No Ma’am I’m not a sinner: How Homophobic Theology is Killing us

In case you missed it, there’s a battle brewing in New Jersey over a teacher’s recent comments on facebook. Vicki Knox a high school teacher at Union High School, a public school in Union Township, wrote, among other things  that Homosexuality is a perverted spirit that has existed from the beginning of creation… how they live and their actions, behaviors -CHOICES are against the nature and character of God! …I know sin and it breeds like cancer!”

As one would hope the LGBTQIA community in not only New Jersey but around the country are pretty upset by the post. Some are arguing, correctly of course, that she’s entitled to her opinion. Every time the subject comes up, however, I can’t help but wonder how long it will take before we within the LGBTQIA community pay attention to just where a lot of the homophobia in our society is coming from, and not only pay attention but stand up to it as well.

Recently I had a conversation with a good friend regarding this very subject. “The Bible isn’t very kind to us,” he said “I Suppose we just have to accept the fact that they will always see us as sinners”.

My friend was wrong.

Out of the six or seven so-called “clobber verses”  in the biblical texts that supposedly address the gay issue in the bible, when you take the verses in context and look at their original meanings, not one verse addresses the type of gay relationships-sexual, physical or otherwise-we aspire to have today.

Biblical authors never ever could conceive of two men or two women of equal societal stature loving each other with the  respect, dignity and value of human worth we, as a whole, place on our relationships. This type of relationship didn’t exist in the heterosexual world during biblical times let alone inside the temples that the Jewish writers seemed to be so concerned about.

In other words, except for some allusions and some hope in the language surrounding the interpretation of eunuchs, the story of Jonathan and David, and a few other passages, the Bible has nothing to say whatsoever on the average gay experience.

Notice, however I did not say the Bible doesn’t have anything to say TO the LGBTQIA community. The Bible, if one chooses to read and believe it’s message, does have much to say about the human experience and its need for redemption and liberation in the face of evil and adversity, but to continue to tolerate the use of these 66 books as a tool to vilify our community is not only appalling but it simply gives those who use it as such a free pass on their justification for hate.

And it IS hate. From national figures such as Bryan Fischer to the teen who last month told his class he “believed homosexuality is wrong” after weeks of harassing his gay teacher to this latest example in New Jersey, these people who publicly use the scripture to demonize our community do so with one goal in mind, to stop the LGBTQIA community from living happy and normal lives as Americans with the same rights, responsibilities and freedoms as anyone else.

Enough is enough.  The debate from a scholarly, scientific, and sociological standpoint is long over.  There have always been and will always be men attracted to men and women attracted to women. There has always been  and will always be those who feel different then the sex organs given to them by biological chance.   There is no longer any room for debating “how many angels can dance on the head of a needle” while gay teens and adults are killing themselves, are shunned, or aren’t treated as equal citizens because some in our society continues to hold on to antiquated interpretations of any scripture, whether it be the Bible, the Koran or any other “holy text.”

For those of you struggling with what your church has taught you about what the Bible has to say regarding the LGBTQIA community, please educate yourself on what the Bible really has to say about the subject. (See below for some excellent resources.) Stop trusting the hundreds of years of theologians whose voices won out in a power struggle inside the walls of some medieval church.

For those of us who have chosen other paths or were born into other traditions, we too would do well to educate ourselves on what the Bible really says regarding LGBTQIA issues.

“Love the sinner, but hate the sin.” is not an acceptable compromise.” Nor is the comment “we are all sinners and no one sin is greater than the other”, when applied to the LGBTQIA community.

The members of the LGBTQIA community are not LGBTQIA because of their sin, any more than a member of the African-American community is African-American because of his or her sin, to purpose so is not only shameful, it’s hateful.

We can no longer dismiss this as a minor irritant. Ask the LGBTQIA community in Uganda just how deadly such theology can be.

Follow Jesus if you must, use words when and if necessary, but it’s time to stop the inquisition.

(The folks over at the Gender Equity Resource Center have a great list of links to both christian and non-christian spiritual resources.  For those struggling with the Bible specifically, I would point you to Mel White’s excellent book, “What the Bible does and doesn’t say about Homosexuality.”

For those looking to get beyond just the six or so clobber versus and into the heart of the queer theological discussion on what it means to be a LGBTQIA christian I would recommend, “Jesus Acted Up” and “Queering Christ” by MCC pastor Dr. Robert Shore-Goss as well as the excellent, “An Introduction to Queer Theology- Radical Love”  by Assistant Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Episcopal Divinity School Patrick S Chang. 

Be sure to also check out the JESUS IN LOVE website, which brings queer theology into a visual and tangible experience.

Dr. Shore-Goss also has a series of you tube videos online which systematically go through the so called “clobber versus” of the Bible.  You can find those here, here, here, and here.)


One Response to No Ma’am I’m not a sinner: How Homophobic Theology is Killing us

  1. Hear hear! Well said. The onus is on religion to *prove* injury. The battle is now on between Religion and Science.

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