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Opinions of Sunday, 4 August 2013

Columnist: Annor, Joe

Homosexual Marriage: The Bible verses Politics

Of late the political desire to have homosexual marriage recognised around the world has gained substantial momentum. For instance, the statements below by some of the world great leaders indicate their support for homosexual marriage:

• Obama on 27 June 2013 in his reaction to the American Supreme Court ruling that it was unconstitutional for the federal government to define marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman, stated that the Court’s decision is a "victory for American democracy" and that recognition for same-sex unions should cross state lines.

Prior to this, Obama has stated on 9 May 2012 that “At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

• According to David Cameron (the Prime Minister of United Kingdom), a bill legalizing gay marriage, currently before Parliament, would send a message to young gay people that "their love is the same as anyone else's love."

After the passage of the bill into law, he stated further that Britain was now ‘the best place to be gay, lesbian or transgender anywhere in Europe’ and that he will export gay marriage around the world.

• Kevin Rudd, the so called “recycled” Prime Minister of Australia stated on 28 June 2013 he will consider a plebiscite or referendum on the issue of gay marriage if Tony Abbott (the Opposition Leader) fails to grant his MPs a free vote to resolve the issue.

• North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is even said to have told reporters that, considering he’s not a completely awful human being, he unequivocally believes that gay people should be able to marry. “Of course I believe gay and lesbian couples should be treated equally under the law, for God’s sake; I’m not a monster,”

• Desmond Tutu, the Retired Anglican Archbishop in speech at United Nations‘ launch of its gay-rights campaign in Cape Town stated that”:

“I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this,” by way of denouncing religions that discriminate against gays.

“I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place.”

“I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid,” for me, it is at the same level.”

• Pope Francis at the end of July 2013 on his way back from Brazil asked "If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?" He stated further that "The problem is not having this orientation, it is lobbying. That's the most serious problem." The Pope is said to have admitted in June 2013 that there was a "gay lobby" in the Vatican's secretive administration, the Roman Curia.

The above statements are sufficient illustrations of how some of the great world leaders are intensely promoting the legalisation of homosexual marriage. In fact, since the Netherlands legalised homosexual marriage in 2001, twelve more countries —Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, have all legalised the same sex marriage. Further, Uruguay and New Zealand have both enacted laws to legalise same-sex marriage which will come into force on 5 August 2013 and 19 August 2013 respectively. Further, United Kingdom has also recently passed a law that will allow the same sex marriage to be recognised in England and Wales sometime in 2014. Further, in several countries including Andorra, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Nepal, Scotland, and Taiwan, as well as in parts of Australia, Mexico, and the United States, bills allowing legal recognition of same-sex marriage have been proposed, are pending, or have passed at least one legislative house. In addition, in several states or parts of Mexico and the United States, the same sex marriage is recognised.

It is significant to mention that the issue of equal right has been cited as the main reason for the recent frenzy of the world leaders for showing their support for homosexual marriage, and some have compared non-recognition of the same sex marriage with racial discrimination and etc. It is has also been advocated that some people are naturally predisposed to be homosexuals; therefore, it is not their fault that they have chosen to be homosexuals.

Now that I have set into context the current political debate and advocacy for homosexual marriage, I will focus the rest of my discussion on the biblical view of homosexuality, starting with a marriage as whole and homosexual marriage in particular.

The Bible teaches that at the time of creation, God created (established) two institutions (the marriage and the Sabbath) in addition to the physical things that he created. In Matthew 19: 4-6, Jesus affirmed the Genesis 2:22-24 statement that in beginning the Creator [he Jesus] 'made [them] male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” In other words, God created a man and woman and ordained a marriage between them. He did not create two males or two females and established marriage for them. Therefore since God himself established marriage and he had intended it to be between a man and woman, any attempt to expand the marriage relationship to the same sex couples is direct challenge to the purpose and reasoning of God.

Further any other time that the Bible has discussed marriage, it has been confined to a husband (male) and a wife (female). For instance, in both 1 Corinthians 7:2-16 and Ephesians 5:23-33, Paul clearly discussed extensively that a marriage is between a man and woman. For example, in 1 Corinthians 7:2, he stated that “each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband”. He did not say a man should have a husband (a man) and a woman a wife (another woman). Thus, God has established a marriage between man and a woman as a means of building a family to replenish the earth (see Gen 1:28). Any marital relationship not between a man and woman cannot fulfil the above purpose of God. It is clear from the above that homosexual marriage does not conform to the purpose of God, and can never be justified biblically.

Now concerning homosexual as a whole, the Bible considers it as a despicable immoral and unnatural sin, as demonstrated at:

• Leviticus 18:22, 'Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.”

