The Bible and LGBTQ+
I support the LGBTQ+ community. I am today a secularly-minded individual, but I have contemplated biblical arguments opposing the morality of homosexuality for many years, and I find such arguments theologically unsound. I have written this post to lay out my reasoning for the consideration of anyone in the Prose community who would like to read it.
Christians opposing homosexuality commonly cite Leviticus 18:22: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” (Here and elsewhere, I’m citing the KJV). Such citation places Leviticus in a position of authority. But from a contemporary perspective, Leviticus is… problematic. Leviticus also prohibits the eating of shrimp, scallops, and clams (11:10: “And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you”). Leviticus also explains that menstruation makes a woman unclean and that anyone who touches her for the seven days around menstruation is also unclean, so women should be kept separated (15:19 “And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even.” Some modern translations ditch the unseemly “put apart” bit, suggesting as it does the blood huts of “primitive” cultures, but the Latin “separabitur” is pretty unambiguous.) Women should also sacrifice two pigeons or two turtledoves (but not a partridge in a pear tree) to purify themselves following the end of the seven days (Leviticus 29:30). Needless to say, Christians today ignore these strictures; the explanation I’ve heard is that all these rules are specific to the social codes of the day and need not be followed in light of the New Testament, which is fair enough as it goes. But why, then, is Leviticus seen as an authority when it comes to homosexuality, but not on other subjects? To disavow parts of Leviticus while investing others with the authority of God smacks of cherry-picking. And if the goal of that cherry-picking is to delegitimize a marginalized group, that hardly seems to follow Christ’s teaching that the greatest commandment is “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
People sometimes also cite the destruction of Sodom as an object lesson in the wickedness of homosexuality, but an actual biblical reading does not support that despite the tradition of the term “sodomy.” The actual crime in Sodom was rape and violation of a guest, as indicated in Genesis 19:4-5 (“But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: “And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.”) There’s plenty of sin going on there without bringing homosexuality into account, and there’s no reason to assume homosexuality was the actual crime of Sodom. Additionally, in verse 8, the righteous man Lot whom God spares from destruction tries to sate the mob of rapists by suggesting they rape his virgin daughters instead (kind of like Neville Chamberlain and Hitler, but with female offspring rather than the Sudetenland), so this portion of the Bible might not be a moral polestar to help you sail your ethics boat.
The other clear references to homosexuality are from Paul in the New Testament, who clearly condemns it (1 Corinthians 6:9-10: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind”) But again, Paul holds some positions that are widely ignored today. 1 Corinthians 11:4-6 also discusses the proper haircuts and head coverings for women: “Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.” I’m tempted to just say, “Huh?” but let’s assume that Paul is a divinely inspired author who speaks the word of God. There should be an awful lot more hats and veils in churches. Yet head coverings are a quibble compared to 1 Timothy 2:11-12: “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” There are definitely Christians who practice this submission: one of my cousins swore during her wedding (while wearing a veil) to “love, honor, and obey” her husband. But there are plenty of others who would balk at submission and yet happily quote Paul to denigrate homosexuals and deny them rights. I disagree with my cousin’s worldview, but she’s walking the Pauline walk, and if she wants to talk the Pauline talk and oppose homosexuality, she’s at least being consistent instead of cherry-picking, which is what a majority of Christians do who cite Paul as moral arbiter in one spot and then blithely ignore what else he says.
Some Christians might disregard all such inconsistencies and say they simply defer to respected religious figures (i.e. the “it’s what my pastor said” defense). However, anyone seeking to outsource their moral thinking to a religious authority has a major theological problem named Jesus. The fact is, Jesus was an iconoclast. We’re talking about someone who strode up the steps of the temple, saw vendors and moneychangers operating by permission of religious authorities, and immediately threw their tables upside-down and started yelling. Everybody talks about the importance of being “a Good Samaritan” and helping those in need, but that’s only half the point of Jesus’s parable (Luke 10:30-37). After that man got beaten up by thieves and left for dead, a priest and a Levite passed by and did nothing before that Samaritan helped him. Samaritans were a hated people whom the Jews listening to Jesus scorned (see https://www.franciscanmedia.org/the-rift-between-jews-and-samaritans/). Meanwhile, the religious leader and the fellow Jew let the man lay there, and they were wrong. Religious leaders are not always to be trusted for perfect thought and action, Jesus is showing; they will not always do the right thing. (There’s also been the suggestion that the priest and Levite let the man lay there because touching a corpse would have made them ritually unclean and they thought the beaten man dead; if so, the story is an even clearer condemnation of putting religious law over love and kindness.) The Pharisees were viewed as the most expert interpreters of Jewish law, and they lined up hardcore against Jesus in several places in the New Testament, to the point where as a child, I thought “Pharisee” meant “a backstabbing jerk” and was shocked to learn it actually meant “a religious authority.”
