On Homosexuality, Many Christians Get the Bible Wrong

Will Christians of tomorrow read the Bible’s homosexuality passages the way Christians of today read the slavery passages?

Homosexuality is one of the most divisive issues within churches and across our country today. The issue has become, for some, a litmus test on fidelity to God and the scriptures. The divide is not just between the progressives and conservatives. It is also a generational divide, with younger Christians generally seeing this issue differently than older Christians.

I recently delivered the sermon for the National Prayer Service at the presidential inauguration. While in Washington I took my family to the Lincoln Memorial. This iconic structure stands as a reminder of America’s great dream of equality and President Lincoln’s role in the emancipation of America’s slaves and the abolition of slavery in America. The words to Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address are inscribed on the north wall of the memorial’s interior. In them Lincoln noted that at the center of the conflict over slavery were very different interpretations of the Bible. Lincoln said of the two sides in the war, “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other.”

Southern preachers and slave owners believed the many references in the Bible permitting and regulating slavery (well over 100 verses), in both the Old and the New Testaments, were clear evidence that the institution was a part of God’s social and moral order. Abolitionist preachers argued in their sermons that the verses related to slavery in the Bible were a reflection of the cultural context and times in which the Bible was written and did not reflect God’s endorsement of slavery. They argued that there were “weightier” scriptures on justice, mercy and love that superseded those on slavery. This was the position that Lincoln himself adopted.

At the center of the divide over homosexuality today is the Bible. Conservatives and progressives “read from the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other.”

There are a handful of Scriptures (five or eight depending upon how one counts) that specifically speak of same-sex intimacy as unacceptable to God. Conservatives or traditionalists see these as reflecting God’s timeless will for human relationships. Progressives look at these same scriptures in much the same way that progressives in the nineteenth century looked at the Bible’s teaching on slavery. They believe that these verses capture the cultural understandings and practices of sexuality in biblical times, but do not reflect God’s will for gay and lesbian people.

In my own life, it was both reading the Bible’s passages on same-sex intimacy in the same light as passages on slavery (and violence and the place of women) and coming to know gay and lesbian people that led me to see this issue differently, particularly children who grew up in my church who loved God and sought to serve Christ. As I listened to their stories I saw that they did not fit the stereotypes I had been taught about gay and lesbian people. The love they shared with others looked very much like the love I share with my wife –a deep friendship and companionship. And their faith was as authentic as that of anyone else in my congregation.

For many Christians today, particularly young adults, the handful of Bible verses related to same sex intimacy seem more like the 100 plus verses on slavery than they do the teachings of Jesus and his great commandments to love God and neighbor. Their gay and lesbian friends are people, just like them, in need of love and community. I believe that in the years ahead an increasing number of Christians, not only progressives, but also conservatives, will read the Bible’s passages regarding homosexuality as all Christians today read the Bible’s passages on slavery. And the sermons preached from America’s pulpits decrying the rights of homosexuals today will sound to future generations much like the pro-slavery sermons sound to us today.


Adam Hamilton Adam Hamilton is a United Methodist pastor and author of “When Christians Get it Wrong” (Abingdon, 2013).
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  • Anonymous

    So you know gay people who love their partner in a deep, meaningful way, like you love your wife. That “loving relationship” makes the gay lifestyle okay, then? How about a married man who has a “loving relationship” with a woman other than his wife? Do we accept that behavior because the two are engaged in a “loving relationship”? I would say not. We need to tell that man and woman, or that man and man/woman and woman that they are living in sin! The Apostle Paul wrote, “1 Cor 6:18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” In this, Paul reminds us that we were created in the image of God, and sexual sin degrades and decimates that image. Tell me I a wrong, Adam. Show me where this is not true? We are to be living sacrifices, yielding our bodies for God’s purposes, not our own. Heterosexual sex in the marriage is the standard that God established. The LGBT community wants to rewrite that standard, and you are going along with it. Love the sinner, but hate the sin. Some will listen, many will not. Equating anti-homosexual sermons to slavery sermons seems wrong on so many levels. One does not sin being a slave. But one does sin practicing sexual immorality.

    • joyinsoul

      I am also curious as to how Mr. Hamilton counsels fornicators, as well. If an unmarried woman and an unmarried man have a relationship that fits this description: “The love they shared with others looked very much like the love I share with my wife –a deep friendship and companionship”, is Mr. Hamilton going to say that their faith is authentic, as well?

      Just because we are called to love a homosexual, an adulterer or a fornicator does not mean that we should accept their sin. Reading 1 Corinthians 5 gives instruction on how to handle a sexually immoral person in the Church.

      If Mr. Hamilton believes that what God considers sin changes with the passage of time (God’s creation) and society (also God’s creation), then I suggest that Mr. Hamilton learn about the immutability of God.

    • tracie

      It shouldn’t matter what people think, God’s word the Bible is True, we are under the law of grace, we just will never be right until we die and live again. God is taking all of our spirit, we will be judged. Know where you going according to the Bible when you die, that’s what’s up. Do the right things one day at a time, and love love love.


