Gays, Rights, and the Bible

I am saddened that many people feel that homosexuality is a sin. But people have the right to believe whatever they want.  What they don’t have the right to do, however, is create a law that imposes their religious beliefs legally on another American citizen. As Ron’s dad’s used to say, “Believe whatever you want, just don’t put it on me.”
When it comes to legal rights, we have to get out of the pre-Civil Rights days, and get up to speed here.
So consider me just another voice urging for us to be fair.
I’ve collected a few media-related ways to convey some of these thoughts. I’ll probably add a few more as time goes on. It’s my hope that everyone will consider some of these points, although I know that’s unlikely. Still, just like I’ve always taught my kids, you have to stand up for what’s right – regardless of what the fallout might be.
First is this video from starting with:
“You’re against gay marriage because of your religion? No you’re not.”
Often, I’ve heard the argument – within my own family even – that marriage is a biblical covenant. But that’s not really true. Marriage is a legal state, that we simply cannot ascribe to some Americans and not others.  Because if you want to think of it as more of a biblical state, and if you didn’t watch the video, here are a few problems with this argument:
But this poster above only pertains to the Old Testament. And those who oppose Gay Marriage often cite Paul’s letters in the New Testament as to why homosexuality is a sin.
So I went and did some digging around. I found a really well documented piece, What the New Testament Says about Homosexuality,  from the Westar Institute, a non-profit research and educational institute dedicated to the advancement of religious literacy. This piece addresses some of the issues that have arisen because of translations as well as context. I’d really recommend reading the entire article, but one of their conclusions is this:

Jesus never spoke about homosexuality, and we simply have no way of determining what his attitude toward it might have been. Moreover, there is nothing about homosexuality in the Book of Acts, in Hebrews, in Revelation, or in the letters attributed to James, Peter, John, and Jude. Further, homosexuality is not mentioned in ten of the thirteen letters attributed to Paul. It is only in Romans 1:26–27, 1 Corinthians 6:9–10, and 1 Timothy 1:8–11 that there may be references to homosexuality.2 The paucity of references to homosexuality in the New Testament suggests that it was not a matter of major concern either for Jesus or for the early Christian movement.

While I typically do not quote so much from anyone else’s work, I would like this information to be available here. The Westar Institute goes on to conclude that the New Testament is only referring to certain types of homosexuality:

  •  If homosexuality is exploitive, then it is wrong
  • If homosexuality is rooted in idolatry, then it is wrong 
  • If homosexuality represents a denial of one’s own true nature, then it is wrong
  • If homosexuality is an expression of insatiable lust, then it is wrong

But we could say exactly the same thing about heterosexuality, couldn’t we? 

        If homosexuality is not necessarily any of these things, however, then it would appear that the New Testament has nothing to say about it in any direct sense. Speaking specifically of the Pauline letters but in words that are applicable to the New Testament as a whole, the Pauline scholar Victor Paul Furnish puts it as follows:

“[Paul’s] letters . . . cannot yield any specific answers to the questions being faced in the modern church. Shall practicing homosexuals be admitted to church membership? Shall they be accorded responsibilities within a congregation? Shall they be commissioned to the church’s ministry? The Apostle never asks or answers these questions. . . . On these points there are no proof texts available one way or the other. It is mistaken to invoke Paul’s name in support of any specific position on these matters “

In short, there is nothing in the New Testament that tells us directly whether homosexuality per se is a good thing or a bad thing or simply a fact of life.  
        To be sure, when we consider its overall message, the New Testament may provide some indirect guidance regarding homosexuality. Indeed, it may well be the case that a twenty-first century “Paul” would revise Galatians 3:27–28 to read as follows:

” For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female, there is neither homosexual nor heterosexual; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. “

Back to me again… thanks for reading.

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2 thoughts on “Gays, Rights, and the Bible

  1. I agree. There are far more versus about that we should not judge people and that we should love others. Then there are that can be used in this argument. I think judging others especially without even really knowing who they are inside and out leads one down a far more sinful path.

    Mat 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
    John 8:7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.) Two scriptures here that seem to be very direct and in fact were spoken by Jesus himself. In these versus Jesus knew the sins of those in question. I always understood these to mean that the sins in public judgement are really between Jesus, God and the sinner. It isn’t my place to cast judgement but offer patients, understanding and treat them in a Christlike manner guiding them to be the best person they can be through love.

    Mat 7:2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
    Mat 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Mat 7:4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
    Mat 7:5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
    Prov 31:9 Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
    1 Cor 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

    There are several other Bible passages about judging. God is our ultimate Judge of all things. While there are versus of judging righteously according to his word. It’s a slippery slope when there are no firm versus against homosexuality, therefore perhaps it is best to leave this matter in Gods hands. The Holy Spirit is given to guide us in this world and you can run but you can’t hide from truth. Still that relationship is personal the Holy Spirit, Jesus, Heavenly Father and the sinner (each one of his children).

    John 8:7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

    I have my own sins. Ones that sadly I keep repeating, too. I can’t cast any stones of judgement even on those who judge others. I can only love myself, those around me and open up my mind to showing a loving kindness to all despite how they treat me and others. Open up our minds and hearts in love to live Christ like.

    If Jesus was in the room with you how would you act and what would you say then? Can we be like Christ if we do the opposite of what He did? Is a question I ask myself when I find myself slipping into a place of judgement.

    Remember to always bring everything back to the Bible and in a spirit of love. If we compromise the truth, it is for everyone’s loss. Only the truth sets people free (John 8:32).

Let me know what you think, ok? Please comment.

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