A look at what the Bible says about homosexuality as discovered by a conservative Evangelical Charismatic Gay Christian pastor‚Ä®‚Ä®
As a gay Christian for many years I have struggled with the issues of the Bible and homosexuality. I have tried to reconcile what I was taught, what I thought I understood the Bible to teach, and my own sexuality. This then is the story of one Christian’s journey and what he discovered. It is written so that others who may be struggling with the same issues can read it and relate. Hopefully through it you can come to find a loving God, acceptance and love through it. It is also written for those who although not gay may be struggling with the issue.
This may be because their church is debating whether or not to allow gays to be members of their church and be ordained to ministry. It may be because they know someone who is gay or a member of their family is gay. Perhaps they are just curious. Whatever the reason I invite you to follow my journey of discovery with an open mind and heart. As Christian brothers and sisters, let us find the Biblical truth about homosexuality and what God thinks of it. Will you do that? Also please understand this is not to blast any church and therefore I have avoided listing the names of specific churches to which I have belonged. It is instead intended as an open invitation to all to come, learn, understand and know the truth. It is intended as a tool for reconciliation, and the unifying of the whole body of Christ including gays, lesbian and transgender people. Also all scripture references are taken from the New King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise noted. Also I need to thank Dr. John Mathis Lurvey, Marlene Campbell and others. They have loved me, prayed with me, helped me to come to the realization of who I am and be able to accept it. Then to have the courage to go ahead and write about my journey and share it with others.‚Ä®‚Ä®
FREE, FREE, FREE, AT LAST THANK GOD ALMIGHTY I’M FREE AT LAST. (Quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) ‚Ä®‚Ä®
(Introduction)‚Ä®‚Ä® What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Does it condemn it as many of us have been led to believe? As a Christian pastor and Bible teacher for over forty years I have struggled with those two questions. Although raised in the Congregational faith I later became a member of the Church of Christ denomination, then became Pentecostal and finally about seven years ago an Episcopalian/Catholic which I still am today. I have known since I was twelve or there about that I was different and gay. Coming from a very strict evangelical conservative background homosexuality was not allowed. That was especially true for preachers. It was seen as the unpardonable sin, which could cause you to burn forever in hell. Therefore, I remained firmly in the closet. Believing homosexuality was wrong I did the traditional things dating women and becoming engaged to be married four times but never going through with it. In my first church where I was an associate pastor, I was fired and asked to leave upon suspicion I might be gay.‚Ä®‚Ä®Through the succeeding years I had a couple of gay relationships, which were broken up when the church learned about them. I had hands laid on me to cast out the “demon of homosexuality” and even was turned over a pastor’s knee to have the demon spanked out of me. Also had a belt used on me to drive the demon out. I fasted, prayed for deliverance and for God to change me, all to no avail. I even joined two different religious communities. I thought if I could be in a place where people loved God, wanted to serve Him and their fellow man, pray and study the Word that could be my path to freedom. That had mixed results. I couldn’t try anything within the community as that would have provoked uproar and got me kicked out. It didn’t however change my desires and I had a friend from outside the community I would see periodically for sex. I even underwent counseling to try and convince me I was not gay but a normal “guy” whatever that means. By this point my life was filled with guilt, and condemnation for not being what I thought God wanted me to be. I questioned why God apparently wasn’t hearing my prayers and answering them. I was trying to be something I was not because I knew no other way. I wanted to serve God more than anything else in the world and love Him with everything I had. Yet in this one area it seemed I was defeated over and over again. Satan had a strangle hold on me and wasn’t about to let go no matter what I did. Was Satan more powerful than God? It seemed that way. After all I had done everything my church said I needed to do to be free from this “sin” and hadn’t succeeded. I was told instead I was weak, immature, needed to love God more and read the Word and memorize it. I was told if I would just quote the Word to the devil verbatim whenever tempted, pray more for “deliverance”, have more faith, claim my deliverance and stand on it, I’d be free and Satan flee. I was told to avoid all contact with gay people lest they ensnare me into their lifestyle including my brother who was gay. That turned out to be a vicious merry ňÜ go ňÜ round of trying to do and be what everyone said I should be. I’d redouble my efforts to be free of my desires to only fail over and over again. There seemed to be no relief and no escape for me.‚Ä®‚Ä®Finally at a point of shear desperation I put down for a second all the teachings I had had on the subject of homosexuality. That included any preconceived ideas I may have had on the subject. I began to let God speak to me and was I feel led by Him to do a study on the subject of homosexuality from a biblical perspective. I expected it to confirm my worst nightmares and fears. I felt sure it would leave me feeling even more confused and condemned. Instead I was pleasantly surprised to find it very enlightening and not at all what I expected. For the first time I felt free and at peace. I found out God was not mad at me nor did he hate me for being gay. In fact, He had made me the way I am. God wasn’t condemning me but wanted to receive me with open arms into His family. He loved me even though I was gay. God also wanted to use me in ministry for His glory in spite of my being gay. The following is the results of that study. It is the beginning of a journey to freedom and the realization that “I’m Gay and it’s OK” as I entitled this book. All I ask, if you are gay, is that this might be a source of enlightenment for you. That it would be the road to full deliverance for you into all that God has for you as a gay person who loves God wanting to serve and please Him. If you are not gay please read this with an open mind, letting God speak to you concerning the things I will be sharing here. Hopefully it will bring better understanding to you of who gays are, and what they are about. Also show you I pray what God really thinks of those of us who are gay and yet love Him with all our hearts. Having said that let’s begin our journey through the pages of scripture and history and see what we can find about homosexuality. This will be from both a biblical perspective and a historical point of view, especially as it relates to traditional teaching on homosexuality, apostolic teaching on the same and see how it applies to us today. Also for those who are gay I pray that by the time we’re through you will be able to say “Free, Free, Free at last, thank God almighty I’m free at last”. May this be liberation day for you into all you can be in Christ.‚Ä®‚Ä®
WHY DID GOD DESTROY SODOM AND GOMORRAH?‚Ä®‚Ä®
