Recently, a friend on Facebook posted a long note stressing her displeasure with Christians who are anti-gay, reminding them that Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father, except through me” and not “”I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me, oh and except for the gays and you have to be ______ denomination, and your favorite color has to be purple.” The responses were supportive with one responder reminding my friend that Romans 1:18-32 contained some verses that, along with Leviticus, were used to justify the mistreatment of GLBT persons.
In any discussion of Biblical passages, we must first read the text in question.
New International Version (NIV)
God’s Wrath Against Sinful Humanity
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
(Source: Romans 1:18-32 via Bible Gateway).
Anti-equality supporters continuously talk about the “unnatural act” of homosexuality, using, perhaps Romans 1:26-27 as the basis of their claims.
This line of thought really has its roots in Genesis 1:28:
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
(Source: Genesis 1 via Bible Gateway).
This line of thinking sets up a false belief that humans are somehow above or outside the natural order. In fact, it is the exact opposite. We are not above or outside the natural order, we are as subject to the natural order as a bear or shark is.
Therefore, any action that a human takes is a natural act.
There are some actions, such as murder, pedophilia, theft, incest, rape, and bestiality that we, as a society, have agreed are reprehensible acts and are punishable under the law. In effect, when making and enforcing such legislation, we are bettering the human condition and stepping away from our baser natures. It does not, however, make these acts any less natural than any other act a human can do.
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