The Maryland Marriage Alliance is a group opposing the legalization of gay marriage. They recently held a town hall meeting dealing with Question 6, Maryland’s ballot initiative to legalize same sex marriage. Here is a clip of Pastor Robert J. Anderson of the Colonial Baptist Church speaking at said town hall meeting. While watching it, I want you to understand that, as the Baltimore Sun writes, “Until this video surfaced, McCoy and the official opposition to same-sex marriage have been careful to say they do not oppose gays or all gay rights — they just object to extending marriage rights to them.”
The key words in that statement are “until this video surfaced,” because you are about to hear some bigoted homophobic garbage:
Once again, the Baltimore Sun:
Anderson read from a portion of the Bible that refers to homosexuality. “Those who practice such things are deserving of death,” Anderson said, reading from the Bible.
Then he pivoted to the Nov. 6 referendum and said: “If we don’t vote against it we are approving of these things that are worthy of death.” Separately, he also said approving same-sex marriage could “open up a back door” to legalizing prostitution, incest and bestiality.
So here we have the standard “slippery slope” fallacy. Then the “abomination” line that anti-gay marriage crusaders normally keep for only 100% sympathetic audiences. since it makes them look like bigots to the portion of the population that are not religious zealots. But “abomination” doesn’t quite go far enough for Pastor Anderson, so he reaches for the writings of Paul and pulls out the “worthy of death” trump card from Romans. And then, possibly because he saw the camera and wanted to be a Youtube hero to homophobic bigots all over the world, he adds a condemnation of anyone who doesn’t vote against gay marriage as approving things that are deserving of death!
First of all, because I am a Bible geek, I have to deal with Romans. Yes, Romans does touch on homosexual behavior. But when Paul talks about things that are deserving of death, he is discussing much more than mere homosexuality. Let’s look at the passage, the bolds are mine. Romans, Chapter 1, verses 18 to 32:
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
So yes, in verses 26 and 27 Paul does talk about homosexuality as a continuation of verse 24 where he speaks of a more general sexual depravity. But homosexuality is not the only sin these people Paul says deserve death have committed. Look at verses 29 to 31. He isn’t talking about your average homosexual, he is talking about sociopaths with no morality at all. And what caused this descent into complete depravity? Is he claiming that homosexual acts turn you into a raving murderer?
Hell no. Look at verses 18 to 20, verse 21, and verse 28. The sin Paul is talking about is knowing that God exists yet denying it. Verse 21 states that they knew God, yet ignored Him, which caused them to fall into sin. In verse 28 he repeats it again; they didn’t give a shit about God, so God let them fall into sin. This passage isn’t an indictment of homosexuality. It isn’t even an indictment of atheism. Paul is decrying those who believe in God (or claim that belief) yet live their lives like God doesn’t exist. Those who have had the “truth” revealed to them yet who have chosen to turn away. It is even a stretch to claim homosexual activity is one of the things Paul is claiming deserve death. In verse 27 Paul has already punished the homosexuals; “Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” By the time Paul gets to the “deserving death” line, we have started a new paragraph, repeated the main theme (turn your back on God, He turns His back on you), and went through a laundry list of sins; envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, blasphemy, insolence, pride, rebellion, creative evil-doing, disloyalty, and a lack of love, empathy, and mercy.
Quoting this passage in a speech against homosexuality is a dishonest cherry picking of scripture.
And second, damn, can you feel that Christian love?