I recently watched the 2007 documentary “For the Bible Tells Me So” which addresses the cultural perception of homosexuality in America as it does in many other cultures. The one striking thing I got from this film that I have hit on in just about every piece I have written on the subject, is how contemporary Christians take biblical phrases and notions out of context.
They are also guilty of attributing meanings to words and stories in the Bible that were not intended by the sources they take them from, especially from the hebrew version of the Torah that Christians refer to as the old testament as well as any ancient greek text used by early christians as they began to document the New Testament. Too many lives have been ruined because of the unfounded notion that the Bible is the “inerrant word of God”.
Like many heterosexuals, I was raised in a conservative christian environment that condemned homosexuality and routinely compared it predatory sex offenders, bestiality and pornography. I have found however that like other subject matter provided me through a focused set of standards, reality is often far different. It was only after faithfully researching the available data outside some forms of religious dogma did I discover why we were raised thinking as we did about gay people.
The word “abomination” used by the church and her followers is one word that has been used in excess when it comes to homosexuality, especially in comparison to the other abominations referred to in the Bible. The seven Noahide Laws do not mention homosexuality explicitly nor is it in the Holiness code found in the Book of Leviticus that permitted slavery while it authorized killings for the “abominations” of a disrespectful child, an adulterer, a person who takes the Lord’s name in vain or the daughter of a priest who commits prostitution.
The original meaning that comes form the jewish word, “sheqet”, finds certain behavior not acceptable to their customs and therefore made them less than pure in the eyes of their God. Jews who followed the Torah and the Mosaic laws therein were more likely to be rebuked or ostracized from their people for their abominations rather than killed or condemned to hell. There is nothing in the Old or New Testaments that condemns homosexuals to such a level that makes it preeminent above all the abominations mentioned in the Bible.
What are considered abominations as stated in Proverbs 6: 16 – 19 are
A proud look, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations,
feet that be swift in running to mischief,
A false witness that speaketh lies,
and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Much of this is behavior that we see in the anti-gay crowds who protest anything associated with the gay lifestyle of our friends, neighbors and relatives.
Fundamentalist Christians today have somehow justified their hate for homosexuality but seldom do they convey any hate towards those who charge interest on a loan (Lev 25:37), crossbreed livestock (Lev 19:19) or get tattoos (Lev 19:28), all violations of “God’s law”.. They have made an unfounded statement that “same sex marriage threatens the institution of marriage” without providing any real argument that stands up to close scrutiny.
What is an abomination in this country is the discord among people created by some to fit a narrow, hateful frame of reference. Biblical scholars have found this possibly derives primarily from a single biblical source using a Protestant English translation of Paul’s comments in 1Corinthians 6:9 and Romans 1:28.
These translations generally interpret the Greek words “malakoi” and “arsenokoitai” as referring to homosexuals.
We can be fairly certain that this is not the meaning that Paul wanted to convey. If he had, he would have used the Greek word “paiderasste.” That was the standard term at the time for males who had sex with males. We can conclude that he probably meant something different from persons who engaged in male-male adult sexual behavior. Down through the years, Christians have interpreted these words as referring to people of lacking a high moral standing, or to masturbators, or to men who sexually abuse boys, or to boys who are the victims of sexual abuse. Interpreting these passages as referring to sexually active homosexuals appears to be simply the latest in a long series of attempts to make sense out of obscure words. The precise meaning is unknown; it was buried with Paul. SOURCE
I sincerely hope that as the public becomes more educated about homosexuality apart from strict religious stigmas, that their tolerance of such increases, as recent polls indicate. Similarly, I feel that as more states like New York refute the inequality of gay marriage taboos, many of those who have been misled by their religious upbringings will search their hearts deeper for the core message of love in the so-called “word of God”, and acknowledge that not all people are required to present themselves within the narrow perceptions of the misinformed and the homophobic.