Section 3: Support against religious persecution


CHRISTIANITY 

POSITIVE Religious argument against LGBT persecution on grounds of religion:

  1. 20150601 – More Than Just Male and Female: The Six Genders in Classical Judaism – (“It’s very easy to assume that Judaism is an exclusively gender-binary religion. Almost all of the common traditional laws are based on the assumed differences between males and females. We see it in assumed gender roles, in liturgy, in proscribed family responsibilities, and in both our secular and religious laws. If, however, we look just a bit deeper into our sacred texts, we see that a simple male/female binary is not only cumbersome, it’s wholly inaccurate. This description from Trans Torah/Rabbi Elliot Kukla starts the conversation that we will continue throughout the summer:

    Zachar/זָכָר: This term is derived from the word for a pointy sword and refers to a phallus. It is usually translated as “male” in English.
    Nekeivah/נְקֵבָה: This term is derived from the word for a crevice and probably refers to a vaginal opening. It is usually translated as “female” in English.
    Androgynos/אַנְדְּרוֹגִינוֹס: A person who has both “male” and “female” sexual characteristics. 149 references in Mishna and Talmud (1st-8th Centuries CE); 350 in classical midrash and Jewish law codes (2nd -16th Centuries CE).
    Tumtum/ טֻומְטוּם A person whose sexual characteristics are indeterminate or obscured. 181 references in Mishna and Talmud; 335 in classical midrash and Jewish law codes.
    Ay’lonit/איילונית: A person who is identified as “female” at birth but develops “male” characteristics at puberty and is infertile. 80 references in Mishna and Talmud; 40 in classical midrash and Jewish law codes.
    Saris/סריס: A person who is identified as “male” at birth but develops “female” characteristics as puberty and/or is lacking a penis. A saris can be “naturally” a saris (saris hamah), or become one through human intervention (saris adam). 156 references in mishna and Talmud; 379 in classical midrash and Jewish law codes.

    There’s a huge amount of information to unpack here, and we’ll be continuing all summer long to do just that, including looking at the legal obligations of each of the genders and what the real-world application of this information is. For now, though, the main point to take from all of this: The male/female binary is not, in any way, the exclusive system of gender classification in traditional Judaism*.

    So how did we get to this point, where the assumption has become that only male and female exist? It’s a classic example of commonality being equated to superiority. Because male and female are the two most common categories, they were assumed to be “better,” rather than “typical.” As we have come to understand the complexities of gender more and more in secular society, these Judaic classifications are beginning to appear more and more often and we can clearly see that our ancestors were quite progressive when it comes to gender.

    Because, as Ben Bagbag says in Pirkei Avot 5:22:

    בן בגבג אומר, הפוך בה והפך בה, והגי בה דכולא בה, ובה תחזי, סיב ובלי בה; ומינה לא תזוז, שאין לך מידה טובה יותר ממנה

    Ben Bagbag said: Turn it [Torah] over and turn it over because everything is in it. Look within it and grow old within it; do not move from it, because there is no better attribute for you to have than it.

    *Here is a fascinating article that goes more in-depth on the subject: Gender Identity In Halakhic Discourse by Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert.”)

  2. 20140526 – When Same-Sex Marriage Was a Christian Rite – (“Contrary to myth, Christianity’s concept of marriage has not been set in stone since the days of Christ, but has constantly evolved as a concept and ritual.Prof. John Boswell, the late Chairman of Yale University’s history department, discovered that in addition to heterosexual marriage ceremonies in ancient Christian church liturgical documents, there were also ceremonies called the “Office of Same-Sex Union” (10th and 11th century), and the “Order for Uniting Two Men” (11th and 12th century).These church rites had all the symbols of a heterosexual marriage: the whole community gathered in a church, a blessing of the couple before the altar was conducted with their right hands joined, holy vows were exchanged, a priest officiatied in the taking of the Eucharist and a wedding feast for the guests was celebrated afterwards. These elements all appear in contemporary illustrations of the holy union of the Byzantine Warrior-Emperor, Basil the First (867-886 CE) and his companion John.Such same gender Christian sanctified unions also took place in Ireland in the late 12thand/ early 13th century, as the chronicler Gerald of Wales (‘Geraldus Cambrensis’) recorded.Same-sex unions in pre-modern Europe list in great detail some same gender ceremonies found in ancient church liturgical documents. One Greek 13th century rite, “Order for Solemn Same-Sex Union”, invoked St. Serge and St. Bacchus, and called on God to “vouchsafe unto these, Thy servants [N and N], the grace to love one another and to abide without hate and not be the cause of scandal all the days of their lives, with the help of the Holy Mother of God, and all Thy saints”. The ceremony concludes: “And they shall kiss the Holy Gospel and each other, and it shall be concluded”.

