Monday, February 25, 2008

Why do Christians hate Gay People?

“Texas senator John Cornyn’s argument against gay marriage is: ‘If your neighbor marries a box turtle, it doesn’t affect your everyday life. But that doesn’t make it right.’ Now, I myself was not a psychology major, but after hearing that, I think it’s safe to assume that at one point or another, Senator Cornyn must have thought about making love to a box turtle.” Aziz Ansari, New York comedian.

Have you ever wondered why the fundamentalist Christian right-wing of America is so obsessed with gay people?

I mean, they're totally obsessed with homosexuality. It's one of the cornerstones of evangelical politics. It inspires more bile than pretty much anything else - and more bullshit. I recently read about a so-called 'Homosexual Agenda' on a right-wing site. It makes gay people sound more like the proponents of a 'new world order' than fellas who dig other fellas.

You've got to wonder where this obsession stems from. Personally, I believe it's all Freudian. After all, it's a commonly held belief that homophobia - which translates as fear, rather than hatred of gay people - often stems from a homophobic person's denial and repression of their own homosexual impulses.

Which makes sense when you take outspoken pastor Ted Haggard, who was voted one of the most influential evangelical preachers in the United States for his determined stance against gay marriage and homosexuality in general.

He once stated; "homosexual activity, like adulterous relationships, is clearly con­demned in the Scriptures." This was shortly before he was revealed to have been involved in a three-year long homosexual relationship with a male prostitute.

Or Paul Barnes, founder of Grace Chapel in Colorado. Despite preaching about how homosexuality was an unnatural sin condemned by scripture, he confessed in December 2006: "I have struggled with homosexuality since I was a 5-year-old boy. . . ."

It seems wherever you look, more and more outspoken critics of homosexuality are proving the stereotype right by admitting their own uncertain sexuality.

The Christian Position

If you ask a fundamentalist Christian why they hate gay people, you'll generally hear the same list of arguments.

  1. It's unnatural.
  2. It's unhealthy.
  3. It's considered a sin by the scripture of the Bible.

That's what Christians CLAIM is the basis for their dislike of homosexuality and public acceptance of a gay lifestyle - things like gay marriage (or civil partnerships) and the right for gay people to adopt.

However, on even the briefest examination of their arguments, it's clear to see the Christian anti-homosexual agenda is simply riddled with holes.

Let's examine the arguments:

1: Homosexuality is unnatural.

I'm not sure what the criteria for 'unnatural' is, but homosexuality is rife in nature. National Geographic and Wikipedia have lists of literally hundreds of mammals who have been observed engaging in same-sex activity.

Bonobo monkeys are an excellent example, with 100% of researched animals involving themselves in homosexual or bisexual relationships with other Bonobo monkeys.

Considering that a record 1,500 species of animals have been recorded displaying homosexual behaviour, the argument that homosexuality isn't a normal, everyday part of nature's rich tapestry falls utterly flat.

Of course, some Christians refute this logical argument on the grounds that they believe mankind did not evolve from animals. If mankind is not evolved from monkeys, why should we emulate their behavior by tolerating homosexual behaviour in society?

This is a rather contradictory argument, however. If you're going to distance mankind from the animals from which we evolved (or not, depending on your beliefs) it's suddenly so much harder to claim that homosexuality is 'unnatural.'

Homosexuality is entirely natural in the wild, so in order to claim it's 'unnatural' in mankind is to hold humanity to a different standard than nature. In that case - who has the authority to argue that homosexuality is or isn't 'natural' in polite, civilized homosapien society?

Like most Christian arguments, it all circles back to the Good Book. Nature itself might not say that homosexuality is 'unnatural,' but the Bible apparently does. In that regard, the Christian right-wing has already surrendered this first position against homosexuality by falling back on their third argument.

2. It's unhealthy.

Mike Huckabee, the most conservative Republican candidate for the White House, proudly declared: "Homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk."

He's talking, of course, about AIDS.

When AIDS and HIV first arrived on the scene, in the early eighties, it was often thought of as a 'gay' disease. It ran rampant through the gay community in the United States and while the heterosexual infection rate is now higher than amongst the gay community, it's still a disease that's often considered part of the homosexual lifestyle.

The fact that AIDS is still a hotly discussed issue within the gay community encourages conservatives to argue that it's proof that homosexuality is an unhealthy and unnatural lifestyle. Condoning homosexuality, as far as they're concerned, puts everybody at risk from infection.

Certainly, in the early days of the AIDS crisis, this argument carried some weight. The heterosexual community was generally only exposed to AIDS and HIV when a blood-doner gave tainted blood (infecting the recipient) or a man on the 'Down Low' maintained heterosexual relationships while at the same time engaging in clandestine homosexual encounters.

With much more being known about AIDS and HIV these days, those risks are reduced. Blood screening has practically eliminated the risk of infection via transfusion and a growing acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle has reduced the number of men who feel pressured to repress their natural inclinations and live 'double lives' (except in the religious community, examples being Ted Haggard and Paul Barnes.)

These days, it's fairly clear that the major infection risk somebody with AIDS poses is if you sleep with them. This makes the fervent outbursts of Ted Haggard that much more duplicitous. When he was preaching about the health risks of homosexuality and what a risk it posed to the community, it was clearly because he was exposing himself to that risk and he was scared.

