Sunday, March 8, 2009

Homosexuality May Not Have Been The Only Factor Precipitating Divine Judgment Upon And Catastrophic Destruction Of Sodom And Gomorrah

O.K., gentle and not-so-gentle readers alike, fess up! What's the first word that pops into your mind when you hear of Sodom and Gomorrah? Homos? Queers? Faggots? Of course.

And why is this? Take a look at Genesis 19, which describes an angelic visitation to Lot in the city of Sodom, and the reaction of the local gay community to the arrival of these visitors:

1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;
2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and awash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.
3 And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.
4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:
5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.
6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,
7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.
8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.
9 And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.
10 But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door.
11 And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.
12 And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place:
13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it.

Note the absolute obsession of the gay community in this story. Even after they were smitten with blindness, they were so consumed with lust that they still sought to "find the door".

Then, shortly thereafter, Sodom and Gomorrah were indeed destroyed by "fire and brimstone". With such a close and immediate association between the two events, Sodom and Gomorrah have become irrevocably intertwined with the practice of homosexuality. Other verses in the Old Testament, such as Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13, merely serve to strengthen the paradigm.

But is homosexuality the only reason, or even the primary reason why Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed? This question deserves to be asked, since if it was true, then why is San Francisco still standing? After all, in many respects, San Francisco comes close to Sodom in depravity, when you consider that it hosts the infamous Folsom Street Fair every year.

A post on the Believe All Things blog leads me to question whether or not homosexuality was the primary factor triggering the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah. Believe All Things cites other Biblical verses which implies the existence of additional factors. Genesis 13, beginning with verse 10, cites the following:

10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.
11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.
12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.
13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.

Verse 13 implies a general pattern of overall wickedness, not just a particular sin. Ezekiel 16:49 further quantifies the issue:

"49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy".

Homosexuality was merely one of many sins precipitating judgment. The Lord does not allow catastrophic judgment to overtake a community unless it becomes fully ripe in wickedness. Being fully ripe implies a multitude of sins. Even modern-day San Francisco, despite its reputation as a homosexual haven, has not quite reached that point.

But in addition to Ezekiel 16:49, Believe All Things cites a non-scriptural reference, a book entitled "Approaching Zion". In this book, Sodom and Gomorrah, along with other cities on the Plain, are described as having chosen leaders of "falsehood and wickedness, who mocked justice and equity and committed evil deeds” at the time of Abraham. There are contemporary records showing that the wicked oppressed the weak and gave power to the strong. Inside the city was tyranny and bribery. Daily they plundered each others’ goods. The son cursed his father in the streets, the slave his master. They put an end to the offerings and entered into conspiracy. They even built fences high enough to shield their fruit-bearing trees from birds. As a result, travelers and birds alike learned to avoid the rich cities of the plain, while the poor emigrated to other parts. If a stranger merchant passed through their territory, he was besieged by them all, big and little alike, and robbed of whatever he possessed. As the Amarna letters show us, this was a world in which every man was for himself. And it became fully ripe for judgment.

Homosexuality was only part of the problem. This theme is also echoed somewhat by a gay closeted Mormon HERE, in case anyone is interested in that perspective.

The upshot is this additional information still doesn't change my worldview about homosexuality. I still consider it an emotional disability, at the very least. I still support the Church's position that although the orientation is not a problem, the practice is a disciplinary offense. What does change is the severity; monogamistic homosexual relationships between consenting adults should no longer be looked upon as evil, although it is still immoral. To overstate the problem only brings discredit upon the pro-family movement, while creating unnecessary division and dissension. We should be waging war against the promotion and protection of the homosexual lifestyle rather than the existence of homosexuality itself. When we speak about homosexuality, we are better off if we speak even as Jesus Christ Himself would speak.


El Genio said...

Interestingly enough, another Mormon just did a detailed analysis of the sins of Sodom, you may want to give it a read:

The Jack Mormon said...

Thanks for the reference, El Genio. The individual puts forth a thoughtful analysis of the situation.