See some very interesting articles I have written
plus references to good articles by others.
Did Jesus ever teach about
There are no recorded words of Jesus
about homosexuality, either as same-sex
orientation or same-sex activity. While we do
not know Jesus’ actual views on this topic, we
can surmise his probable views.
Jesus’ ideas on same-sex behavior would
have been partly formed by his Jewish
background and religious education. He
would have accepted man-woman sex as the
usual practice and he would have known that
Leviticus prohibited full sex between males.
So Jesus probably agreed with the view
of his culture that sex between men is
Although Jesus disagreed with his culture’s
view on keeping the Sabbath and eating
“unclean” foods, he appears to have
supported his culture’s view on sex. He
condemned adultery, illicit or immoral sex and
sexual debauchery (Mark 7:21-22) He also
emphasized the permanence of male-female
marriage (Mark 10: 6-8) while rejecting
traditional family values (Luke 14:26 and
Jesus’ only implied reference to sex between
men is its possible inclusion in his
condemnation of illicit sex (assuming that illicit
sex is any sexual activity condemned in the
Old Testament) (Mark 7:21). On the other
hand, it is possible that Jesus was referring to
gay men when he mentioned “born
eunuchs” – without any condemnation
(Matthew 19:12). In biblical times, such men
were anatomically whole but were unable or
unwilling to have sex with women. They either
were not at all interested in sex or were
interested, but only with other men.
The reason that Jesus is “silent” on same-sex
orientation or same-sex activity could be
because he did not think it a relevant or
important topic. When he referred to the daily
activities of the people of Sodom in Lot’s time,
he did not refer to any sexual activities -
hetero or homo (Luke 17:28-30). Or it could be
because his public or intimate comments were
consistent with his Jewish culture and so were
not considered to be worth recording. We can
only guess at the reason.
New Bible Changes Message for Gays
The latest translation of the New International
Version of the Bible has an important
change impacting on gays and others.
The old version said that “male prostitutes”
and “homosexual offenders” will not inherit the
kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9). This
allowed many gay Christians to claim the
verse didn’t apply to them because they were
neither male prostitutes nor homosexual
The latest version has changed this to say
“men who have sex with men” will not inherit
the kingdom of God. A positive for gay people
is that the negative words “homosexual
offenders” are gone. And lesbians, included
in “homosexual offenders” in the old version,
are not covered by the new words.
On the other hand, gay men are squarely
covered by “men who have sex with men”.
They can no longer claim that the verse doesn’
t apply to them, unless they don’t have any
sex with other men.
But that’s not all. The new words mean that
the condemnation in the verse now also
applies to straight men who have sex with
men, even though they don’t consider
themselves as homosexual. A major change
Does the Bible condemn loving,
monogamous same-sex unions?
A number of commentators claim that the Bible
does not condemn loving, monogamous same-
sex unions. However this claim ignores the
fact that these unions between men usually
involve males penetrating males, which the
Bible definitely does condemn. So the Bible
does indirectly condemn loving, monogamous
unions between men if penetrative sex takes
Nevertheless the Bible’s condemnation does
not apply today. This is because it is mainly
based on the ancient cultural idea that it was
shameful for a man to be entered like a
woman during sex. Other cultural reasons for
the condemnation were its association with
soldiers humiliating weaker men by raping
them, and body fluids being wasted instead of
being used to create babies. As we no longer
accept these cultural reasons, the
condemnation does not apply today.
This conclusion is reinforced by the no-harm
argument. The biblical condemnation of sex
between men does not apply to men today
when no harm is caused to the participants or
Is homosexuality a sin?
Firstly, homosexuality as a sexual orientation
(being sexually attracted to someone of the
same sex) is NOT a sin. God has given some
people an attraction towards others of the
How do we know? Because the Bible accepts
and has positive stories of same-sex
emotional or romantic attraction and deep
friendship. For example Jesus and the
disciple he loved, Ruth and Naomi, and
Jonathan being totally in love with David.
Homosexuality as a sexual activity (sex
between men) is condemned by the Bible and
therefore WAS a sin for the ancient Israelites
and for early Christians of biblical times.
The condemnation was mainly based on the
ancient cultural idea that it was shameful and
sinful for a man to be entered like a woman
during sex. Other cultural reasons for the
condemnation were its association with
soldiers humiliating weaker men by raping
them, and body fluids being wasted instead of
being used to create babies. The
condemnation was restricted to the ancient
biblical cultures who held these views, and it
does not apply today because we no longer
accept these cultural reasons. So
homosexual activity is NOT a sin today.
