Homosexuality in the Bible?

I was doing some reading this morning about the Bible and homosexuality on ReligousTolerance.org, and discovered that there are three possible same-sex relationships in scripture.

Ruth & Naomi

After the death of Ruth’s husband, Ruth tells her mother-in-law the following:

“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” – Ruth 1:16-17 (NIV)

This verse invokes such devotion that many heterosexual and same-sex couples use it during marriages and civil ceremonies. Some Bible scholars have speculated about a romantic relationship between between Ruth and Naomi, but there is no clear evidence in scripture. This theory is based on Ruth 1:14, which mentions that “Ruth clave onto her.” (KJV) The Hebrew word translated here as “clave” is identical to that used in the description of a heterosexual marriage in Genesis 2:24: “ Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (KJV)

David & Jonathan

“…the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. From that day, Saul kept David with him and did not let him return to his father’s house. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.” – I Samuel 18:1-4 (KJV)

The first part of this reading is pretty self-explanatory, but the latter part becomes even more clear when we understand that people in those days didn’t wear underwear. Disrobing in front of another man would have been extremely unusual behavior then and now.

“…and they kissed one another and wept with one another, until David exceeded.” – I Samuel 20:41(KJV)

This verse has been so controversial among Bible translators that it’s difficult to find two translations that are the same. The Living Bible completely removed the reference to two men kissing, changing it to shaking hands. The original Hebrew text translates as “the two men kissed and wept until David became great”. The word translated as “great” is “gadal”, which has lead some theologians to interpret this verse as sexual arousal.

“I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.” II Samuel 1:26 (KJV)

Since platonic relationships between men and women were unheard of in this time period, the only relations that David would have had with women would have been of a sexual nature. Comparing sexual love for women with platonic love for men makes no sense, so this verse could be referring to physical/romantic love.

Daniel & Ashpenaz

“Now God had brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.” – Daniel 1:9 (KJV)

The original Hebrew words that describe the relationship between these two men were “chesed v’rachamim”. “Chesed” is commonly translated as “mercy” and v’rachamim” translates as either “mercy” or “physical love”. There is no reason to have the word “mercy” repeated, so some scholars believe the correct interpretation would be “mercy and physical love”.

Both men were eunuchs, which means they were castrated, so there is question about whether a physical relationship would have even been possible. However, males who are castrated after puberty have been known to retain their sex drives.

(The information at ReligiousTolerance.org was very useful in the writing of this entry, and I recommend that you check them out.)

Fifth time’s the charm

One of my coworkers is getting ready to be married for the fifth time. He’s running around the workplace beaming with pride, expecting everyone to be as elated about it as he is. While I would like to share in his joy, I just can’t feel anything but resentment knowing how strongly he feels about banning gay marriage.

It’s amazing to me that the same crowd that preaches family values and the sanctity of marriage doesn’t see a problem with multiple weddings and divorces, or the trail of broken homes and shattered lives of children left in the wake. Where is this so-called “sanctity” when vows aren’t being honored and unions last from a few hours to a few years at most?

Anti-gay conservatives are constantly using verses from the Bible to “prove” their viewpoints that homosexuals are sinners and damned to hell, but they never talk about the multitudes of verses dealing with God’s negative views of divorce and remarriage. It’s easy to justify something when you strongly desire it to be that way.

I guess the Cheyenne Indian proverb that says “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins” would apply in this case. If everyone who’s opposed to my lifestyle had to view the world through my eyes, they might see things a little differently.

12 reasons gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry

NOTICE: This list uses sarcasm to point out the ignorance of arguments against same-sex marriage. It helps if you read it with a sense of humor. Just for the record, I am gay and support marriage equality for all.

  1. liberty_justice_gay_marriageHomosexuality is not natural, much like eyeglasses, polyester, and birth control are not natural.
  2. Heterosexual marriages are valid because they produce children. Infertile couples and old people cannot get legally married because the world needs more children.
  3. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children because straight parents only raise straight children.
  4. Straight marriage will be less meaningful, since Britney Spears’s 55-hour just-for-fun marriage was meaningful.
  5. Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and it hasn’t changed at all: women are property, Blacks can’t marry Whites, and divorce is illegal.
  6. Gay marriage should be decided by the people, not the courts, because the majority-elected legislatures, not courts, have historically protected the rights of minorities.
  7. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are always imposed on the entire country. That’s why we only have one religion in America.
  8. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people makes you tall.
  9. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage license.
  10. Children can never succeed without both male and female role models at home. That’s why single parents are forbidden to raise children.
  11. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society. Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and we could never adapt to new social norms because we haven’t adapted to cars or longer lifespans.
  12. Civil unions, providing most of the same benefits as marriage with a different name are better, because a “separate but equal” institution is always constitutional. Separate schools for African-Americans worked just as well as separate marriages will for gays & lesbians.


UPDATE: As everyone knows, same-sex marriage is now legal in the United States. Even so, this post from 2006 continues to be one of the most visited on my site. Although I didn’t know who the original author was when I first posted it,¬†I recently discovered it was created by The Gator Gay-Straight Alliance at the University of Florida. Enjoy!