The civil rights organization founded by Martin Luther King, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference wants to remove the Rev. Eric P. Lee as president of its Los Angeles chapter because he supports same-sex marriage. I guess it’s OK that black people have civil rights but not those people over there with the big noses or these folks over here in the flamboyant clothes.
“It was clear to me that any time you deny one group of people the same right that other groups have,” Rev. Lee told the NYTimes, “that is a clear violation of civil rights.”
My friend Rufus disagreed. “They are the Southern CHRISTIAN Leadership Conference,” he said, “and the Bible doesn’t merely suggest that buggery is a sin. It is referred to as ‘an abomination unto God’.”
This blog will be waaaaaaaaay too long
but it is worthwhile to have both sides
of the discussion on the same page.
I contend that the ban on homosexual relations is a Victorian construct on the translations of the earliest parts of the Israelite texts and that even those texts filled mans then-contemporary needs, not Gods orders. Rufus disagrees. I further contend that the ban is pretty unChristian on the face of it. After all, Christians are supposed to turn the other cheek. So to speak.
I have trouble with the abomination unto God part, Rufus. After all, our ever-so-Christian New Testament has no reference to buggery whatsoever and only passing references to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
“Try Letter to the Romans where Paul most certainly is referring to male and female homosexuality,” Rufus said.
Remember the context. All the new (non-Israelite) converts to Christianity wanted to use their their own older rituals in their new faith. In the text quoted from Romans, Paul referred specifically to the ritualized sex within the temples of Diana and Apollo. The then-modern Philistines and Greeks and Romans whom Paul knew all had used ritualized or casual sex, male with male, female with female, in religious worship, in bonding, in their armed forces, in sports.
“It is an abomination in Genesis, in Exodus, in Leviticus, and many of the other Old Testament books,” Rufus said.
Using the Bible to prove something is an abomination is easy, simply because everything and nothing in the Bible is an abomination. Depending on the version you have (I grew up on KJV) the word appears about 176 times in Leviticus alone. The text is so vague and the translations so at odds that almost anything is abominable.
“Leviticus 18 says ‘You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination’,” he said.
Pretty much everyone including Rufus refers to that passage in Leviticus to prove their point. It’s not quite that clear; the bulk of Leviticus 18 deals with nudity, uncleanliness, and a little bit of sex. Moreover, the passage immediately before the “lie with a man” verse is “thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbor’s wife, to defile thyself with her.” I wonder, since the Lord was so specific about carnal relations with thy neighbor’s wife, why He was so vague about “lying with a man.”
I do think Leviticus 18 is the definitive basis for the Islamic hijab.
Despite what most folks think, there is no explicit mention of buggery in Ezekiel’s summation, either. Ezekial catalogues a double handful of sexual “abominations” including dishonoring your fathers’ bed, lying with women during their period, committing a detestable offense with your neighbor’s wife, defiling your daughter or daughter-in-law, violating your sister, and taking usury and excessive interest. No listing of buggery there.
Proverbs refers to abominations, but it is the seven abominations that fill the heart of the malicious man and is in context with how to treat the fool, the sluggard, and the madman.
Isaiah refers to abominations, but it is the blood sacrifices of idolatry.
“The Sodomites were definitely fudge-packers,” Rufus said. “Genesis 19 makes clear that the men from every part of the city want to have sex with the men (actually angels) who came to Lot’s house, and that THIS is indeed a ‘grievous sin.’ Sodom and Gomorrah were nuked for those grievous sins.
“Clear as a bell, Dick.”
If it’s so clear, if that bell sounds so pure, then how is it that so many different churches and so many different historians have so many different interpretations of the texts?
In that oft-quoted story of Lot, the NIV tells the story as “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them” but the KJV says it this way: “Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them.” To know can have the sexual connotation, but it can also mean “to water board” which works just as well in the context of the story.
Y’all do realize that I used “water boarding” in the Congressional sense, meaning “to interrogate by torture,” right?
