Dearest Errol Naidoo - Get your facts STRAIGHT.
Well-known gay hater Errol Naidoo is at it again and we need your support and your voice to tell him and his constituency that their radical views are not only unconstitutional and illegal but also intolerant and against the principles of love and acceptance that his religion stands for. It is not surprising that conservative Christians are the most intolerant group of people in our society. They are also uninformed as it has Come Out that the Bible is translated wrongly. (See detailed info below.)
Errol Naidoo has launched a scathing attack on Cape Town Tourism for promoting our City as one of the top destinations in the world for gay people to visit. Cape Town Tourism is doing amazing work to position our city as Africa’s top destination for all people (gay and straight) to visit and Mr Naidoo has launched personal attacks on members of our community in the hateful fashion that he is known for.
Cape Town Tourism and the City of Cape Town support MCQP, much to the scorn of Mr Naidoo and his compatriots. He wrote to the Argus and is championing a hate email campaign against Cape Town Tourism and the City of Cape Town where he asked Christians to write to Cape Town Tourism and the Mayor of the City to express their disgust with their marketing strategies. This has caused significant responses - both by conservative Christians and by some sectors in the gay community. We would like to see the entire gay community of Cape Town add their voices against the highly prejudiced and homophobic views in the name if Christianity.
As gay citizens of Cape Town we need to make our voices heard. Mr Naidoo and his constituency should stop trying to ostracise marginalised groups and let Cape Town Tourism market the city to any legitimate market it so chooses. The more money we get as a city the less we will have to pay in rates.
Email Errol at:
Please copy Cape Town Tourism firstname.lastname@example.org in your email to show your support of the work that they are doing to market Cape Town to various groups of people (straight and gay) across the world.
Dear Errol Naidoo
You are acting from your Christian point of view.
Your view is flawed.
The Bible was translated wrongly.
THE BIBLE AND HOMOSEXUALITY
As stated above, until 1869 there was no written idea of homosexuality being an innate part of one's nature. Until that time it was believed that all people were heterosexual, but some were so perverted that they engaged in same-gender sex. When the Bible writers talked on this subject, within their culture and understanding, that is what they were talking about--that kind of heterosexuality.
Nevertheless, there are Bible passages used by some people today to condemn homosexuals. I want to discuss each passage in some detail to show that not only is there no statement about homosexuality, but also that there is no statement applicable to homosexual sex if that sex is not lustful. Many authors write on this subject, and I am indebted to many of them.
THE OLD TESTAMENT
Genesis 1-2, The Creation Story
Critics of homosexuality enjoy saying, "The creation story is about Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." Those who say that marriage can be only between a man and a woman argue that God's creation of Adam and Eve as heterosexuals shows that this is what he intended all persons to be; anything else is outside His will and therefore sinful. Dr. Gomes responds,
[As] Jeffrey S. Siker has pointed out in the July 1994 issue of Theology Today, to argue that the creation story privileges a heterosexual view of the relations between humankind is to make one of the weakest arguments possible, the argument from silence....It does not mention friendship, for example, and yet we do not assume that friendship is condemned or abnormal. It does not mention the single state, and yet we know that singleness is not condemned, and that in certain religious circumstances it is held in very high esteem. The creation story is not, after all, a paradigm about marriage, but rather about the establishment of human society.B-1
One can read anything one wants to into the creation story but cannot read anything about homosexuality out of it.
Genesis 18:20 to 19:29--The Sodom Story
Some consider the sin of Sodom to be same-gender sex, although we are not told in Genesis what Sodom's sins were, only that they were so great that God determined to destroy the city. On the evening before its destruction he sent two angels, in disguise as men, to the city to lead Lot and his family out early the next day. Hospitable Lot invited them to spend the night at his house. During the evening the men of the city surrounded the house and demanded of Lot that he bring the two men out so that they could [19:5]
King James Version: "know them."
Revised Standard Version: "know them."
New International Version: "have sex with them."
When Lot refused to bring his guests out, the men of the city were about to break his door down when the angels struck them all blind and the mob dispersed. The next day Lot and his family were led out of Sodom, and the city was destroyed by fire and brimstone from heaven.
The Hebrew verb used here, "yadha," "to know," is used 943 times in the OT and only ten times clearly to mean "have sex," then it always means heterosexual sex. The word normally used for homosexual sex is "shakhabh." Many scholars believe that in Gen. 19:5 yadha means "know" in the sense of "get acquainted with" (the city's men may have wondered if these were enemy spies or they might have sensed the city's impending doom and been concerned with what these strangers were doing there) and have several arguments for this, including Sodom's being used as an example of great sin numerous times in the Old and New Testaments with nothing ever said about same-sex sex, and the context of Jesus' references to Sodom (Luke 10:10-13) which seems to imply lack of hospitality as the sin.