    Another 14th century Serbian Slavonic “Office of the Same Sex Union”, uniting two men or two women, had the couple lay their right hands on the Gospel while having a crucifix placed in their left hands. After kissing the Gospel, the couple were then required to kiss each other, after which the priest, having raised up the Eucharist, would give them both communion.

    Records of Christian same sex unions have been discovered in such diverse archives as those in the Vatican, in St. Petersburg, in Paris, in Istanbul and in the Sinai, covering a thousand-years from the 8th to the 18th century.

    The Dominican missionary and Prior, Jacques Goar (1601-1653), includes such ceremonies in a printed collection of Greek Orthodox prayer books, “Euchologion Sive Rituale Graecorum Complectens Ritus Et Ordines Divinae Liturgiae” (Paris, 1667).

    While homosexuality was technically illegal from late Roman times, homophobic writings didn’t appear in Western Europe until the late 14th century. Even then, church-consecrated same sex unions continued to take place.

    At St. John Lateran in Rome (traditionally the Pope’s parish church) in 1578, as many as thirteen same-gender couples were joined during a high Mass and with the cooperation of the Vatican clergy, “taking communion together, using the same nuptial Scripture, after which they slept and ate together” according to a contemporary report. Another woman to woman union is recorded in Dalmatia in the 18th century.

    Prof. Boswell’s academic study is so well researched and documented that it poses fundamental questions for both modern church leaders and heterosexual Christians about their own modern attitudes towards homosexuality.

    For the Church to ignore the evidence in its own archives would be cowardly and deceptive. The evidence convincingly shows that what the modern church claims has always been its unchanging attitude towards homosexuality is, in fact, nothing of the sort.

    It proves that for the last two millennia, in parish churches and cathedrals throughout Christendom, from Ireland to Istanbul and even in the heart of Rome itself, homosexual relationships were accepted as valid expressions of a God-given love and committment to another person, a love that could be celebrated, honored and blessed, through the Eucharist in the name of, and in the presence of, Jesus Christ.”)

