Gays and the New Jerusalem

Disgustingly, some Christian pastors publicly celebrated the massacre at the Orlando gay nightclub in their sermons, on Youtube, and on their blogs. I will not provide links. Other conservative evangelical pastors were actually shaken enough to reconsider their approach to the Bible and the LGBTQ community.

The disgusting pastors love this verse. (Image from here.) So their understanding of god is good with  the slaughter of gay people and their friends who were not gay, because their god is totally offended with these versions of his creation. Even though their holy book says their god made humanity in his image, they think verses like these contradict other verses that say their god's creation of humanity was "very good." There is another verse in Leviticus that says God considers men having gay sex an abomination. Hence the follow up death penalty. The previous verse only said these guys needed to be kicked out of their community but two chapters later god doubles down and decides they should be kicked out by killing them. I've been informed on Facebook that God is disgusted with the gays because the Bible says so. Apparently, God also loves them, if they stop being gay. Otherwise, they are going to burn forever in hell. But my conservative friends do not think gays should be killed anymore, just deprived of their rights.

Why shouldn't Christians kill gays anymore? My answer used to be because that was part of the theocracy in ancient Israel.

My question now is, were those the good old days when those Levitical laws were in place? Then the other question is do you realize this book was not even composed until just before the exile or during the Persian exile? Do you realize this law may not have even existed in those old days? But if it did, was that really God's best idea? Killing people in violation of sexual mores?

How did God react to a similar situation?

John's gospel contains the wandering pericope of the woman caught in adultery. The Pharisees, a conservative religious sect in Israel, dragged a woman caught en flagrant adultery. Her partner however was not brought to trial. The religious dudes reminded Jesus that the law of Moses, e.g. Leviticus, condemns adulterers to death by stoning. Jesus told them to go ahead, that is anyone who has not sinned. They got the message, dropped their stones and left her and Jesus alone. Jesus tells her he does not condemn her and to not sin anymore. (I cannot imagine that worked out well for her though). Since I'm a trinitarian Christian, I consider Jesus fully God and fully human in some mysterious way. And Jesus did not condemn her. He overruled the law of Moses with love. The apostle Paul wrote something about that, 2 Corinthians 3:6 "He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." As I've written many times here, not everything biblical is Christian.

Adultery is a death penalty offense in the Bible, but it is not for Christians. The same is true for homosexuality. That massacre in Orlando was not approved by Jesus. The church, who is supposed to be Christ's representation on the earth, is supposed to stand between the oppressors and the oppressed, the judges and the judged, the violators and the violated, not cheer on the violent mob.

Nor does Jesus say to the woman "I do not support your lifestyle." If he did then he would be condemning her. He doesn't self-contradict. He loves and protects. He preserves her life, because that is what the Spirit of God does, brings life. That is how you know which parts of the Bible are Christian, which parts are, indeed, inspired/God-breathed and which parts are not. Without the living Spirit of God, dead letters kill. When doctrine is more important than relationship, death wins, not love.

So what will the new Jerusalem be like for the literalists who read John's Revelation the same way they read Leviticus?

Revelation 21:22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Image of the New Jerusalem from the wikipedia.

It will be a theocracy again, just like the good old days of Israel. Will the stoning of gays and adulteresses be re-instituted? The nations will still be there, verse 24. There will be shameful people to keep out, verse 27. Will the New Jerusalem be like an Orlando slaughter at a gay nightclub or a place for the weak to find refuge?


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