Sex between men is therefore okay, and is not
a sin, if the men care for each other and no
one is harmed. And they can show their love
for each other in other ways too.
Getting the Bible right
A very positive article on homosexuality and
the Bible appeared in the Washington Post on
13 Feb 2013. The author was the Rev. Adam
Hamilton, the United Methodist Church pastor
who preached the sermon at the 2013
Mr Hamilton believes that in the years ahead
an increasing number of Christians, both
progressives and conservatives, will read the
Bible’s passages condemning homosexuality
as all Christians today read the Bible’s
passages allowing slavery.
That is, these sexuality passages will be seen
as capturing the cultural understandings and
practices of sexuality in biblical times, but do
not reflect God’s will for gay and lesbian
And sermons preached from pulpits criticising
homosexuals today will sound to future
generations much like the pro-slavery
sermons sound to us today.
You can read the full article here.
Debunking anti-gay arguments
A great article What Do Homophobic Bigots
Really Think? telling how to debunk revolting
anti-gay arguments, appeared in Slate on
August 23, 2012. The author was Jesse
Bering, who has a column in
The homosexuality-as-choice argument
The homosexuality-is-disgusting argument
Among other things, Bering states that those
who repeatedly claim that homosexuality is a
choice are actually revealing something about
their own sexuality: they are bisexual.
He also points out that one of the most potent
propaganda devices is the age-old ploy of
dehumanizing an oppressed group by stirring
up feelings of disgust for them.
It is worthwhile to read the full article. It points
out why anti-gays make these arguments and
gives some points on how to answer them.
False church sign
A recent sign at a New York church stated
“Never in the history of America did a
president make defying God’s word public
policy. Lev. 18:22.” This was a reference to
the biblical prohibition of penetrative sex
However, the sign is untrue. In fact, President
Lincoln made defying God’s word public policy
when he set about abolishing slavery in the
US. The Bible is very clear that it supports
the system of slavery in general (people
owning other people). Primarily, Leviticus 25:
44-45 gives God’s general permission for the
Israelites to buy slaves.
In the New Testament, Jesus appears to have
accepted slavery as part of his society. He
told parable stories with slaves in them,
including praising those slaves who serve
well. There is no record of him opposing it.
Paul and the apostles accepted, and implicitly
endorsed, the system of slavery and they
instructed masters and slaves about their
duties (Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-25;
4:1; Titus 2:9-10; 1 Peter 2:18-19, 1
Corinthians 7:20-24). They did not proclaim
that slavery was an evil. Paul even returned a
runaway slave to his master (Philemon 1:12).
One hopes that future church signs will be
more accurate. And the biblical acceptance of
slavery shows that public policy and law
should not always be based on what the Bible
When was the gay argument won?
The strongest anti-gay argument is based on
saying that the Bible condemns sex between
men. If what the Bible says is always true for
all people at all times, then sex between men
But note that the Bible also accepts that
slavery is good. That is, people can own
other people. So if what the Bible says is
always true for all people at all times, then
slavery is good.
But people in the 19th century decided that
slavery was not good after all. It was bad. So
what the Bible says is not always true for all
people at all times. And so sex between men
is not bad.
Therefore the gay argument was effectively
won when the anti-slavery argument was won
in the 19th century.
Commandments and culture
This website argues that the biblical
condemnation of sex between men doesn’t
apply today because it was based on the
cultures of bible times. It therefore only
applied to the people of those times.
This argument is valid because it can be
applied to other biblical commandments which
are similarly based on biblical cultures. For
example, the requirement to take care of
widows and the fatherless is based on the fact
that such people could not survive without
others providing food and helping them in
many ways (see Deuteronomy 24:19 and 26:
12, Isaiah 1:17 and James 1:27).
However this requirement does not apply to us
today because in most modern cultures
widows and orphans are taken care of by
governments or charitable organisations.
So the cultural argument is valid.
Eunuchs and gay men
It’s possible that Jesus was referring to gay
men when he mentioned born eunuchs –
without any condemnation (Matthew 19:12).
In Bible times, such men were anatomically
whole but were unable or unwilling to have
sex with women. They were either not
interested in sex or were attracted to other
men. Also, many or most of the 46 other
Biblical references to born or natural eunuchs
(sometimes translated as officer or
chamberlain) probably include gay men.