  3. 20140111 – Archbishop of Dublin: ‘Homophobia is an insult to God’ – (“The Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, says “homophobia is an insult to God” and that “God never created anybody that he doesn’t love.” Referring to revelations made last week by Irish MP Jerry Buttimer, that he was beaten, spat at, mocked and harassed because of his sexuality, Dr Martin expressed concern saying: “Certainly the sort of actions that we heard of this week of people being spat at because they were gay or ridiculed … that is not a Christian attitude. “We have to have the courage to stand up and say that”, said Dr Martin in an interview to the Irish Independent. “Anybody who doesn’t show love towards gay and lesbian people is insulting God. They are not just homophobic if they do that – they are actually Godophobic because God loves every one of those people”. He added: “We all belong to one another and there is no way we can build up a society in which people are excluded or insulted. “We have to learn a new way in Ireland to live with our differences and for all of us to live with respect for one another.” The Archbishop commented on the recent controversy involving broadcaster RTE’s legal settlement to a Catholic group. Drag artist Panti Bliss made critical comments about the Iona Institute, accusing them of homophobia, on RTE’s Saturday Night Show last month. Dr Martin called for the debate around marriage equality to be carried out “in a serene and sober way in which people can express themselves and differences can emerge”. He said: “Just because a person isn’t in favour of gay marriage doesn’t mean that one is homophobic – let’s be very clear on that.” In the Seanad, the upper house of the Irish Parliament, Senator David Norris last week attacked RTE over the speed of its settlement. He also said homophobia remained “rampant” in Irish society and called into question the conduct of the Iona Institute. Proving Senator Norris’ point on homophobia, Senator Jim Walsh warned in the Seanad against what he described as “dangerous, vicious elements within the gay ideological movement” in Ireland.”)
  4. 20131022 – Respect LGBTI community – archbishop – (“Johannesburg – Violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity should stop and people should respect each other, Anglican Church of Southern Africa Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said Tuesday. “I am called to love all God’s children and if I move from that context, I cannot allow people to be discriminated [against] and I cannot allow people to meet violence just on the basis of their sexual orientation,” he said. “Respect the gift of difference. When you violate somebody on the basis of difference you are not only violating them but demeaning yourself. It’s a moral responsibility to stop the violence against people who are different.” He said people should not fear because they were given the task of “helping humanity” realise they were called to respect and honour each other. Makgoba was speaking on a Human Rights Watch video released on Tuesday. He said God had not called on people to judge but to love and accept. “Love cuts across culture. Our faith and our sacred text allow us to use our God-given courage to be fearless in saying God loves each one of us in spite of our sexual identification or orientation,” he said. “God has not called on us to judge but God has called on us to radiate his love and grace in the world.” He said God’s people should not be pained because of who they were and how God created them. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) rights director at Human Rights Watch Graeme Reid said Makgoba’s statement should call national, religious and cultural leaders across Africa to support the rights of LGBTI people. “The archbishop’s message of respect for everyone’s rights should challenge leaders who have opposed the rights of LGBTI people to reconsider their positions,” he said.- SAPA”)
  5. 20130926 – A Straight Man, De-Friended By A Fundamentalist For Posting Pictures Of His Gay Brother’s Wedding (“Stop what you are doing and listen to this straight man’s words about his gay brother’s wedding, about how he was de-friended by a Baptist pastor, essentially, for loving his brother, and about what he’s learned from the experience. Also, grab a tissue. Wow, right? It’s getting more and more disgusting that our opposition refers to itself as “pro-family,” isn’t it? To check out that guy’s blog, click here, and the Facebook page of his organization is here.”)
  6. 20130922 – Watch This Family Sweetly And Lovingly Totally Destroy One Of The Worst Stereotypes Of Christians (“The new NALT Christians Project is currently blowing my mind. It’s a place where Christians can publicly proclaim that they are “not all like that.” And it’s about time. You’ll see what I mean when you watch the Lord family, below. Bonus points to them for being the Lord family. How perfect is that?!” Direct link on Youtube)
  7. 20130909 – India: Archbishop of Mumbai says being gay is ‘not a sin’ (“In a recent letter to LGBT activist groups in India, the Archbishop of Mumbai has said he would advise priests to be more sensitive while referring to gay people in public sermons, affirming “to say those with other sexual orientations are sinners is wrong.” Cardinal Oswald Gracias’ statement came in response to a letter from Queer Azaadi Mumbai (QAM) about a sermon at a church in Goregaon, north of Mumbai, where the priest described being gay as “a great sin” and opposed same-sex marriage. The sermon at St Thomas Church had taken place just a day before Pope Francis issued a statement in which he said: “If someone is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Cardinal Gracias, in his letter dated August 31, said: “Going by the data in the letter, some of what the priest said is alright and some part is inappropriate. The Church does not accept gay marriage because the Bible teaches us that God willed marriage to be between man and woman. “On the other hand, to say that those with other sexual orientations are sinners is wrong. I do think we must be sensitive in our homilies [sermons] and how we speak in public and I will so advise our priests.” Members of QAM said they were satisfied with the response. A parishioner of the Goregaon Church and member of QAM who had attended the sermon said: “The Archbishop’s response was very reassuring for the community. It gives me confidence as a member of the Church that I will not be discriminated against.” Harish Iyer, who is a prominent LGBT activist in India, said: “We are grateful to the church for categorically stating that they are not against homosexuality. The Archbishop of Mumbai has set a benchmark for everyone else.” In Pope Francis’ speech in July, he said: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” However, he also referred to the Catholic Church’s universal Catechism, which states that while being gay is not sinful, homosexual acts are. “The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well. It says they should not be marginalised because of this, but that they must be integrated into society,” he said.”)
  8. 20130829 – Rowan Williams: ‘Persecuted’ Christians Must ‘Grow Up’ (“One of the most common arguments deployed by opponents of marriage equality is that allowing same-sex couples to marry will result in the persecution of anyone who believes in a discriminatory definition of marriage. (Of course, that argument is completely and utterly baseless, but when has that ever stopped them before?)” “While the religious left has long refuted this canard, the latest smackdown comes from an unlikelier source: Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury.” “Christians in Britain and the US who claim that they are persecuted should “grow up” and not exaggerate what amounts to feeling “mildly uncomfortable“, according to Rowan Williams, who last year stepped down as archbishop of Canterbury after an often turbulent decade. “When you’ve had any contact with real persecuted minorities you learn to use the word very chastely,” he said. “Persecution is not being made to feel mildly uncomfortable. ‘For goodness sake, grow up,’ I want to say.”“)
  9. 20130822 – Mexican Catholic Bishop: Homophobia is ‘Mental Illness’ (“No, you’re not reading that headline wrong; no, it does not contain any typos; and no, it’s not from The Onion. In an interview with Terra Mexico posted yesterday, José Raúl Vera López — the Roman Catholic bishop of Saltillo, Mexico — spoke out forcefully against homophobia. Bp. Vera said that people must stop using the words of the Bible to bash LGBTs, and that when one reads the Bible within its proper historical context, it becomes crystal clear that it does not condemn homosexuality as we understand it today. The bishop reserved his harshest criticism for homophobes:

    “Why would I immediately think a gay or lesbian person is perverse or depraved the moment they approach me? That’s how people who are homophobic react. It’s a mental illness in which you see gays as depraved and promiscuous. You have to be sick in the head for that.”

