Some would like to equate homosexuality with sodomy or apply the terms interchangeably as though homosexuality and sodomy were the same thing or that the words had the same definition. The Bible however, is very clear about what sodomy is and who and what a Sodomite is. It is not accurate to assume or characterize a Sodomite as a homosexual or to say that a homosexual is by default a Sodomite. Clarification is needed to address a very important issue when it applies to what Scripture is condemning and who is being condemned when it comes to the sexuality of homosexuals and the sexuality of Sodomites.
For one thing, Sodomites, are the people of the city of Biblical Sodom. They are the residents of the city of Sodom. By default, the residents are not entirely homosexuals. There are male and female residents of Sodom. Their relationships are varied and their sexual orientation are as diverse as they are as a population in any city. For the purposes of defining who these Sodomites were and why the Bible even brings them up, you have to understand that the angry drunken mobs that were attacking Lot and demanding to know his angelic house guests were just that– DRUNK. They are also engaging in wild behavior and unrestrained lust, decadence, lustful over indulgence of sensuous pleasure, and so on. They were sensualists and pleasure-seekers acting intentionally in defiance of God. They were intent on engaging in non-consensual rape of Lot and his house guests, including Lot’s virgin daughters.
To say that these drunken mobs were comprised of gay men is missing the point. They were not gay. They were rebellious. They were seeking to defile and insult and dishonor Lot in defiance of God’s commandments and in defiance of the societal norms of Jewish Orthodoxy. Their sexual attractions and sexual orientation seems irrelevant to the fact that they intended to gang rape innocent people. We cannot say that all homosexual persons engage in gang rape or intend to rape both men and women (as was the intent of these mobs). Homosexuals are exclusively attracted to persons of the same sex. Homosexuals can engage in healthy, monogamous, consensual relationships. Many homosexuals are quite sober and do not form angry mobs for the purposes of violating men and women at whim.
Another aspect of Sodomy comes from Scripture that explains ritual prostitution. The context of much of the prohibitions against same sex sexual relations is taken as a prohibition against ritual prostitution of men as well as women who trade sexual favors with priests and priestesses of false gods for so-called “divine” favors from their various fertility gods like Molech and Ashteroth and so on. To ensure fertility, adherents of these false gods would ritually prostitute themselves before their priests and priestess in hopes of gaining favor from their idols and various pagan gods to ensure offspring. Fertility gods and goddesses were not uncommon through the Mesopotamian region and in what was considered Caanan and of course in Egypt. Numerous times in both Leviticus and in Deuteronomy as well as in Exodus, God through Moses made it clear that the chosen people of the twelve tribes of Israel were not to engage in idolatry or the worship of idols– this included sexual immorality and sexual prostitution to false gods in fertility rituals.
You will see an example of what I am talking about in Deuteronomy 23:17-18 for example.
In our times, homosexuality is not an expression of pagan worship. In fact homosexuality is simply the term that applies to any person who is attracted sexually or physically to a person of the same sex. It is not exclusively a religious experience or an expression of religious belief or disbelief. It is no more a religious ritual than two heterosexuals exchanging a handshake, a hug, or peck on the cheek is. Sodomy however, is describing ritual prostitution and is very specifically attached to acts associated with pagan worship.
This is sodomy as the Bible defines it as it is applied to the people of Sodom according to the story in Exodus of Sodom and Gomorrah. In contemporary times, the term sodomy seems to describe the acts of oral or anal sexual intercourse by homosexual men. Because of only a partial understanding of the Biblical reference, the word sodomy acquired different meanings over time. Under the Common Law, sodomy consisted of anal intercourse. Traditionally courts and statutes referred to it as a “crime against nature” or as copulation “against the order of nature.” In the United States, the term eventually encompassed oral sex as well as anal sex. The crime of sodomy was classified as a felony.
Because homosexual activity involves anal and oral sex, gay men were the primary target of sodomy laws. Culturally and historically, homosexual activity was seen as unnatural or perverse. The term sodomy refers to the homosexual activities of men in the story of the city of Sodom in the Bible. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their residents’ immorality became a central part of Western attitudes toward forms of non-procreative sexual activity and same-sex relations.
But the crime of Sodom was it’s people’s rejection of God through greed, corruption, lustful indulgence, pride, vice, and the practice of idolatry. In the Modern Era, and especially in mainstream homosexual culture throughout history, distinctions had to be made between sexual acts in worship to pagan gods and idols for favors and the sexual acts of consenting adults in dedicated monogamous relationships.
There are today Christian homosexuals and homosexuals of other faiths and religions who engage in consensual, mature monogamous relationships. The intent is not to rebel against God. Their attractions for persons of the same sex are inherent in their biology and genetic imprint. Their love for persons of their sex is an expression of their most natural and most sincere and honest preference. People today have generally outgrown and matured beyond the worship of false gods like Molech and Ashteroth. People have evolved beyond trading sex to priests and priestesses for favors and fertility. It would be illogical and inaccurate to equate the cultural taboos and prohibitions of Leviticus to 21st century sensibilities and our newly evolved understanding of relationships, human sexuality, and culture.