The "Born Eunuchs" site, compiled by Faris
Malik, has a very detailed look at eunuchs in
the ancient world (quoting many sources) and
claims that born eunuchs were gay men.
Gays and left-handed
How does being gay (attracted to the same
sex) compare to being left-handed?
Well, each is a small percentage of the
population – about 5% are gay and about 10%
Both same-sex orientation and left-
handedness are slightly more common in men
than women. Both are distributed over the
whole population – male and female, young
and old. Both are never absent from any
Being attracted to a person of the same sex is
not a conscious choice. And finding it easier
to use the left hand is also not a conscious
While acting on same-sex attraction is a
conscious choice and using one’s left hand is
also a conscious choice, these are natural
choices reflecting how a person has been
Both left-handedness and same-sex
intercourse are sometimes treated as wrong
behavior. Gays are often socially and legally
persecuted and discriminated against and left-
handed people are sometimes similarly treated.
Some left-handed people have been
encouraged by family or teachers to write with
their right hand instead of their left hand. But
they still remain basically left-handed.
Similarly, some gays have been encouraged
to try to be attracted to the opposite sex. But
they still remain basically attracted to the
Finally, over time some people have changed
their attitudes, revised their views and
discarded some prejudices about both gays
and left-handed people.
Loving relationships don’t go far enough
A number of recent books claim that the Bible
either does not refer to committed, loving,
monogamous same-sex relationships, or that
such relationships are compatible with the
Bible. These claims are made even though
the Bible condemns same-sex activity. The
recent books deduce this means that same-
sex activity is okay and good if carried out in a
committed, loving, monogamous same-sex
To see that this conclusion is false, substitute
“incest” for “same-sex activity”. You could
then say that the Bible does not refer to
committed, loving, monogamous incest
relationships even though it condemns incest.
So you could deduce that incest is okay and
good if carried out in a committed, loving,
monogamous relationship. This is obviously
Instead of trying (and failing) to justify same-
sex activity through loving relationships, it is
more logical to say that such activity is
justified and good when it causes no harm.
This reflects the no-harm test, based on
Actually, the recent books also imply that
same-sex activity is okay and good only when
carried out in a committed, loving,
monogamous same-sex relationship. This is
also untrue. Using the no-harm test, same-
sex activity is okay and good in any situation,
including casual or recreational sex, when it
causes no harm.
Timothy Kincaid of Box Turtle Bulletin has
come up with an answer to the question of
what Jesus would say to Christians who
refuse to bake a gay-wedding cake because it
implies condoning an immoral lifestyle.
Timothy quotes part of Jesus’ Sermon on the
Mount, including “If anyone forces you to go
one mile, go with them two miles” (Matthew 5:
41). In a gay-wedding cake situation, it seems
that Jesus would say something like ”If
anyone wants to force you to bake a wedding
cake, bake them cupcakes as well”.
Difference and sin
In the “Tin Man” episode of Star Trek: The
Next Generation, one of the characters, Tam,
says to the android Data “Perhaps you’re just
different. It’s not a sin, you know; though you
may have heard otherwise”.
This reflects the title of a book by Rev. Neil
Dawson called “Difference Is Not A Sin”,
examining the biblical attitude to homosexual
Another document with a similar title is
"Homosexuality; Not a Sin, Not a Sickness"
by Rev. Elder Don Eastman.
Why “The Children are Free” is wrong
“The Children are Free: Reexamining the
Biblical Evidence on Same-sex Relationships”
by Rev. Jeff Miner and John Tyler Connoley,
is well-intentioned and easy to read, but
unfortunately has many false and
The book attempts to show that the Bible’s
anti-homosexuality verses don’t apply today
because they do not address loving,
committed same-sex Christian relationships.
Instead, it is claimed that the verses refer to
pagan temple prostitution, gang rape, morally
weak people, or men who force themselves
sexually on others. This conclusion is based
on false assumptions and false logic.
One example is the book’s treatment of
Leviticus 18 and 20. The authors try to work
out the meaning of the Leviticus 18 and 20
prohibitions on homosexual behavior by
looking at what form such behavior commonly
took in Egyptian and Canaanite societies.
They conclude that it was homosexual temple
prostitution. However while this may have
been the most publicly visible form of same-
sex behavior, they ignore that such behavior
would also occur in everyday life outside the
Therefore when Leviticus 18:3 says that the
Israelites are not to follow the Egyptian and
Canaanite practices, it is prohibiting (among
other things) sex between men under all
circumstances – secular and religious, not just
homosexual temple prostitution. This wide-
ranging prohibition under all circumstances is
confirmed by the prohibition making no
reference to temple prostitution.
