Friday, November 7, 2008

Sick to death

I am sick to death of the Bible being used against LGBT folks. There is NOTHING in the bible that should be construed as "god hates gays." This quote from Billy Graham's son, Franklin, has just set me off:
Though never partisan in his preaching, Billy Graham is a registered Democrat. His son expressed concern about Obama's views on abortion and gay marriage — an issue Franklin Graham raised in a meeting with the Illinois senator — saying that he and is father are conservatives who believe the Bible speaks clearly on those issues.
"President-elect Obama heard our position," Franklin Graham said. "And I told him that this was very difficult for us and hard for us. It's a moral issue that we just can't back down on."
Moral issue? What type of morality denies the rights, feelings, and expressions of love of fellow human beings? What kind of bullshit is that? I hope against hope that Obama's administration is progressive enough to re-frame morality and strip it from the hate-filled, tight-fisted hands of the radical right. Why is it that Republicans are the party of family values? It is such crap. I am fuming and I haven't even thought about the abortion aspect yet!

What to do? Read the Bible for yourself to see that it has little, if anything to say about gay folks. If you don't want to read it, check out a website called Religious Tolerance. Their take on the Bible and Homosexuality can be found here. Some tidbits:
  1. The Bible has a lot to say about temple prostitution, including homosexual ritual prostitution. This was a common practice within the Canaanite fertility religion; some believe that the practice was also taken up by some ancient Israelites.
  2. God’s destruction of town of Sodom had nothing to do with homosexuality.
  3. The Bible says little about homosexual feelings.
  4. It says nothing about sexual orientation; the concept of orientation dates only from the late 19th century.
  5. A number of homosexual relationships are described positively or neutrally in the Bible.
  6. Of the many hundreds of Jesus’ instructions and prohibitions, few have a sexual component and none condemn homosexuality.
  7. Paul may have condemned same-sex sexual activities by homosexuals, but the passages are unclear; there are many possible interpretations.
  8. Bible translators must be aware of the errors that have been made in previous versions of the Bible; they are widely discussed in theological literature. But it would probably not be economically possible at this time to produce a translation of the Bible that was accurate. People are so used to expecting homophobic references in a half-dozen locations in scripture that they probably would not buy a Bible that was accurate to the original text, or which admitted that the meanings of certain words are unknown. (emphasis added because I'm pissed!)
Number 8 (and Prop 8!) speaks volumes to the problems LGBT folks and progressives struggle against. It reminds me of a Chinese proverb - "a closed mind is like a closed book: just a block of wood."

What else to do? Read Moral Politics by George Lakoff. I blogged about it here. Oh, and, Jesus Rode a Donkey by Linda Seger.

Support your local UU church. They do good work, are welcoming to the LGBT community, and work to fight religious oppression of all people.

What else? Find out what the Human Rights Campaign fund is up to as well as People for the American Way and see how you, too, can help wrestle the mantle of morality from the radical right.

Rant over. Thanks for listening.

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