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Made in a Gay Pad

Genesis 19 - Story of Sodom

The story of Sodom is found in Genesis Chapter 19. The portion that is traditionally interpreted as a condemnation of gay relationships. A casual reading of the text may give one the impression the Lord does not approve of homosexual relations. When the story is read in more detail, some problems appear with that interpretation.

The story really starts in Genesis Chapter 18.
In Genesis Chapter 18 we get the sense that God visited Abraham.
Genesis 18:1 And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day. Abraham invites the heavenly guests into his home and entertains them. In verse 20, we see the start of a discussion between Abraham and God.

And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the Lord. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
Abraham begs God to not destroy Sodom. He starts by asking God to not destroy Sodom, if there are 50 righteous people in Sodom. God agrees. Then Abraham manages to talk down to agreeing not to destroy the city if there are 40, then 30, then 20 and then 10 righteous people in Sodom. The Andrews Study Bible notes, "Not even ten righteous people can be found." The fate of Sodom appears to have been set in place before God heads off to check on what is taking place in Sodom. And the fate of Sodom may well have been sealed before there was any attempt by the residents of Sodom to sexually assault the visitors to their city.

Genesis 19:1 to 4 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing [them] rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. But before they lay down, the men of the city, [even] the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:

Estimates as to the number of gay people in the world run from 3 to 10 percent of the population. The chances that all of the men in Sodom were gay is extremely unlikely.

5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where [are] the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.

The Moffatt Bible translates this passage "Bring them out to us that we may rape them." This is a story about sexual assault, about rape. From this passage, we can understand God does not approve of sexual assault. The condemnation in this text may be a condemnation of sexual assaulting the weak and powerless more than it is a condemnation of gay relationships. The CEB Study Bible, which was published after this ministry came to the conclusion, lends some support to the idea that this story of Sodom is about sexual assault. Contributors to the CEB Study Bible note that the Sodom narrative "criticizes rape" of both men and women, as rape is opposed to the "sacred duty" of hospitality. The CEB Study Bible points out that the "earliest interpreters" looked more at how guests in Sodom were treated than on sexual activities.

6 - 9 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as [is] good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. And they said, Stand back. And they said [again], This one [fellow] came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, [even] Lot, and came near to break the door.

Straight men may view having sex with another man as a threat or as punishment, but gay men are not likely to share the same point. Chances are the men of Lot were straight, not gay, and were wanting to rape the visiting men.

The fact the men were prepared to break the door down shows these were not men out for a little fun on the town. The intention was to sexually assault the angels who were visiting the city.

Rape is generally considered to be a crime of control, not a crime of passion. An article at The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality web site states rape is more common in cultures that are characterized by male dominance, by violence and male toughness, and where there are more traditional attitudes toward gender roles. After reflecting on the article, one might conclude that gay people have non-traditional gender roles and might not be in the higher risk culture that is identified in the article.

10 - 13 But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. And they smote the men that [were] at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door. And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring [them] out of this place: For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it.

The ancients considered rejecting God's messengers, persecuting, harming or killing the Lord's messengers to be a very serious offense. Here we find God's messengers, angels, subjected to an attempted rape. No wonder Sodom was held up as an example of wickedness. Rejecting God is an act of wickedness.

Those who use this text to condemn gay people interpret this text in a way that is not supported by the Bible. Ezekiel 16:49-50 outlines the sins of Sodom. Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, 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 good. You will note homosexuality or sex between men is not mentioned as one of Sodom's sins.

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