    Watch Bishop Vera’s remarks, with English subtitles, after the jump. Blogger Andrés Duque notes: Yesterday’s interview is not the first time Bishop has supported LGBT issues. The AP says that he backed a same-sex civil unions law in the region and was called to the Vatican two years ago to explain an outreach program he organized for gay youth. He has also received death threats for his outspokenness. Kudos to Bishop Vera for being brave enough to speak out against homophobia. Here’s hoping that his example will embolden more pro-LGBT members of the Roman Catholic clergy to do the same.”)

  10. 20130726 – Desmond Tutu: ‘I Would Not Worship A God Who Is Homophobic’
  11. The Golden Rule Bible (“Modern Bibles use “righteousness” words almost two hundred times: righteous, righteousness, etc. These translations teach a salvation based on the religious concept of righteousness. First-century authors generally used those Greek words opposite of the way they are currently translated. (They often used those words to distinguish the just treatment of others from religious obligations.) Moreover, due to the influence of Stoicism, these words even became synonymous with benevolence and loving-kindness. Thus, proper translation of these words affects the entire New Testament message. For example, compare the teachings of the New International Version (NIV) to the Golden Rule BibleTM (GRB): NIV: Resurrection of the righteous. GRB: Resurrection of the benevolent. NIV: Salvation by righteousness. GRB: Salvation by loving-kindness. NIV: Punished for unrighteousness. GRB: Punished for unkindness. Golden-Rule-based denominations have long promoted brotherly love as the entirety of the Christian ethic. The Golden Rule BibleTM translation confirms that these denominations promote the same teaching as the New Testament authors themselves… including the apostle Paul.”)
  12. What the bible says about homosexuality (“In relation to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19), and the strangely similar story of Gibeah (Judges 19-21), the Bible does interpret itself. There are numerous references to these stories throughout the rest of Scripture, and in many of these cases, the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah are actually listed. In none of these instances is homosexuality mentioned. For example, Ezekial 16:49-50 refers to the sins of Sodom being arrogance and a lack of concern for the poor. Note that only those who have prejudged the stories can confidently claim that the “detestable things” referred to in Ezekial are references to homosexuality, since the Bible itself does not say this.“)
  13. What the bible says – and doesn’t say – about homosexuality (Soulforce.org – “Many good people build their case against homosexuality almost entirely on the Bible. These folks value Scripture, and are serious about seeking its guidance in their lives. Unfortunately, many of them have never really studied what the Bible does and doesn’t say about homosexuality.)
  14. Ten myths about the glbt community – a Christian perspective (“Jeffress told his congregation of over 12K that the average gay man in the first year of marriage will have 8.1 partners. This number pops up in lots of conservative ramblings and in sermons on homosexuality. The “statistics” were actually gathered for an AIDS transmission study conducted from 1984 to 1996. Participants in the study group had to be: under 30, living in metro Amsterdam, currently engaged in high risk sexual behaviors already and not monogamous. Remember, it was a study to investigate the transmission of the virus. Although the 8.1 number is quoted as a result of a “Dutch Marriage Study”, the Netherlands had not even legalized same-sex marriage until 2001, after the AIDS transmission study (1984 – 1996) had ended.”)
  15. Truluck – 6 bible passages in support of the GLBT community (““SODOMY” is not a biblical word. Laws against sodomy not only violate the Constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state; they also use an incorrect and wrongly translated term for the laws. A “Sodomite” in the Bible is simply a person who lives in Sodom, which included Lot and his family. The term “sodomite” in the King James Version of Deuteronomy 23:17 and I Kings 14:24 is an incorrect translation of the Hebrew word for “temple prostitute.” (See the recent book by Mark D. Jordan: The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology. University of Chicago Press, 1997.) The average person assumes that the Bible clearly condemns male to male sexual intercourse as “sodomy” and that the city of Sodom was destroyed because of homosexuality, which is seen as the worst of all sins in the Bible. These assumptions are based on no evidence at all in the Bible.“)
  16. Bible contradictions (“The Bible is riddled with repetitions and contradictions, things that the Bible bangers would be quick to point out in anything that they want to criticize. For instance, Genesis 1 and 2 disagree about the order in which things are created, and how satisfied God is about the results of his labors. The flood story is really two interwoven stories that contradict each other on how many of each kind of animal are to be brought into the Ark–is it one pair each or seven pairs each of the “clean” ones? The Gospel of John disagrees with the other three Gospels on the activities of Jesus Christ (how long had he stayed in Jerusalem–a couple of days or a whole year?) and all four Gospels contradict each other on the details of Jesus Christ’s last moments and resurrection. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke contradict each other on the genealogy of Jesus Christ’s father; though both agree that Joseph was not his real father. Repetitions and contradictions are understandable for a hodgepodge collection of documents, but not for some carefully constructed treatise, reflecting a well-thought-out plan.“)
  17. The real meaning of “sodomy” – inhospitality (Whosoever.org – “Arguably, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is the biblical story most often used to condemn homosexuality. Yet as popular as Genesis 19 is with religious zealots, this story is the weakest of all passages used against gays and lesbians. A close reading of the story, along with some simple research on the meaning of the words used proves this. The word “Sodomite” today generally means a person who participates in anal sex. Yet at the time of this Biblical story it meant something entirely different. The Hebrew word which we translate as sodomite is “kudash” (plural kadeshim): it literally means hallowed or sacred and according to author John Boswell, “referred to prostitutes in pagan temples.” The sexual practices of the pagans were long considered to be idol worship because of the connection with the pagans’ religious rites. Research shows most early theologians made no connection with homosexuality until after scripture was translated from Hebrew and Greek to English.“)
  18. Steps to recovery from bible abuse (A Christian minister’s response to the abusive use of the bible against gays and lesbians.)
  19. 20120613 – 76 Things Banned in Leviticus (and their penalties) – “Leviticus is a funny book for modern Christians.  Along with Deuteronomy and swathes of Exodus and Numbers, it lays out the Law for the Israelites.  But it’s largely ignored by modern Christians because it’s felt that Jesus replaced the Law (except where He didn’t) and that Paul said a lot of it didn’t apply (except for the parts that did).  And for all of that, many are still willing to cite Leviticus for things that they think are sinful, while ignoring it for things they don’t.In other words, people tend to cherry-pick which of the Levitican laws (or, for that matter, all of the Old Covenant, not to mention most of the Bible) they think still apply, and which don’t.

