In the Bible’s longest explicit passage on homosexuality (and the only one that mentions lesbians) Paul explains it all for you.
The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made,
even his eternal power and Godhead; that they are without excuse. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither
were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools ...
Wherefore … God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another. God gave them over to a reprobate
mind … Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit,
malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful … they which commit such things are worthy of
death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.Romans 1:20-32
So how do people become homosexuals? Is it a choice or are they born that way?
According to Paul in the above passage, neither is true. God makes men and women homosexuals to punish them for not thanking and glorifying him enough.
When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful ... Wherefore … God gave them up unto vile affections:
for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the
woman, burned in their lust one toward another. Romans 1:24-27
After God makes people gay, he gives them reprobate minds and fills them with all kinds of fornication and wickedness, making them murderers
and debaters and inventors of evil things. They become proud, unmerciful, God-hating boasters. They disobey their parents and lack understanding
and natural affection.1 Once God makes you gay, one thing just leads to another.
God gave them over to a reprobate mind … Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness,
maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters,
inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable,
unmerciful. Romans 1:28-31
So it all starts with a lack of gratitude toward God. God then makes ungrateful people gay and pushes them down the slippery slope of
the reprobate mind. In the end, the ungrateful wretches commit all sorts of vile deeds. Besides their abominable homosexual acts they gossip
and boast and disobey their parents -- all crimes that, to Paul, are worthy of death.
They which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
So according to Paul, homosexuals and their supporters (those "that have pleasure in them") are "worthy of death" -- along with
gossips, boasters, and disobedient children.
This long passage from Romans 1 is a conservative favorite.2 Not only does it condemn homosexuality for both males and females,
it does so in the pages of the New Testament, leaving no wiggle room for liberal Christians.
But conservatives get a little squeamish with the “worthy of death” part. The Bible says people who are “worthy of death”
should be killed and hung on trees (“If a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him
on a tree.” Deuteronomy 21:22), which is a little creepy, even for fundamentalists.
Liberals hate this passage as much as conservatives love it. Here are some liberal responses:
Paul is not condemning true homosexuals here. He is condemning heterosexuals who pretend to be gay, going against their
God-given sexuality.3 (If you’re gay, be gay; if you’re straight, be straight.)
It is bisexuality that Paul condemns in this passage. God made some people gay and some people straight, but he didn’t make anyone
bisexual.4 (Bis just gross God out for some reason. And don’t get him started about trans!)
Paul didn’t mean what he said in Romans 1. He was simply employing the sophisticated rhetorical technique of arguing against one’s
own beliefs. This is made clear in Romans 2:1, where he says, “Wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest
thyself.”5 (Judge not, bitches!)
Despite the plain words in this passage, it actually says nothing about homosexuality. Paul was talking about homosexual orgies in
pagan temples, promiscuous homosexual affairs, sex between men and boys/male slaves, and various other behaviors that Paul didn’t
actually mention in this passage.6 You’ve got to read between the lines. It’s all about context. Context, context, context!
In this passage, Paul implies that homosexuality is a punishment from God7 and that boasters, gossips,
and disobedient children should be executed.8 Elsewhere, he discouraged marriage9 and
sex in marriage because Jesus is coming soon.10 Paul said a lot of silly things that
we all ignore today. Let’s ignore him on this one as well.11
Paul’s moral argument against homosexuality seems to be that it is unnatural. “Their women did change the natural use into that which is
against nature … And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman … without natural affection they which commit such things are
worthy of death.” Which is interesting, since Paul also condemned long hair on men since it was unnatural. (“Doth not even nature itself teach
you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?” 1 Corinthians 11:14) So the question for Bible-believers
is this: which is worse (more unnatural, and therefore immoral) homosexuality or long-haired men?
Robert Gagnon refers to Romans 1:24-27 as “arguably the single most important biblical text.”
The Bible and Homosexual Practice, p. 40.
“[T]he persons Paul condemns are manifestly not homosexual: what he derogates are homosexual acts committed by apparently
heterosexual persons.” John Boswell, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, p. 109.
“What Paul was addressing was the Roman’s own nature, what we today would call their sexual orientation. Their society was expecting
them to trade their own orientation, whatever it might have been, for a bisexual orientation. The men were doing the same thing. And what
they were doing was indecent and an error, not because of the concept of homosexuality, but because they were violating the way they were
created.” The Affirming Pentecostal Church International http://hoperemains.webs.com/romans1.htm
“What irony that the principal passage of scripture normally used to condemn same-sex relations is also a principal passage forbidding
the condemnation of anyone, by anyone, for any reason!” Thatcher, The Savage Text, 18-19, referring to Romans 1:20 -
In Romans 1:24-31, “Paul did not have same sex love in mind at all. He is referring to exploitive
Greek and Roman pederasty.” Keith Sharpe, The Gay Gospels, p. 55.
“The model of homosexual behavior Paul was addressing here is explicitly associated with idol worship (probably temple prostitution).”
Miner and Connoley, The Children Are Free, p. 14.
“[O]ne of the biblical instances that is quoted to demonstrate the Bible’s clear denunciation of the ‘sin of homosexuality’ (Rom 1)
confronts us with the strange idea that if we fail to worship God properly, God will punish us with homosexuality!” John Shelby Spong,
Why Christianity Must Change or Die, p. 158.
“[A]re we really to believe that a loving God wants gossips and disobedient children to be put to death?” Sharpe,
The Gay Gospels, p. 48.
“The time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none." 1 Corinthians 7:29
“It [Romans 1] is not, of course, the only Pauline utterance that we have rejected. He also insisted that women keep quiet in church,
speak only to their husbands at night, and keep their heads covered.” Spong, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, p. 158.