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Letters to the Editor

Twisted Word

February 20, 2007

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To the editor:

Recent letters printed here quoting Scriptures denouncing homosexuality disturbed me. I strongly support one's right to opinion and beliefs, yet selecting specific verses justifying intolerance belies a religious double standard.

Anyone can use biblical cut-and-paste to support any position, while omitting contradictory verses. Deuteronomy 17:12 states anyone rejecting the words of a priest must be killed. Leviticus 20:9 says a child that curses their parents should be killed. Chronicles 15:12-13 orders the death of all who do not seek the Lord.

I don't infer that those opposed to same-sex partnerships advocate murdering homosexuals, subscribe to mass-murdering followers of other faiths, or believe in capital punishment for sassy kids. I'm saying that such narrow interpretations in such a manner have had dark and horrific consequences.

Selective use of religious writings is as old as the religions themselves. That practice led to the Crusades, the Inquisition and the Holocaust. Those of any faith, who twist the written Word in such a manner, do a disservice to their religion. It's a thinly veiled excuse for bigotry to quote Scriptures justifying such persecution, while absolving themselves of wrong because it is so written. No matter how you try to spin it, it's bigotry. It's discrimination, and it's wrong.

Then again, it's just my opinion.

Steve Craven,

Lawrence

Comments

KS 7 years, 10 months ago

You are right, Steve. It's just an opinion.

dragonwagon2 7 years, 10 months ago

I couldn't have said it better myself! Thanks, Steve for saying it so well.

jonas 7 years, 10 months ago

Nice try, Steve, but we've heard this argument before. By "we," of course, I tend to refer to people who would not have used those biblical arguments against homosexuality in the first place. The ones that do, unfortunately, will just glaze over as they read this, and go right back to using their same verses and flawed arguments on and on.

mom_of_three 7 years, 10 months ago

Scripture was also used to justify slavery.

Needless to say, those arguments were disproved also.

KayCee 7 years, 10 months ago

"Yes I wish they would get off the abortion thingy. Who do they think they are anyway!"

On this issue, tellers of the TRUTH. It won't go away, and we won't 'get off of it'.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 10 months ago

What Steve doesn't understand is:

1 - The Old Covenant passages he quoted above are true and correct and should have been applied that way FOR THOSE WHO LIVED UNDER THAT COVENANT. Contextually, those applied to those people (Hebrews under the Law of Moses), but do not apply the same way today.

2 - The writings in NEW COVENANT simply CANNOT be construed to mean anything other than "homosexuality is a perversion". You don't have to "twist" it or take it out of context to ANY degree to see how PLAINLY it says that it is contrary to how God made men and women to be.

Steve is not a student of God's word. He is, like so many others, a person to goes to the Bible to find out what's "wrong" with it. It would be a life-changing experience for him if he could pick it up and ask "Do I find GOD in here?"

In defense of Steve: many so-called Christians do the same thing he has done. It is not just the "liberal, atheistic" types who go to the Bible to find justification for their agendas. Religious conservatives use it the same way. Some of them simply fall into the "right" ditch instead of the "left" ditch. Either way, the reader is not finding a connection to God; and, either way, God is not honored [Mark 7:6]. If you are a Christian and you hate gays, you are NOT a Christian. You are a hater.

Decry the behavior and stand your moral ground out of obedience to Christ, but do not attack people. Hate the behavior and the sin, but realize that "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the unGodly" applies to you and I as well. WWJD? He'd love them, while explaining how their sin is killing their souls.

jonas 7 years, 10 months ago

"Steve is not a student of God's word. He is, like so many others, a person to goes to the Bible to find out what's "wrong" with it. It would be a life-changing experience for him if he could pick it up and ask "Do I find GOD in here?""

Just hold the book on end and shake it. If He's in there, odds are He'll tumble out.

Kodiac 7 years, 10 months ago

One wonders how does one go to the bible to find out what is "right" with it.

I had no idea that the NT says that men and women were made plain by God. That explains everything....

sourpuss 7 years, 10 months ago

Actually, unless you read Old Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, you haven't actually read the Bible anyway. As well, there are lots of apocryphal books that didn't make the various church council cuts, but were written during the same period by Biblical actors.

Translations of the Bible can deviate wildly from strict meaning. Anyone who has done any translation work knows that you can often choose more than one word to denote meaning, and the word you pick will change the tone of the original. Sometimes, it is impossible to convey exactly the intent of the original language. Different sects also use different translations to skew writings to their own views. This has been happening since the Old Latin and subsequent Jerome Vulgate translations, and it is still happening.

Ultimately, nitpicking over what a book says is pointless. If you don't like homosexuals, then you don't like them, and it doesn't matter what your religion does or doesn't say about it. Humans believe what is convenient to them, and then go about justifying that belief in various ways. Morals are relative to the society that forms them, they are not Platonic Truths.

Confrontation 7 years, 10 months ago

"a religious double standard"

I've yet to discover any religion without a double standard.

