December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Fireworks outside our apartment!

2012, what a year!

Are you worried whether you have truly survived it “in-tact”? Well, if your ability to love unconditionally, despite all the human disappointments with others but most of all, yourself, is still strong and your willingness to forgive undeterred, then it is you who kicked 2012’s ass. You are ready to make the benefits of all those hard fought emotional and spiritual breakthroughs of last year transform into tangible success. So look forward to 2013 with renewed optimism!

Happy New Year!

With love, Jessie & Nick

November 21, 2012

Answering Anti-Gay Bible Literalists Part Three- The New Testament

After exploring the Old Testament, we are as yet to find a single scripture condemning homosexual love and loving same-sex unions. This lack of condemnation is even more glaring in the New Testament, which at the time of its penning was done in the context of a Greco-Roman culture where same-sex behaviors were prevalent, well known with clear vocabulary to describe every single kind that existed.
Here are some of the many common terms used both in Paul’s time and the time of Christ.

Pais or paidika - the younger, subordinate or enslaved male lover of an older man
Erestes - an older/dominant male lover

Eronemous - a younger/passive male lover

Euryproktoi- a common term for anal sex and/or men who dressed as women (what we would call a drag queen today)

Hetairistriai- a woman who loves women     

Kinaidos- an effeminate man and/or a man who preferred other men

Even though they describe roles and behaviors, they would have been at least a very close reference to homosexuals and most homosexual relationships as we know it today. Now here is the clincher. NONE of these terms or any of the commonly used terms appear in the original Greek scriptures, with the exception of one, "pais".

Christ Heals A Centurion’s “Pais”
Roman centurions, officials, merchants and their permissive sexual culture would have surrounded Judea at the time Jesus was supposed to be alive. He would have known about a vast array of same-sex activities, everything from sex slavery, temple prostitution, men who dressed as women, women who followed the cult of Sappho and more. Yet on this matter, he was absolutely silent.

Indeed, the story (Matthew 8:5-13 & Luke 7:1-10) of the Roman centurion who approached him and begged him to heal his male servant whom he uncharacteristically (knowing Roman disregard for their slaves and servants), loved very much, is rather curious. The Greek word used for servant is “pais” which was also a common term for the subordinate, younger male in same-sex arrangements.

In order to understand Greek expressions used in the bible, we can refer to Greek literature using the same expressions to get a cultural idiomatic understanding of what words meant.

In The History of the Peloponnesian War, written by Thucydides (445-400 BC) he refers to the same sex lover of Pausanias, King of Sparta as his pais.
The Athenian poet, Aeschines (390-314 BC) in his referendums against a rival politician Timarchos accused him of being the paidika or pais, of older influential Greek men for his own advancement. The common Greek term paidika (younger male lover) is derived from the root pais.

 According to Roman Law, many centurions on active duty were forbidden from marrying. Only generals and commanders high in the ranks were allowed that privilege. So it was a common practice for many to take male servants or younger soldiers as lovers.

Romans viewed the Jews with contempt. So that pais had to be particularly beloved for his Roman master to go against all convention and actually stoop to beg a Jewish, vagabond of a radical prophet to heal him. And the most important part of this is that Jesus healed him, no questions, no condemnations.

Marriage Is Demoted And Divorce Is Forbidden

Both the Apostle Paul and Christ considered marriage a secondary option, not a priority or sacrament.

The Jewish people have always been marriage and procreation focused. They saw it not only as a means to overwhelm and conquer their enemies but as a Divine mandate. Hence, every man was expected to marry, sometimes more than once and even marry his widowed sister-in-law if her husband died before she had any children. Every couple was expected to breed as many children as possible. This was especially true of any man called a Rabbi. Therefore for Jesus to be unmarried at 33 was the subject of much condemnation among his detractors who sought to entrap him in Matthew 19.

Jesus offers a sophisticated response referring to made eunuchs, born eunuchs and eunuchs who choose to be so and forego marriage for the sake of the Kingdom. He finishes by saying marriage is for those who can receive it, it is not a mandate for all.

The demotion of marriage as a priority was also reinforced by Paul, who in 1 Corinthians 7:1-29 basically outlined his preference for people to remain as he was, single. Marriage was a last resort to avoid engaging in fornication, a term derived from Latin fornix or archway under which prostitutes plied their “wares” to satisfy those who had no other outlet for their lust.

The only outlet for unmarried people overcome with lust was to engage the services of a prostitute who plied their trade in brothels and under archways called fornix, which is were we get the word "fornication".
Many Christians use Christ and Paul’s reference to marriage involving only men and women as a means to show gay unions are unbiblical. However, they are basically making the argument that just because something is not mentioned (due to cultural and historical ignorance of the concept), it means it is wrong. That would make contraception wrong, open heart surgery wrong, space travel wrong because the bible does not specifically mention these things and so does not specifically endorse any of those things, which is a ridiculous argument to take.

Contrary to the claims of organizations such as NOM, it is DIVORCE, not gay marriage or parenting that actually poses the greatest harm to children. Studies by several child welfare and child psychology bodies have shown that children from divorced homes are more likely to drop out of school, have no respect for authority, more likely to suffer from depression, drug abuse and more likely to have premature sex, grow up in poverty and less likely to choose marriage as adults. Christians in America have the highest rate of divorce for reasons such as irreconcilable differences, abuse, unhappiness, financial problems, criminal activity, change in values, none of which are viable reasons for divorce according to the bible.