Other scholars think it was the common practice of showing dominance over and humiliating outsiders by forcing them to take the part of a (an inferior) woman in a same-gender rape.
Others think it means "have sex," and point to Lot's offering his two virgin daughters to the crowd if sex is what they want, if they will just leave his guests alone. If this is the right interpretation, it is clearly about violent, criminal, gang rape, something always condemnable.
Another thought is expressed by Religion Professor David L. Bartlett: "This story is certainly an unlikely starting point for a `biblical' understanding of sexual ethics. While the attempted homosexual rape by the men of Sodom is explicitly condemned, the offer by Lot to hand his two virgin daughters over to the violent and lecherous inhabitants of Sodom is related without a word of judgment."B-2
Conservative theologian Richard Hays says, "The notorious story of Sodom and Gomorrah--often cited in connection with homosexuality--is actually irrelevant to the topic."B-3
There is nothing in this story applicable to our consideration of homosexuality.
Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13
Revised Standard Version:
22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman, it is an abomination.
13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death...
The King James and New International versions say virtually the same thing.
Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 are the only direct references to same-gender sex in the Old Testament. They are both part of the Old Testament Holiness Code, a religious, not a moral code; it later became the Jewish Purity Laws. ["Abomination" is used throughout the Old Testament to designate sins that involve ethnic contamination or idolatry. The word relates to the failure to worship God or to worshiping a false god; it does not relate to morality.] Professor Soards tell us, "Old Testament experts view the regulations of Leviticus as standards of holiness, directives for the formation of community life, aimed at establishing and maintaining a people's identity in relation to God."B-4 This is because God was so determined that his people would not adopt the practices of the Baal worshipers in Canaan, and same-gender sex was part of Baal worship. (The laws say nothing about women engaging in same-gender sex; probably this had to do with man's dominance, and such acts by the subservient had nothing to do with religious impurity.)
God required purity for his worship. Anything pure was unadulterated, unmixed with anything else These Purity Laws prohibited mixing different threads in one garment, sowing a field with two kinds of seed, crossbreeding animals. A few years ago in Israel when an orthodox government came into power, McDonalds had to stop selling cheeseburgers. Hamburgers, OK. Cheese sandwiches, OK. But mixing milk and meat in one sandwich violated the Purity Laws--it had nothing to do with morality. These were laws about worshipping God, not ethics, and so have no bearing on our discussion of morality. Helmut Thielicke remarks on these passages: "It would never occur to anyone to wrench these laws of cultic purification from their concrete situation and give them the kind of normative authority that the Decalogue, for example, has."B-5
Another reason they are not pertinent to our discussion is that these laws were for the particular time and circumstances existing when they were given. If you planted a fruit tree, you could not eat its fruit until its fifth year, and all fruit the fourth year must be offered to the Lord. A worker must be paid his wage on the day of his labor. You must not harvest a field to its edge. We readily dismiss most of them as not applicable to our day and culture, and if we dismiss some of them for any reason, we have to dismiss all of them, including the sexual regulations, for that same reason.
When we add the fact that these laws were talking about heterosexuals, it makes three reasons, any one of which would be sufficient, why they have no bearing on questions about homosexuals or homosexuality or on the morality of same-gender sex by homosexuals today.
THE NEW TESTAMENT
In the New Testament there are three passages to consider.
Romans 1:21, 26, 27
Revised Standard Version
21 for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him...
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men...
The King James and New International versions say virtually the same thing.
Romans 1:26 and 27 clearly speak of same-gender sex by both men and women, the only passage in the New Testament that does so. Rom. 1:18-32 speaks of Gentiles (heterosexuals) who could and should have known and served and given thanks to God but would not, so God gave them up and let them do whatever they wanted to do, and that resulted in degrading and shameful acts, including same-gender sex. It is almost a moot point, but Paul is not listing sins for which God will condemn anyone, he is listing sins that occur because people have forsaken Him. These are acts committed by those who have turned away from God and so become "consumed with passion." All of us recognize that those who forsake God and give themselves over to lustful living--homosexual or heterosexual--stand condemned by the Bible. This passage is talking about people who chose to forsake God.
Conservative theologian Richard Hays says, "No direct appeal to Romans 1 as a source of rules about sexual conduct is possible."B-6
I Corinthians 6:9
King James Version:
9...Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [malakoi], nor abusers of themselves with mankind [arsenokoitai], 10 Nor thieves..., shall inherit the kingdom of God.
New International Version
9...Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes [malakoi] nor homosexual offenders [arsenokoitai] 10 nor thieves...will inherit the kingdom of God.
Revised Standard Version--1952 edition:
9...Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals [malakoi and arsenokoitai], 10 nor thieves..., will inherit the kingdom of God.
Revised Standard Version--1971 edition:
9...Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts [malakoi and arsenokoitai], 10 nor thieves..., will inherit the kingdom of God.
