These two phrases have nothing to do with each other.
I’ll give you a moment either to get really mad at me and close this tab, or to sit and sigh with relief. Your reaction is likely to be one of those two.
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), I was surprised that my Facebook feed didn’t blow up with posts bemoaning the imminent doom of America and preparing for the certain smiting God would give us. Because, you know, surely God hates gays and lesbians and will destroy every country that tolerates such behavior. After all, it’s in the Bible. I mean, it’s right there in the scriptures, God destroying cities and nations because of gay people.
Or is it?
The most obvious, frequently cited example is Sodom and Gomorrah. God didn’t destroy these cities because there were people in them sharing life in same-sex intimate, loving, respectful, committed, monogamous relationships (AKA “gay marriage”). God destroyed these cities because their inhabitants were wicked. The reference to gay sex wasn’t lovemaking; it was an attempt by the men of Sodom to gang-rape two messengers of God who were staying with Lot.
Yes, the Bible does speak out against gay sex. Taken in context, more often than not, this gay sex was homosexual temple prostitution – sex, both homosexual and heterosexual sex that the Israelites and the surrounding pagans engaged in as part of worship to idols and the gods and goddesses of the Canaanites, Egytians and Babylonians.
There are many references to the nations falling before the Israelites, and these nations all had one primary thing in common: They all worshipped idols, and God recognized the temptation and the appeal for the Israelites to follow suit. Beginning with the reign of Solomon, that is exactly what they did. Sure, they made their Temple sacrifices and offerings, and they carefully observed the holy days, but they also “hedged their bets,” offering sacrifices to Ba’al and bowing down to the Asherah poles. In other words, the fall of nations in the Ancient Near East had more to do with idol worship than with homosexual behavior.
Fast forward a few thousand years and cross the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic. Bring it to America, where we tend to forget that God loves everyone, including the convicted murderer and the radical Muslim. And most definitely the homosexuals. But what does God think of our own idol worship?
How many people sitting in our churches can tell you the latest celebrity gossip but not what Jesus teaches about loving pagans? Who in the pews can recite the stats for their favorite NFL team but do not know the names of the impoverished family down the street? Are these not forms of idolatry?
What else? Power. Prestige. Money. Stuff. Hobbies. (Play golf on Sunday mornings? Sure! Or maybe it’s D&D. Or boating. Or…) It saddens me seeing people post more about their THINGS on FB (jewelry, shoes, cars, etc.) than about the people in their lives. We worship our jobs, our homes, our perception of what the neighbors will think of us and the prestige we crave more than we worship God. We, like the Israelites of old, just want to “hedge our bets,” depending on our own efforts at making it than relying on God to provide. It is this behavior that will bring the downfall of America far faster than individuals living is relationships that fall outside of the 1950s American “ideal” touted by the far-right evangelicals as “Biblical marriage.”
- What Can the Church Learn From Gay Christians? (matthewtuininga.wordpress.com)