Another Failed Attempt to Discredit the Bible’s Teaching on Homosexuality
Bacon has written an article for the Huffington Post: “So Gay Marriage Biblically Offends You? Then You Should Read This…” Here’s the crux of her argument:
“If the sole reason you feel that gay marriage is wrong because it’s a sin, and the Bible tells you this is wrong, then I sure as hell hope you don’t have bacon with your eggs or indulge in shrimp. Oh, or better yet, do you have any tattoos? Ever been drunk, told a white lie or been divorced? Yep, whoops. Those are all sins, too. And all sins are equal, right? I don’t see anyone going off the handle because of any of these ‘sins’ and I most certainly don’t see protests or hurtful propaganda against those.”
These are old arguments that have been answered numerous times. It’s a bit disingenuous of her not to point out how these arguments have been dealt with over the decades. She’s counting on the ignorance of her audience not to offer a substantive rejoinder.
Her operating assumption is that “all sins are equal.” They are not. Property crimes were punished with restitution, not capital punishment. Giving false testimony in a criminal case (Deut. 19:16-19) is a greater sin than a so-called “white lie.” There is the concept of “greater” commandments” (Matt. 23:23). Jesus criticized the Pharisees for “neglecting the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness.”
What about tattoos? A good case could be made that tattoos, even for so-called “body art,” are still forbidden (Lev. 19:28; see 1 Cor. 6:20; Rom. 12:1; Phil. 1:20). The following is found in Unger’s Bible Dictionary under the definition for “Cuts”:
“Cuts (in the flesh, Lev. 19:28; 21:5; Jer. 48:37) unnatural disfigurement of the body is prohibited by Moses and seems to refer to the scratching of the arms, head, and face, common in times of mourning among the people of the East. The law gave the further prohibition: ‘Nor make any tattoo mark on yourselves’ (Lev. 19:28), a custom among the savage tribes, and still seen in Arabia. This prohibition had reference to idolatrous usages but was intended to inculcate upon the Israelites a proper reverence for God’s creation.
“The priests of Baal cut themselves with knives to propitiate the god ‘according to their custom’ (1 Kings 8:28). . . . Tattooing indicated allegiance to a deity, in the same manner as soldiers and slaves bore tattooed marks to indicate allegiance or adscription. This is evidently alluded to in the book of Revelation (13:16; 17:5; 19:20), and, though in a contrary direction, by Ezekiel (9:4), by Paul (Gal. 6:17), and perhaps by Isaiah (44:5), and Zechariah (13:6) (Smith, Bib. Dic. s.v.).”
What about the shell fish and bacon prohibition argument? First, eating forbidden foods meant that a person was ritually unclean, similar to the way a person who touched a dead body was considered to be unclean (Num. 19:11-13). Ceremonial washing made an unclean person clean. There is no civil penalty for eating unclean foods (Lev. 11:8).
Second, unclean foods were designated by God to represent the nations. The nations were considered unclean. Israel was reminded of this with certain food prohibitions. Israel was to be a model for the nations, not the other way around (Deut. 4:5-9).
There was always the promise that Israel would be a “light to the nations” (Isa. 49:6; 42:6; 51:4; Luke 2:32; Acts 13:47; 26:23) through a promised savior. Jesus is that savior.
As we learn from the New Testament, the nations were incorporated (Rom. 11:17-21) into the assembly (ἐκκλησία/ekklēsia) of Jewish believers (Acts 5:11; 8:1, 3; 9:31). This is standard Christian theology.
When we get to the New Testament, the nations are no longer to be thought of as “unclean” (Acts 10:13–15). Even if eating these foods was still prohibited (although see Mark 7:14-23), the punishment for doing so does not carry a civil punishment like same-sex sexuality does.
Third, homosexuals argue that since Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 are part of the “Holiness Code,” and this Code also prohibits eating certain foods, planting two different kinds of seed in the same field and wearing garments with different kinds of yarn, therefore homosexuality is like these particular laws. Since these laws no longer apply because they find their fulfillment in the redemptive work of Christ, so the argument is made, then we can conclude that the prohibitions regarding homosexuality no longer apply since they are in the same Code.
Following this line of argument, the same Holiness Code that condemns homosexuality also prohibits adultery (Lev. 18:20), child sacrifice (v. 21), and sex with animals (v. 23). Is Bacon telling us that these are now acceptable alternative lifestyle choices?
Leviticus 19 also prohibits stealing and lying (v. 11), oppressing neighbors and robbing them (v. 13), withholding wages from a laborer (v. 13), cursing the deaf and tripping the blind (v. 14), showing partiality in judicial matters (v. 15), slandering (v. 16), and taking vengeance (v. 18).
Leviticus 20 repeats the prohibitions against child sacrifice (vv. 2–5), adultery (v. 10), homosexuality (v. 13), and bestiality (vv. 15–16). Using Whitney Kay Bacon’s logic, are we to conclude that these laws no longer apply today because they are found in the “Holiness Code”?
Then there’s this verse sandwiched between Leviticus 18 and 20:
You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord (Lev. 19:18)
This verse is quoted frequently in the New Testament (Matt. 19:19; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; John 13:34; Rom. 13:9; Gal. 5:14; James 2:8). In fact, it’s a verse often quoted by homosexuals in defense of same-sex sexuality and same-sex marriage. Loving one’s neighbor does not preclude upholding the standard of God’s law, otherwise why would there be additional laws in Leviticus 19 that apply to all of us, including our neighbors?
When all the Bible is considered, we find that homosexuality is condemned based on the (1) creational foundation and definition of marriage as being between a male and a female, a man and a woman (Gen. 1-2), (2) the New Covenant’s affirmation of the creation establishment model (Matt. 19:1-7), and the New Testament’s condemnation of homosexuality as a moral wrong as stated in the law (1 Tim. 1:8-11) and an act against nature (Rom. 1:26-27).