Last week, as a result of my own hugely opinionated big mouth (I know, shocker!), I found myself in the middle of a somewhat heated discussion on social media. The discussion was with a very dear friend and the subject was none other than the hot topic of today – gay marriage.
I ‘shared’ an article written by a young woman who spoke of ‘biblical marriage’ and why it isn’t what you think it is – at least according to the bible. She referenced numerous verses in the scriptures that spoke of relationships that aren’t what most of us think of when we think of “marriage.” I felt it was a great article and further felt it was something I’d often thought but couldn’t quite put into words.
Well, one thing led to another and before you know it, I’m in the middle of a gay rights debate. My friend composed a post that, in his words, “shredded the author’s lame attempt at knowing the bible.”
Oooh. I was HOT! I yanked out my bible and began to compose a response that was so long, I couldn’t put it all in one post. It took three. I cited verse after verse in an attempt to prove my point. He did the same. Actually, I think if you look at my Facebook page, most of the bible passages are contained there.
Go take a look. I’ll wait.
Let me be absolutely clear on one thing: I support gay rights. All of them. Even the right to be legally joined. Not only that, but I also believe in my heart that there is nothing wrong with you or your relationship if you happen to be gay.
Let me also say that you’re not going to change my opinion. Ever. Just like I’m not going to change yours if you believe that homosexuality is an abomination and a sin. This particular issue causes more heated arguments than pretty much anything else because both sides believe in their heart they are right. And both sides are tremendously passionate.
Let’s just agree to disagree for now.
I know what you’re thinking. The bible says it’s wrong! Leviticus 18:22. Pull out your bible, Donna, and have a look. It’s right there!
You know what? You’re right. It is written in there. In black and white. Neat little print. Clear as a bell. (Well, as clear as that teeny-tiny print can be.)
And that’s where my confusion begins.
In this social media firestorm, I was simply looking for the answer to a question that no one can seem to answer for me: Why do we take Leviticus 18:22 literally yet, for the most part, do not do the same with other verses? In my humble opinion, if we are going to take verses from the bible literally, we must do it with all of them. We shouldn’t be able to pick and choose which verse withstands the test of time and which one can be tossed aside or disregarded. But it this case, it seems as though we are. To me, at least.
In my Facebook rant (Yes it was a rant), I cited other verses from Leviticus that reference putting a child to death for cursing their mother or father, not planting two types of seeds in your garden, not wearing clothing made from two types of materials, and putting to death those who work on the Sabbath.
In this rant, after I cited these verses I asked the question: Why do we take Leviticus 18:22 literally but none of the others? Some of the rules laid out there seem a bit harsh (Stoning? Really?), and others just seem silly. I happen to love a poly-cotton blend.
My question went unanswered. Instead, I was told was that these verses are taken from the Old Testament and were meant primarily for Jews. The New Testament is what applies to the Gentiles.
Umm…okay. So if you’re Jewish, you can’t be gay. But if you’re a Gentile, you can? And if you’re Jewish, all the laws in the Old Testament apply to you? I have a Jewish friend and to the best of my recollection, there haven’t been any stonings at her place. Also, her kids are still alive and I feel certain they’ve cursed her. She may have even worked on a Sunday….
But I digress.
That didn’t clear it up for me. Why? Because we are still taking Leviticus 18:22 literally and not doing the same for others and my question wasn’t answered. In fact, my comments were tossed back to me with such flippancy, all I could was read it with wide eyes and and an open mouth.
Now, I don’t want to get into a whole “Battle of the Scriptures” here because I know I’m not going to change your mind. I’m not going to post something from the bible and change your entire belief system. Just as you are not going to change mine. The verse that speaks directly to homosexuality is there! I know it is! But I hope I’ve at least made you understand why this is confusing to me.
If you have a differing opinion, can you do the same for me? Can you explain how you came to your way of thinking?
What I am asking is for someone to please explain to me why we adhere to this one verse, yet ignore other verses from the same book? The same page of the bible? How can this make sense? Surely, when studying the bible, someone asked their pastor this question.
Truly, I just do not understand and I want to. I want to understand how someone whose opinion is the opposite of mine came to their conclusion and didn’t question why certain verses are subject to interpretation, yet others are not.
I’ve read the bible just like you. I’m still recovering from eight years of Catholic School and three years of Catechism. That’s a lot of time spent with a bible in front of me while wearing a navy blue skirt and vest, white shirt, and hideous brown loafers. (Hey! What’s something you’ll never hear at a Catholic School? Wait for it…. “So, what are you wearing tomorrow?” Sad, but true. Trust me, I’ve lived it.)
Anyway, I’ve read the part where it says homosexuality is an abomination. I’ll give you that. But it says a lot of other things too.
So why? Why do we fall on our sword for this issue? Why is this verse absolute and unchanging, yet so many others are subject to interpretation?
I don’t want to argue the homosexuality issue. I just want someone to give me an explanation as to why this verse does not change with the passage of time, yet others do. I want to understand how you came to this conclusion. What was your thought process? Did you question other verses and why they aren’t enforced? If you did ask those types of questions, how was it explained to you?
We’re not going to change one another’s opinions or thoughts on this very heated issue, but I really want to understand how the other side thinks.
Donna Small is a sinner who resides in Clemmons, North Carolina, where she is at work on her next novel. She has always found it difficult to keep her mouth shut and her opinions to herself. She is the author of Just Between Friends and A Ripple in the Water, both available from Second Wind Publishing. To purchase her books, click here: http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/#!donna-small/c1ewn