    This cherry-picking is sometimes reasoned, and sometimes not.  Sometimes it’s based on personal taste — I think that’s okay, so we can ignore that law. Everyone does that these days, so it must be fine. I think that’s icky, so we should cite it frequently as sinful. Sometimes it’s based on reasoning — e.g., comparing them to the Greatest Commandments as Jesus laid them out and seeing if they still seem to apply:”

  20. A Letter to Louise: A Biblical Affirmation of Homosexuality (“I decided to give serious study to homosexuality and what the Bible says about it. Thank God! There was so much to learn about gays and lesbians–and the Bible–that I am so glad to have come to know. It distresses me, though, to realize that most others of our church people do not know these facts about homosexuality and what the Bible really says, and that their thinking, like my previous concept, is based on suppositions, not facts, and on feelings, which, of course, have no place in a thoughtful consideration of facts.” Secondary site link.)
  21. The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality (Video: The man in the video has spent years researching his topic. He had abstained from all relationships because he was Christian and was taught being gay was a sin – then he studied the bible in the correct context and proves that being gay is not a sin. If one could actually get anti-gay Christians to watch this, they may actually learn a thing or two about their bible.)
  22. How to Understand Gay and Lesbian People (“Gay men and lesbians are not as different from the rest of society as you may assume they are. They have been labelled, they have had to fight for acceptance, and for equal treatment under the law, such as the right to marry and adopt children. Do you really know about them, or do you just think you do?” “It is useful to note that most English translations of the Bible use the word homosexual as a mistranslation of yadha (paedophile) and qadesh (male temple prostitute). Of course, the wordhomosexual was not available to be used when the Bible was written, and there was no true equivalent Greek word. This might help you overcome some of the negative behaviour associations of gay people.”)
  23. Gays and slaves (“GAYS AND LESBIANS CAN BE TRUE CHRISTIANS. You can be both a Christian and a loving, sexually-active gay man or lesbian or bisexual. And this Gay and Christian website shows why you can. A warm welcome to you!”)

