It disheartens me that the same Bible that can encourage and build someone’s faith is rubbed in the faces of those on “deviant” paths. As a Christian, it hurts that some people don’t give Christianity a chance, and yet from the way scripture has been abused for centuries, I understand why they wouldn’t.
Many may ask me how I can “turn a blind eye” to what the Bible says as I stand up and declare myself as a Christian and a straight ally. I have taken the time to put the different verses into context and have found that they do not contradict what I believe. They further affirm that orientation itself has nothing to do with the debate, and the same-sex relationships of today do not reflect what is written in the Bible. It is possible to argue that today’s relationships may be condoned.
The earliest occurrence of “homosexuality” in the bible is the story that begot the term’s former name: sodomy. Both Sodom and Gomorrah were cities about to be destroyed for a whole host of selfish and violent lifestyles. The one sin they are remembered for does not line up with simply having a non-straight orientation. Genesis 19:4-9 basically depicts a scene of attempted gang rape by “all the people from every quarter”—obviously all, or mostly, straight men seeking violence and not love. The passage from Judges 19 is nearly identical and point only to hate crimes towards foreigners and not giving into “deviant” relationships.
Next come the verses that call men sleeping with men “as one lies with a female” an abomination (Lev. 18:22) and give lists that include “homosexuals” among other types of sinners that are considered ungodly (1 Cor. 6:9-10, 1 Tim. 1:8-11). They are not as absolute as they seem at first glance. What was written in Leviticus—an Old Testament book—is among a score of other rules known a “The Holiness Code” that was created to set apart the Israelites from the rest of the world.
Other rules involve incest, the eating of pork, the mixing of fibers in clothing and having tattoos. While incest is still considered a no-go by most societies, most of these rules were deemed cultural and are no longer adhered to anymore. However, by calling two men sleeping together an “abomination,” translations and history tell us that this rule is most likely referring to cult prostitution and certainly not towards monogamous same-sex relationships. Both the second and third verses I listed—both New Testament epistles written by the apostle Paul—have “homosexual” translated from a word Paul himself made up—“Arsenokoitai”—which better translates to men who take advantage of boys.
The last widely used bit of scripture is more debatable and is found in Romans 1:18-32. It briefly describes the history of Gentiles—all peoples of the world who are not Jewish—and their turning from God which resulted in Him having “gave them over to degrading passions…” which are then listed as women desiring women and men desiring men (1:16a).
While much can be argued by either side of this passage, I believe that “degrading” gives a sense of how it was looked down upon culturally at that point in history which then carried on until the present. While desire/lust is self-centered and not godly, the authentic, loving relationships that LGBT Christians would like to have, I believe, can be just as God-centered as heterosexual ones.