Homosexuality in the Bible
Consider that the United States, supposedly the example democracy for the rest of the world, still cannot pass the ERA, since the religious right won't let them, and you can see that like it or not, religion remains important, the Bible remains important, and this will continue to the case for a long time to come. Given how this is the case, finding effective ways of dealing with the Bible is important, not just as an internal matter between churches, but to the larger society as well.
Homosexuality in the Bible
Recent events have brought the issue of gay and lesbian rights into the spotlight. There has been a move pioneered by 'liberal' or 'left leaning' Christian churches to pioneer the right to 'same sex marriage' (the most prominent of these churches has been the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto which has been working on the issue and filing law suits for years, and they have received both support and condemnation from many other church organizations). The Supreme Court in the United States also recently removed from the books certain laws criminalizing gays and lesbians, and together with recent court victories on the issue of same-sex marriage in Canada, the inevitable result of this turning tide has been the rise of Christian reaction in opposition to the changes.INDEX
The issue of Homosexuality in the Bible
There are so few references to the issue of homosexuality in the Bible that they could be counted on one hand (or on two hands with some fingers left over if certain questionable passages are included in the list). In every case where the issue is dealt with explicitly the Bible takes a position of condemnation and this has caused certain problems for 'liberals' or 'left leaning' Christians, in particular for the Metropolitan Community Church as a whole (which is a gay and lesbian denomination), while at the same time providing ammunition for conservatives and those of the religious right who vociferously argue that such practices 'violate God's Word in the Bible.' One cannot, they insist, be a Christian and also support gay and lesbian rights since 'the Bible is quite clear on the issue.'
The result has been some torturous Bible interpretations by liberals and leftists, or so it seems to me as I observe the dispute on the side lines. It is a common practice, it seems, for these liberals to forfeit ground to the religious right, by acknowledging the Bible as 'normative' and then to proceed with these torturous attempts to 'reinterpret' the Bible in 'a gay friendly manner.' Although it is not always the case, it seems typical for liberals to avoid any questioning of the whole issue of what is supposed to be 'Biblical authority' and having bought into the doctrine that teaches that policy must be based on 'the norms of the Bible' the problem of the left then becomes one of torturing unfriendly Bible verses in an attempt to soften the right wing blow such Bible verses deliver (since the verses in question are not 'liberal' or 'leftist' but rather represent the religious right point of view. This is obvious, since it is the religious right who wrote the verses in the first place, and the religious right consequently are the ones to continue using these right wing verses, which create nothing but headaches for left leaning liberals. The source of the problem is that liberals were not the original source of these verses and thus are forced to torture a new meaning out of them - but only because they forfeit ground on the issue of 'Biblical authority' in the first place. See the page Conservative / Liberal dichomtomy and the creation of the Bible for examples which justify the position I have just outlined here.)
In a previous piece I discussed how the Bible is actually a synthesis of right wing and left wing viewpoints. The true explanation for the creation of the Bible is that it is a mirror of religious communities, and also mirrors their conflicts which have been going on since time immemorial. The Bible is extremely liberal, even radically communist and leftist, and such Bible verses would prove to be quite useful to any liberal of leftist, since they were originally written down by liberal leftists. The same verses are nothing but a headache for the religious right, leaving the religious right with the same problems liberals have in dealing with the religious right. The right wing must either torture those liberal leftist bible verses, you know, to make them sound like actually they are promoting an extremely right wing point of view, and I have listened to right wing Bible torturing as well as liberal Bible verse torturing. In addition to this torturing I have also made note of the practice of simply ignoring those inconvenient ideologically 'incorrect' Bible verses. This luxury of just pretending that Bible verses you don't like don't exist is a privilege only accorded to the extreme right wing of the church. Liberals and leftists typically are not afforded the luxury of just ignoring right wing Bible verses, and instead are forced to acknowledge them by the more aggressive right wing, and thus liberals and leftists, it seems to me (just based on anecdotal observation) do much more torturing of verses of the Bible than the religious right, while the religious right does much more ignoring of naughty inconvenient Bible verses than the liberal left.
