“Pirke Abot, chapter 5, section 10, states: “There are four attitudes among men: He that says, “What is mine is mine and what is yours is yours” – this is the average attitude; but some [Sages] say that this is the attitude of the Sodomites….” A Sodomite is described here as being a person who accepts no responsibility for the poor in his community. He owes them nothing.” – Rabbi Gershon Steinberg-Caudill
Sedom v’Gemorah (Sodom and Gomorrah) were ancient plant-cultivating cities, and their very names are references to this fertile and, thus, prosperous lands. The crimes (sins) of these legendary cities in Torah and extended TaNaKh (the Jewish Bible) and in the Talmud are the crimes of selfish indulgence and utter lack of hospitality toward strangers. This is made clear in the Torah legend with the extreme behavior of “all” the men of the city, from “youth” to “old man,” towards the messengers of Avram’s god (Avraham) that arrived to the city. “All” the men of the city came to Lot’s home intent on raping these messengers, an act of extreme violence symbolizing extreme inhospitality. The intent or “moral” of the Torah myth is to compare the character and quality of Avraham’s and Lot’s families, the displaced tribal family, to the settled and indulgent city-dwellers.
Sadly, among many European and American “Judeo-Christian” modern religious traditions these passages are erroneously translated as cities given to homosexuality and this is the reason for their destruction, and that it is evidence that “the Bible” abhors and prohibits homosexual behavior and orientation. This is categorically untrue when Torah is read on its own terms (without modern hermeneutics placed upon it), for the Hebrew “Bible” has nothing to say about committed and loving homosexual relationships. Except, maybe only positive things to say about it – think about the very intimate relationship between David and Johnathan (future-king David clearly swings both ways in orientation in the actual Hebrew, and Johnathan’s father in a fit of anger eventually attempts to shame him about it, showing he knows about them!). As to the two infamous (in modern times) Leviticus same-sex prohibitions (verses), both are expressed without built-in context to explain specifically what the “lyings of woman” are, but context clearly shows that the prohibited acts are males raping another male and heterosexual males sexually substituting a male for sex “as if” he were a woman in an idolatrous sexual act.
“Ve’et zachar lo tishkav mishkevey ishah to’evah hee. And a male do not lie down with as lyings of woman, abhorrent he.” – Vayikra/Leviticus 18.22
“Ve’ish asher yishkav et-zacher mishkevey ishah to’evah asu shneyhem mot yumatu dmeyhem bam. And man that lie down with a male as lyings of woman, abhorrent to do, both of them death by execution, extreme guilt in them.” – Vayikra/Leviticus 20.13
“Where is the prohibition of a male? Because it says, `if a man,’ a man and not a minor. And it says, `lie with a male,’ whether the passive partner be an adult or a minor. And it says, `as with a woman,’ from which we learn that there are two modes of lying with a woman (that are prohibited).” – Mas. Sanhedrin 54a, 28-32
Let’s put this in perspective, two thousand years ago, before the birth of Christianity, the Rabbis clarified in the Talmud that Leviticus 18.22 and 20.13 are referring to two specific homoerotic acts between males, and not to homosexuality itself. They were a lot closer to the time this law code was written than we were, wouldn’t you agree? So is it just possible that they may have had a better understanding of the intent of this prohibition, than what is assumed by inadequate translation and exegesis in this modern age? Unfortunately, as is common with ancient law codes, the situational specifics are not written for posterity with the laws, because these laws were meant for their place and historical time. Meaning, they in their historical time understood in everyday social context what specific acts this enigmatic prohibition was referring to. For us, we have to rely on the hints of ancient teachers and the obvious context self-evidently presented in Torah as a whole. Torah presents a man raping a male and a man having religious sex with a male as these most extreme male on male abominations. Abominations worthy of death and, even, entire city destruction, at times. Now, literally, to’evah means “abhorrent” or “disgusting”, not abominable as often translated, but this is a subject for another post at another time (how to translate sacred texts without theological bias).
