An essay donated by Anthony Ashford
Part 2 of 3: Six biblical reasons why Christians
embrace same-sex relationships.
Better believe it. The Bible shows us six reasons!
Reason five: At Least One Lesbian Couple and One Gay Couple's Story is Told in the Bible:
In case you didn’t know, the gays have been around for … ever. We just never really got a chance to be recognized by mainstream society or in history for who we were or who we are today. The Bible itself is proof of forms of same-sex love.
- Ruth and Naomi's Relationship:
On the Surface:
This looks like a friendship of mutual convenience: two widowed gal pals move in together to share resources in a cold, hard world, until one of them gets married and has a bunch of kids.
The Whole Story:
Ruth and Naomi were once a part of a big happy family (in fact, Ruth marries Naomi's son), but disaster strikes and all the men of their family die. Ruth is a widow. Naomi and Ruth's other daughter-in-law, Orpah, are now widows, and the only logical thing for a woman (especially who did not have the societal benefits of being married and cared for by a man, in that time) to do would be to return to her own family. Naomi tells Orpah to return home, and she leaves her with tears in her eyes, but when she commands her widowed daughter-in-law Ruth to return home, Ruth makes a very special promise to Naomi, in Ruth 1: 16-17.
(A heartfelt plea and pledge of love and devotion, which is so lovely that it is repeated in many Christian heterosexual marriage ceremonies)
Soon after Ruth and Naomi work, live, and support each other as gleaners, Ruth meets Boaz, a 80-year-old distant relative of Naomi's dead husband, who sees the kindness and love between Ruth and Naomi, and marries Ruth (for the most part) to continue her family's legacy (an important tradition of that time).
Even after their marriage and blessing of children, her community celebrated that Naomi “has a child,” as seen in Ruth 4: 17, and they reminded Ruth that Naomi loves her very much, Ruth 4: 15.
So...how's that gay?
It does not do much justice to the lovers of this story to say that this promise, which is so powerful that it's used in marriage ceremonies, is not spoken by a person who was not truly in love with who she originally spoke it to.
In Ruth 1: 14, the King James Version of this verse says "Ruth clave onto her," at a moment when she should have return to her own family. In Genesis, marriage is portrayed as "a man leaving his father and mother, and CLEAVING to his wife." Ruth and Naomi have become "one flesh."
Not to mention, the Bible pays very little attention to the Boaz and Ruth's relationship, and so much more to Ruth and Naomi's relationship, even after her marriage.
- David and Jonathan's Relationship:
On the Surface:
Our second pair of gay lovebirds, who most Study Bibles call “besties” instead, is King David and Jonathan.
The Whole Story (with some insight sprinkled in):
First, Jonathan got googly-eyed over David and instantly became “one spirit with David” when they first met. Then, Jonathan gives this man from a different royal family his most important possessions: his sword, his bow, and even the clothes on his back. (1 Samuel 18: 1-4)
Next, David left his own family to stay with Jonathan and his father King Saul. What was that about "man leaving his father and mother to cleave to his wife?"
Then, between chapter 19 and 20 of 1 Samuel, Saul attempts to kill David numerous times (while vicious, King Saul knew that David and his family might usurp his authority and one day reign his family's kingdom), but Jonathan instead protects his love, even though killing David would ensure Jonathan’s family’s reign would last.
Jonathan and David meet up after a terrible tragedy, and Jonathan makes a “covenant” before the Lord, that they will be together as (Bible’s interpretation) “sworn friends” and our families will be one together for forever. (1 Samuel 20: 40-41) (I don’t know about you, but, to me, that sounds like a wedding vow.)
Finally, long after Saul and Jonathan’s deaths, King David laments his love in the beginning of 2 Samuel, saying that “Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.” (Verse 26) King David even keeps his promise and does the unthinkable for a king, by raising Jonathan's child as his own.
I don’t know ANYONE can spin that verse right there into saying that “David and Jonathan had the coolest platonic bromance in the Bible.”
