|Commentary: Bible phobia and homosexuality|
|Published on March 27, 2014||
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By Dr Lazarus Castang
In mainstream and social media, and by gay activists, the term homophobia is widely and indiscriminately used to mean any opposition to homosexuals and/or homosexuality. Homophobia has been used to refer to anti-gay feelings, moral arguments against homosexuality, institutional bias against homosexuals and verbal and physical abuse of homosexuals.
Dr Lazarus Castang is a licensed psychotherapist and an ordained SDA Minister of Religion. He holds a PhD in Old Testament, a Masters in Psychotherapy, and has completed studies in basic medical science. He has ministered to several communities in St Lucia, Barbados and the US and has provided therapy to individuals, couples and groups. He is a graduate of University of Southern Caribbean in Trinidad and Andrews University in Michigan. He has written two theological books and several articles on social relations. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Homophobia is a catch-all epithet capturing gay-bashing, alienation and ostracism of homosexuals, opposition to homosexual marriage, ordination, agenda promotion, civil rights, human rights, civil union, parade, practice and morality. So, a person is homophobic if he/she finds homosexual behaviour objectionable or problematic in any moral or amoral situation.
Such indiscriminate application of the term homophobia is aimed at one thing -- to render homosexuals and homosexuality as social untouchables. By social untouchables, I mean there is a subtle unspoken requirement for issues of homosexuality to become unquestionably accepted, morally approved, scientifically rectified, uncritically practiced, legally protected, politically accommodated, ecclesiastically adopted and naturally normalized.
As untouchables, neither homosexuals nor homosexuality should ever be morally disaffirmed by a majority culture or because of religious moral scruples. Fear of the accusation of discrimination is supposed to drive Christians or heterosexuals to silence and/or wholesale acceptance and support of all that distinguishes homosexuals as homosexuals.
Homophobia is a negative label intended to move homosexuals from innocent victims of homophobia to social untouchables free from homophobia. The charge for the normalization of homosexuality in society has clearly been espoused by many mainstream and social-media personalities. Just as the world has begun to support “gay rights,” the church must also do it lock, stock and barrel; else the church is bigoted, prejudiced, unprogressive, unenlightened, ignorant and stifling.
If homophobia is supposed to be a psychiatric condition, then “homophobes” (all opponents: Christians, heterosexuals, celibates) are ill and in need of therapy. Therefore, homosexuals are no more the sick ones according to American Psychiatric Association in 1973, but for homosexuals and media commentators “homophobes” are. The situation is now turned upside down, inside out. The left is right and the right is left.
If homophobia is for homosexual-hating people, then Bible phobia is for Bible-hating people. If homophobia is an exaggerated, inexplicable and illogical fear of homosexuals, then Bible phobia is an exaggerated, inexplicable and illogical fear of the Bible, whether in theory or practice. If people with phobias (including homophobia) have problems, need help and treatment because they are sick, then people with Bible phobia have problems, need help and treatment because they are sick. A phobia is a phobia is a phobia.
Since any opposition to homosexuality constitutes homophobia, then using the same reasoning, any opposition to the Bible in theory or practice is also Bible phobia. So people with a low view of the Bible as a purely human book, and consequently reject it as an ancient book irrelevant for the moral assessment of modern homosexuality, discard it as the sole basis of faith and practice for human beings, and as an infallible revelation of “God’s rights,” not gay rights, have Bible phobia. They have problems, need help and treatment because they are sick, whether they are aware of it or not, whether they accept it or not. This argument is a ground-leveler.
Some homosexuals see the Bible as only addressing the abuse of homosexuality (homosexual rape, cultic prostitution or pederasty), but not a loving responsible, monogamous homosexual relationship. To disclaim their Bible phobia they attempt to re-interpret the Bible to accommodate their homosexual behaviour that is unmistakably disaffirmed in Scripture.
