I don’t have this feeling very often, but after a few conversations on a friend’s Facebook page the last few days, I have felt compelled to share my point of view of the Clobber Passages. These are the seven scriptures used by people who are coming from a personal standpoint of disagreement on any relationship that doesn’t involve only one man and one woman. These scriptures are routinely taken out of context to provide “factual” evidence that the Bible, and thus God Himself, condemns any relationship outside what is considered traditional by some Christian standards.
This month also happens to be Pride month, so the prevalence of bigotry and hatred is amplified as we celebrate who we are and where we are. The more open people are in June, the more visibility we have and the more people will speak out against who we are. So it is essential to know about these scriptures and what they say in the Bible, in context.
First things first, nowhere in the Bible does it say homosexuality is a sin. It does, however, state that specific acts by specified individuals were sinful. These acts included pedophilia, prostitution, and more. But you have to view these scriptures in context and not just the individual scripture itself. Even though these scriptures are all situational, many people choose to ignore the entire picture because of one specific line in the Bible, people took it at face value, without question, and use it against people that they don’t understand.
When you take the following scriptures in and try to understand their context, it becomes apparent that the Bible does not state that homosexuality is a sin, neither is a sexual relationship that involves any other humans outside of the traditional man and woman dynamic. In fact, a lot of what the verses refer to are barbaric and inhumane behaviors from people in places of authority. So by using these passages, they amount every person who identifies as anything other than straight is no better than the people who committed those vile acts in ancient times.
The passages in question are as follows:
As you can see from the very brief description of each of the verses, these were in direct reference to specific events and actions, not to homosexuality itself. In fact, it doesn’t say anything about same-sex intercourse in a committed and monogamous relationships as being sinful. But, as we all know, some people like to twist scripture to make it fit their ideas and opinions. I will be breaking down each scripture with information from researchers and scholars who study these things as their lives work. I will try and give the best description of context as I possibly can. This way you can see the entire picture and not just one line from a much bigger book.
One of the most misused scriptures is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. It is one of the more graphic stories in the Bible, as it deals with rape throughout the story. Rightfully so, this forced intercourse is considered sinful. It deals with both forced sex lacking consent, and it is a sexual act outside the bounds of marriage. Nowhere does it condemn homosexuality itself, it simply refers to the way intercourse was carried out in the story. Therefore eliminating the grounds of using it as scripture to condemn people outside of traditional marriage.
It doesn’t even reference specific sexual activities, instead focusing on the forced intercourse as being sinful.
Simple as that.
Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13
These scriptures are a doozie. Leviticus is one of the more popular books of the Bible, used by both anti-LGBT Christians and the LGBT communities. People always tend to quote it against the LGBT community, and in turn, the LGBT community throws other laws in the book back in their face. Most commonly used n response are not eating shrimp and not touching a football (pig skin). It is also the book where people draw ignorant and disgusting views of the LGBT community and compares them animals and less than human.
The book of Leviticus was written in a time where most of the world was unknown and confusing, so rules were set to help them answer to those things of which they were ignorant to. They tried to make sense of a world that kept throwing them curveballs. So instead of trying to understand, they set rules to keep the change out. Similar to the mindset of the people who use this scripture to condemn LGBT individuals, people who they do not personally understand simply because we do not meet their personal set standards.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 & 1 Timothy 1:9-10
As disturbing and sinful today as it was in ancient times, pedophilia is the main topic of these scriptures. Although these scriptures do in fact deal with specific sexual activities, it has no mention of sexual intercourse in a committed and monogamous relationship that isn’t a traditional marriage. Just as sinful as it is for a man to rape a woman, it is just as bad for a man to rape a male child, as it is detailed in these scriptures. When sexual intercourse exists between two people of appropriate age, there is no sinful nature there.
These scriptures are also hotly debated among theologians who don’t believe the scriptures refer to homosexuality at all. Translation research over the years has uncovered that the words used in the ancient script may not mean what was initially thought.
You would think this would be a glaringly obvious dismissal of the scriptures being used to condemn the LGBT community, but it seems we would all be mistaken. It is one of the most overused scriptures in their arsenal.
Jude is an odd set of scriptures used from time to time. Usually equated to sexual intercourse with someone/something other than an opposite-sex partner, is used against the LGBT community as condemnation. However, the intercourse described in the book of Jude refers to angels having intercourse with humans. It doesn’t even remotely mention same-sex relationships.
These completely off base scripture usages are often used to bolster one’s side. It is a stretch for sure but has zero to do with homosexuality.
By far the most used scriptures to throw at the LGBT community can be found in Romans. Again, the story surrounding the lines is referring to forced intercourse and not to same-sex monogamous relationships. But since it does have a mention of same-sex relations, it has become to go-to for the anti-LGBT crowd.
In Romans, you will find stories of prostitution, not of monogamous relationships. It also deals with pedophilia just like the other scriptures. Since it doesn’t refer to healthy and safe same-sex monogamous relationships, it makes it pointless to use against the LGBT community just like the others.
So, there you have it. A concise breakdown of each Clobber Passage and how people tend to use it against the LGBT community, and the reasons why they don’t apply. Instead of continuing to marginalize more and more people, Christians should be accepting, loving, and caring of anyone. Above that though, we should be using scriptures in context to help each other, not break each other down.
Using scripture in context and understanding why certain things were put in the Bible is very important. It not only speaks to your knowledge of the Bible but also your understanding of what God and Jesus stand for.
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 4:8 (NIV)