February 03, 2004
Bible is not ammo against homosexuality
Kip Brown is
a senior religion major from Enid, Okla.
not believe homosexuality is a sin. Call me a sinner,
derelict, pagan or whatever you see fit, but I do not
believe one can make a credible case against homosexuality
from the Bible. You might ask, of course, What does
the Bible matter? Isnt this a secular social issue?
Every person I have ever known who is unambiguously opposed
to homosexuality takes that position on the basis of the
Bible or an implicit support from what they think the
Bible has to say on the issue. I admit, I do have one
friend who does just that from a natural law basis, believing
homosexuality is unnatural.
Well, yeah, so is mowing your lawn, agriculture, and,
um, heterosexual monogamous marriage.
I can just imagine the hate mail that I will receive after
that comment, so I will get back to the issue at hand.
The Bible has been used at one point or another to support
physical and institutional v iolence against homosexuals,
women, Jews and blacks. One does not have to look very
far to see it being committed against homosexuals.
Considering the violence the Bible has supposedly sanctioned
against homosexuals, one would think that there would
be a great deal of material within its pages on the subject,
but this is not so. As biblical scholar Peter J. Gomes
once pointed out, homosexuality is not mentioned in the
Ten Commandments, or in the Summary of the Law. No prophet
or even Jesus makes mention of the subject.
One has to look very hard to find the scant material on
this issue, and to do so, you had better have the help
of a concordance. Considering you cannot even find the
word homosexuality in a Bible in any language
before 1946 (because the word homosexuality is a late
19th century invention), the issue is a lot less clear-cut
than most people would lead us to believe.
A theological analysis of this issue would far outnumber
the 500 words I am allotted on each of my columns (Walter
Winks masterful Homosexuality and the Bible
is easily accessible online). Nevertheless, in short,
I believe the Bible has no sex ethic. Instead, it has
a variety of cultural sexual mores that have little or
no bearing on the Bibles central love ethic. Moreover,
as Christians, there are many sexual practices the Bible
prohibits that we ignore, and others with which we selectively
The sexual mores we pick and choose tell us more about
ourselves than the Bible because, if we are sufficiently
historically conscious and critical, we discover that
the Bibles treatment of this issue is highly ambiguous.
Whatever the case, I believe it is clear that the Bible
should never be used to justify institutional or physical
violence against people that make us uncomfortable.