Letter: Take care in interpreting Biblical scripture
In her letter of July 7, Dawn Dale expresses her thoughts regarding the Gay Pride exhibit at the Gloucester Library. Her belief is such an exhibit "promote(s) to the public the acceptance of values which are directly opposed to the values given to all mankind by God." This is her belief and she evidences courage in expressing her point of view. Thankfully, we live in a nation that encourages differences of belief in the public square and in its media.
As support for her belief on this matter, she offers a Biblical quote. "From the Bible—God emphatically states that ‘neither fornicators nor homosexuals will inherit the kingdom of God.’" I assume that she is referencing Paul’s first letter to his congregation at Corinth, chapter 6, verse 9.
I do not know which translation or paraphrase of the New Testament was used for this quotation. As a clergyman (Lutheran) and a theologian, I began my study of New Testament Greek as a freshman in college. Eight years later, I emerged from seminary with a major in New Testament theology. There is no Greek word for homosexual in any of the 27 "books" of the New Testament.
The Greek word "malakoi" (in Ms. Dale’s quotation translated "homosexual") has the basic meaning of "soft" as in soft cloth or more relevant in this context, boys and men who were used, sexually (as objects of gratification), by a dominating man. "Malakoi" is devoid of any sense of consent, partnership, companionship or love. Pederasty—the sexual use of boys by men—was a common practice of that time … and condemned by Paul in this and other writings. (As an aside, I regard the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible to be the most faithful translation of the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.)
I offer the above in the wish that care will be taken in how our Sacred Writings are used to support or attack another’s point of view. Let us always keep in our minds and hearts that the fact of many same-gender relationships involve men, women and children who have formed long-term partnerships and families of love, companionship, safety and commitment.
Robert W. Wohlfort