About Christian HomosexualityRobert W. Alexander(Robert W. Alexander,
Laguna Hills, California)There has been so much out-and-out loathing dumped on homosexuals by the many practitioners of Christianity for the past 1,800 years that we wonder why gays remain in the fold at all. We see members of the Metropolitan Community Church --- for example --- praying to that same sourpuss Old Testament God who, through the ægis of various fundamentalist religions, is a delusion and a curse to them. We wonder that they don't just junk the whole sordid mess and become Tibetan Buddhist monks, Taoists, or Jainists --- religions that are certainly more tolerant and forgiving of different lifestyles.The problem, as we see it, is that most of the militant practicioners of Christianity seem to loathe Christ and everything he stood for: tolerance, loving-kindness, forgiveness, and an avoidance of pitfalls of Calvinism --- that is, acknowledging that wealth is most probably incompatible with divinity (unless you choose to give it all away). But habit seems to hang heavy around the gay bearers of the cross. Rev. Alexander, with true Christian tolerance, is one of those who manages to hold the Judeo-
Christian system in high reverence, forgiving the vicious hostility of most of his religious coreligionists towards his admitted homosexuality.In this short pamphlet, he states that scholarship has revealed that there is no anti-gay bias in the Bible. He cites the love between Jonathan and David (1 Samuel: 18-20); the love between Naomi and Ruth (Ruth 1: 1-18); and the "intense and unusual love" between John and Jesus (John 13: 1-25). He points out that most misinterpretations come from a poor translation of the original Hebrew: for example, toebah (as used in Leviticus) means "the Israeli people" --- as opposed to pagans --- and, specifically, in ritual worship, means "idolatry." At no time should it be translated as "abomination."
He also suggests that a reading of Galatians 2 and 3 will reveal so many prohibitions, that
any Christian who condemns another Christian based on one aspect of the Mosaic Law ...is inconsistent in applying Scripture if [he] doesn't also personally insist on and observe all other aspects of the law....Do we eat ham or bacon? Do we use the Sabbath for anything other than rest and worship? Do we wear clothing of mixed fibers, such as wool and linen? If we do, then we are violating God's law for Israel's daily Iife.
Indeed, one who studies the Old Testament carefully will find some alarming directives lurking about here and there. Deuteronomy 22: 23-24 says that the penalty for adultery is death by stoning (this is repeated in Leviticus 20: 10). Then --- according to Leviticus 12: 4 --- immediately after giving birth, and for thirty-three days thereafter, a woman is unclean, and shall not be allowed in church. Anyone with a blemish, or who is "lame," or who has a "flat nose, anything superflous, crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eyes, or be scurvy" shall not be permitted to partake of church rituals. (Leviticus 20: 18-21).
If your country goes to war --- for instance, in Panama or the Middle East --- and if you see a beautiful woman among the captives, you are to take her home with you, and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails, and go into mourning. "After 30 days, you shall be her husband." (Deuteronomy 21: 11-13.)
Those Middle Americans who wake up one day and find that their son has shaved his head, stuck rings up his nose, and stays away until all hours will be comforted by Deuteronomy 21:21 which defines him as "rebellious;" as such, "all the men of the city shall stone him with stones, that he die..." (See if Family Values will go to court to protect you if you elect that as a way to keep the family intact.)
For the 125,000,000 American women who like their pantsuits, levis, or shorts: Deuteronomy 22 says that "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man...for all that do so are an abomination unto the Lord thy god." If a man take a virgin for a wife, and starts badmouthing her, he shall pay a fine "of 100 shekels;" but if he marries her, and it is found that she is not a virgin, "the men of the city shall stone her with stones until she die." (Deuteronomy 22: 19-21)
And here's bad news for those who have had troubles in the groin department: "He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation." (Deuteronomy 23:1)
There are long passages given over to good and bad foods --- and one of the worse seems to be piggies. Thus, according to both Deuteronomy and Leviticus, if Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell downs a Bacon Cheeseburger Supreme, that's a violation of the moral code as surely as if they were to start appearing at religious services in drag (especially if it is mix of wool and cotton).
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Alexander's writing and his appeal to scholarship are convincing enough, but the truth of the matter is that by sticking with Christianity, he is making for a tough row to hoe. The Bible is as much a matter of interpretation as the I Ching or The Book of the Tao. It has lasted as long for the same reason: any and all can read any and all interpretations into it and feel the inestimable comfort that divine order is on their side.--- Lolita Lark