The Sodomites came to their abomination by four actions: pride, excess of diet (gluttony), idleness, and contempt of the poor. Recalling the complete history of the time, the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah came from the unpaid wages of labor.
“Where did you get that stuff?” Rufus asked. “There is no actual corroboration like papyrus translations but you think it sounds reasonable, right?”
Good heavens. There is nothing behind my position other than the source material everyone has: the Bible and history.
“So you’re saying that if that logic applied then, different circumstances mean it doesn’t apply now.”
No again. I’ve burned 1,500 words to say that there is nothing specifically Godlike about proscribing pork. Or, for that matter, porking thy neighbor’s brother.
We are talking here about the time of ethnogenesis. The Israelites had come together from the 12 tribes, had become Egyptian slaves and hard-laborers, and had fled their captors during the reign of Rameses II. Scholars believe the Book of Genesis itself reached its final form around 500 BCE, or some six or seven hundred years after Rameses II died. A lot of history had passed by thenNebuchanezzar sacked Jerusalem and exiled those Jews to Babylon around 600 BCE, a century before our Genesis appeared. Finding themselves slaves and hard-laborers again, the Israelites needed ways to differentiate themselves first from their Semitic neighbors and captors, then from the Philistines, then from the Romans. There is evidence that many of the Israelites had gone native to fit in with the cultures of the peoples who had power over them. There was polytheism. There were dietary abominations. There was kinky sex. It was especially important to proscribe the activities that everyone around the Israelites engaged in.
Leviticus handles the unlawful sexual relations rules and each of them (along with most other bad stuff) was punishable by death (except for doing a slave girlthat was a freebie): Dont do as they do in Egypt. Dont do as they do in Canaan. Dont have relations with a close relative. Dont have relations with your mother. Dont have relations with your fathers wife. Dont have relations with your daughter or your granddaughter. Or your sister. Or your auntie. Or your daughter-in-law. Or a woman during the uncleanness of her period. Or your neighbors wife. Or a critter. Or even your brothers wife. Dont have threesomes.
The rules are pretty extensive: Don’t eat pig. Don’t mix meat and milk. Don’t eat blood but do eat your sacrifices after you’ve cooked them. Don’t mix the fibers in your fabric.
Can you honestly tell me that every rule and every punishment in the Bible as we read it today is to be taken literally? I have seen you eat bacon in my own house, Rufus.
And, for what it’s worth, after the fire Lot’s daughters got Lot drunk and each became pregnant by him.
There is a lot more in the Old Testament about not terrifying your sheep than about lying with other men. In fact, “sodomie” in modern German refers specifically to sex with sheep (and other non-human critters), not to anal or oral sex.
Back to my original contention. Let us not forget that Moses was one of the great Generals. He kept the Israelites at the mountain for 40 years, that their population would rise enough to field a large enough army to defeat the Canaanites. The ban on homosexual acts–along with the ban on the eating of pork which killed people–is based on the Israelite need to increase its tribal army size and was decreed at a time when male homosexuality was not uncommon.
Do consider these final thoughts:
Rufus is in his comfortable in my beliefs as I am in mine.
“I have faith in the Word,” Rufus said.
No argument there. While I believe the actual, historical occurence was in the land of Lot is different than the story in the Bible (I hold out some hope for either volcanic activity or that the visiting Angels had fuel-air explosives), my real point here is that we have a vague, historical text written and rewritten and translated and retranslated over the centuries.
Whatever the Book says today may be gospel but it ain’t fact. There is the Word but there is no confirmable data.
We are arguing about faith which means Rufus is right. As am I. We know that Rufus said, “I believe that God gave us this rule and that brooks no disobedience.”
Heres my own bottom line. Jesus disagreed with his Father on a number of issues. I believe He would tell us that discriminating against people for their skin color, their creed, their national origin, their sexual preference, or the size of their ears is simply unChristian.
