The recent effort of evangelical pastor Martin Ssempa under the tutelage of American Evangelicals to pass a “kill the gays” bill in the Uganda parliament and the extensive persecution of GLBT people throughout eastern Africa is based primarily on a questionable interpretation of a passage in Leviticus 18: 22.
The words of the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation of the Vatican Council II deal with the interpretation of Sacred Scripture:“Since God speaks in Sacred Scripture through men in a human fashion, the interpreter of sacred Scripture, in order to see clearly what God wanted to communicate to us, should carefully investigate what meaning the sacred writers really intended, and what God wanted to manifest by means of their words”This cautious investigation of the intention of the human author is especially called for in dealing with the biblical passages which traditionally been accepted as dealing with homosexual activity. We are keenly aware that back in the days of slavery, slave owners regularly quoted passages from scripture to justify keeping slaves as God’s will. There is a real possibility that the homophobia of the translators and their culture has led to a distortion of the meaning of scripture.
The best way to arrive at an understanding of what the author means by this verse is to read it within the overall context of Leviticus. “Just as the overall aim of Leviticus is to ban incestuous heterosexual practices. Lev. 18.22 may well be there to ensure that homosexual incest is added to the list of proscriptions
This understanding of Leviticus frees us from making the assertion that God wills the death or imprisonment of all those humans that God created gay.
John McNeill’s Books:
The Church and the Homosexual;
Freedom, Glorious Freedom;
Both Feet Firmly Planted in mid-Air
Taking a Chance on God
Sex as God Intended
John McNeill’s Websites: