A Different Perspective
On August 23-26, in St.Lucia, there was a celebration of her first pride month with the theme “Persist with Pride.” This was an important milestone for many reasons. For example, male homosexuality activity is illegal on the island and members of the LGBTQI community have been discriminated against on the island. Some people don’t identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual,or transexual in publiv. Some anti-LGBTQI sentiments on the island are because of religious reasons and many of the laws against homosexuality are from colonial days.
Before the Pride event took place and even during the event , many people expressed their bigotry outwardly against the pride event. However, there were many supporters which provided enough enthusiasm to hold the event. There were some religious leaders especially those of the Pentecostal denomination who clearly believe , that homosexuality is a sin and did not want the event to happened nor do they want the laws of old be changed or updated.However, the head of the Catholic Church in St.Lucia and the Methodist minister Archbishop Robert Rival and Superintendent Seth Ampadu said in March and April of this year that the law should be reviewed and updated with if no longer serves its purpose.Both religious clergy did however, state that they don’t hate those in the LGBTQI but hate the sex acts in which they participate. In my opinion, this is problematic because it is not a lifestyle or an activity or choice. I must commend the two clergy for their willingness to review the laws in attempts to potentially update them.
Being a member of the LGBTQI community is not a sin or immoral. Those who are against members of the LGBTQI community based their reasoning on the Bible but as a student of the Bible and its social world, I contend that the texts used against homosexuality are not used and understood in their full context .
Hence in light of the Pride month that took place , I would like to offer a different perspective and interpretation of the Biblical texts used starting with the Old Testament /Hebrew Bible .
- Homosexuality was part of the ancient Near East .When Leviticus 10 and 20 were written (the holiness code) ancient Israelites were trying to separate themselves from other people from the Near East. Michael Coogan in his article, God and Sex , shares my sentiments . He states that the code of purity was meant to distinguish between the behavior of the Israelites from the polytheistic Canaanite . (Coogan 135 October 2010 )
- The Hebrew Bible only condemns male homosexuality and doesn’t condemn it for women also. Thus if we are taking an ancient text literally, perhaps we shouldn’t discriminate and judge lesbians, since the code condemns male homosexuality. See what I did there? Perhaps we shouldn’t use an ancient text that dictates to people how they live especially if they are not hurting anyone.
- The next text that is used to discrimate against gays and lesbians is the Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 . This text when read properly and accurately does not specifically speak of homosexuality per-say. If we take our time to read Genesis 19:5-10 you will understand the men of the city wanted Lot to give the angels to them and Lot offered up his daughters (which is problematic ) but the men of the city insisted that they wanted the angels. This text is not about consenting homosexual relations but about attempted rape. Mark Allan Powell supports my view that this was attempted rape in his piece in the Harper Collins Bible Dictionary.
- The Jewish prophets were not clear on the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. Louis Crompton in his book Homosexuality and Civilization states the Jewish prophets are not as clear about the sin. According to Crompton, the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and Zephaniah vaguely mention the sin of what caused the destruction . However, Ezekiel specified that the cities were destroyed because the lack of social justice. (Crompton 2006 37-39).
Thus, Old Testament and Hebrew Bible laws should not be used to discriminate against the LGBTQI community.
Many people would say that we are not under the Old Testament anymore but under a new law established by Jesus Christ and the New Testament also condemns homosexual behavior. Though the New Testament seems to speak out against homosexuality, I will argue for the most part it doesn’t.
- Jesus does not speak about homosexuality in any of texts that we have. Margaret Aymer in her article What do the Gospels say about sex and sexuality, states that Jesus says nothing negative or positive about homosexuality. She conveys that there are some scholars that say, Jesus encounters a same sex sexual relationship when he is asked to heal the slave of the Roman centurion. She agrees that sexual relationships like these were common but there is no evidence for that in the text. Aymer conveys that there are some scholars who believe that there was a romantic relationship between Jesus and the beloved disciple. She contends that there is no evidence of a sexual relationship but the text does not explain the friendship either. Aymer states that the Gospels are not concerned about same sex relations as it was not very important to the writers. Aymer states that the Gospel writers were more concerned about how to live as a faithful servant, the writers were concerned about because of the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70CE.(Aymer 2009 4). Hence, I am of the opinion that since Jesus didn’t say it and many of us here in St.Lucia are followers of Christ then homosexuality is not a sin.
