This is the original article, written as a "letter to the editor".
If you wish to read a more condensed generic version which is suitable for magazine publication, please Click Here.
Note: This "letter to the editor" is in response to an article in The Kingston Whig-Standard regarding Bill C-250 (same-sex marriage).
In response to the article about Bill C-250, Presbyterian minister Rev. Tristan Emmanuel suggests that "legislation that allows gay marriage identifies Canada as the North American equivalent of ancient Sodom", I would like to suggest that although current tradition suggests that the sin of Sodom was homosexuality, a more thorough investigation of Scripture indicates this isn't the case. Since this is so fundamental to Rev. Emmanuel's opinion, if he is wrong in the interpretation of his basic premise, mightn't he also be wrong in his whole position of discrimination against gays?
In Genesis 18, the story about the angels coming to Lot's house, we learn that the reason they were coming to destroy Sodom was because of the wickedness that ALREADY existed in the city. The exact form of wickedness is not mentioned in that story!
Let's just reinforce this CRITICAL piece of information. In the story of Sodom, in Genesis 18, God had ALREADY decided to destroy the city BEFORE the attempted rape of the angels - which incidentally was perpetrated mainly by heterosexuals since ALL the men of the city were involved, and we know that throughout history, gays have only represented about 10% of the population. Also, if they were homosexuals, why would Lot suggest that they take his daughters instead? That just doesn't make sense if the men were gay.
So just to get this straight, the event that took place at Sodom was an act of violence and rape, mainly by heterosexuals. It had nothing to do with a loving relationship between two people of the same sex, and homosexuality was NOT the sin of Sodom in whatever form. The story of Sodom in Genesis 18 was about violence and domination, the same type of event that takes place in prisons and occupied countries, but it was NOT the reason for God's decision to destroy the city, and to use this story as a basis for prejudice against homosexuality in general is like comparing rape to marriage. There is NO similarity!
The aftermath of Sodom aside, let's take a look at other passages of Scripture that mention the sin of Sodom. Here are 14 references to Sodom and not one of them mentions homosexuality!!!!! The overwhelming themes are idolatry, immorality and inhospitality! To me, this indicates that Rev. Emmanuel and others of like mind may well have taken things out of context!
Deuteronomy 29:17-26 - the sin - idolatry and images to false gods - "Why has the Lord done this to the land? . . . It is because this people abandoned the covenant of the Lord . . ."
Deuteronomy 32:32-38 - the sin - idolatry - "He will say 'Now where are their gods?'"
Isaiah 1:2-23 - the sin - idolatry, rebellion, injustice, murder, greed, theft, covetousness, mistreating the poor - "They have rebelled against Me."
Isaiah 3:8-19 - the sin - idolatry, arrogance - "Their words and deeds are against the Lord, defying His glorious Presence"
Jeremiah 23:10-14 - the sin - idolatry, adultery, lying by priests and prophets - "Both prophet and priest are godless. . . . They prophesied by Baal and led My people astray."
Jeremiah 49:16-18 - the sin - idolatry, arrogance, oppression, pride of the heart - "The terror you inspire and the pride of your heart have deceived
you. . ."
Jeremiah 50:2-40 - the sin - idolatry, pride, false prophets - "Her images will be put to shame and her idols filled with terror. . . . . For she has defied the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. . . . . Their shepherds have led them astray."
Lamentations 4:3-6 - the sin - cruelty and failure to care for the young and poor - "My people have become heartless."
Ezekiel 16:49-50 - the sin - "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned: they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me."
Amos 4:1-11 - the sin - idolatry, oppression, mistreating the poor - "I overthrew some of you as I overthrew Sodom . . . . yet you have not returned to Me."
Zephaniah 2:8-11 - the sin - idolatry, pride, mocking - "This is what they will get in return for their pride, for insulting and mocking the people of the Lord Almighty. The Lord will be awesome to them when He destroys all the gods of the land."