Yes, I know one should not discuss religion or politics but this blog has already annihilated half that rule.
My best hope is that readers feel comfortable that Ive fairly presented two important aspects in a discussion of faith.
> “Heres my own bottom line. Jesus disagreed with
> his Father on a number of issues. I believe He
> would tell us that discriminating against people
> for their skin color, their creed, their national
> origin, their sexual preference, or the size of
> their ears is simply unChristian.
I partially agree©, and I have heard your bottom line before.
I AM© not a expert on Christiandom and I doubt that neither are you. And neither have either of us sat down across the table from God and hashed this thing out with Him. But I do feel sure that it is not in keeping with Christian teaching to discriminate against people because of the color of their skin, their creed, their sexual preference, their national origin or the size of their ears. Whatever gave you the idea that it was?
In fact, Christianity teaches that God (The) Father abhors discrimination and He loves people who are listed under all those categories. God also loves bank robbers, horse thieves, swindlers, governance consultants, long-haired artists, politicians, pornographic pastry bakers and ethnic pedophiles. But this does not mean that He would approve of their ill-intended hold-up notes or their penis shaped finger cakesor wotever.
You may be more of a theologian than I AM©, but IMHO, you have (again) confused the civil act of *discrimination* with the religious demand for Scriptural obedience. Homosexuality is scripturally prohibited in Judeo/Christian Credo. That is not discrimination as you seem to see it; it is merely a demand that Christians obey and live by the tenets of the New Covenant.
Non believers see a wedding ceremony as nothing more than a civil act and it certainly embodies that quality for the mutual benefit and protection of both participants. Thats why there are (civil)laws governing it. However, it also carries with it the total understanding implied or otherwise of a sexual union.
And for Christians to openly support such a same-sex marriage would be the same as advocating a sexual union between the same-sex participants a repugnant union which we Christians refer to as homosexuality.
Other Christians may agree with you and disagree with me; and some day you and they will have your opportunity to sit down across that table from God the Lawmaker and mebbe make Him see the error of His ways. Boy, will He feel silly when you show Him where He went wrong.
But I dont think so.
Anyone who states that homosexual marriage is the same as civil rights issue in a kind word is wrong, it cant help to make one think the civil rights movement was nothing more than the same fight as for same-sex marriage ? what an insult !
You as in homosexuals can have every law that protects male-female marriage, that is fair, but the un-moving stand of the homosexuality community wants more than that ?
Why is that ? whats in marriage that cant be in equal in homosexual marriage civil unions, with the exact same legal rights as heterosexuals ?
We cant get the truth from the homosexuality community on this ? because on the whole has been lying to us for decades
When we said homosexuality is a messed up gene they said no its a life choice
When we said homosexuality is only a 1.5% worldwide they said for decades its 10% of the population an out right lie, even in Sweden its the world average 1.5 to no more than 2%
Why now same-sex marriage ? adoption ? yes the homosexuality community has been adopting children for some time now in some states, recent news reports in the UK has said this maybe might not be such a good idea ? with data being collected over the years, the UK has been out in front on homosexual adoption, its not going too well at all.
The homosexuality community the lion share of it wants open adoption end of story.
Another experiment with children lives, but they will take that gamble and try to shove it down our throats !!!!
We should let them all live on an Island, the problem would be solved in a few generations.
A little too rough ? then why all the talk about marriage ? if left to their own the homosexuality community would just die off, except for the heterosexuals, and the odd ball gene pool now and then.
Same Sex marriage .never !!!!!!!!!!
“We cant get the truth from the homosexuality community on this ? because on the whole has been lying to us for decades”
That might be considered a lie, actually, John. Because in order to tell a lie, one has to have intent to deceive. Having an *opinion* or a *viewpoint* and expressing same is not anywhere near an intent to deceive.
In fact, some homosexuals have claimed there must be a gene the factors into their homosexual inclinations and have been looking for it. It is the homophobes who claim it is simply a lifestyle choice. But neither has facts to back up their contention, ergo neither is “lying.” They are simply offering up their own theories.