The Christian condemnation of the homosexual lifestyle actually exposes more people to risk. As Barnes and Haggard illustrate, men who feel pressured to hide their true sexuality often maintain heterosexual relationships in public and have homosexual encounters in private.

Religion prevents these men being able to live their desired lifestyle - and in maintaining a straight 'front' they're exposing their wives to the very same health risks they protest against.

3: It's considered a sin by the scripture of the Bible.

This is where the Christian argument falls back to during every engagement. The Bible apparently says that homosexuality is a sin - and therefore should not be condoned.

While the scriptural argument might be the cornerstone of the Christian position on homosexuality, it's not a very good one. Even before you actually examine the evidence contained within the Bible, you have to consider a very important question:

The Bible apparently says that homosexuality is a sin. But so what?


Because America is not a Christian society. Sure, the United States might have been founded on Christian principles, but at least two of the founding fathers were confirmed atheists and since the foundation of America, the demographic has broadened to include Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Seiks and Muslims.

What unifies the people of America is not the Bible, but the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution - and they say nothing on the subject of homosexuality.

In fact, the first line of the Declaration of Independence is:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."

During the Civil Rights movement, the right of a person to have a consensual, monogamous, long term relationship with another human being was constitutionally protected by 'the pursuit of happiness' in the 1967 Supreme Court Case Loving vs. Virgina. In that case, it was an interracial relationship - but the precedent was set.

Christians can legitimately argue that the word 'marriage' refers only to a man and a women. But allowing two people of the same gender to have an officially mandated civil partnership with each other - offering the same protections, benefits and standing as a heterosexual marriage - is quite clearly the constitutional right of every American couple who decide to live that way.

If a Christian believes their values are truly in conflict with the Constitution, they have to ask themselves: Which are you? A Christian or an American?

The two don't have to be mutually exclusive - but many fundamentalist Christians choose to make them that way. It's evident in the political positions they take regarding homosexuality.

Fundamentalist Christians either want to appoint right-wing, conservative Supreme Court Justices who will ignore the precedent set by Loving vs. Virginia, or they lobby to change to Constitution itself to include the rule that marriage is 'between a man and a woman.'

The fact that the Christian right wing cannot support their own position without manipulating or amending the Constitution illustrates just how conflicted it is with the spirit of American society.


But moving on, it's time to examine the Bible itself and see exactly what it says about homosexuality.

Now I've often found discussing such issues with fundamentalist Christians to be difficult. As far as many Christians are concerned, they know the Bible better than any non-believer and often dismiss any notion of discussing the subject with somebody who hasn't already taken their blinkered position on the subject.

But that's just an arrogant statement - and incorrect. For one thing, the ability to quote every line of the Good News Bible does not make you a Biblical scholar. Most fundamentalist Christians are only familiar with the Bible they use in Church and in Bible study. They argue that this is the entirely accurate, heavenly inspired Word of God.

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness." 2 Timothy 3:16

But it's not. It's a very long way away from that.

The Good News Bible or King James Bible is merely an English translation of a Biblical anthology. It MUST be considered as such. If anybody has learned a second language and done translation work, they must know that there are several different ways of translating something and to believe that any English-language translation of the Bible is 100% accurate is to assume that the original translators were as divinely blessed as the Bible's original authors.

Take some of the translation problems Biblical scholars encounter. In one example, in Matthew 5:22, the Revised Standard Bible says Jesus warns people: "Whoever insults his brother, he must answer for it in court."

The King James Bible translates this somewhat more closely to the original Koine Greek text, which comes out as: "That whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Racha, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."

The King James Bible used the word 'Racha' as one of the insults Jesus warns against using. At that time, no translation for the word could be found - so the term was left untranslated. However, a more recent study of ancient Hebrew and contemporary Greek indicates that the word 'Racha. was synonymous with the Hebrew term "rakh" - which indicates a man of weak, effeminate and homosexual appearance. Historian Warren Johansson equated to the common anti-gay slur 'faggot.'

So therefore, in the original Matthew 5:22, Jesus warns his followers not to make fun of men of effeminate or gay appearance. He specifically uses that term. Hardly supporting the traditional anti-gay position Christians take, is it?

The Christian Argument

When it comes to scriptural evidence condemning homosexuality, Christians are largely wise enough to ignore the Old Testament. Although the Old Testament position on homosexuality was explicit - so were positions on a variety of other things, which are incompatible with a modern Christian lifestyle.

For example, Leviticus 18:22 says: “And with a man you shall not lie with as a man lies with a woman; it is an abomination."

However, according to Leviticus, it is an equal 'abomination' to eat shellfish, pork or rabbit, so considering even fundamentalist Christians enjoy a good pork chop or shrimp cocktail, you can't base an argument against homosexuality on Leviticus. That would just be hypocritical.

Instead, Christians argue that the New Testament provides ample evidence that Christianity condemns homosexuality. Although this isn't entirely accurate.

In actual fact, there are only two explicit references to homosexuality in the New Testament, both appearing in the Pauline epistles.

