By Dan Brooks (also posted in his blog http://ldsviews.blogspot.ca/)
I was so so very very happy about the SCOTUS DOMA ruling that I spent an hour on a conference call from the Human Rights Campaign listening to all the legal nuances about what it means legally and how big of a step in the right direction it is and how far we have left to go before getting that much closer to living up to our creeds as a country and as a people of amongst other things the inalienable right to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” as defined ourselves rather than anyone else. Not to mention true equality amongst all God’s children legally and socially given that we are all alike unto God.
President Uchtdorf has said essentially that though we do not know the reason or even cause of homosexuality it does not matter. What I think matters most is how we can, as a community, as a country, as a people, move away from shaming and degrading and judging and condemning others for sinning differently than we do; or even sinning at all. What we are called to do by Christ is two fold; love God and to love our neighbors, even our enemies as ourselves.We are told by Christ not to judge one another, yet so many do and all the time and in the name of Christ no less!!
And if being gay is a sin, why is Lesbianism never mentioned in scripture? That’s a largely unknown fact but its easy to verify.
Is it to lift yourself up by putting someone else down, taking part in a righteousness competition? Is it to justify your own hatred of others for offending your delicate sensibilities or making you feel uncomfortable by challenging your beliefs, understandings or cherished ideas of gender roles and sexuality?
Christ never said we should hate anything, even sin. He never once sanctioned droves of people wandering the countryside in order to remove the motes in peoples eyes while excusing the beams in their own eyes. He never asked that the scriptures, which are an instrument of divine inspiration, wisdom and transformative love to be used as an implement of hate, disdain and condemnation as the Pharisees did. Rather, He spoke of the judgmental among us as hypocrites.
Jesus said by their fruits shall ye know them; meaning His disciples-the righteous.
So the question is by using the scriptures as a weapon, as an implement of hate and calling that hate love because you are doing your brothers and sisters the favor of attempting to remove the mote in their eye while excusing the beam in your own to the point where gay youth especially but even adults take their own lives rather than continue living under the burden of abuse, mistreatment, another day full of epithets and name calling, of the most vile contempt and hate, savage beatings and the most un-Christlike behavior imaginable; what fruits do those actions bear?
The answer is suicide attempts and successes, psychiatric issues, broken bones, broken corpses and broken lives and homes. Is Christ more upset by people being as gay as God made them given the church now says being gay is not a choice, or is He more upset by the treatment our gay brothers and sisters face at the hands of his so-called disciples?
The answer to not just the ailments of this issue but every issue is not just love but the kind of love displayed by Christ, a love than transforms the giver as well as the receiver both inside and out. The kind of love that leads to bliss and not just bliss in the sense of no more obstacles but the kind of love that brings complete peace even in the most chaotic of circumstances, the kind of love and peace that would allow you to plead to God for the forgiveness of those beating you to within an inch of your life before nailing your broken body to a cross and ramming a spear in your side, to not just say you love your enemies but to show it in such a way as to transform all those open to that level of love, understanding and peace and to turn some one like Saul of Tarsus, one of your most ardent enemies who participated in the murder of Stephen the first Christian Martyr into Paul one of your most ardent and powerful missionaries in all of Christian history who will later write 2/3 of the New Testament.
Many say marriage can not be redifined when it has been defined Biblically. Well the truth is by legally defining it as between one man and one woman we already have redefined it from it’s Biblical outline.
For example; there are eight different types of marriage according to the Torah:
1) Polygamous; One Man and as many women as he feels like.
2) Levirate Marriage; This is when a woman has to marry her brother in law if her husband died without leaving a male heir, the brother in law or other close male relative had the “duty” to impregnate her and if the pregnancy resulted in a man-child then that child was considered the heir of the late husband. (Gen 38:6-10)
3) A man, a woman and her property-a female slave; The famous hand-maiden routine as performed by Abraham (Gen 16:1-6) and Jacob too (Gen 30:4-5)
4) A man, his wife and a few concubines; Concubines were defined differently from culture to culture but the basic idea is that they were mistresses ceremonially tied to their “husbands” but they held a lower statues than a “proper” wife. Their children were not to be considered heirs so these mistresses were safe sex objects to be impregnated without screwing up the line of succession. To see how bad it could get check this story out (Judges 19:1-30)
5) A man and a prisoner of war; a man could collect his “booty” in the form of a pow bride. Deuteronomy 21:11-14.
6) Rapist and Rape victim; Deuteronomy 22:28-29 describes how a rape victim must marry her rapist.
7) Male slave and Female slave; two slaves could be married without the female’s consent presumably to produce more slaves.
8) Marriage between one man and one woman; however remember that interfaith and cross-ethnic marriages were forbidden during large parts of Biblical history.
So when someone says to stick to the “Biblical Definition” of marriage, ask them which of the eight they prefer and why.
The important thing to realize here is that none of these models are described as better than any other. All appear to have been accepted.
Now I don’t mean to dismiss the Bible, it being scripture, but it just so happens that much of the troubling passages of Leviticus and Deuteronomy as mentioned in this piece mirror the code of hammurabi as well as the fact that when Jesus was asked about divorce He said that “you wrote that” meaning that law came from the hand of man not from the word of God, which then opens the door to what is and what is not of God in the Bible and what is the word of men. Speculation yes, but the door is open to it because Jesus opened it.
At this point I would like to quote you Jesus’s words about homosexuality……….I would like to but I can not because He never said anything one way or another so unless we put words in His mouth all speculation about where Jesus stands on this issue is just that-pure speculation and can not be backed up scripturally.
So the question is, regardless of where you stand on the issue of homosexuality, does the love and treatment you display towards your brothers and sisters transform you and them in the manner Christ’s love transformed so many?
I’m Dan Brooks a 30 something active LDS member married with 4 step children living in SLC, UT. I am interested in writing about how we can get back to being Christlike.