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Homophobia Is An Abomination

25 Oct

A good friend sent me the link to this article by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach about the issues of homosexuality and homophobia within the Jewish and Christian understanding.  It is one of the best essays I have read recently on the topic.  Here it is in its entirety:

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HOMOPHOBIA IS AN ABOMINATION

by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Huffington Post

Who could have thought that homosexuality, of all things, would tear this country apart?

For two decades now I have watched how opposition to gay relationships has come to define American values. While fifty percent of straight couples divorce, while America sinks ever deeper into an eddy of materialism and greed, and while purpose and happiness remain so elusive that our country consumes three-quarters of the earth’s anti-depressants, for our religious leaders, politicians, and the media it’s still all-gays-all-the-time.

Why the obsession? People of faith insist that homosexuality is the sin because the bible calls it an abomination. Little do these ignoramuses realize that the word appears approximately 122 times in the Bible. Eating non-kosher food is an abomination (Deut.14:3). A woman returning to her first husband after being married in the interim is an abomination (Deut. 24:4). And bringing a blemished sacrifice on G-d’s altar is an abomination (Deut. 17:1.). Proverbs goes so far as to label things like envy, lying, and gossip as that which ‘the Lord hates and are an abomination to Him’ (3:32, 16:22).

As an orthodox Rabbi who reveres the Bible I do not deny the Biblical prohibition on male same-sex relationships. Rather, I simply place it in context. There are 613 commandments in the Torah. One is to refrain from gay sex. Another is for men and women to marry and have children. So when Jewish gay couples come to me for counselling and tell me they have never been attracted to members of the opposite sex in their entire lives and are desperately alone, I tell them, “You have 611 commandments left. That should keep you busy. Now, go create a kosher home with a mezuzah scroll on the door. Turn off the TV on the Sabbath and share your challah with many guests. Pray to G-d the prescribed three times a day for you are His beloved children. He desires you and seeks you out.”

Once, I said to my friend Pat Robertson, whom I have always found engaging and open in our conversations, “Why can’t you simply announce to all gay men and women, ‘Come to Church. Whatever relationship you’re in, G-d wants you to pray. He wants you to give charity. He wants you to lead a G-dly life.” He answered to the effect that homosexuality is too important to overlook. Other evangelical leaders have told me the same. Homosexuality is the single greatest threat to marriage and the family.

Really? With one out of two heterosexual marriages failing, with seventy percent of the internet dedicated to the degradation of women through pornography, and with a culture that is materially insatiable even as it is all-too spiritually content, can we straight people say with a straight face that gays are ruining our families? We’ve done a mighty fine job of it ourselves, thank you very much.

But the extreme homophobia that is unfortunately to be found among many of my religious brothers and sisters — in many Arab countries being gay is basically a death sentence — stems from an even more fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of sin. The Ten Commandments were given on two tablets to connote two different kinds of transgression, religious and moral sin. The first tablet discusses transgressions between G-d and man such as the prohibitions of idolatry, blasphemy, and desecrating the Sabbath. The second tablets contains sins between man and his fellow man, like adultery, theft, and murder.

The mistake of so many well-meaning people of faith is to believe that homosexuality is a moral rather than a religious sin. A moral sin involves injury to an innocent party. But who is being harmed when two, unattached, consenting adults are in a relationship? Rather, homosexuality is akin to the prohibition of lighting fire on the Sabbath or eating bread during Passover. There is nothing immoral about it, but it violates the divine will.

For the record, I am in favor of gay civil unions rather than marriage because I am against redefining marriage. But I hardly believe that gay marriage is the end of Western civilization. For me the real killer is the tsunami of divorce and the untold disruption to children as they become yo-yos going from house to house on weekends.

I have countless gay friends whose greatest fear, like so many straight people, is to end up alone. Should we merely throw the book at these people? Does not the same Bible also say, “It is not good for man to be alone?” And all I’m asking from my religious brethren is this: even as you oppose gay relationships because of your beliefs, please, for the love of G-d, be tortured by your opposition. Understand that when our most deeply held beliefs conflicts with our basic humanity, we should feel the tragedy of the conflict, rather than simply find convenient scapegoats upon whom to blame all of America’s ills.

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THOUGHTS?

