For Christians, the Bible is obviously important, but on homosexuality, responses differ. For traditionalists, it is a given that scripture “obviously” condemns all forms of same – sex activities, and that sodomy is “the sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance”. For an expanding pool of revisionist biblical scholars, this is a false reading of scripture, based on mistranslations or mistranslations of the original texts, and distorted by a heteronormative interpretive bias. Canon Derrek Sherwen Bailey first questioned the traditional readings back in the 1950′s, have challenged the traditional interpretations of the clobber texts, even labelling them as textual abuse, and more recently begun to promote affirmative, LGBT inclusive passages as an alternative.
But there’s another view, that even if it is true that the Bible really does condemn homosexuality, it could be simply wrong – just it has been wrong on slavery.
The argument is neatly put by Dan Savage, in his widely reported debate with Brian Brown, of the NOM:
The Bible, if it got something as easy and obvious as slavery wrong, what are the odds that it got something as complicated as human sexuality wrong? I put those odds at about 100 percent. Pat Robertson was recently asked about this. He was asked, “If America was founded as a Christian nation why did we allow slavery?” And his answer was, “Like it or not, if you read the Bible, in the Old Testament slavery is permitted.” That’s a half-truth. In both testaments slavery is permitted and sanctioned. But then Robertson said something uncharacteristically profound: “We have moved in our conception of human beings until we realized that slavery was terribly wrong.” And so what he’s saying there is not just that we realized slavery is terribly wrong. Also, we realized the bible was wrong about slavery. I don’t think LGBT Americans are asking American Christians to do anything that you haven’t already done.
Move in your conception of the value of human beings.
Here’s the full debate, courtesy of YouTube:
- Pat Robertson: The Bible Is “Terribly Wrong” (slog.thestranger.com)
- Bible and Homosexuality: Does it Matter? (queeringthechurch.com)
- A faith-based explanation about why Christians could be wrong about God and gay marriage (thesunnews.typepad.com)