What the bible DOES say about marriage, most Christians ignore. First by placing so much emphasis on marriage and procreation, even making it a sacrament of the faith, they are ignoring that it is given a lower rank than remaining a eunuch by choice.  Second by being permissive of divorce, which is forbidden for any reason save adultery by Christ himself in Mark 10:11, Luke 16:18 and Matthew 5:32, it shows a certain level of hypocrisy in their efforts to “defend marriage”, especially since they have the highest rate of divorce and multiple re-marriages, which means they are living in a permanent state of adultery.

Paul Condemns Roman Paganism
I remember back in my days studying the bible within a staunch evangelical sect that was intensely anti-gay, Romans Chapter 1 verses 26 and 27 was the lynchpin scripture to condemn gay people. It was particularly favored because on the surface and with a bit of extrapolation it appeared to refer to lesbians too. It also referred to acting contrary to or going against nature, which supported the whole, “homosexuality is unnatural and so it could not be innate or created by God” argument.
Homosexual paring, courtship, mating and sexual behavior is actually pervasive in nature. It has been observed and well documented in over 500 species from dolphins to dragon flies and these studies have been peer reviewed and published in Science Daily, The New York Times or access National Geographic Online for a wealth of more information.

It was so drummed into my head that this scripture referred to gays and lesbians that although the actual meaning of the scripture was staring me right in the face I never even saw it. In large part because, like most Christians I did not understand what a homosexual is and was taught any kind of same-sex behavior was indicative of someone being a homosexual. It would have never dawned on me to ask, were the people Paul was referring to in Romans 1: 26 and 27, actually homosexuals- people with an innate orientation towards the same sex?
Clearly, the people referred to in Romans were not innately homosexual.  How do we know? Read the verses again, carefully. Note Paul said, “their women did changeand “likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman,” So obviously these were people who in their usual, everyday life were opposite sex inclined.
Something caused them to change their behavior. In fact, Paul begins verse 26 with, “For this cause…” so the question is, "What was the cause?
All you have to do is read Romans Chapter 1 from the beginning for the backstory and the context about what caused people who were typically heterosexual in behavior to start acting contrary to their nature.

The Greek words used in Romans Chapter 1:26 and 27 translated as unnatural does not actually mean “against the laws of nature”. The original Greek physin and paraphysin actually refer more to acting in a manner uncustomary or unusual. You can find the same Greek term translated as “unnatural” used to describe men having long hair in 1 Corinthians 11:14.  A man having long hair was and still is not “against the laws of nature”, but in that time it was merely unusual or uncustomary for the Corinthians to which Paul was writing.

The backstory of verses 26 and 27 can be summarized thusly: There were people who once knew God but rejected God in favor of worshipping the creation instead. They made images out of birds and beasts and creeping things and began to engage in idolatry and pagan worship. Since this letter was addressed to the Romans, we can, through research of Roman culture understand exactly what kind of pagan worship Paul was referring to.
It was the worship of Gods such as Cybele and Saturn which would involve frenzied, intoxicated, orgiastic pagan rites within the temple. People would ingest hallucinogens and intoxicants and literally lose their minds and of course, act contrary to their nature. Lustful same-sex interactions during the orgies was not even the half of it. Some men would even go as far as to self-castrate, mutilate and murder others in their frenzied state of mind. Indeed if you read beyond the verses cherry picked for gay bashing, you will see Paul mention murders among other effects of the reprobate mind regressed to that of an animal in order to worship an animal God.
What does this....

Have to do with this?

If we are to be honest bible students, a scripture cannot mean something today that the writer did not intend when he wrote it back then. Keep in mind, that if Paul ever wanted to clearly and simply condemn gay and lesbian love in general, there were ample Greek terms to use. Instead, it is clear that Romans Chapter 1 is a condemnation of paganism.
The Original Weaklings And Rapists

The Greeks and Romans wrote extensively about same-sex love, romance and relationships and nowhere do the words "malakoi" or "arensokoites" ever appear in reference to consensual or loving same-sex relationships.
Now we come to what is perhaps the biggest example of semantic evolution in the bible, 1 Corinthians 6:9 which reads: "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind."  Also see 1Timothy 1:10.

In some translations it actually translates the Greek words for effeminate (malakoi) and abusers of themselves with mankind (arsenokoites) as homosexual.
Now remember, the term homosexual and its definition was not invented until the 19th Century. This recent translation as “homosexual” only happened in 1958, with the Amplified Version. But did Paul mean to say homosexual when he wrote it? Bear in mind that if indeed Paul wanted to describe people whose behavior would closely parallel what we would associate with most gays and lesbians today, there were dozens of popular Greek terms to choose from.
Instead Paul used a Greek word malakoi, whose root and usage in Greek language never referred to anything remotely resembling homosexuality. Malakoi is a term that literally means soft ones. It comes from the Greek root malaka which is used in Matthew 11:8 and Luke 7:25 by Jesus to describe clothing of soft or luxurious quality.

The Greek word for effeminate as we would understand it today; a man who acts like a woman, is kinaidos not malakoi.

Once again, we must refer to contemporary Greek usage of the word malakoi to understand what it meant to the people Paul for whom was writing. We look to no other than Aristotle who when writing the Nicomachean Ethics, used malakos to describe lack of restraint and excessive enjoyment of bodily pleasures. I quote, “he who pursues the excesses of things pleasant, and shuns those of things painful, of hunger and thirst and heat and cold and all the objects of touch and taste... that men are called 'soft' [malakos] with regard to these pleasures...”
Another well-known commentator was Josephus, who in his Wars of The Jews and Antiquities Of The Jews, used malakos to describe men who appeared soft or weak through lack of courage in battle or who enjoyed too much luxury.
We see a pattern emerging of this word being associated with vain, materialistic, pleasure-obsessed, weak-minded, weak-willed, narcissistic, superficial men. Do some homosexuals fit this description? Certainly! But so do many heterosexual men and women too.

