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.
The man said, " This is now bone of my bone flesh of of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man." for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. Gen 2:23,24 This can not happen between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. They will never be one flesh. Rev 21:1-4, also says how the lord feels about marriage. Just a thought. T-mack
What about old folks? Since they have no chance at kids should we prevent them from marrying?
He will leave his father and mother to go to the woman the man just created ??????
Why did he create the woman, if a woman already exist ?
God created Adam, and then Eve.
Adam & Eve had two sons.
So where does the rest of humanity come from ?
Your story is a crock.
So you must support incest then right since these two had to populate the world. What a load of crap.
So your evolution based "bible" also begins with incest. Although not bibllical some think the story shows Mitochondrial Eve in a symbolic way given no Hebrew 3,400 years ago could understand what DNA was.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
9What! Do YOU not know that unrighteous persons will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be misled. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men, 10nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit God’s kingdom. 11And yet that is what some of YOU were. But YOU have been washed clean, but YOU have been sanctified, but YOU have been declared righteous in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the spirit of our God.
Here it says it in black in white. Now it dont say to hate gay people but that it is wrong and you will not be in gods kingdom if you practice it. It also says that what some people where and that you can turn around and repent for your wrongdoing and God will forgive you and that you can be in God's kingdom.
Funny how the author left this scripture out. He couldn't think of a way to twist it to his way of thinking.
"nor men who lie with men"
It's funny not all the translations actually say that plus some even use the word homosexual (added later by a prejudice scribe because the word hadn't been invented yet). The original Greek was about male prostitution. Which is probably why he left it out.
Here is a respected theologian putting forth some articulate arguments and he is hooted down by some people who can't form a cohesive sentence and can't spell third grade words.
Any of you people want to match religious credentials with this fellow?
Let's hear from some of you.
You're kiddin', right? Did you visit his website?
I went to his website, It was well written and his views on Xtianity are to be commended. Quoting the ridiculously inaccurate translation called the "King James Bible" as authoritative is about 2 steps shy of stupidity.
For all those posting, he did not INTERPRET the passages he used. He TRANSLATED them into more precise and correct language. That accurate language is what defines the meaning of the passage. Not the inane prattling of misguided King James adherents.
Your response was predicted 50 years ago by Richard Hofstadter. He was the author of "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life," and his fascinating book outlines the distancing of "regular" Americans from the "intellegensia."
It began in the 40s as homage to the people who invented such things as plastics, radios, and ENIAC. Then, as the typical factory work became estranged from the college educated, the "wise-heads in washington" who invented such wonderful things became "eggheads." They shuttered themselves up in "Ivory Towers," surrounded by other people with pocket-protectors and slide rules.
You, Arizona Yankee, are the distillation of that movement. People who are able to review information, analyze it and copare it against other research have, in your parlance, evolved from egghead to geek to "LIAR!!!"
You probably read the New International Version of the Bible, and believe that THOSE WORDS are the "Inerrant Voice of God." They are not. You probably don't realize that that version was translated (If we're LUCKY) from Greek to Demotic to Latin to English in the form of the King James Bible. That was translated to several other versions, until you got your NIV, which your minister undoubtably calls "THE WORD."
So, anything that varies, or even threatens to argue with the assumptions you make about your world is a LIE.
In the long run, I am afraid of you. Because intellect if an endangered species and ignorance is a round-up resistant weed.
Best of luck to your children, who will undoubtably blame me for the world that you give them with your vote in November.
Lets get to it. Brian you are correct because "Christians" which I used to be don't really know anything in the Bible, just a few memory verses learned in sunday school. Yahshua said "take my yoke and learn of me for my yoke is easy and my burden is light", What was HE talking about? Also HE said, "If you love me, you will keep my principles and instructions (Commandments for those GREEK MINDED). The original writings were in HEBREW, NOT JEW, lets get that straight also. Abraham WAS NOT A JEW. He was from present day Iraq! Christians STUDY TO SHOW YOURSELF APPROVED unto Yahweh! That way when this type of crap is posted to a news site you don't make yourself look stupid by arguing with unbelievers. If you are really KINGDOM of ELOHIM people you don't leave your place of the kingdom. Secular people ASSUME they know the Word by what you give them to say because of your ignorance! Yes they repeat more of it back to you and then you get confused. Yes what Brian said, you don't even know what TORAH is! IT IS NOT JEWISH, IT IS HEBREW. They were called Israelites, Judah whom we get Jew from was a 4th son out of 12 brothers. I will leave you with that christans! When you know the truth, and it makes you free, then you wont have to get upset about articles like this because it is man NOT Yahweh! You can see the ignorance with the writer saying after Yahshua came, grace came. NEWS FROM THE FRONT, Grace has ALWAYS been here from the beginning and still exists, that is why we all are still here.
Writing "The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Daniel A. Helminiak" is unnecessary; if you didn't want to promote them you'd not post them in the center column of your web page with a graphic.
