Is “Sodomy” in the bible really referring to being gay? Yes and no but certainly not in the way your homophobic aunt wants you to believe
Alternative title “What the heck is sodomy, why is the bible against it and does that apply to my life as a gay person in 2017?”
(Tw: discussion of rape as part of bible stories)
“The sin of sodomy” refers to the story of Sodom in the bible (Genesis 19).
If you’re not familiar with it, here’s a quick summary:
Angels disguise as men and visit Lot in the city of Sodom. He invites them to stay in his home. He was kind to them, prepared a meal for them and stuff like that. But just as they are about to go to sleep, all men of the entire city gather around the house and basically say “Give us those men, we want to rape them.”
What a horrible thing! Imagine you invite visitors out of kindness and then a gang knocks on your door and threatens rape. We (hopefully) all agree that is a horrible awful situation and those are horrible men. But… is it about being gay? Are those men gay?
Does that strike you as a likely thing to happen in 2017? All men in, let’s say, a rather small town in america, Greenville in North Carolina or Odessa, Texas… All of the men there are gay and form one big group of gay gang rapists? Is this story something that reflects gay communities in 2017?
Rape is a crime, no doubt. It’s a crime of violence.
Men do not rape (”sodomize”) people because they’re so attracted to them. They do it as an act of violence. A act of humiliation. A act of war.
Were the men of Sodom gay or straight? They were violent, that’s all we know for sure. They didn’t want to have sex with these men because they were in love with them or because they were so beautiful and hot - they wanted to rape them. That’s what countless gangs of violent men have done through history: use rape as a act of war.
How does our horrifying story continue?
Lot goes outside and begs them to not do it. What a brave men! Faces a violent crowd to protect his visitors from violence! But wait, what the hecking heck is he doing now? Offering them his daughters instead!
“Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes”. -
What a disturbing solution. Offer rapists someone else to rape, so they let go off who they wanted to rape first? That being said.. If the “Sin of Sodom” was homosexuality, offering gay men to sleep with girls doesn’t sound like a helpful suggestion. If we go with the interpretation here that those men weren’t rapists, just very gay guys who wanted to have nice consensual sex with some sexy gay angels - then Lot who lived in that city where everyone was gay was somehow entirely blind to that fact.
Again, is that relevant to gay relationships as we think of them today? I, as a gay person, can’t remember the last time I together with my entire gay city wanted to have sex but the one silly straight person in the town kept offering me his kids to have sex with.
What’s the more likely interpretation? That they didn’t want consensual gay sex - they wanted to assault them, and specifically them (they ignored the daughters offered to them). Most likely they wanted to rape the angels because they were strangers. We can assume that they wanted to establish their dominance over them, wanted to humiliate them - as people in war (sadly and terrifyingly) do.
How does the story end? God gets angry and destroys the city. This story follows the narrative of Noah’s flood or the tower of Babel - People are horrible, God destroys them. Your typical old testament bible story (that’s the stories before Jesus’ birth) in which God was often portrayed as vengeful and angry (and, just as a side note, Jesus literally died for you to free you from the former laws i.e the laws of the old testament. That’s why you don’t need to sacrifice animals and are allowed to wear clothes made of mixed fabrics or to shave or to get tattooed. Thankyou, Jesus!).
So, if you are gay and wonder if “The sin of sodomy” applies to you: Yes. Please do not gather up with a large crowd and threaten rape. That’s not cool, regardless of your identity. Even if the one you threaten is not an angel.
But does it apply to you in the way your homophobic aunt thinks? No. This story has absolutely no connection to you dating a person of the same gender or to you having consensual sex with them.