  • older-woman

    I believe that what Jesus taught are the ways to have a health, joyful society of people. I also believe that it is an uneducated mind that does not take into account the time period when a writer writes…how he or she frames the world cannot escape the cultural norms and values of the time of the writer. That said, I believe Jesus wants us to love all people…that’s best for the planet. It’s best for humans emotionally and physically. But I also believe that sex that uses body parts in ways they were not meant to be used results in a significantly greater opportunity for disease, which is not good for society’s happiness and joyfulness. I do believe that children should have an opportunity to have the influence of mother and father and that relationship, an opportunity denied them in a homosexual so-called marriage I do not believe men can mate with men or women with women but I do believe that there are some people developed abnormally in the womb — but that we don’t need to remake society because of it. Honor their love but that does not mean we toss out the Bible or toss out marriage.

  • James

    It is sad to hear a Christian preach against what the Lord clearly says to us in the Bible. While those of us who have studied the Bible in search of answer to the question of whether or not homosexuality is a sin are familiar with the verse Leviticus 20:13 “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” it is commonly believed that the laws made in the old testament do not apply to Christians and that these laws became obsolete when Jesus came. But let me ask you this: From the diction of this verse, does it appear that God’s attitude towards homosexuality is positive? Not at all! While we shouldn’t kill homosexuals because we were all sinners at one point and we are to show others the same love and mercy as the Lord showed us, this doesn’t mean we as Christians should sit back and allow this sin to happen. If you still are not convinced that the Bible is clear that homosexuality is wrong, read this quote I read in an article about this matter.

    Over the years I have received some bizarre reasons from the gay community regarding why they don’t think homosexuality is a sin. Here is an example I received this week from a self-professed lesbian:

    “Also, don’t you find it interesting that when Jesus walked the earth, he never once brought up the subject? If it was such a sin, it would be one of the Ten Commandments, don’t you think?”

    No, I don’t think so at all. Lev. 20:13 does not need to be one of the Ten Commandments before it has any jurisdiction over Christian Believers.

    Jesus did not address child-molestation either; neither is it one of the Ten Commandments. Neither did Jesus address drug abuse, nor pornography, smoking, spousal abuse, or torture. Does this fact therefore condone such sins and atrocities? Are we to assume therefore that none of these are wrong or sinful? I hope we are not foolish enough to believe that if something is not mentioned in the Bible, then it shouldn’t be considered a sin.

    This is an excellent point. Christians need to stop taking the Bible out of context in order to push the point they wish to make. If one honestly believes they are right in their opinion, then they should be open to the truth for it should only justify them, right?

    What about this verse?

    “Be not deceived, neither …abusers of themselves with mankind [Gk: arsenokoites-sodomites/male bed partners/male-liers] SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD” (I Cor. 6:9-10).

    It is clear the Lord has no tolerance when it comes to homosexuality. I am not preaching hate, I am preaching the truth. I am only preaching hate to those who hate the truth.

    • Bod Nobody

      Actually, there is something I am confused. Why God didn’t mentioned lesbians? Is it because the Bible is manmade and in these authors’s time woman were afraid from society to show their true sexual tendency? Perhaps, authors forgot and saw lesbians redundant to write because there were no obvious gay women? To wrap up, is there any explanation why God just mentioned this sin just for men? – written by a muslim

      • Tim Loyal

        Actually they did say about lesbians. men went after the unatural and women went after the unatural.Romans 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their
        women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: thats a direct verse related to lesbians and the unatural.

        • R.A.

          Unnatural for Paul would include anal sex. To conclude that the unnatural act must be lesbianism based on this vague wording inserts a burden on the text, which we as interpreters, who are trying to rightly divide the word, mustn’t do. In fact, anal sex also fits the context of the next verse when Paul says men are likewise abandoning the natural use of a woman, which would have been passive, vaginal intercourse. So I agree with Bod that the Bible is silent on lesbianism.

      • tracie

        Lesbians are homosexuals, The word lesbian hadn’t been thought of at that time. Read and study your Bible, remember Adam and Eve, this’s how he wanted it to be man and woman, We sometimes have to change and it’s hard but so necessary, we are all faced with demons around us and a lot of times he be in us giving you all those feelings that feel so right when it’s totally against God’s word, Do what God want not Satan. Realize that you need God’s deliverance, you have been decieved by the enemy to even think God doesn’t apply homosexuals to women as he do men. I would ask God for forgiveness and never turn my back on him again

    • Happily

      Your comment holds no value.. What point are you trying to make? You mention that people confuse the new laws as obsolete but give no factual reason to believe their not, but instead, give your interpretation. Why would mixing materials for clothing be an exception under the new law of Christ, but not homosexuality? Jesus does not mention either.

      • Tim Loyal

        Your false. as Jesus did mention his whole Law and it was made for sinners not saints. Those in Christ have his Laws and keep his commandments. Those who do not have Jesus have the Law and every mark it has made. We are not under the ritual laws or the civil laws of the old testament in Jesus christ. those who are not saved have the whole law. But one mark against anyone, just one Law sends you to hell so it doestn matter if its homosexuality or a white lie. But Homosexuality is repeated as a sin in the new testament.
        1 Corinthians 9:9-10 Know
        ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be
        not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor
        effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

        10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

        ef·fem·i·nate (ĭ-fĕm′ə-nĭt)


        1. Having qualities or characteristics more often associated with women than men. See Synonyms at female.

        2. Characterized by weakness and excessive refinement.

        • R.A.

