"Ezekiel 16:49-50 is explicitly clear about why they were destroyed and it had nothing to do with hospitality. You see, the inhabitants there weren't just depraved — they were proud of their depravity and couldn't wait to force it on others. And it is that pride in their perversion that earned them the wrath of God."
[For the full article, see here.}
Paul Proctor of Franklin, Tennessee, who wrote an article that contained the above sentences, is a retired musician and free-lance writer who feels free to pontificate about a subject about which he presumably knows nothing. When it comes to "religion" and "politics" everyone presumes to be an expert!
My concern, however, is neither about Proctor's knowledge nor the thesis of his commentary which is, in some ways, provocative. My concern is that one might read his commentary, and other commentaries, articles, sermons, and statements like it, and automatically assume the veracity of the homophobic statements and claims made without checking out the facts for him/herself.
Since the Bible is used, and misused, to justify all sorts of points of view when it particularly comes to aspects of "morality," it is important to read the Bible for oneself, not only because it is instructive concerning the human condition and God's relations, and the perception of His relations, with assorted nations and people, but to see whether a given appeal to the Bible to justify the creation of an enemy, an object of rejection and, indeed, even of hate, is justified.
First of all, no Christian is obliged to observe any of the laws of the Old Testament, as Jesus makes it perfectly clear that He has fulfilled the law! (Matthew 5:17) Through Jesus, we are reckoned as being sinless, holy, righteous, justified, and reconciled to God by the grace (the free gift) of God that is only appropriated by one's faith (Trusting God over and above seen circumstances.).
That is why the Gospel means "good news." It's "good news" precisely because we are saved by God's grace and by His grace alone, and that we are no longer under yokes of bondage to the assorted rules, regulations, rituals, and laws of the Old Testament; nor are we to be under yokes of bondage to any other mere fallible human being or his/her attempts to define our reality for us. God and God alone is our Compass Point; He made us; He knows our frame better than we do ourselves; He calls each of His children to be authentic and thereby fulfill the lives and ministries He has ordained for each one of them!
However, even if we are to take Ezekiel 16:49-50 that Proctor cites as being relevant to the Christian, what he and a whole host of homophobic people just like him who appeal to the Bible to justify their homophobia do to justify their position, we can see that they are imposing their own preconceived prejudices on the texts they cite when anyone, Christian or not, can see that those texts do not in any way condemn homosexuality as we currently understand the term.
Ezekiel 16:49-50 reads as follows: "Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good."
That's it! Now, tell me where homosexuality is condemned in those verses of Scripture that Proctor cites to justify his prejudices against homosexuality?
If one were careless and didn't think enough of his/her mind and heart to check out the facts, and blindly accepted the assertions of the Proctors of the world, one would automatically think that those assertions were based upon knowledge, and were accurate. However, if one checks out the Bible for him/herself, one can easily see that the passages cited here have absolutely nothing to do, and are not even remotely connected, with homosexuality.
[Moreover, beyond the fact that God decided to destroy Sodom BEFORE the Sodom story in Genesis 19, if one reads the account of Sodom in Genesis 19, one would have to believe that ALL the men of Sodom were Gay; if they were Gay, it would have been ludicrous for Lot to have offered them his virgin daughters, as they would certainly have been no inducement to the men. The Sodom story deals with gang rape, and gang rape is no more indicative of homosexuality than it is of heterosexuality!]
So, when a professing Christian pastor like Ken Hutcherson, a strident homophobe who, of course, uses the Bible to justify his hatred of LGBT people, says the following from the pulpit, "God hates soft men" and "God hates effeminate men," and then goes on to say, "If I was in a drugstore and some guy opened the door for me, I'd rip his arm off and beat him with the wet end" [See here for the full article.], he does so with the unfortunately accurate expectation that his hateful diatribe will be met with hearty approval by most, if not all, who attend the church he pastors; will be taken seriously by others because he (and others of his ilk) makes it seem as if he is accurately basing his prejudices against LGBT people on the Bible.
The fact is that ample material [See the Links section of this blog for many of them.] has been written showing that there is absolutely no inconsistency between being LGBT and being a Christian! But one wouldn't know that unless he/she reads and studies the Bible for him/herself! Besides, the Christian doesn't worship the Bible! The Christian worships God! (Please see the piece in my Sidebar under the heading, "The Bible Is Not God.")
I strongly urge everyone, particularly anyone who is at all interested in Christianity and homosexuality, to read the Bible with an open mind. "The New Oxford Annotated Bible"(Oxford University Press) is an excellent Bible! It uses the New Revised Standard Version, and is eminently readable and makes use of the most recent biblical scholarship.
In any case, just because someone speaks with seemingly oracular authority, with a lot of passion that frequently hides a lot of venom, doesn't make his/her assertions true. Whenever possible, check out the facts for yourself!
You owe that much to both yourself, and to the many people whose lives are maligned, damaged, and even taken, because of the hatefulness that is spewed in the name of the Bible, of Christianity, and even of God!