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Life Arts    H3'ed 6/12/19

Interpretation of the Bible on LGBTQ

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Gustave Dore': Ezra reading the Law in the hearing of the people
Gustave Dore': Ezra reading the Law in the hearing of the people
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Even after the Supreme Court ruling made it legal, same-sex marriage is still an issue in the United States. The far right in our country has given Christianity and the Bible a lot of bad press by pushing against the practice. Where is this coming from? Seeing that the god of most of these Christians seems to be the Bible itself, we must turn to the scriptures to see what the all the fuss is about.

The Law of Moses

Looking at their main argument, the Law of Moses states that men are not to have sexual relations with other men.

"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." -Leviticus 18:22, KJV

This chapter goes on to condemn women lying with animals, but oddly does not speak to women lying with other women. With polygamy being under the Law, maybe it's okay for women to lie with their 'sister' wives? We do not know. It's not very forthcoming.

We gain more clarity on the issue just a few chapters later:

"If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." -Leviticus 20:13, KJV

This is translated literally as "And man he is lying down with male". This seems quite explicit at first glance. To get a clearer image, let's look at the bigger picture. The list of sexual sins in this chapter and chapter 18, is:

  • Adultery is defined as a man lying with another man's wife (not a man lying with an unmarried woman or a prostitute -Genesis 38: 12-26)
  • A man may not lie with his father's wife (his mother or not)
  • A man may not lie with his daughter
  • A man may not lie with his wife's mother
  • Neither man nor woman may lie with an animal
  • A man may not lie with his sister, his father's daughter, nor his mother's daughter (no full or half sisters)
  • A man may not lie with a woman on her period or he must go through steps to become clean again
  • A man my not to take the wife of a relative (this obviously does not count the commandment to take a brother's wife after that brother dies if he had no son -Deuteronomy 25: 5-10)

Breaking this down, we find that animals, seen as beneath humans, is not allowed. No keeping it in the family, with the exception of a dead brother's wife. Women were tied to property, so a better way of saying this would be marriage couldn't be used to to keep property within families.

No Sale

The Law of Moses seems to clearly state that men are not to have sexual relations with other men (Leviticus 18: 22 & 20: 13). However, what this means exactly is unclear, there are no known recorded instances of anyone being put to death for this sin mentioned in these verses. This may be due to the reasoning behind the actions. Deuteronomy 23:17 seems to clarify the commandment in Leviticus by using the term "kedeshah" which is interpreted as "temple prostitute." We know that the Bible forbids us to sell our bodies for YHWH or any other gods.

This is important, in relation to when it was written, because women were property. The pagans kept women "pure" to sell their virginity in temples, which is against the Law of Moses. Deuteronomy 23:17 clarifies the commandments in Leviticus by using the term "kedeshah," translated in English as "wh-re," but is actually interpreted as "temple prostitute." The Israelites kept women "pure" to sell them to other men in marriage.

The reality is that the list of "do not's" is partially a sales guide. Looking at the list like this we see:

  • Adultery is defined as a man lying with another man's wife (not a man lying with an unmarried woman or a prostitute - Genesis 38:12-26)
  • A man may not buy his father's wife (his mother or not)
  • A man may not lie with his daughter
  • A man may not lie buy wife's mother
  • Neither man nor woman may lie with an animal
  • A man may not buy his sister, his father's daughter, nor his mother's daughter (no full or half sisters)
  • A man may not lie with a woman on her period or he must go through steps to become clean again
  • A man may not buy the wife of a relative
  • A man may not buy another man (Leviticus 20:13)

After all, if we just went with "lie with," why add some of these? Aren't some of these woman listed already owned? Only daughters may be sold by the father, and sisters sold by the oldest brother if the father is dead. And this is only speaking to males. There is nothing forbidding same sex relationships between women. This is likely because women couldn't buy or sell anyone. Suddenly we understand this isn't about sex - men are not property to be bought and sold like a woman. (Yes, this brings up other problems with the Bible, but we'll address that later.)

Examples of Same-sex Relationships in the Bible

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A graduate of Franklin University with a degree in Digital Communications, David is the co-president of the Church of Jesus Christ in Christian Fellowship, a nondenominational Latter Day Saint/Mormon movement. In the past, he was a full time (more...)
 

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