This is the "New World Disorder"...
This article is another example of the war that is being waged upon Self-reliant Individuals that 'share with the needy', Families, Churches, Communities, States, etc ...
It's laced with redefinitions, redirects, rationalizations, ...
All in an effort to discredit, malign, berate, divide, ...
Self Reliant Philanthropic Individuals, Families, Churches, Communities, and States are an 'obstacle' to the totalitarian's efforts to subjugate the masses.
"In Gays We Trust"
Why is everyone focusing on the bible? Maybe christians have it all wrong: maybe the truth is the Koran, or the Book of Mormom, or some other holy book. Is there any possibility christians are obsessed with the bible by a mere act of fate? Might the same people be equally obsessed with the Koran had they been born into a Muslim country?
Uh...the Koran treats Jesus and Moses as prophets and he was a Jew rabbi.
Um, Mormons believe in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon.
I'm sure the devoted disciples of gaydom can find something to justify their abnormal and unnatural behavior in the Bible. And something that says there is something wrong with anyone who objects to their twisted "lifestyle." That's what they do. Heck, every significant historic figure since Jesus, we are now learning, was gay, right?
Polar Bear.. you can justify the crazy things you believe by interpreting the bible to fit the action... so whats your point?
Did you know all polar bears are left handed? The bible is very clear about the wrongness of left handed ness.
just like you can twist it to fit what you believe
If God wrote the Bible, he should have made it clearer so there wouldn't be so much confusion.
So to that end, by your own argument, gay and lesbian individuals that have faith in Jesus Christ and repent will be able to go to heaven? You claimed before that the bible was 'written by God' but it was recorded by, has been translated by, and is interpreted by Man, who by sheer status of being alive, is tainted by bias and opinion. At no point in the bible did God deliver a book or a recording of any kind beyond the ten commandments. Every single bible on earth has been touched by and affected by the bias and individualistic perceptions of those that wrote it. If we are to live by the teaching of the bible as a holy and profound text, there are far more issues to consider in terms of actions and consequences. We can't pick and choose portions of scripture to live our lives by, and that means punishing [in most cases, with death] every act deemed unacceptable, regardless of their modern day ethical value. If you're wearing clothing made of different textiles or ever went against your parents as child, you should already be dead. But that's not the case, because the world has evolved, changed and progressed. And so should you hon.
It's truly sad to see such a great country infested with so many people who have been brainwashed with religion. Fortunately, atheism is the fastest-growing belief system in the US,. Given our current situations, economically and socially, this is one of the only things that gives us hope for the future... because we all know that atheists have higher IQs, lower poverty rates, lower divorce rates, lower STD and teen-pregnancy rates, lower crime rates, lower illiteracy rates, and higher incomes than 'believers' ... don't worry America. As the percentage of atheists grows, you'll see this country improving in every aspect of society.
Madalyn Murray O'hare's body parts just rolled over in their various 50 gallon oil drums.
Brainwashed yet you say" because we all know that atheists have higher IQs, lower poverty rates, lower divorce rates, lower STD and teen-pregnancy rates, lower crime rates, lower illiteracy rates, and higher incomes than 'believers". What does that have to do with anything about the above. Pretty sad what this world is coming to with no moral standards and people do as they please cause they think they will have nobody to answer to.
Hey maybe Ron Reagan will finally run for President, and be th atheist to save America!
Curious to know where atheists derive their moral code? When you get in a line at the bank to make a deposit, why do go to the back of the line? Why not just walk to the front? Who or what tells you to go to the back? Society? Your own personal goodness?
Maybe from that monkey how decided he was naked and started wearing clothes
Maybe from that monkey who decided he was naked and started wearing clothes
"Curious to know where atheists derive their moral code?"
This question is very common among religious people who cannot possible understand how anyone can be a positively contributing member of society without being told how to think and act... The truth is that we use common sense, logic and empathy to determine that we need to go to the end of the line, and in all other aspects of life. If you lack the mental ability to make proper decisions, by all means, follow your religion so you don't become a ruthless criminal... But don't try to force your religion on the rest of us who have the brainpower to think for ourselves... Remember, atheists have higher IQs, etc.
Where in the world did you get your statistics???
"Where in the world did you get your statistics???"
http://answers.yahoo . c o m /question/index?qid=20100410115522AAZH6v8
Atheism also gave us such outstanding regimes as revolutionary France (the 'committee for public safety', anyone?), communist china, soviet Russia and the Khmer rouge. Atheism is a pseudo-intellectual foolishness that makes a god of knowledge. To paraphrase Wilde: 'an atheist knows the price of everything but the value of nothing'
Sounds like we have "Natural Marriage" and "Unnatural Marriage". They may have equal rights, but don't confuse the world, they are different,it has the "Natural and Unnatural" difference.
Hate is a horrible thing, and the hatred of anyone is condemned in the Bible. However, the author speaks a lot of mis-translation and yet takes his own liberties to change words to suit his own convictions, and that must be condemned as well.