Since I have already written much on the topic of the left/right dichotomy in the Bible, I won't pick up on the subject here again, except to remind people that the Bible is not 'God's Word to humanity' and it certainly is not 'infallible and inerrant' but rather the Bible is a mirror of the religious community, and like the communities it has mirrored over long ages, it is ideologically split. For this reason, the Bible cannot be said to be 'normative' as the source for formulating all doctrine, since the Bible has a bipolar personality disorder and typically adopts positions that represent both extremes of any complex issue, as well as a range of alternatives that span the spectrum between these extremes. Trying to settle any issue using quotes from the Bible is much like packing the whole Christian church into one big conference hall, and then coming out with a definitive answer as the debate in the hall rages between extremes of the religious right and the liberal left. They wouldn't come out of that great meeting with a definitive and final authoritative answer in relation to any issue you can think up, and the situation with the Bible is exactly the same. The Bible is like a great conference hall packed with factions who are ideologically riven because it mirrors the religious communities who created the document.
It therefore is only sensible to conclude that the methodology required to establish doctrine or belief in churches can never be based on making the Bible 'normative for doctrine' but rather the means must be found employing some other form of inquiry and investigation. This suggests, since there is no definitive source of authority which churches can play act over and pretend to use to settle disputes (and silence opposition) personal freedom and independent inquiry are the only alternatives that remain when it comes time to decide what is right or wrong or what course of action must be followed.
The Bible can remain useful in this regard as it is a source of the history of such religious disputes, and as it was said, those who do not know history just keep repeating the same old history by running in the same futile circle like some hamster working out on one of those revolving hamster wheels (the hamster gets exercised, and real worn out, but never actually goes anywhere). People are just going to have to decide for themselves what is right, and they are also just going to have to accept the fact that there will always be some church somewhere that will disagree, not to mention a larger society within which there will always be sections of disagreement. There is no justification for attempting to force agreement with narrow solutions on the grounds that 'it is in the Bible' since this tactic in the end only results in endless controversies, due to the fact that the Bible is ideologically divisive, and thus those who rely on it to impose authority on others, are always found to become ideologically quarrelsome, fighting over opposing Bible verses (typically the charge will be made the opposite Bible verse that opposes some proposed 'Divine Command from God' is simply being 'misunderstood' and then that torturing of the Bible verse will begin, you know, to get it to change its story).
A Question of Methodology
The purpose of this particular investigation then is not to 'interpret the Bible' and all its nasty right wing damnation of gay people. Those who want an interpretation of such passages can find one above - they are right wing damnation of gay people. That would be the simple and correct interpretation of such verses.
Even though I dislike the practice of torturing the Bible, to force left to convert to right or right to convert to left (depending on who is manning the dungeon at any particular time and just how wrong the Bible is behaving, in the sight of said torturer), even so I though it might be good to just briefly review methodologies of biblical torture, especially as it relates to this whole issue of the right wing passages regarding homosexuality.
One attempt is made to dispose of two disturbing passages of that handful that mention homosexuality, and that is to focus on 'translation issues.' This approach is valid in this case, since there are words that are translated to mean 'some fag queer' in the Bible, and no one really knows what they mean. The point is that they could have been condemning elderly women who carry red hand bags, for all we know. Tradition has led these verses to be translated in a manner which condemns 'some rotten fag' and even then tradition cannot agree on just what 'queer' is being damned here. Some use the word to condemn pedophiles. In other verses 'transvestites' or 'transgendered' people are condemned. In other translations it is simply bad enough for a man to behave 'effeminately' to be damned to blazes of hell. The number of inventive translations of these mystery words is quite interesting to behold, and the fact that the various attempts focus on condemning some type of 'queer' or another is simply related to tradition - long ago, someone else, who also didn't know what these ancient words meant, decided to damn homosexuals in general, and so the tradition began, and now the debate seems to be about which specific 'homosexual' is being damned.
For the above reason at least a couple of those troubling passages can be thrown into the dumpster, at least until someone actually determines with precision just what the Bible was talking about at this point. And then, once this has finally been established, the verses can then be subjected to torture if required, to get them to change their story.
The 'Laws of God' on homosexuality
This brings us to the next point. There are some verses in that wonderful book of stone age law known as Leviticus which just cannot be tortured to make them say something other than what they say, since what they say is that gay people are abominations and should therfore be gay bashed until they are dead. This is quite explicit, and because it is explicit, right wing ministers are demanding that the Bible be exempted from Canada's new Hate Speech Law. You see, you have to be able to call a sin a sin just like the Bible does, and since Leviticus clearly calls for violent gay bashing and the murder of the 'queers' and also damns the 'transgendered' it naturally follows that any one who reads the Bible would run the risk of falling afoul of the Hate Crimes law in Canada. Now if some violent punk started talking about murdering gay people, that would be 'a hate speech crime' under the law, but if a minister did the same thing, that would be 'protected speech'. The difference is that a minister was reading 'God's Word' and quoting Leviticus, and this book is just so valuable that reading it out loud must be granted a special exemption under Canada's hate crime law.
