Gay Marriage Is Fabulous
“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (James 4:17)
“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression” (Isaiah 1:17)
This paper aims to discuss the moral acceptability of homosexuality and same-sex marriages. Seeing as a majority of people are religious, and the religion most adhered to is Christianity, therefore, the view held by the Church is an extremely important one as it dictates what a vast majority of people hold to as their own beliefs. Hopefully, in discussing this topic at great lengths, both sides will come to a reasonable understanding of one another.
Currently, the Church would have it known that it believes that the practice of homosexuality is an “intrinsic moral evil” (Ratzinger 3); therefore, it holds that the union of homosexuals in matrimony is a violation of God’s will. In further explanation, the wedding of two same-sexed partners, in the view of the Church, is not what God intended for human beings.
This paper shall present the view of the Church and its reasoning at lengths, in detail, and will then proceed to discuss any flaws and objections to any aforementioned statements. Provided will be great amounts of evidence-based arguments and objections.
To most, homosexuality refers to a sexual attraction to a partner of the same-gender. This is partially correct, in some cases. Sexual orientation refers to a pattern of “sexual, affectional, or romantic attractions to men, to women, or to both sexes”. It also refers to one’s “sense of personal and social identity based on those attractions, behaviors expressing them, and membership in a community of others who share them”. Therefore, homosexuality is rooted deeper than a sexual act. As a sexual act is but an expression of one’s orientation (Supreme Court of California 6; American Psychological Association, "Sexual Orientation, Homosexuality and Bisexuality”).
“It is by acting or -- desiring to act -- with another person” that one expresses their sexuality and orientation. Therefore, “sexual orientation is integrally linked to the intimate, personal relationships that human beings form with others to meet their deeply felt needs for love, attachment, and intimacy”. These bonds also encompass affections and actions outside of sexual, physical affections: “shared goals and values, mutual support, and ongoing commitment”. Thus, sexuality is not defined by mere sexual patterns and preferences, though it is perhaps a component, sexuality is defined by the group of individuals one displays attraction to through their words, thoughts, and actions towards a group of individuals one feels attracted to (Supreme Court of California 7-8).
Sexual orientation is not merely an innate personal characteristic that can be defined in isolation, with ease. Rather, one’s sexual orientation is defined by the universe of persons with whom one is likely to find a satisfying and fulfilling relationship that, for many individuals, comprises an essential component of personal identity. (Supreme Court of California 8)
Homosexuality is a dominion of sexuality, that is, it is a type of sexuality. It is characterized by a romantic, sexual, and emotional connection and attraction to members of one’s own sex (American Psychological Association, "Sexual Orientation, Homosexuality and Bisexuality”). Further, bisexualtiy is, as well, a dominion of sexuality. It is characterized by the aforementioned romantic, sexual, and emotional attraction, but in this case, to both sexes.
As previously stated, the Church views homosexuality, in practice, as a grave moral offense. In order to explain the view of the Church, what is and is not moral must first be defined. This shall be done in terms of Church teaching.
Morality is a system of principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong. Morality is applied to human acts to discern whether such an act is morally right or morally wrong:
Freedom makes man a moral subject. When he acts deliberately, man is, so to speak, the father of his acts. Human acts, that is, acts that are freely chosen in consequence of a judgment of conscience, can be morally evaluated. They are either good or evil. (Catholic Church, Catechism 1749)
In explanation, because man has the ability to judge his own acts, through his conscience, and because he chooses to act in a way, his actions can be morally evaluated. It should be clarified, however, that the “freedom to choose” is what makes man accountable or “responsible” for the moral consequences that follow:
Freedom makes man responsible for his acts to the extent that they are voluntary. Progress in virtue, knowledge of the good, and ascesis enhance the mastery of the will over its acts. (Catholic Church, Catechism 1734)
Therefore, morality is important because it dictates how one’s acts shall be judged.
A human action, as previously stated, is an action that is freely chosen by a person, that is, that it proceeds from both knowledge and free will. An act that proceeds from both knowledge and free will shall be referred to as a “human act” or “human action”:
As long as freedom has not bound itself definitively to its ultimate good which is God, there is the possibility of choosing between good and evil, and thus of growing in perfection or of failing and sinning. This freedom characterizes properly human acts. It is the basis of praise or blame, merit or reproach. (Catholic Church, Catechism 1732)
It is important to clarify that though processes like digestion, growth, movement of blood in the veins, etc. are acts of a human person, they are not referred to as “human acts”, since they are not under the control of our will. The morality of human actions is dictated by components of such an action.
The morality of human acts depends on:
- the object chosen;
- the end in view or the intention;
- the circumstances of the action.
The object, the intention, and the circumstances make up the "sources," or constitutive elements, of the morality of human acts. (Catholic Church, Catechism 1750)
From the Catechism, the above outlines the three “constitutive elements” of a human act. The first of which is “the object”. The object, essentially, is the thing with which the action is concerned: lying, stealing, praying, donating to the poor, etc. The object is further explained in Catechism entry 1751:
The object chosen is a good toward which the will deliberately directs itself. It is the matter of a human act. The object chosen morally specifies the act of the will, insofar as reason recognizes and judges it to be or not to be in conformity with the true good. Objective norms of morality express the rational order of good and evil, attested to by conscience. (Catholic Church, Catechism 1751)
The second constitutive element of a human act is “the end in view or the intention”. That is, the intention of a being’s actions or the goods one hopes to produce with an action. For example, the intention of the action of gambling is to--hopefully--“produce money”. It is explained at length in the catechism:
In contrast to the object, the intention resides in the acting subject. Because it lies at the voluntary source of an action and determines it by its end, intention is an element essential to the moral evaluation of an action. The end is the first goal of the intention and indicates the purpose pursued in the action. The intention is a movement of the will toward the end: it is concerned with the goal of the activity. It aims at the good anticipated from the action undertaken. Intention is not limited to directing individual actions, but can guide several actions toward one and the same purpose; it can orient one's whole life toward its ultimate end. For example, a service done with the end of helping one's neighbor can at the same time be inspired by the love of God as the ultimate end of all our actions. One and the same action can also be inspired by several intentions, such as performing a service in order to obtain a favor or to boast about it. (Catholic Church, Catechism 1752)
The third, and final, constitutive element of a human act is “the circumstances of the action”. The circumstances of an action are said to be “secondary elements of a moral act”, and dictate the gravity of an action:
The circumstances, including the consequences, are secondary elements of a moral act. They contribute to increasing or diminishing the moral goodness or evil of human acts (for example, the amount of a theft). They can also diminish or increase the agent's responsibility (such as acting out of a fear of death). Circumstances of themselves cannot change the moral quality of acts themselves; they can make neither good nor right an action that is in itself evil. (Catholic Church, Catechism 1753).
As explained above, the constitutive element of “circumstance” is said to be secondary because of and in itself it cannot change whether or not an act is good or evil.
For an act to be classified as “morally good” its three constitutive elements must be morally good:
A morally good act requires the goodness of the object, of the end, and of the circumstances together. An evil end corrupts the action, even if the object is good in itself (such as praying and fasting "in order to be seen by men").
The object of the choice can by itself vitiate an act in its entirety. There are some concrete acts - such as fornication - that it is always wrong to choose, because choosing them entails a disorder of the will, that is, a moral evil. (Catholic Church, Catechism 1755)
Furthermore, the Catechism elaborates on how the “object of choice” can “vitiate an act in its entirety”:
It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances (environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.) which supply their context. There are acts which, in and of themselves, independently of circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of their object; such as blasphemy and perjury, murder and adultery. One may not do evil so that good may result from it. (Catholic Church, Catechism 1756)
In summary, a human act is good if the three constitutive elements that make it up are good. Yet, this does not succeed in supplying a fundamental definition of how to discern from right and wrong. The answer to such an inquisition is quite a bit more involved and seems to be the root of most ethical and moral problems that arise when determining morally good from morally evil.
The difference between what is good and evil has much to do with God’s design for humanity. What is morally evil, is known as sin. The definition of sin used by St. Thomas Aquinas, that was originally set forth by St. Augustine, is that “Sin is a word, deed, or desire against the eternal law” (Aquinas Ia-IIæ, Q. 71). This is reiterated and expanded in the Catechism:
Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as "an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law." (Catholic Church, Catechism 1849)
This defines sin as something contrary to eternal law. Our understanding of what is right and wrong is relative to our understanding of said eternal law, and law in general; therefore, we must define and understand law to understand sin and morals.
In order to define the kinds of law and the laws that pertain to humanity, as prescribed by God, we shall heavily refer to the reasoning and philosophies of St. Thomas Aquinas. Thomas Aquinas described law, in general, as “a certain rule and measure of acts whereby man is induced to act or restrained from acting” (Aquinas Ia-IIæ, Q. 90, Art. 1). Because the rule and measure of human actions is reason, law has an essential relation to reason. Law is directed by its nature to the good, and especially to the universal or common good (Aquinas Ia-IIæ, Q. 90, Art. 3). This is further explained and elaborated upon in the Catechism:
Law is a rule of conduct enacted by competent authority for the sake of the common good. The moral law presupposes the rational order, established among creatures for their good and to serve their final end, by the power, wisdom, and goodness of the Creator. All law finds its first and ultimate truth in the eternal law. Law is declared and established by reason as a participation in the providence of the living God, Creator and Redeemer of all. "Such an ordinance of reason is what one calls law." (Catholic Church, Catechism 1951)
“Aquinas recognized four main kinds of law: the eternal, the natural, the human, and the divine” (Garrett). The latter three all depend on the most former of the aforementioned kinds of law; however, the ways in which they depend on it differs from kind to kind. According to Thomas, if we were to arrange them in a hierarchy, that is, in a ranking from most basic and fundamental to most profound and most dependent on interpretation of kinds listed previously in the aforementioned hierarchy, then the order of said hierarchy, from top to bottom, would look like as follows.
Notice that, in fact, divine law is not among the hierarchy. This is due to the fact that divine law is not in conflict with natural law; however, it reaches human beings by a different route, that route being revelation (Garrett; Aquinas Ia-IIæ, Q. 91).
The top of the hierarchy is eternal law:
Eternal law is identical to the mind of God as seen by God himself. It can be called law because God stands to the universe which he creates as a ruler does to a community which he rules. When God’s reason is considered as it is understood by God himself, i.e., in its unchanging , eternal nature (Aquinas Ia-IIæ, Q. 91, Art. 1), it is eternal law. (Garrett)
“All laws, in so far as they partake of right reason, are derived from the eternal law” (Aquinas Ia-IIæ, Q. 93, Art. 3).
“Divine law is derived from eternal law as it appears to humans through revelation, i.e., when it appears to human beings as divine commands. Divine law is divided into the Old Law and the New Law” (Garrett; Aquinas Ia-IIæ, Q. 91, Art. 5). These truths are summed up in the Catechism:
There are different expressions of the moral law, all of them interrelated: eternal law - the source, in God, of all law; natural law; revealed law, comprising the Old Law and the New Law, or Law of the Gospel; finally, civil and ecclesiastical laws. (Catholic Church, Catechism 1952)
“The Old and New Law roughly [corresponds] to the Old and New Testaments of the Bible” (Garrett). The Old law can be explained, in brief, as the law that “commands conduct externally”. It is revealed to humans “through their capacity for fear, and it promised earthly rewards, such as social peace and its benefits” (Garrett):
The Old Law is the first stage of revealed Law. Its moral prescriptions are summed up in the Ten Commandments. The precepts of the Decalogue lay the foundations for the vocation of man fashioned in the image of God; they prohibit what is contrary to the love of God and neighbor and prescribe what is essential to it. The Decalogue is a light offered to the conscience of every man to make God's call and ways known to him and to protect him against evil. (Catholic Church, Catechism 1962)
The latter division of divine law is New Law. The New Law can be explained, roughly and briefly, as the law which “commands internal conduct”. It reaches, or is revealed to, humanity by the “example of divine love, and it promises heavenly reward” (Garrett):
The Law of the Gospel "fulfills," refines, surpasses, and leads the Old Law to its perfection. In the Beatitudes, the New Law fulfills the divine promises by elevating and orienting them toward the "kingdom of heaven." It is addressed to those open to accepting this new hope with faith - the poor, the humble, the afflicted, the pure of heart, those persecuted on account of Christ and so marks out the surprising ways of the Kingdom. (Catholic Church, Catechism 1967)
The two divisions of divine law are commonly summarized, in extreme briefness, as follows: the Old Law is summed up as, or mainly in reference to, the ten commandments; the New Law is spoken of as the teachings of Jesus.
