HOMOSEXUALITY, THE BIBLE AND THE GREAT AMERICAN EXPERIMENT
There is something called “proof-texting,” wherein someone has a thought and then they search the Bible to find corroboration of that thought. It is bad preaching and it is bad theology. And it has been used with venom against certain types of God’s Children.
I believe that the civil rights being fought for today are no different than the civil rights that were fought for with marches in Birmingham and Washington, DC and came to its nadir on a hotel balcony in Memphis. Many people, including friends of mine, believe homosexuality is a choice. I do not. But that notwithstanding, I believe in the liberties of consenting adults. That is the politics of our country and the ongoing evolution of the “American Experiment.” This issue, unfortunately, has become intertwined with religion, obliterating the line between “Church and State” – another important part of the “American Experiment.” I would like to argue against those who believe that homosexuality is anti-Biblical and a threat to Christianity.
Those who tout Leviticus 22:18 – “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable” – as their reason against homosexuality might want to read all of Leviticus. Whereas homosexuality is “detestable,” adultery, according to Leviticus 20:10, is punishable by death. Homosexuality is “detestable,” Adultery is “punishable by death.” Quite a difference. And when three of the four Gospels of the New Testament tell us that “anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27), it makes it difficult to apply these teachings of the Bible literally.
Add to that Deuteronomy 24’s permission for a man to divorce his wife with a piece of paper (“If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house…”) against Matthew 19’s admonition from Jesus against divorce (“anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery”) and the question becomes even more tangled.
I am a Bible-believing, church-going Christian who believes the greatest commandments – Love God and Love Your Neighbor – take precedence over all the other rules. I wrestle with the Bible daily in learning all its passages and what they mean to me in today’s world. I do know that the Bible is not to be taken in “sound bites” but needs to be understood in its greater context.