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“why do people think being gay is a sin? I don’t understand that at all, yeah, God made Adam and Eve, but he also made us for a reason, isn’t that right?”
- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Becky Garrison as a part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions
A few Christians may rant and rail aka the God Hates Fags crew about “homos” going to h-e-double toothpicks. However, most God fearing folks just smile with that hair that praises Jesus look and go on in true Paula Dean fashion how they “love the sinner but not the sin.” Often these bible believers sport bumper stickers on their cars that say “Jesus said it. I believe it. That settles it.” They point to few select verses in the Bible that condemn “homosexuality” and conclude that “homosexual sex” is a sin. In other words, you can be gay as long as you remain celibate. (Somehow lesbianism never enters the conversation. Draw your own conclusions what this omission means regarding women’s sexuality and the church).
This literal approach fails to interpret these verses within their correct socio-political context. For example, take the bit in Leviticus that forbids men to have sex with each other. Well this same section also tells men not to have sex with the family goat, sheep or other beasts of burden. Sounds to me like a scenario where they’re more concerned about the need to expand the tribe by producing more babies than prohibiting bonds between those of the same gender. Just ask those who use Leviticus to demonize LGBT folks if they eat shrimp, wear two types of fabric and a host of other no-nos that are also found in Leviticus. Quickly you’ll discover that fundamentalists don’t follow every Biblical law word-for-word.
In this video, performance artist Peterson Toscano demonstrates how to see these ancient texts with new eyes. His interpretation of the destruction of Sodom illustrates how the issue at that brought down Sodom was the host’s failure to provide hospitality not “homosexual” acts.
Along those lines, the video of Brian Murphy, co-founder of the Queer Theology website retelling the Genesis story can be played whenever someone spouts off that “God created Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve” nonsense.
Moving on to the New Testament, we do see prohibitions against men having sex with men. Upon closer analysis, we note that in these passages, the Apostle Paul is advising specific Hellenistic communities to avoid Roman rituals that included performing sexual acts. In other words, if one wants to be a Christian, then one needs to follow the teachings of Christ. No more playing with the Roman gods. Stop. Now.
Finally let’s look at what Jesus of Nazareth has to say about LGBT people. In all his rants against a host of ills, he doesn’t utter a single word about “homosexuality.” None. Total silence. So when confronted with anti-gay bigotry, why not turn the aforementioned bumper sticker slogan a bit on its head by chanting back, “Jesus didn’t say it. I believe it. That should settle it.”
If you want to continue the conversation, head over to Believe Out Loud. Here you will find Christians leaders and other voices who fully embrace LGBT people and communities that grant civil rights and liturgical rites to all.
Click through to read more about Becky and our other Second Opinions panelists!