The second kind of law in the hierarchy is Natural Law. Aquinas explains that “creatures...are governed by final causes or ends which they naturally seek” (Garrett). These ends are said to be instilled by God. Most creatures seek these ends out of their natural instinct. Human beings are also a part of this natural law, and, therefore, have natural means as well. However, “our actions are often determined counter to nature and natural law by our appetites. [Aquinas believed] that when reason rules in the human soul, we choose what accords with nature” (Garrett):
all things partake somewhat of the eternal law, in so far as, namely, from its being imprinted on them, they derive their respective inclinations to their proper acts and ends. Now among all others, the rational creature is subject to Divine providence in the most excellent way, in so far as it partakes of a share of providence, by being provident both for itself and for others. Wherefore it has a share of the Eternal Reason, whereby it has a natural inclination to its proper act and end: and this participation of the eternal law in the rational creature is called the natural law. (Aquinas Ia-IIæ, Q. 91, Art. 2)
The general principle that dictates natural law is “good is to be done and pursued, and evil avoided” (Aquinas Ia-IIæ, Q. 94, Art. 2). All other precepts of natural law rely upon this principle. Aquinas defines several precepts of natural law, which are specifications of this principle, which is highly abstract. These three precepts are:
In other words, (1) a sense or instinct of survival (2) procreation and education of offspring (3) natural instinct toward the common good. Aquinas holds that higher precepts direct or order those below them. The first and second orders are in all things: man, creature, and plant. It is only the last precept, the highest one, naturally being ordered towards good, that dictates the actions of the rational creature, man. The belief is that man’s instinct towards common good should order the others. For things to be good, the natural ordering towards good, that is given from God, should be the force behind action. However, man does not always act in accordance with what is good, he must choose to do so.
The Catholic Church’s explanation of this concept, in the Catechism, is a much briefer, but focused, ideology. It first begins with defining natural law as “the way [man is shown] to follow so as to practice the good and attain his end”, that the natural law “states the first and essential precepts which govern the moral life”. It continues to say that it is based off of the “desire for God”, “who is the source of all that is good” (Catholic Church, Catechism 1955). It proclaims that natural law is “established by reason” and is “present in the heart of each man” (Catholic Church, Catechism 1956). The natural, according to the Catechism, is “the solid foundation on which man can build the structure of moral rules to guide his choices” (Catholic Church, Catechism 1959). It also speaks of how the law is not perceived, in fullness, by everyone “clearly and immediately”, that man requires “grace and revelation so moral and religious truths may be known” (Catholic Church, Catechism 1960).
Finally, the last kind of law which Aquinas attests to, is Human Law. To define human law, Thomas refers back to natural law, as they are intimately entwined, he proclaims,it is from the precepts of the natural law, as from general and indemonstrable principles, that the human reason needs to proceed to the more particular determination of certain matters. These particular determinations, devised by human reason, are called human laws. (Aquinas Ia-IIæ, Q. 91, Art. 3)
As previously stated, natural law is a more general concept. That is, natural law deals with what is “necessary rather than with variable things” (Garrett). In conceiving human laws, man moves from what is based in natural law, to what is based in man’s wants and desires.
Human laws are adaptations of the natural law and cannot change the natural law.. If a human law does deviate from the general principles of natural law, and it is not a reasonable adaptation of natural law, it is a perversion of law (Aquinas Ia-IIæ, Q. 95, Art. 2).
Human laws, however, differ in differing places and cultures. For example, in the US, one should drive on the right side of the road; however, in Great Britain, one is to drive on the left side of the road. At this level, the human law is partly a matter of custom. However, if laws are not perversions of law, they all attain the same ends, that is, those that are contained in the natural law, which is an expression of eternal law (Garrett).
Now that we have an understanding of law, we can once again refer back to our definition of sin, and thus, discern what is considered as morally sinful, and we can use this as basis to judge the morality of human acts, which we have already defined.
Now that we have a loose basis of how to judge actions, words, etc., using Church principles, we shall begin to delve into the specifics of the Church’s opposition to gay marriage.
Firstly, we need to understand the position of the Church on “homosexual inclinations”, as this is where homosexual behavior and actions proceed from. A “homosexual inclination” is, essentially, the same as what the Catechism defines as a passion:
The term "passions" belongs to the Christian patrimony. Feelings or passions are
emotions or movements of the sensitive appetite that incline us to act or not to act in regard to something felt or imagined to be good or evil. (Catholic Church, Catechism 1763)
In essence, a “homosexual inclination” is a feeling that inclines one to act in a behavior
that could be described as “homosexual” in nature.
No, the Church does not believe that homosexual passions are sins. This is evident as all passions, in themselves, “are neither good nor evil” (Catholic Church, Catechism 1767), this revelation is derived from the studies of St. Thomas Aquinas (Aquinas Ia-IIæ, Q.24). Pope Benedict reiterated this in a letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church about the “Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons”. He said, “the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin” (Catholic Church, Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of
Homosexual Persons Sec. 3).
However, the Church does believe that these passions are a “strong tendency towards an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder” (Catholic Church, Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of
Homosexual Persons Sec. 3):
Moral perfection consists in man's being moved to the good not by his will alone, but also by his sensitive appetite... (Catholic Church, Catechism 1770)
The Church takes a clear stance when it comes to acts that are considered homosexual. Its position, obviously, is one of extreme admonishment and condemnation. The official position of the Church is that homosexual acts are “contrary to natural law” and are “intrinsically disordered” (Catholic Church, Catechism 2357).
The Church believe that homosexual acts “do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity” and that “they close the sexual act to the gift of life” (Catholic Church, Catechism 2357). Thus, the Church holds that homosexual acts are in violation of the second precept of natural law (Aquinas Ia-IIæ, Q. 94, Art. 2). Going back to our system of judging actions, we see that, because they violate natural law, they violate our “natural ends” and, therefore, God’s intentions for sexual relations, thus making them morally sinful acts.
For this reason, “homosexual persons are called to chastity” (Catholic Church, Catechism 2359). It is because these acts are a “serious depravity” that these acts are “intrinsically disordered” and, therefore, “can in no case be approved of” (Catholic Church, Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics: Persona Humana VIII).
The Church would have it known that law, and in turn natural law, is God’s plan for us, and the Bible is God’s word, or rather, his expression of his plan to human beings. Therefore, what God tells us in the Bible is his plan and, therefore, law. From this we begin to illuminate the fog that is the Church’s reasoning.
In the Catechism, the Church provides a footnote at the aforecited entry, 2357. In said note, it cites four Biblical passages in support of the line, “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity…” We shall examine these four texts and explain how they support the Church’s view.
The first of these is Genesis 19:1-29, also know as the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. It has been included in this footnote to bring light to God’s condemnation of Sodom and Gomorrah. This is due to the fact that the story has to deal with the homosexual act of sodomy (named after the city of Sodom). Sodomy, in this sense, in the briefest and cleanest, is intercourse obtained through anal penetration. God, in response to their depravity, “rained [down] sulfur and fire” from the heavens and onto Sodom and Gomorrah (The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition Gen. 19.24). Thus, reinforcing that homosexual acts are not acceptable to God.
The second is Romans 1:24-27. Where Paul speaks of “men giving up natural intercourse with women” consuming themselves “with passion for one another”. It goes further in its explanation:
Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind and to things that should not be done. (Rom. 1.27-28)
This reiterates and strengthens the theme that God disapproves of homosexual acts.
The third passage is 1 Corinthians 6:10. A letter from Paul to the members of Corinth, he goes into a rant, listing off groups of people he considers “wrongdoers [that] will not inherit the kingdom of God”. Of these, “sodomites” are one (1 Cor. 6.10). This insinuates that those who willingly participate in homosexual acts are denied entrance into heaven, and, obviously, infers that homosexual acts are great sins.
The fourth, and final, passage noted as support is 1 Timothy 1:10. It decrees “that the law is laid down not for the innocent but for the lawless and disobedient” and then declares that “sodomites” be one of those “lawless and disobedient” and that they are “contrary to sound teaching that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God” (1 Tim. 1.9-11). According to the Church, this has given us sufficient proof to declare that acting in a homosexual means is a grave moral wrong, as it was told by God in the old testament and it is reiterated, or strengthened, by the word of the new testament.
The Church takes a strong stance in opposition to gay marriage. They believe marriage is the joining of a man and woman in holy matrimony, and that it is consummated by the natural act of conjugal intimacy in marriage. They believe that God intended for marriage to reinforce the natural ends he planned for us to obtain; i.e., the precept of procreation and education of offspring is thought to be the groundwork on which marriage is constructed, according to the Church.
The Church is adamant in this belief, as they hold that marriage is originally constructed by God in the old testament and reiterated, and thus, instituted by Christ in the new testament. In further, they believe that these institutions hold that marriage is a bond between only a man and a woman and that the purposes of this bond includes the second precept of natural law, that is, that the one of supreme purposes of marriage is to procreate and educate offspring.
The Catechism cites the Code of Canon Law in laying down the basic structure and purpose of marriage in entry 1601:
The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring… (Catholic Church, Catechism 1601; Catholic Church, Code of Canon Law 1055)
In explanation, the matrimonial covenant is established for a man and a woman to order themselves to the betterment of one another and towards the procreation and education of offspring.
This explanation of marriage is extremely important when it comes to analyzing the Church’s opposition to gay marriage. The first statement they make, which will be highlighted and expanded upon, is that the “matrimonial covenant” is established between “a man and a woman”. This is one of the key arguments against gay marriage, that marriage is between a man and a woman. No other outstanding deviations are permissible in the eyes of the Lord, as they violate his plan.
God is said to be the “author of marriage” (Catholic Church, Catechism 1603; Gaudium et Spes 48 § 1) and he has rooted “the vocation to marriage...in the very nature of man and woman” (Catholic Church, Catechism 1603). Further supporting that the calling to marriage is in every man and woman, it states,
Although the dignity of this institution is not transparent everywhere with the same clarity, some sense of the greatness of the matrimonial union exists in all cultures. (Catholic Church, Catechism 1603)
This is why it is said that “the well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life” (Catholic Church, Catechism 1603), and, more specifically, a state of family life according to God’s plan.
The second argument of the Church, which supports and is supported by the first, is that those entwined in the covenant of matrimony are called to procreate, that “this love which God blesses is intended to be fruitful” (Catholic Church, Catechism 1604). Thus, disqualifying homosexuals from participating in the Sacrament as they cannot “bear fruit”. It goes further, stating that “by its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory” and that “children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute greatly to the good of the parents themselves” (Catholic Church, Catechism 1652).
The Church asserts that “Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another” (Catholic Church, Catechism 1605). In support of this statement, the Catechism produces a couple of passages as bases for said statement. The first of these is Genesis 2:18, which states that “it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner” this helper is woman, “flesh of his flesh”, his “helpmate” (Gen. 2.18-25). It goes further, “therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and the become one flesh” (Gen 2.24). Meaning, that man is meant to have a companion, and God created a specific companion, woman, which is why men are meant to pursue women.
The Catechism states, “the Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been” (Catholic Church, Catechism 1605). To reinforce the validity of this message, the Catechism cites word from the mouth of Christ, in Matthew 19. Jesus tells us,
Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. (Mt. 19.4-6)
“In his preaching Jesus unequivocally taught the original meaning of the union of man and woman” and that “the matrimonial union of man and woman is indissoluble” (Catholic Church, Catechism 1614). Therefore, because it is proclaimed by God in the old testament and, especially, because it is restated by Christ in the new, it can be said, with certainty, that the purpose of marriage is to join a man and a woman.
Secondly, to further their argument, the Church calls to attention that one of the very primary purposes of marriage is to procreate and educate offspring. This, of course, would most certainly close marriage to heterosexual couples. When producing this statement, in the Catechism, the Church again cites scripture. The foundation of their argument is the verse of Genesis 1:28. Which states, “God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen. 1.28). This is seen as a commandment from God to married couples, a commandment to reproduce, via conjugal love. Therefore, it is obvious that God’s will or plan is for men and women to procreate in marriage, or, at least, to be open to the creation of new life.
In summary, the following are the beliefs of the Church in regards to thoughts, actions, and behaviors that pertain to homosexuality.
Now that we have sufficiently presented the view of the Church, we can now dissect the severe issues and flaws concerning the Church’s opposition to homosexuality and the recognition of gay marriage. This section will make statements that analyze and dissect the view of the church and present retorts that adequately reject the thesis and idea behind the Church’s view. These statements shall be presented with a substantial amount of reasoning following their introduction. Mainly, this will present the argument that the Church has no reason to not recognize a committed and loving, monogamous, homosexual marriage.
The Church’s arguments, to some, seem logical and straightforward; however, it’s very basis of judgment and reasoning is fundamentally flawed. In fact, their very interpretation of God’s plan is unfounded and without much basis. Basing judgment and reasoning on the Church’s definition of law is flawed and, in many cases, harmful.
The source of all law is said to be “eternal law” -- the Church firmly believes that all law proceeds from this eternal law (Aquinas Ia-IIæ, Q. 93, Art. 3). As we have said before, eternal law is the law as it is viewed by God himself; furthermore, the Church believes that this law is unchanging; i.e., God’s plan is eternal and unchanging (Aquinas Ia-IIæ, Q. 91, Art. 1). However, in proclaiming this, the Church has already created a slew of problems that counteract its arguments.
One of the most glaring and errors in Church teaching on eternal law is the fact that eternal law is only understood in the mind of God himself. Therefore, it makes no logical sense that the Church would have a better understanding of God’s mind than a common man. The Church has, undoubtedly, created for itself a paradox in defining and legislating on guesses and opinions.
