Jesus on homosexuality

Let us consider what Jesus had to say in the Bible New Testament about homosexuality:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

That’s not an error. Jesus had nothing to say about homosexuality in the Bible. [Editor: I do not subscribe to the opinion that the words of the God of the Old Testament are unquestionably also those of Jesus.] He did have a lot to say about love and charity though. I’m advocating that followers of Jesus focus on what he thought was important enough to talk about, and allow all others the privilege of worshipping almighty God — including celebrating marriage before him — according to the dictates of their own conscience.

Some of you will already wish to comment, arguing that Jesus’ discussion of marriage in Matthew 19 describes how he created them “male and female” and that they are “one flesh”, and by inference marriage must not be anything but. Just because one interpretation of the Bible describes one definition of marriage still does not justify abridging the rights of the government or other religions to define marriage as they wish. (One might also apply the same logic to question whether Jesus would have endorsed polygamy; he said “wife”, not “wives”.)

Moreover, invoking Matthew 19 begs raises the question: “If you really want to protect marriage, why not spend your time and money working to ban divorce, which Jesus taught should only be permitted in cases of adultery?”

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24 Responses to Jesus on homosexuality

  1. makarios says:

    “Jesus had nothing to say about homosexuality in the Bible.”

    First of all, Jesus is the God of both the Old and the New Testaments so unless you are deluded, he had a great deal to say about the subject.

    [Editor: Whether Jesus is actually the same as the God of the Old Testament is a matter of religious interpretation, not history. This is really a stretch.]

    Second, listen to Jesus as He is addressing the subject of marriage, “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them MALE and FEMALE,’ and said, ‘For this reason a MAN will leave his father and mother and be united to his WIFE and the two will become one flesh.” Matthew 10: 4-6.

    [Editor: Matthew 10: 4-6 read:

    4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
    5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
    6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

    I expect you typed a 0 instead of a 9 (they’re right next to each other) and meant Matthew 19, which I already addressed in my post.]

    Perhaps he was asking you, “Haven’t you read?”

    [Editor: Haven’t YOU read?]

  2. makarios says:

    Sorry about the Matthew 19 thing – I didn’t read your whole post – obviously. My question is, Why not just stop trying to use the Bible as a justification for what you want to do and just do it? If you want to define marriage in a way that is different from the Bible, just do it. But don’t do something silly like saying that the Bible / God / Jesus or whatever actually supports your view of marriage. Get some courage and do what you want.

    [Editor: It’s not really that simple. I’m not trying to use the Bible for justification here; I’m trying to point out the hypocrisy and inconsistency of people who use religious writings for justification for trying to enforce their moral views on others. Moreover, for people who grew up believing deeply in a religion that they then can no longer tolerate for some reason (as I did), finding one’s way through Scripture to a place that feels right with God is an important part of the healing process.]

  3. Dave says:

    I’m not against gay marriage per se, but I AM against gay marriage in the church. The church set up by Jesus teaches that sex should have the possible outcome of a child only at His discretion. you can try, or try not to have a child, but you gotta leave room for error, hence “natural family planning”.

    [Editor: I agree with you that no church should be obligated by law to solemnize same-sex marriages within its own walls. I disagree that sex must have the possible outcome of a child, because that would, for example, forbid a woman whose reproductive organs had to be removed (ie 0% chance) from sharing sexual intimacy with her husband.]

    I don’t see any reason why y’all can’t get married in the secular world though. I thought at first that there were tax breaks on married couples intended to benefit children, but I was told that is incorrect.

    [Editor: There are such tax breaks, for example, tax-free inheritance of property between spouses, permitting children to stay in their home and be provided for should they lose one of their parents.]

    There seems to be no legal reason to block gay marriage, so let’s do it.

    [Editor: Ya ain’t gonna hear me hollerin’ about that!]

  4. Paula says:

    Great article. I just want to point out that MALE and FEMALE are not always so clear-cut. In 1 out of every 100 live births, a baby is born whose genitalia is sexually ambiguous. During the 60s and 70s doctors would often “fix the problem” without the parents ever knowing. Other cases weren’t visible at all and the parents wouldn’t even know until the child entered (or failed to enter) puberty. In some cases a “girl” with a vagina would be confused by her attraction to other girls only to find out that she is genetically male. Sexuality runs along a spectrum!

    [Editor: Paula, thanks for that. It’s something I haven’t thought much about, but I believe your statistics are accurate. An in-depth discussion of the implications such congenital conditions bring is off topic, but it should give us pause.]

  5. Matt says:

    Though are other places where Jesus has words on Prop 8 related topics. They suggest to me that Jesus would have encouraged a “NO” vote.