(Chapter 1)‚Ä®‚Ä® As we begin this study many of our evangelical Christian brethren, who love the Lord, would insist that the Bible condemns homosexuality unequivocally. They would condemn all practicing homosexuals to the lake of fire to burn forever. They would say that homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of God. Many of them would believe it is the unpardonable sin from which there can be no forgiveness. They would believe that homosexuals have been turned over to a reprobate mind to do the things that they shouldn’t be doing. Many of them also would believe that homosexuality is a chosen lifestyle. They believe that homosexuals choose to be what they are and in so doing have turned their backs on God. They would reject the idea that homosexuals are made the way they are and have no choice in the matter. Then there are others, myself included, who would say gays (homosexuals) are made that way and it’s not something they choose to be. They would also believe that God loves them and accepts them as they are. So who is right?‚Ä®‚Ä®One of the first texts most evangelicals will point to as a condemnation of homosexuality is found in Genesis the 19th chapter. They would insist that it is about God destroying the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of homosexual behavior. However, is that what this story is really all about? Did God actually destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for homosexuality or is there another reason He destroyed them?‚Ä®‚Ä®First we need to recognize that there is no specific mention of homosexuality in the Bible. Neither do the words homosexual or homosexuality appear anywhere in the original languages in which the Bible was written. The closest we can come to it is the word sodomite, which originally referred to a male or temple prostitute. The first mention of Sodom (from which our word sodomite comes from) is found as I mentioned earlier in Genesis the 19th chapter. As we look at this chapter I want us to think about whether or not the men of Sodom were actually homosexuals. Also look and see if there might be a whole different reason why God destroyed the men of Sodom and Gomorrah. I believe that as we look at this passage, as well as a correlating one in Ezekiel, we will see a different reason why God destroyed them.. Let’s have a look at the Genesis account first and see what characteristics we find about the men of Sodom and why God may have taken the position He did.‚Ä®‚Ä®In the Genesis account we are looking at here I see two characteristics that describe what the men of Sodom were like.‚Ä® ‚Ä® A. They are Rapists‚Ä®‚Ä®As we begin to delve into this chapter the first thing that stands out I believe is they were intending to rape the angels staying with Lot. This was not to be an act of love between two people of the same sex. It was instead to be a brutal rape with the angels having no say in the matter as to what would happen to them.‚Ä®‚Ä®”Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, `Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.” ‚Ä®‚Ä®One of the definitions for rape in the dictionary is any act of sexual intercourse forced upon another. This is what I believe the men of Sodom intended doing to the angels if they had gotten their way. They mistakenly thought they were human’s who had entered Lot’s house for protection. Now they wanted Lot to surrender them so they could rape them. Not a loving act but one which would have fulfilled the lusts of the men of Sodom. It would have also left the angels degraded, humiliated, and violated.‚Ä®‚Ä®The Bible always condemns rape. Sex should be a loving act between two people, not one that is forced upon another without their approval. In this case the angels weren’t to be asked whether they wanted to have sex at all. Instead they were to be forcibly raped without their consent. As we move on I believe we see another interesting fact about these men.‚Ä®‚Ä®
B. THE MEN WERE HETEROSEXUAL, BI-SEXUAL, NOT HOMOSEXUAL‚Ä®‚Ä®
As I look further at this chapter I come to the realization that these men liked women, and at least some of them were married. At best these men were bi-sexual lust driven men intent on taking what they wanted even if they had to do it by force.‚Ä®‚Ä®”Please my brethren, do not so wickedly! See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof.” ‚Ä®‚Ä®Laying aside the moral question of a father giving his virgin daughters to be raped by lustful men I would like us to consider a question. Why even bother offering your daughters to these men, unless you thought there was a chance they would accept your offer? That is taking your daughters, rape them and leave the angels alone. Also there is another interesting fact here we need to see.‚Ä®‚Ä®”So Lot went out and spoke to his sons ňÜ in ňÜ law, who had married his daughters, and said, `Get up, get out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city.’ But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking.” ‚Ä®‚Ä®It is my belief that Lot and Lots sons-in-law were not the only married men in Sodom. This was probably a common thing as it has been in every society for the propagation of the human species. So again, we see that they were anything but homosexual men. In summation then, if the men of Sodom had gotten their way, this would have been a heterosexual or bisexual rape of innocent men.‚Ä®‚Ä®To get a better idea of why God chose to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah we need to look at a correlating passage in Ezekiel. There we will find six reasons why God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. ‚Ä®‚Ä®”Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom; She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; 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 fit.” ‚Ä®‚Ä®Earlier I mentioned that some people would define homosexuality as an abomination. Does God see it that way or does he have another idea of what an abomination is? As used here in the Hebrew abomination means something disgusting, abhorrent, and idolatrous in a custom or thing. We can understand it better by looking at the word iniquity used here. As used here it means evil, fault, iniquity, moral perversity, mischief, punishment of iniquity and sin. God shows us exactly what He considers sin and abomination by listing six things. These are the reasons God gave for destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. ‚Ä®‚Ä®1. They had pride‚Ä®‚Ä®The first reason God gives for destroying Sodom and Gomorrah was they were proud. As used in this passage it means to be arrogant, pompous, and swelling with pride. The dictionary defines arrogant as three things:‚Ä®‚Ä®a. Making unwarrantable claims or pretensions to superior importance or rights.‚Ä®‚Ä®b. A feeling of superiority or an offensive exhibition of it.‚Ä®‚Ä®c. Presumptuous or overbearing conduct and statements resulting from such conduct.‚Ä®‚Ä®This shows us that the people of Sodom felt themselves superior to others making them feel inferior by their words and actions. The dictionary also defines pompous as three things:‚Ä®‚Ä®a. Characterized by an ostentatious display of dignity or importance.‚Ä®‚Ä®b. Ostentatiously lofty or high flown‚Ä®‚Ä®c. Characterized by pomp, stately splendor or magnificence.‚Ä®‚Ä®It also defines ostentatious as being a pretentious display, with the act of showing or exhibiting manners or actions intended to attract notice.‚Ä®‚Ä®Thus the men of Sodom believed they were superior to everyone else. This led them to act accordingly in a way which would attract attention to this fact and their feeling of self importance. In other words they were not humble but full of self righteousness, self importance and a disdain probably for anyone or anything not matching up to their standard. That however, was just the beginning.