Many are unaware of how scripture changes over time to reflect changing cultural attitudes and popular prejudices. Here is the evolution of malakoi. From AD 55 to 1568 Bishops Bible (soft or weakling); From 1602 Valera Spanish Bible to Louis Segund French Bible in 1910 (effeminate); From 1913 Moffat Bible to Present Day Modern English Translations (some form of prostitution, homosexual sex and in some translations just homosexuality in general).
An honest bible student must ask themselves how much of this anachronistic application is based on popular trends and prejudices and how much is faithful interpretation of the original Greek and its historical idiomatic use. Is it honest to apply a meaning to a scripture that the writer did not mean when they wrote it?
The early church, which used the most faithful translation of the Greek, did not see any condemnation of true same-sex love in Paul's writings and as such, same-sex unions were often blessed by the church. It was not until The Theodosian Code, drawn up by Christian emperors in the fifth century, A.D. that same-sex marriage was made illegal.
This is even more apparent when we get to the word Paul made up- arsenokoites, a compound Greek word made up of men and beds. Which like most compound words (butterfly, ladykiller) do not always mean the combined definition of both words but can have an entirely different meaning. For example ladykiller does not mean “a lady who kills” or even “a killer of ladies” but “a man whom ladies find extremely charming”. Greek compound words are similar. Cyclops literally translates as round eye. But it actually means “a giant with one eye”. So to assume arsenokoites which translates literally as men beds, must mean “all men in beds” shows a lack of understanding idiomatic use of language.
The term has appeared a total of 56 times since Paul coined the expression and its subsequent use has nothing to do with men in love, men in beds or men in mutually consenting relationships. In appears first in the Sibylline Oracles in conjugated form: me arsenokoitein, me sukophantein, mete phoneuein, where the context was pedestry (rape and sexual exploitation of young boys by older men), anal rape of men or women, extortion, thievery and murder.
Early Christian commentator, Pseudo-Macarius Aegyptius in his Homiliae spirituales IV 4.22, when describing the Story of Sodom states, “….created the ultimate offense in their evil purpose against the angels, wishing to work arsenokoitia (anal rape) upon them.”

In the 6th Century, astrologer Rhetorius Aegyptius used the term “arsenokoites (of women) and rapists of women.” 

John the Faster, considered to be the Patriarch of Constantinople, uses the word arsenokoitia, to refer to a man violating members of his family with anal rape. “One must also ask about the perplexing, beguiling , and shadowy sin of incest, of which there are not just one or two varieties but a great many very different ones….Some even do it with their own mothers, and others with foster sisters or goddaughters. In fact, many men even commit the sin of arsenokoitia with their wives.” John the Faster, Penitential, about AD 575.

Fact is, the term arsenokoites only ever appears when speaking about forcible or exploitative sexual encounters involving men with men, boys and women.

In Summary:

Both Jesus and Paul lived at the height of Greco-Roman culture where same-sex behavior was pervasive. Yet none of the Greek terms commonly used at the time, terms that we would most clearly understand today as homosexual, homosexual sex and/or romance, drag queen, lesbian, if translated, appear in the New Testament.

Jesus healed a Centurion’s beloved pais.

Jesus and Paul’s admonishments on marriage and divorce are conveniently overlooked by the same anti-gay Christians.

Romans Chapter 1 refers to people falling into pagan worship, which we know from ancient history refers to the rites to Cybele and Saturn which resulted in many ill-effects, one of them being a frenzied orgiastic lust that caused people who were not even into that in everyday life, to engage in acts including but not limited to same-sex acts, that were unusual or uncustomary to them. It has nothing to do with homosexuality in general or committed same-sex relationships in particular.

1 Corinthians 6:9 refers to weak, vain, pleasure obsessed men of no substance or moral character, the historical use of the word malakoi and men who are pederasts, rapists, exploiters and murderers, which is how the word arsenokoites has always been used since Paul coined it. It has nothing to do with homosexuality in general or committed same-sex relationships in particular.

Do Not Be INFANTS In Your Understanding

Legalism is a burdensome load the spiritually immature carry and try to load up on others, completely forgetting the importance of grace and individual relationship with the Divine as you work out your OWN salvation.
When Paul was writing his letters, he often peppered them with disclaimers to not be infants in understanding 1 Corinthians 14:20; not to take his words to judge others and cause them to stumble Romans 14:13-14; to be fully persuaded in one’s own mind Romans 14:5; If you are unsure, fall back on the MOST IMPORTANT Commandment and it will cover anything he could not adequately address Romans 13:9-10. 

Paul did not want people slavishly following his words as commandments, like they were already doing with the Old Law. He had enough of a battle as it was to free early Christians from a shallow kind of legalism and literalism that blocked their understanding the meat of the message and most of all, grace.

“Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.” Galatians 3:23-25

He already saw them using the scriptures (and the only scriptures that existed in Paul’s time was the Old Law, that is the scripture he was referring to in 2Tim 3:16, when he was writing his letters) to exclude uncircumcised, non-Sabbath observing, non-kosher following Gentiles, judge and nit-pick at each other’s behavior, attire, diet and enforce old ranking systems of class and gender.  He had to remind them in Galations 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; THERE IS NO MALE AND FEMALE; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

This is not the intended use of scripture

But perhaps the most radical thing Paul ever did write can be found in 1 Tim 1:4-6. “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through HYPOCRITICAL LIARS, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. THEY FORBID PEOPLE TO MARRY and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. FOR EVERYTHING GOD CREATED IS GOOD, AND NOTHING IS TO BE REJECTED IF IT IS RECEIVED WITH THANKSGIVING, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.”

