Atlanta's gay news weekly The Georgia Voice examines faith and religion in the LGBT community in it's latest issue, more specifically the infamous "clobber passages" used by the church to persecute LGBT people. How many times have you been told your sexual orientation is an abomination because God said so? But is that really what God said and does an abomination mean the same thing in modern culture as it did over two thousand years ago?
Sadly, many of us accept what we hear from the pulpit as fact and never pursue independent study of the scriptures, therefore we allow ourselves to be spiritually abused and separated from God because of man's interpretation. This is a serious problem in the African-American community and one that continually keeps us as LGBT people of color in bondage.
Below are a few highlights from The Georgia Voice's article on countering anti-gay religious arguments via What The Bible Does and Doesn't Say About Homosexuality, a Soulforce publication by Rev. Dr. Mel White.
If they say...
The Bible condemns homosexuality.
You can say... Jesus says nothing about same-sex behavior. The Jewish prophets are silent about homosexuality. Only six or seven of the Bible’s one million verses refer to same-sex behavior in any way — and none of these verses refer to homosexual orientation as it’s understood today.
ADAM AND STEVE
If they say...
The Bible says God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.
You can say... This creation story is primarily about God, a story written to show the power of God who created the world. Because the text says it is “natural” that a man and a woman come together to create a new life, some people think this means gay or lesbian couples are “unnatural.” They read this interpretation into the text, even though the text is silent about all kinds of relationships that don’t lead to having children, like heterosexuals who are infertile or too old to have children. Are these relationships “unnatural”?
SODOM AND GOMORRAH
If they say...
God destroyed Sodom due to homosexuality. Genesis 19: Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. 5 And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.”(New King James Version)
You can say… Jesus and five Old Testament prophets all speak of the sins that led to the destruction of Sodom — and not one of them mentions homosexuality.
Listen to what Ezekiel 16:48-49 tell us: “This is the sin of Sodom; she and her suburbs had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not help or encourage the poor and needy.”
It was common for soldiers, thieves, and bullies to rape a fallen enemy, asserting their victory by dehumanizing and demeaning the vanquished. This act of raping an enemy is about power and revenge, not about homosexuality or homosexual orientation.
LEVITICUS & ABOMINATION
If they say...
Leviticus 18:6 reads: “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female. It is an abomination.” A similar verse occurs two chapters later, in Leviticus 20:13: “A man who sleeps with another man is an abomination and should be executed.”
You can say... Leviticus is a holiness code written 3,000 years ago. This code includes many of other outdated sexual laws (like stoning adulterers and brides who are not virgins, and executing a married couple for having sex during the woman’s period), and a lot more. It also includes prohibitions against round haircuts, tattoos, working on the Sabbath, wearing garments of mixed fabrics, eating pork or shellfish, getting your fortune told, and even playing with the skin of a pig. (There goes football!)
So what’s a holiness code? It’s a list of behaviors that people of faith find offensive in a certain place and time. In this case, the code was written for priests only, and its primary intent was to set the priests of Israel over and against priests of other cultures.
What about this word abomination that comes up in both passages? In Hebrew, “abominations” (TO’EBAH) are behaviors that people in a certain time and place consider tasteless or offensive. To the Jews an abomination was not a law, not something evil like rape or murder forbidden by the Ten Commandments.
Jesus and Paul both said the holiness code in Leviticus does not pertain to Christian believers.
Download a free PDF of What The Bible Does Say and Doesn't Say About Homosexuality here.