We therefore must reject the authors’
conclusion that, when read in textual and
historical context, the same-sex prohibitions in
Leviticus 18 and 20 are clearly directed at
homosexual temple prostitution only.
Similar detailed critiques could be made of the
book’s treatment of the other anti-
homosexuality verses and the affirmative
passages. However I will simply make a few
brief comments on these verses and passages:
Romans 1: Paul’s criticism of sex between
females and sex between males is not stated
as being restricted to sex associated with idol
worship or temple prostitution. He is therefore
criticizing same-sex intercourse under all
circumstances and in all places (not just in
I Corinthians 6 and I Timothy 1: The
authors’ contention that the use of “malakoi” is
condemning a type of moral weakness, i.e.
“men who are vain, fearful, and self-indulgent”
cannot be true because Paul calls the people
he is criticizing “wicked” or “wrongdoers”. And
morally weak people are not necessarily
wicked or wrongdoers. Also the authors’ view
that “arsenokoitai” is restricted to temple
prostitution, or a man who forces himself
sexually on another, is inconsistent with the
word’s literal meaning of “male-bedders” (men
who take other men to bed for sex), which
implies sex between men in any circumstance.
Ruth’s covenant with Naomi: It seems that
there was a very strong family type of love
between Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi –
but nothing more. Certainly nothing of a
What was the relationship between Jonathan
and David? The authors claim that David
loved Jonathan. This is untrue. The author of
1 and 2 Samuel is careful never to say that
David loved Jonathan. The love is always
expressed as coming from Jonathan.
When Jesus met a gay person: (The
centurion and his sick slave). The authors’
treatment of this episode is very speculative.
Their argument basically depends on their
view that being called an “honored slave”
means he is his master’s male lover. But this
does not necessarily follow. A slave could be
called “honored” for other reasons.
In conclusion, the authors have not succeeded
in their objective of showing that the anti-
homosexuality verses cover only situations
(temple prostitution and exploitative sex) which
are inapplicable to modern, loving, same-sex
activity. Instead, it seems clear that the
verses plainly prohibit sex between men (and
criticize sex between women) in all
circumstances. This would include sex in
loving same-sex relationships.
A better approach would be to acknowledge
the biblical condemnation of same-sex activity
and to say that this condemnation does not
apply to gays and lesbians today, just as the
biblical acceptance of slavery does not apply
today. This is partly because our modern
cultures are very different from the cultures of
Bible times. It is also partly because love and
sex between men, and between women,
usually causes no more harm than love and
sex between a man and a woman. This is the
approach taken by this website.
The Bible and Homosexual Practice
One of the most influential anti-gay books in
recent years is The Bible and Homosexual
Practice by Robert Gagnon. It thoroughly
examines the Biblical references to same-sex
activity and has a strong “no gay sex” point of
Jean-Fabrice Nardelli, a classicist (ancient
history and languages) at the University of
Provence in France, has written a scathing
review of Gagnon’s book. He points out that
the book equates homosexuality with a very
unfortunate condition to be cured. Also, the
book promotes the false notion of a God-
ordained, sexual complementarity of males
Nardelli says that Gagnon relies on tricks such
as arbitrary analogy and circular logic, uses
mistaken logic, and only uses evidence which
supports his case. In addition, many
arguments in his book depend on faulty
methodology, irrelevant conclusions, or biased
quotations of primary texts.
He points out that Gagnon parades in support
of his one-sided views a mass of material,
presented in a manner which benumbs most
of his unwary readers into acquiescence.
He concludes that, with its peculiarities,
defects and failures, the book actually belongs
to the genre of homophobic attacks. It is
strident fundamentalist propaganda.
Here is Nardelli’s full review of “The Bible and
Homosexual Practice” (pdf).
When in hospital, I noticed that some hospital
workers wore narrow sashes across their
chests. I thought that this showed the extra
status of the wearer. But I found that it actually
shows the nurse who has the key to a hospital
cupboard or room (the key is attached to the
sash). Other nurses can see who has a
My misinterpretation of why sashes are worn
shows how Bible interpretation can also be
Feel free to reprint or repost articles with
acknowledgement to this Gay and Christian
Author: Colin Smith