Everyone twists the bible to suit their needs. Especially the 'faithful'.
Disagreement is not the same thing as hatred. It is the gay community that has tried to change the definition of the word hatred to suit their purposes.
David, you're so cute. And stupid.
I could take one Bible verse, ask 5 people to interpret it, and get 5 totally different interpretations. What makes one any more right or wrong than the other. Who ultimately chooses?
I agree with you Ben.
I have found it to be true that many suffer from dyslexia when reading, and or attempting to interpret the Bible.
David you are so right. "Hatred' is the magic word the left uses when it is desperately trying to keep morality out of public debate.
*** David you are so right. "Hatred' is the magic word the left uses when it is desperately trying to keep morality out of public debate.
I have morality. I dont need your twisted version from a backwards book
to know right from wrong.
You should try reading the book instead of preaching it.
Why is gay marriage wrong? Can it be because marriage is about procreation? No, because procreation is optional and some married people are incapable of it anyway. Ok, so can it be because it's against the wholesome family unit? No, can't be that either because straight people get divorced all the time and there's no law forbidding that. So really, what is wrong about two men or two women getting married?
Originally, marriage was about property and alliances. Now it's about the Kardashians.
Why is gay marriage wrong? Wow if you have to ask I don't know what to tell you.
Marriage was a contract between two parties.
It changed through the centuries,
but hey, we cant accept change can we ?
Gays! Take a look at his website! Watch what honoxesuality can turn you into! Fear! Tremble!
BTW, if you stare long enough at those pictures they will instantly cure your gayness.
You (Helminiak) obviously don't read the bible. Or you are reading one written for gays, do you recall the last chapters of the old and new testaments? Wonder where AID/HIV comes from?
please enlighten use to where HIV/AIDS comes from. and please provide evidence.
Hey Billy, AIDS was transmitted to humans by one of you straight assholes fucking a monkey. Thanks a lot for that.
Dear Christians of America,
Eventually gay marriage will be the norm in this country. I guarantee that. And, like segregation and suffrage, the United States will take a step forward into the light of civil justice. Many of you will gnash your teeth as this becomes a historical issue instead of a contemporary one, and many of you continue to resist and preach and try to drag us back into darkness. But common sense will prevail.
Mankind will grow tired of your ironic hatred and cast your vitriol aside as it strides boldly into a more compassionate future. People will live as they want to live, and our great nation will not sink into ruin and perversion as you lose your ages-old grip on power. You know that, of course, because your campaign is a veil. It is carefully crafted to instill fear in others and force them into the arms of your god of hatred.
You know as well as I do that it is not the nature of humanity to sabotage or destroy itself. Life itself resists that path. It is as susceptible to disease and rot as the human bodies which comprise it, but its health is protected through constant renewal and intellectual evolution. Which is why we are still here, and why we have germinated such principles as democracy and compassion. History is littered with villains, all of whom were overcome by the forces of time and solidarity. Your icon will be no different. In time your god will be replaced by a god of true love and respect. Even if the religion remains, the god itself will change. It will evolve to compliment our ever growing wisdom.
Soon happily married gay couples will live side by side with happily married hetero couples. And your bubbling hatred will become as uncomfortable and unacceptable as other civil rights issues of the past.
Your children will replace you, and their children them, and so on and so forth. And the new beliefs which they espouse will replace the old ones with which you attempted to subvert others. So enjoy your prejudice and anti-Christian beliefs while you can, have pity for yourselves, and pray that your god has pity for you too.
Oh thank you for your wisdom oh "full of yourself" one!
Exactly, taken straight from Bible prophecy!
Well said, thanks! :-)
You are correct and you are quoting Bible prophecy!
This is not a zero sum game. One can certainly have compassion for someone and still disagree with their actions. My brother is an alcoholic, I have compassion and love him, but I also strongly believe his drinking is damaging his body. Is ultimate compassion be throwing my hands up in complete acceptance? Or, do I have compassion for him AND help him see a better way. I'm sure you're thinking...so being gay is not a better way? Well, yes. I'm saying it because that's what the All Mighty Creator says it. He is where I derive my beliefs and morals. Not from my own self. Moral Relativism will lead to a very deranged society.
"... and their children them..."
Did I miss something?
An anti-Christian is calling someone else un-Christian ?
Disagreement is not the same thing as hatred. It is the gay community that has changed the definition of hatred to suit their purposes. It is also the gay community that is the most hateful toward the Christian community.
It cannot happen soon enough
I have no god. I am not burdened with religion.
Pretty good posting – you are likely correct.
Not. You might wish it but it will never happen. You have no common sense.
Ok so the Bible says its wrong and u r sad! What about the millions of Biology and medical texts which say it is! Nowhere do you find se.xual intercourse defined as gay s.ex. Se.xual behaviors are not s.exual intercourse which is male-female in the human being.
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