The month of June has been set aside to celebrate gay pride. I happen to have several gay relatives and many gay friends. For some reason, I’ve never been particularly homophobic, even though I grew up in a very conservative, Christian town and, despite having gay relatives, I come from a conservative Christian family. Maybe it’s because I watched a lot of Three’s Company when I was coming of age. There weren’t any actual gay characters or cast members; John Ritter, in his role of Jack Tripper, was simply tasked with acting “gay” so he could fool the landlords into letting him live with his two female roommates.
That show would probably not fly today. People are expected to be tolerant of homosexuality. And, over the past forty years, I have noticed that a lot of people are less freaked out by homosexuality… at least on the surface. Then, there are people who can’t or won’t accept homosexuality and feel the need to speak out about it.
Last week, I read an interesting blog post about Bible translations of the past. The author of the post wrote:
“I had a German friend come back to town and I asked if he could help me with some passages in one of my German Bibles from the 1800s. So we went to Leviticus 18:22 and he’s translating it for me word for word. In the English where it says “Man shall not lie with man, for it is an abomination,” the German version says “Man shall not lie with young boys as he does with women, for it is an abomination.” I said, “What?! Are you sure?” He said, “Yes!” Then we went to Leviticus 20:13— same thing, “Young boys.” So we went to 1 Corinthians to see how they translated arsenokoitai (original Greek word) and instead of homosexuals it said, “Boy molesters will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
This kind of changes everything, doesn’t it? That passage that homophobic people tend to trot out whenever they justify their disdain or outright hatred of homosexuality isn’t necessarily about homosexuality so much as it is child molestation. The blog author looked at other Bibles from other countries and found the same thing. The Bible calls out pederasty, not homosexuality. Also from the post:
“I also have a 1674 Swedish version and an 1830 Norwegian version of the Bible. I asked one of my friends, who was attending Fuller seminary and is fluent in both Swedish and Norwegian, to look at these verses for me. So we met at a coffee shop in Pasadena with my old Bibles. (She didn’t really know why I was asking.) Just like reading an old English Bible, it’s not easy to read. The letters are a little bit funky, the spelling is a little bit different. So she’s going through it carefully, and then her face comes up, “Do you know what this says?!” and I said, “No! That’s why you are here!” She said, “It says boy abusers, boy molesters.” And, in fact, in the Norwegian version, she pointed out, that if you were to line up boys of different ages and say which group of these boys is this referring to, it would be the 8-12 year old group. That was how the linguistics were working and it was obviously referring to the pederasty, not homosexuality!”
This morning, one of my super Christian relatives posted a video that turned my stomach. It came from a faith promoting Web site called Faith It. The video starred a young woman named Emily who had identified as a lesbian and used to say that Christians shouldn’t judge. When her dad noticed a hickey on her neck, Emily told her father she was gay and dating women. She implies that she led a sinful lifestyle, perhaps not just because of being gay, but because of promiscuity and, perhaps, partying too much. She was very young at the time, and partying too much is what a lot of young people do. I wouldn’t say being a lesbian had much to do with that.
Emily then had an epiphany after attending a Bible study. According to the article my relative shared: “along with the drunkards and other sinners, she saw that those who engaged in homosexuality were also on the list of those who wouldn’t enter the kingdom of God. Thankfully, the following verse offered hope for her redemption — along with all those who would repent of their sinful nature, by the blood of Jesus Christ.” Emily then, apparently, had a change of heart and a change of her sexual preferences.
To those who say they were “born gay”, she says, “It’s not gay to straight. It’s lost to saved.” She says Jesus has to come to lead homosexuals to the “right affections”. God wants us to have families and to have a family the usual way, one must have a man and a woman. Or… at least that’s the easiest way to do it. Being in a homosexual relationship won’t lead to having a traditional family.
