08 December 2010

ARG: Do the Scriptures Condemn Gays?

Simple answer? No. But let me explain. First of all, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine of Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Gospels in the New Testament are completely silent on the issue of homosexuality. We claim the Book of Mormon to be the most correct book. That it was written for us and our time and the volumes of scripture I mention above are the most valued in Mormonism. Why then, are they silent on this issue if indeed homosexuality is the "downfall of society," or the "destruction of the family?" If homosexuality is the reason for the destruction of mankind, why is Christ, why is the Book of Mormon, why is the D&C SILENT about it? Food for thought.

Now, there are a few scriptures that are not in the volumes I addressed above that people take to mean that homosexuality is evil and condemnable. Let's examine them. The bulk of the argument Christians make against gays rests on two basic old testament references. The first is that of Sodom and Gomorrah. The second is the Levitical Code.

Sodom and Gomorrah

The scriptures are not explicit in stating the reason why God destroyed these cities by fire. Many Christians blame the homosexuals (just as they blame gay people today for the reason why society is crumbling and families are being weakened). But what do the scriptures really say? The sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were many. They include rape, bestiality, adultery, idol worshiping, and neglecting the needy. In fact, in Ezekiel, Christ compares Jerusalem to Sodom & Gomorrah, calling it her "younger sister." He then condemns Jerusalem over Sodom and Gomorrah:
"As I live, saith the Lord God, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters. Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good…  but thou hast multiplied thine abominations more than they, and hast justified thy sisters in all thine abominations which thou hast done. Thou also, which hast judged thy sisters, bear thine own shame for thy sins that thou hast committed more abominable than they: they are more righteous than thou: yea, be thou confounded also, and bear thy shame, in that thou hast justified thy sisters." 
Ezekiel 16:48-52
So here, the Lord not only doesn't mention homosexuality (and he never explicitly does), but he is condemning Jerusalem for judging the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Christ is basically saying that Jerusalem has no place to judge when they have a beam in their own eye that is greater than the mote in the eye of their "sister" city. And what explicit sins are stated by the Lord himself that condemn Sodom and Gomorrah? Haughtiness, neglect of the poor and needy, pride, gluttony, idleness. Hmm… could these things be said about the "righteous" members of the church today? Are members today not pointing their fingers at gay people and making them the scapegoat for the downfall of society?

In the New Testament when Christ is instructing his apostles, he says,
"And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city."
Matthew 10:14-15
Once again, Christ is condemning other cities above Sodom and Gomorrah if they reject his apostles. Why does Christ even reference these cities of the old testament? It sounds to me that he references Sodom and Gomorrah because so many people know the story of its destruction and point to that city as being so wicked. So because of this horrible judgement people cast on Sodom and Gomorrah, the Lord gets his message across to the self-appointed "righteous" people by saying, "YOU ARE WORSE! So stop pointing out the sins of those people as if you are better!"

Okay, so lets return to the question of homosexuality and Sodom and Gomorrah. This verse is often referenced to show that it was homosexuality that was the reason for destruction by fire:

For those of you not familiar with this story, angels were sent as men to the city and Lot housed them for the night. When the men of the city saw there were strangers in town, they surrounded Lot's house
"And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them."
Genesis 5:19

So it is clear that homosexual acts must have been present in the city, but it that the sin? It seems clear that these men were there in lust. The old and young came for "fresh meat." It is also obvious that this was in no way going to be consensual. They intended to rape these strangers… possibly even gang rape them. Also, were these men even gay? Committing a homosexual act and being gay are two very different things. If a heterosexual person commits a homosexual act, it is purely out of lust- for the sexual pleasure. If a homosexual person commits a homosexual act, it is possible for it to be an expression of real love. This is because a homosexual person is interested in a fulfilling relationship with another of the same sex just as a heterosexual person seeks a fulfilling relationship with the opposite sex. Once again, the ACT doesn't determine your ORIENTATION.

Okay, enough about Sodom and Gomorrah. You can look into it more for yourself and see if the scriptures ever state that homosexuality was the reason for the city's downfall. It is my belief that that is a false interpretation and that it was made the scapegoat so that we can justify our sins of haughtiness, neglect of the poor and needy, pride, gluttony, and idleness which are sins explicitly stated by the Lord for the reason why the city was destroyed.

The Levitical Code

First off, lets remember that this code was part of the Law of Moses and has been fulfilled and replaced with the higher law. But, if you or others insist on using it for a bases for the idea that homosexuality is condemnable, lets examine it. The scripture referenced to condemn gay people is this:
"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."
Leviticus 18:22
What else is an abomination according to the same code? Well, it spends about 15 verses of the same chapter talking about how seeing certain members of your family/extended family naked is an abomination. It also states that the penalty for a child cursing or disobeying his parents is death and the penalty for the daughter of a priest sleeping around is being "burnt with fire." It also states that no man with a blemish (ie "blind, lame, flat nose, broken footed, dwarf, scabbed, etc) will be allowed to offer sacrifice to the Lord. The penalty for blasphemy is being stoned to death.

I could go on, but I wont. My conclusion here is if you are going to use the Levitical code from the Law of Moses to condemn me, you better be killing your child next time he/she disobeys and prevent anyone who has a physical flaw from serving in any callings or capacity that would allow him to sacrifice his time or means for the Lord. You can't extract one verse and apply it and leave the rest as "in the past" and "done away with."


There is no bases for condemning gay people and telling them that if they act on their natural, fundamental, core desires for fulfillment and happiness in this life that they are in any way evil or condemnable before the Lord except for prejudice and ignorance. Even the scriptures that one might use to argue against gays are few and rely on sketchy interpretation of vague language. The tradition that society has built up that gays are in some way disgusting, perverted, or evil is a false one. It is simply because gay people are a minority, they are different from the mainstream, and people don't understand them.

Lastly, did you know that there is a story in the Bible that many scholars believe references a gay man who was called of God, even as he continued in his same-sex relationship?? I will present that story in a later post.


Boris said...

Re "a story in the Bible that many scholars believe references a gay man who was called of God, even as he continued in his same-sex relationship:" I am very much looking forward to reading this, although it's quite possible you are thinking of a different Biblical hero, prophet or king than the one I am thinking of (as recorded in 1 Sam).

Post a Comment