1946

  • Homosexuality And The Bible (From Gay Church.org “A biblical affirmation of homosexuality by author: ET Sundby whose book ‘Calling the Rainbow Nation Home’ is reviewed on this page.”)
  • 20121224 – Putting the Text of the Bible Back Into Context (Dr. Joel Hoffman, Speaker, author and Bible scholar explains the various ways in which misunderstandings in translation have contributed to the warped understandings people have of the Christian bible today. “Although context is the most reliable way to figure out what an ancient word means, Bible translators often rely on less accurate, outdated methods that ignore important contextual clues. The result is modern translations that distort the original meaning of the Bible. Fortunately, a closer look at the original context of the words of the Bible can help  readers see past these translation mistakes, which range from awkward phrasing to misrepresenting such central themes as the Ten Commandments. Familiar English words illustrate the value of context.”)
  • 20120605 – An Open Letter to Piers Morgan (Dr. Joel Hoffman, Speaker, author and Bible scholar explains the various ways in which misunderstandings in translation have contributed to the warped understandings people have of the Christian bible today. “Dear Mr. Morgan: I believe you have been promoting bigotry and helping to perpetrate a fraud. During both of your interviews with Pastor Joel Osteen on your CNN broadcast, you let the religious leader tell your audience that Scripture calls homosexuality a sin. But you didn’t ask him where the Bible says that. It’s both an important point and an easy one to settle. You could have asked Pastor Osteen for the chapter and verse that he thinks calls homosexuality a sin. What you would have found is that he couldn’t provide it, because Pastor Osteen was expressing his personal opinion, not quoting the Bible. The Bible doesn’t say that homosexuality is a sin. In fact, even though Scripture discusses “sin” a lot, the word never appears in connection with homosexuality. Certainly there are passages in the Bible that address aspects of homosexuality, most notably in Leviticus and Romans. But years of interpretation have distorted their original meanings. And there are other passages that may even support homosexuality. Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 describe certain male homosexual behavior in the same terms as meals that seat Egyptians and Israelites together (Genesis 43:32). Both are called a to’evah in Hebrew, a term that was apparently meant to suggest something that isn’t inherently wrong even though a particular culture frowns on it. The leap from “certain male homosexual behavior” to “homosexuality in general” is a clear mistake, as is the jump from “culturally odd” to “sin.” Leviticus doesn’t say that homosexuality is a sin. It says that some behavior was unusual. Romans 1:24-27 also deals with homosexuality, putting it in the context of a penalty that God doled out in response to human mistakes. That’s why Romans 1:24 begins with “Therefore, God delivered them…” Though nothing is specifically called a “sin” in Romans 1, what comes closest is the behavior in Romans 1:18-23 (primarily idolatry), not the punishment for that behavior (homosexuality). Romans 1:24-27 doesn’t list human sins but rather God’s actions. Genesis 2:18, by contrast, suggests that it is “not good for people to be alone.” If it turns out that in order to avoid being alone some men have to be with other men, and some women with other women, then Genesis 2:18 may mean that supporting homosexuality (and, therefore, same-sex marriage) is not only permitted by the Bible but in fact required. Obviously, people may expand on Leviticus, Romans, Genesis and other passages in ways that turn homosexuality into sin. But these are interpretations, not “what the Bible says.” It seems to me that Pastor Osteen, as a religious leader, has a right to believe what he wants and to encourage others to follow. So if he doesn’t accept homosexuality, it’s his prerogative to spread his anti-homosexuality message. But I think it’s dishonest when he pretends that his opinions are those of the Bible. Similarly, if you don’t like homosexuality, it’s your right to say so on air. But I think it’s irresponsible of you to let a guest tell your audience that something is in the Bible without even asking where.”)
  • 20120226 – Five Bible Images You Probably Misunderstand (Dr. Joel Hoffman, Speaker, author and Bible scholar explains the various ways in which misunderstandings in translation have contributed to the warped understandings people have of the Christian bible today. “Originally, Jesus’ most important commandment wasn’t to love God with all one’s heart or with all one’s soul. God was a warrior, not a shepherd. Men and women were supposed to be equal. And as with many other people, Adam’s lifespan was symbolic. But flawed translations conceal these biblical messages from modern readers by failing to convey the significance of images and metaphors. Here’s what goes wrong.”)
  • 20111209 – Five Mistakes in Your Bible Translation (Dr. Joel Hoffman, Speaker, author and Bible scholar explains the various ways in which misunderstandings in translation have contributed to the warped understandings people have of the Christian bible today. “In the original Hebrew, the 10th Commandment prohibits taking, not coveting. The biblical Jubilee year is named for an animal’s horn and has nothing to do with jubilation. The pregnant woman in Isaiah 7:14 is never called a virgin. Psalm 23 opens with an image of God’s might and power, not shepherding. And the romantic Song of Solomon offers a surprisingly modern message. But most people who read the Bible don’t know these things, because extensive translation gaffs conceal the Bible’s original meaning. The mistakes stem from five flawed translation techniques: etymology, internal structure, cognates, old mistranslations, and misunderstood metaphor. “)