That in itself is interesting. Paul the Apostle did not actually know Jesus. He didn't actually know anybody who knew Jesus. In fact, he claims to have received the Gospel from a vision of the resurrected Jesus while traveling on the road to Damascus.

Therefore, even assuming the translations of Pauline epistles appearing in the King James Bible or Good News Bible are remotely close to the original texts, it's worth noting that by historical standards, Paul's gospel is anecdotal at best.

In Epistle to the Romans 1:26-27 , Paul wrote:

"Because of this [idolatry], God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error."

In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Paul says:

"Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

There are two major issues with accepting these two references to homosexuality as absolute proof that it was condemned in the Bible.

First off, it was Paul speaking, not Jesus. Paul the Apostle is not God. Paul the Apostle is not Jesus. In fact, Paul hadn't even met Jesus. Therefore, it seems entirely contradictory to base a scriptural argument against homosexuality purely on the words of a man other than Jesus.

Especially since the only reference Jesus himself made about homosexuality in the entire New Testament was to condemn people who insult men who were 'Racha' or seemingly homosexual.

Apart from that, Jesus doesn't say a thing about homosexuality - and considering just how important the issue is amongst modern-day fundamentalist Christians, I find it very troubling that the spokesman of their entire religion had nothing to say on the subject.

Secondly, Paul's comments are in themselves contradictory to the Christian faith. The basic philosophy of Christianity is that anybody can inherit the Kingdom of God as long as they accept Jesus. Absolutely anybody regardless of the sins they have committed.

Evidence of this comes from a far more accurate source than Paul's epistles. Both Luke and Matthew recount the last hours of Jesus' life, in which he spoke to two thieves crucified to the left and right of him by the Romans.

The 'Good Thief' accepted being crucified; "for we receive the due reward of our deeds." But he recognized Jesus as the son of God and asked: "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." Jesus responded: "Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." Luke 23:39-43.

And THAT'S the basis of Christianity. That anybody - regardless of what they've done throughout their life - will be welcomed into heaven as long as they accept Jesus.

So when Paul pompously argues that gays and drunkards won't 'inherit the Kingdom of God' then he's contradicting none other than Jesus himself. I personally believe Paul is arrogantly pontificating his own beliefs using Jesus' name to give himself credibility.

After all, if you believe Corinthians 6:9-10 condemns homosexuality, it also equally condemns drunkenness, talking about somebody behind their back and even obesity (...nor the greedy...)

And anybody who's spent any time around fundamentalist Christians will realize that excommunicating all two-faced gossipers would leave the Churches pretty empty.

The Pauline epistles are simply flawed - from both a historical and a scriptural basis. Therefore, inarguably, using them as evidence in the argument against homosexuality leaves that position equally flawed. Jesus never condemned homosexuality. That's a fact, documented beyond any reasonable doubt within the Bible.

Let's Get Real

Having examined the flaws in the fundamentalist position, it's worth taking a step back at looking at the big picture. The anti-gay argument is seriously flawed. Only in the narrowest, most blinkered interpretation of scripture is it possible to determine that homosexuality is condemned in the Bible (although not by Jesus himself.)

That raises the question: Why are fundamentalist Christians SO vehemently opposed to accepting homosexuality?

I believe the answer to that one lies in recent history.

Man & Woman?

Currently, the major sticking point Christians are unwilling to budge on is the subject of gay marriage. Not just the term 'marriage,' but the idea of offering same-sex couples in committed relationships the same legal protection married couples have.

It's rather alarming to look back just forty years to see a similar position being upheld in the southern United States - protesting marriage between the races.

During the first half of the 20th century, all across the United States, there were laws enacted to separate black people from white. They went to different schools, rode different buses and even drank out of different water fountains. Top of the list of 'racial crimes' was an interracial marriage between a white person and a black one.

In 1967, Loving vs. Virginia was a hotly contested court case that saw a black woman marry a white man in the District of Columbia (as was allowed in the American capital.) When the married couple moved back to their home state of Virginia, a grand jury issued an indictment against the couple as they'd married in violation of Virginia's segregation laws.

On sentencing the couple, the judge announced the following:

"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And, but for the interference with his arrangement, there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."

Note the opening words: 'Almighty God.'

Just like in the argument against gay marriage, it's the Lord's name used (taken in vain) and it's apparently his will that blacks and whites be separated.

But the Lovings did not capitulate - and the court case reached the Supreme Court - the highest court in all of America. Nearly ten years after their original indictment, the Lovings were allowed to remain married, on the grounds that Virginia's segregation laws were unconstitutional and "odious to a free people whose institutions are founded upon the doctrine of equality."

Chief Justice Warren explained his ruling:

"Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State."

Note that the gender of the 'person' a man is free to marry is never mentioned. Some people argue it's implied - but other people logically argue that the only requirements to marry is mutual consent by both parties (rendering senator John Cornyn’s 'box turtle' argument void, since a box turtle, or any animal, is incapable of offering informed consent to marry.)

Bigotry in Faith's Clothing

The alarming thing comparing Loving vs. Virginia to the modern day argument against gay marriage are the similarities. It seems like it's the same old cast, performing the same old script, just four decades later.

