My Apostrophe

ApostropheThere is a scene in the movie Hook, that came to me tonight. Smee and Captain Hook are talking in the cabin.

Smee: I’ve just had an apostrophe.
Hook: I think you mean an epiphany.
Smee: Lightning has just struck my brain.
Hook: Well that must hurt.

Like Smee, I just figured out the problem. If you’ve been paying attention at all for the past week in Indiana, you’ve been inundated with news of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. I don’t mean to add to that, but I had an apostrophe tonight. I couldn’t figure out why people are so vehemently against this law, which basically just reaffirms the religious freedom provided in the first amendment to the United States Constitution. But I finally figured it out.

Black people, among, were oppressed and enslaved for a few hundred years. Then slavery was made illegal in America, but the oppression continued. The racism continued. I have seen and heard examples of racism just in the past few years. Racist jokes. Racist statements about how one group of people are better than another because of their skin color (sometimes against black people, sometimes against white people, sometimes others). Racism is WRONG. The Bible teaches that we are all descended from one man: Adam. We are all descended from one woman: Eve. We are all in the same family. So it’s wrong for any person to think that they are of more value than any other person.

Racism is wrong. The civil rights movement and their fight to achieve the same rights as white people for minorities was a good thing. But there is an innate difference between fighting for black people’s right to equal treatment, and fighting for gay people’s right to equal treatment.

Christians like me view gay people just like they do everybody else, but with one exception: they have chosen to define themselves based on their sexual choices. And Christians like me who believe in a dispensational literal interpretation of the Bible view homosexual behavior as a sin. So we see gay people as asking for something that is wrong. And that is why we want nothing to do with affirming their life choices, including “gay marriages.”

Then enters the problem: gay people are not satisfied with being left alone. They want every person in the country to affirm the rightness of their life choices. That is why, when they go into a bakery, they want to be treated just like everybody else. And when they encounter someone who doesn’t agree with their lifestyle, they want to force them into compliance with the idea that gay marriage is perfectly right and good.

And this was my epiphany.

You see, the people that oppose this law oppose it because they view gay people in the same light that they view minorities. In short: they believe that gay rights equals minority rights. They think that refusing gay people the right to marry (or whatever) is the same as telling black people they aren’t allowed to marry/sit in the front of the bus/whatever.

And now I understand why they are so upset about this law. And I get it. I still disagree, because I don’t view gay rights in the same light as minority rights. I hold religious freedom at a greater value. But I understand their perspective now.

I personally believe it’s more important that people not be forced to violate their conscience than it is to provide approval for gay people’s choices.

I think it’s more important to allow people be faithful to God than it is to affirm people’s choice of sexual partner.

And it seems to me that if gay people want acceptance, forcing people out of business doesn’t really seem like a good way to achieve that.

EDIT: Another thing occurred to me:  The businessmen who are standing up for their faith are not concerned with judging the choices of the gay people coming into their businesses.  They are concerned with their OWN choices.  They aren’t judging the gay couples, they are saying, “Don’t make me sin by making me join in your celebration of what I believe to be sinful.”


About Steve Picray

I am a conservative Baptist Pastor in the midwestern United States. Every day I commit my life to Jesus Christ. This blog is my view on life. My prayer is that, by reading what I write, you will learn more about me, more about God, and be assisted in becoming the person God means for you to be. If you have a question, just e-mail me at spicray AT gmail DOT com. God Bless!
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6 Responses to My Apostrophe

  1. Banterings says:

    please tell me where Jesus condemns homosexuality? I read the Gospels and the Acts and can not find one reference….

    • Steve Picray says:

      Do we have any record of the man Jesus of Nazareth saying “homosexuality is wrong”? No. Did Jesus think homosexuality was wrong? Yes.

      How can I be certain? First of all, he stated that marriage was to be between a man and a woman (Matthew 19:4-5 “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’?” (and the parallel passage in Mark 10:6-7)

      Secondly, Jesus stated in Matthew 5:17-18 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” This means that the law isn’t wrong, it’s just impossible for anybody to keep the whole thing. Jesus here was affirming the rightness of the Mosaic Law, including the proscription against homosexuality.

