Saturday, June 05, 2004

A Clarification...

It may be necessary to clarify a couple of statements from my previous post:

I don't see one word of scripture that addresses this issue.

The bible is not clear on this issue. I've provided links before about this. To use faulty interpretations of the bible as a weapon to mandate the behavior of another is an ugly form of oppression that must be condemned. If you want the links again, just ask.

Although no one specifically asked, I'm going to provide a link anyway;
The Christian Bible and the Homosexual, by Dean Worbois. Every passage that supposedly refers to homosexuality is discussed.

In reference to not seeing anything in the bible that addresses the issue, Worbois points out that the very most that can be claimed is that homosexual acts are mentioned, but never homosexual persons. Two people in a committed long-term relationship is never mentioned. That is the issue; the question about specific sex acts is tangential to it, as Demi pointed out in the previous comments.

Since I'm still a bit upset about this, and getting angry tends to cut off the blood flow to my brain (thus the bias, self-righteousness and lack of good logic in the previous post), let me allow Dean Worbois to make the point with more clarity;

Scriptural references only speak of homosexual acts - not homosexual people. Not until the Revised Standard Version of the Bible (revised from the King James version in 1885) do we find references to homosexuals themselves. These occur in translating the Greek words "malakoi" and "arsenokoitai" in Paul's letters.

Never is the issue of homosexual behavior between loving, homosexual partners addressed in Scripture. The reason is simple: biblical cultures did not have knowledge of homosexuality as a psychological identity. In biblical times homosexuality was known only by the acts people committed, not as a sexual personality. A person born heterosexual assumed homosexual acts to be something people did for dominance or in perversion of their inner identity.
For some insight into what conservatives really mean when they talk about how "gay unions will destroy the institution of marriage", read this excellent article; Fear of the Feminine;

What is driving the intensity of our current church infighting? Is it really just about what people do sexually with each other?

Probably not. A more likely reason for a significant amount of the negativism is that same-sex relationships violate the rules laid down by all patriarchal cultures about how men and women should behave in relationship to one another. The same rules also narrowly define acceptable relationships between people of the same sex.

Looking through this lens, we can see that the offenses pile up rapidly. If a lesbian woman does not need a man to satisfy her, protect her and keep her in line, the threat of the feminine is there; if a gay man is able to access the feminine side of his being, his every move can be considered suspect and an affront to many. If long-term relationships between two people of the same sex toss the age-old formulas attached to male dominance and female submission out the window, what are we left with? And if we must allow people who are partnered in this way to live openly and with our blessing -- so that we can't pretend that this is not happening -- how offensive is that? It is only offensive if we continue to cling to a patriarchal framework which keeps the feminine in her "proper" place...

...Raising awareness is nearly always the first step that has to precede societal change. The interrelationship between homophobia and misogyny is real, and we still have a big job ahead of us. There will probably be yet more sexuality studies by the churches to help people cope with the significant changes that are hopefully before us. We would do well to incorporate consciousness-raising about dominance/submission to help people recognize and resist these destructive messages. It is time to take the blinders off.

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