Last month I posted this post - Honest Words from a Local Christian Boy on Singapore's Gay Issue - featuring a letter from a reader. That post continued to attract other readers' comments even after it was no longer on my main page. One such reader insisted in telling me in great detail about Sodom (a city which, according to the Bible, God got very angry with and promptly destroyed).
Anyway, the reader's comment (with a lot of Biblical verse interspersed) went as follows:
Have you heard of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible? These were 2 cities that had reached the point where homosexuality was rampant.The Cat Welfare Society or the SPCA, I hope, but that's not the point.
When angels came in the form of men to visit Lot (who lived in Sodom). He brought them into his house. Men came from all over Sodom when they knew about Lot’s visitors.
Gen 19:4 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:
Gen 19:5 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 (have sexual relations with) them.
Gen 19:6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,
Gen 19:7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.
Gen 19:8 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.
Gen 19:9 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.
Lot, in desperation to protect his guests, even tried to offer his daughters to the homosexual men, but to no avail.
Gen 19:13 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.
The angels later told Lot that God had sent them to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.
Gen 19:24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; Gen 19:25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.
This is how the term “sodomize” came about. I don’t know about you, but I don’t wish for Singapore to end up in the state of depravity that Sodom and Gomorrah was. When Man is left to his own devices, ignoring God-given laws, there is nothing to stop him from propelling to that state of depravity. We have to draw the line clearly, or else, a hundred years later, what’s stopping me from marrying my pet cat whom I adore so much?
The point is that it is by no means clear that homosexuality was the sole reason, or even the main reason, or even a reason at all, why God destroyed Sodom. Sodom was well-known to be a bad, bad place for a wide variety of different reasons, including its ill-treatment of the poor and needy. See Ezekiel 16:49-50 -
"Now this was the sin of Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen."So they were proud, arrogant and unkind to the poor and needy. They showed no concern for others. Furthermore, the people of Sodom was also known to regularly perpetrate violence and torture on strangers and visitors to Sodom - to the extent of sexual assault and rape - and do all sorts of other nasty things. The classical Jewish texts even describe the case of a young girl in Sodom who gave some bread to a poor man. When the townspeople discovered this act of kindness, they smeared her body with honey and hung her from the city wall until bees stung her to death.
In another case, another young girl by the name of Paltith performed a similar act of kindness. She was burned to death for it. You get the general idea now, don't you. You might even feel like zapping the city of Sodom into instant ashes yourself.
Back to Lot's story (which my reader had referred to). Lot, a relatively good, kind Sodomite compared to his townsfolk, had warmly received two men as guests into his home. Except that these "men" only appeared to be "men" - in fact, they were angels in disguise, sent by God on a mission.
When the men of Sodom saw these two "men" hiding in Lot's house, they wanted to capture and sexually assault them (oh yeah, nothing personal, just the Sodomites' usual bad behaviour to strangers). Of course the Sodomites didn't succeed (you guessed it, God made a direct intervention right around then, struck the bad guys with blindness, and shortly after, destroyed the entire city of Sodom with fire, brimstone etc).
The point to note here is that those men of Sodom were out to rape the two angels. What is the real evil here? The violent, non-consensual aspect of the intended act .... or the fact that it would have been between members of the same sex? To me, the answer is very clear. It is the former.
I mean, suppose the two angels had decided to appear at Lot's house as "women", instead of as "men". And suppose the two angels still got the same bad treatment - in other words, suppose the Sodomites still sought to sexually assault them.
Would it have been okay then? Would God have said, "Oh never mind, it's just heterosexual violence after all. Let the angels be raped."
Of course not!
The wrong, the real wrong, lies in the violent, non-consensual, gang-rape aspect of the intended act. Whether it was heterosexual or homosexual is really not the point!