Now that I have your attention, I can tell you that the real title of this article is How to Use the Bible Correctly. If that is something that interests you, read on. As for the Biblical mandate on gay marriage, that will be addressed.
There's a lot of good stuff in the Bible. That's a statement that those who call it “The Good Book” will no doubt agree with. It instructs people to be good neighbors. It tells us how Jesus took the time to heal the sick and feed the hungry. These are good things, and everyone should aspire to be good. And as far as evangelizing others goes, the saying, “you can attract more flies with honey than with vinegar,” holds true.
But over the years, it has been used to justify all manner of evils (slavery, men beating their wives, banning interracial marriage). People who are self-assured of their righteousness will use anything they can to justify themselves. This is why it is necessary to learn what the Bible actually says. There are many translations of the Bible, and translations which are not literal are inevitably filtered by the biases of the translator.
The current Biblical hot topic in America is homosexuality and gay marriage.
It is something Jesus never spoke about. Many say that Jesus never said to ignore the other passages they claim show homosexuality as sinful. However, it's also important to note Christians don't need to obey the laws of the Old Testament. They were temporary laws that Jesus absolved humanity of with his death. He then put forth a new law:
Romans 13:8-10 (NIV)
8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law.
9 The commandments, 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not covet,' and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Galatians 3:23-25 (KJV) also specifies Christians are no longer longer under the supervision of the old law.
23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
When Paul was in Rome, he was disgusted by boys forced into male prostitution. The oldest copies we have of the Bible implicitly speaks against male prostitutes and temple sex servants. These are words that were changed to mean simply “homosexuality” in various translations. Those translations are incorrect.
In the following passage, you will note the usage of the term “natural use.”
Romans 1:26-27 (KJV)
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
Modern learning shows us that people are born gay, straight, or bisexual. Scientific research consistently shows it. Likewise, over 1,500 animals are known to display same-sex behavior or take same-sex partners. As humanity has grown in understanding of the world and nature, we've become better able to understand the Bible. Since it is natural, it is not a sin as the following verse explains:
1 Timothy 4:4 (KJV)
For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving
The sin that Romans shows is when people go against their nature. Heterosexuals must not engage in homosexual behavior or the reverse.
Now, examine the following verse:
1 Corinthians 7:9 (KJV)
But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
This passage speaks about fornication outside of marriage, and how it is a sin. It states it's better to avoid sexual relations but to be married if one cannot abstain. Corinthians is noteworthy in that it's contradictory to where in Genesis 1:28 it says to, "Be fruitful and multiply."
Since marriage is necessary for physically intimate couples, even gays must be married. Since people must not go against their “natural use,” gays must be married to gain entrance to Heaven. Denying gay couples marriage, thereby denying them salvation by preventing them from obeying the commands of the Bible, is not an act love.
Another passage used to condemn gays is 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 which reads (in the King James):
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."
The two highlighted phrases are translations of the Greek words “malakoi” and “arsenokoitai.” “Effeminate” is clearly a mistranslation of “malakoi” which mean “soft” or “pliable” and is likely referring to weak-willed individuals who do no good. Arsenokoitai is more likely correctly translated as rapist or prostitute. However, a true translation isn't known since Paul invented the word. So the truth is that assigning any meaning to it now is either guesswork (educated or not) or fulfilling a bias.
So, why might God have created people as gay? Although God is beyond human understanding, here are some possibilities: to deal with human overpopulation, to create couples to adopt the abandoned children of heterosexuals, or to simply test our ability to love others different from ourselves.
Although the Old Testament laws doesn't apply to Christians as they did to the Jewish tribes, they are included in the Bible for historical purposes. Let's look at what they say:
Leviticus 18:22 (KJV)
Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
Leviticus 20:13 (word-for-word translation from the original Hebrew)
And a man who will lie down with a male in beds of a woman, both of them have made an abomination; dying they will die. Their blood is on them.
First off: Two men don't do “it” the same way a man and a woman do. So, this passage can simply be taken as common sense instead of a prohibition against homosexuality. Or, it simply prohibits it within a pagan temple.
Secondly: It is quite rude for two people to do “it” on someone else's bed. This passage can simply be taken as proper etiquette. If two men are together, they should use one of their beds and not some woman's bed.
As for Deuteronomy, Judges, and Kings, homosexuality is mistranslated in many texts from the Hebrew word "Qadesh” which is a word that refers to prostitutes in pagan temples. Some translations use the word sodomite which when taken to mean homosexuality is doubly wrong. In modern context, sodomy is any non-procreative sex act (including heterosexual). Furthermore, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for being unneighborly, not for having homosexuals. It wasn't some happy gay paradise. It was a place that threatened to rape angels. Jude 1:7 further prohibits sex outside the species. Given that the only “godly” man in town offered his two virgin daughters to be savagely raped by the crowd that wanted angel flesh, nobody could argue that wiping out that city was a bad thing – if even the best man in town was that type of scumbag.
