Wednesday, June 11, 2008

jesus thinks it's okay to be gay

I was in Hastings today and Mom called me and said she had a funny story that reminded her of me.

To wit:

"I was in my Bible class and an old guy, about 75 stood up and ranted about homosexuals, how they were doing this and that and blah blah and how he'd like to take them and just..." (the elipse here is supposed to imply something, I don't know, maybe the forcible shaking of the lord into them) And John (the Elder of the church) stopped him and said, 'But...' and the old man got quiet and John said, 'Jesus wants us to love them anyway. To treat them as equals.' And this old guy goes, 'Well, I just can't', and I thought, oh come on. Bigoted old man."

And my mother is right. This gentleman is a bigoted old man. The story reminded her of me because I have a sore spot when it comes to people using their religion to condemn people who don't do any harm to anybody else. I think she called me because she knew it would get me going, and she wanted to hear the pro-homo side of the argument. I think it was her roundabout way of admitting that I was right, in a discussion we'd had months ago about homosexuality, in which she decided to acknowledge my points whilst still clinging to that outdated POV that being queer is "just wrong."

I'll tell you like I told her: Jesus never said that being gay is wrong. Never. Paul did, and even that is debatable.

The verses used to decry homosexuality, 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10 are the subject of debate among scholars of ancient Greek. The word that's supposed to mean gay is "arsenokoitai". You'll notice "koi" in there, as in "coitus", and "arse", which everyone knows is the stupid way Brits say "ass". The retarded leap would be to propose that arsenokoitai means "no butt sex". But of course, it doesn't. Arse in the ass sense is Old English, first recorded in the 1400s, though it is cognitive to the Greek orros. The real meaning of "arse", or "arsen", is "male. " And koi, though etymologically related to coitus, doesn't mean "fuck", it literally means "bed." So it translates roughly to "male-bedders." Still sounds pretty gay, right?

But here's where the disagreement comes in. You see, at that time, Paul was whining about the rampant prostitution of males in the Temples. Every time the word "arsenokoitai" is used in ancient Greek, it's not referring to simple homosexuality. It's referring the "homosexual slave trade" or those traded within. There are plenty of words that could have been used if Paul meant "straight-up gay". "Pais" is a good example. This one usually meant a young boy servant who was also his master's lover, as opposed to normal slaves, or "duolos". Still kind of similar to "arsenokoitai", but a little more interesting in that Jesus once healed what Matthew describes as the "pais" of a Roman centurion, the one that told Jesus all the prophet needed to do was say the world and his butt-boy would be healed. Jesus was like, "Damn, you've got faith," and healed the little gay kid. That's Matthew 9:10-12.

Another interesting point here, in the NT adultery is mentioned 47 times, and homosexuality (and questionable homosexuality at that) is mentioned twice. Even if the verse was clear cut, it's evident that these guys didn't give too much of a crap about homos. And the OT is old covenant, washed away by the teachings of Jesus. I don't think you all use that for much besides a historical record, anyway. More on that in a second.

On top of all this, there is even more debate about whether certain verses in the King James Bible were translated to condemn homosexuality because King James himself was a flaming homosexual, and his staff didn't like the influence his lovers had on the court.

Finally, and this should be the final word, Jesus said not to judge, and to love your enemies. Even if he came out and said, "Don't be gay", you'd STILL have to love your neighbor. You STILL couldn't judge them. And remember, the only way for a Christian to get into heaven is through Christ. That means you need to listen to the man himself, and leave gays alone. Let them get married, and stop being so weirded out.

But don't let them commit adultery. Stone them for that shit.

1 comment:

Audra said...

Thanks for writing this.