While certain Christians were instrumental in securing Civil Rights for African-Americans, the core support for racial segregation across the United States came from the majority of 'decent,' normal, Church-going Americans. The same people who are now protesting against gay marriage.

In fact, the scriptural arguments were quite similar, too - with the 'mark of Cain' often being interpreted as dark skin, thereby offering scriptural evidence to support the assumption that black people were spiritually inferior to whites.

Such scriptural interpretations were clearly just cynical attempts to hide racism and bigotry behind the legitimacy of religion. I honestly don't see how the Christian position on homosexuality is any different today.

It's quite clear that the most verbal opponents of gay rights aren't fighting against homosexual equality for any 'greater good' or 'higher calling.' They simply don't like gay people. They're scared of the effects 'gay' people will have on good, old-fashioned 'family values.'

But that's no different to white people in the 1950's being scared of the effect 'negro culture' would have on polite, white society - heralded by the arrival of 'rock & roll' music.

It doesn't necessarily mean the Church goers in the 1950's or the fundamentalist Christians of today are necessarily bad people. They're just not exposed to homosexual people in the same way those of us in urban areas are - and are therefore apprehensive about people they know nothing about (aside from whispered rumors and Church mandated anti-homosexual propaganda.)

This is why the anti-gay movement is much stronger in America's heartland than places like New York City or California. In New York, we know that the gay community wants nothing more than the basic civil liberties the 'heartland' of America was denying black people less than half a century ago.

The right to avoid discrimination. The legal protection of an officially recognized, consensual, monogamous, committed relationship. The right for certain aspects of 'gay history' like the Stonewall Riots to be recognized - just like important events in the history of the Civil Rights movement are recognized.

In protesting so vehemently against this, I'm worried the fundamentalist Christians are being enormously hypocritical. In the New Testament, Jesus certainly never said anything about homosexuality, so by putting his name behind a movement to repress and deny other human beings their basic human rights seems totally against everything Christianity is supposed to stand for.

"They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good." Titus 1:16


Kitty said...

It's all about turning the other cheek isn't it? ;-)

Religious bigotry is as unpalatable as any other kind of bigotry isn't it?

I have religious intolerance. I am intolerant of religion when it seeks to impose its narrow-minded, prejudiced, fundementalism on the rest of society.

Great post. x

Anonymous said...

Thats nice, when all else fails call me gay.

Your argument is flawed and misses the point... but again, not in the mood to get into this with you.

Roland Hulme said...

You might want to READ it first, CK.

Anonymous said...

You've got to wonder where this obsession stems from. Personally, I believe it's all Freudian. After all, it's a commonly held belief that homophobia - which translates as fear, rather than hatred of gay people - often stems from a homophobic person's denial and repression of their own homosexual impulses.

I did, and you insinuated that I was gay. Real nice. But I'm done with you... no tolerance for stupidity like that.

Plus your argument for homosexuality being OK in the Bible is just wrong, but arguing the Bible with you is like arguing the Koran with me. A waste of my time.

Roland Hulme said...

I'm not calling YOU gay, CK - I'm just pointing out the curious fact that some of the most vocal and outspoken critics of homosexuality turn out to be - you guessed it - gay.

My actual examples were Ted Haggard and that Barnes chap.

But you're falling back on the old dismissive position: "I'm a Christian, you're not - therefore I can't discuss the Bible with you."

Which is just arrogant.

As I pointed out, I went to a theological college and I was a Christian for the best part of thirty years. I'm certainly as 'up' on Bible knowledge as you are. In fact, clearly more so - as I can identify some of the scriptural problems with your dogmatic arguement.

For example - if the Bible is the 'absolute truth' - which version?

I suggest you look up the same Bible scripture on Bible Gateway Dot Com - they have no less that 21 English language versions of the Bible - and each one translates things differently.

So which 'version' is the right one?

I'm not the one being stupid, CK - and if you aren't equipped to discuss any of the issues I've raised, your dogmatic position on homosexuality clearly has no basis in fact.

You've decided what the 'truth' is without backing it up with fact - either 'real world' fact or scriptural fact.

Reverse_Vampyr said...

Good post. You already beat me to the punch on the church's inconsistent "enforcement" of Leviticus scripture.

Rather than imperiously – and arbitrarily – asserting Old Testament rules, I think Christians would do much better to follow Christ's example. Which is what we're supposed to do anyway.

Anonymous said...

excellent post here, roland. i believe in just loving everyone, man. i love my gay friends. they are very dear to me. i don't judge them and i they don't judge my life either.

i am a total dysfunctional catholic too. not really practicing it much though. biggest hypocrites you'll ever meet, but i digress! ;) hehe

Good work here, Roland!! You have excellent writing skills and you make some great points!

Katie at CuppaJoe

Jos76 said...