The mind and opinion of God is defined as “unchanging” and “eternal”, but this is a
flawed definition as it originates from the minds of humans, whose minds are limited. Therefore, a limited mind, even a collection of said minds put together, could not, in any way, understand the mind of the omnipotent, all-knowing, omniscient, and boundless God. Therefore, this is a presupposition, and it can be defined as nothing more than a guess or conjecture. The omniscience and “unchangingness” of God holds up only with the validity of the biblical writings of a human understanding of God. Humans, however, cannot fully understand God (Catholic Church, Catechism 268, 269, 270, 271, 272, 273, 275, 385). In clarity, it is important to note that this does not necessarily negate that God is unchanging; however, it negates whether or not humans definitively know that God is unchanging. Consequently, it is important to accept this in order to also be open to the notion that conjectures, ideas, and ideologies constructed by the Church, theologians, and even the bible are fallible. Even the most devout of Catholics can agree that men cannot understand God. In fact, consider the popular Christian saying, “God works in mysterious ways”. The ways in which God works are only mysterious due to man’s lack of comprehension.
Natural law is the belief that human beings can intrinsically discern between what is right--or natural--and what is wrong--or unnatural and disordered. However, supporting text and evidence for natural law varies widely depending on one’s theistic beliefs and values; therefore, it creates a multitude of interpretations of natural law, how it works, and its applications. The conception and furtherment of natural law is one that originates seemingly from traditionalist conjectures of interpretive theistic scripts, values, and beliefs; i.e., the ideas, arguments, and precepts of natural law are theorized from the bounds of the human mind. Therefore, large and wide, natural law is created from human revelation and reasoning based on what they perceive to be the will and plan of God, but not necessarily the actual will and plan of God, because, as we stated before, human beings cannot, with certainty, understand the mind of God.
When speaking of natural law the Church states that the “natural law expresses the original moral sense which enables man to discern by reason the good and the evil” (Catholic Church, Catechism 1954). They note their source as Libertas Præstantissimum, an encyclical from Leo XIII, who was an avid and devout Thomist (a believer and follower of the teachings of Thomas Aquinas). His encyclical says, of natural law,
Foremost in this office comes the natural law, which is written and engraved in the mind of every man; and this is nothing but our reason, commanding us to do right… all prescriptions of human reason can have force of law only inasmuch as they are the voice and the interpreters of some higher power... authority is the one and only foundation of all law... (Leo §8)
Due to this, Leo says that “the law of nature is the same thing as the eternal law, implanted in rational creatures...and can be nothing else but the eternal reason of God” (Leo §8); however, as we have already covered, the eternal reason of God is impossible for the human mind to grasp. He goes on to say,
The precepts, therefore, of the natural law, contained bodily in the laws of men, have not merely the force of human law, but they possess that higher and more august sanction which belongs to the law of nature and the eternal law. (Leo §9)
Which, again, brings about the issue of human understanding of the impossible to understand. Consequently, this begs the question, from what source does Leo draw his reasoning? This is the point where we look back at one of our previous statements on Leo XIII, the note that Leo was an avid follower and believer of Thomas Aquinas, and his statements on natural law are, more or less, a restatement of Aquinas’s.
As we spoke of earlier (in our section on Law from the Church’s view), Aquinas was an innovator of the “natural law” and is credited for creating what is modernly accepted as the premise and overall ideology of natural law. Yet, once again, we are puzzled with just how Thomas came to theorize natural law. When first stating the aforementioned three precepts of natural law, “things are said to belong to the natural law, ‘which nature has taught to
all animals’ ” he quotes the Pandects of Justinian I (Yeah, that same guy who blamed homosexuals for “famines, earthquakes, and pestilences”).
Justinian was the emperor of the Byzantine (East Roman) Empire from 527-565 CE. He is very well known for rewriting Roman law, and this is where we find his writings on “natural law”. His statements on natural law, that Aquinas pulled from and founded his thesis on, come from what he institutes in Ulpianus, Book I. In regards to “natural law” he says,
Natural law is that which nature teaches to all animals, for this law is not peculiar to the human race, but affects all creatures which deduce their origin from the sea or the land, and it is also common to birds. From it proceeds the union of male and female which we designate as marriage; hence also arises the procreation of children and the bringing up of the same; for we see that all animals, and even wild beasts, appear to be acquainted with this law. (Scott, Gaius, Ulpianus, Paulus, and Agylaeus)
The statement is strikingly similar to Aquinas’s, especially when regarding Aquinas’s second precept. However, what is most important about this quote is that it seems to be the source of natural law. That is, Justinian does not cite, reference, or allude to an outside source. Again, however, we are begged the question, why should we take what a Byzantine emperor said nearly 1500 years ago as truth, and how, in any way, do we know that this reflects the mind of God? Answer, we should neither take this as truth nor eternal law. There is no reason to believe that Justinian had an understanding of God’s mind or will. Secondly, we have no evidence to show that any of Aquinas’s precepts are grounded in fact or in the will and plan of God.
Besides natural law being of an ambiguous and rather fallacious genesis, natural law also is defied by what is known as the “is-ought problem”. The is-ought problem was articulated by Scottish philosopher and historian David Hume (Hume, David Fate Norton, and Mary J. Norton). The is-ought problem has gone sufficiently unanswered by theologians since its posing in 1738. The basic premise is quite simple; it states, just because something is some way, we have no logical vindication to found the belief that it ought to be that way. It is a subtle difference in syntax; however, it is a monumental difference in meaning.
When stating that because one thing is one way, it ought to be that way, one skips over a fundamental step in discerning the way in which things should be. This is because of the reasoning--or rather, the lack thereof--, behind why an “ought” can be derived from an “is”. For, an is-statement is different in kind than an ought-statement.
An is-statement is a sort of description of things or of the world and is a fact that someone may be able to confirm or deny through research or analysis. Whereas an ought-statement is a value judgement that calls on personal preferences and intuitions, neither of which are necessarily universal. The problem is that there is a gap between statements of fact and statements about value. When making an argument based on various is-statements, as natural law theory does, one arranges an argument that somewhat looks like a proof, of sorts; however, when one moves to an ought statement, one, essentially, assumes the thing he/she was trying to prove in the first place. When moving from an is to an ought, one skips the step of reasoning, because values are not foregone conclusions.
Therefore, when natural law theory assumes that people are supposed to act in a certain way because they are a certain way, it misses a critical step in logical reasoning. In other words, when natural law assumes that something is morally good, and therefore ought to be done, because of the way things are (or is), it misses a step on the flight of stairs that lead to a logical conclusion, thus tumbling down the flight and making their perceived progress arbitrary. Now, theists while often times argue that things ought to be done because God commands it, but we will get to this shortly.
Now, a handy example of natural law theory breaking down is as follows,
It shall now be addressed how the argument of “things ought to be done because God commands it” is seriously flawed. The argument falls into what is known as “Divine Command Theory”. At first glance, divine command theory seems logical; however, when actually examined, divine command theory is a flawed conjecture and reveals the issues with basing morality solely on religious values.
The Euthyphro dilemma is a problem found in Plato’s dialogue Euthyphro, and its question is this, “Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?" This dilemma poses serious question and issues depending on the “horn” (part) which you choose to accept. To this day, no agreed-upon, acceptable answer has been presented that provides an alternative to the problems listed.
The first horn is that that which is morally good is commanded by God because it is morally good. If one accepts the first horn as correct they accept a variety of things that trouble most theists. Those who choose to accept the first horn accept that
The issues presented from accepting the first horn explains why so few theists (and, therefore, Catholics) choose to accept the first horn of the Euthyphro dilemma, as it makes their God less of a God and more of a messenger. However, accepting the second horn of the dilemma presents serious issues as well.
The second horn of the Euthyphro dilemma is that that which is morally good
is morally good because God commands it. Accepting the second horn means accepting the following:
When first articulating his natural law theory, Aquinas presents his view on the Euthyphro dilemma. From his writings, it is easily apparent that he accepts the second horn of the dilemma. For, when presented with the objection on the changeability of natural law, Aquinas states the following:
All men alike, both guilty and innocent, die the death of nature: which death of nature is inflicted by the power of God on account of original sin, according to 1 Kgs. 2:6: "The Lord killeth and maketh alive." Consequently, by the command of God, death can be inflicted on any man, guilty or innocent, without any injustice whatever. In like manner adultery is intercourse with another's wife; who is allotted to him by the law emanating from God. Consequently intercourse with any woman, by the command of God, is neither adultery nor fornication. The same applies to theft, which is the taking of another's property. For whatever is taken by the command of God, to Whom all things belong, is not taken against the will of its owner, whereas it is in this that theft consists. Nor is it only in human things, that whatever is commanded by God is right; but also in natural things, whatever is done by God, is, in some way, natural...(Aquinas Ia-IIæ, Q. 94, Art. 5)
Therefore, it is quite easy to reason from the above that Aquinas is an adherer to divine command theory. In this statement, his claims seem quite ridiculous. His reasoning, essentially, is a cop out to explain what he cannot know. He states, basically, that if God commands something x, then x is natural. However, we have seen how this violates logic and reason.
The following sections will be kept brief as they are more or less a rehash of previous statements.
Divine law is defined as the eternal law as it is revealed to human beings. As previously discussed, as the only definition of eternal law humans have is, by definition, a human understanding of the eternal law; therefore, divine law is, more or less, the same as eternal law and thus entails the same issues as eternal law. That is, that human confinement and error prevent us from ever possibly understanding, with clarity, the will and design of God. The one distinction made between the two is that divine law is separated into two sections of biblical understanding of eternal law, the “old” and “new” law (or old and new testaments). Supposing that biblical texts are infallible is, once again, a ridiculous claim, as it presupposes that the humans that wrote the biblical texts had a perfect understanding of God’s motives, thoughts, design, and plan; that the writers were impervious to personal, societal, traditional, and ideological biases; that the writers remembered a perfect account of the events that unfolded; etc.
Again, human law is predicated based on human beliefs which are open to errors due to biases based on a variety of sources, errors in logic, educational faults, ignorance, traditions, personal ideologies, etc. Therefore, in many cases, humans pervert the true purpose and meaning of law.
The view that marriage is exclusively between one man and one woman is a ridiculous notion that, for one, is not even definitively supported in the Bible. The Church hinges its argument on the statements of Genesis, in the creation story, and their restatements throughout the Bible, particularly the one made by Jesus.
The notion that marriage is an institution between a man and a woman is deeply rooted in the story of creation. The argument hinges on the notion that because “It is not good that the man should be alone”, therefore, marriage is meant to be between a man and a woman. However, there are serious issues with this.
It should be obvious that the book of Genesis was not written by God, but by man. Therefore, to assume that the marriage is only between a man and a woman, is to assume that the author of Genesis was perfect, knew God’s plan and will in its entirety, and was impervious to bias or social constructs. However, the author of Genesis is clearly not all knowing. The universe was not created in six days, the author ignores evolution, etc. There are a slew of issues with the “historical” recount of Genesis. Consequently, many will counter saying that the story of creation is an allegory, thus providing an excuse to explain errors in Genesis; however, this in no way helps the validity of the author’s statements on marriage. Furthermore, many who vehemently attest to the “truth” of “one man and one woman” hold fast to a literal understanding of the book of Genesis. Why then does the Church take the author’s word on marriage? For, man is not God, nor does man understand God. The idea that marriage is between a man and a woman is nothing more than the author describing the common way of life in ancient Jewish culture. Therefore, it makes no sense to apply the constructs of a society nearly 3500 years old to the one of today. It would seem much more logical to base an understanding of marriage out of the statements of Christ…
Even if the author is assumed to be correct, and that God says that marriage is “between a man and a woman”, he still fails to answer important questions. For, this conjecture brings us back to the likes of the Euthyphro dilemma. If marriage is between man and woman because God says so, then God’s authority, knowledge, morality, and correctness is lost; subsequently, it becomes unnecessary to follow such a supposed command. Furthermore, if God says that marriage is between man and woman because that is what is “good”, then his supposed commands become powerless and rather arbitrary.
In the Catechism, the Church asserts that “Jesus unequivocally taught the original meaning of the union of man and woman as the Creator willed it” (Catholic Church, Catechism 1614). In doing so, they cite Matthew 19 as evidence. It is true that Christ says that “ ‘[God] made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’”; however, this statement does nothing to address nor condemn homosexuality. Rather, it is, once again, an out of context quote of Christ.
When reviewing this passage, it is vital to note a few things. Firstly, when saying this, Christ is answering a question posed to him by a group of Pharisees:
Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?” He said to them, “It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. (Mt. 19.3-8)
The question is begged, how exactly does this restrict marriage to one man and one woman? Christians argue that because Christ makes the statement, “‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’” (Mt. 19.5), that marriage is between man and woman. However, the context provided shows that, for one, Christ is specifically questioned about man and woman; therefore, it would make no logical sense for Christ to respond with “man and man”. Would it make sense to answer a question on cats with information on dogs?
Secondly, it also should be addressed that Christ is addressing divorce rather than the constraints of marriage. Had the Pharisees asked, “is it right for a man to love and marry a man like he does a woman”, Jesus’s answer would have provided actual understanding as to what God believes in regards to loving, committed same-sex relationships. Consequently, it is rather ridiculous to dictate laws based upon what is not actually stated. It would be much more telling to see Christ’s views of love and his concepts of marriage and relationships in general.