As for your “but what about the children!” vapor-ware, I ask you this: which is worse for a child, to be raised by two loving parents who are as committed to one another and the formation of a strong family as they are to the child, or to be raised by warring self-centered cheating divorced parents who barter the child each in their goals to screw with the other parent?
In the first scenario, I present a gay couple who were “married” in that they have made vows before God and before one another and signed legal contracts regarding property etc. who have given birth to a child via artificial insemination — the non-biological parent adopting the child as her own.
In the second scenario, roughly 50% of the heterosexual population, give or take the 10% who divorce civilly.
As for your eugenics approach to life — what other “odd ball” genes should you wish to die off? How about alcoholics? I’m sure we can agree that many alcoholics tend to make lousy choices that adversely impact society and their families. Shall we wish them all dead before they procreate?
Any other oddness you dislike that we could add to the list? Funny-looking teeth? Save orthodontics costs, right?
> IMHO, you have (again) confused the
> civil act of discrimination with the
> religious demand for Scriptural obedience.
> Homosexuality is scripturally prohibited
> in Judeo/Christian Credo. That is not
> discrimination as you seem to see it;
> it is merely a demand that Christians obey
> and live by the tenets of the New Covenant.
Rendering unto Caesar is the best and perhaps only possible answer to my proposition that this is a civil rights issue. It ignores the question of whether the credo is both historically accurate and is Gods own law.
Lets revisit whether this scriptural authority is indeed Gods law or whether it was written by men in the costume of God. I made the point that we have a vague, historical text written and rewritten and translated and retranslated over the centuries that says God banned bacon and a bunch of other stuff. Frankly I dont think God much cares if we eat bacon. We did, after all, get free will. Mr. Poleczech, Rufus, and others profess that the Scripture is the Word of God.
That is where faith begins.
Mr. Poleczech does demand that the Judeo/Christian credo take precedence over mans laws. The credo (our moral tradition) comes from the scriptures primarily the Old Testament and the Ten Commandments. Modern law began in the tenets found there. Modern law, though, says (as Jesus did) that discrimination is unlawful and that segregation by race or creed or sexual preference is wrong.
Is the lawful Christian bound to earthly authority? Perhaps. Scriptural obedience may supersede earthly obedience but it does not abolish the authority of law. Let us remember that most jail libraries have bibles.
Im comfortable with leaving the first question to each readers personal beliefs. But when we render our taxes unto Caesar, though, it means we are bound by the law on the ground.
Just want you to know that a mutual friend just beat the crap out of me for even getting involved in this discussion with you. And he was right to do so! I deserved it. This subject is worthy of a LOT more than an internet sparring match!
You have a conclusion: homosexuality is OK. Now, I have it on good authority that you are NOT personally a homosexual, but you nonetheless seem highly motivated to defend their case. I also know damned well that you aren’t a lawyer (which would be an understandable excuse.) But you ARE a writer. SO I suppose this is primarily an exercise in showing how well you can defend a position with your quivering quill.
But you have approached this in traditional librul left fashion, which I would not think is a manner you would prefer to be associated with. You make many, many statements that are stated as truth but are really just speculation on your part of the part of others. SOME of the statements are misleadingly WRONG. For example, you state that the Books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) were not finalized until about 500 BC… nearly a hundred years after Babylon sacked Jerusalem, as you say (actually it was 576 BC)…. Well, you might want to refer to the book of Nehemiah (Ch.8) where the High Priest Ezra reads the Book of the Law (which is what you were talking about) to the people, and they realize they have been nowhere close to keeping the law. That happened 70 years or so after the sack of Jerusalem. About the time your “scholars” are saying that the books were finalized. They had FORGOTTEN the law in their 70 year exile, the law that you have attributed to Moses, who lived nearly a THOUSAND YEARS before that. To have forgotten the law, they would have to have known it before. Your version has no ring of truth, even though it is salted with some legitimate facts.
