I often get told by people who denounce homosexuality that they only do so because “Jesus would not approve”, or that “The bible is against it”.
One thing apologists and right wing Christians seem to take umbrage to is my firm denunciation of the worst elements of religion. Does that make me anti-religion? Yes and no. Yes, in that I am very much against the worst parts of organised religion. The hatred amongst fundamentalist groups (regardless of individual belief), the protection of child abusers in certain hierarchical faiths, and so on. Individual people who are religious? Well, I may personally believe their faith is incorrect, but I acknowledge they equally believe my atheism is incorrect. As long as we can agree to disagree – that’s what matters.
But what really gets my goat is the simpleton who makes the claim that the bible says homosexuality is bad, and therefore – fait accompli, homosexuality is bad. This is just a shield used by bigots to avoid confronting their own fears, blood lust, and perhaps even nascent same-sex attractedness.
Because if you cherry pick from the bible what is or is not a bad thing – if you can say in one breath “homosexuality is bad because the bible says so”, but then cast aside other biblical directions you find uncomfortable or unsavoury because they’re things that say, “need to be interpreted in a historical context”, or some other excuse – then that makes you a bigot.
For instance, one of the most common parts of the bible used to denounce homosexuality is Leviticus. Leviticus seemed like a pretty angry sort of of guy. The classic Leviticus quotes are:
18:22 – Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination
20:13 – If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them
Yay! Proof that gays are bad. Except …
That same section of the bible says:
People who are infirm, blind, deformed, manifesting dwarfism, etc., are not allowed to “approach the alter” – i.e., worship. Basically, it seems to indicate that people of good faith should turn away anyone who isn’t worthy. (21:17 – 21:24).
So, if your church group has anyone with any blemish, or any dwarves, or anyone with an injury or disease, in it, and uses Leviticus to denounce homosexuality, you’re all bigots. And the blemished, diseased and injured in your groups are hypocritical bigots.
It also says that you can keep non-believers as slaves (21:44, 21:45) – and not only keep them as slaves, but their progeny also instantly become slaves to you at birth.
Leviticus just goes on and on. He’s a bit of a party pooper if you follow him rigorously. No shellfish, no pork, kill adulterers, etc.
Now, some would go on to say that Leviticus is old testament, and christians just go on the basis of the new testament. Well, for some, that may be true – but many seem to fall back to Leviticus when it comes to defending a hatred towards those of us who are attracted to the same sex. They also seem to forget what the focus of the christian faith said about homosexuality:
The argument I’m making here has admittedly been made ad nauseam, and the likelihood of me convincing a bigot to change his or her ways on the basis of this logic is slim. People who use these old quotes to cling to hatred rarely look for, or see the logic right in front of their eyes.
So, here’s the rub: if you claim that homosexuality, or homosexuals are bad because the bible tells us so, but you’re not 100% obeying all the directives in the bible, you’re not really against homosexuality because of the the bible. You’re just against homosexuality, and using the bible to defend that bigotry. It’s so you can sleep comfortably at night, excusing yourself for the hateful and spiteful things you say.
I think I know in that case which of is are the better person.