Lastly, it is rational to take into account that Jesus is addressing a crowd in a time in which loving, committed gay relationships were simply unheard of (if you did have one, you would most likely be killed). When speaking to the crowd, he is addressing the questions of the crowds and how they apply to the lives of the peoples of the times. Consequently, he is not setting down regulations, but, rather, providing an answer to a question.
Therefore, it can be concluded, that Christ’s statement is not a condemnation of homosexuality, nor a set of regulations regarding marriage. Jesus’s statements here do not define marriage in a gender sense. Rather, they are nothing more than statements answer a question on divorce, as it applied to peoples of the times. The overall message of the passage is best summarized as marriage strongly binds people together, nothing more, nothing less.
Even assuming the text is written in a symbolic sense rather than a literal, it still fails to condemn loving, committed homosexual relations, nor does it restrict marriage to “a man and a woman”. Allegories are, more or less, stories of symbolism to explain what is unexplainable, yet still give insight into important messages.
If Genesis is indeed an allegory, then it is a symbolic recount of how the universe came to be. Thus, it would symbolically try to explain the history of nature, creation, man, etc. Therefore, the story of Genesis and Adam and Eve is a symbolic story of the beginning of human race. Consequently, it would not make much logical sense for the first two humans to be same-sexed individuals, as this would not explain how the race reproduced, in the beginning. However, this would do nothing to condemn homosexuality. Rather, it is just a symbolic explanation of reproduction, etc. In the context, it only makes sense to speak of a reproducing, heterosexual couple; however, as soon as you move to a point in time in which population need not be necessary for the survival of an entire race, it becomes unreasonable to condemn homosexual relationships.
Matthew Vines has an excellent speech where he goes into detail about how the Church contradicts itself when restricting marriage to a man and a woman. He says, “this passage is often cited to argue [that]...two men or two women would be a deviation from [his] design”. According to him we should look deeper: “God creates the heavens and the earth, plants, animals, man, and everything in the earth. Then, he declares everything in creation to be either good or very good, except for one crucial thing” (Vines, "‘The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality’ - Transcript"): “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Gen. 2.18).
Vines says that, “the suitable...partner...for Adam is Eve, a woman, and a woman is a suitable partner...for straight men”. Though, “for gay men, this is not the case”. He reasons that “in all the ways that a woman is a suitable partner for straight men, for gay men, it is another gay man who is a suitable partner. The same is true for lesbian women; for them, another lesbian woman is a suitable partner” (Vines, "‘The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality’ - Transcript").
However, tradition says that “even though gay people have suitable partners, they must reject them and they must live alone for their whole lives, without a spouse or a family of their own.” Vines presents a serious accusation:
We are now declaring good the very first thing in Scripture that God declared not good: for the man to be forced to be alone. The fruit that this teaching has borne has been deeply wounding and destructive...the Church is now contradicting the bible’s teachings: the bible teaches that it is not good for the man to be forced to be alone, and yet, we are now teaching that it is. Scripture says that good teachings will bear good fruit, but the reverse is occurring... (Vines, "‘The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality’ - Transcript")
The argument that procreation is needed for marriage is one without logic and reason; however, it is consistently used by many to discount homosexuality. It is an argument that is unsupported by scripture, reason, and logic. Primarily, the argument bases itself on the following:
God who created man out of love also calls him to love the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love. Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator's eyes. and this love which God blesses is intended to be fruitful and to be realized in the common work of watching over creation: "and God blessed them, and God said to them: 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.'" (Catholic Church, Catechism 1604)
The argument, made by the Church, for procreation being the central purpose of marriage is rooted in Genesis (again). Specifically the verse of Genesis 1:28: “God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth’” (Gen. 1:28).
However, this argument, once again hinges on the validity of the author’s statements. Again, the author could not possibly be aware of God’s plan and will, in its entirety, nor the actual historical account of the events. Further, the author, again, was speaking in a sense of the world that surrounded him: that the population of his people was low and he wished to raise it. Finally, it again makes sense that, if the passage is taken in an allegorical context, that he would describe God’s command as one of reproduction, as this would succeed in producing a symbolic answer as to why the Earth is full of men. More or less, this is a command to the first of mankind to reproduce, however, in no way is it binding or relevant in modern society.
Interestingly, rarely is it pointed out that, if the text is not in an allegorical sense, then God’s command becomes one directed solely at Adam and Eve. This is due to the fact that Adam and Eve lose their symbolism as “men” and “women”, and become just “man” and “woman”. Therefore, in this sense, the texts are not, in any way, relevant to modern people. Thus, discounting such an interpretation.
This argument is rooted in the second precept of natural law: “there is in man an inclination to things that pertain to him more specially, according to that nature which he has in common with other animals...such as sexual intercourse, education of offspring and so forth”. However, as it has been stated, natural law is a conjecture that is based upon a massive amount of assumptions and flawed conjectures. Therefore, to justify the notion that sexual relationships are meant for procreation with natural law, is not based in logic nor reason.
The notion that sexual complementary is the basis for judging what is “good” vs. what is “unnatural” is one that proceeds from natural law. That is, because it is that human bodies are capable to reproduce, and because it is that the male genitalia is a “match” for the female, that this is the way it ought to be that way, this is nothing more than a rehash of the natural law theory, and it fails, in every way, to answer the immense issues presented by Hume’s is-ought fallacy. Therefore, it is merely an assumption.
Once again, we come full circle to the Euthyphro dilemma and can thus reason that to assert that procreation is the purpose of marriage is one that, at the very least, is one that cannot be proved. Furthermore, this is, in all reality, not true, God nor Jesus once proclaim that the purpose of marriage or sex is procreation, to assume so is just false pretense.
The idea that marriage and sex are solely, or primarily, for procreation is an argument without basis in the word of God or Christ. Furthermore, the bible describes sex, in accordance with their societal bias (that is that they use husband and wife), to be a bond of spirit and flesh (1 Cor. 6:16) and a martial responsibility (1 Cor. 7.3-5). The Church very inconsistently applies this notion; therefore, along with the absence of basis and reason, it becomes unreliable and rather foolish to assert that the primary or sole purpose of sex is procreation. Further, it is quite possible to be a parent without conception, through adoption.
The Bible is a collection of writings that spans more than a thousand years, recounting the history of God’s relationship with the Hebrew and Christian people. It was written in many languages, embraces many literary forms, and reflects cultures that very different than our own. Consequently, there are vast differences in doctrines between various Christian denominations. Throughout the course of history, theses differences have led to the Bible being used to support a wide variety of things, including some that are rather appalling--like slavery.
In this section we shall review the biblical texts commonly used to refute homosexuality and examine them according to content and context. The bible is used as the foundation for arguments against gay marriage and homosexuality; however, the meaning of these texts is often times muddled and taken out of context. This is extremely important as many people believe that the bible prohibits homosexuality in all circumstances and for all reasons; however, as we shall see, this is far from the truth.
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah, for many years, has been used by the Church to support the claim that God disapproves of homosexual relations; however, in making this claim, the Church ignores crucial parts of the story in regards to not only context, but the actual unfolding of events. The story, in fact, became so much a symbol of homosexuality that homosexual acts and anal intercourse came to be known as “sodomy”. Before beginning, it is important to note that, in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, not once does God (the father) state the actual sin of Sodom and Gomorrah.
The story begins with two angels, disguised as human men, visiting Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19.1). Upon seeing them, Lot offers his house to them: “‘Please, my lords, turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you can rise early and go on your way’”. However, the men (who are really angels) refuse and say, “‘No; we will spend the night in the square’” (Gen. 19.2), “But he urged them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house”. Where, upon entering, “[Lot] made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate” (Gen. 19.3). Before the angels--disguised as men--laid down to rest, “the men of Sodom...surrounded the house”, and these men said, “‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, so that we may know them’” (Gen 19.4). Now, it is important to know that the Hebrew word yada means “to know” literally; however, in this context, it almost definitely means “to have sex with”. At this, Lot goes outside and addresses the crowd,
“I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Look, I have two daughters who have not known a man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” (Gen. 19.7-8)
This angers the crowd, they say, “This fellow came here as an alien, and he would play the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them’” (Gen. 19.9). Afterwards, “they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near the door to break it down” (Gen. 19.9). With Lot up against the door, “the men inside [the angels] reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. And they struck with blindness the men who were at the door of the house, both small and great, so that they were unable to find the door” (Gen. 19.10-11).
Then, the angels commanded Lot to gather his “‘Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone [he had] in the city’” and “‘bring them out of the place’” (Gen. 19.12). They tell him this because “‘the Lord is about to destroy the city’” (Gen. 19.14). When morning dawns, Lot, his wife, and his daughters flee to the city of Zoar (Gen. 19.15-23). “ Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the Plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground” (Gen. 19.24-25).
For one to think that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is a condemnation of homosexuality is extremely misguided. One would have to look past a series of glaring complications to come to such a conclusion.
First and foremost, the story has nothing to do with love. Sex outside of a loving relationship is wrong in all cases, not just in a homosexual context. Therefore, it makes no sense that this passage could be used in any way to discount sexual acts between two loving, affectionate, devoted, gay individuals. To believe that God punished the city for anything close to the modern form of loving homosexuality is seriously misguided. In fact, as a reminder, the definition of homosexuality we stated at the very beginning is as follows:
Homosexuality is a dominion of sexuality, that is, it is a type of sexuality. It is characterized by a romantic, sexual, and emotional connection and attraction to members of one’s own sex.
The passage quite clearly indicates that the angry mob wishes to have sex with the visitors with or without their consent. When the angry crowd demands that Lot bring out the guests, so that they may rape them, and he refuses, they attempt to force their way in. In all cases, rape is severely wrong, gay or not. Secondly, rape is a much different act than that performed by gay partners. Therefore, the story should not be used to say that homosexuality is wrong, rather to reinforce the evils of rape, violence, and abuse.
The bible, on more than one occasion, in both the old and new testaments, states that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah had to do with radical inhospitality. One of these instances is in Ezekiel:
This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them when I saw it. (Ezek. 16.49-50)
It quite clearly states that the sin of sodom was that they “had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not help the poor”. Interestingly, many catholics overlook the entirety of that portion of the passage, and instead focus on the part that states that they “did abominable things”, as though it proves their beliefs about homosexuality. However, the same wording could be used to declare gang-rape a grave wrongdoing. Therefore, to believe that Ezekiel speaks of homosexuality, is nothing more than assumptions and guesses made on one’s personal beliefs.
Furthermore, in Jeremiah 23, it is stated that Sodom and Gomorrah had much to do with adultery, rather than homosexuality, and, it seems as though “abominable things” is a reference to adultery:
In the prophets of Samaria
I saw a disgusting thing:
they prophesied by Baal
and led my people Israel astray.
But in the prophets of Jerusalem
I have seen a more shocking thing:
they commit adultery and walk in lies;
they strengthen the hands of evildoers,
so that no one turns from wickedness;
all of them have become like Sodom to me,
and its inhabitants like Gomorrah. (Jer. 23.13-14)
Again, in the book of Amos, the transgressions of Sodom and Gomorrah are likened to pride, greed and inhospitality:
“Hear this word, you cows of Bashan
who are on Mount Samaria,
who oppress the poor, who crush the needy…
I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities,
and lack of bread in all your places,
yet you did not return to me,
says the Lord...
I overthrew some of you,
as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,
and you were like a brand snatched from the fire;
yet you did not return to me,
says the Lord. (Am. 4.1-11)
Even Jesus himself spoke of Sodom and Gomorrah as a problem of hospitality and welcoming of guests:
“Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town.” (Luke 10.8-12)
Furthermore, later on in the new testament, the book of Hebrews alludes to the hospitality we are to show strangers: “Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Heb. 11.1-2).
However, devout, anti-gay Catholics are quick to point out the passage inscribed the book of Jude, as if it negates the “inhospitality argument”. Yet, when actually reading the passage in question, it becomes quite ambiguous as to what the text actually refers to:
Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 7)
Catholics would have it be known that “sexual immorality” and “unnatural lust” are references to homosexuality; however, this is rather more of an assumption based upon personal biases than a factual statement. In fact, upon examining it, it seems as though it refers to rape, violence, lust in general, and pursuing sex with angels. For, what most Catholics dismiss is that in the greek text of the aforementioned scripture, the word for “unnatural lust” is sarkos heteras, which literally means “other” or “strange flesh”. Consequently, it is reasonable to conclude that “strange flesh” is a reference to the angelic visitors. For, no human flesh is different than the next. Therefore, to use “strange” to describe the bodies that were pursued by the crowd seems off-base, unless, of course, it references the angelic bodies.
Lastly, some find it hard to understand why God would destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for inhospitality, which is due to the fact that they see inhospitality as a rather small and insignificant sin. However, accounts from the times support the notion that taking care of travelers in one’s midst was often the difference between life and death; therefore, it becomes conceivable that radical inhospitality was the prime reason for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Furthermore, ancient Jewish recordings hold the notion that Sodom and Gomorrah were infamous for their cruelty and their failure to support the poor and needy before them, as well as their failure to practice charity and justice (Slotki, Brodie, and Epstein; Neusner). Stories from the times also tell of Sodom and Gomorrah physically torturing travelers, as well as their burning of a young woman who had dared to share food with a family that was starving of hunger.