(By the way… this “Before Common Era” crap TOASTS me. For about 2000 years it was “Before Christ.” I.e. B.C. Since essentially NOBODY of consequence contests that Christ walked the face of the earth 2000 years ago (+/- 0.4%) that was a perfectly meaningful term to use. About 10-20 years ago a bunch of arrogant academics decided that the mention of Christ was offensive to… someone. (Someone who needs a life… there ARE bigger fish to fry.) The change to BCE — Before Common Era is just a way to write Christ out of history and seems… positively….. FRENCH!!!
You attribute the ban on homosexual acts (along with the ban on eating pork) to “General Moses.” At one point, you make it sound like MOSES made up all the laws. If you believe scriptiure, he was only the messenger. (Sure, if I were in his shoes, wanting to tell several hundred thousand — or was it a few million — hungry, bored and horny people what they could and could not do, I would want to have them understand that I was just the messenger. But this is the point that faith comes in: do you believe that there IS a God who has rules he wants us to follow, FOR HIS OWN REASONS….or not?)By the way, your logic is impeccable and could have been God’s logic too. “No fudge-packing — we need PRODUCTIVE unions.” “No pork — you guys are wwaayyy too stupid to be trusted with cooking it right.” (By the way, that proscription is specifically lifted in the New Testament, in the Book of Acts, I believe, through a vision in a dream the apostle Peter had. I limit my bacon intake to avoid the fat — my buddy and I have enough already — but I do enjoy it and am glad to partake when visiting you.)
By the way…..Abraham lived about 2000 BC. By the time his grandson Jacob moved southwest to Egypt, it was about 1800BC. The Jews lived in Egypt for about 400 years and became a large group of people. THAT was the “period of ethnogenesis” — not when your “experts” claim the books of Moses were finalized, nearly a thousand years later.
Bottom line: if Moses cooked it up — or God gave it to him — it happened and became codified nearly a THOUGAND YEARS before your experts say the book was finalized.(Did they mention how much was changed in the final edition?)
Sheesh! Where IS this rant going?
Well, you offer a number of reasons why there should reasonably have been a poscription of homosexuality. They are all good reasons. Frankly, they still are. And we have more yet today (like AIDS, which can be transmitted heterosexually but is MUCH less prevalent, so far as I know, in the heterosexual population. If you have legitimate contrary data please feel free to post it.)
But this is NOT supposed to be about homosexuality, it is? it is really supposed to be about “human rights.” NO — it is (as usual) really about MONEY. And I am tiring of this repetitious argument. Our laws are set up to favor people who have kids. I think they always have been. They are set up that way because (a) we need people to produce population replacements, owing to the unfortunate fact that people DIE, and a country with a diminished population will eventually be taken over by someone with a lot of population, and (b) raising kids costs money, and (c) raising kids is time- and attention-consuming, and is best done with an adult at home full time. (Nope, it doesn’t always happen. But that is why they call it BEST. If it were an absolute requirement it would be called “The NORM.”) And here’s the punchline:
When you extend benefits to a larger group, unless you somehow take in more money to pay out more money to that larger group, the previous group with get less benefit. It is my position that (ESPECIALLY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BIGGEST FRIGGIN RECESSION SINCE ThE GREAT DEPRESSION) it is NOT a good time to reduce whatever benefits those actually PRODUCING children currently enjoy.
Maybe this IS the key. These benefits are NOT inherent, inalienable RIGHTS (which I think were originally limited to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.) They are just a practical consession we make to the people who actually insure that there is an America of tomorrow.
PS — There is WAY more I need to take you to task for. But I will just offer you one suggestion. When you read the Bible, don’t sit there and say “How could this be worng?” Try this: if it could be correct as written, accept it. ONLY dig your heels in when they offer something counter to the laws of Physics. There reall aren’t THAT many of them!
