Gee — Archbishop Desmond Tutu has risen a couple of points in my estimation. He’s come out as a supporter of equality for gay people, saying he wouldn’t worship a homophobic god.
“I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place,” the retired archbishop said.
“I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this,” he said, condemning the use of religious justification for anti-gay prejudice.
Now for the bad news. What Tutu doesn’t seem to realise is that, according to the Bible, the god he worships is in fact terribly and deeply homophobic, in both the Old Testament and the New.
- God demanded the death penalty for gay men (though, strangely, not lesbians).
- Paul mentions gay men and lesbians as unseemly and reprobate
- and says that people who do so will not inherit the kingdom of god. No gay people? How unfabulous.
The Skeptics’ Annotated Bible has a longer version.
You know what happens when I mention this to Christians? I tell them about the Old Testament, and they say, “That’s just the Old Testament.” Then I tell them about the New Testament, and they say, “That’s just Paul.” Motherfucker, it’s all just Paul. There’s not a lot they can’t accommodate if they want to — and I’m glad they want to! I’m glad Christians are ignoring the bullshit in their Bible — but when you’ve thrown Jehovah and Paul under the bus, what’s left?
So I’m glad Tutu feels strongly about this, and he’s in a position to do some good on this issue. But his stand is at variance with the Bible, no matter how he tries to spin it.
Many modern Christians are trying to give God a makeover. They point out that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. But this is misguided. Jesus would have been a 1st century rabbi. There’s no indication that he would have disagreed with the Torah, which (again) demands death for gay people.
Bottom line: If you’re Christian, you worship a homophobic god. By all means, be equality-minded. That’s just being a normal, good person. But if you try to claim a religious justification for your stand, you’re stretching it farther than the Bible will allow.
Here’s an idea for my equality-minded Christian friends: Since you’re getting your view from your own morality, and not the Bible, why not just skip the middleman in all other areas? Toss the Bible, and rely on your own good human morality, just like you do on loads of other issues.