Homosexuality and the Bible
Yahweh ordered homosexuals killed;
“The man who has intercourse with a man in the same way as with a woman: they have done a hateful thing together; they will be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads” (Leviticus 20:13 NJB.)
This is probably the original source of the discrimination against millions of innocent homosexual people in the Christian and Islamic world. No other significant cultures at the time anywhere in the world had a problem with gays. Other cultures had an attitude very similar to that of Greece and Rome; they simply accepted it between consenting adults.
In the New Testament Saint Paul wrote
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders… will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6 9-10, NIV.) and
“That is why God has abandoned them to degrading passions: why their women have turned from natural intercourse to unnatural practices and why their men folk have given up natural intercourse to be consumed with passion for each other, men doing shameless things with men and getting an appropriate reward for their perversion” (Romans 1:26-28.) Paul assumed he had the right to make derogatory comments about people’s sexual preferences, yet he was totally out of touch with society at large. The Roman world, generally speaking, did not have an issue with homosexuality.
Paul was unmarried and supposedly celibate, which was very unusual for a Jew, as they were strongly encouraged by priests to get married and have children. Paul imagined his God had burdened him with an infliction, although he was never honest enough to admit what it was. I am not the first commentator to strongly suspect that Paul was, in fact, a homosexual himself. His anxious, obsessive nature may have been partly due to his own sexual frustrations. His Jewish upbringing was the source of his prejudice against himself.
Over the centuries many Christian societies have been poisoned by an intolerance of homosexuality, and these teachings are largely to blame.
Churches have always known that if they can make people feel guilty about their innermost self, they can wound the ego and thereby control the person. Hence their obsessive preoccupation with people’s sexuality.
One reason Churches do not like homosexual couples is because, on average, they do not have as many children, which means there are less little feet in the pews. Homosexual couples are often more affluent too, and the typical Church man knows that is not good for business. Affluent people get educated, and, on average, are less likely go to Church. Church attendance throughout Europe declined dramatically in the last fifty years as families got smaller and education levels rose. Is it any wonder “God” has such a bad attitude to homosexuality?
Jesus has nothing to say about homosexuality. If Jesus was god, and god was as homophobic as many Christians imagine he is, Jesus would have had much to say on the issue, but there is not a word about it in the Gospels. I think the reason is obvious; the Gospels were written under the supervision of the Roman government. They were not prejudiced against gays, and what’s more, did not want to create divisiveness between people in the empire. Today’s governments should take a leaf out of their book.
Consider this from another angle. According to Christians, “God” invented homosexuality – he must have, as he invented everything. Animals often exhibit homosexual behaviour, and he created them too. It does not hurt anyone, and it is clearly not “unnatural” or “unclean.” So why did “he” forbid it in the Old Testament? At that time in ancient Israel, there was a shortage of Hebrews. Jerusalem was under threat from Babylon. There were no offspring from homosexual encounters, so less young men to take up arms to protect priests. Priests, who were, in effect, the government, were obsessed with making Israel a powerful, united nation, so they could fight off threats from enemies. Increasing the numbers of Jewish progeny amongst the common people fortified their own safety and power, so they wanted men married and producing children.
Now that there are enough people in the world, in fact probably too many, particularly in Israel, it is time Christians envisaged their imaginary god implementing plan B: one where Adam and Steve, Amanda and Eve, are loved and respected, and have the same rights as any heterosexual couple.