“You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” (Lev 18:22 New American Standard Bible, NAS)
“For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” (Rom 1:26, 27 NAS)
“And He answered and said, ‘Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female,’ and said, 'For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh '? Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Mat 19:4-6 NAS)
The idea of a “gay Christian” or “homosexual Christian” is a contradiction in terms, ethics and practice. Struggling “gay Christians” are sensitive to their emotional and moral problems but are trapped and need compassionate help, supportive therapy and/or a therapeutic environment. But comfortable “gay Christians” believe that God created them homosexuals and they are righteous in following their natural inclination.
My forthcoming final article on homosexuality entitled, “The Lord is my Shepherd and he knows that I am gay” will address the issue of “natural sexual orientation” and immorality/sin and the role of cultural, social and scientific observations in the theological process.
I have raised the issues of homophobia and Bible phobia to throw into bold relief the indiscriminate use of the term homophobia in the media. It seems more appropriate to distinguish homophobia in relations to the attitudes of people in search of gays to bash than to apply it to all anti-gay feelings or to moral arguments against homosexuality.
Only conversation-stoppers attempt to silence any moral discussion of homosexuality with argumentum ad hominems (arguments at the person) like “homophobes,” “religious bigots,” and “scientific illiterates.” One thing I have found ironic is that the same people who are rightfully calling for compassionate, humane (social, physical and verbal) treatment of homosexuals, in the same breath, paint callous caricatures of religious people on a whole. They bash like the gay-bashers and consign themselves to the same moral category. Their unbalanced sympathies are clearly more homo-bent than hetero-bent. They maximize gay rights but nullify God’s rights. They fend against homophobia but illegitimate Bible phobia. But what is popular is not always right and what is right is not always popular.
Religion should aim not only at making it easier to accept homosexuals as human beings and citizens, but also at making it impossible to accept homosexuality. It is the right of homosexuals as human beings and citizens to expect decent and respectful treatment from Christians and non-Christians alike. But it is not the right of homosexuals to expect Christians to drop/surrender their moral values and beliefs in order to make them feel comfortable and safe with their sexual behaviour.
Amidst the raging debate about homosexuality, there are struggling homosexuals in the closet who are longing for liberation from this body of sin. Their struggles are real and the devil is intent on keeping them trapped in sin and tempting them to accept sin as righteousness, religion as hoax, God as a failed hypothesis, and science as ethics.
It behooves the Caribbean church to rise from the dust of neglect and ostracism and seek out those lonely struggling-in-the-closet homosexuals who desire spiritual change and moral deliverance from their emotional and moral problems. Jesus says, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:40).
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This is an outstanding article!
I commend the author for succinctly analysing and explaining a matter that has morphed into the condemnation of any and everything that is morally based.
In effect, proponents and supporters of certain special interests have "flipped the script" and not only lumped all who reject their agenda on moral grounds, into one big category (e.g. homophobes), but have also demonstrated a clear intolerance for views that are not in-line with their perspective.
It appears that the prevailing modus operandi is to scandalize anything even remotely associated with: the church, religion and even individual's faith. This is normally characterised by indiscriminate attempts at character assassination, which in effect demonstrates a clear level of intolerance, as well.
As a result, these groups appear intent on redefining virtually everything to suit their intentions. In all, I firmly believe that a society without a fundamental understanding of 'right and wrong', is inevitably doomed to continued degradation and ultimately confusion, anarchy and chaos.
The drivel that springs from the mouths of these hypocritical wanna be celebrity Seventh-Day Adventist pastors. You should be ashamed of yourself for trying to use homosexuality as the subject to get your fame ? Why are you making Homosexuality your main point of interest?
Are you gay? Are you defending yourself ? Your rantings are beginning to sound like a gay man still trapped in the closet.
Why not take your jargon to the pulpit and convince some of your members on why they should accept you and other gay pastors hiding behind the frock into the fold?