‚Ä®‚Ä®2. They had fullness of food‚Ä®‚Ä®The second reason God gives for the destruction of Sodom was that they had fullness of food. As used here it means to be in a state of satisfaction with ones appetite or desire to the point of boredom. Did you catch that they had so much stuff they were bored with it. Maybe that was what led them to Lots door that night seeking a new high or thrill to relieve their boredom. This was probably reinforced by what is the next reason God gives for their destruction.‚Ä®‚Ä®3. They had an abundance of idleness‚Ä®‚Ä®This refers to a false security, abundance, peace, prosperity and quietness. They thought we have it all so we can just sit around and be idle not doing anything. We’re safe nothing can touch us so we can relax and enjoy being bored with our abundance. We can also do whatever we like as nothing can touch us. However, there was a problem with that picture from Gods perspective as we see in the next charge He brings against them.‚Ä®‚Ä®4. They failed to strengthen the hands of the poor and needy‚Ä®‚Ä®The fourth reason given was their failure to strengthen the hands of the poor and needy. As used here it means to help the poor and needy and to restrain. Here it shows us than the men of Sodom refused to help the poor and needy restraining themselves from giving to them. This wasn’t because they didn’t have it to give. They had it but chose to hoard it to themselves rather than give it away.‚Ä®‚Ä®In Matthew the 25th chapter Jesus teaches us a parable concerning sheep and goats. According to him a sheep is concerned about others and uses what he has to help others. Where ever he sees a need whether it is a hungry or thirsty person, one who is naked or homeless or in prison he wants to help them. Goats like the men of Sodom refuse to do that hoarding everything to themselves. Sheep will be rewarded and goats will be punished at the judgment seat of Christ. ‚Ä®‚Ä®The problem with Sodom and Gomorrah was that they were inhospitable. They wanted to rape the guests in their town rather than give them anything. They weren’t concerned with seeing they got fed, or had their thirst quenched. They also didn’t care if they had shelter to protect them from the weather or those wishing to do them harm. They could have cared less about any of that. All they wanted was to satisfy their lusts regardless of cost or consequences. This we see when the angels strike the men with blindness. We might think that would have been a warning to them that something unusual was going on. Instead the men keep searching for the handle to open the door with. They are still intent upon getting what they want until they finally get tired give up and leave. This probably comes from the next accusation God brings against them.‚Ä®‚Ä®5. They were haughty‚Ä®‚Ä®As Ezekiel uses it here it means to soar, to be lifted up, to be proud, and to be raised up to a great height. Due to the fact they believed they were superior they acted accordingly. They refused to help those they considered to be inferior to them. As a consequence they became inflated with pride raising themselves up to great heights above others. This was a certain recipe for disaster as they were committing the very act that got Lucifer (Satan) kicked out of heaven.‚Ä®‚Ä®”How you have fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weaken the nations! For you have said in your heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds’ I will be like the most High. Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.” ‚Ä®‚Ä®Five times Satan exalts himself boasting of what he is going to do. God however has other ideas. Instead of Satan getting to exalt himself, God casts him down from heaven to Sheol or the grave. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah had decided they were better than anyone else. Therefore they felt they could do whatever they wanted and were accountable to no one. They were about to find out differently as they were cast down also. They also apparently didn’t realize or care that God hates pride and arrogance among other things. King Solomon writes‚Ä®‚Ä®”Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” ‚Ä®‚Ä®As we have seen the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were full of pride and haughtiness, which would make them ripe for destruction and a big fall.‚Ä®‚Ä®By doing the previous five things we have talked about God said it led them to commit a sixth thing.‚Ä®‚Ä®6. They committed an abomination‚Ä®‚Ä®That I defined earlier at the beginning of our look at this passage of scripture. I defined it as something disgusting, abhorrent, and idolatrous in a custom or thing. The five things we just discussed previously are what God said led them to commit abomination. None of them have anything to do with homosexuality.‚Ä®‚Ä®Summing up we have seen Sodom and Gomorrah was full of pride, haughtiness, refusal to look after those in need all of which God hated. Any of them would have been grounds enough for Him to destroy them. This shows much about the character of God. It shows us that He hates injustice, anything that is not birthed and brought forth in love and will deal with it accordingly. Thus far from being a treatise on homosexual behavior the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is a warning. It is a warning against arrogance, haughtiness, hoarding while ignoring the needs of those around us, and treating others with contempt. It is also a warning against trying to force your will upon another and rape them. These are the issues brought out by the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and which led to their destruction. It is not about homosexuality or love between two people of the same sex.‚Ä®‚Ä®You may think, ok, so the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah had nothing to do with homosexuality but surely there is somewhere in the Bible that condemns the practice. Perhaps but don’t count on it. As we move on we will look at other passages of scripture often cited to condemn homosexuality and see if they do. Meanwhile I hope I’ve given you some food for thought. Hopefully you have taken a pause questioning what you may have been previously believed concerning Sodom and Gomorrah. Also that you are ready to learn and see things in a new and refreshing way. Are you? If so move on with me to the next chapter.‚Ä®‚Ä®IS SAME SEX OK?‚Ä®‚Ä®(Chapter 2)‚Ä®‚Ä®There are two scriptures found in Leviticus that are used to condemn homosexuals.‚Ä®‚Ä®”You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” ‚Ä®‚Ä®”If a man lie with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death”. ‚Ä®‚Ä®On the surface these scriptures would seem to settle the issue once and for all. It would seem to say homosexuality is an abomination and should result in the death of those doing it. It would definitely seem to be saying that sex should only be between a man and woman. So is this what the verse is really saying or is there another understanding of this verse?‚Ä®‚Ä®In the original Hebrew the word used here for lie in both verses has many meanings. This would include lying down to sleep, to lie down for the purpose of sexual relations, or to ravish someone who is dead or still. The dictionary gives two meanings for the word ravish‚Ä®‚Ä®a. To seize or carry away by force‚Ä®‚Ä®b. To rape, deflower, or violate someone.‚Ä®‚Ä®Used in this context it shows what we have seen before. It shows that God is opposed to anyone being forced to have sexual relations they don’t want. Again there is nothing here about a loving relationship between two people of the same sex. In Leviticus the 20th chapter when taken in context it is the middle of passages condemning the uncovering of the nakedness of close relatives or others as there nakedness is their own. This would condemn incest and adultery as both involve inappropriate conduct either with someone who is already married, or a close relative whose nakedness is for someone else. Also this goes back to love. If you love your neighbor you won’t be sleeping with his wife. That would bring dishonor on your neighbor, his wife and yourself. Also, if you truly love someone you will treat them with honor, respect, and not do anything that would change that. In the latter part of the chapter it talks about bestiality or lying with an animal for the purpose of mating. So again nothing about homosexual relations involved here. Also in both these verses the word abomination means something disgusting in the original texts. I believe all I have described above would be disgusting to God. However I don’t believe that applies to a loving relationship between two gay people.