Now there are two ways to deal with this issue, as far as I can see it, and torturing Leviticus is not one of them. It is hard to see how one can put a more 'gay friendly spin' on the call to murder all queers. That would be a tough one. However, before falling into despair since 'God's Word' is 'so clear on the issue of gay bashing' (God is for it), it should be noted here that the value of Leviticus has been called into question throughout history. It turns out to be the case that God said in the Bible, through prophets, that God considered that book of Leviticus to be a piece of crap, and so liberals can heave a sigh of relief, secure in the knowledge that God doesn't think much more of Leviticus than they do. According to Jeremiah, Leviticus was a forgery cooked up by the lying pen of the priests of the Jerusalem temple. What Jeremiah said is explicit, and cannot be tortured to mean something else. For this reason Jeremiah has been mistranslated in the New International Version of the Bible, which was commissioned by the religious right.
Now it goes without saying that any verse of God's infallible Word that requires mistranslation so that it actually says the opposite to what it said before, must have been quite resistant to torture by the religious right, and thus when torture doesn't work one is left with the option of execution to finally silence and censor that troublesome voice.
The second way to deal with something like that stone age book of superstitions called Leviticus, and similar laws in some of those other books, is just to take a look at the company such gay bashing laws keep. As I like to say, I wonder if any Christians will start calling out for exemptions under the hate crime law for those other disgusting laws. (Did you that 'if you see a beautiful woman and find her desirable, then you can take her. When she ceases to please you just send her away.' And people say the Bible is hostile to extra-marital sex. You can also have sex out of wedlock by raping slaves, and Biblical law is explicit in spelling out that you must not punish men for raping slaves because 'she is a slave'. The logic is impeccable, you must agree, for what good is it to have slaves if you can enslave them, right. You can also beat your slaves to death and once again God's Law is explicit in insisting that you are not to be punished 'for the slave is your property.' The list of these wonderful laws which no one is trying to protect goes on and on, and what this tells us is that people just want to protect that gay bashing to death law because that's a big issue for them, while protecting those sexual assault laws, or beating to death laws, and out of wedlock sex laws is not coming up for debate in our country at this time since it is not currently on the Religious Right agenda).
So you can see that it would be pointless to attempt to torture new meanings out of such 'Laws of God' since such laws are to explicit to say anything other than what they say, and the best approach in this case is to simply take those laws and dump them down the crapper the way that Jeremiah and other prophets did, and as I do as well, and encourage others to do every chance I get. One of the interesting things that a study of these Bible Law reveals is that it is simplistic to assume that the verses of the Bible consist simply of a composite of 'Religious Right' and 'Liberal' verses, but that there are numerous other sources as well. For example, we know that the religious right was not the source of that law about picking up beautiful women you see, having sex with them, and then dumping them. This sort of hanky panky is not on the agenda of the religious right. On the contrary they would like to pass laws banning such conduct. Similarly, it is hard to picture liberals writing such a law, since they have a big issue with the sexual objectification of women, and are in no way in favor of being a sexual user. This leaves one to wonder where such laws came from in the first place, and we can only assume that everyone got a crack at writing laws for the bible, and that would include misogynists and rapists, or so it would seem, and certainly the slave driving industry got their two cents worth in as you can tell by reading the Bible. Its kind of like it is today, one must suppose, where politicians get pressured by every special interest group and thus the laws reflect this fact. Truly there is nothing new under the sun . Some laws were clearly written by the military industrial complex of the time, in particular the Zionist movement, which is not a recent phenomena, but quite ancient. ('Slaughter the people whose territory you are stealing and then make your home in their country...Put the inhabitants to slaughter without giving any quarter and burn their town down...Drive out all the natives of the country before you...you shall take possession of their land and send in settlers for the Lord has assigned this land to you as your personal property...')