Therefore, to assume that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for homosexuality is a humongous leap from fact to opinion based upon one’s own prejudices. Especially when there are many quotes on hospitality, but not one that defines the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah as homosexuality.
It is interesting, and quite detrimental to the anti-gay argument, that, for many centuries following the writing of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, the destruction of the cities is not once attributed to homosexuality. Writings of the times shortly after Sodom and Gomorrah seem to strongly indicate that Sodom and Gomorrah were heavily associated with prohibited forms of heterosexuality. In the Testament of Levi it states,
wedded women shall ye pollute, and the virgins of Jerusalem shall ye defile; and with harlots and adulteresses shall ye be joined, and the daughters of the Gentiles shall ye take to wife, purifying them with an unlawful purification; and your union shall be like unto Sodom and Gomorrah. (Testament of Levi 14.6)
Likewise, the Testament of Benjamin warns,
And I believe that there will be also evil-doings among you, from the words of Enoch the righteous: that ye shall commit fornication with the fornication of Sodom, and shall perish, all save a few, and shall renew wanton deeds with women. (Testament of Benjamin 9.1)
Similarly, both the Talmud and the Rabbah go without mentioning homosexuality as a sin of Sodom. Consequently, it wasn’t until the eleventh century CE, when Christians widely claimed the story had to do with homosexuality, that sodomy became to be known as gay sex acts or anal intercourse (Vines, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-sex Relationships 76).
In fact, the first writers to actually claim that the sin of Sodom involved homosexuality were Philo and Josephus, in the latter half of the first century CE (Greenberg 201; Coleman 74; Philo and Yonge). This is striking, as this comes over one thousand years after the writing of Genesis! However, even when Philo stated this, he first argued that the root of Sodom’s fall was “goods in excess”--gluttony, lewdness, and “every other possible pleasure” (Philo and Colson 71). He continues,
Incapable of bearing such satiety, plunging like cattle, they threw off from their necks the law of nature and applied themselves to deep drinking of strong liquor and dainty feeding and forbidden forms of intercourse. Not only in their mad lust for women did they violate the marriages of their neighbours, but also men mounted males without respect for the sex nature which the active partner shares with the passive; and so when they tried to beget children they were discovered to be incapable of any but a sterile seed. (Philo and Colson 71)
However, “Philo was not describing same-sex behavior as the expression of a sexual orientation. For him, it was merely a sign that some people overindulged their normal sexual desires” (Vines, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-sex Relationships 70). The carnal relations, in Philo’s interpretation, were based on excess, men who sought pleasure of men because they were not satisfied with just sex with women, which is completely different than modern day, committed, gay relationships.
Furthermore, even though Philo names homosexuality as a possible sin of sodom, interpreters did not say the same until the fourth century. Early writers consistently denoted pride and inhospitality as the “depravity” of Sodom and Gomorrah (Vines, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-sex Relationships 71-72; Origen and Heine 103-120; Origen and Smith 74-84; Carden 139-141).
It was in the fourth century when Christians began to adopt the view of Philo. John Cassian identified the sin of sodom as gluttony; however, he also said that “fullness of bread” caused the people to be “inflamed with uncontrollable lust of the flesh” (Cassianus and Ramsey Book V: “The Spirit of Gluttony”, Chapter 6: “That the Mind is not Intoxicated by Wine Alone”). By the late fourth century, John Chrysostom argued that, while Sodom was infamous for its inhospitality, that God also punished them for same-sex attractions, as “The men had a passion for boys,” he wrote, “and on that account they suffered this punishment” (Chrysostom, “Homily 8 on First Thessalonians” in Schaff).
At the start of the fifth century, Augustine adopted the same, baseless rhetoric, writing that “males burning toward males with hideous lust” was the city’s main crime (Augustine, “To Consentius: Against Lying”). By the start of the middle ages in the fifth century, same-sex behavior, after people who proclaimed the unfounded anti-gay version of the story came to power, had, wrongfully, replaced inhospitality as the understanding of the sin of that brought God’s judgement on Sodom.
Talk of sexuality is unheard of in the old testament. “If Sodom’s sin had indeed been same-sex behavior , it’s highly unlikely that every written discussion of the city for centuries following its destruction would fail to mention that” (Vines, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-sex Relationships 64).
Another puzzling point to be made is that, directly following God’s sparing of Lot and his daughters, Lot and his daughters commit incest but are not condemned (Gen. 19.30-38). If God was so against sexual sins (like the supposed one of homosexual acts), then why doesn’t he condemn Lot and his daughters? This, of course, does not suggest that incest is permissible, rather that, if the issue of Sodom and Gomorrah was sexual, Lot and his daughters should have been condemned as well.
In Genesis 18, a chapter before the narrative of Sodom and Gomorrah, God says to Abraham:
Then the Lord said, “How great is the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah and how very grave their sin! I must go down and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me; and if not, I will know.” (Gen. 18.20-21)
If God had condemned them for their “unnatural homosexual acts” in Genesis 19, then why does he condemn them before said acts are committed?
The next two biblical accounts that many use to discount homosexuality are Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, they shall be lumped together in the same section, as they are nearly identical.
The passages, in this instance, are not narratives, but rather statements or commands. They are brief and “to the point”. Leviticus 18:22 reads, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination” (Lev. 18.22). The latter of the two states, “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them” (Lev. 20.13). Often times, these passages are used as “God’s clear condemnation of homosexuality”.
Taking these statements as fact or as God’s will would be extremely irresponsible. Quite frankly, trusting said aforementioned passages would create a slew of complexes for Christians and Catholics all over. Doing so would ignore historical evidence, logical flaws, the context, bias flaws, etc.
First and foremost, we should research the actual intent and reason for these laws being in place. Consequently, the question is begged, why were these commands written? Those who oppose homosexuality and gay marriage are quick to respond with something along the lines of, “Because God condemns homosexuality”, “Gay sex is wrong”, etc. However, making such a statement ignores crucial parts of the full story.
The two passages mentioned before are a part of what is known as the “Holiness Code” due to the following passage: “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy” (Lev. 19.2). The Israelites had been enslaved in Egypt (Ex. 1-12); and wandered in the desert, subject to attacks from other tribes, starvation, and infectious diseases (Ex. 13-19). They longed for community, cleanliness, and order in every aspect of their lives. They wished to keep their manner of worshipping God pure. Furthermore, failure to form said tight-knit community threatened their long-term survival. Therefore, they produced a code to live by, the Holiness Code.
The purpose of such a code was to define their religious, civic, and cultural identity. This was in hopes of achieving the “holy purity” they sought. The theme of this code was that they had to be different from the Egyptians, from whom they had escaped, and unmixed with the Canaanites, into whose land they had now come:
Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: I am the Lord your God. You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. (Lev. 18.2-3)
Furthermore, it states:
You shall not follow the practices of the nation that I am driving out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. (Lev. 20.23)
To achieve this purity, firstly, the worship practices of Israel had to be different from those of the tribes and nations around them. To be like the Canaanites was to be impure or “defiled”. Secondly, they were not to mix with any other people or adopt alien customs or rituals. This was the way they were to remain “pure”. However, the Israelites overgeneralized this code to a great extent, and took it to mean the mixing of anything. Consequently, this is why you shall find passages condemning sowing a field with “two kinds of seeds” or wearing a garment “made of two different materials” (Gen. 19.19).
In the times, Canaanite religions surrounding the Israelites at the time of Leviticus often times included fertility rites consisting of sexual rituals. It was believed that, in performing these acts, the rituals would bring the blessings of gods and goddesses upon them, increasing crop and livestock production. In said rituals, whole families--including husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, cousins, aunts and uncles--would sometimes have sex. Rituals also included things like temple prostitution. Summatively, every kind of sexual practice imaginable was performed at these rituals, including homosexual sex (Nissinen 41-42).
Evidence shows that many Canaanites and Egyptians worshipped a goddess of love and fertility called Ishtar. Within her temples were special priests called assinu, who were deemed to have divine, mystical powers. These priests were, in effect, living good luck charms and omens, and worshippers would often ritually touch them as part of their worship practices. Furthermore, sexual intercourse was considered especially effective for gaining the goddess’s favor, because the male worshiper was thought to be offering his greatest possession, semen (which was thought to be the “essence of life”), to the goddess. Similar cultic sexual practices flourished in connection with many other ancient pagan deities. (Greenberg 95-97)
For the Israelites, ritual purity was to be achieved by separating themselves from “pagan cultures” (Rogers 65-69). The ends they hoped to attain was an “absolute separation from other nation”. “This was the goal both in worship, where all customs considered foreign were abandoned, and in civil life--for instance, by demanding the annulment of marriages with people of foreign origin” (Nissinen 42). So, why does the Church act like this is relevant today?
The rules of the old law of the Israelites are also believed to be in place to assert the dominance of the male gender in Israelite culture. The Israelites were very strict when it came to gender roles and wished to hold the masculinity and power of the male gender over the female. Therefore, anything that a male did that was seen as “unmanly” was prohibited, as it weakened the image of the male gender overall.
For example, the book of Deuteronomy prohibits Eunuchs from being a part of the people of Yahweh (Deut. 23.2) and crossdressing (Deut. 22:5). These rules of not mixing gender roles comes from the same reasoning of the Holiness Code. Furthermore, the prohibition of crossdressing, most definitely, “had clear socioreligious aspects” (Rogers 42-43). One of the distinctive features the Israelites held to was that they were to have no sense of a third gender, unlike the Mesopotamians or the Syrians (Rogers 43). Both castration and crossdressing were seen to be pledges to outside, alien deities--associated with cultures forbidden to the Israelites. “Mixing gender roles was not a matter of personal preference or orientation, but a signifier of culture” (Rogers 43). This was most definitely a factor in the later Jewish abhorrence of homoeroticism.
Therefore, it can be maintained that regulations on same-sex acts and other gender-related commandments involved a correlation between ancient taboos and society’s strategy to survive. “The specific way of regulating sexual relationships in pursuing these life-determining goals was the interpretation of gender as a fundamental factor” of control and order in society and its structure (Rogers 43). This, finally, leads us to the significant correlation between societal gender roles and the understanding of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13.
The Holiness code not once speaks of the homoeroticism of women, nor does the Hebrew Bible in its entirety. An explanation arises from the patriarchal nature of society and adds to the understanding of male same-sex relations. A woman could not lose manly honor (because she was not a man), and it was inconceivable to think of women in an “active role” in a sexual act. Therefore, women’s homoeroticism was not an issue like that of male homoeroticism (Rogers 43).
Consider the following:
Ancient Near Eastern sources, in general, are concerned with gender roles and their corresponding sexual practices, not the expression of a particular sexual orientation. Mesopotamian sources touch upon same-sex activity whenever a man’s sexual appearance, in one way or another, becomes feminized. The Middle Assyrian Laws decree that a man who has raped another man be raped and castrated himself; his manly honor was to be disgraced, and he was to lose his masculinity and change his gender identity permanently. Also the Holiness Code interprets sexual contact between to men as a confusion of gender roles: ‘Do not lie with a man as you lie with a woman.’ This formulation, especially against the patriarchal societal background, already exhibits linguistically the division of masculine (active) and feminine (passive) roles, a distinction familiar already from the Mesopotamian texts. Whenever the verb šākab describes sexual intercourse, its subject is a man...Sexual contact had two aspects bound to the roles: ‘lying of a woman’ from a male point of view (miškěbê `iššâ [only pl.] Lev. 18:22; 20:13) and ‘lying of a man’ from a female perspective (miškab zākār Num. 31:17-18, 35; Judg. 21:11-12). A sexual contact between two men mirrored the male and female roles: it was the former from the active partner’s point of view that and the latter from that of the passive partner. Since these expressions, in practical terms, hardly can indicate anything else but penetration or being penetrated, the concrete point of reference in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 seems to be male anal intercourse, which caused the other partner to acquiesce in a female role. Hence, the penetrated lost his manly honor, gender boundaries were transgressed, and the gender roles mixed. All this constituted a tô’ēbâ. (Rogers 43-44)
It was an act that had a perceived negative connotation, due to societal influences of the times, that threatened the purity of the land, that male anal intercouse manifested a forbidden mixture--a mixture of gender roles--which was condemned, not the modern day idea of a loving, committed relationship between two souls intertwined together. To use the passages of Leviticus, in any way to prosecute those that constitute said modern relationships, is to believe we are held to the same standards of male patriarchy and the gender roles that follow.