A comparison of how the two Greek words are translated in the different versions shows that translations often, unfortunately, become the interpretations of the translators. In I Cor. 6:9 Paul lists the types of persons who will be excluded from the kingdom of God and for some he uses the Greek words malakoi and arsenokoitai. KJ translates the first "effeminate," a word that has no necessary connection with homosexuals. The NIV translates the first "male prostitutes" and the second, "homosexual offenders". The RSV in its first edition of 1952 translated both words by the single term, "homosexuals". In the revised RSV of 1971, the translation "homosexuals" is discarded and the two Greek words are translated as "sexual perverts"; obviously the translators had concluded the earlier translation was not supportable.
Malakoi literally means "soft" and is translated that way by both KJ and RSV in Matt. 11:8 and Luke 7:25. When it is used in moral contexts in Greek writings it has the meaning of morally weak; a related word, malakia, when used in moral contexts, means dissolute and occasionally refers to sexual activity but never to homosexual acts. There are at least five Greek words that specifically mean people who practice same-gender sex. Unquestionably, if Paul had meant such people, he would not have used a word that is never used to mean that in Greek writings when he had other words that were clear in that meaning. He must have meant what the word commonly means in moral contexts, "morally weak." There is no justification, most scholars agree, for translating it "homosexuals."
Arsenokoitai, is not found in any extant Greek writings until the second century when it apparently means "pederast", a corrupter of boys, and the sixth century when it is used for husbands practicing anal intercourse with their wives. Again, if Paul meant people practicing same-gender sex, why didn't he use one of the common words? Some scholars think probably the second century use might come closest to Paul's intention. If so, there is no justification for translating the word as "homosexuals." Other scholars see a connection with Greek words used to refer to same-gender sex in Leviticus. If so, it is speaking of heterosexuals given to such lust they turn to such acts.
Richard Hays tells us, "I Corinthians 6:9-11 states no rule to govern the conduct of Christians."B-7
One commentator has another reason for rejecting the NIV and original RSV translations, "homosexuals." Today it could mean that a person who is homosexual in orientation even though "of irreproachable morals, is automatically branded as unrighteous and excluded from the kingdom of God, just as if he were the most depraved of sexual perverts."B-8
So I Cor. 6:9 says nothing about homosexuality with the possible exception of condemnable pederasty.
I Tim. 1:10
King James Version:
9...the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners,...10...for them that defile themselves with mankind (arsenokoitai)...
Revised Standard Version - both 1952 and 1971 editions:
9...the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for 10 immoral persons, sodomites (arsenokoitai),...
New International Version:
9...the law is not made for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful...10 for adulterers and perverts (arsenokoitai)
Here only the RSV specifically refers to same-gender sex, using the term "sodomites," which is the translation given in both the Old Testament and New Testament to Hebrew and Greek words for male temple prostitutes. The KJV probably has the same thought. The NIV does not necessarily refer to same-gender sex. Again Paul has used the Greek word arsenokoitai, the word in I Cor. 6:9.
As discussed above, this word would have no reference to homosexuality or homosexual sex in our discussion.
So like the other two New Testament passages, I Tim. 1:10 says nothing about homosexuality or homosexuals and nothing about same-gender sex unless that of temple prostitutes or possibly the molestation of young boys by heterosexuals.
In view of the facts set forth above, we realize there is no moral teaching in the Bible about homosexuality as we know it, including homosexual sex (except possibly pederasty). The Bible cannot be used to condemn as immoral all same-gender sex. It clearly condemns lust, whether homosexual or heterosexual. There is certainly nothing in the Bible about anyone going to hell because he or she is homosexual. All who go to hell will go for the same, one reason: failure to commit their lives in faith to Jesus Christ as their lord and savior.
From a slightly different approach to interpretation, Dr. Robin Scroggs states, "The basic model in today's Christian homosexual community is so different from the model attacked by the New Testament that the criterion of reasonable similarity of context is not met. The conclusion I have to draw seems inevitable: Biblical judgments against homosexuality are not relevant to today's debate."B-9 [Italics his]
Dr. Gomes concludes his discussion of homosexuality and the Bible with these words:
The Biblical writers never contemplated a form of homosexuality in which loving, monogamous, and faithful persons sought to live out the implications of the gospel with as much fidelity to it as any heterosexual believer. All they knew of homosexuality was prostitution, pederasty, lasciviousness, and exploitation. These vices, as we know, are not unknown among heterosexuals, and to define contemporary homosexuals only in these terms is a cultural slander of the highest order, reflecting not so much prejudice, which it surely does, but what the Roman Catholic Church calls "invincible ignorance," which all of the Christian piety and charity in the world can do little to conceal. The "problem," of course, is not the Bible, it is the Christians who read it.B-10