    Matthew 20, the parable of the workers in the vineyard, teaches that you should not object to another person’s receiving the same reward as you have obtained. What he is given does not harm you, and you should not be angry when you, who have had longer claim to something, are given equal treatment as somebody else who has more recent claim to something. Getting angry that another group of people has legal protections identical to yours goes against this instruction.

    Matthew 22 has Jesus demanding that people “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” This is an example of separation of Church and State, and may suggest that using scriptural/religious arguments to talk about a civic institution is invalid from a moral standpoint as well as from a Constitutional Law standpoint.

    And then there is 1 Timothy 4, which isn’t Jesus, but is so deliciously on topic with the Mormons and Prop 8 that I am going to repeat the whole passage here:

    The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

  6. Matt says:

    correction*

    That isn’t the whole passage, it’s just the first five verses, but you get the idea

  7. Doroteo says:

    >Moreover, invoking Matthew 19 begs the question: “If you really want to
    >protect marriage, why not spend your time and money working to ban
    >divorce, which Jesus taught should only be permitted in cases of adultery?”

    The invocation of Matthew 19 might raise the question, but it does not beg it. Begging the question, or “petitio principii”, is the logical fallacy of defining the conclusion by its own premisses.

    [Editor: Indeed. I’ve corrected the error.]

    In any event, outlawing divorce would be as effective as outlawing gay marriage. Approximately forty percent of married women and sixty percent of married men are sexually unfaithful to their spouses. Laws cannot successfully contravene nature: they are, in fact, meant to express established custom rather than to impose upon us an unattainable ideal.

    [Editor: I’m not sure what you mean by this. Does that mean that something like “not stealing” is also an unattainable ideal? To your first point, outlawing divorce would be less effective than outlawing gay marriage. The government has to get involved to permit a marriage, whereas two married people can separate without getting the government’s permission. I would agree that outlawing divorce would be as (in)effective as outlawing gay relationships, though.]

    Saludos desde Tijuana, Baja California.

    [Editor: Gracias, igualmente. Me alegra que tenemos amigos en Mexico que leen mi blog.]

  8. lds501c3 says:

    Matt,

    Thanks for your topical comments on other Biblical passages. I’ve often thought about the Caesar reference, but felt it wasn’t literally specific enough to argue that.

    With respect to 1 Timothy, while I find your point compelling, I’ve intentionally ignored the writings of Paul with respect to the debate about homosexuality in the New Testament. Paul’s epistles contain the only specific references and objections to the practice, and inasmuch as Paul was an opponent of Jesus while Jesus was alive, I tend not to find them as compelling as Jesus’ own words in discussing “true” Christian values.

  9. Matt says:

    Fair.

    Though it also bears mentioning that all of Paul’s condemnations are embedded in a serial list of the form “A and B and C and D…”, where each of those sins could be something else. There is one school of theological thought where Paul actually was not condemning homosexuality at all in his original writings, and that those condemnations are the work of later scribes translating unfamiliar Greek.

    Food for thought.

    [Editor: Yes, and along these lines some scholars have interpreted even the relevant verses of Leviticus as not forbidding homosexuality. A scholar at Brown University has written a fantastic blog post about the context of Biblical “prohibitions” on same-sex relations.]

  10. nate says:

    I find it amazing that so much justification is made to the acts of homosexuality. And I find it very interesting that people will say most anything to justify their actions. Whither by the mouth of God or His servants it is the same. It is very clear in the scriptures that Gods ordained prophets have opposed such acts. And we feel as members of the church that we must uphold the only union that God has ordained and that is between a man and a woman. Anything else will bring calamity foretold by the prophets. Yes the church may have gone to far as a tax exempt entity, but it never went to far in standing up for what is right.

  11. logan says:

    The Old Testament makes it pretty clear…
    Leviticus 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination
    Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.
    I find it hard to argue with that.

  12. Wendy says:

    Logan:
    The Old Testament is pretty easy to argue with, especially if you actually READ it.
    The Old Testament says that it’s okay to rape women Deut 22:28-29, that women will be stoned for wearing men’s clothing -Deut 22:5 (how many women in your family wear pants? Feel like stoning them?), that wearing more than one kind of fiber in your clothing is worthy of death – Deut 22:10-12, that you can’t eat shell fish -Deut 14:10 (time to get the Christians together to picket Red Lobster), that women that are raped in the city but that no one heard scream should be stoned -Deut 22:23-24… and much more. Why is it that it’s alright to abide by and try to enforce one part of the Old Testament and not all the rest? Who makes this decision? Just pick and choose which parts of the Bible are important, which parts are to be ignored and why, and put out a press statement to bring the rest of us up to speed on that.

