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Gay and your Prejudices


This is first question to ask gay-bashers or homophobes who uses a religious angle: "Do you have any reason, aside from personal prejudice, that you would focus on gay/lesbian issues as being worth shouting about, instead of any other "sin" that many more people violate?" I think that religious homophobes are motivated by an irreligious, irrational and emotional prejudice against homosexuality, and not real theology.


The תורה (Torah) and Judaism, say little about gays and do not prohibit anyone being gay. In fact loving other people, of either sex, is greatly encouraged (see love and respect in the Jewish sources). In ויקרא (Wayiqra, Leviticus) 18:22 and 20:13 God does prohibit ONE particular male homosexual act called, in Hebrew, משכב זכר (miskav zakhar, anal sex in English). Whether the men in question are gay or straight (eg a one-off or men in all-male environment) is irrelevant. Being gay, loving people of the same sex is not forbidden.

The original quotes in Hebrew:
ואת זכר לא תשכב משכבי אשה תועבה היא
ואיש אשר ישכב את זכר משכבי אשה תועבה עשו שניהם
רש"י: מכנס כמכחול בשפופרת

Mishkav Zakhar (anal sex between 2 men) is described as a תועבה (toeivah), usually translated as an abomination. In the Torah (Five Book) only two other עבירות (sins) that are referred to as toeivah:
* ויקרא (Vayikra) 26-27 uses toeivah to describe all of the sexual offences (mostly incest).
* דברים (Devarim) Deuteronomy 25:16 uses toeivah to refer to the practice of using inconsistent standards of measure.


It is worth mentioning משלי (Mishley) Proverbs 6:16-19, which tells us that there are seven things that are תועבות (toeivot) abominations to God:
טז שֶׁשׁ-הֵנָּה שָׂנֵא יְהוָה וְשֶׁבַע תועבות (תּוֹעֲבַת) נַפְשׁוֹ. יז עֵינַיִם רָמוֹת לְשׁוֹן שָׁקֶר וְיָדַיִם שֹׁפְכוֹת דָּם-נָקִי. יח לֵב חֹרֵשׁ מַחְשְׁבוֹת אָוֶן רַגְלַיִם מְמַהֲרוֹת לָרוּץ לָרָעָה. יט יָפִיחַ כְּזָבִים עֵד שָׁקֶר וּמְשַׁלֵּחַ מְדָנִים בֵּין אַחִים.
1. arrogance,
2. deceitful speech,
3. spilling innocent blood,
4. letting your heart lead you to wicked thoughts,
5. being eager to do evil,
6. testifying falsely, and
7. creating discord between brothers.

Those who use the single prohibition against mishkav zachor as a license to maltreat gays, are guilty of more than one of the seven listed toeivot. The arrogance or hypocrisy of the anti gay people is apparent. Gossiping and nastiness directed at those who are gay by certain members of the community is deceitful speech and, according to the Rabbis, tantamount to spilling blood. Do I need to continue?

1 comment:

Saul Davis (USA) said...

I don't know the Hebrew, only the Engish translations, but according to that, it's a mistake to assume it refers to anal intercourse. "It is an abomination for a man to lie with another man as with a woman" is the translation I know. To exactly translate that like most other Biblical phrases means to break it down, and the key phrase is "as with a woman". For two men to make love, first, they are doing it as two men, not in male and female roles, usually. Male-Male anal intercourse is not literally like Male-Female vaginal intercourse. It is like Male-Female anal intercourse, I suppose, but I doubt the Biblical writers were considering that, or should I? It is a mistake many heterosexuals often make to assume that if men are together, one must act the female. If you consider it terms of "yin-yang", the balance of the two is within each man, not each being all one or the other. That is one of the things that makes it special. Each man (or gay woman) is a complete unit of male and female energy. The only way I can see gay intercourse "as being with a woman" is if one of the men is pretending to be a woman, or acting excessively womanly to entrap a hetero man, or distorting his identity in order to be attractive as some men do as transvestites or transsexuals. So, there is more than one reason not to read the prohibition as being on gay intercourse, as well as not prohibiting love.