Biblical texts demand the execution of persons committing homosexual acts. Some Christians today urge the same thing. Though our laws do not follow scripture in this case, straight Americans kill gay Americans in shocking numbers every year.
MORE FACTS ABOUT SEX AND THE BIBLE:
1. The punishment for engaging in sex during the menstrual period is "kareth": the worst spiritual punishment in the Bible.
2. The punishment for adultery is execution by stoning for both parties. The Bible defines adultery by the marital status of the woman involved only. A married man having sex with a single woman does not constitute adultery. Also, a man can never commit adultery against his own wife, only against another man, by having sex with that man's wife (property).
3. A woman who is not a virgin on her wedding night is to be executed by stoning. The virginity-until-marriage rule does not apply to men.
4. Nudity is shameful, and viewing it an accursed sin. No exception is made for the private home or the marriage bed.
5. Polygamy (marriage in which a spouse of either sex may have more than one mate at the same time) and concubinage (cohabitation of persons not legally married) are not prohibited.
6. A son-less woman who becomes widowed must have sex with each of her deceased husband's brothers, in turn, until she gives birth to a male heir. Jesus mentions this custom (levirate marriage), and doesn't criticize it.
7. Sex between heterosexual singles is not condemned, so long as the woman is not a virgin, and her property value is not being diminished.
8. Semen and menstrual blood are unclean, as are those who come into contact with them. Sexual uncleanness lasts until sundown. Menstrual uncleanness lasts for seven days. Childbirth renders a woman unclean. She remains unclean twice as long after having a female child, as she does after having a male child.
9. Prostitution is natural, and necessary as a safeguard of the virginity of the unmarried and the property rights of men, as regards their women. A man visiting a prostitute is not sinning, but the prostitute is.
10. Endogamy (marrying within faith and race) is required, miscegenation (interracial marriage or cohabitation) is a sin.
11. Mosaic law allows for divorce. Jesus strictly forbade it, though he never mentioned homosexuality at all.
12. Celibacy is abnormal, and a sign of heresy, though not expressly a sin. Jesus and Paul were both celibate.
14. Slavery is normal, and not a sin. Female virgins are the spoils of war. It is not a sin to use female slaves for sexual, or breeding purposes.
WARM AND FUZZY vs. COLD AND PRICKLY
Two extremes exist (as well as everything in between) when it comes to members of the Christian faith. I will refer here to the extremes of that faith continuum as the "cold and prickly" and "warm and fuzzy" wings of Christianity. The "warm and fuzzy" wing believes that the radical love of Jesus, and his death, replaced the biblical law that preceded it. The "cold and prickly" wing took Jesus at his word: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill."
Christians of both "wings" have one practice in common, made unavoidable by all the contradictions in the Bible: picking and choosing which parts of scripture are the "real" or "important" parts, and crediting the Bible for beliefs it does not espouse. I include biblical literalists in this statement. Many Biblical literalists rely on the Bible to support their conservative sexual taboos (such as opposition to homosexuality), yet withhold their fiery rhetoric on other practices Jesus condemned, such as divorce, speaking in anger, protecting assets in a lawsuit, and possessing personal wealth.
THE ECCLESIASTICAL TRAP
Many outdated laws (such as "sodomy" laws) are outgrowths of ecclesiastical laws that existed under the Church-State in Europe, and were duplicated by early American colonials. The religious right uses this argument to falsely assert that our laws are based on scripture, and that we are a Judeo-Christian nation. Not true. Not only was the founding of our nation a repudiation of the Church-State, but the vast majority of these laws have been overturned or repealed because of their barbarity. We are no more a Judeo-Christian nation than we are a British nation.
CONTROLLING MORAL AUTHORITY
The final argument many Christians make is that, without the Bible, we have no "controlling moral authority" to show us right from wrong. This is a false argument. The humanistic changes in our laws have increased social justice and social morality, not decreased it. We have outlawed slavery, spousal battery, spousal rape, executing children, child marriages, and summary execution. We do not force a woman to marry her rapist. And all of this in direct contradiction of Biblical law. These are not the acts of a Judeo-Christian nation, but a humanist one. It is time to continue this proud tradition and enter an "Age of Reason" by overturning laws against homosexuality, and by including sexual orientation in the protected classes covered by hate crime legislation at both the federal and state level.