          But doesn’t Paul repeatedly tell us that we are no longer under the law? I believe he said that the old Law was crucified and called it an old schoolmaster. (Gal 3:23-25, Rom 6:14-15, Rom 7:6). Paul seems to repeatedly say that there is no salvation under the law, an argument he continually had with his Jewish brothers. Additionally, most Rabbis will tell you there is no delineation within the law to suggest that some are moral and timeless while others are cultural and time-bound. This is a distinction that we humans have made that is not exactly Biblical. Also, “effeminate” is a poor translation of a difficult word in the Koine Greek that is probably better rendered as Catamites, which the Catholic bible does mention in a footnote, if memory serves. And they were young prostitutes, not simply more flamboyant men. And abusers of themselves with mankind is an educated guess for what Paul meant for the word arsenkoitai, which is a tough word to translate since Paul is the first person to use the word in antiquity. Some conjecture he could have invented it, and we have little contextual clues in other writings from the time period to help clarify its meaning.

    • fddsaf

      Did you miss the whole lesson?

    • arianna

      It also says a woman cannot be in charge of a man and her role is of silence. Slaves should just be happy with their job so that they won’t revolt. Pillaging and destroying lands is ok. You should read the whole bible instead of the bits you want to believe. It is an old outdated book. It says Love thy neihbor. That is what you must do not love thy neighbor..unless they are gay then kill them all. Love thy neighbor.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

    Well said.

  • Joe Bryant

    Hi Mr. Hamilton (or anyone that knows), Can you recommend reading online for more detail on this? I’d like to explore further and dig into more specifically how folks are interpreting this wrongly. Not just anecdotally that folks we know don’t fit stereotypes. But real in depth discussion of how the verses are being wrongly interpreted? I’m very interested in this and in gaining clarity on the topic as obviously it’s a hot issue.

    • R.A.

      Hello, Mr. Bryant. I know you posted ages ago, but if thought I’d throw some info into the mix. If you are looking for a conservative view, Robert Gagnon is a prolific writer (which is a gross understatement). He has a more conservative understanding, and many who hold such a view hold him up as a primary defender of conservatist readings. I don’t find his assertion of gender complementarianism to be entirely biblically based on my understanding of the text, but that is his main thrust of argument. On the flip side, you’ll find many authors who make some good points but are weak on others on the progressive front. I’ve found a couple of sources that have better arguments than others. There is a video on youtube of Dr. Michael White and his sermon called “The ‘H’ Word”. I found it to be fairly convincing on many grounds. He’s very knowledgeable about scripture and the context in which it was written. Another source is Pastor Romell Weekly’s books, particularly The Rebuttal, which addresses many conservative arguments in a fairly consistently logical fashion. You can find Mr. Weekly’s books on Amazon. I got mine for the kindle app. Both of those gentlemen do a great job looking at scripture reverevtly, as I do. Other google searches that might help: arsenkoitai, malakoi, toevah. Those words are scrutinized in particular by many progressive theologians. Hope some of this stuff is helpful.

  • David L. Moore

    The case of slavery whose biblical context did not apply to the racially based slavery of the 19th century is not really parallel to the case of homosexual practice in Bible times and today. The apostle Paul lived in a time when homosexual practice was a wide spread and generally accepted part of the social scene. Marriage contracts from about that time often included, along with other stipulations, that the the husband would not keep another woman nor a catamite boy in addition to his wife. Nero, the Roman emperor contemporary with Paul practiced homosexuality, even to being part to homosexual marriage. So, really, the idea that the Bible’s expressed attitude against homosexual practice is a relic of a sexually up-tight age is not at all valid, and arguments based that idea should be abandoned.

    • R.A.

      I was wondering if you’d mind me entering a bit of friendly debate. I’m a sucker for a good discussion.

      Within the context of your argument, you still mention same sex acts within the contexts of activities that would be wrong for heterosexuals, as well. A Catamite on the side would be tantamount to adultery, right? And didn’t Paul mention catamites within the context of his Corinthians and Timothy passages, though they poorly translate malakoi as effeminate? And in Romans, the activity takes place within the context of idolatry (noting the transition words between changing concepts of paganism).

      All this to say, if we cannot condemn all heterosexual acts based on rape (see Gibeah) how can we universally condemn all homosexual acts based on contextually bound incidents (like Sodom) that would be equally wrong for heterosexuals?
      :) I eagerly await your rebuttal.

      • David L. Moore

        I don’t want to condemn anyone. I don’t want anyone to be condemned. Who doesn’t ever experience temptation that should be resisted?! In Jesus Christ there is both forgiveness to blot out our sins and to give us power to turn away from them and to live a new life. It is important not to rationalize evil desires to the point of deceiving ourselves. The grace of God is offered, and those that inherit salvation embrace it.

        • R.A.

          Thanks for taking the time to reply, Mr. Moore. I’m sure life has you running crazy, as it does me.

          I’m sorry if the wording of my post suggested that you were being judgmental or condemning. Such was not my intent. I was talking about the biblical context, not your words.

          I agree about Christ’s redemptive power, and I hope and pray that his precious blood will take care of all my shortcomings, be they physical sins or theological faults.

          I assure you I’m not trying to rationalize anything. I’m only seeking to test my understanding of the Word to see if my interpretation holds up to scrutiny. Trying to rightly divide and all. :-)

          I think the question remains, however, as to if all same sex relations are wrong or does the Bible condemn them within certain contexts in which writers saw them occurring. I think it’s also important to note that the writers are all under the assumption that all men are primarily women-oriented. Homosexuality as a concept did not exist until the late 1800s, so in some ways, we read our understanding back into the text if we are not careful. But in turn, Paul would make the assumption that 99% were physically able to carry on a physical relationship with women (barring eunuchs, which opens up a whole other can of worms). When Paul sees a man committing a same sex act, he’s most likely seeing it within one of two contexts: idolatry or adultery. And careful examination of those passages that do contain same-sex acts does reveal an idolotrous

          • R.A.