One who believes that Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 ought to be taken literally, as a condemnation of all homosexual acts, firstly, ignores previous statements, and, secondly, must also follow all the old biblical laws as well. The list of odd “crimes” is not a short one:
No grain offering that you bring to the Lord shall be made with leaven, for you must not turn any leaven or honey into smoke as an offering by fire to the Lord. (Lev. 2.11)
You shall not omit from your grain offerings the salt of the covenant with your God; with all your offerings you shall offer salt. (Lev. 2.13)
It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations, in all your settlements: you must not eat any fat or any blood. (Lev. 3.17)
Or when any of you touch any unclean thing—whether the carcass of an unclean beast or the carcass of unclean livestock or the carcass of an unclean swarming thing—and are unaware of it, you have become unclean, and are guilty. Or when you touch human uncleanness—any uncleanness by which one can become unclean—and are unaware of it, when you come to know it, you shall be guilty. (Lev. 5.2-3)
And Moses said to Aaron and to his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not dishevel your hair, and do not tear your vestments, or you will die and wrath will strike all the congregation; but your kindred, the whole house of Israel, may mourn the burning that the Lord has sent. You shall not go outside the entrance of the tent of meeting, or you will die; for the anointing oil of the Lord is on you.” And they did as Moses had ordered. (Lev. 10.6-7)
If a woman conceives and bears a male child, she shall be ceremonially unclean seven days; as at the time of her menstruation, she shall be unclean. On the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. Her time of blood purification shall be thirty-three days; she shall not touch any holy thing, or come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purification are completed. If she bears a female child, she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her menstruation; her time of blood purification shall be sixty-six days. (Lev. 12.2-5)
You shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness while she is in her menstrual uncleanness. (Lev. 18.19)
When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God. (Lev. 19.9-10)
You shall keep my statutes. You shall not let your animals breed with a different kind; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed; nor shall you put on a garment made of two different materials. (Lev. 19.19)
When you come into the land and plant all kinds of trees for food, then you shall regard their fruit as forbidden; three years it shall be forbidden to you, it must not be eaten. In the fourth year all their fruit shall be set apart for rejoicing in the Lord. But in the fifth year you may eat of their fruit, that their yield may be increased for you: I am the Lord your God. (Lev. 19.23-25)
You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard. You shall not make any gashes in your flesh for the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the Lord. (Lev. 19.27-28)
You shall rise before the aged, and defer to the old; and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord. (Lev. 19.32)
Thus, the question is begged, are men obligated to follow these ridiculous rules? The short answer: no. In detail, the books of the old testament include an abundance of laws and rules to follow; however, these laws were made for the Israelites. The laws in the old testament include civil laws to govern the nation of Israel and ceremonial laws about “clean” and “unclean” things, as well as rules for sacrifices and offerings. Christ came to start a new Israel--a spiritual Israel; i.e., the Church. In doing so, he gave to us a new set of laws to follow, by which the purpose of the old law is fulfilled (Catholic Church, Catechism 1967). In Matthew 5, Christ gives us the Beatitudes (Mt. 5.11-12), which are a part of new law. In fulfilling the new laws, given to us by Christ, we fulfill the old law: “‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill’” (Mt. 5.17). Furthermore, we no longer make sacrifices and offerings, because Christ made the ultimate sacrifice on the Cross: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’” (Gal. 3.13).
The old law is seen as “imperfect” (Catholic Church, Catechism 1963); whereas, the new law is seen to be the “perfection here on earth of the divine law, natural and revealed” (Catholic Church, Catechism 1965). “The law of the Gospels ‘fulfills,’ refines, surpasses, and leads the old law to its perfection” (Catholic Church, Catechism 1967). Therefore, to follow the law of Christ, is to fulfill the law in its entirety:
“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Mt. 22.37-40)
For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Gal. 5.14)
“Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. (Rom. 13.8-10)
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. (Jn. 13.34)
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. (Jn. 15.12)
Therefore, that which proceeds from love and the law of Christ is a fulfillment of all law and surpasses that of the commands of old law, and, therefore:
In speaking of “a new covenant,” he has made the first one obsolete. And what is obsolete and growing old will soon disappear. (Heb. 8.13)
We now know that the law of Christ is the law of love. Consequently, to seriously believe that homosexual relationships are wrong according to a law written thousands of years ago is a seriously flawed conjecture. Furthermore, the “relationships” written about in Leviticus are merely a sexual one, and, therefore, are not those that proceed from love. For, if they proceed from love, and, therefore, the law of Christ, “who am I to judge?” (Pope Francis).
The Gospels are entirely silent on same-sex acts, relationships, etc. In fact, the only references in the new testament about homosexuality all come from the same author, Paul. Therefore, they shall be, more or less, lumped together.
Romans 1:24-27 reads:
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error. (Rom. 1.24-27)
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 reads:
Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6.9-10)
Lastly, 1 Timothy 1:10 reads:
This means understanding that the law is laid down not for the innocent but for the lawless and disobedient, for the godless and sinful, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their father or mother, for murderers, fornicators, sodomites, slave traders, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me. (1 Tim. 1.10-11)
One may think that this is quite straightforward; however, one must remember that there is a difference between what things say and what things mean.
It is important to understand the reasoning behind the writing of the Pauline epistles so that one may understand the aforementioned passages in fullness of context and meaning. The story of Paul’s conversion is intimately linked to the reasoning for writing of said epistles(Acts. 26.12-18). After this conversion, Paul felt called to “[declare] first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout the countryside of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God and do deeds consistent with repentance” (Acts. 26.20). The purpose of Paul’s epistles was to give instruction and guidelines to “Gentiles” and what they were to do to achieve salvation.
In the introduction to Romans Paul proclaims his reasoning for writing to the Romans:
...Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for the sake of his name, including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,
To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom. 1.4-7)
He then continues, speaking of his plans to visit them--preparing them for his arrival. In doing so, he states that he is “eager[ness] to proclaim the gospel to you also who are in Rome” (Rom. 1.15). Continuing, he states the “power of the Gospels”:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “The one who is righteous will live by faith.” (Rom. 1.16-17)
It is then, when he goes on to talk of the “guilt of humankind”, that he makes his statement about homosexuality. Consequently, when reading Romans, many see the following as the message:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse....For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error. (Rom. 1.18-27)
However, in summarizing the message as an outright condemnation of homosexuality and homosexual acts, one gravely overlooks crucial context and, therefore, misses the true message and meaning.
When making his statement on homosexuality, Paul is speaking of acts that are consequences of idolatry. In assuming that this passage is a straightforward condemnation ignores the precedent writings. In making his statement, Paul says, “For this reason” (Rom. 1.26), that reason being idolatry. For, the scripts, in fullness, that directly precede Romans 1:24-27 are as follows:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse; for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools; and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen (Rom. 1.18-25)
Therefore, they were “without excuse” (Rom. 1.20) because “though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools; and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles” (Rom. 1.21-23).
Furthermore, “God gave them up...because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!” (Rom. 1.24-25). Thus, it becomes obvious that the sins described in Romans 1:24-27 are direct consequences of idolatry; therefore, the focus of condemnation should rather be on idolatry then homosexuality. Lastly the sins described at the end of the passage (Rom. 1.29-32)--every kind of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, they are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious toward parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless--are committed because “they did not see fit to acknowledge God” (Rom. 1.28).
Many point out the reference, made by Paul, in Romans 1:24-27, to homosexual acts as “degrading passions” (Rom. 1.26) as a point of emphasis to show that homosexual acts are intrinsically “degrading” and “wrong”; however, once again, this ignores context. This assumes that the acts which Paul speaks of are in any way close to those of today’s loving and devoted homosexual relationships; however, they are not even remotely close.
To understand the context of what Paul is saying, it is important to acknowledge the common practices of Paul’s time, as well as the specifics described in the passage. The description given by Paul is in line with, as previously stated, idol worship. This “idol worship” was most likely a form of temple prostitution (Nissinen 42, 106; Greenberg 95-106, 158-160), and is in line with the practices of the peoples of Corinth in these times (Nissinen 110, 113) which was the place where Paul wrote this epistle (Dunn xliv; Stuhlmacher 5; Bruce 280-281).
Furthermore, the wording and the context, in both the book and the historical sense, “Men committed shameless acts with men” seems to indicate orgy-type relations, rather than those of a loving and committed relationship. Thus, to condemn those of modern day, is quite ridiculous.
Some might continue to point out the wording of “natural” and “unnatural” (Rom. 1.26-27). The word used for “natural” is physikós. For one to understand the word, and its meaning in this passage, one must understand the root, physis. Physis can mean many things, but all of them are closely related to nature of creatures and animals (Grimm, Willibald, Wilke, Thayer, and Robinson; Liddell, George, Scott, Jones).
Paul believed they were unnatural in accordance with stoic nature principles relative to the Greek philosophy of stoicism:
If we examine Paul’s message under the first statute of stoicism,
the passage specifically describes women and men apparently choosing to exchange or give up intercourse that came naturally to them for something that is unnatural...If at least part of his meaning is contained within this concept, then it undermines the modern position. (Lein)
Having choice in the matter is key, as this is not what gay individuals experience in their lives.
If we accept as true that being gay is part of the diversity of God’s created order, then this is a logically supportable reading, even as it does fully explain the assumed condemnation satisfactorily. (Lein)
If Paul was adhering to the second statute of stoicism, then Paul’s writings in the first letter to the Corinthians how “‘nature [physis] itself teaches you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory’” (1 Cor. 11.14-15) becomes clearer in the “stoic sense of cultural standard, as it existed in the 1st century Greco-Roman context” (Lein).
Paul’s condemnation of some same-sex relationships, “at least partially on the grounds of cultural convention at the time, is something that, today, should be seen in the same light as his writings against long hair for men. That is, that it was a part of social and cultural construct to condemn homosexuality” (Lein). In following the passages according to the second statute, we assume that we are called to live like the cultures and societies of thousands of years ago.
“The final aspect of Stoic physis to consider is the universal human order of creation”. “That Paul must be referring to homosexuality being uniformly ‘unnatural’ as it supposedly is throughout nature” (Lein); i.e., that homosexuality is not present in nature, is an odd statement. As studies have easily shown and proven, homosexual behavior is displayed in an abundance of animal species. Furthermore, it--so far--seems that all species that reproduce sexually display homosexual behavior (Bagemihl and Megahan). However, even if homosexual behavior was not present in animals, it seems rather foolish to predicate the way of humans based upon the ways of animals. For man is not beast, so why must some reduce others to that of a beast?
The passages of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:10 are grouped together in the following section due to their similarity. His epistle to the Corinthians was written “to the church of God that is in Corinth” (1 Cor. 1.2) while he was in Ephesus (1 Cor. 16.8). Its contents include instructions to the Church regarding divisions, purity, worship, redemption, etc.
The letter to Timothy is written by Paul to his “pupil” Timothy. It is written to Timothy concerning the organization of the church and Timothy's own leadership within the body. It gives instructions and guidelines on a variety of issues.
In both passages, the “condemnation” comes in a list of vices. “All vice lists appear as summaries, rarely referring to the actual context of the vices or the real people to whom the text is directed” (Nissinen 113). When listing the vices in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, the passage condemns “male prostitutes” and “sodomites”. The word malakoi used for male prostitutes is much different than many other translations, which use “effeminate men”; however, this isn’t exactly correct either. Its literal meaning is soft or delicate. Therefore, when Paul talks of malakoi, he is speaking of “soft” or “delicate” men. Of course he doesn’t mean this in the literal sense of soft (like cotton), but in demeanor and attitude.
“This common Greek word had different connotations depending on the context in which it was used...The connotation was of being ‘soft like a woman’ or like the delicate expensive fabrics worn by rich men.” (Miner and Connoley 17; Brawley 124). In the culture, women were thought to be second class because they were predisposed to more sinful ways: “they were weaker than men, more fearful, more vulnerable, and more vain” (Miner and Connoley 17). Thus, men who ate plenty, liked finer things, were lazy, or liked to dress comfortably were considered “soft like a woman”. (Miner and Connoley 17; Nissinen 117; Brawley). This therefore leads to the translation of “effeminate”.
“Paul...was condemning a type of moral weakness”. This was because, in their culture, men who were effeminate were thought to be “more interested in pleasure than in duty”. Therefore, it becomes clear that “Paul was condemning men who are vain, fearful, and self-indulgent” (Miner and Connoley 17).
“Some, however, suggest that, in the context, malakoi may refer specifically to male prostitutes”, who would have acted as the “soft”, passive partner in sexual intercourse. This translation is reflected in two of the most widely used modern English translations.
Since malakoi was used to refer to men who exhibited the negative traits associated with women in first-century culture, it is not hard to see how the term might also be used to refer to male prostitutes. (Miner and Connoley 18)
Regardless,the term malakoi has nothing to do with our definition of homosexual relationships.
The second term worth examining is the one used for sodomites, arsenokoitai. It is used in both 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:10. Arsenokoitai is nearly nonexistent in ancient Jewish and Greek literature. So much so, that many have concluded that Paul’s usage may very well be the first (Miner and Connoley 18; Brawley 120). To decipher its meaning, many scholars look at the root words for clues. The word arsenokoitai comes from árrhēn, "a male", and koítē, "a mat, bed" (Strong). “Thus, some scholars surmise the term has something to do with male sexual expression — perhaps exclusive male sexual expression, women are not mentioned” (Miner and Connoley 18; Nissinen 114; Boswell, Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality 342).