Most Fundamentalists are completely unaware of the historical context of the bible. They are just told what to believe, mostly by people who prey on them and have no theological training. Every theologian agrees on the importance of reading and understanding the Bible in its historical and cultural context. When considered in this way, the life of Jesus and everyone in the old testament is unimaginable in modern times, though the teaching of Jesus are beneficial when understood in our time in history. I am a convinced Christian and I don't agree (call me conservative) with all of the fundamentalists that promote murder, polygamy, torture, incest, and idol worship. If you want to be a Fundamentalist and disregard the historicity of the Bible, then you agree with all that is in it and thus know that many sanctioned people of God in the Old Testament had several wives, had sex with their children, and killed their relatives (the poor kids that did not obey their parents). Oh wait, they probably don't agree with that. It is convenient to use the historical argument for that, but not for the issue of homosexuality. Please worship God and follow Jesus out of love and devotion, rather than what is convenient for you.

Anonymous said...

Just fyi that the "johnny workentine" comment is spam. He's been leaving that link to his blog all over the place.

Dev Mason said...

"JESUS" never said anything about hate towards homosexuals. PERIOD.

Anonymous said...

This is an awesome post! There is much detail that no person who is anti-gay would even bother reading because no amount of logic or discussion could make them change their views. In fact, it does the opposite! I love how the commenter 'ck' automatically got defensive when he thought you were calling him gay. He didn't want to 'get into this with you' but he clearly had no idea that you could back up your arguments with logic and fact. All he can say is he has blind faith, which is why he also wants Sarah Palin to be president in 2012. God help us show these narrow-minded people the light!

Roland Hulme said...

Thanks for stopping by, Anonymous! I will admit, I realyl got into the nitty gritty, so this is quite a difficult post for some people to get into - but I like to think I made a pretty convincing argument.

mjmiddleton said...

For one, the title is completely misleading. True Christians do not hate gay people. Christianity compels us to love all people, gay or otherwise. But it also requires that we do what we can to deliver them from the enslavement that has taken hold of them. Sin, whether it is homosexuality, or adultery, enslaves us to its grip. It mimics an addiction, from which people are unable to escape. It is much like smoking. We can rightly say that smoking is a risky and dangerous practice. That does not mean that we hate people who smoke....merely that we would like to spare them from the harm that smoking is doing to them and those around them. Homosexuality is the same thing. The risks it poses are considerable. Those who warn of these risks are doing the loving thing, regardless of how society would slander them.

Roland Hulme said...

Hey, Mel,

I appreciate you comment - but I think it's a fundementally flawed idea. Smokers CHOOSE to smoke and it's within their power to CHOOSE to quit, if they have the willpower.

Despite what Conservative Christians would LIKE to believe, every gay person I've ever met (and I know quite a few) says they were simply BORN that way. They can no more change it than the color of their skin.

God made them that way, so I certainly don't think he expects them to do the impossible and change themselves.

mjmiddleton said...

Roland, your line of reasoning is flawed. For one there are many ex-gays, some of whom are the most adamant (even militant) about the dangers of that lifestyle. Second, just because someone is supposedly "made that way" is no reason to condone behavior. For sure, pedophiles argue exactly that same thing...."they can't help it, they were born that way". Does that mean we should celebrate child - adult sex? Similarly there are many who would argue that they were born with a sexual orientation of polyamory. Does that mean we should legalize polygamy? I'm sure that someday scientists will discover a pyromania gene. Does that mean we should condone arson? Nor does being born with an innate desire for same gender sex minimize the risks. And HIV is only one of the many social, emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual risks.

mjmiddleton said...

Another point which needs to be mentioned is the use of the term "raca". The article argues that this means "effeminate". And therefore that Christ was condemning homophobic insults. But there is no evidence for this. It has also been translated as "godless" (no doubt a take on the reference from the psalmist that "the fool hath said in his heart there is no God"). There is certainly insufficient (if any) philological evidence to support the author's view that raca refers to "effeminate".

Roland Hulme said...

Pedophile comment is a silly one. Pedophiles might be 'born that way' as well, but sex between two consenting adults is one thing (perfectly acceptable) whereas sex with children (or animals) involves sex with people who are unable to give informed consent. That's rape and abuse.

Consenting adults should be allowed to have any form of relationship they want in the privacy of their own homes. If you want to police that, why should we stop there. America and the freedoms outlined in the constitution should mean something to you, Mel.

As for the 'raca' comment. I'm with Thomas Jefferson. The Bible is such a mess of contradictions, to argue that any position is scripturally sound is an exercise in futility. Even if you CAN argue that the Bible condemns homosexuality, in the 21st century, who the hell cares what an outdated book like the Bible says, anyway? The Bible is of historical and philosophical value only - trying to live in the 21st century by 1st century rules is, quite simply, retarded.

mjmiddleton said...

Roland. The point about the raca comment was that the article's definition was inaccurate. Whether you regard the Bible as authoritative or not is irrelevant. What is important is that in an issue as sensitive and politically charged as this, the truth matters. And translating "raca" as meaning effeminate simply can not be established as "truth".

I'm inferring from your comment that "consenting adults should be allowed to have any form of relationship they want..." that you have no problem with polygamy if all adults are consenting. That's the logical conclusion to your statement. And while all major religions condemn homosexuality, not all condemn pedophilia. Your "silly" comment is simply based on ignorance. Mohammed married his favorite wife Aisha when she was 6 years old. (Although he did not consummate it until she was 9). As our societies grow increasingly multi-cultural, how are you going to tell Muslims that polygamy should not be allowed, when gay marriage is. And what argument are you going to use against someone whose defense is the life example of the "prophet" himself, and when you already support an action that to him is punishable -- according to sharia law -- by stoning?

Anonymous said...

to Mel: the topic here is about homosexuality and how homosexuals should be granted the right to marry the person of their choice it has nothing to do with smoking , it has nothing to do with polygamy , it has nothing to do with muslims doing what they want to do if you are pro polygamy or pro smoking and what not. that is fine but i would suggest you make your own website and state your point of views on that matter. In terms of christians hating homosexuals, i am sure that is not all chrisians , but for sure a grand majority does in fact that, some christians in some states literally hate homosexuals and believe they should die , or should be killed and stuff like that...i dunno if christianity is the best religion or not , but if it would be a very clear religion with concrete values and morals ,then i do not understand why they try to judge others based on their sins, i am a roman catholic, and i have always been taught that i should never judge others on their sins but respect them and help them if i can, and focus on my sins to be a better person. Would'nt this theory be a more correct one..then why do christians like you would start judging about a behavior of somebody else, shouldnt you be helping us to get this right ?shouldnt christians help each other regardless of their sins? I think so because that is what the bible has taught. Whatever we do in this world is not for you to judge but for God to do so...he will be proud if you help your neighbors ,i believe as long as you try to do your best with yourself and are conscious of your sins and pray for forgiveness then he will understand..right?

Anonymous said...

to Mel: the topic here is about homosexuality and how homosexuals should be granted the right to marry the person of their choice it has nothing to do with smoking , it has nothing to do with polygamy , it has nothing to do with muslims doing what they want to do if you are pro polygamy or pro smoking and what not. that is fine but i would suggest you make your own website and state your point of views on that matter. In terms of christians hating homosexuals, i am sure that is not all chrisians , but for sure a grand majority does in fact that, some christians in some states literally hate homosexuals and believe they should die , or should be killed and stuff like that...i dunno if christianity is the best religion or not , but if it would be a very clear religion with concrete values and morals ,then i do not understand why they try to judge others based on their sins, i am a roman catholic, and i have always been taught that i should never judge others on their sins but respect them and help them if i can, and focus on my sins to be a better person. Would'nt this theory be a more correct one..then why do christians like you would start judging about a behavior of somebody else, shouldnt you be helping us to get this right ?shouldnt christians help each other regardless of their sins? I think so because that is what the bible has taught. Whatever we do in this world is not for you to judge but for God to do so...he will be proud if you help your neighbors ,i believe as long as you try to do your best with yourself and are conscious of your sins and pray for forgiveness then he will understand..right?

Anonymous said...

I know this is an old post but found it online searching on the topic. I'm a Christian who knows your statements are skewed and unfounded. As you make your claims, you don't list your sources so I can't check them out. Way to go.

First, you translated the word 'Rakh' incorrectly and I believe, on purpose. The Greek word means 'senselessness, emptyheadedness' and not 'weak, effeminate and homosexual appearance' like you stated. Don't put words in Jesus' mouth. You twist things for your agenda.

Second, Christians don't ignore the Old Testament. Christ did away with the Old Law when he died on the Cross. In Acts 10, God told Peter that all living creatures should not be considered unclean which is why Christians eat whatever meat they please. God didn't make any change regarding his commandments on homosexuality. Paul forbids in in 1 Corinthians 6:9. The greek word is arsenokoitēs which means ‘abuser of oneself with mankind; defiles one’s self with mankind; Sodomite.

Thirdly, Jesus did know Paul personally. Jesus came to him on the road of Damascus when he revealed himself to Paul (saul) and made him an Apostle. If you knew or understood the Great Commission (Matt. 28), Jesus gave authority to all the Apostles to teach what he has taught them so if Paul says something is right and something is wrong, believe him!!!!

I could go on and on with your statements but ignorance and selfishness deserves little attention so I end my rebuttal here. Get educated before you speak.

Roland Hulme said...

Anonymous - why don't you google or wikipedia everything you just accused me of 'making up.'

Then eat an enormous slice of humble pie.

Oh, wait... 'humble' is a concept far too many Christians are unaware of.

Anonymous said...

TO Mel:

Religion has been the fuel for murderous intolerance since its horrific birth. Your extensively false arguments are only a testimony of you playing into the hands of Roland and others. By arguing against empirical, scientifically back evidence you only engorge in your ignorance of the subject. This is the empirical "Facts" Mel.

If you don't like them then move to Zimbabwe where pro choicers are prosecuted and homosexuality caries a life sentence.

Anonymous said...

Being a true Christian allows the freedom to truely love people in light of the sacrifice that Christ made for us. A true Christian loves everyone, loving allows true respect BUT it does not mean acceptance. I love my children, but do a condone/accept them stealing? no! Do I respect the Federal/State/Municiple Governments yes! But it does not mean I condone/accept everything they do? There is a disconnect in society between true LOVE and ACCEPTANCE, a true Christine recognizes that homosexulaity is no more of a sin then lusting after a woman who is not yours, or stealing. Homosexuality should be viewd in the same light as all other sins, AS GOD DOES. If we are true servants of Christ then we will view all sin as the same. BUT the consequences of sin vary, all ultimatly lead to spirtual and physical death, but initially the consequences will vary.