I, the perennial skeptic, whole-heartedly agree with and fully endorse Mr. Paco Smith's comment on the above article. Great clarity of thought and demonstrated moral courage and fearless temerity in the face of the contemporary onslaught of reverse bias, prejudice, and bigotry in regards to this vitally important phenomenon which will surely challenged the very continuance of human kind.
A fabulous, marvelous expounding of the issues by Dr. Lazarus Castang. Does the overwhelming majority of the Caribbean polity, mostly nominal or professing "Christians", with some Muslims and Hindus need, in this vexing milieu, to "ARISE, AND COME BACK FROM THE DEAD"? Or, have they the nominal or deeply religious WEST INDIANS, already "come out", too - - - as the HOMOSEXUALS are wont to say.
Could it be that 21st Century Caribbeans are already TOO FEARFUL, TOO FRIGHTENED, TOO INTIMIDATED, TOO THREATENED, AND TOO COWARD TO boldly make their stand, declare their strong convictions and beat back this HOMOSEXUAL ONSLAUGHT from the EFFETE, DECADENT, PERVERTED METROPOLE ?
The white European COLONIALISTS offered us the Bible and TOOK 'WAY THE LAND. I would say a good exchange, for us - - - ultimately.
BUT now, the Euro-americans have reached their zenith, as an "enlightened" civilization, as did historic societies BEFORE THEM - - - and, like ANCIENT BABYLON, ANCIENT ASSYRIA, ANCIENT mizraimic EGYPT, ANCIENT MEDO-PERSIA, ANCIENT MONGOLIA, ANCIENT ZULULAND, ANCIENT GHANA, ANCIENT ANCIENT CUSH, ANCIENT AKAN, ANCIENT SHEBA, ANCIENT INDIA, ANCIENT CHINA, ANCIENT JAPAN, ANCIENT GREECE AND ANCIENT ROME these 'modern' WHITE EURO-AMERICANS (mostly) are in a FRENZIED, MAD, HEAD-LONG RUSH TO SODOMIC OBLIVION.
ARE we in the WEST INDIES amd OECS, who have yet attained such dizzying heights of material riches, economic development and fabulous prosperity, that utterly VISION-LESS, LEADER-LESS, and utterly STUPID to follow like PURBLIND LEMMINGS TO OUR PREMATURE DESTRUCTION AND NATIONAL OBLIVION ?
EVEN the pied pipe of Hamelin would NOT have been that devious and deceptive. Or, DOMINEERING.
Notice how ARROGANT, BIGOTED AND DOMINEERING the HOMOSEXUAL denizens of SODOM AND GOMORRAH were to LOT AND HIS "VISITORS" ?
ARROGANT, HUBRISTIC, DOMINEERING.
BIGOTS AND COMPLETELY, ABSOLUTELY, UTTERLY INTOLERANT.
IF the HOMOSEXUALS have a proper case against THE HETEROSEXUALS, please let us have it, with due process, adequate justification, respectful dialogue, rational thinking, and loving concern for the FUTURE OF THE HUMAN RACE, which, like it or not, IS ONLY - - - CAN ONLY --- BE PROPAGATED and/or CONTINUED BY ONE "HUMAN" scientific, BIOLOGICAL, MEANS --- normal proper SEXUAL INTERCOURSE and PROCREATION by TWO OPPOSITE SEXes/GENDER -- so-called "heterosexual copulation" --- TRADITIONAL, NORMAL 'SEX'.
I CALL ON THE CURRENT CROP OF LEADERS OF CARICOM AND THE OECS, including the COMMUNISTIC misleader in SVG, to firmly, properly, soberly RECOGNIZE that THERE IS A COMPELLING STATE INTEREST FOR HUMAN BEINGS TO CONTINUE THEIR NORMAL,TRADITIONAL, HETERO-SEXUAL ACTIVITY in order to ENSURE THE VERY SURVIVAL, SUCCESSION, AND CONTINUANCE OF THE WEST INDIAN "RACE" OF PEOPLES.