  • 20111014 – Five Ways Your Bible Translation Distorts the Original Meaning of the Text (Dr. Joel Hoffman, Speaker, author and Bible scholar explains the various ways in which misunderstandings in translation have contributed to the warped understandings people have of the Christian bible today. “From the Ten Commandments to the Psalms to the Gospels, English translations of the Bible distort the original meaning of the text: The Ten Commandments don’t forbid coveting. Psalm 23 is not primarily about sheep or a shepherd. And God didn’t give his only begotten son because he loved the world so much. The problems stem from flawed translation techniques that haven’t been updated in hundreds of years. In particular, there are three common ways of determining what the ancient words of the Bible mean: etymology, internal structure, and cognates. But they don’t work very well. Two other factors further degrade modern translations: a general desire not to change historical translations and a misunderstanding of how to translate metaphors like “God’s hand” (God doesn’t literally have a hand) or “the Lord is my shepherd.” These five issues have conspired to create English translations that conceal what the Bible originally meant.”)
  • A Video Clip From TV Series ‘The West Wing” (“The whole Levitican argument about putting people to death for being gay in context of other silly ritual “abominations” such as eating shellfish, tattoos, etc. Also makes an interesting point about a homophobic radio show host who has a doctorate (Phd) in English literature and who is perceived by public supporters as a medical expert for that reason, while commenting against gay rights.”)
  • Homosexuality and Catholicism: A Partially Annotated Bibliography (Fordham [Jesuit] University, New York – “This bibliography is an attempt to assemble all available references to discussions of homosexuality, Catholicism and Christianity in general.”)
  • Gay Christian Survivors (“Have you been left out in the cold by the church’s unbiblical antigay teachings? Do you know someone who has been hurt? Are you a person who teaches anti-gay doctrines? Are you just curious about what God’s Word says about homosexual identity? If you can answer YES to any of these questions, this site is made just for you! There is no word play here, no attempt at looking for loopholes in God’s Word, no long-winded historical analysis and flowery liberal rhetoric on the subject. Gay Christian Survivors, an online outreach of King James Bible Ministry and Under the Son Ministries, is a Conservative Fundamentalist Christian minister’s intensive and prayerful study on the issue of homosexuality AS THE BIBLE tells it. This is also a safe haven for gay and lesbian believers in Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures, who seek shelter from the torments of the church’s anti-gay dogma and the “ex-gay” propaganda used by the biased straight community, to discover the truth about what the Scriptures actually say about homosexuality. Join the thousands of people from around the world – men and women, straights and gays, pastors, laymen, government leaders – who have discovered in this site that religious tradition and opinion is not always compatible with the Scriptures; and you too will discover, in this simple and easy to follow format, that the church has sadly missed the mark on the subject of homosexuality, to the extreme hurt of the Body of Christ and the loss of souls. For accuracy’s sake, only the King James Bible is used. Begin by making a selection from the Menu at left. We recommend going through the pages in order. And don’t forget to sign our Guestbook! And be sure to check out our FORUM – where we present various sermons, and questions are asked and answered.“)
  • King James (of the KJV) was gay! (“How many folks know that King James (who commissioned the King James Bible and to whom it was dedicated) loved men and had sex with them? James’s sexual orientation was so widely known that Sir Walter Raleigh joked about it in public saying “King Elizabeth” had been succeeded by “Queen James.” Although the title page of The King James Bible boasted that it was “newly translated out of the original tongues,” the work was actually a revision of The Bishop’s Bible of 1568, which was a revision of The Great Bible of 1539, which was itself based on three previous English translations from the early 1500s. So, the men who produced the King James Bible not only inherited some of the errors made by previous English translators, but invented some of their own. Desiderius Erasmus was a “Christian humanist” who collected Greek (and Latin) New Testament manuscripts and compared and edited them, verse by verse, selecting what he considered to be the best variant passages, until he had compiled what came to be known as the “textus receptus.” Early English translations of the Bible, like those mentioned above, were based on his “textus receptus.” Erasmus was also a monk whom some historians believe engaged in homosexual activities.But without both King James and Erasmus, the most widely touted Bible in Christian history would never have been produced, the KJV (or shall we say, Gay-JV?) Bible.“)
  • I Am A Gay Christian (Now run under the name “Les Be Pure.com“)
  • Michael Bussee (one of original founders of Ex-gay movement Exodus International), apologizes (“Michael Bussee was one of the originators of the ex-gay movement. In the mid-1970s, while working as a telephone counselor at Melodyland Christian Center in Anaheim, California, Bussee co-founded the Ex-gay Intervention Team (EXIT) and later hosted an unprecedented conference of ex-gay ministries at which a handful of ministry leaders, along with approximately 60 delegates, voted to form a loose coalition called EXODUS. However, by the end of the decade, Bussee began to doubt the efficacy and ethics of the ex-gay message. Bussee and his ex-gay colleague Gary Cooper made a dramatic departure from Exodus when they publicly declared their love in 1979. Their story is featured in the documentary One Nation Under God. Today Bussee is a licensed Marriage and Family therapist, a father, an evangelical Christian, and a proud gay man.“) 

