Ahh, Sundays … languid days of leisure and relaxation. I value and enjoy a day set aside for worship and time off work.
America’s tradition of taking it easy on Sunday originates, of course, in our Protestant roots. “For six days your work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a holy day, a sabbath of complete rest to the Lord,” Moses says in Exodus 35.
Reclining on my couch this Sunday, I open my laptop and draft this letter to Star Editor Joe Southern. So, given that I’m working on the sabbath, based on Numbers 15:32-35, I should be taken publicly to my pastor, put in custody and subsequently stoned to death, just as the Lord commands.
Dozens of Bible verses forbid work on the sabbath, yet, virtually no Christians follow those dictates. Some religious people, however, use the Bible to malign members of the LGBT communities. (LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.)
On July 3, The Fort Bend Star ran a guest column by David Hodges of Richmond. Hodges stated that gay people – especially in celebrating their marriage – engage in something Christianity forbids and that is destructive to society.
As a Christian, mother and American, I take deep offense at many of Hodges’ statements. I commend Hodges for his generally respectful tone and admire his fortitude to take a stand on the subject. I oppose, however, his deriding gay marriage with inflammatory language, and the examples in his column weren’t once backed with specific news stories or citations of source publications.
If you’re going to quote Scripture to call gay marriage “unholy,” please examine all of the Bible, not a select couple of verses. Hodges referred to two Bible verses in his letter. Wikipedia and the Blue Letter Bible websites document 31,102 Biblical verses. What about the other 31,100? What might those verses teach about sexual orientation? Or, say, not judging others?
Hodges compared the case to a black person opposed to the KKK or a Jewish person’s conflict with neo-Nazis. Those comparisons are wrong, ludicrous and perpetuate ugly biases. The KKK and neo-Nazis are self-proclaimed hate groups whose members have harassed, maimed and even murdered people. The vast majority of LGBT citizens do not belong to organized hate groups.
Perhaps like me, you’ve heard people say something like, “It’s a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah,” when referring to LGBT activities. Journalist Julie Mack, in her well-researched 2015 Kalamazoo Gazette article, lists the six specific Bible verses that reference homosexuality. (Six out of 31,102!) Mack says some biblical scholars see the Genesis 19 story of Sodom and Gomorrah, per Ezekiel 16:49, indicating that the cities were destroyed by God for not helping the poor and needy.
Additionally, the sinful sex occurring there was rape, not same-sex unions. Mack also points out that while Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 condemn gay sex, the book also bans tattoos, eating pork and shellfish and offers the proper rules for selling a slave. Leviticus also advocates the death penalty for adultery.
Christianity forbids public piety, divorce and remarriage. Many Americans – including clergy – are divorced. Where is the outcry over the supposed sanctity of marriage?
The LGBT community are marginalized and discriminated against because it’s socially acceptable to exclude them. Straight for Equality’s Guide to Being a Straight Ally says exclusionary comments are serious, and should be taken seriously.
LGBT individuals have lived in every age, country and continent in this world. It’s a part of human identity. King David declares in Psalm 139 that, “Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Our Creator formed every person. People who identify as LGBT are fearfully and wonderfully made, exactly the way God ordained. (Bible verses are taken from the New American Standard text.)
Karen C. Hale