    Especially non-Christians because we just love having laws made that force everyone to follow the tenets of a popular religion. Islam is pretty popular. What if a Muslim told you that they had to fast for Ramadan and so you had to as well? You’d say, “No, I’m not Muslim. I don’t need to follow the tenets of your faith.” Well, I’m not Christian, but I’m being made to follow the tenets of your faith.

    There are many churches that DO want to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies, but the churches that don’t want to are so worried that they might feel forced to recognize same-sex marriages that they made it illegal for everyone. Who’s stepping on who’s religious freedom here? The Catholic Church already doesn’t recognize marriages if the ceremonies were performed in churches of other faiths. My parents remarried for their 10 year anniversary in the Catholic Church because their original ceremony was in the Pentecostal church. They had been legally married for 10 years and had 3 kids but the Catholic church didn’t recognize them as married. No one has forced the Catholic church to recognize marriages outside their theology.

    No church is being forced to do anything they don’t want.
    Some churches are afraid that by giving rights to the gays that somehow their rights will be lesser. Hypothetical fears are enough I suppose to justify hurting real people.

  13. Truth for Peace says:

    I just found and LOVE your site and blog, especially the “Editor” comments that I guess follow up ones blogs as seen fit.

    I also truly LOVE the civility, compassion and love that it shows!

    Peace and Love and Joy to You and Us and All!

  14. Truth for Peace says:

    The Bible dose speak against a man lying with a man the same as a woman, but dose not speak against or ask for a ban on same-sex marriage, …it only speaks for marriage. Same-sex marriage has been a part of life on this planet since time was first recorded; if your church dose not want to sanction it for itself, fine; but, it is a lie (FALSE WITNESS) to claim same-sex marriages are something new that redefines marriage; and, it is a lie to claim that banning loving, committed same-sex persons from marrying, will somehow ‘redefine’ and ‘save marriage’, …when only a ban would redefine it, and only LOVE can SAVE marriages, and us all!

    The Bible dose also speak against other things, and these should always be considered by a TRUE Christian, when considering their hate and witnessing against gays and lesbians; here are two: First, a wife must do as her husband says or orders; so, being gay or lesbian is then considered a sin or bad, like it would be bad for a wife to report or act against her husband raping their preschool children after the husband ordered his wife not to. Second, shell fish must not be eaten, and the flesh of a dead pig must not be touched; so being gay or lesbian is then considered a sin or bad, like it would be bad for a dad to throw a football (pigskin) with his son; or, like a Christian church serving a homeless person a bowl of clam chowder soup; or, like a grandmother serving her grandchildren beacon and eggs for breakfast, or a ham sandwich or and American hot dog! Being gay or lesbian then, would be considered bad like reporting and stopping child abuse, like feeding the hungry or like a dad spending quality time with his child, …sounds likes its not really bad at all!

    Name calling and making laws that create unequal rights for gays and lesbians, furthers and continues the SECOND CLASS STATUS of gays and lesbians, like Mormons have experienced, at least in their past fights for their equal rights! Name calling and otherwise promoting dysfunctional and perverse SECOND CLASS STATUS of gays and lesbians directly, and indirectly, causes violence and murders against gays and lesbians! …the exact same way it did against Mormons when their rights were being more harshly discriminated against in America.

    Making generalized claims about homosexuals that creates a SECOND CLASS STATUS for them directly, or indirectly, causes and leads to others (those who like harming people) to harm homosexuals with bullying, mistreatment, violence and murder!

    Supporting laws that continued the unequal rights of blacks directly promoted hate, violence and murders by KKK members against blacks; the same as, SUPPORTING Proposition 8 DIRECTLY PROMOTES HATE, VIOLENCE AND MURDERS AGAINST GAYS and LESBIANS!

  15. Truth for Peace says:

    Cain and Abel, and the Mormons and Gays:

    It appears that the story of Cain and Abel can be applied directly to the modern story of Mormons and Same-Sex Couples.

    In the biblical telling of Cain and Abel, the inherent selfishness, jealousy, rivalry, and aggression or Cain are central to the story, and appear to align with the Mormon’s positions and feelings towards same-sex couples and marriage. The Mormon’s have appeared to have selfishly and jealously held marriage away from same-sex couples, aggressively creating a rivalry, and with Proposition 8, killed the same-sex marriage’s sanctity.

    Like Cain, it seems that the Mormon’s pride is controlling them, leading to their attack on those innocents who are hurting no other person, by their desire to simply want to be able to equally love and marry.

