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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/30/19

Franklin Graham, Mayor Buttigieg, and Religious Doctrine on Homosexuality

Steven Jonas
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Franklin Graham, a Far-Right cleric, is a strong supporter of the Republican Donald Trump. (It happens that he is the son of the Far-Right cleric Billy Graham, who happened to be a strong supporter of the last President to be threatened with impeachment, the Republican Richard Nixon.) Homosexuality is a human characteristic that has gotten this Graham very upset, over a long period time. Recently, The Hill published this reporting on what Graham had to say about Mayor Pete Buttigieg and his sexual orientation .

"Franklin Graham, an outspoken supporter of President Trump, on Wednesday slammed 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg for calling himself a 'gay christian,' saying that the Bible defines homosexuality as something to be repentant of. . . .

Franklin Graham - ERRor No. 1
Franklin Graham - ERRor No. 1
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"Graham . . . added in a separate tweet that 'as a Christian I believe the Bible which defines homosexuality as sin, something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised or politicized.' "

" 'The Bible says marriage is between a man & a woman not two men, not two women,' Graham said, before saying in a final tweet that 'the core of the Christian faith is believing and following Jesus Christ, who God sent to be the Savior of the world to save us from sin, to save us from hell, to save us from eternal damnation."

Graham is making a number of points here, both directly and indirectly. One is that he is sure what Biblical Doctrine is (and we will get back to that one below). Second, he is sure that Biblical Doctrine and his concept of a Christian "God" as he sets them forth should have a major role to play in the U.S. political system, despite the fact that neither the word "God" nor the word "Christian[ity]" appear in foundational document for the U.S. system of government, the Constitution. The word "religious" appears once, as the last clause of Article VI: "but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." The word "religion" also appears once, as the first clause of the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. . ."

So actually, it would appear that what Graham and his thoughts about Mayor Pete's sexuality and how they might in some way --- as a "sinner" for example --- disqualify him for the Presidency, are totally irrelevant in terms of the Constitution. But supposing they weren't irrelevant. Does Graham have a monopoly on the determination of what the Bible has to say about the subject of homosexuality?

Presumably the English translation of the Bible he is talking about is the King James version. First, I am told that there are 28 or so English translations of the Bible in use in Christian churches in the United States. So how does Graham know that his is the "right" one? Second, the King James version was produced in England in the early 17th century by a committee of 52 theologians and academics in order to provide an accepted and acceptable underpinning for the Church of England, under the newly crowned King, James I.

While he was a Protestant himself, he was the son of the Catholic Mary Queen of Scots, and indeed was first James VI of Scotland. The English nobility that ordered up this new translation wanted to make sure that it was "right for the time. . .", their time of course, so that there would be no doctrine that could possibly be used to take the nation back to the days of Bloody Mary (the Queen, not the drink) and the English religious wars of the 16th century. Further, is it not ironic that the English monarch after whom the version of the Bible that Graham uses to support his homophobia was himself known at the time to be a homosexual (click here).

King James I of England, VI of Scotland. He was considered at time to be gay: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_relationships_of_James_VI_and_I.  And just think.  The Bible named after him is the very one Franklin Graham uses to condemn homosexuality.
King James I of England, VI of Scotland. He was considered at time to be gay: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_relationships_of_James_VI_and_I. And just think. The Bible named after him is the very one Franklin Graham uses to condemn homosexuality.
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Well, as it happens there are other interpretations of Biblical text that come to a different conclusion on the matter of the relationship between homosexuality and "sin." Forget for the moment that "sin" (in the Graham sense) is not a qualifier/dis-qualifier for the Presidency. If it were, of course, Graham's boy Trump would have been gone from the realm of consideration for the Presidency long ago (a fact that Graham and his ilk so conveniently ignore. But consideration of that fact is for another time.)

When I was doing the research for my book The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S. 1981-2022: A Futuristic Novel originally published in 1996, 3rd version published in 2013 (http://www.puntopress.com/2013/03/23/jonas-the-15-solution-hits-main-distribution/) I came across some very interesting text from the Rev. Peter Gomes, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard Divinity School and Pusey Minister at Harvard's Memorial Church (who himself happened to be gay). It appears in Chapter 11, on the "Proclamation of Right," in which a future President, originally a Republican before he became President-for-Life, under the (future) 31stAmendment to the Constitution which had established in that document that homosexuality is matter of choice, just has Graham says it is, declared homosexuality to be a crime (as it is now in 73 countries).

At any rate, here is what the Rev. Gomes had to say about the Bible and homosexuality (The 15% Solution, 3rd version, 2013, chap. 11, pp. 183-84):

"Christians opposed to political and social equality for homo sexu als nearly always appeal to the moral injunctions of the Bible, claiming that Scripture is very clear on the matter and citing verses that support their opinion. . . . They do not, how ever, necessarily see quite as clear a meaning in biblical passag es on economic con duct, the bur dens of wealth and the sin of greed.

"Nine biblical citations are customarily invoked as relat ing to homo sexuality. Four (Deuteronomy 23:17, I Kings 14:24, I Kings 22:46 and II Kings 23:7) simply forbid [directly or by implication] prostitution, by men and women.

"Two others (Leviticus 18:19"23 and 20:10"16) are part of what Bib lical scholars call the Holiness Code. The code explic itly bans homo sexual acts. But it also prohibits eating raw meat, planting two different kinds of seed in the same field and wearing garments of two different kinds of yarn. Tattoos, adul tery, [incest], and sexual intercourse during a woman's menstru al period are similarly outlawed.

"There is no mention of homosexuality in the four Gos pels of the New Testament. The moral teachings of Jesus are not con cerned with the subject.

"Three references from St. Paul are frequently cited (Ro mans 1:26"2:1, I Corinthians 6:9"11, and I Timothy 1:10). But St. Paul was concerned with homosexuality only be cause in Greco"Roman culture it represented a secular sen suality that was contrary to the Jewish"Christian spiritual idealism. He was against lust and sensuality in anyone, including heterosexuals. . . .

"And lest we forget Sodom and Gomorrah, recall that the story is not about sexual perversion and homosexual prac tice. It is about inhospital ity, according to Luke 10:10"13, and failure to care for the poor, ac cording to Ezekiel 16:49"50: 'Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sod om, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daugh ters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and the needy.' To suggest that Sodom and Gomorrah is about homo sexual sex is an analysis of about as much worth as suggesting that the story of Jonah and the whale is a treatise on fishing."

The Rev. Gomes died in 2011. It would be very interesting to hear what he would have to say about the Biblical/political pronouncements of the Rev. Graham.

(Article changed on May 1, 2019 at 02:23)

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Steven Jonas Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY). As well as having been a regular political columnist on several national websites for over 20 years, he is the author/co-author/editor/co-editor of 37 books Currently, on the columns side, in addition to his position on OpEdNews as a Trusted Author, he is a regular contributor to From The G-Man.  In the past he has been a contributor to, among other publications, The Greanville PostThe Planetary Movement, and Buzzflash.com.  He was also a triathlete for 37 seasons, doing over 250 multi-sport races.  Among his 37 books (from the late 1970s, mainly in the health, sports, and health care organization fields) are, on politics: The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S., 1981-2022; A Futuristic Novel (originally published 1996; the 3rd version was published by Trepper & Katz Impact Books, Punto Press Publishing, 2013, Brewster, NY, sadly beginning to come true, advertised on OpEdNews and available on  (more...)

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