- When Jesus refers to Sodom, he does not mention homosexuality, Jesus in Matthew 10:14-15 tells his 12 disciples that the punishment for those who don’t welcome in their homes will be far worse than what Sodom and Gomorrah got. Alluding to the fact that the sin was the lack of charity and hospitality.
- I will concede that Jude1:7 may imply condemnation but I can argue that the strange flesh could mean angels. Hence you shouldn’t be screwing angels. Another argument that I can make about the phrase strange flesh is that it could also be referencing foreigners thus the support of the argument is lack of hospiltality and charity .
- Romans 1:26-27 Beverly Roberts Gaventa, in her article, “What does Romans 1 teach about homosexuality and how should we live in response? states that Romans 1 does not address homosexuality as an orientation, as the people in Paul’s time did not deal with heterosexual or homosexual as an orientation. She also states that Romans does not address ordination or leadership of gay people in the Christian community. (Gaventa 2009). Colin Kruse states in his book, Paul Letter to the Romans, says that Paul was condemning those who are heterosexual who experienced with homosexuality. (Kruse 2012).
- 1 Corinthians 6:9, Robert Brawley talks about in his article, What does 1 Corinthians 6:9, teach about homosexuality and how we should live in response. He argues that it is unclear if Paul is speaking against homosexuality. It is not clear because of the translation from the Greek. He states Malakai means literally means soft and is used in Greek to describe effeminate men. He says that many people interpret the text as same sex behavior between two males. Nevertheless, the King James Version translates it to effeminate and Luther translates it as weakling. The Revised Standard Version combines Malakai and Arsenokoitai into one translation sexual perverts. The New Revised Version translates into male prostitutes (Brawley 2009). Thus because 1st Corinthians translations from the Greek to English is not clear, we cannot in my opinion use it to discriminate or exclude members of society
Many people will argue that homosexuality is unnatural and God in the Bible didn’t create Adam and Steve or Eve and Evelyn but Adam and Eve. I contend that the Bible is not scientific or a history book but mostly literature made up of psalms, proverbs, fables, legends, letters, some history, mythology and parables.
Homosexuality is natural. In animals (and humans are animals), there is implied homosexual or bisexual behavior. According to Zuk Bailey in the article “Same sex sexual behaviour and evolution.“Trends in Ecology and Evolution 24 (8),these behaviors include same sex sexual activity, courtship, affection, pair bonding and parenting among sex animal pairs (Bailey 2009 ,439-46). Other scientists such as Bruce Bagemihl and Simon Levay agree that there are homosexual and bisexual practices in animals. Therefore if homosexuality is unnatural, then the rest of creation would not engage in it. Most scientists don’t view homosexuality as a choice . The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the DSM in 1973 stating that scientific evidence does not support the case that it is a mental illness. Hence the argument that homosexuality is unnatural is already void by science.
If we are a Christian nation, then based on the texts explained and given we should allow our fellow brothers and sisters to love who they want without the being discriminated for who they are.
Lastly, I will argue that religion and state should be separate and that these laws should be updated and reviewed..While the majority of St. Lucians are Christians, not all Christian St. Lucians believe that it is a sin and we are not an island nation made up of only Christians. Everyone whether religious or not live here and the laws should reflect that.
I want to state that whether or not the religious texts condemn homosexuality or not-it should not matter, as we do not live in the ancient world anymore. The world has evolved and we as a people should evolve. It is okay to have our religious beliefs, as someone religious, I understand, our beliefs brings us peace and comfort, however, we should not take everything literally from an ancient text. Otherwise, this would translate to women literally having to shut up in church, slaves obeying their masters, we would be taking up our crosses literally, women would be stoned to death, rape victims would marry their rapists and since the Bible was written in the ancient world that consider women and children property, fathers would murder their own children and parents will leave their unwanted children on hills, mountains and in the elements to die or for wild animals to take. We don’t live in that world, thus we should evolve with the rest of the world.
Hell, our colonial masters, France and Great Britain, in which our laws are based on have moved on, so should we. HECK everyone should just mind their damn business. Your business is not private, everyone wants to know your business ,be in your business and everyone wants to stop you from doing your business but I digress.