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In a country that doesn't (officially) recognize state-sponsored religion, whose Constitution says "all men are created equal," where bigotry and bias are abhorred — why do otherwise intelligent and sensitive people feel they can engage in hate speech against gay people?

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Saturday, October 23, 2004

What Wouldn't Jesus Do?

We must attack homophobic hate speech whenever and wherever we see it — globally, nationally or locally. Recently, a letter to the editor showed up in my hometown newspaper (circulation 25,000). I reprint my response here and give anyone else the permission to use the same arguments to combat similar assertions where you live. I will have more to say about what the Bible really says about homosexuality in future posts.

To the Editor:

Despite how the Bible warns against arrogance and pride, those are exactly the attributes that come from [name withheld] when she says, "I am willing to be called names for the sake of this nation and its children."

In her letter to the editor last week, she says homosexuality is an abomination and only Jesus can save us from it. In doing so, she actually says more on the topic than Jesus himself ever did.

That's right. Jesus said absolutely nothing at all about homosexuality. There is no mention of it in the four Gospels of the New Testament. The moral lessons and teachings of Jesus are simply never concerned with the subject.

Furthermore, the evidence that homosexuality is condemned in the Old Testament has been re-examined as well. Yale historian John Boswell's book, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, makes an in-depth study of the likelihood that supposed condemnations of homosexuality do not exist in the original texts at all, but are actually the result of later translators imposing the prejudices of their times on to the translations.

Boswell writes: "In spite of misleading English translations, which may imply the contrary, the word 'homosexual' does not occur in the Bible; no extant text or manuscript, Hebrew, Greek, Syriac, or Aramaic, contains such a word."

One would think if homosexuality is the threat [name withheld] clamors it to be ("America is headed for oblivion, committing suicide by tolerance," she says), Jesus would have gone on record about it.

Instead, Jesus' moral teachings encompassed greater topics, such as brotherly love, forgiveness, meekness, mercy, redemption and peace. It seems as though these are topics [name withheld] is failing to embrace.

When you read the Bible as a whole, instead of picking and choosing random quotations to support your hateful world view, you can't help but believe that God wants us to use his Holy Word to combat our prejudices — not justify them.

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