There’s one more gay relationship in the Bible, but we’re gonna postpone that one 'til the end of the essay for a reason.
Reason four: Bigots Unfortunately Have Used the Bible to Oppress Other Minority Groups
People don’t always have the best intentions when using things that can influence the masses. The Christian Church wasn’t always the benevolent, do-gooder, “come-as-you-are” church that most people know it as today. Back in the (Medieval and even colonial) day, the Church kinda acted like the mob. If you didn’t sing the same song as the Church and play by all their rules, you’d be sleeping with the fishes … literally. Some Christian communities would toss women into the water to see if they were witches.
Pretty much until the Women’s Rights Movement of the 20th Century, evangelical Christian leaders used the Bible as their foundation and support for their “No Girls Allowed” policies when it came to church leadership. In some religious societies today, women are forced to keep themselves sexually timid, because of a wrongful interpretation of the story of Adam and Eve.
All during the 19th Century, strong Christian supporters of slavery of African Americans used the Bible (specifically the Curse of Ham in Genesis 9) to speak ridiculous volumes about dark-skinned people and their “accursed” role in white society.
What am I trying to say: the Bible is a great and wonderful tool to understand Jesus Christ and just how to be a good person, but perhaps Bibles should come with a label that says “Warning: Crazy people have used this book to subjugate women, support slavery, and spread homophobia. Read with caution and criticism.”
Reason three: Denouncing a youth's love interests can ruin his or her life:
It’s good to have an opinion and give a damn about what people do with their lives, because there are just some people out there who really need a kick in the rear to stop acting like freaking idiots, and be told what’s what.
Jesus Christ loved telling people what’s what, because He saw that what people were doing was harming other people. Jesus repeatedly told people NOT to judge each other. I feel that the most powerful, and oft quoted, commandments against judging is in Matthew 7: 1-5. This is the famous “Judge not, or you too will be judged” commandment, which Jesus continues on by saying “Remove the plank in your own eye, then you can worried about the speck in someone’s else.”
Now, wait a minute, some of you are thinking, first you say, Jesus doesn’t want us to judge people, and now you’re saying that we can if we remove the ‘plank.’ Jesus explains the difference between good teaching and bad teachings in a later part of Matthew 7, saying that (another visual example) a good “tree” bears good “fruit” and a bad “tree” bears bad “fruit.”
So, knowing that “teachings” and “judgments” are completely different, let’s say for all intents and purposes that you’re trying to “teach” a lesbian youth that she’s currently not fit for the Kingdom of Heaven, because of “choosing the gay lifestyle.” What sort of “fruit” will that bear in that child?
While some many Christian in the world believe that this sort of “teaching” will bear good “fruit,” as a gay man, myself, as a witness for so many more gay and lesbian Christians who’ve been hurt by other Christians, I’m here to say that this does not produce good fruit. Telling someone that their innate love for another human being is sinful or inferior to another person’s innate love for another human being can be the most detrimental news to a young gay person’s life.
Put yourself in the shoes of a young gay person. You imagine yourself with a wife (if you’re a lesbian) or a husband (if you’re gay) in the future, doing all the things that straight couples do (having kids, holding hands, growing old together). Then comes an elder Christian person in your life who you look up to and want to honor who tells you that you can NOT have that sort of future, because, for some reason, it’s wrong.
While that elder may think that he or she has saved you from a life of sexual failures and tragic relationships, their words alone could force you into a life of sexual failures and tragic relationships. If anti-gay Christian leaders only knew this fact, their bad teachings would cease in a heartbeat and they could possibly save the life of another at-risk gay youth.
Jesus tells us to remove the plank from our own eye. I believe that the plank is our own biases and lack of information about who people really are. The plank blocks us from knowing why a person feels the way that she or he feels. If we remove these stereotypes and biases and start trying to understand other human beings like we should, we could truly help people through the real trial and tribulations of their lives, instead of trying to treat peoples’ innate sexual orientations as their problems.