The Story of Sodom as military propaganda
Now having disposed of those mystery translations used to condemn gay people, and then having thoroughly trashed the stone age laws of the Bible, we can move on to the next most famous verse used to attack gay people, the famous 'Sodom and Gomorrah' story. It is typical, I have noticed, for 'liberals' to attempt to deal with this story by insisting that it is 'not about gay people.' For example, the verse will be reinterpreted to be about 'not showing hospitality.' Therefore the sin of Sodom was being unfriendly to guests and not helping the poor. This reinterpretation is helped greatly by a famous passage in Ezekiel, where the prophet writes, 'And this was the sin of Sodom...' and then doesn't mention sex at all, but rather charges Sodom with a lack of hospitality and not helping the poor. It will then be suggested that Philo, a Jewish Greek philosopher, was responsible for placing a homosexual interpretation onto the Sodom story.
This however is not accurate, since the story of the slaughter of the tribe of Benjamin is basically lifted right from the story of Sodom, word for word at times (making this a classic piece of propaganda). It is clear that the sin of Benjamin was that they were 'a tribe of queers' or so the propagandists try to suggest, and thus when they were looking for some 'fag story' it is interesting that they chose the Sodom story for the war propaganda, and this was centuries before Philo ever lived. Now the story of Sodom is told twice, and in the second case, where it is used as war propaganda to justify the attack on the tribe of Benjamin, the story is obviously a piece of propaganda. For a modern analogy, you can consider the attack on Iraq on the charges that they 'bombed America on September 11th' and they were also guilty of 'having weapons of mass destruction.' In the case of both Sodom and Benjamin, the story of Sodom was used as a piece of propaganda, and in those days, if you wanted to blacken your enemy, it was good to charge them with being 'queers'. This was so useful as war propaganda that the story could be recycled as needed and used over and over again.
That the story was war propaganda was recognized by the prophet Hosea. Hosea devoted a good section of his manuscript to condemning the attack on the tribe of Benjamin, just as he damned the wars of Jehu. What is remarkable here is that both stories are previously portrayed in the most positive light, in the book of Judges and the Book of Kings in the Bible. The fact that such stories were held in reverence at the time made no difference to Hosea, who recognized that the Bible contains harmful war propaganda, contributed no doubt by the military industrial complex of the time, and in condemning the Sodom story when it was used against the tribe of Benjamin, Hosea was also condemning the use of war propaganda in general (the entire manuscript of Hosea is strongly anti-war). If it was wrong to use such devious propaganda against Benjamin it was not less wrong to tell that kind of story in its original form in Genesis.
The Sodom story is also far fetched in that it practices racial or national stereotyping. It was necessary to almost completely slaughter the tribe of Benjamin, or wipe out Sodom, because 'they were all perverted fags.' This is like saying 'all black people are lazy shiftless rapists of white women.' Such stereotyping is common to all the military propaganda in the Bible, where whole nations or races of people are damned as possessing some undesirable traits and then the call goes out for genocide ("Slaughter those nations and show them no pity...")
The military industrial complex of ancient times was obviously one of the most powerful forces in ancient society, just as it remains today. Large sections of the economy and ancient industry were devoted to the military in Biblical times, and consequently, due to the power of this particular special interest group, a huge part of the first third of the Bible is devoted to war stories and war propaganda for this very reason. The military became so powerful that the militaristic myth of Israel eventually overpowered the alternative national story of redemption from slavery in Egypt. Zionism became one of the most powerful ideologies of Israel, and consequently the Zionist myth is given much coverage and stories of military conquest and expansion fill the earliest books of the Bible.
The book of Joshua is devoted to describing the Zionist myth of Israel (on God's orders Israel invaded other people's lands and either slaughtered them to the last citizen or drove them out and then sent settlers onto their land...sound familiar....) A similar pattern repeats itself today, and although the Jewish religion can be very egalitarian (the story of redemption from slavery and the anti-war, anti-Zionist positions of the Jewish prophets being good examples) nevertheless Zionism dominated ancient Israeli society just as it does today. Zionism, from its conception, has always been an ideology of racism and pillage and militaristic expansion, and it has not changed at all in the intervening epochs and survives to this day. Just as the better part of the earliest books of the Bible are dominated by stories of Zionists and war making, Israeli society is dominated by the same forces today, and so the once again the Bible can be seen to be a mirror of the culture at large. It was not 'God's Word' but rather a mirror of the tensions and tendencies in Israeli society.
