All six of the passages of the Bible that address gay and lesbian behavior were shortly rebutted in my first blog post. I do hope that those who would like to know more check out the video link to a most excellent speech I appended to the bottom of that page. I’m going to shamelessly borrow from that guy again in this post.
While reading through the six passages, did you notice that all of them are negative in tone? Turns out, so is the Bible GENERALLY, when it comes to sex. This is because most of the time when the Bible talks about sex, it’s talking about adultery, orgies, rape, prostitution and exploitation. Sex between married partners was rarely described, just generally assumed. Sex between same-sex loving partners was never described (exegesists like to argue that one, especially between Daniel and Ashpenaz) OR assumed anywhere in the Bible. Though there are several possibly gay relationships in the form of David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, and Daniel and Ashpenaz, these could-be unions are all described positively, as was the relationship of the Roman Centurion and his pais, which I discussed in my second blog post. The take-away here, is that the Bible never once condemned anyone’s loving same-sex relationship. Not once. So, there is one biblical reason to be pro-LGBT, and pro-marriage equality in particular, though a lack of a negative isn’t the best biblical foundation. Don’t worry it gets better.
“It is not good for man to be alone”
Genesis 2:18: “It is not good for man to be alone” This is the first thing out of God’s mouth after he finished Creation, and the very first thing he hadn’t proclaimed to be either “good”, or “very good”. Then He said “I will make a helper suitable for him.” But that’s not what God did next. God then brought all the animals to Adam for naming, and after THAT, God made Eve out of Adam’s rib as he slept, as no helper was found during the naming. I don’t know about you, but I find that part a little sick. Finding a helper amongst the animals, is that bestiality? (edit 11/16/12: This WAS actually my question when I first read this passage in my Christian High School a couple decades ago…I get more flak for this part…seems to make some Christians see red and stop reading. Don’t stop!) Probably not, as sex is generally understood by theologians to be a product of the Fall. Well, it didn’t turn out that way, as Eve showed up shortly thereafter, but can you conclude from this weird part of the story that God is really not all that addicted to the idea that Adam’s perfect partner was a woman? One thing you CAN conclude from the story between the creation of Man and the creation of Woman, is that we should find our perfect partner, the one who completes us, as perfect as Eve was for Adam, but NOT “Adam’s choice”, YOUR choice. And we should do this because, as God said, it is not good for man to be alone. Which is to say, mankind. To insist that for gay people, they must never look for their perfect partner, and if they find one, to turn away, that they should pick up their cross and walk, because no one is given more than they can bear…despite the extensive and growing pile of evidence of bad fruits this biblical interpretation bears…is to deny the very first pronouncement about mankind that God ever made. And ironically, it sets gay people on a tragically weird little pedestal, expecting gays and lesbians to be involuntarily committed to a level of celibacy that only the Catholic church is insane enough to demand only of their own servants of God…and look at the bad fruits THAT’S borne over the years!
“Better to marry than to burn”
Paul had a problem in Corinth. They had several issues, but one of them was sexual immorality. The early Church of Paul’s time espoused and encouraged celibacy for everyone, but not everyone seemed able to follow through on that. Here is some of what he wrote to them to address their problem:
1 Corinthians 7:1-9 “Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. I say this as a concession, not as a command. I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.
“Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
So, marriage is the prescription for anyone with a sex drive and no talent for celibacy. Sounds great! Sign us LGBT’s up! A lot of us have been waiting for years and years to get that particular prescription filled. As long is it’s not available, you are withholding the cure for sexual immorality and castigating us FOR the resulting sexual immorality while ignoring the lesson of good fruits in the process.
And now, a word from J.C…
Matthew 19:1-12 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.
Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”
Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”
Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”
At the end of a discussion about marriage and divorce, Jesus chooses to bring up eunuchs? And three types! What’s with that? The second and the third types of eunuchs are fairly easy to understand, but what about the born eunuchs? Many modern Christians want to believe that a born eunuch is someone with a deformity that precludes their sexual capability, but some historians believe and a few ancient source materials indicate that born eunuchs were men who lacked any desire for women, at all. They were as trusted as the man-made variety around ancient harems and served alongside those unfortunates for a thousand years, until the 4th century, when the born eunuch category was abruptly phased out in order to reclassify them as men, who would then be subject to sodomy law. Previously, the only people subject to sodomy laws were citizens who had receptive anal intercourse and anyone who would do that to a citizen, whom they thought of as a rapist. Men who could not abide at least occasional sex with a woman didn’t make the citizenship requirements and were therefore exempted.
What this means, is that Jesus was well aware of what the gay community today would call a “golden boy”, a virgin to women, and exempted them from heterosexual marriage…but declined to restrict them in any way like he did with heterosexually married people! Still, I think I’d rather get married, myself.
Let’s recap: The Bible is not negative anywhere in it about loving same-sex relationships. God understands that it’s not good to force people to remain unpartnered. Any people. Paul understands if one has no inclination toward celibacy, they should marry. And Jesus understands gay men should never marry women. Sounds like a recipe for biblically approved marriage equality to me!
Other posts in the series: