and I wanna-marry-a-really-rich-guy reality TV shows, there's no way gays could trash marriage the way straight people have."

    This letter only refers to the sin of Sodom. There are actually six "clobber verses" which are used against gays. Space does not permit an explanation of each one, but just as the sin of Sodom has been misrepresented, so have the other verses. There is an explanation for each one that clearly indicates that, just as slavery was condoned by Scripture for many years, ("Slaves obey your masters . . . . ." Eph. 6:5-8) and civil wars were fought to protect the ownership of people, we now know that Scripture was interpreted incorrectly, for God would not have people to be possessions.

    We now have a fuller understanding of Scripture with regard to slavery. It's time to accept a fuller understanding of homosexuality based on new research into language, concepts and customs when these words were written.

    So please choose acceptance and inclusiveness whether or not you understand fully. One of us is wrong. Many of you think it's me. I think it's you, based on solid research into Scripture from another perspective. Yes, God encourages us to question Scripture.

    "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, REPROOF and instruction in righteousness." II Tim. 3:16

    If there is even a chance that I could be right, do you want to take the eternal risk of rejecting some of God's children, and slamming the doors of your churches to those of us who wish to enter? That's what you're doing when you treat us as less than yourselves simply based on our orientation.

    If we have done the research, and it is our understanding that God loves us, including our orientation, then why not just let God be the judge? He will be in the end anyway. If one of us is to err, why not err on the side of love and acceptance? Now that was truly Jesus' example!

    November 11, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  9. Don

    "1Co 6:9"

    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

    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".

    November 11, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  10. Erik

    " I have taught my kids that being gay is a choice"

    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.

    November 11, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  11. Lorraine

    Speaking of atheist, my 15 year old son, says he believes that we are all a huge bump on the back of a colloso man's neck, that's raising hell, and oozing with problems. Im hoping he's just kidding, lol, but i think he really means it atheism starts early i see.

    November 11, 2012 at 4:41 am |
    • Damocles

      Those darn kids looking at things their own way and having a colorful imagination.

      I'm sure you will find a way to bring him back into the flock.

      November 11, 2012 at 4:46 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      If the kid is smart, he'll run as far and as fast as he can to get away from Mommy-The-Deluded and her flock of lies. I hope he comes out as being gay and moves to a state where he can marry his partner.

      November 11, 2012 at 6:01 am |
    • Lorraine

      He said this with a serious face on, he has high grades, and he hates all people are dirty, and dumb, he wants to live in a million or more dollar fancy trailer, no kids, maybe a chick now & then, no commitment, and see, and venture the world, experience different stuff, and what he says in case people get crazy in one place, he can pick up anytime and get the hell on. he's cute.mean but cute.

      November 11, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  12. Simran

    Dear Not President Romney,

    Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from you and understand why you would propose and support a consti.tutional amendment banning same se.x marriage. As you said "in the eyes of God marriage is based between a man a woman." I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the ho.mose.xual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviti.cus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abo.mination... End of debate.

    I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

    1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

    2. I would like to sell my daughter into sla.very, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

    3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of men.strual uncleanness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

    4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

    5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

    6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abo.mination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abo.mination than ho.mose.xuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abo.mination?

    7. Lev.21:20 states that I may ! not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle- room here?

    8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

    9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

    10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and bla.sph.eme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

    I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.

    Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging

    November 10, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  13. David Martin

    I will be the first to say I am a bigot!!Gay's are sinful, nasty and repulsive!Now I don't have any ill will for them but I feel how I feel
    and nothing will change that!I am 37 so I am not old and trust me I have taught my kids that being gay is a choice and a sin.If you were born that way then dogs, cats, and cows and so on would be born gay also(animals get it)!Thank God I live in Texas!

    November 10, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Marlo

      Well, I feel bad for your kids. If one of them finds ou they are gay, they will know they have lost their father's love. How heartbreaking! Also, you say you bear no ill will towards gays, yet unnecessarily call them nasty, so you do bear ill will, do to personal fear for the different.

      And yes, animals are born gay as well. For example, gay monkeys have been reported by Erwin and Maple (1976). A biological cause is that in large populations, reproduction is not a priority anymore, but having more adults to take care of the young ones is. So please never again use 'unnatural' as an argument, for it is simply false.

      November 10, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • midwest rail

      David – all rational humans are grateful you live in Texas.