It was not as though Paul did not have precedent.

It was Christ himself who bypassed the Old Law if it did not serve the greater good, mercy and basic human needs. He and his disciples picked grain to eat and healed when it was the Sabbath (punishable by death), he allowed an unclean woman with menstrual flow to touch him (punishable by banishment) and when the sanctimonious Pharisees kicked up a fuss, he referred to the account of King David who when he and his soldiers were starving ate the consecrated bread in the temple (a capital offense) but as Matthew 12:7 shows, Jesus said of God, “If you had known what these words mean, 'I DESIRE MERCY, NOT SACRIFICE,' you would not have condemned the innocent.”

Anti-Gay Bible Literalists are modern day Pharisees. What they do today, bears striking resemblance to when the bible was used in an infantile, legalistic way to justify things like slavery, colonialism and unjust treatment of women. They demand that in order to follow Christ, gays and lesbians must live lonely celibate lives or force themselves to live a contradiction to keep up appearances, in constant turmoil over their innate orientation. Something they would never do themselves.
'I DESIRE MERCY, NOT SACRIFICE,' Be wary of those who try to make your spiritual life feel like this….

It is not hardship, pain, suffering and suppression that please Christ, but your happiness, freedom and how you use it to serve your fellowman. He said his yoke is supposed to be light and the load refreshing and nobody is supposed to be placing heavy burdens on your shoulders that they would not bear themselves. Do not be fooled! If your spiritual practice means denying yourself joy (and joy is a fruit of the spirit) that can be fulfilled well within the clear universal perimeters of, “Love your neighbor as yourself”, it has nothing to do with Christ.  Instead it has everything to do with shielding other people from the challenge of dealing with what they find personally discomforting; soothing their cultural prejudices and satisfying their ego’s need for an effigy of evil to beat and blame. It is not your spiritual duty to empty all your joy into their void. That is bottomless pit that only Divine grace and love can fill.
Instead of this!

 For more information please visit:,,  and the film, “For The Bible Tells Me So”


October 20, 2012

Answering Anti-Gay Bible Literalists Part 2- The Old Testament

If you have read Part 1, you are already familiar with how Biblical Literalists think. For the biblical legalist, the 66 books are God’s infallible word. It is the literal story of human history, all the fantastic events are true and the rules and opinions expressed are the final authority on everything that exists, everything we could ever do or conceive of doing. They will even make the argument that the bible can be applied to matters that we know (through entomology, archeological and comparative study of history) that the bronze-aged men who wrote it had no concept of in their time and for which they did not even have the vocabulary to describe; things like homosexuality.

The Very First Thing You Need To Do Is Clearly Define "Homosexual"

Do not get tied up in a game of semantic gymnastics.

For the most part, Anti-Gay Bible Literalists (claiming to be guided by holy-spirit) not only try to attach modern understandings to things written about 4000 years ago without even knowing for sure if it was what the bible writers actually meant. They also keep shifting and widening the definition of homosexuality and homosexual. This makes it easier to use out of context or extremely specific bible quotes to apply to all LGBT people when it clearly does not.

The word “HOMOSEXUAL” and its definition is actually a fairly recent term in human history. It came about during the nineteenth century when humans began exploring the human psyche. In 1886, it was Richard von Krafft-Ebing who first put forward in his book Psychopathia Sexualis the notion that there were people oriented exclusively towards the same sex. He called such people homosexual. Before this radical new proposition, the common belief was that everyone was the same and those who engaged in same-gender sexual behavior did so by choice or being forced into it or having too powerful a libido. Nobody ever considered before that same-sex attraction was an intrinsic trait.
So before you begin to debate, ensure that you properly define “homosexuality” and “homosexual” according to the correct academic and medical connotation which is:

HOMOSEXUALITY and its modern slang GAY- An innate orientation towards the same sex instead of the opposite sex

HOMOSEXUAL- A person with an innate orientation towards the same sex instead of the opposite sex

HOMOSEXUAL (GAY) RELATIONSHIP- A romantic and/or sexually intimate relationship between two, consenting, adult homosexuals.

Make it very clear you are debating about a psycho-sexual condition that is independent of:

Behavior (which includes everything from rape to prostitution to pederasty)

A singular sexual position or sex act (anal sex)

This may confuse some people who lump everything in the same boat. It should not.
We do not define heterosexuality as every single form of opposite sex interaction (incest, adultery, prostitution and rape) nor do we restrict the definition to a singular sexual act- penile/vaginal intercourse. When you read of a story of rape between a man and a woman in the bible, it is not an indictment against heterosexuality or all mutually consenting heterosexual relationships. So to be intellectually consistent, you cannot take specific cases of same-sex interaction involving rape, prostitution, pagan worship or even anal sex and use it to indict all homosexuals. That would not be intellectually honest.

Sexual behavior and sexual orientation are two different things. 

Someone can be completely virginal or celibate and still have a sexual orientation (an emotional, psychological, biological attraction to a particular gender) or even act contrary to their orientation. For example, Oscar Wilde was heterosexually married but was a homosexual. Some women who are heterosexual act like lesbians for pay. Some men in prison who are heterosexual may use other men for sexual release. Sexual behavior is not always motivated by sexual attraction. Money, peer pressure, desperation, drugs and dominance are just as likely triggers as genuine attraction. You can change your sexual behavior but you cannot change your sexual orientation. It is an involuntary, deeply set trait. Before you even have time to think or make a choice, your brain releases the cocktail of serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine that makes your heart race, palms sweaty, mouth dry, butterflies in the stomach, blood flow to the genitalia in response to a particular person or erotic scenario. The ONLY choice you have is whether to act on your innate nature or suppress it.

