Listen to the interview mp3. Jeff Krehely: The Washington Post asked you to write a series of columns about the way biblical passages have been used to characterize homosexuality and gay rights. Why did The Post ask you to write on this particular topic? Readers were horrified that they would print something so backward and critical of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.
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At the heart of the claim that the Bible is clear "that homosexuality is forbidden by God" is poor biblical scholarship and a cultural bias read into the Bible. For the last two decades, Pew Research Center has reported that one of the most enduring ethical issues across Christian traditions is sexual diversity. Although its unlikely that the biblical authors had any notion of sexual orientation for example, the term homosexual wasn't even coined until the late 19th century for many people of faith, the Bible is looked to for timeless guidance on what it means to honor God with our lives; and this most certainly includes our sexuality. In this light, the Bible is often seen as the primary source that helps us figure out how the people of God should live. Whenever any person opens the Bible, they begin a process of interpretation.
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I have a daughter and son-in-law who are practicing Catholics. They are in favor of gay marriage, and my son-in-law says that there is no place in the New Testament where Jesus condemns homosexual acts. So, he says, while homosexual activity may have been prohibited in the Old Testament, it is permissible in the New.
Until recent decades, same-sex behavior was placed in the same category with gluttony or drunkenness — as a vice of excess anyone might be prone to — not as the expression of a sexual orientation. Celibacy is a gift, not a mandate. The Bible honors celibacy as a good way of living — Jesus was celibate, after all — but it also makes clear that celibacy must be a voluntary choice. Condemning same-sex relationships is harmful to the LGBT community. Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount that good trees bear good fruit, while bad trees bear bad fruit.