Sandra Willis 7 years, 10 months ago

Good for You, Mr. Craven! While I have thought these same things my whole life, I learned to just keep my mouth shut when around Biblical Fanatics.

Janet Lowther 7 years, 10 months ago

A hundred sixty-odd years ago James Russell Lowell hit upon a problem of religions with a closed canon:

"New occasions teach new duties, time makes ancient good uncouth, They must upward still and onward, who would keep abreast of truth."

Christianity has (as they say in the Java world) "depreciated" parts of the Old Testament. But other than the dietary laws (which were thrown out wholesale in the days of the Apostles) there is no clear rule as to what scripture has what status.

In any case, granting much beyond mythic authority to a document, the newest parts of which may as well been carved in stone nearly 2000 years ago, is foolish.

The Bible does teach us a lot about the relationship of God and Man. (As a good myth should.) However, as a moral rulebook it leaves much to be desired. It does contain one of the best and most universal guides to morality: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

When it comes down to it, "Love your neighbor as yourself" is a complete guide to being moral and just. All else is empty elaboration or the provision of pre-thought shortcuts.

The Old Testament, however, was a pretty good rulebook for the desert tribes of 2500+ years ago. In that context the prohibition of homosexuality makes a lot of sense: In those days any tribe member who refused to reproduce endangered the very continuing existence of the tribe. In today's cheek-by-jowl world that prohibition makes a lot less sense.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 7 years, 10 months ago

OldEnuf was correct in his statement about old and new covenant. I don't think the letter writer understands that matter. Whether OldEnuf hates black people or not is another issue altogether, but I didn't see any reference to race in his comments so it may be unlikely.

Tychoman 7 years, 10 months ago

Great letter. Kansas and humanity in general needs more people like the LTE writer.

Jamesaust 7 years, 10 months ago

oldenuf -

in#1 expresses what some might call an "Amish" approach - believe what you believe, persuade through example, never force others to live as you do.

in #2, I don't think Old is trying hard enough - you call homosexuality a perversion, which is difficult to do seeing the word was invented in the 19th century. I believe the new covenant focuses on temple prostitution and pederasty. But hey, if you follow #1, it doesn't matter whether we agree on #2 or not - in our secular society, if you can't show direct harm, then you have no business forcing others to live according to whatever scheme you dream up. I might think crustacean-eaters deserve death but for reasons unknown to me no one else seems willing "to follow the Bible."

Too bad there are so many people who "believe in" Jesus but so few who "believe" Jesus.

blackwalnut 7 years, 10 months ago

Stop using Jesus as an excuse to be a hypocritical, hateful bigot.

Jamesaust 7 years, 10 months ago

blackwalnut: "Stop using Jesus as an excuse to be a hypocritical, hateful bigot." 75x55: "Works both ways, blackwalnut."

Wow, 75, must have made the backalley winos spew the Colt 45 out of their noses with that rejoinder.

I'd leave Jesus to speak for himself if I were you. Listen close, you might learn something.

Jamesaust 7 years, 10 months ago

"he claims that he does not condemn the person, only the lifestyle"

What exactly is the "lifestyle". What sort of mocking, arrogant word is this?

I would add - nature / nuture - makes no difference.

If no one is harmed by someone else's private life, its not your "bees-wax". Por favor, please get your snout out of everyone else's crotch, ok?

redwaggoner 7 years, 10 months ago

Remember: "JUDGE NOT, LEST YE SHALL BE JUDGED"!

Kodiac 7 years, 10 months ago

"There are bounds on which "interpretations" are allowable, but as long as a person does not advocate hate, violence, or other morally incorrect behavior towards another person. Telling a person that they do not agree with their lifestyle is not morally incorrect behavior, it is voicing an opinion." -- Das

Das,

While I understand your point here, I disagree that this applies to Oldenuf. Oldenuf is not expressing an opinion, he is telling you that homosexuality is morally wrong and should be punishable. It is one thing to say that you disagree with a lifestyle but to claim that it is some kind perversion or disease based on a religion is no different than someone advocating hate, violence, or morally incorrect behavior toward another person. I agree with Sam Harris that there is no difference between "religious moderation" and fundamentalism.

jonas 7 years, 10 months ago

Posted by Das_Ubermime (anonymous) on February 21, 2007 at 7:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

By using words like 'dumb' and 'sad' you are not marginalizing those you criticize, you are marginalizing yourself. When you resort to using uncivil name-calling, the only result is to turn those in the middle off from your message."

Big words, Pica Boy. Especially coming from a bug-loving know it all who has the gall to kick out a divine entity due to potty training problems! For shame!

Larry Miller 7 years, 10 months ago

Recent letters printed here about quoting "Scriptures denouncing homosexuality" seem to have missed the point.

God says in the Ten Commandments that you are not to have sex with anyone but your spouse. He also says that only a man and woman can get married.

Jesus repeats the same point.

So the real issue is not what sex the two people are, but are they married according to the way God designed? If not, they should not have sex. If they are, they should only have sex with each other.

Its not really very complicated.

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