            Sorry. Wouldn’t let me edit that last post.

            The passages do seem to contain idolatrous context, and thus the context is condemnable, but it doesn’t reflect on the relations themselves.

            Again, sorry if my last post came off as accusatory. That certainly wasn’t my intention.

          • David L. Moore

            Some of the things that have fairly recently been published concerning Christianity over against homosexual practice amount to tendentious exegesis. An effort toward objectivity is helpful if one wants to allow his or her life to be influenced by the Word of God.

            The first chapter of Romans does mention both idolatry and homosexual activity. But it is an error to think that the homosexual practices mentioned are considered sinful only because they were practiced in the context of idolatry. Paul’s main point here is that substituting idolatry for the worship of the Creator naturally leads to perversions of sexual practices in both women and men. Paul does not make his reasoning explicit on this, but one might think that he sees the creation of humans as male and female who may perpetuate the race through heterosexual union as a manifest part of God’s plan, and so those that stray from worshipping the Creator logically tend to stray from the Creator’s purpose in terms of sexuality. He presents the homosexual activities as obviously incorrect and “against nature.”

            What Paul says about these and other forms of sin make clear that the expectation for Christians is to live holy lives, leaving behind the practices that had to do with their way of life before knowing God: “And such were some of you: but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God” (1Cor. 6:11).

          • R.A.

            I always strive to be objective, I assure you.

            I’ll try to be as succinct as possible.

            A) What textual evidence do we have in Romans 1 that suggests we can remove homosexuality from its context of idolatry to universally condemn it?

            B) Paul’s use of “natural” really can’t be parallel to “sinful” in meaning. He could not have used the word “unnatural” in tantamount terms to “sinful” since he later says God acted unnaturally by grafting us Gentiles into the tree of faith. Also, Paul uses the same terminology in regard to men having long hair. He calls it unnatural for men to have long hair. Thus, we cannot say the term unnatural in and of itself must connote sinfulness.

            Continues in a second post.

          • R.A.

            2) You seem to appeal to Natural Law for the sinfulness of homosexuality if I read between the lines correctly. I believe the idea of Natural Law has some logical faults.

            A) Natural Law depends on God’s intent for creation. This is something we don’t know. Just because the creation account(s) depicts the beginning in a certain way doesn’t mean we have a glimpse into God’s intended purposes. True, we see what God creates, but that doesn’t mean we see his ultimate intentions. We can only surmise at those. What did God intend for the appendix? The jury’s still out.

            B) For Natural Law to really be a law, it must be pervasive in its scope, applied equally to all creation. But it’s only really appealed to in sexual contexts. The problem with that approach is that it ignores God’s intent for the rest of creation. If we applied it as a universal law, then we would be breaking it by using the penicillin-mold for pharmaceutical purposes instead of allowing it to simply decompose matter. But if someone suggests maybe God intended for penicillin to be used as a drug, then we run back into the problem listed under letter A.

            And suppose we allow the Law to stand despite the lack of all-inclusive scope, we (rightfully) condemn sexual conduct between adults and thirteen year-olds despite the fact that the body is physically capable of such conduct at that age. If we insist on Natural Law, then we must explain why this is an exception since, naturally, all mechanics are in working order, despite the context of a “marriage”. But if we (rightfully, in my opinion) insist that such a relationship is immoral, then we’ve made an exception to Natural Law. And by definition, laws must have no exceptions. Therefore, we’ve already showed we’ve applied the Natural Law selectively, thus we’ve violated its status as a law, rendering it outside of a universal rule.

            C) Natural Law just isn’t biblically based, in my humble opinion. It’s something we’ve read into the text. Can we find evidence for it? Sure. But to do so, we have to operate on the belief that it’s true before we ever start reading the text, and I don’t think that’s the best exegetical approach for interpreting the scripture.

          • David L. Moore

            Dear R. A.,
            Many of your arguments echo ideas that were presented by the late John Boswell, a prominent Yale professor and historian. It might be helpful for you to look into some of the critiques of his writings on religion and sexuality. Richard B. Hays, who is most widely known for his book on New Testament ethics, has written a monograph addressing specifically Boswell’s exegesis of Romans chapter 1. It is both a well researched and well reasoned paper. Under the title, “Relations Natural and Unnatural: Response to John Boswell’s Exegesis of Romans 1,” it is available in PDF format on the Web. I put the web address in an earlier post, but –perhaps because of the URL in the post– it never appeared in this thread. You should easily be able to find the paper by a Google search. I hope you will give it a read.

          • R.A.

            I actually haven’t read Boswell’s work, though I’ve heard the name. I’ll check out Mr. Hay’s paper. Thanks for the recommendation.

          • R.A.

            Hey, Mr. Moore,

            I read the article, and I was a little disappointed that Mr. Hays treats creational morality as a priori assumption without establishing it in scripture. Also, he didn’t address many of my questions in regards to the logic of creational morality. If you have time, I’d love to hear what you think about said points.

            I hope all is well. God bless.