      November 10, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Ben

      I feel bad for you and your family God Bless you, you sorry ass

      November 10, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Simran

      David,
      You have taught ho.mose.xuality is an illness. But maybe, you overlook the evidence of ho.mose.xuality in the ANIMAL KINGDOM!
      Care to read:

      http://www.news-medical.net/news/2006/10/23/20718.aspx

      November 10, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • David Martin

      1Co 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
      1Co 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

      November 10, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • Simran

      November 10, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • Huebert

      David

      Ho.nose.xual dogs, cats, and cows do exist. Sorry you're an uneducated bigot. Also seeing as God does not exist all words attributed to him are false.

      November 10, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • mama k

      And David's come-back is something from Gullible's Travels, Part 2?? LOL. There, of course is no proof of any connection with a higher being so far by mankind, and that includes chatty cathy Paul of Tarsus. As someone else said, the god of Abraham didn't go anywhere man didn't take him.

      November 10, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Lorraine

      And furthermore they are animals they cannot rationalize anyway, people do, so would you people stop comparing humans with animals, i only do that when we behave, or are mentally damaged, then we're worst than animals, like right now YOU ARE, lying to folks, as if this is evidential,rational,no this lie is crazy behavior trying to compare us with animals to this degree darn liars. YHWH BLESS.

      These animals have been locked up, stressed, limited, out of their natural habitation, and controlLed, no wonder they're confused. J ust like people in this society are, oppressed, and confused, trapped in an in different greedy, hatred society no wonder, not to mention the unhealthy foods with GMOs in them, confusion is inevitable. Please, you don't make an elephant sit in a chair, and complain when it attacks you, crazy, that's not right. Wake up folks. YHWH BLESS.

      November 10, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Lorraine

      mirasol, don't ever patronize me, i have no religion, only the truth that is being unmasked, all religions are idolatry, pagan. you are obvious being sheltered by this site, for they did not allow my origninal post, and i didn't swear in it, just truth. Stop lying, although i know you have been taught to lie, do it to those on your level, its a joke to me alright. have a bless day OK, Praise YHWH.

      November 10, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Denise

      Lorraine, also justifiably known around here as "Loopy", is severely deluded and now it is clear that she is also a fat, bald-faced liar. She frequently posts about her religious beliefs and now claims that she has none. What a farce.

      Lorraine, go clean up your vomit from your trailer, from your drinking binge last night, and then feed that poor pit bull.

      November 10, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Ted

      Yep, Lorraine (Loopy) definitely sucks shit.

      November 10, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Lorraine

      Denise, you obviously wouldn't know truth if it smacked you, you have not been taught nothing but lies, the truth, is what i know, not religion child, for one the same american history that they taught you, is no different from the book of remembrance the so called OT, other than they have masked most of it to those like yourself, who could not handle the truth. i can tell you're a kid, go play. This would be too much for you, don't waste real folks time, young forked tongue. Simply Learning how to be a greedy liar to profit, good girl. If you are not young need i say more, just pushing out the blind with no shame as long as a reward hangs in there, and sealing it with SO CALLED democracy. YHWH BLESS.

      November 10, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      David: You shouldn't be allowed to have children. Yes you are a bigot and seriously uneducated, considering being gay is not a choice and sin only exists in your book of horror stories. Do you think it is okay to lie to children? It's exactly what you do when you tell them being gay is no natural. As for the animal scenario...wow are you that fucking stupid really? If you weren't that stupid, you'd know that homosexuality has been observed in over 1500 species. I hope one of your children is gay and then goes on to marry their partner...might actually teach you a valid lesson. People like you should not be walking the streets freely or allowed to raise children...you're type is damaging to society. Seek professional help for your mental health issues quickly (imaginary friends as an adult usually equates to schizophrenia). Is Loopy your wife by chance?

      November 11, 2012 at 6:24 am |
  14. Douglas

    Gay marriage is soundly condemned, along with LGBTQ coitus in the Holy Bible.

    Marriage is a solemn union bewteen one man and one woman.

    The Bible is abundantly clear about this topic.

    No Christian church can marry LGBTQ couples and call themselves Christian.
    The rules for Christian marriage are clearly defined by
    Christianity's founder, Jesus Christ, in the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 19.

    Please identify the scriptural references that point to Jesus defining
    marriage contrary to his definition in Matthew 19.

    November 10, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • Mirosal

      Sure, any religion has the right to not sanction a same-se'x marriage. That's fine. But, marriage is NOT, I repeat, NOT a religious ceremony. By definition, it is a CIVIL contract, and it predates any and all modern faiths. It predates recorded history. That in itself should tell you that marriage is not religious by nature. No chruch is needed at all to be legally wed. If you want a church wedding, that's all fine and dandy. I had one. But, before you can say "I DO" in a church, you need a CIVIL license to get married. Without one, even a church wedding is null and void. It's not up to any church to say who can or cannot get married, and certianly not up to you. It is a clear case of discrimination. And before you start condemning the LGBT community, just remember, according to your own beliefs, "god" made them too, so apparently, "he" doesn't have a problem with its own creation now, does "he"?