The Sodom story is just one more example of Zionist military propaganda which is defined by its racism and questionable theology. For example, I have often asked (and no one ever answers) why it is the case that the Zionist war god never 'conquered the promised land' for the Israelites, but instead functioned as a military general who gave war orders. ("Exterminate the nations whose land you are taking...Put the natives to the slaughter without showing any mercy...Destroy!') The reason that war god never did any warring itself, but instead sent people into the destructive cauldron and horrors of war fare is that the war god was not actually a god at all but rather a proxy for the military command structure of Israel. The result was an idiotic and inconsistent theology, with an almighty god figure reduced to the impotent role of military general, racist stereotyping, and endless military propaganda clogging a good portion of the Bible and masquerading as 'the Word of God.' And the Sodom story was useful as military propaganda, as the recycling of the story to rally the troops for the attack on the tribe of Benjamin indicates, and the story is just as stereotypically racist as all other racist Zionist war propaganda in the Bible.
Ezekiel and the Letter of Jude
In the Newer Testament, there are a handful of condemnations of gay people, and included among them are those 'mystery translations' I mentioned above. When these ambiguous verses are excluded, there still remain two particularly nasty damnations of gay people to be found in the Church Testament, one in the book of Romans and one in the book of Jude.
Now the short letter of Jude is one of the most paranoid and cruel pieces that constitute the Church testament. The letter presents one of two alternative legends which purport to describe the fate of Sodom in the Bible. The author of the screed resorts to truly vicious stereotyping and malignant sexual paranoia to describe the terrifying fate of all those who like Sodom, practice 'perverted sex'. It is interesting to note here that the author interprets the Sodom story as being about homosexuality, a point we will return to in a moment.
We are told that certain liberals had "wormed their way into the church, people whom scripture long ago marked down for destruction. They are enemies of religion, perverts who turn to grace of God into a free licence to sin." The author then delivers a truly paranoid description of the redemption from slavery in Egypt, in that the people were saved from Egypt and then were all destroyed and went to hell for not obeying priests. It should be noted here that this is the version of the Exodus story told in the Book of Numbers. There are two versions of the Exodus story, one is liberal, what I call the optimistic tradition, and one is darkly right wing, and pessimistic, and according to the Christian interpretation of the latter version, after being rescued from slavery the people were all sent straight to hell forever because they refused to listen to their religious authorities. This is a recapitulation of the priestly myth in the book of Numbers and the self serving nature of such a dogma should be obvious.
The author then calls on everyone to 'Remember Sodom who like the evil angels committed acts of sexual perversion and unnatural lusts and in eternal fires of hell they paid the penalty as a warning for all...to this day these deluded dreamers continue to defile their bodies...these people are a danger to the whole church...twice dead and pulled up by the roots. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming over with disgraceful deeds...and reserved for them is an endless eternity of the blackest darkness...the follow lustful ways...mock true religion and follow all their own ungodly lusts...some you must save by snatching them from the fires of hell and others you must fear, hating the very clothing that is stained by sexuality."
Just as there are two versions of the Exodus tradition, there are also two versions of the story of the final fate of the city of Sodom. The pessimistic, right wing, anti-sexual tradition is described above. According to this version Sodom, even now as we speak, is burning in the torments of hell fire, so that they can forever act as a deterrent to all perverts.
Now the official Jewish Bible which in our culture is referred to as 'the Old Testament' did not exist until around 90 C.E. when a council of rabbis voted on books to be included at the council of Jamnia. Jewish people have a long history of preserving ancient documents (some of the books of the bible describe life at the late stone age and just before the transition to the iron age). For this reason we still have the transcripts of the debates that took place at Jamnia, as the rabbis attempted to decide which books would become part of the Bible and which would not.
The book of Ezekiel was controversial and caused some of the most heated debates among the council members, and just barely survived the vote which caused it be include in modern Bibles. Ezekiel gives an alternative version of the future of Sodom, which directly contradicts what you read in the book of Jude. At the time that Jude was written, there was no official Bible, and thus no Ezekiel in the Bible, so the author of the screed could base his dark broodings on books he personally recognized as scripture, such as the book of Numbers, for it is this tradition that he refers to in his brief letter. Ezekiel was controversial, and there were likely many who would have rejected Ezekiel, even after the vote, since it was so hotly contested, so it is possible that even if the author of Jude was familiar with the Ezekiel version of the story of Sodom's future, he would have continued to maintain his own deeply pessimistic, sexually hostile view none-the-less.