      Finally, Jesus Christ is God. The Bible is the Word of God, giving His express Will concerning what is right and wrong. There are several places in the Old and New Testaments that state homosexuality is wrong (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Romans 1:26-28, I Corinthians 6:9-10, I Timothy 1:9-10). Since Jesus is God and the Bible is God’s Word, I can conclude that Jesus thinks homosexuality is wrong.

      • Banterings says:

        Going through a couple texts on translation, I can’t seem to find the ancient Hebrew or the ancient Aramaic word for “homosexual” so as to look at the original texts of the Bible.

        Oh…. SORRY. My fault. There is NO WORD in ancient Hebrew or ancient Aramaic for “homosexual.”

        In Matthew 8:5-10, the Roman centurion asks Jesus to heal his “slave.” Knowing quite a bit about Roman history, Roman officers being far from home had young male slaves who attended all their needs (including sexual).

        The fact that a centurion showed such concern for a slave means that there was more to the relationship than just master-servant.

        I will have to find the context of Matthew 19:4-5. That is interesting.

        I guess that you have no problems of having sex with slaves…

        Leviticus 19:20 If a man has sexual relations with a female slave who has been acquired by another man but has not yet been redeemed or given her freedom, an investigation shall be made. They shall not be put to death, because she has not been freed.

        • Steve Picray says:

          I’m sorry, but you’re being obtuse.

          “Homosexual” is a Latin word that literally means “having sex with the same kind.” We understand and use the word to mean “characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex, or involving sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex.”

          Leviticus 18:22 says “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female.” The word “lie” is the Hebrew word שָׁכַב and it can mean “to lie down” or “to have sexual relations with” as evidenced by its usage in the following verses where it clearly means “to have sex with”: Genesis 26:10, Genesis 34:7, Deut. 22:22, and many other examples. That seems pretty clear to be an instance where God says that the Israelite men were not supposed to have sex with other men. And the Greek words used are translated as “Sodomite,” “effeminate” (the submissive partner in the gay relationship). or out-rightly described as in Romans 1 (men with men). Again, there WAS no Greek word for “homosexual” as a separate group, only words to describe the behavior, so they described the behavior.

          Regarding the centurion’s slave, you do a great job assuming that all centurions had sex with their slaves. In theology we call this “eisegesis” and it refers to you reading into the text something that isn’t there. To paraphrase Freud, sometimes a slave is just a slave. Also, I feel compelled to point out that the word used “doulos” meant both “slave” and “servant”. The parallel passage to this in Luke 7 states that this centurion was well-liked, and that he had even built a synagogue for the people of Capernaum. One who would be well-liked by the Jewish leaders of the day would not be someone who was living with open, unconfessed homosexual behavior.

          As for your last, this was a civil law for a civil matter of the day. Are you saying slaves should never have sex? Because I think you are assuming the girl was raped. All the verse says is that if a man has sex with a slave girl that belongs to another man, there would be a penalty less than death for him. You COULD assume that he raped her. Or you could think that maybe, perhaps, just possibly the sex was consensual, and it wasn’t his place to have pre-marital sex with a woman to whom he wasn’t married.

          You’re thinking about this verse from a 21st century lascivious perspective where sex is something to be thrown around like something worthless. In the Jewish society, there were supposed to be two classes of people:
          1. People who were married (men with women, just for clarity here) who were understood to be having sex with each other,
          2. People who were unmarried (single/widowed/legally divorced) who were not supposed to be having sex with anyone.

          If you were married and you had sex with someone who was not your wife (adultery), you were to be stoned. If you were single and you had sex with someone, you were understood to be now married to that person (Deut 22:28-29) unless she was already engaged to someone else, in which case you would be put to death.

          • Banterings says:

            I applaud you on your grasp of the Hebrew language. How is your Aramaic though?

            I digress…

            I guess that women having sex with women is OK since there is absolutely no mention of this in the Bible.