        • Guest

          Strange, wouldn’t let me finish or edit that last post.

          To conclude, the passages contain an idolatrous context. That was my argument.

          Again, I’m sorry if my tone felt accusatory or suggestive that you were judgmental.

  • theophilus166

    It’s a mistake to compare homosexuality to the treatment of women or slaves in scripture. As William Webb points out in “Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals,” the treatment of women and slaves is very different from the treatment of homosexuality. Simply put, the treatment of slaves and women gradually changed and improved over the course of scripture. Both women and slaves were granted rights in the Old Testament that didn’t exist in surrounding cultures. By the New Testament, we see women as disciples and apostles, and we see Paul encourage Philemon to accept his slave Onesimus as a brother rather than a slave. Homosexuality, however, is universally condemned. It’s condemned in the Old Testament and the New Testament, and it’s condemned in cultures where homosexuality was an acceptable practice. There’s simply no movement towards equality with homosexuality, as we see with the issues of slaves and women.

  • Tim Loyal

    I pray you come back to Jesus or find him before your preach again. If you had the Holy Ghost you would not be able to bear false witness against Jesus Chirst.

  • BuddySteve

    I would agree with you EXCEPT that majority of the gay men I know or have met are filled with immorality and are more about getting their nuts off than having real (non-sexual) love for one another! Just about every gay man I’ve come across, even though he may call himself a christian, is so immoral and sometimes hateful, it makes Satan look like an angel! Even though I am gay myself, I do think you’ve got this one wrong and being gay is a sin. There is nothing holy about it in God’s eyes which is why majority of gay men doesn’t want to have anything to do with God and choose to deny he even exists.

    Even though I believe being gay is a sin, I don’t believe I’ll be going to hell for it because I have accepted Jesus as my lord and saver. I have felt the holy spirit’s presence when I was an older teenager. I still feel it from time to time but not as much anymore because I haven’t been living a holy life like I should. We are not perfect! Jesus was perfect for us so that we could be saved from damnation. I don’t think God would throw us believers into hell without a good fight for us! Remember, God so loved the world, he gave his only son to be slandered with so much pain to pay for what we’ve done and our ancestors have done or didn’t do.

    Just remember, we are all like little infant baby’s in a nursery trying to figure things. We won’t know the true reality of things until we die. The only game being played here is to believe that Jesus died for you so that you may be saved from damnation. Doesn’t matter what sexual preferences you have or who you’ve murdered or the lifestyle you live. If you ask Jesus into your life, he will change you! Being gay is NOT a factor if you accept Jesus as your savoir, period!

    • kentuckywoman2

      Why does it surprise you that there are “idolators”, “God-haters/atheists”, and fornicators in the gay community? After all, do not these same people exist in the heterosexual community? Every descriptive word you used against gay people can also be used against straight people! It’s just that in the heterosexual culture, sexual depravity has become so completely absorbed and ingrained into the fabric of life that no one thinks about it anymore.

      You know, it wasn’t all that many years ago that the homosexual “culture” was still “in the closet.” Unless one was part of that community, little was known about the day to day lifestyle of the average homosexual. Even when a relative was “odd” (as we used to call them), their “eccentricities” were ignored and NEVER talked about.

      Since the 1980s, in particular, the homosexual culture has been coming out bit by bit, into the mainstream consciousness. We see glimpses of the gay lifestyle more and more, until it’s now become pretty well full-blown. And guess what? It’s not that much different than the heterosexual culture! Sexuality is sexuality, regardless of the gender of the people involved. There will always be committed, monogamous relationships, there will always be the “whore-mongers”, there will always be the sexually depraved and the sexual predators, etc.

      I’m a heterosexual Christian…but even I don’t think homosexuality is necessarily a sin. I think it’s more an accident of birth. Homosexuality, transgenderism, and heterosexuality ALL originate in the womb, as a matter of biology. It is how we’re “hard-wired” to be. During the gestational process, the right amount of hormone/s at precisely the right time/s are required if one is to have a body that “matches” the mind. When it goes haywire, we see homosexuals, transgenders, hermaphrodites, etc. Did you know that, by default, ALL fetuses begin as FEMALE? I never knew that until I went to college. Knowledge is power, including the power to understand how things come to be. For the majority of gays, they are simply “made” that way. As a Christian, I cannot accept that God would condemn a person for simply being who he/she is…not when there is no willful choice made to be that way.

      Likewise, I cannot believe that God would condemn any person for living the way he or she was “made” to be. It would be a cruel God indeed who would say that if one was born heterosexual, one was allowed to adopt that lifestyle…while if one was born homosexual, one was not allowed to live that lifestyle, thereby being condemned to live a life not of one’s own choosing.

      Did you know that the majority of human beings are actually bisexual? Studies have borne out this conveniently ignored fact. Most people choose to not to act on that, but many do. And the reason many people do not have sexual relationships with people of both genders is usually because of a social more and a perceived religious taboo. But where in the Bible does it talk about bisexuality? Nowhere, that I know of.

      As far as homosexuality in the Bible, that’s a complicated issue, to be sure. But I can say that there are roughly only 7 verses in the entire Bible that address homosexuality at all – and even then, most of them address other sins as well, and don’t single out homosexuality out alone. If we were to take all of them literally, not many people would escape any of these “sins.”