According to Ezekiel, Sodom was not going to burn with fires, but rather would become everyone's 'sister'. Now this is sarcasm, and it is sarcasm with a point, since according to Ezekiel the people were such rotten hypocrites. In the context of near Eastern culture at the time, telling hetereosexual men that they would be given Sodom as a 'sister' would have been considered atrocious, which is why Ezekiel said it. In any case, it was hardly the case that Sodom would be burning in hell, as a warning to all, in particular given what a stinking bunch of hypocrites everyone was, according to Ezekiel. Rather Sodom would live them and be given to them as their sister, and no one would ever hear another word from those stinking hypocrites again. The sermon is a classic piece of satirical sarcasm targeting arrogant self righteous religious hypocrisy.
Ezekiel wrote, 'You surpass Sodom in depraved conduct. I swear that Sodom never behaved as badly as you have done. The sin of Sodom was that they were arrogant and never helped the poor...But your abominations make them look innocent by comparison...It is you who must now bear your humiliation while you make your sister Sodom look innnocent...I will restore the fortunes of Sodom and I will restore yours at the same time. When you bring them comfort you bear your shame and feel disgraced for all you have done. Sodom will go back to being what she was in ancient times and then after they been restored to what they were you will then be restored yourself. Did you not speak contemptuously of your sister Sodom, in the days of you arrogant pride, before your own wickedness was exposed. Now you must bear the consequences of your lewd and abominable conduct. I will treat you as you deserve for you are hypocrites who violate your own covenant. You will remember your past conduct, when I give Sodom to you as your sister, and feel ashamed and humiliated so that you will never open your judgmental mouth again. This is the word of YAHWEH GOD."
What you can see here is that the Bible actually presents two different legendary stories which purport to describe the future prospects of Sodom. In the paranoid Christian letter of Jude, they are destined to fry like a crisp forever so as to act as a warning on behalf of all religious hypocrites, like the author of that particularly virulently violent assault on common decency and simple compassionate humanity known as the letter of Jude (I really hate that filthy and disgusting piece of superstition inducing tripe). All hard nosed religious hypocrites can choose to prefer the letter of Jude, since the alternative is to read Ezekiel's version, which can be read by all people who are not arrogantly self righteous, leaving that letter of Jude to 'speak contemptuously of Sodom' on behalf of all self righteous hypocrites (Jude being one of the cruelest people on earth, I might add, with a demented mind of the type that could write something as horrifically sadistic as that letter of Jude, after all.)
The superstitious myth surrounding that terrible letter has it that it was written by 'Jude the brother of Jesus.' So you see how it was that terribly sadistic gay bashing was a family thing for the Christ family, it ran in the family, and thus when you get it straight from Jesus' brother, that just makes it that much more important. You must allow your humanity to be grievously violated by internalizing the violent and cruel imagery of that thing, since that is how Jesus and his family treat people. You know, as I say, if you want to gay bash, rather than doing something as abusive of power as roasting a gay person like an eternal hot dog on a grill, you might try something more sympathetic, like say hitting them with a base ball bat for a few minutes until they are dead. This would be the kind option, at least in comparison to that perverted ranting in that thing called 'the letter from Jesus' brother.'
Fortunately, in this case, you do have a choice in Sodom myths in the Bible, which is good, since its just about impossible to torture a fresh new meaning out of something so perverted and cruel as that so called 'Letter from God.' Having read Ezekiel, people can then turn their attention to 'comforting Sodom' after they were so viciously bashed and spoken of so contemptuously by Jesus and his family, or even better yet, they can look forward to watching Jude being forced to comfort them himself (while feeling ashamed and humiliated for what he did). As I said, as far as the Bible goes, you do have a choice in the matter if you are interested in interpreting Biblical mythology surrounding the Sodom story. It goes without saying that I encourage all those formulating policies based on the Bible to work from the book of Ezekiel on this one and they might consider ripping that letter from the brother of Jesus right out of their Bible, that cruel and perverted thing being good for nothing other than launching a spiritual assault against the weak and the helpless among us after all. Do we really need to leave the weak to be brought under the influence of such a pernicious and disgusting piece of virulent, violent superstition. That thing is dangerous, and not just to gay people. It should not be in the Bible and its disgraceful to open a Bible and find something that sick minded, potentially harmful, and dangerous lifted up to high heaven on its pages. If minsters could vote that letter into the Bible in the fourth century, then surely to God they could undo the damage they did to those who are weak and to easily influenced by such violent superstitions, and they could do this by voting the letter of Jude out of the Bible thus undoing the damage that was done.
The book of Romans
Paul's damnation of gay people in the first chapter of Romans has to be one of the most tortured verses in the Bible. It seems that no one ever just comes right out with it and calls a spade a spade when dealing with that harmful passage, but it is more typical to attempt to torture a new meaning out of the verse, and this usually involves finding a convenient scape goat.