I call on all and sundry to RECOGNIZE, ACKNOWLEDGE AND INTERNALIZE the ABSOLUTE FACT OF "nature" and NATURE'S CREATOR GOD, that THE SODOMIC OR HOMOSEXUAL LIFESTYLE would prove to be the actual NADIR OF OUR COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN CIVILIZATION.
LEADERS. take heed.
We have ALL been forewarned.
HOMOSEXUAL, SODOM, WAY OF LIFE spells DEATH of the Human and WEST INDIAN RACE OF PEOPLE.
THIS is our rubicon. CHOOSE.
This issue, for me, is just ANOTHER SCIENTIFIC PROOF OF THE REAL EXISTENCE, and visionary FORESIGHT OF A SUPREME, ALMIGHT BEING --- THE FIRST CAUSE --- yes, Allan Palmer, an "EL SHADDAI."
'Evolutionists': The LAW of BIOGENESIS --- Life comes FROM Life, and, at that, LIFE COMES ONLY FROM PRE-EXISTING LIFE OF ITS OWN KIND.
HOMOSEXUALS: It takes TWO to TANGO, but THREE to to CATCH AIDS/ARC/STDs.
HUMAN RACE: It takes WOMAN and a MAN to MEK PICKME.
WHAT does it take to RECOGNISE common-sense REALITY ?
Should we continue to IGNORANTLY keep POUNDING OURSELVES ON THE HEAD WITH SLEDGE-HAMMERS ?
WHERE went SOBRIETY, COMMONSENSE AND TRUE RATIONAL THINKING ?
Are we about to now END ALL HUMAN HISTORY by COMMITTING GLOBAL COSMOCIDE via TOTAL HOMOSEXUALITY ?
Please pull up on the HAND-BREAKS, my family called HUMANITY.
www.christianpositivespace.com. Check it out. A Christian rights and freedoms movement.
The bible is not being bashed. How it is being used, is what is being bashed. Educated people are leaving Christianity because of the anti-scientific, hypocritical, selectively literal and anachronistic, out of context way the bible is used to justify what is merely a dislike, discomfort, incomprehension of LGBT people.
Dr. Castang provided prime examples of this. Pulling one verse out of Leviticus pertaining to ritual anal sex between men (or men sleeping in woman’s bed depending on the Hebrew translation) out of a set of 613 Mosaic Laws which nobody expects anyone to follow. I wonder does he also support slavery? Leviticus 25:44-45 The same bible also condemns participating in or profiting from usury (charging interest) Exodus 22:25 Ezekiel 22:12, Luke 6:35, Psalm 15:5, so I hope his monies are under a mattress and not part of the usury-based banking system.
He also conveniently pulls out a few verses from Romans from a much longer opening dialogue Paul wrote about idolatry. Note how verse 26 begins, “For this cause….” meaning there is a back-story to what is about to be described. The back-story was people worshiping images of birds and beasts and creeping things. The Romans had pagan sex rites to nature gods such as Saturn and Cybele and their pagan sex rites are well established historical record if you need to put Paul’s references into the proper cultural/historical context. During these rites men and women orally and anally administered hallucinogens, went into a frenzy of lust and had orgiastic rites, doing things they normally would not do, even self-flagellate and murder. Women used men unnaturally (had anal sex to avoid pregnancy) and men had sex with male temple prostitutes. These men and women were NOT homosexual. Please note that Paul said these men and women “changed” and “exchanged” what they usually did (opposite sex-intercourse) in order to practice these rites. This was not their usual behavior. In other words sexual orientation had nothing to do with this.