“Mr. Poleczech does demand that the Judeo/Christian credo take precedence over mans laws. The credo (our moral tradition) comes from the scriptures primarily the Old Testament and the Ten Commandments. Modern law began in the tenets found there. Modern law, though, says (as Jesus did) that discrimination is unlawful and that segregation by race or creed or sexual preference is wrong.”
Negative, Dick. Mr Poleczech makes no such demand at all. He does not demand that Judeo Christian Credo take precedence over man’s law–as such religious *laws* have no official voice at all in directing the affairs of State. Mr Poleczech only proclaims the Christian’s obligation to adhere to and obey the laws of Christ’s credo first. And as St Paul said, regarding the keeping of Caesar’s laws, both are to be obeyed. So, we should keep God’s laws AND those of the State as well. However, could anyone in good conscience support the obeying of a civil law that caused the deaths of innocent persons or did physical hurt to people unable to escape harm’s way?
I think not; and that’s a reason why we have such a division regarding the horrible practice of abortion.
Also, let’s not read too much into the words of Jesus regarding rendering unto Caesar, etc etc etc. We cannot suggest that He meant we should pastorally embrace sordid lifestyles simply because Caesar passes a law saying that it’s okay. We still have a scriptural mandate to hate sin as God does.
Understand that civil rights Discrimination regarding same-sex marriage can only be imposed by Caesar’s laws, as religious doctrine has no voice in law without the stamp of Caesar upon it. Mr Poleczech can abhor the idea of same-sex marriage based on his religious credo, but he has no power within himself to forbid it should widespread civil laws make it legal. He can thump his Bible all he wants to, but the only demand he can make is upon himself and upon fellow believers that they, as Christians obey the scriptural laws.
If there be civil rights discrimination against homosexual marriage — as you seem to declare — then such discrimination has come solely from the pen of Caesar, and not from the pompous pulpit of Evangelism. So, I would merely ask of non believers that they do exactly what they are demanding of Christians, and that they render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and shut the f**k up about it.
Well said, George! Except on your perception that banning homosexual marriage is something you have no influence on. YOU DO INDEED HAVE INFLUENCE (damned little, perhaps, but some, anyway) on the passage of civil laws in your state of residence and of the federal government. And Rufus, somewhere in this mess, has pointed out there are economic hardships that heterosexual couples — and their kids — will suffer if acceptance of homosexual marriage extends economic benefits to the homosexuals as well as the heterosexuals. Homosexuals unions cannot produce children without taking extraordinary (and expensive) measures. If they have enough money for that, they CERTAINLY don’t need the tax breaks and healthcare benefits that heterosexual couples have enjoyed.
LOVE your closing line, too.
Bob Post wrote:
YOU DO INDEED HAVE INFLUENCE (damned little, perhaps, but some, anyway) on the passage of civil laws in your state of residence and of the federal government. And Rufus, somewhere in this mess, has pointed out there are economic hardships that heterosexual couples and their kids will suffer if acceptance of homosexual marriage extends economic benefits to the homosexuals as well as the heterosexuals.
The way you couched your statement IN CAPITAL LETTERS and then admitted damned little was heartening; however I never said I had no influence on the passage of civil laws. I said I have no power, and that is not the same thing. I am an American who knows how to work with elected officials. It is called voting and lobbying and letter writing and phone calls, etc. Truly the American way.
I had not considered economic hardships being experienced by normal couples if same-sex marriage becomes a reality; but I defer to Rufus if he has thought it through. I used the words physical hurt, not economic hardships when describing unpalatable laws, and I stand by that nomenclature. The two terms are also not nearly the same thing, and people of all three sexes experience economic hardships from time to time, and it may or may not have anything to do with partnering.
So, let Caesar do what Caesar will do. Worse thing than same-sex marriage have been made legal in this country (HDTV for example), and we seem to be surviving.
A fan of Rufus wrote me that another bad thing that has been made legal in the USA is nonalcoholic beer. What a waste of perfectly good caramel color.