      I’m not making light of sin – rather, what I’m saying is that I think it’s important to remember that we are saved by grace, as you aptly pointed out, by Christ’s sacrifice. Christians are NOT under the yoke of legalism, i.e., the rules and laws of the Old Testament…if we were, then Christ died in vain and THAT is a sin that God describes as “a dog returning to its own vomit”.

      Certainly, homosexuality has been a part of every civilization, every tribe, on planet earth since recorded history, regardless of what name it was called. I think most Christians make a huge mistake when taking the Bible literally, by applying what was written 2000 to 6000 years ago, to today’s cultural context, and completely ignoring the cultural context in which it was written. What were the social mores of the time?

      One example might be slavery. Nowhere in the Bible is slavery condemned! Not even Jesus condemned slavery; in fact, He basically said that slaves were to be good servants to their masters and masters were to treat their slaves well. Uh huh. And how does that work today? These biblical verses were used by Christian slave owners to justify slavery for centuries. And yet, there is no legal slavery in the world today, because we realize that our cultural mores do not accept it. Likewise, women are no longer expected to be silent, without a voice, either in politics or in the church or in the “public sphere”….even though there is biblical precedence for it.

      Gay or not, our prime directive as Christians is to love God and each other. We are not to judge others; that is God’s domain and right, only. We are not to punish, but to forgive and have compassion. There are so many things the Bible tells us to do that we, as Christians, completely ignore, but instead, we focus on the things we want to do, for which God has given no directive. Go figure.

    • tracie

      A sin is a sin so I agree, Thank God we are under his grace.

  • Brandon Roberts

    look homosexual marriage is not real marriage in the eyes of god but john 3:16 says god so loved the world he sent his one and only son to die for our sins. not just straight people the world and look homosexual sex is a sin not same sex attraction kay

    • kentuckywoman2

      Are you high? Hard to understand what you’re saying. How about rewriting it using proper sentence construction and good grammar, including punctuation? I’m just saying…..I can’t understand what you’re saying! Are you saying same sex attraction is not a sin but homosexuality is? That makes no sense!

      • Brandon Roberts

        look what i meant. was if a boy feels romantic feelings towards another boy not a sin. but the sex thing well i think it may be. actually i learned that the original bible may not have condenmed being gay. and i’m saying jesus loves everyone gay straight and bi. and iv’e softened since this kay

        • kentuckywoman2

          I don’t think there’s much difference between romantic love and sexual love. After all, the Bible says that’s if you have even a thought about something, it’s the same as doing it. I wouldn’t sugarcoat it by allowing yourself to think that romantic love is somehow more pure or okay, as long as the physical love is kept out of it. I know that’s a popular misconception, but I think it is a misconception. I’m not sure what you man by “original bible” – again, it’s fallacious thinking to somehow sugarcoat the issue by allowing oneself to believe that we don’t have the “original”, therefore what we do have is suspect. That’s simply untrue. I do believe Jesus loves everyone, gay or straight, as far as that goes. Jesus never said one word about homosexuality in the Bible, so all we have to go on are the verses in the O.T. which Christians are not bound by, and the verses in the N.T. which came mainly from Paul.

          • Brandon Roberts

            true what i meant by original was the hebrew and greek texts. and i think the original church leaders mistranslated some stuff and that’s a good point that there’s not much of a difference between romantic and sexual love. and i honestly don’t have objections to homosexuals. i’m still on the fence about same sex marriage i know that we’re not bound by the o.t anymore and i know jesus loves everyone

          • kentuckywoman2

            Agreed – using both Greek & Hebrew concordances and lexicons are always the best way to actually study what was written. Orientalisms are very useful, as well, and I think greatly underutilized. There’s not many books on them, but they are extremely helpful when considering the context of biblical writings. It’s virtually impossible for a Westerner to understand Eastern culture today, let alone thousands of years ago – but if we are to truly understand the Bible as it was written (or as near to the oldest manuscripts as we can get), it’s crucial.

            I’ve been on and off the fence for gay marriage, too. As I said, I originally allowed for civil unions, because I do truly believe that everyone should have the same legal rights, as a point of law (Constitutional law, not Biblical law). But there’s really not much of a difference between a civil union and a marriage, save one is generally performed outside a church with no religious attributes, and the other is usually a religious ceremony. Realistically, though, many heterosexuals get married by JPs and even in those Las Vegas wedding chapels, so do we consider them any less married? No.

            Marriage is essentially a legal contract, and it spells out certain rights and responsibilities, although no one takes too much notice of the responsibilities of a marriage contract anymore. But because marriage is a legal contract, and not merely a religious ritual, my feeling is that it belongs in the realm of law, first and foremost, rather than religion. No marriage is “legal”, even if performed by a priest or a pastor, etc., unless the proper paperwork is filed with the State.

            Because of that, I have come to the conclusion that marriage is a legal contract which may or may not be “blessed” by some religious ritual, but that it is essentially “legal” in nature, and not religious. Therefore, gays should have the right to enter into any legal contract that any other human being is allowed to enter into, because I believe we are all endowed with the same inalienable rights and entitled to the same Constitutional rights.

            My feeling is that if a church or pastor wishes to perform a religious ritual of marriage between two consenting adults, then that is something additional to the legal contract of marriage – however, no pastoral official, church, etc.,should be forced to perform such marriage ceremonies. There is precedence for that within the Catholic Church, for example, in that it will not unite two people in marriage who are not both Catholics, or who have previously been married to other spouses.

