A Manipulation of Biblical Proportions
Dishonesty and glaring omissions deem the Religious Right's
stance on homosexuality illogical and irrelevant.
January 25, 2006
By John Grevstad
Once again members of the Religious Right are trying to convince
government officials to adopt the "morals" of a fundamentalist
In the state of Washington, religious conservatives led by Ken
Hutcherson, a self-anointed spokesperson for God, are trying to
persuade lawmakers that it is in Washington's best interest to continue
denying homosexuals equal protection in housing, employment and
other areas. They believe that extending these rights to our fellow
citizens is not only against the teachings in the Bible, but that
these kinds of liberating shenanigans put our collective soul at
Before I begin a little tour through biblical morality in regards
to homosexuality and an assortment of man's other transgressions,
it must be noted that the fundamentalist way is to take every word
written in the Bible as a literal truth. This means that all of
the events in the Bible are absolute historical fact and all of
the laws and moral codes are the direct commands of God and are
not to be violated.
Consequently, religious conservatives must acknowledge the historical
accuracy of the Adam and Eve story and "Intelligent Design."
They must believe that God killed all of humanity in a worldwide
flood, saving only Noah's family and the five million or so species
in the animal kingdom. They must also believe in the communication
problems at the Tower of Pisa and that Jonah was chillin' in the
belly of a whale with Pinocchio.
Or maybe I'm getting confused. Anyhoo, the Bible is to be taken
literally. I get it. We all get it.
When consulting the Old Testament, it didn't take me too long
before I discovered that Hutcherson is being too easy on gay Washingtonians.
The benevolent reverend only wants to deny them equal rights under
state law. God wants something else. "If a man lies with a man as
one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable.
They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."
(Leviticus 20:13) According to God, gay men are to be put to death
for their sin.
I do find it interesting that God does not order execution for
In spite of the words of the Lord, we all know that we can't round
up all of the gay men in America and execute them. This would be
"homocide." If I am not mistaken this was outlawed by those damn
socialists at the Geneva Convention.
Further problems arise when God addresses other sexual sins and
the resulting punishment. As it turns out, not only should we be
killing gay men, but we must also kill adulterers. God says, "If
a man commits adultery with another man's wife - with the wife of
his neighbor - both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put
to death." (Leviticus 20:10) If we did this, we would have
to execute Rudy Giuliani hundreds of times.
Perish the thought!
Apparently, Reverends Hutcherson, Dobson, Robertson, Falwell,
et al, have had some sort of divine negotiation with God that eluded
those of us who do not speak with Him on a daily basis. The result
of their supposed compromise is that we can't go and kill all of
the homosexual men in America; in a stroke of compassionate conservatism
we must instead deny them their legal rights.
However, if we are going to continue to deny homosexuals equality
because they break one of God's laws, then it is only fair that
we ponder legislation that will deny the same rights to all other
individuals who have broken one of God's laws. Construction on a
wall separating the church and the state that reaches to the moon
should start immediately.
There is one other issue at play here. The Old Testament is the
religious text of Jewish people. Personally, I have never heard
a Jewish American rail against homosexuality with the same venom
as fundamentalist Americans. It seems that Jewish people tend to
be an open-minded and tolerant group of people who see past the
anger and judgment of the Old Testament God to see His mercy, love,
It is undoubtedly a narrow minded "Christian" sect that
is manipulating the Bible in their efforts to continue the practice
of discrimination against homosexuals across the nation. Normal
people from a variety of other religious backgrounds don't seem
to care what other people do in the bedroom.
All of this religious confusion and conservative distortion of
biblical law led me to the next stop on my Biblical journey: the
New Testament. I needed to discover why Jesus hates homosexuals
As truth would have it, He doesn't.
Jesus never utters a word about homosexuality in any of the Gospels.
Even when he addresses the sin of lust he directs his lesson at
men lusting after women. If homosexuals wanted to manipulate the
Bible in the same way as religious conservatives they could say
that this is an endorsement of man-on-man lust. However, gay culture
isn't that dishonest.
There is no question that the leaders of the Religious Right are
well aware that Jesus never addresses the particular sin of homosexuality.
Anytime a half-baked idea enters a fundamentalist's head, they sprint
to the Bible looking for support. In this case, the support does
not come from the man that the religion was named after.
It does, however, come from Paul of Tarsus. Most people are familiar
with what happened to Paul on the Road to Damascus. People know
that he was a notorious persecutor of Christians prior to his religious
conversion. After this encounter, he started to persecute just about
everyone else, including homosexuals - and drunks, and tax collectors,
and revilers, and liars… and yes, it is Paul who finally condemns
lesbians. What a jerk.
For those who are interested, Paul's definitive list of the condemned
is located in the following passages (Romans 1: 26-27) homosexuals
and lesbians, and (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) everyone else.
Paul also gave us this little nugget of wisdom regarding pre-marital
sex. "It is better to marry than to burn." (1 Corinthians 7:7-10)
In the end, Paul's list of transgressions covers just about everybody.
Hell, I'm up there four times! I drink, I revile the Religious Right,
I had pre-marital sex, and I have told more that a few lies.
But at least I don't collect taxes.
Again, it is only fair that in addition to homosexuals, people
committing the aforementioned sins should be denied equal rights
in housing and employment. While we are at it, we might as well
take away the right to get married as well.
Now, I am not the only person in the world who has a problem with
Paul. Religious folk defend Paul's wacky sense of morality by saying
that he was a flawed man - he also believed that slaves should honor
their Christian masters (1 Timothy 6:1-2), and women shouldn't be
permitted to speak in church (1 Corinthians 14: 34-35). The problem
is that fundamentalists take every word that this imperfect man
said as if it was spoken by Jesus. Thomas Jefferson once said, "Paul
was the first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus." He was
Concerned Americans need to hold religious conservatives accountable
for their habit of picking and choosing morality from the Bible
with the sordid desire of influencing governmental leaders. They
should believe it all – like they say they do - and persuade the
government to enforce it all, or they should keep their religion
to themselves. They can't single out homosexuals for discrimination
and ignore the biblical transgressions of everyone else. It is illogical
and it exposes their bigotry.
It is dangerous for democracy and individual freedom to allow
the narrow-minded morality of the Ken Hutcherson's and James Dobson's
of the world to influence our local and national government.
In a stroke of good fortune, Jesus actually warns us about the
dangers of the religious braggart who use their blasphemy to influence
government in His name when he said, "For false Christs and false
prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as
to mislead, if possible, even the elect." (Matthew 24: 24)
By he way: has anyone started construction on that wall to the
John Grevstad is a high school English teacher in Tacoma, Washington.
He is the author of Red
State, Blue State: Defending the Liberal Jesus and Blue State Morality
from Red State Religion and Hypocrisy.