But back to the bible.

Homosexuality as it is academically and medically understood today was not part of the ancient Hebrew world-view any more so than awareness of the endocrine system or women contributing 50% of the genetic material towards conception. There is no ancient Hebrew word that translates as- homosexual and if you see the word homosexual anywhere in the Old Testament, you are using a translation that is over-reaching and tampered by a translator adding their own spin and anachronistic assumptions. Is it right to apply modern concepts to ancient writings that was not and could not possibly be referring to the exact same thing? Or is it more accurate to understand things in their proper context- cultural, historical, linguistic?

Impress upon the Anti-Gay Biblical Literalist that the latter is more accurate. The closest thing we have in any Hebrew writings to a reference to people having an inherent, gender/sexual anomaly in their physical and emotional make-up is the word saris. It refers to both male and females who were either born eunuchs or turned into eunuchs. We will learn more about born saris and their role in Jewish culture and the Gospel’s reference to them later on and it will blow your mind!

So now that we have made our definitions perfectly clear, let us state our position which is:

The bible does not condemn homosexuality or committed same sex relationships between consenting adults.
The Anti-Gay Bible Legalist's position is: Yes it does!

So let’s prove our case:

Was The Crime Of Sodom Homosexuality?

Going in biblical order, we will start with Genesis 19 and the story of Lot.

Hospitality was a common decency expected in ancient times when travel involved long days in harsh arid environments. Just like people are expected to cover their nose when they sneeze, one was always expected to welcome strangers, offer water, food and rest.  Even if your accommodation was as humble as a single tent, this human kindness was mandated, far less if you had rich accommodations like the people of Sodom, who had a whole walled city, fertile green land, lots of bread and water.

Honest bible readers and the vast majority of objective biblical scholars, even ones who still maintain that homosexuality is a sin, all agree this account is about inhospitality to strangers, xenophobic gang rape and pure inhumane depravity against one’s fellowman. Even the rest of the bible confirms this. Ezekiel 16: 49, says that the sin of Sodom was greed, pride, fullness of bread and a wicked refusal to help the poor. According to the gospels, when neighboring villages were rude and inhospitable to Jesus and his disciples he compared them to Sodom in Matthew 10:11-15. Even better, in the book of Jude it gets very specific about the crime. In verse 5, it speaks about angels who forsook their natural realm, a reference to the story in Genesis about the “Sons of God” who had interspecies sex (angel with human) with the daughters of men. Then it mentions Sodom as being guilty of the same for going after “strange flesh”. The actual ancient Greek term used is “heteras” which ironically is the root of the word  heterosexual i.e. men are of a different flesh than women. So in this scripture it is clear it is not referring to “the same” flesh as humans but it translates literally as “different form/flesh”, meaning supernatural or not the same as human flesh. What we have here folks is a case of humans (knowingly or unknowingly) wanting to have sex with angels.

Is the story of Sodom about xenophobic, inhospitable, gang rape prompted by selfishness and pride....

Or mutually consenting, loving same sex relationships? Please re-read it carefully and cross reference with other scriptures that mention it. 

If Sodom was an entirely “gay city” it certainly would not have been populous as described in the bible, since any agrarian/military civilization’s success in ancient times depended heavily on population size (which is why the nation of Israel placed so much emphasis on being as numerous as the grains of sand) to be workers in the fields and feed a mighty military. Obviously people in Sodom were having lots of children. I am not saying there were no gay men or lesbians but it is more likely the same ratio today applied back then and LGBT people were in the minority. In addition, Lot’s daughters were engaged to men in the city and Lot even offered his daughters to be raped instead of the men, not a very smart move if he knew the city was full of men who did not find women viable sexual partners.

If your priest/pastor/reverend has supposedly studied the bible, Hebrew and Greek and is perpetuating the falsehood that the words “sodomy” and “sodomite” PROVES that Sodom was a gay city, they are exploiting your ignorance.  Those words did not come from the original Hebrew word used in passages like 2 Kings 23:7 to describe male temple prostitute of the Canaanite Goddess Ashtoreth. The Hebrew word for Sodom is sodem which means to burn. The Hebrew word for a cult-prositute male or female is qadesh

And what motivates rape in the first place? A crush? Romantic feelings? No. Rape is all about power and dominance. In ancient times it was a common practice of military men when they wanted to humiliate the men of another conquered tribe. In prisons today, it is still a common practice for the same reasons and the main perpetrators are self-identified heterosexual men. If someone is intent on raping, gender is no issue because the personhood of the victim is not important. The rapist is not being turned on by their face, body, loving reciprocation and enjoyment. He is being turned on by the struggling, helplessness, pain, suffering, crying, screams, blood, humiliation and his total control over the victim.

Whether the men of Sodom wanted to rape the angels because they knew they were supernatural and wanted to steal some kind of mystical power or just out of plain hatred and spite to teach the foreigner Lot a lesson: You are a stranger in our city and have no right to bring foreign guests inside our city walls without permission.The context and other biblical references to Sodom clearly shows that it was not destroyed because of people having a homosexual orientation or wanting committed same-sex relationships.

The Holiness Code Of The Mosaic Law (Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 and Deuteronomy 23:17-18.)

Abominable Christmas Ham and American Eagle
The God Hates Fags crowd love holding these references up on their placards, “Thou shall not lie with a man as with a woman it is an abomination.”

