Part 2 of this series would have been a column in the Western Tribune had it not folded. The series is four parts long.
Here is Part 1 (Leviticus) in case you missed it. After all of the parts are published here, I will edit them into a single article with a link under "Popular Posts."
The Letters of St. Paul (Romans)
Part 2, The Bible and Homosexuality : Romans
This is my second in the series on homosexuality and the Bible.
Another group of verses often used against homosexuals, these from the New Testament, are found in the first chapter of Romans.
“Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” Rom 1:26-27
When these words were written, it was not understood that homosexuality was the natural orientation of some members of the human species as well as almost every other animal species known. Science has shown us that homosexuality occurs in most mammals, and some birds and fish as well. It occurs in nature, naturally.
So it could be said that the men referred to in this verse were heterosexual men, who were having sex with other men, unnaturally. It says nothing about “naturally” homosexual men. The same can be said for the women; some are naturally heterosexual and some are naturally homosexual. The natural sexual activity for a homosexual man would be with another homosexual man, and for a homosexual woman, with another homosexual woman.
But why would a naturally heterosexual man be having sex with another man?
The Apostle Paul by Rublev
Paul is attempting to show the Gentiles how they have turned from God to idols. Later he shows how Jews have turned to self-righteousness and hypocrisy and harsh judgments on others. What he is trying to show is that all of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God rather than trying to set apart a particular category of people as the worst possible type of sinners.
During the time of Paul homosexual activity was usually associated with adultery when a married man might have a young male lover on the side. Male prostitution was common. An adult male could choose a legitimate sex partner of either sex. The sexual activity between them accentuated their differences in social class and certainly could be viewed as a misuse of sex and power.
This is quite different than the love between two men or two women of equal social status, and this is not addressed in Paul’s letter to the Romans.
Next: The love between Jonathan and David