|The Bible and Homosexuality|
In the Online Citizen's article by Rev Yap Kim Hao on Friday 13 Nov, 2009, entitled "The Church (not the bible) discriminates against gays, says pastor", the key argument was that the term "Homosexuality" was a recent term first used in "1869 by a Swiss doctor to refer to aesthetic attraction, romantic love and sexual desire exclusively between members of the same sex". The term "Homosexuality" is not found in the bible, although same sex orientation is implied in Mat 19:12, where there is what was know then as "born" Eunuchs or Natural Eunuchs who naturally do not have a sexual desire for woman, in the context of hetersexual adultery. Therefore, when we hear of Christian Pastors saying "As Christians, we know that the bible says Homosexuality is s sin like any other sin", it is abusing the bible. You can;t find the word strictly in the bible.
The Christian respondents to the article, quickly highlighted that Homosexuality is sin because the same sex act is sin as per Gen 19:4-5, Jude 1:7, 1 Cor 6:9, 1 Tim 1:9, Lev 18:22, 20:13, and Rom 1:26,27. Their argument is that the "act" by itself is a sin irrespective of the context and motivation.However, this interpretation is not consistently applied to heterosexual sex. We say that adultery is sin, because it is an extramarital sexual affair. Few in the right mind would then conclude that heterosexual sex is therefore a sin because the bible says so. That is the tortuous logic that we are using to condemn homosexuality.
A modern day example is the sexual abuses of inmates at the Abu Gaib prison in Bagdad by the American occupiers. Many were sodomised. This does not imply that those who has been abused were gay or that the perpetrators were gay in any way. It was about abuse, and subjugation, the strong abusing the weak, and "screwing" a man in the cultural context then and today have a major significance because it reduces the stature of the man and makes him a woman. It is the worst of insult and abuse in their culture, because it is a physical, social, and emotional violaton for he man. They are no longer a "man" after the incident.
When the clobber verses is read in context, it becomes clear that romantic love was never involved in any of the clobber verses used by conservative Christians against Gays - it was motivated by acts of subjugation, religious worship of fertility gods which were sexual in nature, and in some cases a translation flaw.
Clobber passage 1 - Genesis 19:4-5, The Sin of Sodom & Gomorrah
We forget that a central argument in the bible is not about sin or to identify which action is sin, but to worship the right God. The worship of gods made by our hands were considered unnatural, and so same sex acts were deemed unnatural because it was not romnatic love but motivated by worship of other gods apart from the God of Israel. What is clean and unclean, an action considered a sin or not a sin, must be looked at in the context of religious practices because there was a constant tension between the worship of Jehoval God and the Cananite gods. An action may be considered sin because it means that you were worshipping other gods eg eating certain foods sacrificed to the gods - has no meaning outside a religious context.
The strong condemnation by Christian and Catholic Fundamentalist is marked by their religous hypocrisy. Even though the bible is about the struggle for allegience between the different religious faiths for the heart, mind, and soul of Israel, we do not go outside the walls of the church to condemn other religions and their idol worship nor insist that they be criminalised. The real reason is that they are far too powerful and Christianity is a minority. We also cannot condemn the Catholics even though they worship the Pope and Mary, instead of Jesus Christ, because they are far too powerful being the largest faith on earth. Therefore, we condemn gays because they are weak and can't stand up for themselves. We use gays as a punching bag to affirmed how moral and righteous we are. We see no positional statements by the church against idol worship nor condemnation of the many temples and shrines of the practices of other faiths because they are far too strong but gays are weak and could be blamed for all social ills including family breakdown.
The action of fundamentalist Christians are contrary to the walk, life, and faith journey of Christ. Never did he called for the prostitutes, the outcasts, nor the poor to be criminalised nor gays to be put to death. Our actions closely resembled the religious pharisees of the bible, who persecuted Christ. Jesus never talked much about gays, not did the Pharisses bring a gay queen to Jesus to test Him if it was so obvious that homosexuality was sin. However, they brough a prostitue to Jesus to test Him. Jesus replied taunting their adultery and even considering their divorce as adultery. We see no positional statements or crusade by the church against divorce, or adultery because many of the "sinners" sit in our very pews.
Gays did exist in ancient Israel, but they were less than 5% of the population, and were considered as "natural" eunuchs with a natural disdain for women. They were not part of the religious struggle of early Christians against the legalistic Jews, the rampant sexual worship of the goddess in Corinth, or the debate between grace and law in the battles that Paul had with the Judaist in Asia Minor and in Rome who insisted that the new Christians still had to abide by the Jewish laws. They were an innocent bystander in the bible mentioned infrequently, but as Christianity grew and became powerful and institutionalised in a history of over two thousand years, gays become the target for persecution, victimisation, and condemnation by Christians.
We seldom realise that the burden of proof of our allegations against gays lies with us. It is not for them to explain why they were innocent but for us to prove our assertions far beyond a reasonable doubt because life and death are involved. Our condemnation has killed so many - physically, emotionally and spiritually, with lives lost living with a sense of guilt and self condemnation, broken relationships and their Christian faith shipwrecked with most gay Christians leaving the church. Few gays would ever step into the church. Coming from a City Harvest background, I am reminded that what we sow is what we reap. Talk is cheap, and the church has been agressive in condeming gays not realising that we are sowing hatred, prejudice, self righteousness and lies. We say that gays caused the demise of marriage and family breakdown. When we sow such lies and deceit against gays, we will reap four fold in family breakdowns and affairs even within the church. When we assert how sinful gays are and how they are out to destroy Christianity, we are sowing a four fold in building up a self righteousness, pride, and religious hypocrisy that will one day undermined our entire faith. But God's grace and mercy is so amazing not givng us what we deserved.
We missed the fact that it was all about love, about romantic love and basic rights and freedoms that have been denied on our account.