Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Homosexuality and the Bible

From Between Two Worlds "Homosexuality and the Bible," resources about the Biblical view of homosexuality:
"Robert Gagnon is Associate Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is 'the leading scholarly defender of the church's historic understanding of homosexuality as revealed in the Bible.'

You can access his work online at www.robgagnon.net.

I would recommend starting with this interview, which gives an overview and defense of his position."
Toward the end of the interview, most of which is about what the Scriptures teach about homosexuality, Professor Gagnon says:
"We should love all people, regardless of whether they engage in immoral activity or not. Love is a much better, and far more scriptural, concept than tolerance.

Jesus lifted up the command to 'love one’s neighbor' in Leviticus 19:18—a command in the Holiness Code—as the second great command. We often miss the intertextual echo to Leviticus 19:17, which not only says that we should not hate, take revenge, or hold a grudge against our neighbor but also says that we should 'reprove' our neighbor 'and so not incur guilt because of him.'

If we really love somebody, we will not provide approval, let alone cultural incentives, for forms of behavior that are self-destructive and other-destructive. Jesus combined an intensification of God’s ethical demand in the areas of sex and money with an active and loving outreach to sexual sinners and economic exploiters. We should do the same: love the sinner, hate the sin.

Concretely, this means abhorring demeaning descriptions of homosexuals as 'fags,' 'queers,' and the like. It means supporting fair and equal prosecution of violence done to homosexuals. It might even mean—consistent with Jesus’ actions toward the adulterous woman—decriminalization of homosexual behavior. It certainly means making friends with homosexuals and helping AIDS sufferers. It means making a distinction between people who experience homoerotic impulses and people who act on them.

It does not mean, however, embracing 'sexual orientation' along with race and gender as a specially protected legal classification. The unfortunate effect of such legislation is: (a) to provide cultural and legal incentives for the behavior in question; (b) to send the wrong message that homosexual behavior is as morally neutral as race and gender; (c) to marginalize and intimidate legally those who adopt a critical view of homosexual practice; and (d) to establish the legal basis for indoctrinating our children and for mandating state-sponsored homosexual marriage."

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