‚Ä®‚Ä®Also in ancient times there were three classes of people. These were defined as male, female, and a third group who were neither male nor female called Eunuchs. The latter group lacked the desire for sex with women and conceiving children. Instead they were attracted to those of the same sex as themselves and this was recognized by law. They were not considered male as to be a male you had to be able to impregnate a woman so she could bring forth offspring. Since they couldn’t or wouldn’t eunuchs would have not been considered male. I will address that more later in the book. Using that definition of male then these verses would be speaking of a heterosexual male having a sex with another male which would be forbidden and an abomination. (More on that when we get to Romans 1) Thus this would have nothing to do with homosexual acts of love.‚Ä®‚Ä®There is also a second point that needs to be made here. This “prohibition” of a man lying with another man comes from the Mosaic law. This is the same law which demands the death penalty for adultery, juvenile delinquents, and witches. It also prohibits a person from traveling over ‚Č§ of a mile on the Sabbath, prescribes what foods they could eat or not eat and what type of clothes they could wear. It also prohibited men from working on the Sabbath, and equally prescribed the place of women in society as well as barring them from the ministry. Almost all of that has been rejected, by the modern church, as not applicable to us today. That being the case I believe it is time to do the same to this “alleged prohibition” against homosexuality. It is time to allow gay people to be a full part of the Christian community including all aspects of church life as well as ministry.‚Ä®‚Ä®We also need to realize that as New Testament Christians we are no longer under the laws of the Old Testament. Neither are we obligated to keep them. Paul in the book of Galatians argues against salvation by works through the keeping of the law. Instead he argues for freedom and liberty in the Holy Spirit. He realized that no man could be saved by trying to keep the law, only by faith in Jesus Christ alone are we saved. The Apostle John sums it up this way:‚Ä®‚Ä®”And this is His commandment that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment”. ‚Ä®‚Ä®The first part of believing we did when we made a conscious decision to follow Christ and His teachings. That leaves only one thing for us to do which is to love. Please note John doesn’t give us any exceptions. He doesn’t say love all but those you can’t stand, those who are different from you including gays, lesbians and transgender people. He says love one another or all who call themselves Christians.‚Ä®‚Ä®Some may think surely the New Testament is different. Surely Jesus and the apostles condemn homosexuality. Are you sure? If you dare, follow me and let’s see what the New Testament has to say about homosexuality.‚Ä®‚Ä®WHAT DOES JESUS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY?‚Ä®‚Ä®(Chapter 3)‚Ä®‚Ä®It may surprise some to note that Jesus was practically silent on the subject of homosexuality or sex in general for that matter. The few times he speaks on the subject of sex and marriage Jesus seems to be more concerned with polygamy and fornication than anything else. This would explain why He makes the rule of one man, one wife for His church. Does that prohibit loving relations between two people of the same sex? Fornication as used by Jesus in the Beatitudes refers to three things: namely adultery, incest, and harlotry. Again nothing about a loving relationship between two people of the same sex. So I would think it is not necessarily a prohibition against homosexuality.‚Ä®‚Ä®In this case perhaps the actions of Jesus may speak louder than words. In Matthew, the 8th chapter, and again in Luke the 7th chapter, we read of a centurion who was looking for healing for his servant. It was a common practice at the time for a solider to keep a servant either male or female for sex. He would have sex with them before a battle, or when his wife or other women weren’t available. This was considered totally acceptable by the society of that time. If this were the case then it is a possibility that the servant Jesus healed was one who was used by the centurion for sex. Yet Jesus heals the servant with no words of rebuke to either the centurion or servant. Instead he praises the centurion as a man of great faith more than anyone else in Israel. Could it be Jesus looked at sex different than we do today? Could He have known of the relationship between the centurion and servant, ignored it healing him anyway? If that is the case would that not infer that Jesus would have nothing against same sex between two men or women? Although there may not be a definitive answer one way or the other I believe it merits some thought and prayer.‚Ä®‚Ä®Another thought on what Jesus may think about homosexuals can be found in his words on eunuchs. ‚Ä®‚Ä®”For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake‚ąĎ” ‚Ä®‚Ä®We have been taught that an eunuch is one who has been castrated. However, that was not how Jesus, the apostles and the early church for almost the first 400 years of church history understood the term. In Bible times there were three classes of people recognized by law. There were males, females and then a third group called eunuchs. These were men who lacked the desire for sex with women, being attracted to those of the same sex as themselves. They could procreate but lacked the desire to do so. They could hold property, vote, and leave an inheritance to others all of which were denied to people who had been castrated. This was again considered ok at the time. I will have more to say about them later when I discuss church history as it regards homosexuality. Taking this as our definition of eunuch then we see that Jesus says eunuchs can be part of the kingdom of heaven. He also has no words of condemnation for their lifestyle.‚Ä®‚Ä®Also it should be noted that the first convert from Ethiopia and apostle to that land was a eunuch. He was serving as the head of the treasury for Queen Candace and was returning from Jerusalem when Philip meant him. Philip leads him to salvation, baptizes him and then goes on his way. The eunuch returns to Ethiopia where he helps establish the Christian Church there. This would mean then that one of the first converts to Christianity was possibly a homosexual and used to establish the Christian Church in Ethiopia. ‚Ä®‚Ä®Perhaps another idea of what Jesus thinks about homosexuals can be found in the last words he spoke prior to His ascension into heaven. This is what is called the “Great Commission”. If you would listen to some of our evangelical brothers you might think Jesus said to go preach the gospel to everyone but gay people. Unfortunately for them that is not what Jesus said.‚Ä®‚Ä®”Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” ‚Ä®‚Ä®The word creature can be translated as person or people.‚Ä®‚Ä®”Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…” ‚Ä®‚Ä®Please note in both of these verses Jesus excludes no one from hearing the gospel. The words all and every are inclusive not excluding anyone including gay, lesbian and transgender people. This would mean that Jesus message is all inclusive. A disciple is a disciplined follower of someone, in this case Jesus Christ. This means since the gospel is for all without exception then all without exception can be disciples of Christ and follow him. This would include all gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Since the message of Jesus is all inclusive so should the message of the church be today.‚Ä®‚Ä®Some might ask what about the apostles and apostolic teaching? Don’t they condemn homosexuality? Maybe, wait and see. In the next two chapters we will look at what the apostles taught about homosexuality. We will also look at if from an historical standpoint and see where the anti homosexual teaching comes from.‚Ä®‚Ä®
