Typical anti-Christian MeFi thread unfolding… so I’d like to remove a couple of the straw man arguments from the discussion if I can.
Leviticus 18:22 and 22:13 – cited above – are Old Testament. In the broadest terms, the Old Testament chronicles the failure of God’s chosen people to live under the Law. Anyone who wants to try to live under the strictures of Old Testament Law is faced with this command: Persons committing homosexual acts are to be executed. This is the unambiguous command of scripture.
But Christians today live under the New Covenant of Jesus. Unable to meet God’s standards, we stood in need of someone to intercede for us. Jesus played that role. His teachings were all about love. There is only one passage in the NT that is unambiguously critical of homosexual behavior, Romans 1:26-27, and it is really about the absence of love, not homosexuality per se. The Message translation brings this out clearly:
26Worse followed. Refusing to know God, they soon didn’t know how to be human either–women didn’t know how to be women, men didn’t know how to be men. 27Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men–all lust, no love. And then they paid for it, oh, how they paid for it–emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretches.
The Bible has no sexual ethic. It accurately describes the rules that were in place 2000+ years ago, which were the sexual mores of the time. Mores change over time. Behaviors that were commonplace then are condemned now. Prostitution, polygamy, concubines and very early marriage (for the girl, age 11-13) are just a few examples. Behaviors that were condemned then are commonplace now. Nudity (under certain conditions), birth control, masturbation, naming sexual organs (the Bible uses “foot” or “thigh” instead!), intercourse during menstruation, and yes, homosexuality were all forbidden. But the Bible does have a love ethic. Ethics don’t change over time.
Rather than focusing on how archaic laws from thousands of years ago might be prejudiced against homosexuals today, why not focus on the new message, delivered by Jesus Himself when he asked, “Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?” (Luke 12:57).
In order to judge for yourself what is right, you need to have a firm ethical foundation. The Bible offers one that has stood the test of time for 2000 years. It is an ethos of love, and truly adopting it means living it to the standards set by Jesus. How you live it is up to you, but at least in part it surely means rejecting any mores – including sexual mores – that violate your own integrity and that of others, and striving to meet the standard of “love thy neighbor as thyself” as exemplified by Jesus. Some Christians are going to oppose homosexuality on that basis, others will not. It is, however, sad to see it politicized by both Christians and non-Christians. Christians, at least, should approach the issue from the perspective of love.
The Bible could be a valuable tool for homosexuals who seek to dialogue with conservatives or fundamentalists or evangelists on modern day issues of sexual mores and politics. Meaningful dialogue is easiest when parties approach a topic from a shared perspective, and when the perspective is “love” that’s even easier. You should read the Bible. It’s a good book.
The City Community Church here in Austin (which looks like it falls under the emergent church umbrella) now invites people to bring their dogs to worship.