Jesus did not come to enforce the law; he came to shake it up. He shook up the status quo so effectively that the secular and religious leaders of the day successfully engineered his execution in a bid to hold onto power (see John 19:6 and Matthew 27:1). And he still won! It was his followers who carried the day and a religion based on his teachings that dominated the world. Christ’s followers proceeded to set up churches everywhere. In 325 AD, the First Council of Nicaea drafted the Nicaean Creed and ruled that groups following other creeds (notably that promulgated by Arius) were enemies of Christianity; in 382 AD, Christian leaders met in the Council of Rome to establish which books belonged to the canonical Bible and which did not. Church leaders proceeded to spend the next several centuries persecuting and sometimes torturing and executing people whose views of Christ diverged from their own. So to be clear, the sequence goes something like this:
A) Jesus opposes religious dogma and leaders of the time.
B) Said religious leaders have Jesus executed.
C) Jesus’s followers establish new religious leaders and laws.
D) Jesus’s followers(?) enforce religious dogma and execute people in the name of
I have searched my vocabulary for a suitable phrase to summarize this turn of events, and I believe the most suitable I can find is, “What in the actual f***?” It’s the greatest irony I can identify in all of history: people unquestioningly following religious leaders and laws, regularly resorting to violence, in worship of someone who was killed for questioning religious leaders and laws.
To summarize, 1) the biblical case against homosexuality is based on Leviticus and Paul, but a majority of people who cite the Bible as a reason for opposing homosexuality shrug off other, problematic promulgations by Leviticus and Paul, as evidence by consumption of shrimp, a lack of blood huts, and a lack of head coverings, and 2) simply overruling such inconsistencies and opposing homosexuality because that’s what a religious leader does directly contravenes both parable of the Good Samaritan and the life of Christ, who, let us not forget, preached “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
The biblical case against transgenderism is also weak, and often hinges on the creation story (Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; nmale and female created he them.”) We’ve touched on the problematic morality of Genesis before (see above discussion of righteous Lot offering his daughters for gang rape), but let’s consider this passage anyway. God created male and female; where does it say he couldn’t create something else? It seems presumptuous to place the powers of the Almighty in a box because our categories are easier that way. The Bible is notably silent on the reality of intersex individuals born with both male and female anatomical structures. Are they not also created in God’s own image? Trying to infer an entire system of beliefs about transgenderism from the words “male and female created he them” is an incredible stretch, even by the standards of biblical exegesis.
But let’s consider also what it means to support transgender persons. Broadly and reductively speaking, we’re really looking at questions about treatment and legal rights. Numerous transgender individuals who seek medical treatment receive testosterone or estrogen, and most report almost immediate psychological and emotional benefits. (I base this assertion both on research and on the experience of a close friend who transitioned a few years ago). Are we to oppose the provision of a chemical that helps someone achieve a happier, healthier emotional and psychological balance because “that’s how God made them”? If so, we need to stop insurance companies from covering antidepressants and antipsychotics, because that’s how God made those people, too. In the legal realm, someone who opposes transsexuality may seek to prevent them from changing their gender on birth certificates or drivers’ licenses, and might oppose their marriage licenses. The New Testament makes crystal clear, though, that a Christian should “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and render unto God what is God’s” (Matthew 22:21). If your church refuses to change a trans person’s baptismal certificate to reflect a new gender, that’s your church’s business. But your church has no place seeking to influence government documents.
I would like to be as clear as possible that nothing in this post is intended to denigrate the Bible. My belief Leviticus and Paul should not be used to adjudicate all moral questions does not mean that the Bible lacks value. I have a good friend who earned his Doctorate of Theology at seminary and spent seven-ish years in ministry before changing careers. (He recently discovered me on Prose and is probably going to read this at some point – hello, good sir.) I once asked him about his view of the Bible, and his response became mine. “It’s a collection of writings by people seeking to understand God and do their absolute best to explain God in writing. I think it’s beautiful.” It makes me sad when people cherry-pick passages from this beautiful thing to worsen the lives of LGBTQ+ people I love.
WHO AM I?
I used to be straight
I used to be female
Then I was bi and female
Then I was pan and nonbinary
Then I was pan and trans male
Now I am panromantic and genderfluid and asexual.