            For that reason, I believe gays do err when they attempt to force people to do such things as provide a venue for their wedding, reception, or even bake a wedding cake. I do think it should be the choice of the business, on religious grounds. Although, I think there’s a difference between what one sells, e.g., wedding cakes, floral arrangements, etc., that are already made and available for sale to the public…and “contract work”, where the business contracts with the couple to bake a cake, create floral arrangements, etc. In the first instance, I do NOT believe the business has the right to discriminate and must sell their product/s to anyone who wishes to buy them. BUT, in the case of contract work, I believe the business has the right to refuse to enter into a business contract if it so wishes.

            So, in other words, while I’d prefer to live in a culture that is more traditional, once gays came out of the closet, so to speak, it was a done deal. They deserve equal rights. As far as religion goes, it’s really between them and God, as far as I’m concerned. Each person must be responsible for their own spiritual walk and cannot walk the path of others. That is not only spiritually unhealthy, but it is wrong, from God’s point of view, I believe.

          • Brandon Roberts

            yeah me too i’m still unsure. but i won’t judge people for what they do usually (just in murder cases where they actually did it) and i think even jesus said some are born gay so i can’t really discriminate people for the way there born

          • kentuckywoman2

            Apparently you haven’t read the Bible. Jesus Himself NEVER uttered one word about homosexuality, one way or the other. Furthermore, there is no verse in the Bible that says anything about anyone being born gay. There are only about 7 verses in the entire Bible that refer to homosexuality in any way…but none talk about WHY people are gay or being born that way. And again, Jesus never referred to homosexuality one way or the other. He never talked about it.

          • Brandon Roberts

            yeah i shouldn’t get all my facts from youtube and it really does not matter whether they’re born that way or not i should really study the bible more thanks for correcting me bye

          • kentuckywoman2

            Oh, YouTube has its merits, and there’s a great deal of good information there. But if you really want to know what the Bible says, you’re best off grabbing at least one Bible, a Hebrew & a Greek concordance and lexicon, and “studying” it. There’s a wealth of biblical studies out there! Best of luck to you. :-)

          • Brandon Roberts

            thank you for the well wishes and i’ll get too it

  • raz4u

    Like all such articles, irrational and at the same time very funny.

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  • R.A.

    These voodoo doctor bots do realize that their posting on Christian forums, right? Good gravy.

  • sarahocarroll

    Ok, here is my question: I know where I stand on this issue, but want to make sure that my ‘leaning’ one way or the other is more than that… I want to make sure that it is a conviction based on Scripture. So I have been trying to educate myself, in different ways, but one way being learning the claims of those both sides of the issue & how they back up their claims scripturaly. Adam, you make a claim that due to misinterpretation of the scriptures, we may someday look back on this time in society the same way we look back in history when slavery was social acceptable & even endorsed by some religious leaders of the time. Through that claim you liken homosexuality to slavery. And as a result you imply that homosexuality is ok. But in addition to that implication, you claim that homosexuality is ok because, much like slavery was not ok, scripture backs that up. However, you neglect to validate your point through scripture. Is this something you do in a later article or in your book? I am just assuming that one cannot make a claim that scripture is being misinterpreted without giving examples & proof of that misinterpretation, accompanied by Greek & Hebrew word studies & translations, etc. I would love to read something of yours that expands on this article…. Thanks!

    • R.A.

      I’m reading a book right now called Bible, Gender, Sexuality by James Brownson. He seems very logical and treats scripture reverently. So far, it’s been pretty interesting.

      • Calvin Bonner

        @disqus_nkO5UPS8vc:disqus I respect your erudition and appreciate your openness to dissenting dialogue, but because of what has been called “the first person bias of the participant” (a soldier on the front line will give the most sincere but inaccurate account of how a war is progressing) I question if you are truly seeing this issue objectively.

        I say same sex relationships are unnatural because they are antithetical to the life cycle. A proponent of same sex relationships may make the same claim about heterosexual relationships, but such claims are obviously baseless and reactionary. Heterosexual interracial relationships cannot be used as a relevant analogy because life can, and daily does, arise from such unions.

        I do not have the background in genetics to label homosexuality an unfavorable “mutation” as some critics of same sex unions do, but it seems fair to view these practices as at least an aberration–they discontinue the life cycle and negate one of nature’s most central physiological drives: reproduction and dissemination of our genetic material. This may be best understood through the “Everyman test,” a practical application of Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperatives. If every single person immediately adopted homosexuality what would the fate of humanity be? In contrast, heterosexual unions are the bases for every birth on our planet, save asexual and nonsexual reproduction in lower life forms.

        The “choice” to be heterosexual is actually a deep seated physiological drive which ensures our survival as a species. The decision to be gay runs counter to our viability, no matter how many people pursue that course. I of course can not relate to seeing another male and being “turned on”, but if this is the case for some and it actually is physiologically driven it is still antithetical to life. I do not align myself with those who argue that a propensity toward homosexuality is a birth defect or mental illness since I am neither a geneticist or a psychologist and such unqualified opinions run the risk of pushing us towards a slippery slope from which the majority may one day propose to “fix” all dissenters with drugs, therapy or forced “reeducation.”

        What is apparent however is that from a faith-based perspective insinuation of homosexual acceptance into orthodox, scriptural Christianity is pure innovation and patently dishonest. While singling out homosexuality out as an especially abhorrent sin while ignoring other Biblically prohibited acts is equally dishonest, the fact that gays seek to justify their actions against the scriptures is what differentiates homosexuality from other scripturally proscribed acts.

