Religious conservative folks who attack or criticize the LGBT community often cite Leviticus 18:22 or 1 Corinthians 6:9 or Ephesians 5:3 and so on. And invariably they mention the “sins of Sodom”. Hence the words and applications of “Sodomite” and “Sodomy”. The interesting thing is and the amusing observation I can make as a Christian transgender girl is this: Why is it that these so-called Bible believing Christians who quote Bible in offense against the LGBT community never seem to read more than just the specific passages or verses that obviously seem to support their cause?
There is more to Leviticus than just 18:22… in fact, if they at least read the whole of the 18th chapter, they would understand the context and historical framework as to why 18:22 is relevant to the people of Israel at that time. Which is a warning against following the pagan religious practices of Egypt and Canaan, which encouraged ritual prostitution and sexual abandon during religious rituals to false pagan gods. Basically, it is sexual idolatry and the use of sex as a form of worship that is being condemned here. The messages are directed to heterosexuals, married or single, who would do as Egyptians and Canaanites have done, in participating in homosexual acts contrary to their own personal natural inclinations to be heterosexual. The Egyptians and Canaanites participated in sexual perversions as religious believers of pagan gods. They would approach the priests and priestesses of their particular religious cults and orders and exchange sexual favors in exchange for favors from the gods. (i.e. fertility rites, rituals to cure impotence, rites and rituals to consummate marriages with the blessings of pagan gods, etc.) So basically, God, speaking through Moses and Aaron is commanding his chosen people, primarily heterosexual married or single heads of households and single or married heterosexual women to refrain from going against their obedience to God by partaking of sexual perversions in religious practices, ritual prostitution, and thinking that somehow the exchange of sex with priests and priestess was going to somehow win them divine favors.
Which brings me to the subject of Sodom. There are some who would say the reason why God hates the LGBT community is because of what He did to Sodom. And the Sodomites are basically homosexuals–therefore smiting Sodom was God’s punishment of homosexuality.
The truth is, Genesis 19:1-11 tells the story of Lot taking in two very special house guests– two angelic messengers from God. A mob within the city of Sodom, made up mostly of drunken heterosexual men, sought to storm into Lot’s house and forcefully rape his esteemed house guests. However, Lot offered to give up his two virgin daughters to this unruly mob of rapists instead to protect his angelic house guests.
The scene depicts a mob of gang rapists. They were not intending mutually consensual sex in a mature and loving nature. They were there to engage in a violent act of violation– violation of Lot’s home, safety, sanctuary, and hospitality. They were there to violate laws and customs concerning the care and well-being of esteemed house guests. They had also accused Lot of having come to Sodom as a judge who would persecute their customs and habits.
The prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel 16:49-50 spells out more specifically what the true sins of Sodom were.
“Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness, ; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed to abominations before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit.”
So the people of Sodom were over indulgent, lazy, decadent, full of themselves, self-centered, drunken, unruly., greedy, perverted, and arrogant.
So what we have is a fuller picture of a mob of drunken perverted men who wanted to gang rape Lot’s house guests in a fit of over indulgence and wanton sexual perversion. This is a far different picture from what homosexuality and healthy relationships are today, is it not?
Now do keep in mind though that with any relationship, there are risks and consequences to consider– more so especially in Biblical times! In Biblical times, it is reasonable to have many warnings against promiscuity and fornication and homosexuality. Think about it. There were no reasonable considerations for sexually transmitted diseases– no reliable contraceptives, no clinics, no vaccines, no awareness of AIDS or HIV, no means of protecting one’s self from contracting viruses but to abstain. Hygiene was not the same then as it is today. Cultures were different as well! Obviously. Attitudes about our bodies and sexuality and relationships have changed and adapted as we have changed and adapted. I suppose it could be argued that we have changed for the worse… but then again, we have certainly advanced our understanding of biology, genetics, medicine, sexuality, disease, and disease prevention.
It is reasonable to be careful when engaging in sexual relationships– it is also reasonable to be true to one’s self and to be honest with one’s self. It is also reasonable to take a closer look at the Bible and understand the context and background from which the text is written. You may find more truths than just “choice verses” to win an argument with.