Contrary to popular belief, the Hebrew word for abomination does not mean “gross evil” it simply means not kosher or forbidden/foreign. It is also closely linked with idolatry and idol worship.

Seems clear enough when you take it at face value and remember Biblical Illiteracy Factor 2, certain people care more about what a scripture seems to SAY whenever convenient instead of what a scripture MEANS. In order to understand what the scripture means, we have to go back to the original language and the context.

Due to corroboration from Leviticus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 23:17-18, I think it can be concluded that this passage is indeed about a form of male same-sex intercourse. But that’s it. It is not about homosexuality, the orientation or even all loving same sex relationships. This is further supported by the context and the Hebrew word for “abomination” and its comparative use in other places.  First let us look at the context.

So here were these exiles wandering the wilderness, trying to establish a separate nation and conquer the people inhabiting the land they believed was promised to them by Yahweh. In order to set themselves apart from the Amorites, Canaanites and Hittites, they were given, according to their account, a set of laws from God, 613 in all. These laws covered everything from civil, dietary, hygiene, domestic, economic and of course spiritual practices.

After a blood sacrifice of one's children to Molech or Baal....

The custom of the surrounding Canaanites was to have a pagan sex ritual for fertility with a qadesh or temple prostitute who could be female or a castrated male that served the role of a female.

 Anything that the surrounding nations of non-Hebrews practiced- eating pork, getting tattoos, mixing fabrics, mixing crops were deemed an abomination. There were actually two types of abominations. The word sheqets was used to refer to non-kosher foods, fabrics, farming practices. The word tobeah/toveah was always used in connection to anything related to pagan idolatry. Even the idols themselves were called tobeah/toveah. 

One of the tobeah things to do was to practice any kind of spiritual rite that the pagan tribes practiced in service to their God and Goddess- Baal, Molech, Ashtoreth. Monotheism was a new kettle of fish for the Hebrews, who like most people in their time were aware of many Gods and Goddesses. Throughout the Old Testament, they are always falling back into worshipping other Gods and Goddesses and have to be reminded all the time to only serve Yahweh or risk his wrath upon them. One of the pagan practices common at the time was sacred sexual rites performed by a qadesh/qadesha, a male or female prostitute. In fact, parents would sacrifice their children by making them eunuch temple prostitutes in service to Molech and Ashtoreth.

It amazes me that people pull out just one verse of Leviticus Chapter 18 without reading the WHOLE CHAPTER which clearly is about the aforementioned practices that are part of cultic sex worship. Leviticus 18 begins this way…. “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the LORD your God. After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances.

What were the “ordinances” prevalent in the land of Canaan? The chapter goes on to describe  the various “tobeah” (pagan idolatry) practices such as incest related acts and bestiality. Then in verse 21, right before it the famous verse 22, it speaks about sacrificing children to Molech and only after that it references two men lying together AS WITH A WOMAN.

If it were not for that last part, “AS WITH A WOMAN”, the bible legalist may be able to get a point on his side of the argument. But because of that particular specification, we know this passage is not about homosexuality in general but a particular sex act or rite that is deemed tobeah. Male temple prostitutes or qadesh were often castrated so that they would be “like women”. They were used for fertility rituals after one sacrificed their child to Molech.

This passage is about qadesh and pagan sex rites not about homosexuals or loving same-sex relationships. It also fails to mention lesbians by the way, which would have been a good time to do so, if indeed the purpose of the law was to ban homosexuality in general. Did the Israelites not know about lesbians? Or was it, like masturbation or sexual play between unmarried lovers (Song of Solomon) not even an important enough issue to legislate?

Cherry Picking The Old Testament To Condemn What You Don’t Like

I said it before and I will say it again, no bible thumper follows all of Leviticus and so they render themselves-hypocrites when held up to closer scrutiny.

Some like to claim that the Mosaic Law was divided into Ceremonial Law and a Moral Law and the moral law like the ten commandments and includes passages used to condemn at least some form of same-sex intercourse between men, still applies. Well, according to Jewish scholars of their OWN writings, no such distinction exists. The 613 Laws are part of one Mosaic Legal Code. In addition, they point to the fact that the law was for “The Children Of Israel” not for you and me. This doctrine is purely a Christian construct on someone else’s religion.

Among the many “abominations”, here are some things also punishable by death in Leviticus:
      Having sex with a menstruating woman
      A child cursing their parent
      Working on the Sabbath

If you are going to use Leviticus to condemn LGBT people, you also condemn yourself as a hypocrite if you too do not follow all 613 laws.

In addition, to claim that “biblical marriage” is the same as the post-Victorian traditional concept of marriage is well, not entirely accurate. According to the bible marriage is everything from arranged marriages, cousins marrying, brothers marrying sisters (Abraham and Sarah), brother in laws marrying their widowed sister in laws; the use of concubines to slave girls; forcing rape victims and conquered women to marry the men who claimed them against their full will, just see Deut. 25:5-6; Gen. 38:8, Exodus 21:10-11; 2 Sam. 12:7-8, Exodus 21:2-4 and Deut. 22:28-29. There have been all kinds of marital arrangements in the bible, some of which were claimed to be sanctioned by Yahweh. To pick one that most fits the modern definition you would like to defend and declare it THE BIBLICAL STANDARD is also not being entirely honest.

Do we really apply biblical standards today?

Born Eunuchs-Saris A Case For Gender Diversity In Nature

Anti-gay biblical literalists need to maintain that God does not create anything except obviously masculine, heterosexual men and obviously feminine heterosexual women. They say it is a perverted CHOICE that makes people behave in any way atypical to traditional gender roles and sexuality. However, there is proof that is not what the ancient Hebrews believed.