        I again reiterate that each individual is responsible for their own soul, and I don’t claim a direct link to the Mind of God. Moreover, I still silently support gay marriage and would actually vote for it on a referendum out of respect for freedom of expression and the personal right to pursue happiness. I will never again openly advocate for it however because it is becoming clear that the most vocal proponents of same sex marriage are actively repressing the rights of others, and through bullying and repressive tactics worthy of the most hateful of bigots, are attempting to undermine religious institutions who are well within their rights to reject these beliefs which run counter to literal interpretation of Scripture.

        • R.A.

          Hey, Calvin, thanks for the reply. I hope you are doing well, and I hope I respond coherently since I’m a wee bit tired today. And if anything I say comes off as harsh or offensive, please blame it on my tiredness and not on actual emotion.

          Questioning someone’s objectivity (or intent for that matter) is futile in my opinion for several reasons: A) We can’t see into peoples’ thought processes. B) It’s a sort of ad hominem attack. C) It ultimately has no bearing on the logic or truth of an argument. I might be a totally dirt bag, but that doesn’t mean my argument is false or illogical.

          Unnatural is a debatable term. We can get into semantics if you like. But just because a relationship lacks the ability to produce progeny doesn’t make it unnatural, by my understanding of the term. As I pointed out in an earlier post, is a heterosexual relationship where both members are sterile unnatural? So I guess we get down to personal interpretations of a word. Either way, I don’t believe the ability to procreate says anything to the morality of a relationship.

          The point with interracial unions was to demonstrate how it might not be ethical to label particular unions disgusting based on personal feelings. I can understand and respect if you think they are harmful, but disgusting wouldn’t be the best terminology in my humble opinion.

          Dr. John Corvino notes how the Everyman test isn’t exactly functionally sound. In the analogy he makes, if every person were a priest, then life wouldn’t continue either. Does that make being a priest immoral? Besides, this makes the assumption that reproduction is a moral good and imperative. Since I hold a religious view, I disagree since Christ and Paul were both, as far as we know, childless. And if we accept that Christ was without sin, then his lack of children had no bearing on his moral status.

          Is it an aberration? Possibly. But this says nothing to the action of trying to live the best possible “normal” lifestyle by finding a partner. If you consider homosexuality a handicap, then same-sex partnerships are simply a homosexual’s best attempt to compensate for their handicap, correct? (Not that I think homosexuality is a handicap.)

          And if homosexuality did result as an evolutionary emergent trait, then it obviously has some part to play since it’s still within the gene pool and wasn’t eliminated through natural selection. Homosexuals aren’t necessarily direct descendants of other homosexuals; heterosexuals have children who happen to be homosexual, too. (Which, as I’m told, often comes as quite a shock to parents who “didn’t raise [their] children that way”.) I’m of the opinion it’s somewhere either in the epigentic realm, as recent research shows, or latent genes. That said, many psychologists believe homosexuality is primarily biological since so-called reparative therapies have abysmally low success rates, less than 1%. Such groups curb sexual activity but don’t change the attraction itself. The leader of the largest ex-gay group, Exodus International, recently went on record to say he’s never met anyone who was actually able to change their sexuality. Whatever it is, choice it ain’t, it seems.

          Regardless, I agree that we can’t assign any specific cause to any sexuality since we don’t even know what causes people to be heterosexual. Even then, I don’t find this to be a good argument one way or the other in the moral realm. Innate-ness doesn’t make it moral.

          When you say pro-gay, or affirming, theology is dishonest, it makes the assumption that pro-gay interpretations intentionally distort the “clear” meaning of scripture.

          I’ve done much studying, reading, contemplating, and praying to reach my understanding of what scripture says about the subject. I’ve looked at both sides of the argument. Some pro-tradition arguments are more convincing than others, and the same is true for the progressive interpretations. But in my studies, the major question I’ve come away with calls into question the context of homosexual behavior as mentioned in scripture and the biblical culture’s understanding of what same-sex acts were. In my studies, the context of same-sex intimacy is equally condemnable if we substituted in heterosexual intimacy. Also, I believe there is no mention of lesbian intimacy within the Bible. If such is true, then the issue of consistency makes me ask if the writers of the “clobber” passages saw male same-sex intimacy as interwoven with some other condemnable practice. I have more detailed reasons as to why I believe such, and I would be glad to discuss those with you if you’d like, but I’ve assaulted your patience long enough, if you’ve managed to slog through all this thus far.

          While I do think that the progressive theology is more likely true than not, I cannot claim absolute truth. After all, I’m working with a quite fallible brain, and while I do the best I can to arrive at truth as God would have me, I can always be, and probably am quite often, wrong.

          I agree with you that some people take their beliefs too far. We’ve got to find some way to respectfully allow both sides their personal freedoms. Both sides are guilty of clamoring for someone to get fired for their views. Both sides are guilty of being overbearing in their push to have their voices heard. On those facts, I’m with you, my friend. We’ve got to do better in that area.

          I’m sorry this post is so long, but I have thoroughly enjoyed this discussion, Calvin. You have some thoughts for me to ponder. Hopefully, I’ve said something in all this mess that is a nugget for thought. If you’d like to continue the discourse, I’d love too. Helps keep my acumen honed. Haha.

          Have a great evening.

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