Bible: Homosexuality
-In the Quran
-In the Book of Mormon

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Drunk With Blood

Strange Flesh: The Bible and Homosexuality

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(From Chapter 1 of Strange Flesh: The Bible and Homosexuality by Steve Wells)

Explicit Verse #1: It is abomination

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Leviticus 18:22

It just grosses God out for some reason. He is completely disgusted by it, like he is with these things:

Lobsters, shrimp, clams, snails, and squids

Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you. Leviticus 11:12
Four-legged fowls1
All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you. Leviticus 11:20
Four-footed flying, creeping things
But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you. Leviticus 11:23
Creeping things
Every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth shall be an abomination. Leviticus 11:41
Whatever crawls on its belly, goes on all four, or has lots of feet
Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth ... are an abomination. Leviticus 11:42
Sacrificing a blemished sheep or goat
Thou shalt not sacrifice unto the LORD thy God any bullock, or sheep, wherein is blemish, or any evilfavouredness: for that is an abomination unto the LORD thy God. Deuteronomy 17:1
Crossdressers
The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God. Deuteronomy 22:5
Taking back an ex-wife after she's been “defiled”
When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife. And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD. Deuteronomy 24:1-4
The work of a craftsman
Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman.... Deuteronomy 27:15
Whatever people value the most (kindness, wisdom, courage, love, money, power, sex, and cell phones)
That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. Luke 16:15
Conservatives point out that the only sexual practice that God calls an abomination is same-sex intercourse.2 Leviticus 18 has a long list of sexual sins, but only one is referred to as an abomination (sexual relations between males) and this designation is repeated in Leviticus 20:13, which imposes the death sentence for those who engage in it.
Liberal responses:
  • Leviticus 18:22 refers only to sexual activity between males. It says nothing at all about lesbian sex.3

  • The “abomination” in this verse refers to only one type of male-male sexual activity: the penile penetration of the anus of one male by another.4 There’s nothing abominable about other types of male homoerotic sex.

  • Since the previous verse (Leviticus 18:21) condemns child sacrifice to Molech, the context suggests that God’s main concern is with sexual activity in idolatrous religious ceremonies.5 God is okay with sexual intercourse between males as long as it’s not done in a pagan temple. That would be an abomination.

  • The word “abomination” was used to identify ritually impure practices, like eating pork or having sex with a menstruating woman. It had nothing to do with morality and should not be used today to condemn homosexuals or homosexuality.6

  • In this verse God is telling male homosexuals to “man up” about their gay sex. It is an abomination to pretend like one partner is a female when both are males.7 Come out of the closet and have sex openly as men for God’s sake.

  • This verse applied to a particular place and a particular time (ancient Israel);8 we can therefore ignore it (along with everything else we dislike or find inconvenient in the Hebrew scriptures) today.

  • This verse does not condemn sexual activity between males in loving, stable, committed relationships.9

  • Since the condemnation of homosexual erotic activity is only repeated a few places in the Bible, it is not important to God and can be ignored.10

  • The abominations in the Old Testament are no longer relevant in light of the New Testament’s teachings.11

  • God called many things abominations in the Bible that we are fine with today. So we can safely ignore Leviticus 18:22.12

  • Leviticus 18:22 is simply wrong about homosexuality.13

Notes

  1. It’s not entirely clear what God is referring to in Leviticus 11:20-21 when he lists “four-legged fowls” and “four-footed, flying creeping things” among the abominations. The previous verses (13-19) dealt with birds and bats; the next verse (22), with insects. So I guess the safest thing to do is stay away from any four-legged flying creature, whether bird, insect, or mammal.

  2. “[I]n the Holiness Code--indeed, in the entire priestly corpus of the Tetrateuch--the only forbidden act to which the designation ‘abomination’ is specifically attached is homosexual intercourse.” Merton P. Strommen, The Church and Homosexuality, 85.

  3. “There is no doubt that the text refers to male homogenital acts, but there is no hint of lesbian sex here.” Daniel A. Helminiak, What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality, 51.

  4. “[T]he ‘abomination’ being anathematised in ‘the lying of a woman’ is not homosexuality as such but only the very specific act of one man penetrating the anus of another man.” Sharpe, The Gay Gospels, 19.

  5. “Leviticus 18 is specifically designed to distinguish the Jews from the pagans among whom they had been living, or would live, as its opening remarks make clear … And the prohibition of homosexual acts follows immediately upon a prohibition of idolatrous sexuality (also ‘toevah’): ‘And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God...’” John Boswell, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, 100.

  6. “The Hebrew word ‘toevah’ here translated ‘abomination’ does not usually signify something intrinsically evil, like rape or theft (discussed elsewhere in Leviticus), but something which is ritually unclean for Jews, like eating pork or engaging in intercourse during menstruation, both of which are prohibited in these same chapters.” Ibid., 100.

  7. The Westboro Baptist church responds to this argument by saying that the condemnation of homosexuals in Leviticus is a moral law so it still applies today. “Unlike the ceremonial laws in the Bible, for example, the dietary laws, the moral laws were not done away with at the death of Christ.”

  8. “In the terms of Leviticus, men who allow themselves to be penetrated, dominated and possessed are not behaving as ‘homosexuals’ (a concept or category completely unknown in Ancient Israel) but rather as women. And for men to behave as women is to undermine the very basis of sexual hierarchy on which the stability and functioning of the whole society depends.” Sharpe, The Gay Gospels, 19

  9. “These rules are designed for a very particular purpose in a very particular setting.” Peter. J. Gomes, The Good Book, 153.

  10. “[H]istorians tell us our model of loving, long-term homosexual relationships did not meaningfully exist in Canaanite culture. … It is simply not reasonable to believe the author of Leviticus intended to prohibit a form of homosexual relationship that did not exist at the time.” Miner and Connoley, The Children Are Free, 12.

  11. “Biblical scholars generally think you should pay more heed if condemnations are repeated many times.” Sharpe, The Gay Gospels, 21.

  12. “Anti-gay Christians have to justify their use of Old Testament texts in the light of both St. Paul and Jesus himself declaring that its rules and laws had been superseded. All laws need to be justified against the twin commandments of love of God and love of neighbor.” Ibid., 27.

  13. “[U]ntil Christian fundamentalists boycott shellfish restaurants, stop wearing polycotton shirts, and stone to death their wayward offspring, there is no obligation to listen to their diatribes about homosexuality being a sin.” Ibid., 21.

  14. “The texts in Leviticus 18 and 20 are simply wrong. They are morally incompetent because they are based on ignorance.” Spong, The Sins of Scripture, 125.