Liberal Christians: STOP “Conceding” Readings that Victimize LGBT Christians

Liberal Christians: STOP “Conceding” Readings that Victimize LGBT Christians March 9, 2012

Adam Kotsko, professor, author, and blogger, has an provocative Twitter conversation going (@adamkotsko) in which he criticizes liberal Christians for making “half-assed” arguments along the lines of “Yes, God’s inspired word is anti-gay, but….”

He says, “It hurts my heart to see liberals so easily concede homophobic readings of the Bible.”

More importantly, he offers a potentially more constructive path of argumentation:

The Paul stuff in particular is a case study in over-confident translations of genuinely puzzling words and phrases.

Surely Paul could’ve drawn on the rich Greek vocabulary surrounding homoeroticism if he wanted to condemn it.

The Bible does not condemn homosexuality, “clearly” or otherwise.

Leviticus outlaws one particular homoerotic act (apparently anal sex); Christians don’t enforce Leviticus generally.

The passages where, in translation, Paul appears to condemn homosexuality either condemn luxurious living or are totally ambiguous.

Many biblical narratives can plausibly be read as including homoerotic overtones, if you don’t dismiss the possibility out of hand.

Compare Romans 1:26 to any other Greek writing on homoerotic acts and tell me Paul is “clearly condemning homosexuality.”

He was writing in the language of a culture *famous for homoeroticism.* The words were available if he wanted to send a clear message.

Would someone write an anti-gay open letter today without once using “gay,” “queer,” “homosexual,” etc.? I doubt it.

The arguments are there, liberal Christians. Stop “conceding” readings that victimize your LGBT comrades.

The “reason” that will be persuasive is to live in a community with gay Christians and see that they’re clearly Christians.

As support for this line of reasoning and interpretation, he recommends Theodore W. Jennings’ triology on homosexuality, particularly Plato or Paul?: The Origins of Western Homophobia, which I have not read, but am adding to my list.

Follow @adamkotsko to see where this and future conversation threads develop.

The Rev. Carl Gregg is the pastor of Broadview Church in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland. Follow him on Facebook ( and Twitter (@carlgregg).

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