Monday, July 03, 2006

KJS+ addresses the biblical prohibitions on same-sex relationships

More from Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's interview on NPR's Diane Rehm show on Thursday, June 29...

Diane Rehm reads an e-mail from Lynn in Georgia asking "Please discuss your opinion on gay life in biblical times, what the Bible says about gay life, and where she sees the gay community participating in organized religion in the near future."

Katharine Jefferts Schori: I think the first part of her question is highly significant. Because the few places in the Bible it does say something about same-sex relationships--when we do the scholarship, we quickly discover that a number of those are really talking about situations of exploitation, or situations as obtained in the Roman Empire where a centurion or other Roman male often kept a slave. A young boy, or a pubescent boy who served him in a variety of ways, including providing sexual favors. That is often what Paul is excoriating in his commentary.

The passages in Hebrew scripture that speak about same-sex relationships are really speaking out of a different kind of understanding of the world, where it was not appropriate to mix kinds of things. It wasn't appropriate to mix the kinds of clothing that one wore, it wasn't appropriate to mix spotted sheep and plain-colored sheep--it comes from a different understanding of what "right order" looks like in the world.

The second part of the question, she asks about the place of gay and lesbian people in today's church. I firmly believe that gay and lesbian Christians bless us all by their presence, and we need to continue to work at finding a way to include them in all aspects of the community's life.

Alternate link for comments