    Also the Bible tells of the disconnection between Cain and his higher nature, which is so great that he fails to understand and master his lower self even in the face of God’s wisdom and hospitality. There are many messages and voices asking the Mormon’s, Catholic’s and others, only to share equality and love, yet again and again too many are blind and dumb to God’s and Jesus’ voices of such favoritism, love and humanity!

    In our age, God and Jesus are truly favoring the love, acceptance and equal status of same-sex couples and marriages, as simply and clearly demonstrated by the equality and acceptance gains gays and lesbians have found in our age. I know such things cause fear and loathing and even hate in some, who feel they are acting against those of other flocks out of a higher nature, belief and desire to live a God-loving and respecting life; these people I fear are acting as Cain had.

    Please, if you fear gays and lesbians and do not know and share your personal lives with any, I pray you meet and know and share your love and lives, so all the beauties of God’s understanding and grace on this earth may be truly known to you.

    I further understand that, in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Community of Christ, there is a different view, found in part of their scripture. In their Book of Moses (part of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible), it describes that Cain’s motive as still jealousy, but it is Abel’s livestock of which he is jealous. This translation also holds that it was Satan that “commanded” Cain to make the offering, thus making Cain’s sacrifice vain and faithless.

    From this Mormon Bible telling, Cain acts out of jealousy for Abel’s livestock; and thus, can be also interpreted and applied directly to the Mormon’s apparent jealousy that same-sex couples may marry some of the human ‘livestock’, if I may use those words together without intent to insult anyone.

    In Christianity, comparisons are sometimes made between the death of Abel and that of Jesus; which also can be interpreted and applied directly as I view Jesus as being the wholeness of LOVE, and killing marriage, same-sex or other, is still killing or trying to kill love!

  16. Drewboo says:

    Actually, if you continue reading Matthew 19, Jesus does talk about homosexuality, not so much in the way we understand it today as sexual orientation, but in the way they understood it in their time. After he had explained about a man leaving his father and mother to go be made one with a woman, the disciples asked if it wouldnt be better to just not marry at all.

    Jesus responded that not every man should marry a woman, for there are eunuchs who have been so since birth, some who have been made so by other men, and some who have made themselves so for the sake of the kingdom. We know from history that Eunuchs were basically gay men “keepers of the bed” who guarded royal women’s bedrooms because gay men dont care for women. Some eunuchs were castrated because some hetero men didnt trust them, but the majority were simply antiquity’s way of explaining what we know call ‘gays’. Eunuchs were honored men throughout history yet somehow now, were not so honored. Oh well.

    The important thing to remember is not really what Jesus said, but what he DID. Jesus healed a gay man’s lover and boasted on the faith of the gay man for all the public to know so they can have faith as pure as the gay mans faith. You probably werent told much about him in Sunday. This is the story of Jesus healing the Centurian’s honored “pais” (greek = boy lover). Also Isaiah says very nice things about Eunuchs. Philip the Evangelist converted an Ethiopian Eunuch on the road to Jerusalem after explaining “all you have to do is believe and you will be saved” after the eunuch had just been rejected from worshiping in Jerusalem.

    Then again, we have David and Jonathon, Ruth and Naomi and so many others. There are plenty references to gay people in the Apocrypha and Gnostic texts as well.

  17. Robyn says:

    I have been reading this post, and would like to know just how anyone truly knows the Truth of God’s word any more. You have the so called Christians raising a fuss about every issue imaginable these days. I would like to know what Jesus who was a peace loving man would think about the cruelty of the people who say they follow him. Jesus only got angry about one issue and that was the selling and trading that was taking place within his Father’s house. Jesus asked us all to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Who are your neighbor people? I will tell you who your neighbor is it is every single person in the world today. So you need to quit judging people lest you be judged tenfold. Please for the Love of the Lord Jesus Christ have love and not hate for your neighbors. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but does it have to be expressed openly so that it hurts others? Every person reading my reply should get on their knees and beg Jesus for forgiveness for one reason or another, and I say just what Jesus said to the crowd who was going to stone the prostitute, let ye who are without sin cast the first stone!!!!!

  18. Don says:

    Perhaps Christ didn’t make a bigger deal of homosexuality because there wasn’t any of it known to the Jewish body during the time he lived. If it were known, they were stoned according to the law of Moses. Since He addressed issues relevant to the people He taught, it should not be surprising that the Savior did not condemn it to them. If He had condoned it on the other hand, would He not have openly done so, as He did with many other issues?

    As LDS, we believe that the words of Christ do not begin and end with the 4 gospels. Christ has condemned homosexuality at the same time He commands each of His followers to love everyone.

