It all started last Thursday when Roll Call--the Congressional newsletter--reported that Georgia’s Republican Congressman Rick W. Allen led the opening prayer in a conference meeting. His House Republican colleagues were treated to a harangue calling for the “death penalty for homosexuals.”
Allen led the opening prayer by reading from Romans 1:18-32, and Revelation 22:18-19. All of this shortly before House members were scheduled to vote on a spending bill that included an anti-discrimination provision—protecting the LGBT community—that social conservatives just don’t like. And those conservatives do enjoy reading Scripture verses calling for punishing humanity’s sins, including homosexuality.
I mean, let’s protect the water- and air-poisoners and the corporations and banks that plunged so many into poverty in the crash of 2008-09. But let’s not protect people who do no harm to anyone else. Is that is being said?
Look, if your religious beliefs consider the LGBT community to be “sinful” then that is entirely between you and your community/church. And as the funny man said, “if you don’t like gay marriage, don’t be involved in one.” I tend to stand with (or behind) Pope Francis on this one; who am I to judge? Funny how people forget that the New Testament pretty firmly states, “Judge not, unless you too shall be judged.”
Passages in the verses read by Rep. Allen refer to homosexuality and the penalty for homosexual behavior. “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet,” reads Romans 1:27.
Wait, what? Can we back up for a second? Read that second clause again, please. The one about women. Yeah, that one.
“Leaving the natural use of the woman…” Is it just me or does “natural use” seem a little…what’s the word…Neanderthal? You know, like the old caveman saying that “women are good for only one thing.”
Now here is something that is important to know about Paul’s writings, that is, when Paul’s usually writes about “homosexuals” and “sodomizers,” he is talking about promiscuity because he also names adulterers and fornicators in those passages. Promiscuity is the danger, both psychologically and health-wise. But let’s move on.
Does the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament call for the death penalty for homosexuality? Yes, it does. Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13, chapter and verse. But it calls for death penalty for lots of things. Here are some fun examples…well, unless you’re caught doing it and you get put to death for it. Here are some of the capital offenses:
Committing adultery between a man and a woman. Leviticus 20:10–12. And yet, King David was never put to death for it.
Being male and practicing bestiality. Leviticus 20:15.
Being female and practicing bestiality. Leviticus 20:16.
Having incestuous sex. Leviticus 20:17.
Having sex with a woman is menstruating. Leviticus 20:18.
Having sex with your father’s wife. Leviticus 20:20. That is not to say “mother” as men had many wives in those days.
Having sex with your daughter-in-law. Leviticus 20:30.
Can we at least admit here that Leviticus, chapter 20, has gone down a strange path? But wait, there’s more.
Consuming blood (Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 17:10)
Eating anything that mixes meat and dairy (Exodus 23:19). No cheeseburgers!
Eating fat (Leviticus 3:17). Okay, so eating with no flavor.
Eating pork (Leviticus 11:7–8). What? No hot dogs? I’ll take my chances with stoning.
Eating aquatic creatures lacking fins or scales (Deuteronomy 14:9–10). No shrimp or lobster or clams!
Trying to convert people to another religion (Deuteronomy 13:1–11, Deuteronomy 18:20). Missionaries going to get it!
Being a false prophet (Deuteronomy 13:5, Deuteronomy 18:20, Zechariah 13:2–3). Better avoid those stock-brokers.
Planting more than one kind of seed in a field (Leviticus 19:19). What’s the danger there?
Wearing clothing woven of more than one kind of cloth (Leviticus 19:19). Or this?
Touching the dead carcass of a pig (Deuteronomy 14:8). Sorry, Packer fans…
Dressing across gender lines (Deuteronomy 22:5). And yet the priesthood wore those gowns...
But then Rep. Allen went on to read: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful…”
So, Rep. Allen wants the death penalty for the LGBT community? Then, according to the sayings of Jesus—whom he does not quote once—he had better get the hangman ready for all of us. Because, if we are going to act on the ancient laws of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, we had better follow “every stroke of the pen of the law.”
Especially a congressman who is “without understanding” and “unmerciful.” There is a reason why the Founders of America wanted a clean and clear separation of Church and State, to keep non-experts from doing such damage based on faulty understanding.