For example a common tortured interpretation of Romans has it that 'Paul condemned straight men and women who are gay curious,' since this would involve them in that kind of 'unnatural sex' Paul hated and would thus be that 'perversion' Paul was talking about. In this case straights, or even bisexuals, become the scape goats and get lambasted by that verse from Romans, thus sparing gay people the blows Paul rains down in this famous gay bashing scripture. Someone is going to get bashed, then, and it is just a matter of who its going to be, and so these attempts to torture a new interpretation out of Romans all to often focus on shifting the blame so that Paul can now bash bisexuals or 'curious straights' and thus leave gay people alone.
Another common form of scape goating consists of dividing the gay community into two halves. You have your monogamous, married gays who are socially acceptable and thus not the ones Paul wanted to bash. Rather it is those other bad, perverted gays who Paul was bashing, and they deserve it because they are not getting married and practicing life long monogamy which would be okay. So then, one must assume, while you don't want to bash married gays and lesbians, it is still okay to bash all the other evil fags and malevolent dykes of the world, since someone is going to have be bashed. That someone is going to be bashed is pretty well taken for granted and thus the gay community can be divided into categories, and all the bad gays can perform the role of scapegoat and carry the burden of Paul's gay bashing in the book of Romans in the Bible.
This type of scapegoating sometimes rears its ugly in the Metropolitan Community Churches, even though that is a gay church. For example, I recall once hearing the testimony of a male sex worker, who being curious, decided to explore his spirituality by going to a Metropolitan Community Church in Los Angelas. Unfortunately, he was unfamiliar with the problems in Christian theology, and did not realize that scapegoating is frequently practiced, especially when it comes time to find someone to blame for Paul's gay bashing attack in the book of Romans. Being a male sex worker made him a prime target and he was isolated and scorned by the members of that congregation. So we have a polarity developing here. You have your good, monogamous, Christian gays, whom Paul wouldn't mind, since Paul was just incensed at bad evil faggots. Only evil queers should be bashed, not the good ones.
Now I am not interested in gay bashing myself, but we all have problems with someone. Paul had a problem with gay people, although, if the truth be told, Paul had a problem with sex in general, but that is a whole other story. The fact that someone has a prejudice does not immediately make them into a wholly bad person. Now I have to be honest with you people, and just say that I have a problem with black people. But that doesn't make me totally bad as a person, as you can tell. Now I know it is politically incorrect to have a problem with black people, but sometimes you just have to call a spade a spade, even if it means being out of step with your contemporaries. And I really am getting angered about how just because of political correctness, black people are alwaysm allowed to deliberately suppress the truth. Those black people have more AIDs than everyone else because of their constant vile desires, and the way God has given them over to the defilement of their own bodies, always burning with lust and behaving indecently with each other. So therefore since they behave like perverts God has given all the black people of the world over to their own depraved way of thinking. Just look at how the prisons are filled with more black people than white people. They are filled with every kind of wickedness, criminality, greed, and hate and malice. Black people are one large mass of envy, they are rivalrous, treacherous, murderers, filled with evil and malevolence. They are back biting gossips and scandal mongers, insolent, arrogant and unholy, boastful braggarts who are just ingenious in thinking up new ways of doing evil. They are disobedient to their parents, have no common sense or loyalty. They are completely without any affections, and are ruthless pricks without any pity. I am telling you that those black people know themselves that a race of people like them deserve to be killed and wiped off the face of the earth, every last one of them. But even though they know they deserve the death penalty, they not only continue on with their vile and wicked conduct, they are always trying to encourage latinos and people from other races to join them in their disgusting conduct.
By the way. That bit about the black people I just lifted from the book of Romans. You know the famous verses, where Paul practices racist stereotyping of gay people, what with the whole works of them just being criminal murderers and all the rest of the stuff he said.
Now, you might notice, I would hope so anyway, that when you just change 'faggot' to 'nigger' or 'kike' or 'gook' in Paul's stereotyping, racist rant, suddenly it just seems wrong to say things like that about people. What I find remarkable is how even gay churches like the Metropolitan Community Church will internalize that rotten piece of tripe from Romans, and then go looking for scape goats, you know, someone they can stereotype themselves thus shifting the blame.
