Homosexuality and Scripture
In our Judeo-Christian society, the Bible serves as the primary guide on most issues. It is interesting that many Christians take literally the references to homosexual acts while interpreting other text with great flexibility. One person reported listening to a nationally known woman speak in her campaign against homosexuality. She spent much time quoting impressively from Leviticus. The listener accepted much of what the speaker had said until realizing that by Levitical standards, the crusader had herself broken many biblical laws: women speaking in church, women teaching men, wearing a dress made of cotton and polyester, and probably others of which he was unaware.
So what does the Bible really say about homosexuality?
Coming Out as Sacrament
By Rev. Mona West, Ph.D.
Lesbians and gay men face discrimination because of societal attitudes. Unfortunately, these attitudes are often taught by churches and, sadly, the Bible is frequently used as a weapon to “bash” lesbians and gays. It is important to remember that such hurtful things are not a reflection of Christ, or the way God wants the church to be, or even what the Bible really says.
Only a small number of passages in the entire Bible reference same-sex sexual activity (six out of sixty-six books of the entire Bible). Obviously this topic was not of great concern to the biblical writers. Yet these verses have been used to justify hatred, condemnation and exclusion of God’s lesbian and gay children.
The word ‘homosexuality’ is a modern term and did not exist during biblical times. Biblical writers had no concept of sexual orientation or sexual development as we understand those today. Therefore, passages that reference same-sex sexual activity should not been seen as comprehensive statements concerning homosexuality, but instead should be viewed in the context of what the ancient world that produced the Bible understood about sexual activity.
In the Beginning…
A Transgender Study
Then God said, “Let us make humanity in our own image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created humanity in God’s own image, in the image of God, God created them; male and female God created them. And God blessed them. The question of gender occurs here, at the very beginning of the story of creation. If we are to examine the understanding of gender in the Bible, we need go no further than the first chapter before we encounter it.
More Resources for Inclusive Theology
- Our denomination has a number of Theological Articles
written on the topic of Sexuality, Gender diversity and Spirituality
- Soulforce: This site has a great deal of information you will find valuable.
(Rev. Mel White, co-founder of Soulforce)
- What the Bible says and means about same-sex behavior
- Faith Positions on Sexuality and Transgender Issues (Human Rights Campaign)