Letter: Bible only condemns ‘abusive’ acts
There recently was some controversy over a display on Gay Pride in the Gloucester County Public Library. I would like to pass on the following observations regarding the negative impressions concerning homosexuality made in your newspaper during that controversy.
The popular interpretation of the Bible is that all homosexuality is sinful but in fact what the Bible really condemns is only those acts that are "abusive" (see the attempted gang rape of visiting angels to Sodom in Genesis 19:1-11). In a recent book (Paul’s letter to the Romans: A commentary) by scholar Arland J. Hultgren, the author states that in Romans 1:26-27, reference is being made to destructive and/or abusive behavior. Further, Hultgren states that "as soon as the concept of sexual orientation is brought into the discussion and the words ‘heterosexual’ and ‘homosexual’ exist and can be used, the judgments made concerning persons must be changed significantly.
There can be no virtue in perpetuating an error in judgment, even if it is tradition and is, according to a traditional reading, thought to be expressed in Scripture itself. Although the Bible knows about same-gender relationships, it knows nothing of sexual orientation, and therefore it knows nothing of ‘homosexuality’ or ‘homosexuality’ as descriptors of conditions or behaviors."
Hultgren envisions Paul as referring to abuse and exploitation in such practices as pederasty or those of clients of male prostitutes and the prostitutes themselves. However, he points out that now "A new reality has come on the scene for the church, in which persons of the same gender claim to be Christians (not idolaters), know themselves to be homosexual (not heterosexual deviants), pledge themselves to lives of fidelity (rejecting promiscuity) and want their relationship public (not hidden away)."
That is what Gay Pride is all about.
Sidney C. Dixon
Gloucester Point, Va.