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Reading the Bible through the eyes of the Equality Act 2010 - Support for homosexuality and women Bishops

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If you are a homosexual or a woman (or both) you'll probably take for granted that it is part of Christianity to not allow homosexual
relations or women Bishops. My reading of the Bible is somewhat
different though.

I was a confirmed Anglican at 21 and have three science degrees, have
read the Origin of Species and am currently working my way through the
Quran. I know the Bible inside out - better than most Christians, who
probably haven't read it!

I am an advocate 100% of the United Kingdom's Equality Act 2010, which
gives equality rights to both women and homosexuals and many other
groups. To summarise, the definition of equality used in this context
means that in order to treat people equally one must treat them
differently. In the same way one needs to install a ramp to allow people
in wheelchairs to differently access a building to people who can use
steps, so this applies to sex and sexual orientation. You would never
find a unisex toilet with only a urinal for instance. Nor would find a
shopping centre in the developed world that refused to sell bras, expecting women to do without as men don't need them and they must be
treated the same. Equally, if one were to treat homosexuals equally,
then one would not obstruct their right to interact with someone of the
same sex as them, just because the majority prefer interaction with the
opposite sex - they are not the same.

On
this basis, if one was to assume the Bible had any legitimacy, then one
can read Leviticus differently to the bigots who use Christianity to support their homophobia.

Leviticus 18:22 says, "Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable."

Using
the modern definition of equality, then one can see that this does not
say that homosexuality is wrong, but that treating a man the same as a
woman is wrong as it is not treating them equally, which is detestable.
In other words it is not condemning homosexuality but sexism. A woman
with a bisexual man as a partner might think it abhorrent for her
partner to want anal sex with her, but should they be in an open
relationship, then she may have no objections to him having such
interactions with a man.

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Equally,
the circus created over women Bishops in the Anglican Church, of which I
haven't renounced my membership, is based on a primitive reading of the
Bible.

Genesis
3:15 says, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and
between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will
strike his heel."

This is a reference to "God' punishing the serpent who led Adam and Eve
astray. The serpent is seen to be the devil, and God punishes him by
making women despise him and have a permanent barrier between them.

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Genesis
3:17 on the other hand "God' says to Adam, "Because you listened to
your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, "You
must not eat from it'; Cursed is the ground because of you; through
painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life."

If one were to interpret these two paragraphs the way I do, then one would
say women have a greater right to be Bishops than men do. The ground
under Adam as Man was cursed, which means the ground under men Bishops
is also cursed. Cursed by the devil? On the other hand, as there is an
enmity between woman and the devil (Eve and the serpent) then this makes
it easier, in a Biblical context, for women to repel evil and do the
good work of "God' than it is for a man, who will always be walking on
cursed ground. One could regard this to mean that unless man has a woman
around him to repel the devil he will inevitably sin because of the
cursed ground he is on. On this basis, it is not too risking having men
Bishops, who could easily turn to sin by not having the enmity between
them and the evil of the devil than women Bishops would have?

This article might seem to some to give too much legitimacy to the Bible,
but I hope instead it will be used by people, including homosexual
Christians, to refute the claims of homophobes. For instance, a
Christian that identifies with the "Good News' of Christ, then they can
read the Bible through the eyes of that, and not the prejudice that was
placed by others on those readings in the past.

 

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Hi, my name is Jonathan Bishop. I like to provide an alternative view of topics like religion, culture and equality through challenging beliefs that are taken as given. I am the editor of the book, "Examining the Concepts, Issues and Implications of (more...)
 

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