First and foremost, this blog is a safe place for all people to discuss the topic of Christianity and homosexuality. That being said, I get a lot of questions about what I think the Bible does or doesn’t say about the topic. Since the “What We Believe” section of the website is one of the most visited pages, I thought it might be constructive to do a 4-part series on the clobber passages—the six passages of the Bible most often used to condemn homosexuals. The majority of the material I will use comes from Dr. Rembert Truluck, simply because I think he does a fantastic job at hashing out these passages. As always, discussion is encouraged!
Leviticus 18:22: “You shall not lie with a male as those who lie with a female; it is an abomination.”
Leviticus 20:13: “If a man lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination and they shall surely be put to death.”
First of all, we must determine the meaning of the word “abomination”. This word literally meant “uncustomary” in the time that the Holy Law was written. The word was used to describe a breach of ritual. That’s a big difference from how the word “abomination” is sometimes understood today! Both of these Levitical verses refer to those who took part in the Baal fertility rituals. By engaging in pagan practices, they were rejecting their true God and ignoring the Laws that were put in place to set the nation of Israel apart from all other cultures of the time. These two passages are interestingly still sometimes used against homosexuals. However, the rest of this Pentateuchal book both demands rituals that are uncustomary/uncommon today and forbids a number of other practices that are customary/common today. For instance:
•Leviticus 12:1-8 states that a woman is unclean for 33 days after giving birth to a boy, and for 66 days after giving birth to a girl. Additionally, it demands that certain animals be sacrificed as a burnt offering and a sin offering for cleansing.
•Leviticus 11:1-12 says all unclean animals are forbidden as food, including: rabbits, pigs, and shellfish, such as oysters, shrimp, lobsters, crabs, clams, etc. Eating these as food is called an “abomination“.
•Leviticus 20:25 demands that “you are to make a distinction between the clean and unclean animal and between the unclean and clean bird; and you shall not make yourself an abomination by animal or by bird or by anything that creeps on the ground, which I have separated for you as unclean.” Eating these unclean birds (and certain unclean insects) is called an “abomination“.
•Leviticus 18:19 forbids a husband from having sex with his wife during her menstrual period. This is considered an “abomination“.
•Leviticus 19:19 forbids mixed breeding of various kinds of cattle, sowing various kinds of seeds in your field or wearing “a garment made from two kinds of material mixed together.” This is an “abomination“.
•Leviticus 19:27 demands that “you shall not round off the side-growth of your heads, nor harm the edges of your beard.” The next verse forbids “tattoo marks on yourself.” These are all “abominations“.
•Leviticus 26 begins: “If you do not obey me and do not carry out all of these commandments, if instead, you reject my statutes, and if your soul abhors my ordinances so as not to carry out all my commandments …I, in turn, will do this to you: I will appoint over you a sudden terror, consumption and fever that shall waste away the eyes and cause the soul to pine away; also, you shall sow your seed uselessly, for your enemies shall eat it up.” This notion continues through the entire chapter, reminding the nation of Israel what horrible things will occur if they fail to keep the commandments in their entirety.
People who use Leviticus as a way to discriminate and condemn homosexuals have become quite proficient at proof-texting, or cherry-picking verses to justify their point of view. However, if they cling to these two verses, they must be ready to embrace the rest of the statutes just as passionately. Dr. Truluck said it best:
“Why don’t fundamentalists organize protests and picket seafood restaurants, oyster bars, church barbecue suppers, all grocery stores, barber shops, tattoo parlors, and stores that sell suits and dresses made of mixed wool, cotton, polyester, and other materials? All of these products and services are “abominations” in Leviticus. When have you heard a preacher condemn the demonic abomination of garments that are made of mixed fabrics?” -Dr. Rembert Truluck
When we read the Scriptures panoramically rather than microscopically, we begin to see the history of God’s people as it was meant to be seen. The origins of our faith and the journey through the wilderness to the Promised Land… all of it escalates to the profound essentiality of the Love that came to earth through Jesus.