Wanting gay marriage banned is no different than wanting to ban pork for everyone because your religion is against it. It is nonsensical to think that others eating pork would be violating your religious freedom, just as it is nonsensical to think that the marriage of a gay couple somehow threatens any straight marriage.
If the Bible is truly about love and is not to be used for hate, one should consider the phrase, “hate the sin, not the sinner.” Since being gay is a natural part of a person, “hating the sin” is really “hating the person.”
For those who truly wish to turn society from what the Bible clearly defines as sin, be vocal about the evils of sex outside of marriage and divorce. Any who have done such things and are still anti-gay are living a hypocritical double-standard, applying what they mistakenly think is Biblical law without applying such laws to themselves.
Religious Freedom and Civil Rights
If you're using the Bible to hate others, you're using it wrong. If your religion says differently, your religion cares more about its dogma than it does about the Bible. There is no Biblical justification for bigotry against gays. A Christian denomination which denounces gays simply does so because it is bigoted against gays. Such a denomination which seeks to impose its religious views upon the government is attacking the religious freedom of denominations that disagree. To ban gay marriage is an attack on religious freedom. As marriage is a matter of civil law involving a license and a legal contract (performed as a civil or religious ceremony), preventing certain groups of people from the ability to marry is also an attack on civil rights which violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Bearing False Witness that It's a Sin Creates Violence
When people put forth an incorrect belief that being gay is wrong, it creates an atmosphere that encourages some bigots to commit violence against gays, and those who create that environment bear responsibility for the violence it has wrought. This hostile environment also encourages young gays to hate themselves. The gay teen suicide rate is 5 times that of straight teenagers. Several murders and violent attacks on gays have made headlines this year: two lesbian teens shot to death, a lesbian beaten along with having anti-gay slurs carved into her stomach, and a lesbian and her straight friends beaten by a group yelling anti-gay slurs. After decades of attacks on gays in the US, a gay rights supporter ineptly attempted to attack an organization (the Family Research Council) that fights for anti-gay causes and spreads lies about gays. Hate breeds more hate. It is time to stop the intolerance and stop the violence that it causes. One will end when the other does. It's not only what the Bible advocates; it's the right thing to do.
- The Bible doesn't condemn homosexuality
- Even if the Old Testament is interpreted incorrectly to prohibit homosexuality, it doesn't apply to Christians
- The Bible says marriage is required for intimate couples (including gays)
- The purpose of marriage is to sanctify fornication, not to produce offspring
- Gays are natural and created by God. Hating gays is hating the person and not the sin
- Proclaiming gays are doing something wrong creates the reason that violent bigots commit violence against gays and increases the suicide rate among young gays
- Even if you dislike homosexuality, it isn't the role of government to force others to live their life how you want to live yours
- Banning marriage for gays violates the freedom of religion for religions that wish to marry gays
- Marriage is a matter of civil law, that can be performed by religion but which doesn't have to be.
What the Bible says and means about homosexuality:
Why the Old Testament laws no longer apply:
Being gay isn't a choice:
Different take with the argument that God blesses same-sex marriages:
Did The Catholic Church Ordain Gay Weddings?
("a type of Christian homosexual 'marriage' did exist as late as the 18th century")
Marriage is a Civil Right:
(proclaimed by Loving v. Virginia - 388 U.S. 1 - 1967)
Biblical Definitions of Marriage:
(a small sampling, just some ones which made major headlines)
Two lesbian teens shot to death – June 23, 2012
Lesbian beaten by men yelling anti-gay slurs in Kentucky – July 17, 2012
Lesbian tied up, beaten, and had "dyke" carved into her stomach – July 2012
Father heartlessly disowns gay son in violation of the Bible's law to love - 2012
Scottish gay man beaten and burned to death on way to grandmothers birthday party - 2011
Three Kentucky Teens Arrested For Allegedly Beating Lesbian High School Student and Trying to Throw Her Off a Cliff - 2010
Gay teens 5 times as likely to kill themselves
Gay teen suicide rates lower in supportive environments
Why the Family Research Council is a hate group
And as far as the Bible being the strict and literal Word of God and not filtered with possible error by those who wrote it, I want to share with you an excerpt from the following passage.
1 Corinthians 7:25 (KJV)
I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.
In other words, he says, “Now, this bit isn't the Word of God. It's just my opinion.” This passage alone disproves the blanket statement that the entire Bible is the verbatim Word of God. (The section it introduces discusses virgins and marriage.)
Credit: Anonymous sourced pictures from Facebook.