According to the Mosaic Holiness Code (see Deuteronomy 23:1-2.) no one who had their testicles removed could enter the temple or partake of the holy offering temurah, neither could their wives. These castrated men were called saris. However, in Jeremiah 34:15-19, it mentions eunuchs who were serving in the temple. How come?

Well, if we go to the Talmud, we learn about a group of eunuchs who were classified as “born eunuchs”. They did not have any physical deformity of the genitalia and so could enjoy full temple inclusion and partake of the temurah. So what it was that made them be described as eunuchs?

It was the fact they were effeminate for men or overly masculine for women. I quote from the Talmud:

“Who is a congenital saris [a born eunuch]? 13 Any person who is twenty years of age and has not produced two pubic hairs. 14 And even if he produced them afterwards he is deemed to be a saris [born eunuch] in all respects. He whose voice is abnormal so that one cannot distinguish whether it is that of a man or of a woman.
Any woman who is twenty years of age and has not produced two pubic hairs. And even if she produces them afterwards she is deemed to be a woman incapable of procreation in all respects. She has no breasts and suffers pain during copulation. One whose voice is deep so that one cannot distinguish whether it is that of a man or of a woman.”

In the New Testament, Jesus is said to have mentioned these saris in Matthew 19, when he refers to “born eunuchs” and he certainly was not condemning them.

What is a biblical scholar supposed to conclude from these passages? Well, obviously that the Hebrews, though primitive had already observed that sexual anomalies existed among their people and saw they were congenital. They defined physical and temperamental traits the best way they knew how, for they had no other benchmarks. Today we know after over 100 years of psychological study that human sexuality and gender is naturally diverse. Every year, millions of children are born who are intersex or have chromosomal, hormonal, psychological variances as it relates to gender and sexuality.

The ancient Hebrews, even if they did not know about genetics, bacteria and the solar system, were at least smart enough to know these characteristics were inbred, not a choice and not a reason to ill-treat a person.

Were David And Jonathan Genuinely In Love With Each Other?
“the soul (nephesh) of Jonathan was (qashar) knit with the (nephesh) soul of David, and Jonathan loved (ahab) him as his own (nephesh) soul.”

The Hebrews had many words for “love”. They made clear distinctions between brotherly/familial love, Divine spiritual love and romantic love. When speaking about love between husband and wife and lovers, the Hebrews used the word ahab. The word ahab is used to describe the love between Jacob and Rachel in Genesis 29:20 and the love of the Shulamite girl for her shepherd boy in the Song of Solomon 3:1-4. 

So it is very curious that when the story of Jonathan and David unfolds, it is not the term for brotherly love or Divine love but ahab love between them in 1 Samuel 18:1-4. More importantly, there is the use of the Hebrew words quashar (knit) and nephesh (soul- the self, life, desire, passion), which when used together in the bible are almost always in reference to marriage vows or soul-mates, who become “one-flesh”.

So when the passage in Samuel says:  “the soul (nephesh) of Jonathan was (qashar) knit with the (nephesh) soul of David, and Jonathan loved (ahab) him as his own (nephesh) soul.” We cannot help but wonder at the nature of this love. If this was an opposite sex pair, the natural assumption would be this was a romantic relationship and one of the greatest love stories ever. It is only because the story refers to two men that the nature of the love is relegated to “brotherly love”

Other indicators that make a clear distinction are:

The fact that although David eventually marries Jonathan’s sister Michal, the bible is very careful to show that David does not love her and it was a marriage for political alliances. When he marries the princess Michal, Saul calls him, “son in law in the two”, so who is the other child? Jonathan perhaps?

The reaction of Jonathan and David when they realize they can no longer see one another. According to the account in Samuel, they embraced and wept repeatedly, only parting after swearing an eternal covenant to one another. It would be a promise David kept years later even through it was extremely politically inconvenient to him.

David’s lament for Jonathan when he was slain in battle: I am distressed for you my brother Jonathan;
Greatly beloved were you to me; your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.”
(2 Samuel 1: 26-27)

Anti-Gay Biblical Literalists love to reduce the relationships of gays and lesbians down to a singular sex act to avoid the fact...

There is genuine love, commitment, self-sacrifice and intimacy that can outlast life's challenges including persecution and prejudice.

One of the wide circles Anti-Gay Biblical Literalists make around the subject of homosexuality is the aspect of LOVE. They try to reduce the relationship between gays and lesbians to sex, lust and childhood dysfunction as a means to ignore the fact that gays and lesbians feel the same kind of love for their partner as straight couples do for theirs. The same willingness to compromise, self-sacrifice and set aside the individual ego for authentic soul union with another is what makes it possible for gay couples to last through sickness, health, richer, poorer, better and worse. Sex alone does not do this.

So in conclusion of your Old Testament argument:

  • The word “homosexual” and the way we understand it today is not covered in the Old Testament
  • The story of Sodom is about inhospitality and inhumanity not homosexuality
  • The Mosaic Law deals with specific same sex acts that were related to tobeah/toveah activities, namely idolatrous sex rites involving qadesh
  • The Mosaic Law cannot be cherry picked without indicting the cherry-picker who does not follow the entire legislation in respect to diet, clothing, agricultural practices and keeping the Sabbath.  

We will deal with the New Testament in the next installment.