WHAT DID THE APOSTLES TEACH ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY?‚Ä®‚Ä® (Chapter 4)
‚Ä®‚Ä®The only one of the apostles who can possibly be construed to have anything much to say about homosexuality is Paul. However is Paul actually anti homosexual? I believe his words may have been misconstrued, misinterpreted, and made to say something different than what the apostle had in mind. Romans chapter 1 would be an good example of this.‚Ä®‚Ä®At first glance we might think that Paul is condemning homosexuality. After all he talks about men lying with other men, women doing the same and leaving their natural instincts to lust for each other. Be careful how you read the chapter lest you miss what I believe Paul is really saying.‚Ä®‚Ä®The first thing we need to see here is that Paul is speaking of backslidden Christians here. Paul says:‚Ä®‚Ä®”‚ąĎalthough they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened”.‚Ä®‚Ä®This shows us then that Paul is addressing people who formerly knew God but for whatever reason have turned their backs on him. Thus this wouldn’t apply to the millions of gay, lesbian and transgender people who love God. These same people also want to serve and please Him with everything they have. In that respect they would be like anyone else who goes to church, prays, and tries to live up to what God expects of them.‚Ä®‚Ä®”And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.” ‚Ä®‚Ä®Here again we see that Paul is speaking of people who have rejected God. They have chosen not to retain their previous knowledge of God. So He has in turn turned them over to a debased mind. Millions of gay, lesbian, and transgender people would not qualify as they love God and want to know His will better.‚Ä®‚Ä®Another thing I see here of these people Paul is describing is that they worship creation more than the creator.‚Ä®‚Ä®”Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man-and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator who is blessed forever.” ‚Ä®‚Ä®Although there may be gays who worship creation more than the Creator so is it true among the general population as well whether gay or heterosexual. The issue here is again this would not apply to the millions of gay, lesbian, and transgender people who love God. Although they love creation they also recognize the one who made it all and worship Him. They keep it all in balance.‚Ä®‚Ä®A third thing I see here is that these are people who have left their natural instincts to lust after each other.‚Ä®‚Ä®”For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.” ‚Ä®‚Ä®On the surface this would seem to settle the question once and for all. It would seem to say Paul is against homosexuality. Hold on lets have a deeper look at this passage and see what the apostle is actually saying here.‚Ä®‚Ä®The word Paul uses here for natural is the Greek word phusis which refers to something by nature or that is inborn. For gay, and lesbian people they believe they are created as they are. They didn’t choose to be what they are but it is their natural state. For them to leave their natural state homosexuals would have to go and engage in heterosexual sex. That is sex between a man and a woman. Vice versa for a heterosexual person it would be unnatural for them go and engage in a homosexual act. This is what I believe Paul is arguing here. I believe he is saying each should do what their nature tells them too. If they are homosexual then that is the kind of sex they should engage in. If heterosexual then that is the kind of sex they should be involved in. Each should follow their nature and not do what is unnatural by engaging in things opposed to their own sexual nature. Again remembering what I have mentioned previously only heterosexuals would have been considered male not homosexuals. So Paul cant be talking of homosexuality here I believe.‚Ä®‚Ä®Another issue here that needs to be raised is that Paul says they lusted after those of the same sex as themselves. As used here to lust means to have an excitement of the mind or strong longing for something. The dictionary defines lust as a strong sexual craving especially excessive and unrestrained or any overwhelming desire or craving. The attitude expressed by lust is “I have a need, I have to fulfill it, and I want it now. I’ve got to have it, I’ll do anything I have to, to get it, and if you get in my way I’ll run you over. All that is important is me and my need. If you can help me meet that need then, I will use you then discard you when I’m done.” Lust doesn’t care about the other person’s feelings, or emotions. Instead its all about me. Needless to say love is just the opposite. Love is defined in the dictionary as follows:‚Ä®‚Ä®a. An intense affectionate concern for another person.‚Ä®‚Ä®b. An intense sexual desire for another person‚Ä®‚Ä®c. A strong fondness or enthusiasm for something or someone.‚Ä®‚Ä®Lust is selfish and cares nothing about anyone else. Love on the other hand, is concerned about the other person and their welfare. It wants to build the other person up helping them to become the best they can be. Love is concerned about the others welfare and well being. It wants to share its life with another so that together they can accomplish something good. Love if it sees needs or hurts, wants to alleviate them. It ministers with compassion to those who are needy and hurting. If there is injustice love wants to correct it.‚Ä®‚Ä®While I believe Paul condemns lust, I am unconvinced that that carries over into a loving relationship between two gay men or women. .I don’t believe Paul would have a problem with two gay people in a committed relationship. That is provided that relationship is a loving one, affirming of each other, and committed to God first. As a matter of fact Paul is speaking here of those who left God to fulfill their own lusts. That being the case I don’t believe he had in mind the millions of gay Christians who love the Lord. Therefore, this couldn’t be an attack on homosexuality. I believe instead that Paul is showing us something of the character of God. He shows that God is far superior to anything He has created. As a result He wants to be worshipped as such. I believe God is hurt when we turn to something less than Him and worship that instead.