Guest Blog Monday: Leigh Ann Britt

Homosexuality or Idolatry

10And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.

11These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Acts 17: 10 -11

When I went to a private fundamentalist Christian school, this was its motto. Unfortunately, the part they always emphasized was “searched the scriptures daily,” while I preferred “whether those things were so” Even years later, I still hold this passage in high regard.

I’ve done some studying and I would like to share my results with you. Let’s talk about the Bible and homosexuality. When browsing LGBT sites, I always see the same tired arguments. “Well, so what if the Bible doesn’t like the gays? It also condones *horrifying things*.” While true, a better reasoning exists. The whole truth and the dirty little secret that challenges traditions and brings scary, unknown change could be that the Bible may be misinterpreted and people pick and choose what they believe from it.

ezra3-10

Let’s talk about Leviticus. Specifically, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13.

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

Leviticus 18:22

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Leviticus 20:13

That is a very serious condemnation. Let’s shed some context onto this, though. First off, the word “abomination” is a little harsh. The word it’s translated from is to’evah. To’evah is an interesting word – it’s used quite often in the Bible. It has two qualities that make it worth examining here. First, it’s always used to refer to a religious taboo. “We can’t eat that shellfish because it’s totally to’evah.” “The Egyptians can’t do that with us because it’s to’evah to them.” Second, it’s always limited to a certain group of people. So, who’s “thou” in “thou shalt not lie with mankind”?

Leviticus 17-26, which encompasses both passages, is known as the Holiness Code. You see, Leviticus was written in two parts: The Prophetic Code and the Holiness Code. The Holiness Code was written way later, sometime around the reign of King Josiah. During this time, the people of Israel were very nationalistic. They wanted to separate themselves from those around them, and they went to great lengths to do so.

ishtar

When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.

Deuteronomy 18:9

Sure enough, that use of the word “abomination” there is also to’evah. In fact, the to’evah in Leviticus falls under this umbrella. You see, Assyrians had a ceremonial practice of homosexual prostitution. During this, priests would wear women’s clothing in order to gather the spiritual powers of Ishtar, and more importantly, money for the temple. There’s evidence that this kind of practice was going on in Israel, and King Josiah was not pleased. They were all put to death, just as Leviticus 20:13 describes. These events helped shape what we now know as the Holiness Code, a manual *made for priests* in order to guide them.

Moloch_the_god

Earlier in Leviticus, you’ll find another few verses that fall into the same category as mentioned just above:

21And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the Lord.

22Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

23Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.

24Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you.

Leviticus 18: 21-24

Temple prostitution of many kinds and human sacrifice were common to this ancient Ammonite god known as Molech.

Leviticus says nothing about homosexuality: it only talks about religious prostitution and the worshiping of other Gods. Priests were worshiping the Gods of other nations, and the nationalistic Israel killed them for it. That homosexual prostitution was the means by which the ceremony was performed is an unfortunate coincidence. This is supported by other verses in the Bible:

Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are an abomination unto the LORD thy God.

Deuteronomy 23:18

“Dog” is a term used for male prostitutes. So once again, bringing them into the house of the Lord is a to’evah.

Okay, so we have verse after verse that reaffirms the context. But it’s not like the Bible’s saying homosexuality is ok ……. or does it?

jonathan_bible__image_8_sjpg1259

1And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

2And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house.

3Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.

1 Samuel 18:1-3

Substitute the name “Jonathan” with a female name and tell me how anyone could think this isn’t a love story. Here, let me do it for you:

“.. That the soul of Veronica was knit with the soul of David, and Veronica loved him as her own soul… Then Veronica and David made a covenant, because she loved him as her own soul.”

But, you know, heteronormativity and all. People assume it was just platonic.

A final note for this time on Leviticus; a little quote that I came across earlier:

“I think part of the problem comes in failing to understand that the Bible wasn’t written to us. Leviticus wasn’t written to Christians living in America (or wherever you live) in 2014. It was written to Jews living in the Middle East several thousands of years ago.