Roland Hulme said...

EXCELLENT comment, Josh - the only problem is that homosexuality isn't necessarily a sin - maybe not then, certainly not now. It's been twenty centuries since the bible was written. If our definition of right and wrong hasn't evolved by then (we don't have slaves, like the Bible did) then we're a pretty crappy society.

Anonymous said...

Very good points!! I can just say that Prop 8 and other laws banning gay marriage are just new Jim Crow Laws. I actually don't believe in a reliegion and I don't prosecute anyone who does but I think that nowadays some people use religion to just put other people down. I am unwilling to disciminate against ANYONE based on something that they can't help (like being gay) and right now we need more open minded people in politics who are willing to stop the abuse some homosexuals are going thru. Anyway good article. So easy a middle schooler understood (and appreciated) it.

Unknown said...

Great message, Your points are so true, you my friend surely have a spot in the kingdom of God. I am a christian matter of fact I am a gay christian, I go to church atleast every sunday if not more. I know God better then those who hate me. With these "so called" christians that hate gays these are the people that God sees as an abombination when i lay down at night with the man i truly love think for a minute do you honestly know anyone whos goes by the bible word for word just a few, cutting your sideburns, a woman wearing pants, a woman having a job, mixing two fabrics together, eating pork, i could go on for hours the argument here is to anyone who thinks i can not get into due to being the WAY GOD MADE ME, i say grow up, read the bible more carefully, see how many sins you have commiteda sin , repent for hating gays or i feel your future will be answering to preaching your word and not God's, that will earn you a place in thae lake of fire.

Briana said...

Dude you are awesome... christians dont get the reasoning behind what people say when they are gay. Gays or bi are still humans we just have a lust for the different sex. Most christians would argue that it goes against the bible and god but we have been going against god for along time... though we dont like to believe it we all arent innocent as we like to think.
another thing is that all humans are born as both man and woman but then our body chooses one gender, maybe though our body has chosen its gender our mind hasent that could also be a factor of why some people are gay?
This is from a 14 year old that has hung out with gays all her life and has be yelled at and threaten for doing it even at the age of 9. Is this the world that the Christians want there kids to grow up in if they turn out to be gay or bi as well?

Anonymous said...

Having zero knowledge of the bible and thus no capacity to argue with fundamental christians on "their turf", I turned to the internet to find a well put-together argument which cites scripture and then summarily disproves it as relevant. This post is exactly what I was looking for! Very well done! I feel properly armed now. I can't wait to see the looks on their faces when I start busting out scripture! Priceless!

Anonymous said...

The True christian says "God loves you just the way you are"

Only people who are filled with hate and fear say anything else...making them in turn sinners.

Live and let live, I support LGBT and I think it comes down to thus; My mother and father were the christian standard and my mother went insane and abandoned me and my father was a heterosexual pedophile. So frankly, I would have rather had two "unnatural" mothers or fathers...rather than what I got.

Anonymous said...

United States of America was NOT built on Christian principles.

"In 1797 America made a treaty with Tripoli, declaring that "the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." This reassurance to Islam was written under Washington's presidency, and approved by the Senate under John Adams.

The First Amendment To The U.S. Constitution:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ." This quote came from web site

IronTitan76 said...

Roland, you put up a argument. I will give you that. The main reason behind all the disagreements and feuding is that people have different opinions, different morals and different beliefs. For me, I am a wholehearted Christian, so I am not going to hate someone before I get to know them no matter what religion or what beliefs they have. I do dislike the 'concept' of homosexuality, yes, but there's no need to hate or insult someone's belief. You are right about the words “homosexual” and “homosexuality” not appearing in the Bible—at least they are absent from the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts. It could be possible that the authors of the Bible did not understand sexual orientation; this concept was only developed in the late 19th century. The writers had little or no comprehension of same-sex committed relationships. Their languages had no words for these concepts. Rather, they assumed that everyone was heterosexual, but that some heterosexuals engaged in sex with persons of the same gender. Thus, when you see one of these terms in an English translation of the Bible, it is important to dig deeper and find what the original Hebrew or Greek text really means. Most Christians despise homosexuality, because of Adam and Eve (a man and a woman) and all the other heterosexual relationships they hear about in the Bible. Yes, there is evidence of homosexual relationships as well, but it was usually with eunuchs who could not perform because of their castration. The original text does not really condemn homosexuality, but it also does not approve of it. All in all, religion is ever-changing; people have their faith based on what is preached to them, what time period we're in, and what kind of morals they have. Everyone is different. I think the best thing to do is to respect another's beliefs or at least tolerate them.

big dave said...

Thank you for this Militant Ginger.
The greatest commandment of all is to love your neighbor as yourself. I grew up in a fundamentalist Christian church. You had better be JUST LIKE THEM or they HATE you. I no longer consider myself to be 'religious'. I leave this for them. This is a social club network thing for them. God and Jesus is not in it. "You shall know them by their fruit". A fruit of the Spirit is not hate. But that is exactly what you get from these folks. I love them, but I cannot be a part of their hate. Jesus Christ to came to this earth for ALL people. He loves me. He loves you. That's it.

treena-ivy-carter said...