‚Ä®‚Ä®The Apostle Paul has another comment on the subject found in I Corinthians. There he says:‚Ä®‚Ä®”Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionist will inherit the kingdom of God”. ‚Ä®‚Ä®A few things we need to see here. First the word homosexual here is added and is not in the original Greek. Secondly although the above is one possible translation of the Greek there is a big problem with it. That is because the Greek here is very imprecise as to its exact meaning. The words Paul uses here can mean effeminate, abuser of themselves with mankind, boy prostitutes, male prostitutes, pedophiles, sodomites, or maybe homosexuals, take your choice. It could include any of those or possibly all of them, again, take your choice. I have five different Bibles in my home none of which agree as to the exact meaning of this verse. Also as I have stated previously the words homosexual and homosexuality do not appear in the original Greek. Those words were unheard of until the 1800’s when they were invented by modern thinkers to describe the attraction to someone of the same sex as you. Therefore they would be an addition to the original Greek text added by someone trying to interpret the passage to their own liking. Also abusers of mankind cannot be in a loving relationship. Abuse is never loving. It is the degrading, hurting, humiliation of another person. It has no regard for the others wants, concerns, needs, or desires. It is the idea because I have the power I can force you to do whatever I want you to. That is wrong.‚Ä®‚Ä®A United Methodist pastor I know, a Harvard graduate, Dr. John Mathis Lurvey sent me the following in response to an email I sent him.‚Ä®‚Ä®Dr. Lurvey starts off by saying‚Ä®‚Ä®”You raise many important questions. I believe that serious Christians cannot dilute the moral teachings of our faith to please themselves. That demonstrates a lack of integrity and betrays our moral authority as the church. Many people inside and outside the church believe that even raising doubts about an absolute ban on homosexuality for Christians violates the church’s moral integrity.”‚Ä®‚Ä®I would agree with Dr. Lurvey that we can’t reinterpret the Bible to fit our own desires. We must have a church of integrity to maintain our moral authority as the church. However, we don’t need to become locked in cement to where we can’t reexamine our faith and see if there is something we need to change there.‚Ä®‚Ä®Dr. Lurvey goes on to say:‚Ä®‚Ä®”Christian church tradition for more than 1500 years approved of slavery and government by absolute monarchy. Paul and other biblical writers supported that tradition by some of their statements. Christian theologians including both evangelicals and Catholics recognized a “progressive” purpose of Gods reign and kingdom running through both Bible history and continuing through church history into modern times. God directs history towards a widening of human freedom, limits upon absolute centers of authority and power, and larger attempts to improve the human condition in this life as well as our eternal destiny in heaven”.‚Ä®‚Ä®Again Dr. Lurvey and I would be in agreement. I would believe that there is a progressive move through history that has worked to bring more freedom, integrity, and worth to people. The church was in the forefront in the battle to end slavery, and in the Civil Rights movement to win basic rights for black people and the right to vote. Some of the church was in the front of the battle for the separation of church and state and the adoption of the amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing religious freedom to all. In many other things from better hospital care, to free public education, to prison reform, woman suffrage and many other issues the church has been there to be heard and to help make a difference. She still needs to be there today confronting the issues of our time in Christian love and charity. She needs to be seeking to right any injustice she may find as the church has done throughout the centuries.‚Ä®‚Ä®Dr. Lurvey continues on saying‚Ä®‚Ä®”Therefore, just as Jesus corrected the earlier traditions in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:21-48) so God acting through prophetic leaders corrects ancient traditions. In recent centuries, Christians embraced the more “idealistic” love ethic of Jesus as having greater weight than corrected traditional teachings based on the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible and some of Paul and Peter’s letters in the New Testament. This line of argument proved effective against those who continued to argue for slavery, an absolute monarchy, or for a secondary role for women in society”.‚Ä®‚Ä®Adding to that I believe there is much new scientific evidence and study concerning sexual orientation that would have been unknown in Bible times. We also have access to much more information and understanding of homosexuality than our forefathers could have ever dreamed of. In light of that new evidence which seems to prove that gays are born that way I believe it is time for the church to embrace that fact. It is time to remove the shackles of superstition , prejudice, misunderstanding and fear that have kept gay people in the closet for far to long. It is time to embrace what science tells us, what I believe God tells us also and free gay people to be what they were created to be.‚Ä®‚Ä®Dr. Lurvey then moves on and says in reference to I Corinthians 6:9-10 that I quoted above:‚Ä®‚Ä®”I look at I Corinthians 6:9-10 within this larger framework of the progressive work of God through history. In chapter 6, Paul exposes the shortcomings of the spiritually proud Corinthian congregation. They claim spiritual enlightenment but lack the capacity to settle disputes among church members without going to pagan court. After his critique Paul reminds them of the boundary line for the church in I Corinthians 6:9-10 by using a vice list. His vice lists appear in other places Romans 1:29-32, 13:13-14, 2 Corinthians 12:20-21 and Galatians 5:19-21. These lists overlap but are not uniform. They fit various local situations. They illustrate Paul’s mind, as he interprets the will of God. We must be careful when applying them in another situation”.‚Ä®‚Ä®In other words Paul was confronted with various issues in the local churches. He would address those issues peculiar to that church and set rules for them. However, they were for that local church only not for the whole body of Christ. When we try to take a message for an ancient local church, apply it to now, we can get into big trouble. For us to know how to apply Bible truths and Paul’s teachings to today may require new answers and fresh revelation. To do that we need to seek and follow the Holy Spirit as He reveals God’s mind to us.‚Ä®‚Ä®Continuing on with Dr. Lurvey‚Ä®‚Ä®”Among the vices Paul regards as beyond the boundary of God’s reign are malakoi (effeminacy or unmanliness) and arsenokoitai (male sexual pervert). In light of our knowledge of the time in which Paul lived we know that Greek-language culture devalued women. Homoeroticism emerged as a choice for men who felt degraded by sexual relations with women and the children they produced. Adult men could enter into marriage but retain a male slave, perhaps a boy or young man with feminine qualities (malakoi) who acted as a passive recipient of their private enjoyment. The active male, often an older man or slaveholder is the arsenokoitai. Paul rejected those relationships and so do I. Social circumstances forced young men and slaves to submit to the socially dominant, sexually active homoerotic males”.‚Ä®‚Ä®In other words if I am understanding Dr. Lurvey there were young men and slaves forced into having sex. Because the dominant was more powerful or because of his position, or because he owned them, he could force them to serve him sexually. They would have no choice in the matter but to submit. It is the same issue I have addressed before that no one should ever be forced to have sex if they don’t want it. Again sex should be a loving act between two people who love and affirm each other and under those conditions only.‚Ä®‚Ä®As he begins to draw to a close Dr. Lurvey continues‚Ä®‚Ä®”If we believe that God intended to end slavery and absolute control by one class of people over another in favor of a wider freedom, then we see Paul’s boundary as limited to forced homoerotic relations. Paul also excludes porneia which are fornication and adulterous relations that are unbounded by a covenant of fidelity between the sexual pair. Does Paul’s boundary line exclude homoerotic relationships freely entered into and bounded by a Christ-centered covenant?”