I got into an argument on Facebook on Saturday with a Christian Reconstructionist who objected when I said that Joel McDurmon, the new leader of Reconstructionist group American Vision, wants to put gay people to death. Just to make sure, I looked up some material from McDurmon on the subject and found the same dishonest dodge I always hear from these people, which I’ll spell out below.
When you say that they want to put gay people to death, they howl in outrage at how terribly you’ve misinterpreted them. In fact, they’ll flatly deny it, as McDurmon does here:
In light of such sage reporting, and the fact that I did once use language that could allow my position to be misconstrued, let me say a few words about the biblical view of sodomy and the death penalty. Simply put, I do not want to put gays to death, and despite the generalizations made from things I have written and said in the past, I do not believe that a biblical society would impose the death penalty for “homosexuality.” To report that I do hold either of these positions is both inaccurate.
But then when you scroll down, you see how dishonest this claim is. After quoting Leviticus, he says:
First, this is not about stoning homosexuals. It says nothing about people who are dispositionally homosexual—people who through the distinct perversion of their own fallen nature are attracted to the same sex. This is not outlawed as a crime (a sin, to be sure, but not a crime). Anyone can come out openly in a biblical society and admit they are “homosexual” in the sense they are attracted that way, and it is no crime.
(Ravi Zacharias makes a good argument distinguishing between the proclivity and the act of homosexuality here. While he does not go into the crime aspect—which he would not, not being a theonomist—he does make an important distinction, and does so with characteristic power.)Secondly, there are always privacy and legal protections. Under Mosaic Law, two witnesses are required to bring conviction. In the case of even a private homosexual act, who would be the witnesses? Unless two practicing homosexuals were willing to tell on each other, were filming themselves, or were engaging before hostile witnesses, it would be difficult to bring a conviction even in OT society.
Moreover, private property laws are very strict, and false witnesses would be guilty of the crime for which they sought to prosecute someone else (Deut. 19)—in the case of sodomy, death. Thus, you would largely have people minding their own business. . . .
[I]n a biblical society, we would (re)institute laws against adultery and sodomy…
In my view, the Bible does not criminalize “homosexuality,” but only the homosexual act of sodomy. I believe the Bible on this point.
And there’s the central deceit, which is essentially this: We don’t want to put gay people to death, only the ones we can catch being gay. Because that’s totally different, right? “We don’t want to put murderers to death because we can only execute the ones we can catch.” Tell you what, let’s pass a law outlawing Christianity and making it a capital crime. And when you tell me I’m trying to kill Christians, I’ll say, “How dare you accuse me of that! That’s totally untrue! I only want to kill the ones who are public about it. As long as they pray or read their Bible in the privacy of their own home, they are in no danger!” Still taking the same position?
The guy I was arguing with was trying to get me to have a discussion about whether the command in the Bible to kill gay people, or women who aren’t virgins on their wedding day, was, as I called it, “barbaric and unconscionable.” I flatly refused and told him to go fuck himself. I will not hold a “reasoned” and “civil” debate over whether my gay friends have a right to live, full stop.