Luke 17:26-29 - Jesus speaking - No specific sins mentioned
II Peter 2:1-22 - the sin - idolatry, living after ungodliness, lawlessness, arrogance, blaspheming, adultery, greed, corruption, depravity, boasting, lust - "But there were also false prophets among the people . . . . ."
Jude 1:7-8 - the sin - sexual immorality and perversion, i.e fornication after strange flesh (angels, see Genesis 6:1) KJV
The dictionary defines "perversion" as "a sexual practice regarded as abnormal". That means that a heterosexual practicing homosexual acts is perverted as in the case of ALL the men of Sodom wanting to engage with the angels (strange flesh). However, since sex with the same gender is normal for a gay person, there is no perversion associated merely by the sexual act.
Note also that, while the word "abomination" has been used with reference to homosexuality, the biblical interpretation of the word "abomination" relates to any act of uncleanness as set out in the Holiness Code, such as eating shellfish, trimming your hair, touching the skin of a dead pig (should we stone the entire NFL?), wearing clothes of two kinds of material (polyester/cotton) - the list is long. How can we discuss one sin to the exclusion of all others?
It was also suggested in Rev. Emmanuel's article, that there was a fear if this bill is not stopped, that clergy might be forced to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies. A moment's reflection will tell you that this is a ridiculous suggestion. What couple would ever go to a minister who does not approve of their relationship, to get married? There are plenty of accepting clergy within Christianity who will do the honour of uniting two people who love each other. Thank God for those who believe in Christ's example of inclusiveness. Thank you to those who welcome us, instead of making us feel unwanted in your churches.
This is an enormous subject, which has been reduced to simplistic values. It is plain and simple prejudice to portray homosexuals as immoral just because of the gender to whom we are attracted. Of course there are immoral homosexuals, just as there are immoral heterosexuals, but simple orientation carries no implication of morality or immorality.
Our sexuality is God-given. God made us the way we are. It follows naturally that He loves us exactly the way He made us. So long as we embrace marriage with the same standards as any monogamous, loving heterosexual relationship there should be no barrier against us.
When gays are only asking to have their loving relationships acknowledged and respected, why is there so much fear and anger? To strengthen marriage, why not take a stand against divorce and separation, instead of opposing love and commitment? Jesus spoke of divorce, but he never mentioned homosexuality. I believe that was because homosexuality was not even an issue in His day. Love was love. Love IS Love!
"Protect marriage? Puhlease. With a 50 percent divorce rate, rampant domestic violence, Las Vegas drive-through chapels, and I wanna-marry-a-really-rich-guy reality TV shows, there's no way gays could trash marriage the way straight people have." - Good Times, Santa Cruz County News
This letter only refers to the sin of Sodom. There are actually six "clobber verses" which are used against gays. Space does not permit an explanation of each one, but just as the sin of Sodom has been misrepresented, so have the other verses. There is an explanation for each one that clearly indicates that, just as slavery was condoned by Scripture for many years, ("Slaves obey your masters . . . . ." Eph. 6:5-8) and civil wars were fought to protect the ownership of people, we now know that Scripture was interpreted incorrectly, for God would not have people to be possessions.
We now have a fuller understanding of Scripture with regard to slavery. It's time to accept a fuller understanding of homosexuality based on new research into language, concepts and customs when these words were written.
So please choose acceptance and inclusiveness whether or not you understand fully. One of us is wrong. Many of you think it's me. I think it's you, based on solid research into Scripture from another perspective. Yes, God encourages us to question Scripture.
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, REPROOF and
instruction in righteousness." II Tim. 3:16
If there is even a chance that I could be right, do you want to take the eternal risk of rejecting some of God's children, and slamming the doors of your churches to those of us who wish to enter? That's what you're doing when you treat us as less than yourselves simply based on our orientation.
If we have done the research, and it is our understanding that God loves us, including our orientation, then why not just let God be the judge? He will be in the end anyway. If one of us is to err, why not err on the side of love and acceptance? Now that was truly Jesus' example!
All Scripture is taken from the NIV with the exception of the reference to "strange flesh" which is KJV.
I would appreciate it if you would let me know if you've used it. Thanks!
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