Loud and Proud
Homosexuality and the Bible
by Tim Smith
What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Not much really.
One of the most well–known stories from the Bible that “condemns” homosexuality is the story of Sodom. The story can be found in Genesis 19. The long and short of the story is that Lot welcomed two angels into his home, sent to warn him that God was displeased with the city’s residents. He planned to destroy the city and surrounding area. The people of the city demanded that Lot send out the strangers that the mob may “know” them. In the Angels’ stead, Lot offered his two virgin daughters to appease the crowd, who were refused. Then Lot and his family fled the city at the urging of the Angels, right before God rained fire and brimstone upon Sodom.
Many conservative Christians believe that the word, the concept “to know” the angels meant “to rape” the angels in a massive orgy. However, the original translation of this verse could be skewed. The original Hebrew phrase is “anshei ha’ir, anshei S’dom” which was translated in the King James and New International Versions of the Bible to mean “all the men of Sodom.” However, it could also be translated to mean all the people of Sodom, men and women. Therefore, the act could have been more than just homosexual, if in fact, to “know,” the angels meant sexual intercourse.
In Hebrew “ya, da’” means “to know”, most commonly a fact, and can be interpreted differently. According to www.religioustolerance.org, “ya, da’” appears in the Bible 943 times and in only a handful of situations does it refer explicitly to sexual activity. In all the cases where it refers to sexual activity it is between a man and a woman. In the King James Version of the Bible it says: “And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them,” (Genesis 19:5, KJV). However, in the New International Version the same verse is translated as: “They called to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.’” (Genesis 19:5, NIV).
Therefore it is unclear whether the mob was interested in gang raping the angels, engaging in consensual sex with the angels, interrogating the angels or attacking them physically. Many conservative Christians interpret the destruction of Sodom as punishment for homosexuality whereas many liberal Christians choose to interpret it as God’s wrath on the people of the city’s lack of support for the elderly, sick, poor, and wretched.
How could all the people of Sodom be gay anyway? There were men, women and children in the city. Last time I checked a man and a woman still had to have sex in order to produce a child and I do not believe that the people of Sodom knew about artificial insemination. And if God was destroying the city of Sodom on the sole fact that the inhabitants were homosexual, why did He not spare the women and children?
Everyone is entitled to decipher and interpret whatever literature they read in any way they see fit. However, it is important to remain open-minded and realize that there is more than one way to skin a cat.
For those of you who may be interested, other passages in the Old Testament pertaining to homosexuality include: Genesis 2:18-24, 9:20-29; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Deuteronomy 23:17; Judges 19:14-29; I Kings 14:24, 15:12, 22:46; and II Kings 23:7. In the New Testament they include: Romans 1:26-27; I Corinthians 6:9; I Timothy 1:9-10; Matthew 5:22, 8:5-13, 19:4-5, 19:10-12; John 3:16; Jude 7.
Tim Smith is the President of GBLUR