Visions of Daniel
The Evil of Homosexuality
Fact or Fiction?
No argument against homosexuality stands up to critical analysis. If this statement is true, every standard religious argument appears to be but a fiction of blind conviction, a matter of arbitrary “faith.” The supposed argument turns out to be just a personal preference or a biased opinion, not fact, because sheer choice sustains the position, not reasoning grounded in evidence. The danger in such a case is that religion justifies prejudice.
The Bible does NOT Condemn Homosexuality as Such
Recent research has exposed long-standing mistranslation and faulty interpretation of biblical passages said to treat homosexuality. Ezekiel 16:48-49 defines outright the sin of Sodom in Genesis 19: pride, hatred, abuse, hard-heartedness; sex is not mentioned. The parallel story of a heterosexual rape in Judges 19 makes clear that the ancient Israelites cared about respect for, not the gender of, a sex partner. The “lying with a male as with a woman” in Leviticus 18:22 refers solely to male-male penetrative sex, not to same-sex acts in general, whether gay or lesbian, and reflects a taboo regarding ritual purity (“uncleanness,” “abomination”), not sexual ethics. The “unnatural” of Romans 1:26 should be translated “atypical” and has no ethical implication in Paul's usage. The supposed condemnations of 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10 rest on one obscure Greek word that probably refers to sexual foul play around money. It is not the Bible that condemns homosexuality, but a personal choice to read the Bible as condemning. Substantive research supports a non-condemning reading for anyone who wants one. See D. A. Helminiak's What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality.
Christianity has NOT Always Opposed Homosexuality
Until about 1200, except for a period around the fall of the Roman Empire , Christian Europe was often accepting of homosexuality. In 7 th Century Spain , a series of six national church councils refused to support the Visigoth ruler's legislation against homosexual acts. By the high middle ages, a gay subculture thrived, and a standard body of gay literature was studied in the church-run universities. See J. Boswell's Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality and M. D. Jordan's The Invention of Sodomy.
In Church Practice, Procreation is NOT Essential to Sex
Stoic philosophy held that conception of offspring is the only ethically acceptable reason for having sex. Especially through Saint Augustine , early Christianity incorporated this notion, and some churches invoke it to condemn homosexual acts. Yet many churches allow the use of contraceptives and marry couples who plan to remain childless, and all allow marriage and sex between known sterile couples or between couples beyond child-bearing age. Even the Catholic Church has recently emphasized the emotional bonding and loving sharing that are central to sexual intimacy and, while forbidding use of “artificial contraceptives,” does allow the use of the “rhythm method” to deliberately avoid conception ¾ which distinction is questionable. Evidently, the churches do not really believe that the essential purpose of sexual sharing is procreation. Religious insistence on procreation is a ruse.
The Argument of “Complementarity” is NOT Coherent
Supposedly, complementarity of the sexes is a God-ordained requirement for sexual relationships. But “masculinity” and “femininity” are stereotypes. Personality traits in real people are mixed and cover the map. Any two people, men or women, could easily qualify as complementary on some psychological characteristics or other. Therefore, the complementarity in question must be biological, and appeal to complementarity is just a roundabout way of insisting that only a male and a female may share sex. Thus, the real argument comes down to this: Homosexual sex is wrong because it is not heterosexual; homosexual couples may not share sex because only sex between a man and a woman is allowed. The argument explains nothing; it is circular; it begs the question. Or else, pushed further, complementarity claims that the only permissible sexual act is penile-vaginal intercourse—but no reason is given for this claim, which few believe, in any case, and which leads back to the duplicitous argument about procreation.
Homosexuality is NOT a Sickness
Religions claim that homosexuality is an aberration from the order of God's creation. However, the bulk of mounting scientific evidence—zoological, medical, psychological, sociological, anthropological—shows that homosexuality is a natural variation. Not only widespread in many animal species, among humans homosexuality is biologically based, fixed by early childhood, and present in virtually every known culture. There is no credible evidence that sexual orientation can—or should—be changed. The American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and the American Surgeon General have all criticized claims of changed sexual orientation as misleading and dangerous, and the “falls from grace” of numerous leaders of the religious “ex-gay” movement confirm this judgment. Unless simply being homosexual is itself to be deemed pathological, current science can detect nothing “sick” in homosexuality and finds it a natural part of the world that God created.
Homosexual People are NOT Irreligious
Many condemn homosexuals as Godless and sinful. But in many indigenous cultures homosexual people served as shamans, religious leaders. Native Americans reverenced gay and lesbian people as doubly blessed, “two-spirited.” Carl Jung commented that homosexual people are gifted in things spiritual. Contemporary homosexual Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Hindus recognize their self-acceptance as the work of God's grace. They report that, since “coming out,” they are happier, healthier, more productive, more loving, more peaceful, closer to other people—and closer to God. If, according to Jesus' own criterion, “By their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:16 ), religious lesbians and gays must be among the true prophets of our day. In contrast, focusing on only the worst element in the homosexual—or heterosexual—community is an unfair way of assessing the matter.