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.

~~~~~~

*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.

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7 Responses

  1. I wrote a post in response to this article. I am gay and agnostic, so please understand my position. My conclusion is:

    “I appreciate your perspective and your willingness to see beyond the traditional assumptions of the Christian church to find your own meaning behind the guidance of the Bible. I commend you and hope you know that such acts of compassion and skepticism are truly acts of righteousness. It may not seem like a lot, but it’s important that anyone who looks at current issues with a religious perspective is able to do so objectively and without bias; you have succeeded.”

    Please read the post and respond. I would appreciate your opinion. Thanks!

  2. And I appreciate your willingness to post on an overtly Christian blog and be open. A couple things that matter to me from within the church, in the broadest sense, are the way the church has “pet” issues it is overly-sensitive to while being deliberately ignorant of living the reality of what we are supposed to believe. The specific issue of homosexuality is one I’d almost rather not talk about because I know it would probably make a target out of me – perhaps from both sides of the issue, I don’t know.

    I have a brother who is gay and whom I dearly love. I KNOW he did not “decide” to be gay and he isn’t gay because he’s deliberately rebelling against and attempting to destroy God and the church. The church has chosen to single out one issue for extreme hatred while overlooking many others when it suits their goals. Just looking at it from within a Christian perspective there is something very wrong with this attitude.

    Personally, I see people as people. A person’s fundamental worth is not quantified by his/her sexual practices. Christianity is supposed to be characterized by love for people, with no exceptions, and Jesus did not hold His nose and avoid all contact with people who weren’t part of His religion. In fact, religious leaders of His day accused Him of being a “party animal” (my translation ;-)) because he hung out with “sinners.”

    Christianity is supposed to uphold righteousness – starting within its own doors. Adultery, incest and pedophelia are being tolerated within the church at the same time homosexuals are being overtly hated and basically barred from church. Something is wrong with this picture. That’s what concerns me.

    In fact, taking this discussion one step further, my brother who is gay was sexually assaulted by a church staff member. That person has never been held accountable for his actions. My brother was publically harassed, humilated and both emotionally and physically abused within the church for being gay before he even realized it himself. But my brother would not be welcome in many churches while the administrator who was the primary perpetrator in the verbal/physical assault on my brother over the course of several years still holds his position of authority in that same church, even after his treatment of my brother was exposed to the church leadership. THIS IS A BIG PROBLEM, and one I get very emotional about. Not many things make me mad, but this is definitely one.

    At the same time, as I’ve said before, I don’t lump God and the people who claim to be His followers into one pile. God isn’t the problem, it’s the people who proport to speak for Him while acting contrary to His nature and His Word. I think the church has enough on its plate right now learning to police itself; it doesn’t have room to be pointing fingers and judging others by a standard it refuses to meet itself.

  3. You are right and, despite my own adversity to religion for obvious reasons, I still maintain my own unique relationship with God and am slowly learning to live and deal with people that tell me what I can or cannot believe in. I too had no choice in the matter, and even tried to be un-gay and it only led to depression and eventual drug abuse to “get away” from myself. My sexuality doesn’t make me who I am, and for the most part I disagree with a lot of the gay community just as much because they themselves substantiate the stereotype, obviously I speak in generality when that’s not the case, but I don’t want to write too much. You are absolutely right that God is to be excluded from our discussion as far as the corrupt nature of the institutionalized church. I too was molested by a priest when I was in Jr. High, and I compartmentalized it. I found out years later, during therapy what had happened and I didn’t even believe it until they showed me deposition transcripts. Like I said, compassion is the only way. Religious dogmatics cannot point fingers when the church itself needs to be cleaned up. Hate is not what Jesus Christ taught. Persecution was most definately something God punished Pharoah for; but apparently it’s okay in modern society. I’m waiting for locusts; I jest.

  4. “I too had no choice in the matter, and even tried to be un-gay …”

    I don’t wish to be controversial, but I have a simple take on this very complex, and touchy subject. I think that there a coupe of points that get lost in the debate about homosexuality.

    We ALL sin.

    NONE of us can help it.

    I don’t think that claiming “it’s not a choice” mitigates the fact the Bible is pretty clear homosexuality is sinful. But so is lying. Or speeding. Or thinking lustful thoughts. Or hating your neighbor. We can’t help it. NONE of us can help it. But that doesn’t excuse us from the judgment we deserve.

    That’s why we need Jesus. And God’s grace.

    That’s why his grace is so wonderful. We don’t deserve it. None of us. And yet he offers it to all.

    Cheers,

  5. I understand your perspective because I am a believer who believes the Word is true, even where I don’t understand it. But my point in my post was not about whether homosexuality is a sin. The point I was making was about how teaching on Sodom and Gomorrah has been completely taken away from Scripture and used to vilify homosexuals when, based on Scripture, homosexuality had nothing to do with the destruction of those cities.

    I am also shining the light on a very imbalanced, rabid hatred commonly taught in churches toward people who are homosexual. I don’t see anyone barring the door of the church to people who got a speeding ticket last week, nor have I ever heard a spittle-spewing, red-faced diatribe on traffic violations. I also haven’t heard anyone teaching that you can’t possibly be a Christian or be going to heaven if you have 3 points on your license.

    There’s most definitely something wrong with this picture. But no one wants to admit that Christians could actually be imbalanced on this issue or that they might even have a sinful prejudice — not against sin but against people. And prejudice is rooted in hatred, which comes from a spirit of murder… Very bad stuff to be characterizing the church. If there were a scale for sin, that would actually trump homosexuality. 😉 That was the point of my post.

    — Danni

  6. Thanks for the response. I think you are right on target, and I wasn’t replying to your post as much as I was to some of the comments. “Modern-day Pharisees is the perjorative term I like to use to describe much of the church. I think Jesus would be upset at us as much as he was upset at the Pharisees of his day.

  7. Hmm… An interesting post. Personally, I think God is less concerned about whether we have all our theological ducks in a row and is more concerned with whether our hearts are toward Him. Sodom and Gomorrah – anyone who was raised in an American church probably equates these names with homosexuality. I remember the first time I read this verse… it jarred me…

    “For Jerusalem is ruined and Judah is fallen, because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of His glory and defy His glorious presence. Their respecting of persons and showing of partiality witnesses against them; they proclaim their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil [as a reward upon themselves].” Isaiah 3:8-9 (Amplified)

    I don’t know if you an see it or not, but to me, this verse shows that the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were sins of attitude – of the heart. Which was worse: that they were homosexual (actually, I think, if you read the account, they were bi-sexual), or that they were trying to force Lot to turn over his guests (who happened to be angels, but they didn’t know that) so that they could rape them? I think the issue was that they were so self-serving that they didn’t care who they hurt as long as they got what they wanted – through violence, if possible. THAT is the definition of lawlessness, otherwise know as sin (1 John 3:4).

    My 2 cents. 😉

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