Here the passages are:
Corinthians 6:9 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
This is just a list of the folks who will not find favor with God. Gays are in the list along with the likes of drunkards, hardly a screaming condemnation. And I have a hard time believing that a just God would be tossing boozers out of his favor, but then that could be naive self-preservation on my part.
Now, here’s perhaps the most quoted passage(s) with regard to homosexuality and the Bible:
Leviticus 18:22 (and Leviticus 20:13) “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”
But as anyone who’s read Leviticus will tell you, it is the most mind-numbingly endless and ancient laundry list of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ imaginable. It would be a knock-me-down-with-a-feather surprise if the still misunderstood existence of homosexuality were not forbidden in Leviticus, as just about everything else is. Right next door to 18:22, 18:19 forbids having sex with a menstruating woman. Chapter 19 forbids harvesting the corners of your crop fields, dictates how long you may eat sacrifices before burning them and lays out the procedure for atonement after you’ve slept with an unredeemed bondmaid. (As usual, a ram is involved.) (..and isn’t that where we came in? Ba-da-bing.)
Any Bible literalist who bothers to quote you Leviticus on this topic is begging for a rhetorical ass-whupping. Feel free to pick virtually anything out of that book, and throw it right back.
25:4 “But in the seventh year the land is to have a sabbath of rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards.” Why have they not condemned Archer Daniels Midland or EJ Gallo for their abominable, ungodly farming practices?
20:9 “If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death.” I don’t remember any provision like this being a ‘special circumstance’ for capital crimes–aren’t they concerned about American law, or morality?
19:17 “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.” Why have they allowed their friends and family to bad-mouth these people? Why are they themselves doing it–what, have they never actually read the Bible?
No one in the history of the planet has ever adhered to all of Leviticus, it’s impossible. So there’s no reason for someone to pull 18:22 out of this mountain of ancient edicts and favor it as vital, holy gospel. It’s hypocritical.
Which leaves us with the Romans 1:26-27 passage:
“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”
And there, finally, is a pretty clear rebuke of homosexuality. It’s also the only time, as far as I know, that actual lesbianism shows up.
But also note the repeated use of ‘nature’ here. The ‘vile affections’ are repeatedly referred to as unnatural here: ‘natural use into that which is against nature’. The writer (or God himself, presumably) could have easily just said it was evil, period. Or it was hated by God, period. But the Bible is clearly saying repeatedly that these things were not ‘natural.’
Now we all know that homosexuals are born, not made. What could possibly be more ‘natural’ than being born a perfectly fine, happy, functional human being? C’mon, homosexuality is as natural as heterosexuality–it’s just rarer. Frankly, I believe that this is just a big Bible ‘goof’: calling something totally natural ‘unnatural’ because it was misunderstood at the time. Which is a pretty understandable error. And it’s not like the Bible isn’t full of plenty of other mistakes, like the supposed age of the planet or universe, right? They’re no reason to throw the Good Book away, but there’s no reason to hold them dear when you know that they’re wrong.
So if that’s the toughest indictment of gays the Bible had got, I wouldn’t be particularly persuaded. Still, we haven’t yet gotten to the story of gays in the Bible, Sodom and Gomorrah. But was it really a story about evil gays? Hmm…