Okay...first I will state that I am an atheist. I have always been an atheist and I enjoy getting into arguments with Christians and Catholics and Methodists and people of that sort.

I disliked being told by a five year old that I was going to Hell for not believing, but I want to say something. The bible was written by...what do you know...HUMANS. Religion was created by...again...HUMANS. Judgements were created by...Humans.

Don't you just hate that, you religious nuts?

I want you to know something: humans are animals, weak animals who only have an extensive need for survival by using other things like FIRE and ROCKS and things of that nature.

Jesus was a common name back in the day of BCE; and it was full of sexist liars. There were probably gays and bisexuals back then too. And adultery...there were brothels you know. The bible...yeah it's a book.

Don't believe all the books you read or were told about, you know why? Because in this specific book there was incest: Adam and Eve anybody? They had three sons: Seth, Cain, and daughters mentioned then. And adultery: anyone remember Lilith? And pedophilia: that dude who knocked up Sarah's kid, his stepdaughter who was like 9ish and that other guy who married a six year old.

The bible is flawed, effed up, and hypocritical. Anyone can rewrite the bible. I might just do that too. Say I found a new translation in Ireland or something.

People stop being so obsessed with a propaganda "the Holy Church" started for money. Hello...21st century here.

Gays are just like you and there is only one scale for everyone.

It's the Bisexual Scale or some other fancy name. It has to do with if you equally prefer both sexes, prefer females, prefer males, or you prefer a dusty old book.

People, get over it already. We are not the only things in the universe, and if we were why would "GOD" want us around?

Gays are normal, transsexual operations are normal, blacks were here first (well it's true), and I still know there is no petty God.

BTW, love the article. "Thumbs up"

Unknown said...

Several Points I'd like to insert about this very poorly researched article and complete lack of understanding/knowledge of the Bible....

1) I do not know one Christina that "hates gays' as the article implies short of Westboro Baptist, and I can give examples of just as cooky people on the left.

2) Paul did meet Jesus, on the Road to Dimascus...Book of Acts

3) Believing/trusting in Jesus goes hand in hand with turning away from sin...yes, anyone who truly belives in Him will be saved, however if there is no renunciation of sin, no repentance, there will be no forgiveness.

4) Follows point 3---Paul did not contradict Jesus in I Cor 6:9....Jesus gives virtually the very same list in Rev 21; also if you keep reading into I Cor 6 verse 10, Paul explains that those people in vesr 9 were people in the church after they had 'been washed and sanctified' (forgiven)....notice the tense of the verb in verse 10 indicationg past tense...'such WERE some of you'

4) Levitical Law---2 points A) The shellfish, linens, etc your making mention of are for cleanliness, more specifically ceremonial cleanliness. B) And even if the shellfish was a sin issue (which it's not), Jesus says that it's not what goes into a man that defiles him, but what proceeds forth out of his body.

5) Finally, You quote II Tim 3:16 (ALL Scripture is God-breathed), but then you give more weight to what the Lord said versus the other writers of Scripture. This contradicts the point you were trying to make. Also, Christians, believe that ALL of the Bible are Jesus' words, remeber that's His name, the Word.

Lastly, no one hates you. I have sin in my life too. the only difference between me and you is I'm not trying to rationalize my sin through a sophomoric understnding of the issues at hand. When I sin, I'm convicted of it, I repent, and beg God to help me sin no more. I urge you to do the same, turn away from your sin, not just homosexuality, but all of it. God is just and able to forgive you.

Anonymous said...

[From the viewpoint of a straight Christian/Catholic)

We were always taught to love and respect everyone (no matter what).

Gay people do not automatically go to hell. People keep misinterpreting the bible way too much. THINK, Christians. God always taught us to "Love Thy Neighbor". God also said that He Himself loves everyone equally. So, why the hate?

This is really sad. Gay/lesbian people are JUST PEOPLE. Like us. They deserve the same treatment. I know God will treat them equally, but it seems humans won't.

I also want to make clear that not all Christians hate gays. I am Christian and don't. However, there are a lot who do. They have been taught wrong.

Love and tolerance, people! Come on!

Dasai said...

I agree with this,
I mean so what if the bible says that homosexuality is a sin?
Where does it say 'oh also plz b**** about them to'
As you said some things may have been changed in translation, time and speech.
Also how can you believe about what humans say but not Jesus himself!
Someone told me yesterday Jessie J was a lesbian and my friend said 'eww' , that shocked me and then what got me more was when my other friend said ' i know', I just don't know why some people hate gays so much, or scared.
I mean if your son or daughter told you they were gay, would you break there hearts and say 'actually homosexuality is a sin', I mean come on if you said that to them they would probably cry, they would go on believing that there was something wrong with them and I think that is quite sad.

Nate22 said...

Being gay is how your born u can't choose to stop it otherwise you would be lying to yourself. I'm 14 and openly gay and don't give a damn what people think, it's my happiness not theirs. When my mom figured it out I put myself in a mental hospital because I was suicidal and extremely depressed. Saying that god looks down upon homosexuals is bs because where all equal in his eyes. It's not a sin to be gay and it will never be.