“Whenever we read the Bible, we must recognize that we are reading someone else’s mail.”

Anonymous

 

Guest Blog Monday: Watty

01medals

Proud to Run

This is my 35th race but my first race in over a year. I’m travelling to Chicago as part of my conference trip. After I booked my flight, I started looking into races during the time I’m in town and Proud to Run was one of two feasible events. Everyone I talked to was unanimous in saying I was crazy to run a race the day after I arrive on a 15hr flight but, well, I registered anyway. In my mind, it was only a 5k. Famous last words.

I was tired on Friday when I arrived and I was very, very tempted to DNS. I didn’t sleep very well either, but I woke up with the alarm at 5.15am so I thought since I was up, I’d go anyway. I arrived early so I can find parking and do packet pick up. Parking was easy, I parked 5mins’ walk away at beautiful Montrose Harbor and I was one of the first to pick up my stuff. This meant I had loads of time before the official race start. I did a mile of warm up, queued up for the portaloo, grabbed water and generally hung around until it was time to start.

Official race start was 8.15am and they were punctual to the dot. I kept up a steady slow pace and didn’t significantly speed up when I got overtaken by what seemed to be the entire field. The course went north towards Foster and it was just like I was back on my home course. I got to the 1 mile marker just over 12mins and the 2 mile marker around 25mins. Mile 3 was tougher as it got hot, there was a point when I felt I was becoming overheated, a little dehydrated and my left knee started tingling. But I kept trudging on and managed to pass a few racers who had slowed to a walk. As the finish line came into sight I watched the clock tick close to 40mins but I got in just under 40mins. Considering I was jetlagged, not trained and still carrying an injury, I’m reasonably happy with the result. It’s a long way from my sub-30 PR, but it’ll be a while before I can hope to PR in any race.

This was the 33rd PTR race, which the organizers described as:

an annual 10K run & 5K run/walk focused on celebrating pride in a healthy way and raising funds to support the greater Chicago area LGBTQI&A community

I don’t know about prior races but this year’s race took place over Pride weekend. The race participants were mostly regular racers, a few were in rainbow accessories–socks, ribbons, balloons and such like.

02couple 03couple

Lining up at the start I was next to two women, one of whom was in a tuxdeo t-shirt and both had “bride” printed on the back of their t-shirts. They graciously allowed me to take their photo and told me that they were getting married in September. So wonderful.

I also caught the deputy director of the event who was carrying an official rainbow flag, we walked and talked for a few steps after the race and he was super nice, asking about my opinion on the race course and organisation.

I’ll be perfectly honest, my motivation for running the race was timing: I was in town for a short window of time and I had limited choices. It wasn’t particularly a desire to take part in Pride weekend. I have been to Chicago Pride once, in 2008, and I’ve been to a couple of Northalsted Market Days. I’m pleased I made the effort, it was a good race and definitely fulfilled the organinsers’ goals. I felt privileged to congratulate the two women on their upcoming wedding, and to see all manner of people and couples happily co-mingling at an event–the way it should.

04flagIn real life I’m low key and don’t draw attention to myself; it’s only online that I’m able to be out. I see all the developments in recent years from my external vantage point, with more and more countries and US states adopting marriage equality. I really only have one wish, that everyone can go about their business freely; that it’ll be just marriage and not same-sex marriage, that it’s nothing special to have one parent, or a father and a mother, or two fathers, or two mothers, or any other combination, that people are treated according to their behaviour and ethics rather than some random label. That everyone practice what we are taught: to accept and love and not judge. The end goal, is to make it Not. A. Big. Deal. Does it mean that we will no longer need events like Pride or Proud to Run? No, the energy devoted to fighting for recognition can be used for celebration instead. That day will come.

Part of this post originally appeared on invisiblecompany.com.

Contact Watty: Email, Twitter or Facebook.