Sodom and Gomorrah, Revisited

John Martin, "Sodom and Gomorrah" - 1852

John Martin, "Sodom and Gomorrah" - 1852

In the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, two angels visit the prophet Lot at his house in Sodom.  They are about to sit down for dinner, when all the men of Sodom surround the house and call out, “Where are the men who came to you tonight?  Being them out to us, so that we may know them” (19:5).  Of course “know,” here, means “know” in the “Biblical sense.” 

Lot protests, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly.  Look I have two daughters who have not known a man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men,  for they have come under the shelter of my roof” (19:7-8).  Well, THAT was generous, wasn’t it?  Just so we’re perfectly clear, Lot is proposing to give his two virgin daughters up to a mob that will gang-rape them.  I don’t think this is behavior most of us would want to emulate.

The mob outside presses hard against Lot to try to get into the house, almost breaking the door down, “But the men [angels] inside reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door.  And they struck with blindness the men who were at the door …” (19:10-11).  The angels then inform Lot that “we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it” (19:13).

The sin of Sodom involves “inhospitality through sexual abuse and violence” (commentary, NRSV).  The men of Sodom are in the habit of gang-raping visiting men.  Gang-rape is an act of violence, not a loving relationship between two consenting adults.  No Gay man that I know of would condone gang-rape of any variety.  Thus, what we think of as a Gay relationship (two loving, consenting adults) is not what the author is talking about.  The author is condemning sexual violence of men against men – such as might be found in prisons.  So using the story of Sodom and Gomorrah as a blanket condemnation of all Gay relationships is a misuse of the story.

Now, on to Leviticus …

One thought on “Sodom and Gomorrah, Revisited

  1. Pingback: My Big, Gay Sermon « Under the Rose

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