      November 10, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • mama k

      Exactly, Mirosal. States seem to be progressing on the issue, but I can easily see one of these states that still has marriage defined in a bigoted way soon being challenged and argued before the SC. It is clearly both a case of civil rights violation and separation of church and state – and I wouldn't be surprised if it is argued from the latter.

      November 10, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Melvin

      "The Bible is abundantly clear about this topic."

      No, it's not. 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.

      November 11, 2012 at 9:41 am |
  15. Mido

    je crois qu'e0 l'e9poque, je n'en avais qu'un seul exemplaire sur moi (c'e9tait les de9buts et je n'avais pas pre9vu e0 l'origine d'en paelrr dans la formation Scrum).Maintenant, j'ai toujours plusieurs copies sur moi pour en distribuer.

    November 10, 2012 at 2:24 am |
  16. Lorraine

    This book of remembrance the so called OT, is juxtaposed, meaning it is a comparison of the then, and now, its a saying that history repeats itself, and well it does. We are doing the same crap, wrong in difference, greed, hate, war, as before, perversion, adultery, swearing, stealing, etc. imposed poverty, prejudice, etc.etc. people are truly no different than before. They just have more gadgets, and stuff, and even that's not working for them to the best of degree unless you are a professional, it just crams, and boggles up their common sense, and wholesome peaceful living.YHWH BLESS.

    November 9, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Bwah! Did that post make sense to you when you typed it, Loopy?

      November 9, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • mama k

      Well of course it can always be seen as repeating itself. That's human nature, dear, not something mystical. But civilization learn some major things that you just can't undo. Things like thinking the world is flat. So if you hang around too much in ancient civilization, dear – that just makes you less civilized.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • mama k

      Golly -let me clean these two sentences up:

      But civilization teaches us some major things that you just can't "unlearn". Things like discovering that the world is flat.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Lorraine

      tomlow..life, the piper, & mama k b, AWW, my haters reply to me again, trying to justify sin. Follow me closely now, Always praise unto YHWH, and YHWH BLESS.

      November 10, 2012 at 7:07 am |
    • Lorraine

      To add: history repeats itself when one does not do the law of righteousness of the King YHWH, it will be just a vicious cycle over, and over, do right, and we all grow.

      November 10, 2012 at 7:12 am |
    • Mirosal

      NO ... it's "Those who fail to understand history are doomed to repeat it." You'd better do a little research on how "peaceful" you Christians have been for 2000 years. In the name of your faith, you have conquered, controlled, subjigated, and killed because others did not believe as you do. You and your ilk are a 2000 year old Taliban group. Get rid of the root cause (religion) and you'll see tha tthere's not much to really argue about. Then humans can progress as a peasceful people, as a peaceful society, and as a peaceful planet. Get over your bigotry and quit hiding behind your book of fables to justify your hate.

      November 10, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • Simran

      History repeats itself.... Interesting!
      Will we ever unlearn what Newton or Darwin or Einstein or the numerous others who tolled hard to search for truth, and start all over again? Probably not, but still a possibility.
      But what do we witness repeating itself... I would say religion. What Christianity did in the dark ages, the Taliban are doing now. When will they learn something that can never ever be unlearnt?

      November 10, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • Lorraine

      Well this society has achieved an A+ in repeating history, haven't learned a darn thing, with the educationed ones in the front, just reaking with lies, and false premises, for rewards, while they're children fail, or become worst liars of greed. But this too was prophesied in Malachi 3:13-15. YHWH BLESS, ALL PRAISE GOES TO YHWH.

      November 10, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  17. Lorraine

    my computer is skipping again that is judgment, coincide, and doesn't sorry.

    November 9, 2012 at 2:36 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

    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".

    November 9, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • David Martin

      You need to read all the Old and New Testament!You are picking what you want out of the Bible and are misleading yourself and others which is what people like you do !Remember Sodom and Gomorrah!!!

      November 10, 2012 at 8:46 am |
  19. Douglas

    The dissembling continues by the atheists and gay apologists for fornication.

    The Bible is what it is.

    The Old and New Testaments caution believers to abstain from LGBTQ coupling, clearly and unambiguously.

    We continue to see long treatises posted here in a failed attempt to convolute the meaning of scripture with Romney-like lies about how the Bible "actually says nothing about LGBTQ fornication".

    Folks you really need to do a better job then that.

    Another tactic used here by the fornicating atheists and gay apologists is to post long diatribes in attempt to:

    1. Justify sin.
    2. Push counter messaging way down or off the scroll lines and into the archives.

    You just can't hide the truth...no matter how many screen names and diatribes you post.

