Story behind condemnation
Ethan Bailey | Monday, February 21, 2011
In Chris Damien’s article “Acting for love,” (Feb. 16) he mentions the Church’s stance on gay marriage while debating against homosexual love. Here, I will argue against this discrimination and against any modern practice of homosexual condemnation we find in the Bible.
It is clear that homosexuality is denounced in the Bible because of its affiliation with pagan activity. The Book of Leviticus contains the most explicit denunciations of homosexuality. In both chapters 18 and 20, it is stated that a man shall not lie with another man as with a woman.
To put this in context, we need to understand these chapters of Leviticus as a whole. Chapter 18 of Leviticus begins with, “You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, … and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan. …You shall not follow their statutes. My ordinances you shall observe and my statues you shall keep …” (Lev. 18:3-4). Chapter 20 begins similarly with God distinguishing His people from those of a pagan god and their worshipping activities.
In this larger context, the laws of these Leviticus chapters exist because they set the Hebrew people apart from non-Israelites by their behavior. As the pagan people included homosexual activity in their orgies and religious ceremonies, homosexuality became taboo for the Israelites. The Hebrew God would want his Israelite people to be different from those around them so that He too would become more distinguished. To help clarify, keep in mind that the Hebrew word for “holy” — “kadosh” — means “separate” or “different.” Since many gods were worshipped at this time, a distinctive people would result in a distinctive — and possibly superior — God.
The New Testament also attacks homosexuality with similar reasoning to that of the Old Testament. In Romans 1:26-27, Paul denounces the lust and passion for members of the same sex that overwhelms pagan men and women in their orgies. Yet, a noted difference between this passage and the Leviticus passages is that Paul disapproves of not only male homosexual activity but also lesbian activity. This distinction gives more credit to the theory that homosexuality is sinful because of its pagan affiliation. If unfruitfulness were the reason for its sinful nature, lesbian sexual activity would have been condemned in Leviticus as well as gay male activity. Hence, Paul, like the Book of Leviticus, denounces homosexuality because of its connection with pagan worship, not lack of fertility.
While the Church and Christianity place emphasis on many rules and ways of life that ameliorate society, it appears to me that forbidding homosexual love and activity is a trivial law amongst the countless laws in Leviticus that were made to separate the Israelites from pagans. As we don’t follow many of these laws today, I see no reason to believe based on the Bible that homosexuality is an unnatural or detrimental sexual orientation.