• Leviticus 20:13, "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltness is upon them"

• Romans 1:26-27, Paul described homosexuality as an unnatural, shameful act.

• Corinthians 6:9-10, Paul listed homosexuals among other sinners that will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Despite the above, it appears the most widely known biblical story about homosexuality is the one about the destruction of the twin cities—Sodom and Gomorrah found in Genesis chapter 19. Since it is commonly known that the twin cities were destroyed by God because the people there were engaged in homosexuality to the extent that even the two angels who had gone to destroy the city and had spent the night with Lot, the men of these cities wanted to commit their appalling act with them, by putting pressure on Lot to allow them into his house, the angels had to cause them blindness before they stopped. In any case, in my view the most astonishing part of the story is not the destruction of the cities, but one of the persons that was involved in causing the destruction. As I have indicated above, Genesis chapter 19 informs us that two angels destroyed the place. However, Genesis chapter 18, which acts as the preamble to the chapter 19, reviews information about another important person that was involved in the destruction of the place but not captured in the story in chapter 19. According to Gen 18, when the angels were on their way to Sodom and Gomorrah, they visited Abraham first, although with one important person, “the Lord”. Sure, the Genesis 18 story is explicitly clear that this other person “the Lord” was not one of the angels because the story starting from verse one throughout to the end in verse 33 makes a clear distinction between the two angels on one hand and the third person (the Lord) on the other hand. For instance, verses:

• 1, opens the story by referring to the appearance of the Lord to Abraham, despite there were three people, it is on verse two onwards, that the other two people (the angels) were introduced.

• 10-15, when one of the men (presumably, the Lord) informed Sarah she would have a son, Sarah doubted and laughed because of her age, verses 13 and 14 make it plainly clear the Lord queried Sarah that she had laughed and asked, “Is anything too hard for the LORD” (the same person referring to himself). Sure, only the real Lord not an angel representing the Lord could have made this bold claim. He never indicated that he was acting on behalf of someone, but on his own.

• 17-19, this third person is continually referred to as the Lord and he makes further claim that he had chosen Abraham to become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.

• 21, the Lord claimed that outcry of the sins of outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah had reached him. An angel again could not have made such a claim.

• 22ff, indicate that Abraham negotiated with the Lord to spare the cities; if between 10 and 50 righteous people are found there. Sure, Abraham had the interest of his relative Lot and family in mind. The response of the Lord to Abraham indicates that an angel could not have acted in that way.

All the above factors clearly indicate that the third person refer to the Lord was not an angel, but the Lord (i.e. Jesus). The fact that the Lord was the one who was going to judge the people is consistent with Jesus’ own statements that “the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22) and “And he [the Father] has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.” Above all, Jesus confirmed that he was the one who appeared to Abraham. In John 8:56, Jesus informed the Pharisees that "your ancestor Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad". Sure, Jesus was not talking about any other event than Genesis 18, as discussed above, that is the only instance that the Bible explicitly state that the Lord appeared to Abraham physically. In fact, it was Jesus who always acted as God in the Old Testament. This is why Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 10:4, "and they [the Israelites) all drank from the spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ". Deuteronomy 32:4 also states “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” In fact, it was the same Lord, who showed his back to Moses in his full glory. The reason why I have taken the trouble to discuss extensively that it was pre-human Jesus who appeared to Abraham is to emphasise the significant that he attached to the destruction of Sodom as he personally accompanied the two angels to assess the gravity of the sins of the people. Clearly, this indicates the extreme significance that the Lord (Jesus) and for that matter, his Father attached to the homosexuality of the cities. There are only few instances that the Bible appears to indicate that pre-human Jesus actually came down to earth. Sure, he would only do that when the issue at stake is extremely important. Therefore, the fact that Jesus himself came down to assess the gravity of the homosexual sins of these people demonstrates that God does not take it lightly at. Therefore it is extremely wrong for any persons like Desmond Tutu to make reckless statements. May God forgive him of his sin.

Lastly, before I conclude, I just want to emphasise that the rush by various governments and so forth to promote homosexual marriage under the guise of fundamental right is only laughable. The reason for what is happening appears to be found in Romans 1:18-27. Paul’s states here that because of the disobedience of mankind “God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” I have no doubt that it is the same thing that is happening and the consequence of it will be tragic, because to God, homosexuality is unnatural, detestable and filthy. Therefore, Desmond Tutu calling himself an Anglican bishop should bow his head in shame. Yes, God maybe homophobia, for he destroyed those who practised homosexuality, because it is against the nature that he created.

Author Joe Annor - BA (Hons) Majoring Religious Studies