Sodomy, Shellfish and Slavery: Why the Bible is Not a Valid Excuse for Homophobia

Saturday, October 2, 2010 § 13

This post popped into my head as my English class was discussing the impact of the bible on society. The bible and it’s cultural impact is very relevant to the LGBT community, as it’s bible passages that many Christians use to justify their homophobia and persecution of gay people, exemplified in the “God Hates Fags” signs that pop up every now and again.

The passages that arguably condemn homosexuality have been picked apart before; there’s really no need to rehash them here. This site does a particularly good job of explaining the various verses often quoted and providing multiple interpretations of them, with some more liberal interpretations even coming to the conclusion that modern homosexuality isn’t a sin at all!

But for the sake of argument, let’s assume that the bible does explicitly condemn homosexuality. But homosexuality isn’t the only thing the bible condemns by far. It also explicitly bans eating shellfish (Leviticus 11:10), wearing polyester (Leviticus 19:19) or getting a short haircut (Leviticus 19:27). How is it that these aren’t even considered sins today, while homosexuality is somehow remains a big deal?

Before I delve into that question a little deeper, let’s take a quick peek at some of the things that the bible promotes as totally acceptable! Oh weird, looks like the bible says it’s totally fine to sell your daughter into slavery (Exodus 21:7), buy slaves yourself (Leviticus 25:44), or have as many wives as you want (Exodus 21:10)!

Look, the bible’s an extremely old document, I get that. Obviously some of the stuff it refers to and laws it decrees aren’t relevant in American society. And that’s awesome, because I have no desire to watch someone get stoned for choosing to go to work on a Sunday (Exodus 35:2). But if Christians can make the decision to abandon these obviously outdated views, which the vast majority do, why do so many of their fingers remain glued to bible verses which demonize homosexuality? If a person has no qualms abandoning some verses, then how can they point others as definitive proof that homosexuality is a sin? It’s hypocritical.

If a person wants to pick and choose what from the bible to believe, that’s totally fine. I try and be very tolerant of people’s beliefs. But If I call someone out for their homophobia, and they point to Leviticus or Genesis, that’s just not gonna fly. In my mind, they lost that right when they put on that cotton-poly blend shirt, or had fried shrimp for lunch. They’re not homophobic because the bible says so. They’re homophobic because they’re homophobic.

What's this?

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§ 13 Response to “Sodomy, Shellfish and Slavery: Why the Bible is Not a Valid Excuse for Homophobia”

  • Anonymous says:

    Fantastic post! Feel free to delete this comment if you wish, you have one spelling mistake: "choosing to got to work" You have an extra T on go. :) Other than that, fantastic.

  • Kate Kadleck says:


    I loved your voice throughout this post! You managed to turn such a heavy topic into an easy, enjoyable read without compromising the seriousness of the issue.

    I'm especially impressed with your specific biblical references throughout. All the evidence you provide really strengthens your argument.

    Looking forward to hearing whatever else you have to say!

  • Prometeo says:

    Something I would like to note is that, as far as I know, the bible condems "two men laying together", which means that it is perfectly ok to fall in love, live together, etc.
    Then it says that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of god. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 , but what's wrong with that anyway?
    "Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. "

    In that case, why are they obsesed with homosexuals when they have far more thieves, drunks, etc to pick on them?

  • Anonymous says:

    This post has a huge flaw.. You are assuming they care about things like "facts".

  • Jefferson says:

    I'm perfectly fine if every Christian in existence thinks that being gay is a sin. They have a right to their stupid beliefs. What I have a problem with is that they use their personal beliefs to legislate and discriminate against the LGBT community. It seems they have chosen gays to single out, however, because they simply don't like us. They claim that marriage is traditionally Christian and blessed by their god, but I don't see them out against atheists getting married. They claim that marriage is for the purpose of procreation and raising children, but I don't see them out against impotent people getting married. The reason their arguments don't make any sense logically is because they've started at their conclusion (gays are bad) and crafted their logic to try to fit that conclusion rather than following logic to reach a conclusion. It doesn't matter to me what their religious doctrines do or do not say because I do not abide by them, and I should not be forced to be governed by them. Last time I checked the USA did not have an established national religion. I've ranted for longer than I intended to so I'll end with this: What the bible says shouldn't matter one iota with regards to American law.

  • Anonymous says:

    @ Jefferson: Your argument makes a lot of sense. It's weird that America is founded on the values of separation between Church and State, but at the same time Christianity defines our country. Even our government system is modeled after that of the Presbyterians. Many Americans find Sharia law to be unacceptable and a human rights violation, and yet some of these same Americans feel comfortable outlawing sodomy and gay marriage. I think Kyle did a fantastic job articulating this hypocrisy. His language was easy to digest, yet his message was clear. As Kate said, good biblical citings-- you're well researched.

  • Kyle-- Your post was so perfectly written, in a very readable voice and with the exact right verses to use at the exact right points in your post! You could have very easily made this post be an attack, or an angry rant, but your voice is light and even humorous without, as Kate said, "compromising the seriousness of the issue."

    Kudos, you rock! I'm looking forward to more posts!

  • So which one of the above authors is running for office? Which one is finding a profession that fights for the oppressed? Which one is using their powers of insight, intelligence and humor for the purpose of building a strong community capable of accomplishing ANYTHING! I'll quit my job and be your campaign manager, outreach coordinator and/or your project director. Kudos, everyone! We are social creatures. We are all in this together. Kyle, I miss you...Keep up the wonderful work! (Oh, and for the record, had I been stoned to death for working on Sunday, I would've died 31 years ago. Yikes!)

  • emilygw says:


    Awesome post.. you raise a lot of good points and issues. As you pointed out, the Bible is very old and therefore people have to adapt their takes on it to fit 21st century lifestyle. It's fine if people don't believe in gay marriage, that is their belief and they are entitled to it, but when their beliefs start harming others, that's when I'm not okay with it. "God hates fags" signs are simply unacceptable and are attempts at public discrimination and humiliation.

    Great post!

  • Hey Kyle, I really enjoyed your post. I found this article that might be of some interest to you :)

  • Tova says:

    Thank you for this! I just linked to you from a blog post I wrote this morning ( I hope that is ok, please feel free to message me if it is not!

  • I can totally understand why people find the bible perplexing. It's a long book and if you don't read all of it to understand why God gave the Israelites all those laws, then it's easy for people to take things out of context. Anyone who believes that Jesus Christ is God knows that those laws were in place to remind the Israelites they were to be different from the rest of the world. But when Jesus came, he took away the need for the old laws. I'm a Christian and it is wrong for anyone to do or say hateful things to another person, gay or not. I think if everyone really tried to study the bible from start to finish and understand what Jesus came to do, our world would be a much more loving and peaceful place.

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