The Church & The Homosexual

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The Church and The Homosexual

Author Unknown – Collected in 1997 while @ TSTC/Waco from an IRC Acquaintance.

One of the most difficult and contentious conflicts in Christian­ity, has been, and continues to be the homosexual and the Christian Church. All one has to do is turn on the television and listen to any of the televangelists, or for that fact, many a Sunday pulpit, and one can find a constant, impassioned theme on the evil and sinfulness of the Gay and Lesbian Population. These messengers of Gods love are quite content in putting the homosexual in the same category as murderers, adulterers, child molesters, and worse. Why? What motivates not only right wing fundamentalists, but also some mainline churches such as Roman Catholicism? From where does this vicious, self-righteous homophobia, stem?

The Bible of course, is the answer given by these pious, holy men and women of God. Sacred Scripture, both old and new, is the authority cited as justification for the persecution, discrimina­tion, and murder of homosexuals. An examination of the Scripture passages most often used is required.

Using the New American Bible, the catholic Bible, I quote from Holy Writ:

Genesis, Chapter 19: The baggy, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. In this version of the Bible, they interpret the key phrase as intimacies, as in, “Bring them out to us that we may have intimacies with them.” The term in the original Hebrew is Yadha, or Yada, or to know. This term can be found in ancient Hebrew Scripture 943 times and is used to connote sexual activity only about 10 to 12 times. Many scholars question the exact meaning of Yada in this context. Did they wish to assault them? , Rob them? , Or did they want to rape them? For if sex is what they wanted, it would not have been consensual sex, but gang rape. Additionally, the fact that Lot would offer his two daughters to appease the mob, tells us that these were not gay men, but probably heterosexual men who used rape as a vehicle for domination, much as in a prison. Throughout western civilization, evidence indicates that by raping a man, demasculization occurs, putting the victim in the same category as a woman, the ultimate shame for a man. Frequently, soldiers not only raped the women on the loosing side of a battle, but the soldiers as well were subject to rape, completing the defeat.

One must also keep in mind the laws of hospitality to strangers that were very important in those nomadic days. Many believe that the sin that destroyed Sodom was not homosexuality, but the way in which they treated the strangers. But since hospitality dictates that you offer welcome to all strangers that you encounter, the Church finds itself in an awkward position. Since many churches are far to busy condemning gay people, and driving them from the Lords house, they could hardly admit that inhospitality, abuse and offense to the visitor, were the grievous sins of Sodom.

In reading Judges 19:15-29, one can find an extremely close parallel to the story of Sodom. Once again, the people of the town demonstrate a lack of hospital­ity, and most impor­tant, gang rape occurs. This time, a woman was raped and abused all night, when the man was not brought out. When is the last time a story appeared in the media regarding a group of homosex­ual men raping a woman all night?

If one looks to the New Testament, to Matthew 11:23-24, it is obvious to the most ardent homophobe, that the sin of Sodom was failure to give protection, comfort and shelter, as in Luke 10: 5-12. In Mark 7: 10-11, again Jesus talks about hospitality much as in Luke and Matthew. Further adding to the difficulty of this passage, have been the fears, prejudices, and the contemporary moral codes of those who translated the Bible down through the ages. Scholars also note that it was not until the 12th century, that the story of Sodom was interpreted to mean homosexuality. Finally, scholars tell us that the Hebrew word used to connote homosexual or bestial sex, is Shakhabh. This term does not appear in the passage. In Leviticus 18:22, we find “You shall not lie with a male as with a women; such a thing is an abomination.” In Hebrew the word for abomination is, To’ebah, which is usually reserved for condemnation of Idolatry, not sexual acts. Scholars believe that what was being condemned here with the use of the term To’ebah, was temple prostitution, which was common and not gay relationships. Many people in those days took great pains to condemn and attempt to eliminate temple prostitutes who were both male and female. Another example would be the word Arsenokoitai. In 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10, 1952 RSV translation, Arsenokoitai means homosexuals. The 1977 version of the Bible translates this word as meaning sexual perverts. The 1989 version translates the word as sodomites. A review of other translations as well, reveals the word to have meant homosexuals, sodomites, child molesters, perverts, or people of infamous habits.

Finally, the New American Bible translates Arsenokoitai as practicing homosexuals! A first century text now reflects 20th century Roman teaching, i.e., to be a Homosexual is not a sin, but to be a practicing homosexual, well now, that is a different situation!

Another of the important Greek words is Malakoi, which they have translated down through the ages as meaning calamities, the effeminate, boy prostitutes, and sissies. But until the 20th century in Roman Catholicism, the word meant masturbators. As prejudices changed, so has the biblical translation.

Many of the passages are tied into the Jewish Holiness Code, which forbade many things, and has been abandoned by the Modern Church with one exception: Homosexuality.

And now to Paul: For New Testament authority, St. Paul is brought out like a new fire truck on the 4th of July. Paul is a premier founding Father of the Christian Church, and as such, his words hold great weight, but as Spong says, they are Paul’s words, not Gods.

Romans 1:26-27, God is seen to have given men and women “up” to disgraceful passions. This act was in reprisal for Idolatry and failure to recognize God as He who is. So, we have God as the causal connection to acts that they then condemn! This does not make sense. Why would God as a punishment for ignoring his goodness, cause men and women to engage in acts that were not of their nature? It could be just as easily be seen as an allegory for not worshiping the Lord our God.