‚Ä®‚Ä®Here the issue is I believe the love verses lust argument we encountered earlier. Lust is always condemned by the Bible as wrong. A covenant of fidelity I believe changes that. For that is a covenant of love where each partner in it is loving and affirming of the other. It would be the same as the regular marriage vows in a traditional wedding ceremony. There each person pledges to love, honor and respect their partner in all circumstances until death parts them. I believe in that kind of relationship between gay people. So does Dr. Lurvey I believe as we look at his closing remarks.‚Ä®‚Ä®Finishing up with Dr. Lurvey he closes by saying‚Ä®‚Ä®”Some Christians believe in the Bible and understand Paul’s ban on porneia, malakoi, and arsenokoitai does not forbid a freely-entered covenant relationship of mutual fidelity to God and the other, similar to marriage. Other Christians believe such distinctions only cater to our sexually permissive modern culture and should be opposed in the name of holiness and godliness. I personally understand and respect both positions. My conviction opposes modern day porneia just as Paul does. I also oppose exploitative relationships as Paul did. I am less certain, than some Christians, that if Paul were writing today, he might be open to a same-sex Christ-centered union as long as it guarded against the porneia of multiple sex partners so prominent in the so called “Gay lifestyle”.‚Ä®‚Ä®Here Dr. Lurvey and myself are in total agreement. Promiscuity is always bad as it is not based on love and concern for the other partner. Christ-centered unions are different. They put God first, are loving, affirming of each other and truly seek what is best for the other from a platform of true love.‚Ä®‚Ä®We also need to note here that Paul also requires women to wear a covering on their head when in church, to be silent in a church , not to teach or be in authority over a man. These requirements have been done away with in most of the modern church as having no relevancy for us today. Perhaps it is time to go back in the light of modern times and reexamine this “ban” on homosexuality. The ban on homosexuality may have been for a time and a place but not necessarily for our time. I believe its long overdue to remove the ban and the sooner we do the better.‚Ä®‚Ä®The Apostle Paul also addresses the subject in I Timothy 1:10 when he is talking about the law and among those for whom he says the law was made were sodomites. The King James version translates that as “defile themselves with mankind”. Exactly what does Paul mean here?‚Ä®‚Ä®The word Paul’s uses here for defile means an abuser or sodomite. As I mentioned previously sodomite refers to a temple or male prostitute. Abuse as I have stated previously is not love and prostitution is definitely forbidden throughout scripture by God. Gay love would not be meant here by Paul. Therefore, it can’t be used to condemn homosexuality.‚Ä®‚Ä®Some might argue Paul hits on the subject in 2 Timothy 3:3 when he says that in the last days men will be without natural affection. Going back to what I said earlier in my commentary on Romans 1 a gay person natural affection is to one of their own sex. It would be unnatural for them to be anything else. So therefore, again not a condemnation of homosexuality.‚Ä®‚Ä®Some would want to use the words of the Apostle Peter against homosexuals. He writes:‚Ä®‚Ä®”And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them to destruction, making then an example to those who afterward would live ungodly”. ‚Ä®‚Ä®This only works against homosexuals if you believe that is the reason God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. I have shown previously that God did not destroy them because of homosexuality so therefore this verse doesn’t apply.‚Ä®‚Ä®This concept is touched upon again in Jude where he says:‚Ä®‚Ä®”As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire”. ‚Ä®‚Ä®What sexual immorality did the men of Sodom and Gomorrah commit? It was as we have seen the crimes of rape and lust. Thus it was not a loving homosexual act between two people making it impossible for Jude to have had gays in mind here.‚Ä®‚Ä®One other verse from Jude sometimes used to condemn homosexuals is found in Jude 1:18-19 which refers to people walking after their own ungodly lusts and who are sensual people. ‚Ä®‚Ä®A couple of things this to note here. First this could only be applied to gays if you believe homosexuality is ungodly. I hope I have proved otherwise. Secondly it refers to these people having ungodly lusts and as being sensual. Let’s break this down a bit. First the word ungodly here refers to wickedness. The word lust as used here means a longing for something forbidden. The word sensual refers to a person who is governed by his natural impulses not by God. So therefore, it cannot refer to millions of gay Christians who love God, are seeking to be controlled by Him and live for His glory.‚Ä®‚Ä®Some might say that the Apostle John addresses the issue in the book of Revelation when he says‚Ä®‚Ä®”But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death”. ‚Ä®‚Ä®This would be the verse our evangelical brethren would use to condemn gays to burn forever. But is that what John is saying here? ‚Ä®‚Ä®In the original Greek the word translated as sexually immoral here is whoremonger. As used here a whoremonger can be a male prostitute, a debauchee, a libertine, or fornicator. Again nothing about a loving relationship between two people of the same sex.‚Ä®‚Ä®The Apostle Paul reaffirms in his qualifications for bishops and deacons the requirement of Jesus one man and one wife as requirements for a leader in the church. Again however, I believe that was stated against the practice of polygamy. Therefore, I don’t believe it automatically disqualifies gays from either being Christian or holding office in the church. They do need to be in a committed relationship and not going from one relationship to another being promiscuous. I believe the goal should always be for either a heterosexual or a gay couple to live a life pleasing to God. If they are going to be in relationship with someone that it would be a committed, Christ-centered relationship. That they and their partner together would be seeking God first, His will for their lives, and then doing it.‚Ä®‚Ä®In summation then I think what the Bible is trying to teach us is that its opposed to prostitution, and to someone being forced into sexual services. It also supports the idea of marriage between one man and one woman in opposition to polygamy and multiple marriages resulting from divorce and remarriage. I believe, however, that it is either silent or ambivalent on the subject of homosexuality provided that is a loving, caring, and affirming relationship. Perhaps we need to follow Jesus words when he says:‚Ä®‚Ä®”Judge not that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but do not consider the plank in your own eye. Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye and then you shall see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye”. ‚Ä®‚Ä®Which one of us has no issues in our lives that we are dealing with? Who is totally free from having planks in our eyes which blind us until they get removed with God’s help? Can we say we have reached a level of maturity in our lives that there is nothing displeasing to God in us? Can we judge as God would judge? If not then perhaps we should deal with those areas that God is dealing with us about and leave the rest alone. Let us leave the speck in our brother’s eye to God who can see the heart and judge accordingly. I believe its time we just learn to love with Gods love, preach the gospel and leave the results to God.