Corinth was a rich port city famous for its brothels where “malakoi” boy prostitutes and “aresenokioti” pederasts were frequent. In fact Paul had to make up that word “aresenokioti”, to distinguish it from the common Greek terms for men who love men (eronemous, eretes), or women who love women (dihetaristriai). No contemporary Greek writings during or after Paul’s time used arsenokoites to mean a man who loves men far less a lesbian. Ever since Paul coined it, it has ALWAYS referred to buggery, anal sex, sexual exploitation or prostitution. Homiliae spirituales IV 4.22, commenting on Genesis 19, says: “created the ultimate offense in their evil purpose against the angels, wishing to work arsenokoitia (anal rape) upon them.” It is even used with regard to men anally raping women: Patriarch of Constantinople, Penitential: “Some even do it with their own mothers, and others with foster sisters or goddaughters. In fact, many men even commit the sin of arsenokoitia with their wives.”
It was not until the 1950s, that overreaching bible translators began slipping “homosexual” into English translations of the bible.
Homosexual and homosexuality are MEDICAL definitions for sexual orientation. Sex-acts and orientation are not mutually exclusive. Heterosexual men rape men and boys. Heterosexual couples may have oral or anal sex. An account about rape or anal sex is not an account about homosexuality. At least Dr. Castang did not resort to the gross biblical scholarship error of using a story about an attempted gang rape of two angels in Genesis 19 as some kind of indictment on all LGBT people.
The more people act like the bible is universally authoritative and applicable to every situation in this day and age of new insights about the Cosmos and about our human make-up, the more it will prompt questions that reveal it is the writings of pre-scientific, Northern Palestinian, bronze and iron-age men unaware of how much of the world worked. They did not know what caused earthquakes, storms, that the earth revolved around the sun or even that women contributed 50% of the genetic material towards babies. They saw nothing wrong with slavery Exodus 21:20-21, Leviticus25:44-45, 1 Timothy 6:1-5, 1 Peter 2:18-29 and genocide Numbers31:15-18. They thought the cure for an infection of Mycobacterium lepromatosis was bird’s blood, Leviticus 14:2-52. They stoned women who were raped but did not scream Deuteronomy 22:23-24 and disobedient children - Deuteronomy 21:18-21, Exodus 21:17. They saw male and female in rigid, simplistic ways designed to support their patriarchal, imperial societies.
Most of our human existence only began to be correctly understood post-Enlightenment. This includes the existence of gender and sexual anomalies, which was only medically defined and classified in the 19th Century as inherent traits. Slowly, enlightened societies began to realize that personalities, proficiency and purpose is not determined by what is between our anatomy but what is between our ears. We stopped using scriptures like 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, 1 Timothy 2:14-15, 2 Timothy 3:6-7 to subjugate women. We stopped seeing left-handed people as “evil” despite left-orientation being negatively portrayed in scripture Matthew 25: 33, 34…41 Ecclesiastes 10:2, Psalms 118: 15-16) and as for Genesis 9:25-27 which was used to excuse racism against black people, we realized this was also wrong.
There are over 40,000 Christian sects, each interpreting the bible as it suits them. Some of these sects still support anti-miscegenation, racism, sexism and colonialist attitudes towards non-Christian cultures using their particular scriptural theology. Some of these sects refuse medical treatment. Some refuse to vote or serve in the military. Some prohibit women from teaching or having careers. Some believe LGBT people aren’t part of the natural world and some kind of aberration.
Dr. Castang is free to apply the bible as he likes to his own life and his dependents. However, when it comes to determining civil, public laws and human rights that need to protect the dignity and humanity of a diverse population, he should prepare for a far more rigorous debate with a far more educated and ethical public than the kind who will blindly buy into his anti-gay religious opinions. He is not the "authority" on all of Christianity.
Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu said in a public address on Friday March 12, 2010: “LGBT people are part of so many families. They are part of the human family. They are part of God's family!” Respected academic, medical, social, human rights, child welfare authorities and the United Nations all recognize LGBT people to be are perfectly natural examples of the diversity and complexity of human gender and sexuality, protected under the Human Rights Charter.