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1 Comment

Posted by on October 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

One response to “Homophobia Is An Abomination

  1. Wayne Blakely

    October 25, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    <p>I only stated sin is sin after discussing sin whether heterosexual or homosexual. It was not to make it sound easy. Christ makes clear to us what all sin is. We do however choose to rationalize away many sins to feel better about ourselves if we are not truly seeking to do God’s will instead of our own. </p><p>Temptation is not sin. We we be tempted as long as we are on this earth. Having lived a very sexual life in the gay world for forty years, I can tell you it was all about what I wanted and what felt best to me. Not what God clearly outlined for me. </p><p>While I knew these truths before choosing to act on my impulses; I did not pray and ask God to help me do His will instead of my own and maintain a continuous relationship with Him, abiding in Him and submitting my will to Him. </p><p>Many gays dismiss that homosexuality is sin because they don’t feel like it is sin. Once again, Satan does not deceive us with things we hate or dislike. His glory is in wrapping our minds around what we want to be truth. Mainly generated by our feelings. </p><p>Attraction can become sin. It depends on when you take it out of God’s plan and put it into your own plan. Dating, kissing, holding hands for intimate purposes, .. There would be no point in tempting ourselves with something that is engaging us in Satan’s ploy. Gay Christians seem to pick out every mention of homosexuality and turn it into something it is not. Again looking for self license. Everywhere in God’s Word where homosexuality is mentioned, it is mentioned in a negative connotation. There is no example of a same sex marriage. There is no bible story of love between two same gendered individuals where there is proof of a consummated relationship in which God gives His blessing. No where. That says volumes. God’s plan is between a man and a woman. He does not tell us we must marry. We can choose to be celibate. He does not force us into a relationship. But He makes clear what kind of relationship honors Him and what does not. </p><p>Do you think that a God who loves all of us equally would keep it a secret or trick us into thinking that He does not ordain same sex sex? What kind of God would do that? Why would I want to serve such a God? </p><p>If God, after ordaining and sanctifying marriage between a man and a woman, failed to do the same for same gendered couples just because he didn’t feel like it or forgot… He certainly would not be the perfect all knowing, loving God as He declares and others declare in His Word.</p><p>I know it’s tough! I lived that life! But Christ through His love always kept truth in my heart. And when I was ready to meet God on His terms instead of mine, He reached down and redeemed me as I sought forgiveness for being my own God for so many years. </p><p>Love of the world is hatred toward God. Yes.. even if it is just that one person of the same sex that I love that He has clearly shown is not according to His plan. </p><p>The same with the Sabbath. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. It is a holy day of rest. Another sacred gift from God. A commandment. Yet man, for his own sake took it upon himself to conjecture that it would be ok to worship God on a different day of the week. </p><p>God loves everyone of us so very deeply. When we open our hearts and pray for the filling of the Holy Spirit and don’t resist, great amazing truths are so very clear. But when we take our desires and place them higher than what God designed for us, we will be held accountable for such decisions. </p><p>It’s not a game between heterosexuals and homosexuals. We are all given the exact same call from God. To follow His directions to us. The danger is not in thinking or believing that His direction is clear, because God has made it a point to make His plan clear. The danger is in twisting His Word to adapt to our life instead of us recognizing that He is calling upon us to be different than the majority of the world. People will know are Christian when you choose to live according to His Word. This is a people He calls to represent Him and His love for all sinners. </p><p>But His love and His offer will one day expire. Time will run out and when He decides that no one is left who will turn to Him, He will come in all His glory and the deceived will cry for the rocks and mountains to fall on them because only then will they recognize that it is too late. </p><p>Jesus refers in the new testament to his plan for marriage between a man and a woman. We are also told in Corinthians that homosexuals will not enter the kingdom. By persisting in looking for what God does not ordain we blind ourselves and at some point become immune to truth.</p><p>You make a statement.. "For those of us who are gay, this is our life." You see this is where there is great danger. Life does not belong to us. We are not the givers of life. Only Christ is. </p><p>The next argument I usually hear is .. Well…"God made me this way." No … God did not make you this way. We are all fallen. Born with a sinful nature. Now more than ever it is likely that many are born gay. Many are born with a multitude of sinful inclinations, but that does not give us permission to do nothing and live with our condition. We are all given choice and we are all invited to be drawn to holiness. To recognize God’s plan and choose it. Eternity is ours when we choose Him over self.</p><p>I apologize if much of this sounds disappointing and hurtful. It’s not meant to be that way. I want so very much to help others recognize how Satan has twisted our thinking and many heterosexuals have helped create this bitterness by rejecting us, instead of helping us find that personal healing relationship with Christ. </p><p>It’s not just a label. Not just a belief, but a day to day experience where we draw closer and closer to Him and let Him change us the way He wants to. We are held accountable for what we know as God shows us. If we harden our hearts, we will lose out on His amazing plan. He does not ask from us anything that He will not give us power and strength to overcome through Him.</p><p>Many of His rich blessings to each of you,</p><p>Wayne<br>http://www.knowhislove.com</p&gt;

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