Other Right-Wing Religious Argument:

It is a tendency for many of the same groups that condemn and undermine equal rights for LGBT people to ALSO attack the same general freedoms and civil rights as applied to females, racial equality, and equality with other religions. Below are some resources relating to these issues which provide positive educational perspective.
Abortion, Feminism:
  • 20130808 – 12 Ridiculous Anti-Woman Myths From The Dark Ages That Conservatives STILL Believe (“Have you ever been reading or watching a report about a conservative man who said something so incredibly backwards  that you swore he was living in the Dark Ages? Well, you’re not so very far from wrong. The Dark Ages were dark partly because education was discouraged and science was suspect, leading to some astoundingly silly things being taken for fact.” “The Church also taught that women sinned more than men, so her suffering was deserved. She should be unhappy and bring forth children in pain. The latter was one reason Victorian and Edwardian doctors refused to give women ether or chloroform when they became available: God said that women should suffer, so no remedy for her pain was offered. Today’s conservative men heap humiliation on the pain, forcing women to have unnecessary procedures and treating them like children who must have their decisions made for them. That’s actually how women used to be classified for legal purposes: right there with minors and idiots. And that’s how certain men still see women.”)
  • 20130413 – People Who Call Themselves “Pro-Life” Are Lying, Here Are 10 More Accurate Descriptions (“There’s a lot of terms floating around that people use to describe themselves when they want to make their position sound more appealing, even if those terms are a completely (and very deliberately) misleading. One such lie term is “pro-life.” John Fugelsang said it best: “Only in America can you be pro-death penalty, pro-war, pro-unmanned drone bombs, pro-nuclear weapons, pro-guns, pro-torture, pro-land mines, and still call yourself ‘pro-life.’” Indeed, the term “pro-life” has come to represent a group of people whose values have nothing to do with protecting life, and living people, and more to do with protecting unborn fetuses to the exclusion of all other considerations.”)

Friendly and Affirming Christian Churches:

Links to LGBT churches and religious groups that welcome and do not discriminate against LGBT people:

  • Christians Tired Of Being Misrepresented (“CToBM strives to create a place of love, belonging, and a safe haven from those who have been at the receiving end of Fundamentalist Christian judgement. This Page affirms and loves those who need support, encouragement, healing, and a Voice! If you are frustrated with public figures or outspoken Conservative Christianists who speak and act in ways that do not represent the ways of Jesus, the Christ, join us as we challenge them in their abuses and bigotry in a creative and constructive way. We are tired of the perception that all Christians are Republican, homophobic, anti-choice, arrogant about their faith. We are not dominionists, fundamentalist, and lovers of money. CToBM strives to create a place of love and belonging to those who have been hurt by the church. This page affirms, loves and reaches out to those who need support, encouragement, healing, and who need a voice. We are not perfect and sometimes get carried away by our frustration, but please be patient with us as we work through walking that fine line of calling those Christians out and forgiving them.” email: christiansmisrepresented@gmail.com)
  • St Johns Methodist Church (LGBT-friendly church in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.)
  • Deo Gloria Family Church (Located in KZN, but with home groups affiliated in various areas. “It is our mission and pledge to be a church for all people and to bring all people, including gay and lesbian people, to know Christ’s inclusive love and to bring people to the knowledge of their destiny and purpose in Christ.”)
  • Die Reformerende Kerk (Gay Afrikaans & English church in Pretoria.)
  • Gay Church (GayChurch.org is a web site dedicated to ministering to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Christian community and friends of our community. We feature the largest welcoming and affirming church directory in the world.)
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