However, translating words using their roots, often times, leads to ambiguous results. Therefore, a better method of drawing a more concise conclusion, regarding the meaning of arsenokoites, is to look for other instances of the word in the subsequent writings of his time. Such a method returns striking answers and comparisons. First and foremost, “two early church writers who dealt with the subject of homosexual behavior extensively, Clement of Alexandria and John Chrysostom”, not once use arsenokoitai in their discussions on same-sex behavior. The only occurrences of the word in their writings appear when quoting the list of sins found in 1 Corinthians 6, “not in places where they discuss homosexuality. This suggests they did not believe Paul’s term referred to homosexual behavior” (Nissinen 115). “If Paul had intended to refer generally to homosexual sex, or to one of the partners in gay-male sex, he had other commonly-used, well-known words at his disposal”, instead of using an ambiguous compound term (Minor and Connoley 19).
In 1997 the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (Thesaurus Linguae Graecae) database listed 73 usages of arsenokoitai after Paul wrote it, but most of these use identical context, lists of sins (Miner and Connoley). However, a few differ. It is once used by a Greek author to refer to Zeus abducting and raping a young boy, Ganymede ( Miner and Connoley 20; Hubbard 252; Omēros and Lattimore Lines 233-235).
“Arsenokoitai is also used in an ancient legend in which the snake in the Garden of Eden is said to have become a Satanic figure named Naas” Naas tries to manipulate them in order to establish dominion over Adam and Eve. It is said that he uses Adam like a boy. “Naas’ sin is called arsenokoitai” (Hippolytus, Legge, and Origen). “These examples suggest that arsenokoitai refers to instances when one male uses his superior power or position to take sexual advantage of another” (Miner and Connoley 20).
The majority of usages of arsenokoitai in early Greek literature occur in lists of sins (like in 1 Corinthians 6). List-makers tend to group similar items together. “In these lists, arsenokoitai is often placed at the end of the list of sex sins and the beginning of the list of economic sins or vice versa” (Miner and Connoley 20; Brawley 118-123). For example, in 1 Corinthians 6, it is placed between malakoi and “thieves.” Their placements suggest that arsenokoitai describes a male who takes sexual advantage of another male.
Examples of this behavior would include a man who rapes another or a man who uses economic power to buy sex from a male prostitute who sells his body to survive. This latter example fits especially neat, if malakoi is understood to be a reference to a prostitute, in which case Paul’s list would include a reference both to a male prostitute (malakoi) and a man who takes advantage of said prostitute (arsenokoitai). (Miner and Connoley 20)
Therefore, it can be reasoned that arsenokoitai is best understood as a reference to men who force themselves sexually on others, because, much like a thief or one filled with greed, one who uses power to obtain sex unjustly from another.
This translation is consistent with the NRSVCE, as it is translated, as previously stated, to “sodomites”, and, as already reasoned, the men of Sodom displayed extreme examples of sexual aggression and oppression.
Furthermore, as to cover all the bases, some try to rationalize where such a word was conceived. Consequently, some will point out that arsenokoitai appear next to each other, but separated, in Leviticus 20:13 in the Septuagint (Brenton). Paul would most likely have read the Greek text of the Septuagint, when drawing from the old testament. Thus, many rationalize that Paul was referencing the condemned conduct and behavior illustrated in Leviticus 20:13 (Scroggs 85-86; Greenberg 214; Nissinen 117). Thus, we are brought full circle, and we can deduce that Paul may have intended to refer to Leviticus 20 or was using the term arsenokoitai to refer to acts of aggression. However, the exact definition is not precisely needed, because it has become abundantly evident that these passages do nothing to address the model of a loving, committed same-sex relationship we’ve spoken about (Miner and Connoley 21-22).
To bring the discussion of Paul’s writings to a close, we shall look at overarching reasoning that applies to all of Pauline scripture. Thus, the arguments that can be applied to all of Paul’s writings will be reasoned in the following section.
Paul was a human being, therefore, it can be easily reasoned that he made mistakes. Furthermore, it can be shown that Paul was heavily influenced by societal constructs, such as the aforementioned ones about women and femininity. Influenced by his Jewish background (or bias), Paul avidly persecuted Christians and the Church, he made it his goal to capture Christians, and then bring them to public trial and have them executed (Acts. 7.57-8.3; Acts. 9.1-5). To believe that Paul was without error after his conversion, is to believe a ridiculous conjecture.
Paul “[came] from a Jewish background”; subsequently, he had a “prevalent disgust for same-sex sexual interaction” (Nissinen 110). Paul’s arguments need not be taken as word, as
Paul argues on the basis of his experience and the Hellenistic Jewish tradition. There is no reason to assume that he would speak of “generic homosexuality” on a theoretical level beyond his experience or without a cultural context. Paul, like his contemporaries, could not possibly take into consideration homosexual orientation or identity...Whatever he knew about slave pederasty and boy-prostitution of the Romans he utilized to conform his views about the nature of homoerotic relations. Paul’s strong negative expressions of atimazesthai (disgrace), pathē atimias (shameful lusts), orexis (desire), and askhēmosynē (obscenity), lead in the same direction, marking the semantic environment of the word akatharisia (impurity)...Paul’s thoughts have a background in Hellenistic Jewish tradition and language, which was significantly influenced by Greco-Roman philosophy. In his criticism of homoeroticism as such, he does not present any independent ideas. (Nissinen 111-112)
Paul was clearly disposed to, and influenced by, social biases. Therefore, to believe the same unfounded beliefs of societies of two thousand years ago, is to formulate an opinion, foregoing reason or logic.
One would think that it need not by said; however, it shall be: Paul is not God. Paul’s words, scriptures, beliefs and teachings are not binding nor are they necessarily shared by God or Christ. When speaking of Pauline writing as if it is binding doctrine, one foregoes this point. Taking Paul’s command on homosexuality is madness, as nowhere in the Gospels did Christ make statements even closely reminiscent to those of Paul’s. Paul’s only contact with Christ was during his conversion, which, for one, was short and brief, and, secondly, did not include any discussion of homosexuality. Blindly following the word Paul, without supporting reasoning, is reckless.
Finally, in all of Paul’s writings, he not once speaks of anything reminiscent to that of a loving relationship. His condemnations are of sexual acts committed by the corrupt. Acts committed from lust, not love. Therefore, to use his condemnation to, in any way, declare that a relationship between two committed, loving, same-sex individuals is wrong or an “abomination”, is to misuse the work of Paul.
The following section deals with arguments used to support the Church’s stance, but are not necessarily used by the Church, itself. Some arguments border on insanity.
One of, if not, the most commonly used rhetorics by anti-gay persons is the argument that being gay is a choice knowingly made by a gay individual. However, such an argument is not even supported by the Church (Catholic Church, Catechism 1763, 1767, 2358; Catholic Church, Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of
Homosexual Persons Sec. 3). Furthermore, it is in no way supported by scientific evidence or research (American Psychological Association). Therefore, it becomes rather silly to even begin to argue that homosexuality is anything other than an innate trait of a human person.
The main point that the argument of “being gay is a choice”, is the notion that there is no gay gene. Though such an argument is supported by scientific research, thus far, those same scientists hold that being gay is still not a choice. Modern science holds that homosexuality is a combination of both genetic and environmental variables.
The American Psychological Association states that one’s sexual orientation “ranges along a continuum,” and acknowledges that despite much research into the possible genetic, hormonal, social and cultural influences on sexual orientation, scientists have yet to pinpoint the precise causes of sexual orientation. Regardless, the APA insists that "most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation." APA research notes that “homosexuality is not a matter of individual choice” and that extensive research “suggests that the homosexual orientation is in place very early in the life cycle, possibly even before birth” (American Psychological Association, “Answers to Your Questions For a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation & Homosexuality”).
The American Academy of Pediatrics stated, “homosexuality has existed in most societies for as long as recorded descriptions of sexual beliefs and practices have been available” and that even at that time, “most scholars in the field state that one’s sexual orientation is not a choice … individuals do not choose to be homosexual or heterosexual” (American Academy of Pediatrics).
To conclude that sexual orientation is based on choice is quite ridiculous based on scientific, psychological, and medical research and evidence.
Though science cannot say, with certainty, that homosexuality is purely genetic, it can say with sound reason that genetics plays a part (A great summary is provided by TruthWinsOut):
Thus, the idea that homosexuality is any bit a thing of choice is a ridiculous claim that lacks any evidence whatsoever.
Again, this argument is a ridiculous claim that has very little, if any, basis in scientific and medical research. In 2007, the APA appointed a Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation to review their 1997 statement "on so-called reparative therapy" which stated that reparative therapy "raises ethical concerns about attempts to change sexual orientation, reaffirms psychology's opposition to homophobia and client's rights to unbiased treatment” (APA Resolution on "Reparative Therapy"). The task force did extensive studies into over 80 past reports and studies, published an 130 page report, and then released the following statement:
Contrary to claims of sexual orientation change advocates and practitioners, there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation...Scientifically rigorous older studies in this area found that sexual orientation was unlikely to change due to efforts designed for this purpose...recent research studies do not provide evidence of sexual orientation change as the research methods are inadequate to determine the effectiveness of these interventions...At most, certain studies suggested that some individuals learned how to ignore or not act on their homosexual attractions... Also, this result was much less likely to be true for people who started out only attracted to people of the same sex...Based on this review, the task force recommended that mental health professionals should avoid misrepresenting the efficacy of sexual orientation change efforts when providing assistance to people distressed about their own or others' sexual orientation...As to the issue of possible harm, the task force was unable to reach any conclusion regarding the efficacy or safety of any of the recent studies...psychologists cannot predict the impact of these treatments and need to be very cautious, given that some qualitative research suggests the potential for harm...Practitioners can assist clients through therapies that do not attempt to change sexual orientation, but rather involve acceptance, support and identity exploration and development without imposing a specific identity outcome'...the task force identified that some clients seeking to change their sexual orientation may be in distress because of a conflict between their sexual orientation and religious beliefs…In other words, we recommend that psychologists be completely honest about the likelihood of sexual orientation change… (American Psychological Association, "Insufficient Evidence That Sexual Orientation Change Efforts Work, Says APA")
In 2009, based on the task force report, the APA adopted a "Resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Efforts." The resolution states that:
Thus, the notion that “corrective” therapy is in any way a valid practice or one that yields actual results is unsupported.
Many argue that children require a mother and a father to “develop fully” or that children that are raised by same-sex parents are “disadvantaged”. This, however, is, again, an argument without support. The APA conducted many studies and has stated that:
Some bring up fears and areas of concern:
However, studies provided, over and over:
They make their conclusion:
One of the common arguments used to denote the “immorality” and “dangers” of “allowing” gay marriage, is that if you legalize gay marriage, than polygamy, incest, and bestiality, etc. will become acceptable. However, these arguments are, more or less, a changing of subject than answering a question. Furthermore, they propagate from no real basis and have little reason or logic.
The slippery slope argument is defined as because you change or allow one thing, than other things will suddenly be allowed or acceptable. To some it sounds like a credible argument, but to those who actually read the argument, it becomes evident that there are serious flaws with it.
First and foremost, the idea that legalizing same-sex marriage is changing marriage is wrong. If one looks back at the previously reasoned arguments, one can find that marriage is not defined as between solely man and wife in a concrete manner, but rather in the context of societal constraints. If anything, legalizing same-sex marriage is a correction to a flawed construct.
However, slippery slope arguers will persist, asking, “why then can you not just say polygamy is a societal construct. The argument hinges on the notion that because there is no good reason to legalize or recognize gay marriage (this has been covered and will be covered further), than polygamy can be legalized and recognized as well. The reasons why polygamy cannot be compared to monogamous gay relationships:
Lastly, things like bestiality are obviously ridiculous as marriage is a human construct between people, incest promotes health issues and has to due with choice within a kind of people that one is attracted to, and pedophilia has to do with abuse, consent, knowledge, logic, and rape. Thus, there are logical reasons to restrict these things, as they are avoidable and cause legitimate harm. Even comparing gay marriage to the likes of incest or polygamy is ridiculous, as it compares rational, good-promoting, mutually beneficial, devoted love to that of choice based on greed and lust. Therefore, the slippery slope argument is hardly one that can be applied to loving, devoted, same-sex relationships.
Thus far, we've provide significant evidence and reasoning, showing that there
is no evidence, nor logic, that shows that God, Jesus, or the Bible are against two loving, devoted, monogamous, same-sex individuals being together, united in a bond of matrimony. Therefore, the reasons for why God and Christ would approve of gay marriage will be covered.
Over and over, the message has been Jesus nor God would object to a loving, committed, monogamous, same-sex marriage. Therefore, it shall be covered why Jesus Christ is our most powerful and reliable source when it comes to any information regarding the view of God. Consequently, it becomes extremely obvious that the plan and will of God is, and always will be love. Jesus said:
Jesus has always been a proponent of love. The plan and will of God is love. So much so that Jesus tells us to love our enemies (Mt. 5.44; Lk. 6.27; Lk. 23-34; Acts. 7.60). Furthermore, look at what is said by the apostles:
Therefore, no one can deny that love is the message of Christ, no one can say that love is wrong, and no one can say that Jesus would ever discourage or object to love. Thus, that which proceeds from love, is not wrong. Love is God, and those who stand in the way of love, stand in the way of God.