All of the passages that refer to homosexuality must be taken in the historical frame of context that they were written in. Spong and others hint that St. Paul himself may have been gay, and acted out in a self-hating way, the inclusion of that which he could not accept within himself into Scripture, so that no homosexual would be accepted. For no where does Jesus himself say anything about gay people. His only comments on sexual morals, are the prostitute and the Adulteress. If homosexuality were such a sin, does it not make sense that Jesus would have talked on it at least once? Nevertheless, Jesus makes no reference at all to Homosexuality.

Finally, I am sure that the last thing the 12 tribes of Israel wanted was sexual activity that did not produce more Israelites. In a time, and it really has not changed much, when war was always a possibility, a constant supply of new warriors were needed.

Truly then, the Bible is subject to interpretation. I believe the Bible to be the word of God in its very essence. Neverthe­less, the imperfect hands and minds of man have filtered this essence down through the ages.

As to the nature of the gay man and woman, I state that homosexu­als are created in the image of God. For in Genesis 1:26-27, we find God saying, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” For if gay people are born this way, then they are created in the image of God. For God is the quintessential good, totally without evil, and therefore incapable of creating an evil. For it would be against the total good, to create that which was in direct conflict with that good. God is an all-loving God, and therefore why would he allow his children to “choose” homosexuality and then to become a victim their whole lives? If Gods likeness includes black and white, male and female, then why not gay and straight? Would we limit God in his capacity to feel or be to that, which is in man only?

For I believe it is now, and always has been, a natural occurring phenomena. St. Thomas Aquinas writing on whether man has free will, states, “For the sheep seeing the wolf, judges it a thing to be shunned, from a natural and not a free judgment, because it judges, not from reason, but from natural instinct.” So also do I believe that gay people are attracted to one another by natural instinct. The capacity to love and worship and build lives together is not limited to just heterosexuals.

I find it to be a moral imperative that the Gay and Lesbian Community be ministered too. For how can it be righteous to withhold the love and acceptance of the Lord from those who may be different from the majority? Certainly, they saw Jesus as a radical, and as different. Did not Jesus walk among those who were the despised of his time, spreading the good news, and accepting them in love?

For if there are no foundations for excluding gay people from the church, how can it be tolerated? How much pain and sorrow must be caused in the name of the ‘perfect love,’ before we shout enough? Why must the self-righteous among us, rant and rave about that which they know nothing, all in the name of the Prince of Peace?

How can these ‘moral leaders’ of the church, be so certain, that gay people should be condemned for being who they are, and have this condemnation, be virtuous? How can the Roman Catholic Church condemn the use of condoms in a day in age when the birth rate has exploded in 3rd world countries, adding to an already overburdened population? How can Rome condemn the use of condoms in an age when AIDS threatens the entire human race? It is not birth control that they should condemn, it is the sin of birthing children who cannot be fed, educated and given a decent life that should be condemned.

I continue to be amazed at how hung up we are as a whole church on the issue of sexuality in general, let alone homosexuality. We find pious, prayerful men through the ages castigating the homosexual, and preaching with a believed certain knowledge that they are right. I reject these teachings. For I believe one has to be gay, to understand truly what it is to be gay, and to live this life as a gay person.

Not all gay sexual relationships are naturally good, as in all heterosexual relationships. Both bodies of sexual activity can be abused. But for many, sexual maturation leads one to a life mate which is the Ideal, that all should strive toward.

For if we accept the basic premise that we are of God, then our basic nature is good. I refuse to believe that our Lord rejects loving, caring, gay relationships, both sexual and non-sexual, for it is possible to love a friend deeply, without sex being part of that relationship.

Some pastors will counsel their homosexual parishioners to be asexual, not have sex, that’s the answer! I reject that notion also. The joy of sex and the intimacy that it brings within a relationship can be a most fulfilling aspect of that relation­ship. Surly, God would not deny us the joy that this gift can bring simply because we are gay. This would be like putting a child in a candy factory and telling him not to touch the candy! Likewise, to have two people in a loving relationship, and not allow them to give of themselves, that which is most personal, is silly. Only a life long celibate could urge such a thing, and not realize what he or she is asking.

I believe that Gay people are entitled to the same access to the Lords house and the Sacraments, as are heterosexuals. A truly Gospel-based parish would exclude no one. It should be a broad spectrum of the community, where all of the Sacraments are made available to the gay community. The current debate over gay marriage both saddens me and amuses me. For years, heterosexual society has condemned gay people for being promiscuous. Now, they are fighting like hell to prevent two gay men or women from committing to each other for life. In an ideal society, they should allow gay marriage. But since we are not ideal, I support union ceremonies, and would take great joy in performing them. The Church through the ages has hurt hundreds of thousands of gay and lesbian people. It must stop! It is reported that 30% of youth that commit suicide do so due to their sexual orientation. This must stop!

The love and acceptance of God must be brought to the people, all people. The prejudice and hatred of the Christian right must be rejected and fought. Those who act out of ignorance must be educated. Finally, I find comfort when I read Matthew 5:10–‘Blessed are those persecuted for holiness sake; the reign of God is theirs.’

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: I am not the original author of this work, Permission to duplicate and/or redistribute this document in part or in full is expressly forbidden. Because I do not know who the original author is, I am unable to provide contact information to comply with the DMCA so you may request permission directly from him/her. The author or his representatives may request this work be removed if they so desire by providing the proper proof of identity and the request to the site administrator.

2 Responses to “The Church & The Homosexual”

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