    We accept celibate LGBTQ folks into our sanctuary and we provide guidance and counseling services for strugglers,
    many of who break free from the bonds of fornication after the give and take of tough love strategies aimed at sin risk reduction.

    There is hope for strugglers. Salvation and deliverance is possible through celibate living for LGBTQ folks and abstinence for straights who also struggle with fornication.

    November 9, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • .

      Bob and Douglas are the same posters.

      November 9, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • James

      "You just can't hide the truth"

      You're wrong no matter how many times you re-post it. 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.

      November 9, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Lorraine

      Douglas, and Don, who is paul, who is timothy, these are the doctrines of falseness, lies against YHWH; and none of these men, and the men of old, who went astray from the beginning, had counseled with the King YHWH, of which He teaches us this in Jeremiah 23, and in Jeremiah 10, and in other prophetic books, these men as YHWH says if they had used HIS counsel, the King Creator YHWH, then we would all be healed then and, now, in Jeremiah 23:21-23. You have been mislead from the truth of the prophets in Genesis-Malachi, the last prophet until this day, look it up. For YHWH does nothing without them, and if there is anything new He'll tell us through a prophet. Amos3:7, and Isaiah 42:9.

      Read the front of this book thoroughly, pray, and do the law to see the word of the Only savior, and redeemer is YHWH, in Isaiah 49:26, and Isaiah 60:16. Don't be mislead, there is no gray in the word of YHWH, either you do right, or don't, that's ones' choice, we are all responsible for our own righteousness in Ezekiel 14:14-20. As He teaches there is no one with Him in Deuteronomy 32:39,40. All praise goes to YHWH, YHWH BLESS.

      November 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Lorraine

      James just as you used the word 'should' in your post, yes but it dosen't, coinside with the law, that is it does not allow this act of being gay. The statement in the scripture clearly explains the intentions of the King YHWH, 'a man is not to lay with another man as with a woman' point blank, what it is is just what it is 'not' and there is no judegment here for we are all responsible for our own righteousness in Ezekiel 14:14-20, and have to answer for it in the end, and none of this word changed as YHWH says He Changes Not in Malachi 3:6. YHWH BLESS.

      November 9, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • YeahRight

      Lorraine. cough..cough...Bob ...cough aka Douglas christians don't follow Leviticus anymore idiot, it's part of the Holiness Code, a ritual manual for Israel's priests. You're one clueless moron about the bible.

      November 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Lorraine

      YEAHURWRONG, there is no Holiness Code, where is that written in the book moron, forked tongue, stop lying!!! The law of YHWH has never changed, He changes not taught in Malachi 3:6, and only over in the nt, the not true book, not of the King YHWH. And to confirm this is why its two parts an old, and a new to take the masses away from the true King YHWH, allowed by Him anyway, to sift out those who are not wholehearted, and for His own magnification in His day. The only thing old about this book of remembrance, the so called OT, is its age, but most of its readings are juxtaposed. Try reading the front of the book for a change.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Loopy, take a DEEP breath, dear. You're babbling. Again. As usual.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • mama k

      Yes, Douglas, the dumbbell, the Bible is what it is – Gullible's Travels, parts 1 & 2.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Lorraine

      tomlow..life, the piper, & mama k b, AWW, my haters reply to me again, trying to justify sin. Follow me closely now, Always praise unto YHWH, and YHWH BLESS.

      November 10, 2012 at 7:03 am |
    • Mirosal

      Lorraine, you're using your "god' to justify your bigotry and hatred for those differnent than you, and we are calling you out on it. How does it feel to be an American Taliban "warrior".. I mean coward, as you hide behind your little book of fables?

      November 10, 2012 at 7:08 am |
    • Lorraine

      mirasol, don't ever patronize me, i have no religion, only the truth that is being unmasked, all religions are idolatry, pagan. you are obvious being sheltered, protected to remain blind, by this site, for they did not allow my origninal post, and i didn't swear in it, just truth. Stop lying, although i know you have been taught to lie, do it to those on your level, its a joke to me alright. goodness you're use to college children, dip, and dab. have a bless day OK, Praise YHWH.

      November 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  20. Tamara

    I haven't read it from cover to cover, but believe it or not, I read the bible each night beofre I sleep when I was in Elementary.Too bad I stopped when we were HS na, but really, I learned a lot from it. I even read the Tagalog version because that's what a 9 yr. old me can understand best. =)Now, I have a book of bible stories and verses that I can read day by day, with reflections that are really inspiring. I got it from St. Paul's. Good job, sis!

    November 8, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.