gets it wrong

September 11, 2009 at 6:11 am (homosexuality)


Once again, I have to disagree with my friend Hemant Mehta, The Friendly Atheist.

In his latest post, Hemant cites billboards from a pro-gay Christian group and says, “But if change can happen within the church, it has to start from within.” Sorry, Hemant, but I respectfully disagree. And I think the methods that these gay Christians are using are both foolish and transparently dishonest.

According to Christians, the Bible is the inerrant word of God and the Bible says clearly, throughout both the Old and New Testament, that being gay is unnatural and a sin. The only change that can happen here is when the mindset of individual Christians becomes more accepting of homosexuality and, after trying to reconcile the strict anti-gay verses of the Bible with real life, those Christians dump the Bible and dump their faith.

These billboards show the immense amount of strain that pro-gay Christians must put on their faith to try to rationalise their Bible with reality.

Two of the billboards claim that there are gay relationships in the Bible, Naomi and Ruth and David and Jonathan. Neither of these relationships are explicitly said to be gay.


The way most Christians interpret the relationship between David and Jonathan is that they were very close friends, like brothers. At no point in the Bible is there a mention of a romantic or sexual relationship between the two of them and the story is definitely a story of incredible friendship. This is nothing more than an ancient Jewish “bromance”.

And who says that a bromantic love can’t be stronger than one’s love for sex? If an unmarried man who isn’t a horndog has a very close male friend and loves him like a brother, it’s very plausible that he could love his friend more than women and still be straight. In fact, no written interpretation of their relationship even comes close to calling their relationship intimate until the European Renaissance. The explicitly homoerotic interpretations are all even more modern than that.

This is one of my favourite stories in the Bible to tell Christians to research, but I don’t believe that the original story is one of a gay relationship, and the text of First and Second Samuel supports that conclusion. It’s a fun story to make Christians think twice about where they draw boundary lines with friendship and intimacy, but it’s not a gay fairy tale.


The second billboard says that, “Ruth loved Naomi as Adam loved Eve,” and cites Ruth 1:14. According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the King James Bible, nowhere in the book of Ruth are the names Adam and Eve even mentioned. That biblical-sounding phrase was purely fabricated to give the billboard more credibility among lazy Christians who don’t have their iPhone Bible app at the ready at all times.

Ruth 1 tells the story of how Naomi’s husband died during a long famine, and her two sons married two women, Orpah and Ruth. Naomi’s sons and their wives spent ten years in Naomi’s house before the two sons died. Naomi led her daughters-in-law up the road a bit and told them that the news from their homeland was that the famine had ended there and there was food. Then she told them to go back to their homeland and find their families. Rather than returning to her disappointed family after ten years as a widow, Ruth decided to stay with her mother-in-law Naomi and take care of her until she died, because neither of them had anyone else in the world to fall back on. Orpah went to the Americas and founded a multi-billion dollar conglomeration based on her image and went on to give away massive amounts of free cars and bad medical advice. The rest of the Book of Ruth talks about Ruth falling in love with Boaz and giving birth to his child, Obed. Boaz was a close male relative of Naomi and a descendant of Perez, another Bible character who made his way to the Americas to fuck up pop culture.

What else would a woman do after spending ten years in the house of a motherly figure, especially in a society as matriarchal as a Jewish household? Of course she was going to stay and take care of her aging mother-in-law! There’s nothing gay or “Adam and Evey” about that. She even had a heterosexual relationship after chapter 1… one of the most famous heterosexual relationships in the Old Testament outside of Genesis!

Even if this story was about a lesbian relationship, what would it teach? It’s okay to leave your dead husband for his mother? The life of a lesbian is absolute shit? (And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. – Ruth 1:20) Two women can’t possibly live together without being lesbians?

No thanks. This isn’t a story about lesbians, and even if it was, it would a dreadful story about lesbians.

At no point in either of these stories does it say that being gay is okay, much less that any of the characters are actually gay.

The third, and most disturbing, billboard says that Jesus, in Matthew 19:10-12, says that gay people were born that way.


What Matthew 19:10-12 actually says is this:

His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.

But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.

For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

A eunuch is a man who has been castrated, usually to prevent him from breeding or to keep him docile while he worked as a slave. So unless the Christian definition of gay includes, and is exclusive to, people born without testicles, this verse has nothing to do with gay people.

I find it absolutely repugnant that, in searching for pro-gay sayings by Jesus, this group would decide that gay=eunuch. It’s dishonest and incredibly offensive. Gay people have testicles, believe it or not, and there are entire NSFW websites devoted to said gay testicles.

I’m sure the group didn’t mean to cause offense and didn’t mean to imply that gays have no balls, but when the closest thing you can find to support for gay people is an admission that some male babies are born hermaphroditic or, for any other reason, without testicles, don’t twist definitions to make the word eunuch mean a gay male. Jesus said nothing about homosexuality except that the rules of the Old Testament, which include stoning gays, still apply.

So why are Atheists encouraging Christians to lie about their own book to trick other Christians into grudgingly accepting gay people? We’re setting these Christians up for failure if we’re encouraging them to set up their arguments based on lies. We can do better than that. Christian homophobia can only be taken down as we continue to take down Christianity as a whole.

Twisting the Bible to make it sound pro-gay is cheap, wrong and ineffective. Instead of forcing the Bible to conform to reality in ways that such a rigid text was not designed to do, we should instead force Christians to conform to reality. Maybe then they won’t be Christians anymore. And how can that be a bad thing?

You can find just how very ignorant these atheists are by downloading the free The Children Are Free: Reexamining the Biblical Evidence on Same-sex Relationships study guide.pdf here: Don’t fall for their bullshit. Being ignorant in attempts to “expose” Christian ignorance is just stupid.


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