For more information please visit:, the film, “For The Bible Tells Me So” and check out this fabulous video series starting with this one:

July 24, 2012

Oprah Angers India's Custodians Of Its Government's Tourism/Investment Dreams

Apparently, millions of Indians are deeply offended by Oprah’svisit to their country which she filmed and used as part of her Next Chapter series. Oh wait, by millions of Indians, I mean several Indian media houses. By the way, not everyone in the media houses, just those in a position where they understand clearly they are working as the Government’s PR Companies, helping it to attract foreign investment and tourism. They have a special job to do in painting a certain picture of India at all times- Up and coming G8 nation! Glamorous Bollywood! The Modern India! High Tech India! Rapidly Changing To Gender Equal India! So when Oprah showed the poverty in India or the fact that most Indians eat with their hands (I don’t know what so embarrassing about that. How else you suppose to eat paratha?) or the fact there is still a caste system in place, it tarnished the shiny lie.

You see as a Caribbean woman in general and a Trini woman in particular, I real familiar with this scheme. I know it because I living in a tourist-isle right now that trying to constantly attract Investment. The media here tends to be rather lax about reporting the unflattering news of which there is plenty. I know it because of Patos days when he make my force-ripe T&T pretend to be Up and coming G8 nation for Obama’s visit and used Chinese slave labor to do it. And the so-called Afro-centric people who love him so in the ghetto don’t even realize that if you really “FOR BLACK PEOPLE”, the first thing you would do is honor your ancestral heritage by NEVER inflicting the pain of slavery unto another race of people like it was done to your ancestors. But in Trinidad, it was “the black people dem Government” having Chinese people living in slave quarters, getting sick, not getting paid. And for what again? Oh yes, a pappy show!

In Patos days it was woe to any media house that did not applaud at the pappy show. No unflattering coverage of T&T was allowed. We have a Hyatt godammit! And a retarded version of Sydney Opera House round de Savannah. We REACH!!!!!!!!!!

The one positive stereotype about India that actually proves to be true is the spirituality found there which was primarily Oprah’s focus.

So we started painting a picture of Trinidad and Tobago that is not entirely real. We even got our very own episode of Househunters on HGTV. What was it about again? Oh yes, an oil worker from Texas having to relocate to work in our country’s petroleum sector. They eventually settled for a gated community with full time security of course! We REACH!!!!!!

Perhaps if it was a story of a returning Trini American family coming back here to retire or an foreign artist who came to live here because of being inspired by the culture, maybe I would have been less suspicious. Only because that would be so far-fetched it had to be true because nobody would believe it even if it were a lie. We know damn well that NO Trini American family EVER returns to Trinidad to retire. Times real hard in the USA and it becoming racially hostile yet you seeing St. Lucians returning home. You are seeing Grenadians returning home. You are seeing even Dominicans returning home. Trinis, they will stick it out till the end!  Romeny will have to use the National Guard to get them out (those without visas anyway) if he get elected president and his law enforcement better prepare for some serious fight…with obeah and thing.  Most Trinis too chicken shit for the physical pain of resisting arrest. We don’t do hunger strikes. We are also not the standing in front of a tank Teinemen Square types. We had a Government Minister called Hulsie who tried to protest and as soon as she bamcee touch the highway a soca tune start playing and everybody forget what she was protesting about. We cannot even throw a proper coup. So the most the NIS have to worry about when they come to drag Yasmin and she anchor baby Jaleel to JFK and put her on a flight to Piarco is she offer them “sweat rice” or make them a so foot.

You just have to LOVE the juxtaposition of the photo and the main headline. This sums up Trinidad and Tobago PERFECTLY!!!!

As for a story about the foreign artists who come here. Well, that love affair’s shelf life is only as long until the first assault, rape, burglary that happens to them. It is not the crime itself that makes them fall out of love. They know that unfortunate crimes happen even in their first world countries. No, it’s the ineptitude of the police and the constipation of the justice system that makes them cool considerably towards the land of calypso. Of course, if you really want them to flee, make them use the public health facilities.

But we REACH right?  Just like India.

What I find a bit confusing though is, How come these offended Indians were not complaining about all the episodes of The Amazing Race on CBS when the contestants went to India and the film crew captured real racing footage and almost everyone in the Western Hemisphere with cable saw India's true condition for more than a decade now, the crowded streets, beggars, street children, filthy water, poorer castes, hungry eyed men gaping at the American women and groping them on the train. And what of Slumdog Millionaire that showed the real conditions of the poor in Mumbai, including the outbreak of religious violence between Muslims and Hindus resulting in terrible deaths?

Why are these media houses acting like this is the FIRST time their country's no so flattering side has been exposed?

Were they expecting SOMETHING of Oprah they would not expect of the powerful white, male CBS directors and white male Hollywood execs? Were they expecting her to kowtow to them and do their tourist and political public relations for them? Why? Because she has Deepak Chopra on her show every now and then and urges her guests to practice meditation? Does that mean she must also give up her journalistic integrity? She started out as a newsperson. This is what people forget and she will explore the story for what it is at the end of the day. India is way too vast to explore and its population too large. So she picked a poor family and a wealthy family and since the vast majority of India is poor, I would say she actually gave “Wealthy India” more than fair coverage.

That aforementioned, is me thinking of the best case scenario for why the Indians are offended at her because the worse case would be they think that because she is a woman and black, they can intimidate Oprah while they keep their polite smiles on for the white, male CBS directors and white male Hollywood execs and the Brangelinas of the world, who highlight all the poverty and inequality of India more often than Oprah ever did.

Modern India indeed!

In true modern societies the media does not have to play sycophant to the Government and spread propaganda to the world. It is not just the Caribbean and India that should take note but America too. Unless you are living in utopia, true patriots of their country always have a love hate relationship with it. Oh and it is an "out of the closet" relationship. You share both what you love and hate about your country with the world in an effort to appeal to be honest and forge true understanding on a global scale.