Wyoming is embroiled on the Gay Marriage Ban and I as a writer having been watching the proceedings closely because its such a controversial topic. Important but controversial for so many reasons so let’s be honest folks this is a tough one for most Wyomingites, and I have noticed that many that are greatly opposed are Christians with and without a political motive.
The verse that is quoted often by many Christians: If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them . King James Bible Leviticus 20:13
Wow, there is not much doubt about what this scripture says, but if we read further Leviticus also states:
Leviticus 11:9-12 King James Version (KJV)These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat. And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcasses in abomination. Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.
Okay the Bible is very clear on Seafood, this could be some bad news for Red Lobster if Christians literally followed the Bible, and not just cherry pick parts of it.
I don’t often take the Bible literally. Some believers do. I respect that, except when they make convenient exceptions. Many show penchants for quoting Scripture to back up their anti-marriage-equality position. They recite verse and chapter to homosexuality a sin and to deny marriage equality
Yet when it comes to these endangered children seeking a better life in the United States, the same people suffer from Biblical amnesia. We shouldn’t have a great deal of tolerance for those who cling to their Bibles when they make their case using a literal interpretation of some scripture while ignoring God’s word altogether when it suits them. (Rodger McDaniel is a Cheyenne resident. )
I personally like Rodger McDaniel, when I worked for victim services in Cheyenne; e was heavily involved with many victims’ families. He spoke at memorials and showed such great respect for human beings of all kinds, no matter the color, gender or religious affiliation. That to me is Christian love, and also I believe it is also what Jesus would have done.
Acts 15:29 “You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well. Farewell.” (NLT)
Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people-none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11(NLT)
When I was in Church I would also hear the above scripture quoted to condemn homosexuality, and it is a clear message to us all about God’s word. But many Christian have conveniently forgotten that they too are among the sinners and will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
For example, in the United States the divorce rate is around fifty percent. The Bible has much more instructions about this subject and how Christians should proceed.
Ephesians 5:3Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. (NLT)
1 Thessalonians 4:3–7God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor—not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways. Never harm or cheat a Christian brother in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before. God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives.
(NLT)King James Bible -And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery
Here are a couple of Bible passages that any Christian should bear in mind whenever he or she is called upon (or at least emotionally compelled) to render a moral judgment (John Shore).
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. — Matthew 7:1-2
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. — Luke 6:41-42
John Shore has some writings about this subject that made much sense to me:
In practice, Christians do not follow the dictates of the Old Testament. If they did, polygamy would be legal, and things like tattoos, wearing mixed fabrics, eating pork, and seeding lawns with a variety of grasses would be forbidden. If Christians followed the dictates of the Old Testament, then today if the parents of a new bride could not, upon her husband’s request, prove that she was a virgin, that bride would have to be stoned to death. Christians would also have to stone to death any Christian guilty of adultery. And the Christian day of worship would be Saturday, not Sunday. Clearly, Christians no longer cleave to the rules of the Old Testament Therefore, the use of the four Old Testament passages to condemn all homosexual acts is not in keeping with any Christian directive from God, nor with the practices of contemporary Christians.
Because Christians’ understanding and practice of New Testament prescriptions naturally and inevitably evolve along with the society and culture of which they are a part, at any given time in history Christians have always selectively followed the dictates of the New Testament. Whenever a specific biblical injunction is found to be incongruous with contemporary mores, a reshaping of the conception of that injunction is not only widely accepted by Christians, it’s encouraged, as long as the new thinking is understood to be in keeping with overriding timeless biblical moral principles.
This is why Christian women no longer feel morally constrained to follow Paul’s directives to leave their hair uncut, to keep their heads covered in church, or to always remain quiet in church. It’s also why the Bible is no longer used to justify the cruel institution of slavery, or to deny women the right to vote.
Heterosexual Christians are being unfair and hypocritical by using the clobber passages as justification for applying absolute standards of morality (and an absolute penalty) to homosexual “sins” that they themselves are never tempted to commit, while at the same time accepting for themselves a standard of relative morality (and applying no real penalty) for those sins listed in the clobber passages that they do routinely commitIt is important to understand that even the most fundamentalist Christian sects do not take the Bible wholly literally. The New Testament is two thousand years old, the old Testament much older.
The Bible’s cultural contexts, along with the translation at hand, are always taken into consideration by any Christian serious about understanding this vast and complex work.
To excerpt any isolated short passage from the Bible, and then claim for that passage absolute authority, is to fail to take the Bible on its own terms. If we wish to follow the word of God, then we must take the entirety of God’s words into account. For example, when the Bible itself identifies some of its words as proverbs, it is bestowing upon those words less moral weight than other words that it identifies as commandments. The Bible itself tells us that some of its contents are songs, some visions, some histories, some dreams, some parables, and some commandments. The Bible itself also instructs Christians that New Testament moral directives supersede Old Testament moral directives. The Bible itself tells us that its moral principles supersede any of its moral “rules.”
The context of any Bible passage is as integral to its meaning as the passage itself. It may be appropriate to give equal weight to each clause within a business contract, each step within a set of mechanical instructions, or each rule within a game rulebook. But the Bible itself tells us that the Bible is not a uniform document, with each passage spelling out something clear and specific, and all passages having equal value.
The Bible is not a rulebook for being Christian. We would be foolish to fail to understand that not everything in the Bible is a commandment, and that Christians cannot take a small section of the Bible out of its larger context, and still hope to gain a clear understanding of that section. Isolating a clobber passage from its context, and then claiming a sort of moral helplessness because “it’s in the Bible,” is failing to take the Bible either literally or seriously.
So what is your opinion?