    Intolerance is much, much greater from the homosexual community to the LDS community than the other way around. We are not even supposed to have an opinion on the matter. If we do, we should just keep it to ourselves or be considered intolerant. LDS aren’t degrading the homes of homosexuals. We’re not the ones mocking, marching, protesting, making hate signs, destroying property, etc. That’s all coming from one direction…from those who demand that we become tolerant. What a contradiction.

  19. Heron says:

    If the intent of this blog post is to somehow show inconsistency on the part of the LDS Church, then it’s a pointless exercise, because you’re imposing your own restrictions on what the LDS Church believes.

    More specifically, pointing out “the New Testament is silent on issue X” does not mean Jesus has no opinion on issue X – and it certainly doesn’t mean Jesus would *approve* of issue X.

    Don is absolutely correct – we LDS believe that the words of Christ span more than the pages of the New Testament. In particular, we believe in living prophets – men who actively receive revelation directly from God.

    As LDS, we believe God has spoken (through his prophets) on the issue of homosexuality, and we stand by that belief. It is hardly hypocritical of us to stand for what we believe in.

  20. David the Unapologetic says:

    Actually, Logan, Don, and Heron, nice try but you are wrong. Jesus healed a Roman centurion’s gay lover. Jesus healed the servant of a Roman centurion. This story is recorded in Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10. In the original language, the Greek word used in Matthew’s account to refer to the servant of the centurion is pais. In the language of the time, pais had three possible meanings depending upon the context in which it was used. It could mean “son or boy;” it could mean “servant,” or it could mean a particular type of servant — one who was “his master’s male lover.”

    Luke says this pais was the centurion’s entimos doulos. The word doulos is a generic term for slave, and was never used in ancient Greek to describe a son/boy. Thus, Luke’s account rules out the possibility the sick person was the centurion’s son; his use of doulos makes clear this was a slave. However, Luke also takes care to indicate this was no ordinary slave. The word entimos means “honored.” This was an “honored slave” (entimos doulos) who was his master’s pais. Taken together, the three Greek words preclude the possibility the sick person was either the centurion’s son or an ordinary slave, leaving only one viable option — he was his master’s male lover. As was extremely common in that culture, at that time.

    Would Jesus have healed this gay man’s lover, and then proclaimed that his faith was an example to all, if he had a problem with their lifestyle? He could have said, “You are living in sin, and you must repent; it is your sinful lifestyle that has brought this illness upon your lover.” Or any other number of things. But he didn’t. He healed him without hesitation.

    So much for “God hates fags.”

    Here’s the whole point of this exercise. If Jesus was God Incarnate, and if homosexuality is such an abomination to God, then don’t you think he would have uttered at least one little measly sentence about it in the thirty some years he walked the earth? OF COURSE HE WOULD HAVE. But some people are apparetnly too dim-witted or too stubborn to admit that. (Or both.)

    If you’re going to be Christian, then why don’t you start loving and stop judging and condemning? -OR- If you want to follow the law of Moses, then go find the first person you can who is wearing clothing made from two blended fibers (cotton/polyester, perhaps?) or the first person you can find who has ever shaved their beard, or go to the nearest Red Lobster and find the first person you can eating shellfish, and STONE THEM TO DEATH AS LEVITICUS COMMANDS. All of these are abominations in the eyes of the Lord, according to Leviticus.

    Law of Jesus? Or Law of Moses? Pick one, or pick the other, but if you are going to choose the Old Testament, then follow ALL OF IT and for Christ’s sake STOP CALLING YOURSELF A CHRISTIAN. If you are going to call yourself a Christian, then for Christ’s sake, stop casting stones at your fellow human. Jesus would be absolutely ashamed of most of his so-called followers these days.

    I don’t care what you do in the privacy of your own Church. But keep your hands off the law. Stop lobbying to pass legislation that dictates how the rest of us must behave. This is not a theocracy. This is supposed to be a land of freedom and equality, where no one should feel subhuman or persecuted. Something I’m sure Jesus would support.

  21. Heron says:

    Healing a gay man does not mean Jesus approved of homosexuality, any more than telling the adultress “go, and sin no more” was an endorsement of adultery.

    Let’s assume that the man in question was in fact homosexual (we have only your word for it). Does the lack of a rebuke for homosexuality mean approval? Of course not; by that logic, any behavior not specifically mentioned as bad in the New Testament is fair game!

    For all you know, the account is incomplete. You can’t extrapolate approval from silence.

    On a side note, nobody who has studied the scriptures would say “God hates fags”, and anyone who does say it doesn’t see the difference between “hate the sin” and “hate the sinner”.

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