Frankly, I find that mindset really upsetting. Plenty of straight people are married and have no children. Sometimes, it’s by choice. Sometimes, it’s not. Even still, I think about homosexuals who have tried to go straight, yet never really love their partner in the way they should. That’s not fair to either party. It’s not right to marry someone and pretend to be attracted to them for the sake of making babies. In fact, it’s often a recipe for disaster, especially for the innocent children who are born to couples that don’t really love each other.
I’m not very close to my super Christian relatives. The older I get, the less I have in common with them. They’re all Trump supporters and, though they spend a lot of time reading the Bible and going to church, they don’t seem to be very Christlike. The relative who shared this video has a niece who is a lesbian. As far as I know, they’re still very close to her. She has a wife and a son. We also have a male cousin who is gay and has been in a committed relationship for over twenty years. I can’t help but wonder what it must be like in their immediate families, dealing with this kind of cognitive dissonance. You have a close loved one who is homosexual and lives the lifestyle, yet you post this kind of trash on social media?
Bill’s sister, who was adopted by his dad and stepmother, is a lesbian. For many years, her Catholic mother lamented that her daughter was destined to go to Hell, just because she loves women. My husband’s stepmother’s best friend is also a lesbian, yet she evidently believed (and perhaps still believes) that her loved ones are going to burn in eternity only because of whom they choose to love. My sister in law and her wife are wonderful, kind, decent people. I refuse to believe they’re going to Hell simply because they’re lesbians. It wouldn’t be right or natural for them to try to be straight. That would be disastrous for everyone involved. If Emily from the video is truly gay, her life will not be easy as she tries to be straight. And it won’t be easy for the men she’s involved with, either, or the children that might come from such a union.
Anyway… I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m disappointed. I don’t understand the extreme religious mindset of people who profess to be Christians, yet don’t act as Christ would. Many of the comments on that video are pretty disheartening and some are downright sickening. I think of all the people I’ve heard about who have suffered because they have been told being gay is unacceptable and wrong. And they have been mistreated simply because of whom they choose to love. In American Bibles, it says that homosexuality is “sinful”, but other Bibles are translated differently. Could it be that those who are pushing this narrative against homosexuals have fallen for an agenda pushed by an organization rather than following the actual word of God? Not that I profess to be an expert on the word of God. I sure as hell am not. It’s just that this attitude against consenting adults loving other consenting adults is strange to me.
4 thoughts on ““Going straight…””
Well said… I think the pederasty interpretation is the more accurate translation, and to me, it honestly makes more sense with the rest of the Bible and what we know about historical context. I’ve come to believe that an all-knowing, all-loving, all-forgiving God / higher power / absolute values system would instruct us to Love first and foremost. Full stop.
Something like “love God AND love your neighbor”… I seem to recall someone important to Christianity saying that
Here’s what really irks me:
The conversation goes like this – people will discuss homosexuality and choose to agree that it is sin, just like any other. The person who is anti-gay will insist that the homosexual should stop the same sex behavior, because they are choosing to remain in a sinful lifestyle and are flaunting Gods forgiveness, and be extension, may even be flirting with His eternal judgment.
But no one points THIS out: those of you whose sin doesn’t happen to be gayness… you’re leading perfectly sinless lives and you are not choosing to continue in ANY sort of sinful behavior whatsoever? Your particular vice won’t land you in the same trouble as the gay perso? How convenient for you… How does that work? You might want to check in with Jesus again and see what he had to say about THAT…
NO ONE is ever going to be “perfect”
NO ONE is ever going to be “faultless”
Christians who busy themselves policing the morality and behavior of others are setting themselves up as God – and THAT is not going to go over well with the One who currently occupied that position…
I totally agree with you, and I am not a particularly religious person. The people who condemn someone as sinful are virtually always just as sinful in some way.
The translation revealing pederasty rather than homosexuality as the subject of condemnation is fascinating. I’d really love to have the language skills to be able to read the original Ninlical texts in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek because there are probably many scriptures of which we’ve all been misled.
Well, it just goes to show that sometimes agendas get in the way of translation.
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