‚Ä®‚Ä®INTO THE CLOSET‚Ä®‚Ä®
(The history of how gays got put into the closet and what they can do about it.)‚Ä®‚Ä®(Chapter 5)‚Ä®‚Ä®
As I was studying further I found out something that totally amazed me. For almost the first four hundred years of church history there was no problem with homosexuality in the church. People of the same sex, eunuchs, were welcome as members and held important positions in the church including as advisors to bishops. This was like a light bulb going on in my head. It meant that the early church would have had no problem with my being gay. They would even have allowed me to hold office in the church. So how did the church go from having no problem with homosexuality to its current anti homosexual teachings? How did this position become the predominant view of the majority of the Christian world? If the Bible doesn’t teach against homosexuality then where did this teaching originate and why?‚Ä®‚Ä®As I studied further I found out that the decision to condemn homosexuality was in part a politically motivated decision. It came about from a power struggle within the church as to who would control it. A lot of those we would call homosexuals were Arian in their religious beliefs. This was a view that Jesus was a created being who was inferior to God the Father. There were also some who maintained that almighty God was not the Father of Jesus in a procreative sense. Instead they said that God adopted Jesus as His Son through grace. That view was ultimately condemned by the church in favor of the Trinity doctrine which maintained that Jesus and the Father were co equal and always existed. The Roman Catholics(who were upholders of the Trinity position) having won decided to punish the homosexuals for supporting the wrong cause. The results were the first pronouncements against homosexuality. It also led to a reinvention of what the Bible actually taught about homosexuality. From then on the teaching of the church would be that homosexuality was morally wrong. They would teach that the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. Anyone who was a practicing homosexual was of the devil. Therefore, they couldn’t possibly be Christian unless they got delivered. Thus the closet was born. Homosexuals were told to abstain from all sexual activity otherwise God would condemn them. They learned real quickly to remain hidden in the closet. If they came out they risked being excommunicated from the church and ruin by being publicly exposed as a homosexual. They could also have been put to death or been castrated, for being homosexual. During this time as I was doing this research I also meant people who believed differently and were trying to do something about it. With their support I found liberation and freedom. It also led me to search and see if I could find where all this anti homosexual teaching had come from.‚Ä®‚Ä®I found out that on May 14, 390 there was an imperial decree issued. It was posted at the Roman hall of Minerva which was a gathering place for artists, writers and actors. It criminalized for the first time the sexual practices of those whom we call homosexual men. This had never happened previously in the history of law. The death penalty was first invoked for homosexuals at this time, death by burning. This law was issued by an emperor Theodosius who was in trouble with the church and under penance by St. Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan. He was busy trying to find a way to get back into the good graces of the church. So the decree was issued as a means to combat heresy allegedly. It promptly removed many Arians from positions of authority and gave them to Roman Catholics who supported the church and the Trinitarian position. This greatly increased it power especially over doctrine.‚Ä®‚Ä®Prior to 390 only one form of homosexuality was identified. It was a man or youth who could exhibit attraction towards women but instead chose not to. They instead agreed to or were forced to play a female role in intercourse with other men. These were called eunuchs as I mentioned earlier. They were defined not by their physical anatomy but by their sexual orientation. By this definition only heterosexual men would have been considered male, since potency with women was the primary proof of masculinity. Sex between eunuchs and males was prohibited. However not sex between eunuchs.‚Ä®‚Ä®Since eunuchs were men lacking a desire for women, like today’s homosexual men, they would have never covered by the sex laws as they only applied to males. Eunuchs would not have been deemed to be male. Instead maleness would have required the man to play the role of penetrator and procreator. This means they had to be able to produce children. If they couldn’t or wouldn’t then they failed the ancient criteria for being called male. As a matter of fact masculinity in the ancient world was not defined in contrast to women but to homosexual men. Exclusively homosexual men were often called non-male, neither male nor female, androgynous, or third sex ňÜ but never male. ‚Ä®‚Ä®Continuing on there was a category of men in the ancient Mediterranean world who were called “natural” or “constitutional” eunuchs. They were defined as having no physical defects except for a “peculiar mental state”. They were considered to be what we would call today “born homosexuals”. The law made a difference between them and castrated men. It also made a difference between homosexuals and those with physical defects. Natural eunuchs could marry if they wanted, and bequeath property, and adopt.  Castrated men or those with physical defects could do none of those things.‚Ä®‚Ä®In the ancient world starting with Babylon and on through the late Roman Empire eunuchs served two major roles in ancient society. They served as priests in pagan temples, and as domestic servants in wealthy households and royal palaces. They also had a tradition of spirituality and of being close to power. This made them of great help to bishops whom they supported and a threat to those they opposed. This would put them on a collision course with Roman Catholic authorities opposed to their Arian views and who wanted the power they exerted for themselves. Thus began the identification of homosexuals as powerful enemies of the church and of Catholic doctrine. This is not the place to discuss the merits of whether they were right or wrong it is simply to acknowledge that it happened.‚Ä®‚Ä®A third purpose eunuchs had in ancient society was a traditional role as sexual passives. Again because they were not “male” this practice was legal in both pagan and Biblical law throughout all previous history. The Christian emperor Constantius II issued a decree implicitly recognizing homosexual marriages as lon