            Another problem that I have with those arguments against gay marriage is that they are just against gay people. If so many people wanted to protect marriage where is/has been the outcry against divorce? Divorce is a bigger dander to marriage than gay marriage.

            Do you really think that homosexuality is a choice? Hatred is a choice. Ignorance is a choice. Homosexuality is no more a choice than race.

            You can deny your attractions, live a lie, but that is self destructive and has been the cause of many suicides.

            Here in Philadelphia there is a vibrant LGBT community. They are people, just like everyone else. I hate to have to use this qualifier, but I have many, many LGBT friends. I prefer to just say friends because to me, that is like saying that I have Latino friends.

            They are all just people. That is all they ask to be treated as such. I would not want to stand on judgement day and say that I treated anyone less that I would want to be treated.

            For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’
            Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
            When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
            When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
            And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
            Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
            For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
            a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
            Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’
            He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’

  2. Steve Picray says:

    Aramaic? I confess to being less than an expert on Aramaic. But since Aramaic is less than 1% of the Old Testament, I think I’m ok with just reading the English translations of Ezra, Daniel, and the other few places where Aramaic is used, at least until I get the chance to learn more.

    Women having sex with women? How does Romans 1:26 read in your Bible? Even if that verse weren’t in the Bible, I would fall back on the fact that the Bible teaches that sex is to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other.

    Homosexuality a choice? I think that homosexual desires can be natural, since we are all born with a sin nature and therefore we have desires for things that are not good. But is homosexuality a choice? I believe that engaging in homosexual behavior is a choice much like engaging in heterosexual behavior is a choice. And in my belief system, each person is directly accountable for their behavioral choices. Let me illustrate. I am married. According to my faith, I am to have sex with my wife, but nobody else. I am attracted to other women at times, but I choose not to engage in physical relations with them because I believe that to be wrong. In much the same way, I don’t think it is wrong for a man to have desires for other men. It would be wrong for him to DWELL on those desires (Matthew 5:27-28 teaches that lust in the heart is a sin), and it would be wrong for him to ACT on those desires (in the same way it would be wrong for me to commit adultery). I don’t understand the thinking that homosexual behavior is not a choice. And I wholeheartedly reject your statement that homosexuality is the same as race (see my original post above).

    As far as living a lie goes, that sounds an awful lot like people trying to blame God for not allowing them to live however they want. “But if I can’t sleep with a different woman every week I will be so unhappy I would just have to kill myself.” Sorry. I don’t disagree that gay people can be depressed enough to commit suicide, but there are all kinds of things people are depressed about, and end up killing themselves. That is not a good reason to redefine God’s standards of right and wrong.

    Judgment Day? There’s only one thing to be concerned about on Judgment Day, and that is this: Is your name written in the Book of Life? If you are trusting in the death of Christ to forgive your sins, then yes, your name is in there, and any sins you’ve committed are gone forever. If you have rejected Christ as Savior, then being mean to gay people is only one of a long list of sins that condemn you to the Lake of Fire for all eternity.

    By the way, the passage you quoted was not talking about Judgment Day, but about the Second Coming of Christ (which is about 1000 years earlier). Christ is rewarding those who provided aid and comfort to Christ’s Jewish brothers and sisters during the tribulation.

    What it comes down to for me is that it isn’t my job to tell gay people that what they are doing is wrong. It is my job to tell them how to trust Christ as Savior, and then teach them the Biblical standards of right and wrong so that they can make informed choices as they seek to become more like Christ. The choices they make are between them and God. This debate has never been about whether gay people should be allowed to be gay. We settled that years ago. What this debate is about is whether religious people should be allowed to be religious. If I owned a business, should I be able to deny gay people the right to force me to support their lifestyle?

    Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, WA. She has many gay customers, and this one gay couple in particular were her customers for ten years. She met their floral needs by selling them whatever flowers they needed. Until they asked her to do the flowers for their gay wedding. She apologized, hugged them and said she was sorry but that didn’t meet her personal religious standard of right and wrong, so she couldn’t be involved in it. So they sued her for discrimination. Their behavior doesn’t sound very loving and tolerant. It sounds like hatred and oppression to me.

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