Saturday, August 13, 2005

My Rigid Take on Homosexuality in the Bible

I recently found out that I've been accused of having rigid personality traits. So in celebration of my rigidity, I continue to explore references to homosexuality in the Bible as I ponder what it all means. (For earlier parts of this discussion see Expressing My Freedom of Religion and Same-Sex Marriage.)

Deuteronomy 23:17 lays out clearly that prostitution, male or female, is "abhorrent to the Lord your God."

Judges 19:22-30 is difficult to grasp, for it is so grotesque. Although some reference it as an example of how to view homosexuality -- namely that raping a woman to the point of murder is preferable to homosexual sex -- I think it says more about the man who selfishly saved his own skin by sacrificing another's and the host who had so little regard for his own virgin daughter that he would rather give up her life than his in the name of hospitality. (A host is supposed to guard his guest to the point of sacrificing himself, not his family's.) Judges 19 indicts hospitality as practiced by this host and his guest. I gotta say that this story truly sickens me. I move on to more relevant passages.
"When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father's house. Then Jonathan made a convenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul." (1 Samuel 18:1-4, see also 20:17-41 as to how he showed his love)
"I am distressed for you, my
brother Jonathan;
greatly beloved were you to me;
your love to me was wonderful,
passing the love of women." (2 Samuel 1:26, David's lament)
So often North American society views love strictly in the romantic sense. There is also love between parent and child, of course, but two adults can only be seen to love each other if they are romantically involved. We're a tad uncomfortable with seeing two friends express love, especially if they happen to be male. It's gotten so bad, as we have become more progressive as a society, that we assume they have to be homosexual. Other societies freely embrace the concept of soul love or non-romantic love that can be expressed through holding of hands, kissing cheeks (not in the sterile way of some people over on this side of the Atlantic), and other expressions. There is no shame and no implication of homosexual love when two men hold hands, hence the quite different perceptions of Bush holding the Saudi prince's hand that day in Texas.

To me these passages talk about a deep, abiding love of one person to another. There is no homosexual intent here -- and it's only our societal fixation on love equals sex that makes it seem like that -- but there is the kind of love that speaks of loyalty, self-sacrifice, standing up one for the other, touching each other on the spiritual level, and grief. I don't see this passage as having any relevance to how God views homosexual love or sex. (It's also interesting to contrast the love between David and Jonathan and the so-called love between the men in Judges 19 and the women in their lives.) It is a scathing assault though on North Americans' narrow view over who can love whom and how to express love.

Well those are my rigid thoughts on the subject. I am, of course, (finger quotation marks here) unquestionably correct, won't budge from my position, and will flee from dialogue of those who dare to comment on my narrow, self-righteous views (end finger quotation marks). Sheesh. This person obviously never spent time at my family's dinner table.

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2 comments:

reojames said...

You post some very deep and interesting thoughts here. I believe homosexuality is a sin, but I also believe all sin is equal. So, the way I see it, homosexuals are no more sinful than liers, shoplifters, ect.ect. Heck...we are ALL sinners, so who am I to look down on anyone?
James

talk talk talk said...

I've found this blog to be a great way to explore ideas, even if all I'm doing is talking to myself (thank you for letting me know I'm not always!). Although I've had many discussions on homosexuality over the past decades, writing it out here is helping me crystallize my thoughts on it better. Interestingly, God may view lying as the greatest sin. And you're right, we're all sinners. That means we shouldn't look down on others, but there's nothing wrong with saying, "go and sin no more." Jesus challenged us to become better people.