Now how does one deal with such rancid racism? Well you can try what I just did and go around talking about black people, or maybe you could target the Chinese, or the Portuguese, or perhaps you could tie into the Czechs. What I recommend you do then is that you copy down what it says about gay people in Romans, and then scratch out where it says 'queer fags and dirty dykes' and substitute 'stinking Chinese' or 'rotten Frenchmen' or whatever else you want to put in there and then just recycle that filthy stereotyping rant just to try it on for size. You might try telling that one to your friends, just to see how they react. If you can get some airtime, you might want to tell that one on television or radio, or perhaps publish it on the internet (as I plan to do) just to get some sense of what people might think as you tell them about the 'murderous ruthless prick Albanians' or which ever group you want to stereotype by sticking them with that racist rant from the Holy book of Romans.
A second way to deal with that revolting piece of stinking tripe in Romans would be to find one, that's right, find even just one gay person or lesbian who is not a 'ruthless merciless pitiless evil criminal murderer.' If you can find a few dozen, a few thousand, or even more gay people who are not evil ruthless mass murderers well that would pretty well put paid to that vicious stereotype. This would be the same as finding one black person who isn't 'shiftless and damned lazy' or one Jewish person who isn't rich, or one Chinese person who isn't 'devious and scheming' and so on. You know how racist stereotyping works right, and the way to fix it is to find some gay people who aren't cold hearted and hate filled with no affections for anyone, and who haven't committed criminal acts or murdered anyone lately, thus not fitting the stereotype.
As for scapegoating straights or bisexuals or dividing the gay community into good married gays and evil, lusting murderous gays, I can't imagine why people bother. I must ask why the 'liberal left' continues to internalize that disgusting rant in Romans, by insisting on 'interpreting' that thing, which always involves this scape goating practice, when if you tried the same stunt on black people they would probably be among the first to rake you back and forth over the coals.
So to summarize, that rant in Romans is just worthless, and I thought I would remind people of that and drive the point home, so that no one will ever bother 'interpreting' that stupid thing (which always means scape goating).
In the piece above it was my intention to look at the handful of verses in the Bible which condemn gays and lesbians. This would not be the first time it ever occurred to someone to do this, and it won't be the last. However, over the course of the last few months, as I have listened to liberal leftist types in the church give ground to the religious right by treating the bible as 'normative' and then attempting to 'interpret' those anti-gay passages, I just felt compelled to write something in protest of this practice, in the hope that perhaps in the future 'the left' and in particular those Metropolitan Community Churches will be a little more aggressive with the religious right, in particular by refusing to concede ground on the matter of the supposed authority of the Bible. This practice leaves liberals to torture interpretations out of bible verses, when the fact is that some of those verses are clearly the property of the religious right, and thus can only mean exactly what they say.
Which proves nothing, for a second point I wished to make is that the Bible is not 'the Word of God' but rather it is a mirror in which you see reflected the religious community in all its diverse manifestations, both good and bad and in between, and as the military propaganda reveals, the Bible also reflects the larger community (this being mostly due to the fact that there was no 'separation between religion and state' in ancient cultures, thus religion and the military were all bound together).
As I hope I modeled above, there is a way to deal with these trouble causing verses in the Bible, not just on this one issue of gay rights, but on every other issue in society where the Bible continues to play a very important role simply because religious people remain an important part of the culture at large (consider that the United States, supposedly the example democracy for the rest of the world, still cannot pass the ERA, since the religious right won't let them, and you can see that like it or not, religion remains important, the Bible remains important, and this will continue to the case for a long time to come). Given how this is the case, finding effective ways of dealing with the Bible is important, not just as an internal matter between churches, but to the larger society as well. What is required here is greater resistance to certain myths about the Bible (that is somehow a singular source of wisdom, a kind of convenient cook book containing recipes that result in definitive answers). The Bible is none of these things, but rather a kind of mirror of the church as a whole, and this explains the many contradictions to be found on its pages. These contradictions can be perceived as either a threat (by the religious right) or as an opportunity by the 'liberal left' if it should come to pass that the left side of the church should ever become more firm in dealing with the mishandling and misrepresentation of the Bible by the religious right.
The following are the collected links to pages which were referenced above, and those who think that what I was saying was 'unjustified' or who are simply curious can consult the relevant page for more information...
Catholic Church condemns 'same sex marriage'
Conservative / Liberal dichotomy and the creation of the Bible
Canada's new Hate Speech Law
The racist origins of the Zionist movement
The slaughter of the tribe of Benjamin
Two versions of the Exodus story
War stories and war propaganda in the bible
The contradictory book of Joshua
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