I don't know what to do.
Am I a guy? Am I a girl? I have to choose a pronoun, but I don't want to.
Why do I need a pronoun? Why do I need to identify as anything?
WHO AM I?
All I want is to live without labels.
But at the same time I want a label
I want a category.
But I don't know where I fit in.
There are too many labels but also not enough.
I just want to be me.
I don't want to have to come out
I don't want to hide.
But here I am and I am waiting.
Waiting for a label
When one might never come along.
I am LGBTQQIP2SAA
But I am just me.
I don't want a label but I want a place to fit in.
I want a pronoun of my own.
I don't want to choose.
I just want to be me...
WHO AM I?
People should be whoever they want to be as long as what they are doing isn’t non-consensually hurting people or discriminating against people for things they can’t control like gender, race, sexuality, etc. I personally believe that as long as you aren’t being a dick to the people and environment around you you’re fine. I don’t think you’re sexuality needs a label if you don’t want to have one. That’s what I think.
Me personally....I'm queer. I'm not straight and I'm not a lesbian. I'm...something. I might be pansexual but I might be bisexual so it's easier to explain if I just say queer.
I’m *insert label here*
Being in this community is both enlightening and confusing. There are so many levels and labels involved that sometimes it’s easier just to say Queer. I’m so many different things that at this point I’m the rainbow personified.
Least it feels this way.
Why can’t I just be me and not have to worry about the label that comes with it?
OK. I’ll bite.
I think they've gone too far.
Not about the rights issues or anything like that, but all the subcategories, the sub-subcategories, the whittling down what people are into smaller and smaller groups.
It's getting to the point of absurdity. That + after LGBTQ... It represents about fifteen to twenty other letters.
What is the point? What's the point of even STATING that someone's asexual? All that means is, they aren't interested in sex with anyone. That's not homosexual, heterosexual, in fact, it shouldn't have any impact on someone's life.
There's certainly no stigma attached to someone who isn't interested in getting a girl/boyfriend, but that's the least of the issues with it.
The more you isolate, categorise and separate people, the more alienated they'll feel. It's counterproductive. What's wrong with just having everyone who's doesn't quite fall into the standard LGBTs just take the Queer and have done with it?
And before anyone complains... I'm gay. But I'm 52 so all this nonsense only started in recent years from my perspective.
there is no opinions on LGBTQIA+
there's no opinions. we exist no matter what. whether or not you decide to be angry about our existence is up to you. but what's the point? why be angry when you can feel just as much potency in love? why is there supposed to be one way to love, one way to present yourself, one way to exist? there isn't. we are not sick. we are not new. we are not going through a phase. we are not existing to force the "gay agenda" on the world. but even if we were, what's it to you? My existence does not harm you in any way. There's no option to have an opinion on my existence. I will exist no matter what you think. I will be gay and queer and proud no matter what.
The times they are a changing
"It's so different than when I was growing up."
I remember those words coming from my parents and grandparents mouths. Now they're coming from mine. Before I explain my view let me first say that I support any community that strengthens peoples confidence and encourages them to be who they are and to safely explore the different sides of themselves without judgment.
The gay/stragiht alliances were beginning to form when I was in highschool, people were either straight, gay or bi-sexual. While I don't understand all the different categories and sub-categories I'll call you whatever name you want to be called. I would have trouble calling an individual "them" however, not to be disrespectful simply because I'm used to calling a person "he" or "she". I don't care if you identify as one or the other or both or neither and hope that no one takes offense to being called "he" or "she" or just by their name.
When I was growing up the main catchphrase was "don't label me" now it seems the label can't be specific enough. It's hard for me to understand why someone would want to build such a small box to squeeze into. To me it seems constricting and needlessly complicated.
It makes me worry that people are finding a sort of false comfort in these specific labels. As humans we spend a lot of time trying to fit in while trying to find out who we are. Sometimes it feels like people are holding up these labels to the world like a Walgreens receipts, shouting, "Look, I found it, this one, it's me, this is who I am!" But what they don't understand in that moment is that, that is where the journey begins, not where it ends. You grow, you change and that's a HUGE part of the beauty of life.
When I was in my late teens/early twenties my parents were warning me about the permanency of tattoos. Now parents are warning about the permanency of using hormones and gender re-assignment surgeries. Children as young as kindergarten are being labeled as "transgender". Why are we expecting children to label themselves as anything but children? To me that is going too far. Not because I am against transgender but because I am against labeling a child. The whole point of freedom is to decide for yourself who and what you are. And there's certainly plenty of time to do it.