These prohibitions in question are a part of the codex of laws dealing with familial sexual relations that, then, extend to sexual relations with neighbors and, then, to idolatrous religious sexual practices (turning your children into sexual prostitutes or engaging in idolatrous sexual rituals) in which these prohibitions are found. Further, these verses that are focused on male-with-male sex, as with most of the prohibitions of this codex, *only* applies to Jewish males within the boundaries of the sovereign kingdom of ancient Israel. Of all the prohibitions within this part of the law codex, these two verses (18.22 and 20.13) are the only ones that are enigmatic in nature – requiring contextual clarification beyond the verse itself, clarification that would have been commonly understood during the time of their writing. Using the whole of TaNaKh as context, it is rather clear that Leviticus only prohibits the following “situational specific” acts of homosexual union: that of a male (assumed to be sexually responsive towards females) substituting a male for sex when a female is available (whether by rape or consent is not specific, but overall context leans towards rape), and that of a male having ritual sex with a sacred prostitute of his own gender (a common practice within the religions of non-Israeli nations).
“There is to be no holy-prostitute of the daughters of Israel, there is to be no holy-prostitute of the sons of Israel. You are not to bring the fee of a whore or the price of a dog (pagan priest) to the house of YHWH your G-d, for any vow; for an abomination to YHWH your G-d are the two of them!” – D’varim/Dueteronomy 23.18-19
“When (David) finished speaking with Saul, Jonathan’s soul became bound up with the soul of David; Jonathan loved David as himself. Saul took him (into his service) that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Jonathan and David made a pact, because (Jonathan) loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the cloak and tunic he was wearing and gave them to David, together with his sword, bow, and belt.” – Shmuel 1/Samuel 1 18.1-4
It is truly amazing that the religious issue over naturally occurring “homosexuality” is still a very present and contentious issue in present scientifically and historically enlightened modern society. It is truly amazing that, to this very day, those who are LGBTQ are being stigmatized, threatened, discriminated against, demonized, and harmed within societies due to the teachings of present day theistic religions. The simple fact is, the statement that “the bible condemns homosexual acts” is simply untrue! Maybe so in English translations of the “Bible” and in Common Era (A.D.) theistic teachings of what the ancient Hebrew scrolls are saying. But, the simple fact is that Torah (and TaNaKh), the Jewish “Bible” does not condemn homosexual acts, only the very specific acts of a male raping a male and a male substituting a male for a female for sex during idolatrous fertility rituals. The Talmud of the first modern monotheistic Jewish rabbis (that replaced the Temple cult henotheistic theocratic religious system) backs this understanding of the two ancient prohibition verses in Leviticus. Homosexuality itself and homosexual relationships were not an issue to the ancient BCE Jews within their tribalistic family-Nation lifestyle.
#LGBTQ #Equality #ReligiousFundamentalism #ReparativeTherapy #ConversionTherapy #Christian #Jewish #Islamic
Boynton Beach outlaws ‘conversion therapy’ on minors
January 4, 2017, 8:35 PM
LGBT youngsters living in Boynton Beach are free to be themselves and love who they want to love without worrying about medical efforts to change them.
The city on Tuesday became the latest municipality in South Florida to outlaw “conversion therapy,” a method aimed at converting a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation.
The Boynton Beach Commission gave initial approval to an ordinance banning licensed professionals from trying to convert the gender identity or sexual orientation of LGBT youth. Violators can be fined $500 or sued by the city, according to language in the ordinance.
Commissioner Justin Katz voiced his support for the ban Tuesday.
The ban will apply only to state-licensed therapists. To ensure its constitutionality, the law still allows unlicensed professionals, such as religious leaders, to engage in conversion therapy, the city said.
“It’s just an absurd idea that in 2016 — going on 2017 now — that people could believe that you could change someone’s sexuality through chastising them and berating them and making them hate themselves,” Katz said. “I’m happy that this ordinance has been trickling its way down Palm Beach County, and we’re able to solidify that we are protecting children regardless of their sexual orientation.” Amein!