One thing anti-gay persons love to do is to pass judgement on people, especially when they have no proof or basis to do so. Christ would never approve of this:
Christ tells us not to pass judgement. As well, he says not to judge without right judgement. Therefore, we are not to judge or pass law on what is not supported by Christ. This is the plan and will of Jesus.
Many say that procreation is a part of God’s plan for marriage, thus gay individuals should not marry; however, as previously shown, this is an unsupported argument. It can be shown that Christ indeed views the care of children as a good thing to do; however, that is not to say that it is immoral to not have kids. Rather, that caring for children is an excellent display of love. Furthermore, it can be shown that adoption is one of the greatest things one can ever do: “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me” (Mt. 18.5).
Would Christ object to the care of children? To the feeding of the hungry? To the clothing of the naked? To giving shelter to the homeless? Of course not (Mt. 25.36).
Jesus was a preacher of love. He would never oppose love. Consequently, it can be stated with a great certainty that Jesus Christ would never approve of discrimination, inequality, or hatred:
Thus, it is clear, Christ fights for equality, justice, and righteousness.
It has become evident--through laborious and rigorous study, work, and reflection--that Christ never condemned homosexuality, God never condemned homosexuality, and nor does the Bible condemn homosexuality. There is no evidence that the Bible condemns loving relationships, but rather lust, violence, and greed. The very notion that, in any way, the Bible even remotely condemns loving, gay individuals or their right to marry, is ridiculous and unsupported. Therefore, to suggest that God or Jesus would ever object to a loving, devoted, loyal marriage between two same sex individuals is laughable. On the contrary, Jesus Christ would never condemn love.
There is no reason to believe that gay marriage leads to the downfall of society, that gay marriage is wrong, that gay people make bad parents, and there is no reason to believe that there is anything wrong with love.
Yet, as of 2015, in America alone, 102,000 children in foster care were waiting to be adopted (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). Would Christ follow an unrooted tradition that has no basis, or would he welcome the thought of individuals spreading the message of love and its power, not only to their own relationship, but to children as well. Would he deny children a home, a family, a better life?
When people are feeling depressed and suicidal about who they are because of discrimination by society (and especially Church adherers), would Christ let this continue (American Psychological Association, “New data on lesbian, gay and bisexual mental health”; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)? Would he turn his back on those in need? Would he reject them, like many have? Would he tell them that they are an abomination and that they can never find love, because their love is “sinful”?
When you tell someone that they cannot marry because you believe that the way they are, the way they live, and who they were born to be is an abomination, what you really say to them is, “because I believe that a book over 2000 years old says that you are an abomination, I believe that you don’t deserve to be eternally united with the one you love. Because I blindly believe something written by a Jewish man from an ancient Jewish society, nothing like the world of the modern era, says something that somewhat relates to people like you is wrong, I believe that you should never have the chance to have a family, to find love, to fulfill yourself, and be happy.”
When you reject gay marriage based on your religious beliefs, you reject love, you reject science, you reject logic, and you reject Christ. You are not to judge. You are not to make the laws. To dictate that people should be a certain way based upon opinions, assumptions, and unsupported beliefs is wrong, irresponsible, and unchristian.
When you tell people that they cannot marry based upon your prejudices and archaic traditions, you root yourself in a culture that believes it’s okay to treat human beings like they are monsters, like they are unnatural beasts, like they are second class. In doing so, you reject God and Christ’s plan for love, and you reject what they stand for. Do you know better than God?
God created you, and he made no mistakes, God created me gay, and he made no mistakes: “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected” (1 Tim. 4.4-5). Marriage is not between man and woman, marriage is between love and love. Love is not wrong, love is not a mistake, love is not an abomination, love is just love.
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 See also Col. 3.2; Rom. 8.56, 12.2; Heb. 4.12; Mt. 5.28; Phil. 4.8; Prov. 4.23, 12.5, 15.28
 See also Leviticus 18:22, 20:13
 See also Gaudium et Spes 50 § 1
 Also, see 1 Corinthians 1:18, 1:24-25; 2 Corinthians 6:18, 12:9; Genesis 1:1; Jeremiah 27:5, 32:17; John 1:3, 16:11; 1 John 3:8; Luke 1:37, 11:21-22; Matthew 6:9, 6:32; Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalms 115:3; Philippians 4:13; Romans 5:20; Roman Catechism 1, 2, 13.
 In sections 8, 9, and 33 of Libertas Præstantissimum, Leo refers to “the Angelic Doctor” and was well known to be a Thomist.
 Sometimes called Hume’s Gap
 For a detailed discussion, see Adams 47-49.
 See Question 94, Article 5, Objection 2: “the natural law can be changed.”
 See Mortenson (“Did Bible Authors Believe in a Literal Genesis”)
 See “natural family planning.
 It wasn’t until 1917 that the Roman Catholic Church added and specified that “selling a human being into slavery or for any other evil purpose”. Also, it wasn’t until 2014 that the Church made this statement, hoping to end modern slavery:
"...Inspired by our confessions of faith, we are gathered here today for an historical initiative and to take concrete action: to declare that we will work together to eradicate the terrible scourge of modern slavery in all its forms. The physical, economic, sexual and psychological exploitation of men, women and children that is currently inflicted on tens of millions of people constitutes a form of dehumanization and humiliation. Every human being, man, woman, boy, and girl, is made in God's image. God is the love and freedom that is given in interpersonal relationships, and every human being is a free person destined to live for the good of others in equality and fraternity. Every person, and all people, are equal and must be accorded the same freedom and the same dignity. Any discriminatory relationship that does not respect the fundamental conviction that others are equal is a crime, and frequently an aberrant crime. Therefore, we declare on each and every one of our creeds that modern slavery, in terms of human trafficking, forced labor and prostitution, and organ trafficking, is a crime against humanity..." (See “"Religious Leaders Gathered in the Vatican for the Eradication of Modern Slavery - Pope Francis' Address." From the Official Vatican Network).
Furthermore, Christians, for great periods, argued that slavery was justified by the words and doctrines of the Bible (See Davis and Jefferson 286; Early 82; Corbett, Corbett-Hemeyer, and Wilson).
St Thomas Aquinas in mid-thirteenth century accepted the new Aristotelian view of slavery as well as the titles of slave ownership derived from Roman civil law, and attempted — without complete success — to reconcile them with Christian patristic tradition. He takes the patristic theme ... that slavery exists as a consequence of original sin and says that it exists according to the "second intention" of nature; it would not have existed in the state of original innocence according to the "first intention" of nature; in this way he can explain the Aristotelian teaching that some people are slaves "by nature" like inanimate instruments, because of their personal sins; for since the slave cannot work for his own benefit slavery is necessarily a punishment. He accepts the symbiotic master-slave relationship as being mutually beneficial. There should be no punishment without some crime, so slavery as a penalty is a matter of positive law. (Maxwell 47)
“St Thomas' explanation continued to be expounded at least until the end of the 18th century” (Maxwell 84).
 Of the 983 times the word yada appears in the Hebrew Bible, it literally means “to know” at least 973 of those times (that’s 98.9 percent of the time).
 Also, See Matthew 11:20-24
See Jude 1:6 also
 Both the Babylonian Talmud and the Genesis Rabbah go without mentioning homosexuality as a reason for God destroying Sodom and Gomorrah...they are both primary resources...
1 Peter 4:8-9; 1 Timothy 3:2, 5:10; 2 Kings 6:22; 3 John 1:5-8; Acts 2:4-6, 28:2-7; Colossians 3:23-24; Exodus 23:9; Galatians 5:13, 6:10; Genesis 20:15, 24:31, 29:13; Isaiah 59:7; James 1:27, 2:1-4; Jeremiah 22:3; Job 31:32; John 12:26; Judges 13:15; Leviticus 19:10, 19:34, 24:22, 25:35; Luke 9:1-17, 10:25-38, 14:12-14, 24:29; Mark 9:41; Matthew 7:12, 25:34-46; Proverbs 31:20; Psalm 12:5, 23:5; Romans 12:13, 13:8-10, 15:7; Titus 1:7-8; etc.
 Around 107 to 137 BCE.
 One of the testaments of the “Twelve Patriarchs” that constitutes apocryphal scriptures connected with the bible. They are the dying commands of the twelve sons of Jacob.
The first of these was Philo.
 See note 91 on pg. 201, from Greenberg.
 The same guy who ordered the murder of gays and effeminate men.
 In the same letter or “Treatise”, Augustine said that Lot was justified in offering up his daughters to be raped because he was their “Lord”.
Though, modern studies do not support this, as no real evidence to support the story of Exodus is evident.
See also, Leviticus 8:13, 11:44-45, 18:24, 20:7, 20:26.
 See also, Ezra 9-10; Nehemiah 13:23-31; Malachi 2:11-12.
 Eunuchs were normally men who were castrated, and were seen to be “genderless”.
 See also, Isaiah 56:3-5
 If you don’t get the idea yet, open Leviticus to a random page and you’re sure to find a slew of really pointless rules and restrictions.
 See also, Mark 12:28-34
 See also, Catechism 1970 and 1972
 This worship described is most likely related to the goddess Cybele. To make it clear that all are sinners, Paul points out the idolatry of the Gentiles who worshipped false gods, and by implication, the idolatry of the Jews in the old testament, because they also broke God’s law and worshipped the false gods of the Gentiles. See references to their rituals in Leviticus 17:7, 18:3, 18:21-22, 20:2-5, 20:13; Deuteronomy 23:17-18. This helps make clear the focus of Paul’s condemnation, idolatry. In chapter 1, Paul indicts and condemns Gentiles for the sin of idolatry and, in chapter 2, Paul indicts and condemns Jews because, says Paul, they did the same things the Gentiles did. In 3:10-23, Paul concludes that all are under the sin of idolatry.
 Read Nissinen p. 110-115 for a detailed discussion.
 The complexity, uniqueness, and intellect of man is something that is unparalleled in nature; therefore, it seems rather ridiculous to hold man to the standards of beasts.
 However, many scholars debate whether Paul really did write Timothy. See Ehrman 393 and Collins and Paulus 4
 Listing vices and virtues is not an uncommon tactic used by Paul and his followers. See Romans 1:29-31; Galatians 5:19-23; Colossians 3:18-4:1; Ephesians 5:21-6:9; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; etc.
 See the KJV, for example.
 See Matthew 11:8, where malakoi is used to describe “soft robes”.
 See also, note in NKJV on 1 Corinthians 6:9, which denotes homosexuals as in “catamites”; i.e., boy prostitutes.
 The NIV and NRSV (which I am using since it has a specific Catholic version).
 Or “abusers of themselves with mankind” (1 Tim. 1.10) as well as “for them that defile themselves with mankind” (1 Cor. 6.9-10) in the KJV.
 Consider an example coined by Boswell:
For example, imagine a future translator coming across the word “lady-killer” two thousand years from now and wanting to know what it means. It’s clear the phrase is made from two words, lady and killer. So, it must mean a woman who kills, right? Or is it a person who kills ladies? The difficulty in obtaining a good translation is clear — particularly when we know lady-killer was a term used in the 1970s to refer to men whom women supposedly found irresistible. (Miner and Connoley 19)
 Our passage from Timothy is laid out in groups as follows:
A: Lawless and disobedient
B: Ungodly and sinners
C: Unholy and profane
D: Murderers of fathers / murderers of mothers / manslayers
E: Immoral persons / sodomites / kidnappers
F: Liars / perjurers / and whatever else
 Even the New International Version, a much more conservative English translation, appears to have been uncomfortable translating arsenokoitai as a general reference to homosexuality. Instead, in 1 Corinthians 6, they translate the term as “homosexual offender,” suggesting that to commit the sin referred to here one must use homosexuality in an aggressive or offensive way.
 Chromosomal Regions 7q36, 8p12 and 10q26
 For more reading on these topics, see the briefs and summaries of Sexual Orientation, Parents, & Children and Lesbian and Gay Parenting, and see the subsequent citations and references
 Polygamy is a specific reference to a man with multiple wives and stems from ancient culture that promoted patriarchy and male dominance over women. See Shepard, "The Impact of Polygamy on Women's Mental Health: A Systematic Review."
 Sexual orientation and attraction has to do with one’s attraction to kinds of individuals, not choosing to marry many of those individuals you are attracted to.
 To further see these message of love on display, see Colossians 3:14-15; 1 Corinthians 16:14; Ephesians 4:2; Galatians 2:20; 1 John 3:16; Luke 6:31-35; 18:1) Matthew 6:24; 1 Peter 3:8; Proverbs 17:9; Romans 5:8; Romans 12:9-10; Philippians 2:2; Philippians 1:9; 1 Timothy 1:5
 Even the Catechism agrees on this “God who created man out of love also calls him to love - the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being” (Catholic Church, Catechism 1604).
 See also, Mark 10:14; Matthew 18:10; 19:13-15; John 16:21
 See also, Acts 10:34; Colossians 1:16-17; Galatians 3:28; Hebrews 12:14; James 2:1-26; Matthew 5:45-47; 9:11-13; Proverbs 22:2; 31:8-9; Psalm 67:4; Revelation 7:9; Romans 2:11; 1 Timothy 2:1