Sodom and Gommorah & the Modern Church

My previous post about church leaders and homosexuality opened up another interesting point, so I thought I’d dig around in it a bit.

In church, I grew up being taught that Sodom and Gommorah were destroyed because of homosexuality.  Actually, the Bible says these cities were destroyed because “they were wicked and sinners” (Gen. 13:13) and makes no specific or implied connection between homosexuality and their destruction. 

Even more clearly, Ezekiel 16:49 says, “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.”  God very succinctly spells out exactly why He destroyed Sodom and Gommorah and it was not because of homosexuality.  It was because of:

  • Pride — and religious pride is the worst sort because it masquerades as humility
  • Gluttony and/or being characterized by excessive self-gratification
  • Idleness
  • Lack of concern for those in need; specifically lack of active involvement in helping the needy change their lives

Now, if there was ever a verse that more clearly described our culture, and even more specifically the modern Christian church including fundamentalist churches, I don’t know what it could be! 

How often do we hear preachers go on about how God is going to destroy our country because of our stance on homosexuality? It looks to me like it’s more likely He would destroy it because the church has become characterized by pride, self-gratification, idleness, and inaction toward those in need.

Another interesting point to note, when God told Abraham He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham pleaded for the cities (Gen. 18). Ultimately, God said He would spare the cities if there were just 10 righteous people living there. Just 10 righteous people between the two cities would have saved them all. And Lot’s family, who lived in Sodom, included at least 8 people. It is apparent, through the course of the narrative, that not even Lot’s immediate family were righteous. But if Lot had reached just his own family and in-laws the requirement for 10 righteous people would have been met and all the lives in those two cities would have been spared. And preachers like to point the finger at homosexuality???

In the church we spend so much time pointing fingers outward, when those inside our doors need to get themselves straight first. The rest would most likely work itself out in the process of Christians living out relationship with Christ if we would just be responsible for getting our own affairs in order! If Christians are so incredibly concerned about affecting society, looking inside our own pews will be more effective than all the political action we can stir up.

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Another Thought on “God’s Perspective…”

In reading back over my post about God’s perspective on abusive church leaders, I was struck again by God’s choice of wording:

…they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.

I have long wondered at the particular venom church leaders within fundamentalist Christianity speak of homosexuals. In the unwritten “hierarchy of sin” homosexuality is the “big one.” Aside from the fact that there is no “hierarchy of sin” in the first place, I always wondered why this one particular issue rated such cruel teeth-bared name-calling, and complete denigration of the simple value of the humans involved. I noticed, too, the way homesexuals were spoken of was exactly the same way a white supremacist would speak of an African American, and the way I also heard Baptist preachers speak of Catholics and the Pope. It didn’t take a genius to see the attitude behind the verbage was motivated by extreme prejudice (an attitude specifically spoken against repeatedly in the Word, but that’s another issue), not protection of righteousness.

However, in looking again at this verse (Jer. 23:14) I find it ironic that God draws the parallel between these religious authorities and Sodom and Gomorrah. In church we are taught that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of homosexuality.* I know that God does not view anyone with the wild-eyed prejudice many preachers demonstrate toward homosexuals. What strike me about this is that these preachers who have such a rabid attitude toward homosexuals are viewed by God as being equal to those whom they hate, IF you use their own logic. Since God does not state the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was because of homosexuality, He is not making the analogy between church leaders and homosexuals. My point here is the interesting connection between these preachers’ judgment of homosexuals and God’s judgment of the preachers.

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*Actually, the Bible says Sodom and Gommorah were destroyed because they were “wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.” (Gen. 13:13) The Bible does not say it was because of homosexuality. Preachers have made the assumptive connection between the fact that there were homosexuals in Sodom and Gomorrah and the fact that God destroyed the cities, when the Bible does not say homosexuality was specifically the reason. This has opened up another “can of worms” so I’m going to address it in another post.