We’ve put together a brochure that gives an overview over spiritual abuse and the clobber passages that are supposedly against the community. At Pride 2018 we gave out 300 of those. You are free to use it, just please message us in advance and we give it to you in printable pdf format. Thank you!
Here’s the full text without the layout:
Cheat Sheet Against the Spiritual Abuse of the LGBTQ+ Community
(if you’re using the bible to hurt people you’re using it wrong)
What is spiritual abuse?
Spiritual abuse is the mistreatment of a person with the result of weakening, undermining, or decreasing that person’s spiritual empowerment and/or freedom of religion. Abusive believers develop a “good or evil” mentality and put themselves in the good corner. They believe that following their interpretation of their sacred text (the Bible, the Qur’an…) is mandatory. Everyone who doesn’t agree with them is automatically evil (“sinful”) and needs their guidance. Those people are convinced that our gender and sexual identities are “sinful” and “unhealthy” and we need to be “saved” and “healed” from them. This is of course morally and scientifically wrong. Abusive believers are so dangerous because they claim that their attempt to “save” and “heal” us stems from a position of love and altruism. Therefore, they are not aware of the grave wounds they inflict or that their behavior is abusive.
This leads to a dangerous righteousness that doesn’t allow room for other opinions, including other spiritualities or atheism.
Why should I care?
The first amendment of the Constitution guarantees freedom of (and from!) religion. Therefore, spiritual abuse is in clear violation of the principle of religious freedom. The most vulnerable victims are young LGBTQ+ people who are not yet secure in their sexual, gender, or spiritual identities. LGB youth are almost five times as likely to attempt suicide before the age of 25. So even if you are not religious, you still have a responsibility towards your LGBTQ+ siblings and should therefore be informed about spiritual abuse and how to debunk it. Here in the US we are mostly confronted with abusive Christians. That’s why this pamphlet focuses on the Bible.
The Bible and the LGBTQ+ Community
In Bible study, context is everything!, Who wrote what, when, for whom, and why? What about originional languages, cultural and doctrinal context? Scripture cannot mean now what it did not mean then and it only settles matters about which it speaks plainly.
The word “homosexual” referring to a person’s inborn and natural desire to enter into a loving, respectful, and sexual relationship with another consenting person of the same sex was invented and published in 1869. The word can be found in the bible for the first time in 1946. Any appearance of the word “homosexual” in the Bible is therefore a mistranslation. Homosexuality always existed, the concept of it being natural natural and inborn didn’t.
a) The Story of Sodom (Genesis 19: 1-11)
The sin of Sodom according to Ezekiel 16:49; Arrogant, overfed and unconcerned. They did not help the poor and needy.
In Biblical times hospitality was crucial for survival and therefore not just cultural custom but law. The most brutal violation of that law was attempted gang rape of male guests (disguised angels in this story). A similar story can be found in Judges 19.
The sin of Sodom according to Jude 1:7; People were immoral and went after strange (Greek: heteras = different) flesh. The beings most different from humans are angels. If that passage referred to same sex intercourse, the Greek word used would be homo = same.
Besides, in the story the decision to destroy Sodom was made before the angels arrived there, so logically the transgression that led to the destruction must have already happened.
b) Don’t lie with a man as with a woman… (Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13)
Leviticus is full of ritualistic, legal, and moral practices (not beliefs!). It’s goal is to differentiate between pure/impure (=Jewish/not Jewish).
Leviticus 18: 2-3 state that the following rules are meant to prevent the Israelites from doing as the Canaanites and Egyptians. So, these laws were written for certain people in certain circumstances and cannot be generalized. Actually, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 forbid worshipping other gods. Sacred prostitution was part of the religious expression of those neighboring peoples and included male/male intercourse. Therefore, it had to be mentioned and forbidden several other times in the Old Testament (1 Kings 14:24, Deut. 23:17-18).
c) Natural/Unnatural relations (Romans 1:24-27)
Romans is a letter written by Paul to the congregation in Rome. Letters are highly subjective. In the original Greek Paul uses the expression para physin (=out of the ordinary, unusual) that is usually translated as unnatural. In 1 Cor. 11:14 he uses it to describe men with long hair, in Romans 11:24 positive actions by God. The word that describes that “natural relations” were left behind is aphentes (=neglect, abandon). The people mentioned in this passage “abandoned” (aphentes) their original desires and engaged in same sex intercourse. Therefore, it is safe to assume that their original desires were aimed at the opposite sex. Rome was a melting pot for all kinds of cultures and religions. Romans 1:21-24 refers negatively to people who worship other gods. Therefore, this passage ties in with the law against sacred prostitution in Leviticus that Paul certainly knew about.
d) Lost in Translation (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 1 Timothy 1:9-10)
These two passages are also from letters written by Paul. Three words appear in the original Greek that often mistreated in a way that make them look anti-LGB:
Malakoi: from malakos meaning soft, cowardly, weak, as shown in its use outside of the Bible. In early translations it is often very well translated as cowards or weaklings, not homosexuals.
Arsenokoitai: Made up by Paul, inspired by the Greek version of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 (arsenikos=male, koite=bed). Therefore, it is safe to assume that the meaning is the same as in Leviticus.
Pornoi: Stems from the Greek word porneuo meaning “to sell”. Refers to male prostitutes who were often young men or boys. Sexual abuse and exploitation of them through prostitution has nothing to do with two consenting people in a loving and respectful relationship.
The Greek language knew more than fifteen expressions for same sex intercourse, or love. Yet none of those words were used in the New Testament. Therefore, it is safe to assume that it doesn’t speak about homosexuality at all.
e) The Bible and the Trans-Community
Several passages from the Bible are used to condemn the trans community. Each of them is applied wrongly.
1) Don’t wear clothes of the opposite sex. (Deut. 22:5); More than a mere fashion statement! In other religions people were sometimes required to worship clothed in the attire of the opposite sex. This passage forbids worshipping other gods.
2) “No one whose testicles are crushed or whose male organ is cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord.” (Deut. 23:1); Does that include any men who suffered injury to the pelvic region? By the way, Deut. 23:2 also excludes from “the assembly of the Lord” children who were born out of wedlock – do we then ask people who want to join a church to provide the marriage certificates of their ancestors? The ones cherry-picking here are those who condemn the trans community.
3) We are created as men and women. (1 Gen 27); The writers of the Bible did not understand that there is a difference between sex and gender. Therefore, they simply identified a person by their genitals. Today we know better; Appearance does not determine gender, sometimes not even sex! This is scientific fact.
f) So, we are not in the Bible at all? Well…
The most famous (among several) scripture passage that most likely mentions a same sex relationship is the story of David and Jonathan. It says “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David.” (1 Samuel 18:1) “Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as his own soul.” (1 Sam 18:3). Once David had found out that Jonathan had died he said: “I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother, you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.” (2 Sam 1:26).
Homosexuality is not condemned in Scripture at all. Therefore, marriage equality is not unbiblical. People who use the Bible to condemn our sexual and gender identities do so because they don’t know better. That is not an excuse. It does however show that the people who believe that we are “sinful” are gravely misinformed about their own sacred text and therefore hold absolutely no moral authority over us. Because of their abusive righteousness they are unable to understand that, or to see the damage they inflict.
We are good and right the way we are.
Never doubt that your identity matters!
Never doubt that Love is Love!
[God and the Gay Christian, Matthew Vines] [The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, David R. Johnson]
National (Spiritual) Abuse Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
Local Support: Metropolitan Community Church at Lubbock firstname.lastname@example.org