Clobber 5 - Lev 18:22, 20:13
The most two popular verses in the Old testament used against gays are in Lev 18:22 and 20:13. It speaks of a man having sexual intercourse with another man. But these are practices not motivated by homosexuality or by a loving monogamous relationship but by worship of idols. Furthermore, in order to be consistent, one must also adhere all the holiness code including working on Sundays (Ex 35:2), not eating shell fish (Lev 11:10), and not eating pork (Lev 11:7). The prohibitions must be understood within the context of the culture and practices rather that unilaterally apply it into our modern circumstances and worst still selectively to suit our arguments.
The “holiness code” is laid out for us throughout the Book of Leviticus and parts of Deuteronomy. The Israelites were to follow these laws until the Messiah came and a new covenant was created. This of course happened with the arrival of Christ who established a new covenant.
How did the laws came about? what prompted their creation? It was the worship of idols by the Israelites despite God being their saviour from Egypt. The Israelites Exodus from Egypt occurred in BCE 1495, and entered into Canaan in AD 1455, after 40 years wandering in the desert. As a nation as a whole, they were still very much bound by the religions of Egypt and Canaan, despite having escaped from Egypt and having conquered Canaan.
The bible tells us not to practice the religions of Egypt and Canaan, and goes on to lists the practices. In Canaan, the people worshiped Baal, and Astoreth. They were fertility Gods and the bible clearly describes the religious practices to be of sexual nature involving sex with everyone, and animals. The above practices were committed by Straight people with the intention of pleasing Baal. It is not a judgment on Homosexuality.
The worship of Baal extends back to the 14th century BCE among the ancient Semitic peoples, the descendants of Shem. Baal is principally thought of as a Canaanite fertility deity. The Great Baal was of Canaan. He was the son of El or Dagon, the high god of Canaan. The cult of Baal celebrated annually his death and resurrection as a part of the Canaanite fertility rituals. These ceremonies often included human sacrifice and temple prostitution.
Did the laws of holiness helped?
God raised many prophets against the Worship of Baal including Elijah, and Zephaniah. The worship of Baal became so widespread in the reign of Amon (King Of Judah, BC 663), that God implicate the entire nation for destruction. Ultimately both Israel and Judah succumbed. In BC 721, Israel was taken into exile in Assyria. The last King of Israel was Hoshea. In BC 586, Judah was taken into exile by the Babylonian Army. Jerusalem was destroyed. In BC 539, Babylon falls to Persia – Cyrus II (Cyrus the Great) who gave the decree for the rebuilding of the temple and allow the exiles to return in BC 538. Later under decrees from Artaxerxes I, the temple reconstruction was expedited by Erza (BC 458) and Nehemiah (BC 445).
It is so easy for the Christian Right to assign bible verses against Gays. They never saw that the actions itself were not the sin, but their heart was. The Christian Right carefully compartmentalized those verses and attribute them to Gays. "It can't be referring to me" they claimed. But the bible is a two edged sword. It cuts both ways. It has a deeper meaning. For the Jews, their lover was God. They were not supposed to commit adultery, going to other gods. The sexual practices that were mentioned were part of the religious sex rites. In our times, what is the equivalent? Have committed spiritual adultery? unnatural love?. Could our God be people or religion. How often 'Christians' pray to Mary, the Pope, the Saints, Mother Teresa. We worshiped tradition, unity, self effort, money, and recognition by man.
Using the law, the Jewish religious leaders thought they did right by crucifying Jesus. When Saul persecuted the Christians which under law actually deserved the death penalty, he heard Jesus saying "Saul Saul are you persecuting me".
When we follow the Mosaic Law as our banner, we end up committing great crimes against the innocent. The great city of Jerusalem fell in AD 70. God gave them enough time to repent before the blood of vengeance which they accepted fell upon them. They had 70 years of grace from the time Jesus was born. Try as they might, the Christian right is slowly loosing the war against Gay rights. It will soon becoming a hopeless affair like kicking the wall. Just as grace was given to the Jews, grace is multiplied more so amongst the believers. But there are consequences. It will however come a time when there will be self destruction caused not by others but as a result of Christians persecuting gays. The Gay issue is no more than a "red herring" to bring Christians into condemnation, and to sidetrack their attention from advancing the Gospel message.