A Debate: The Bible and Gays
Milano, Phillip, The Florida Times Union
Byline: Phillip Milano, Times-Union staff writer
Why do fundamentalist Christians cite the Old Testament for their views on homosexuality when it is not part of the Ten Commandments? If they follow this part of the Old Testament, how about all the other stuff in there, such as dietary restrictions?
Claire, 23, secular humanist, Los Angeles
Because it doesn't fit their larger world view of "man-and-woman" morality. The New Testament is pretty silent on the issue.
Jacob, 30, Catholic male, Sherman, Texas
Fundamentalist Christians (I am one) can be mean-spirited regarding homosexuality. We do need to make some changes. But it's erroneous to think homosexuality is only addressed in the Old Testament. The King James Version states that the "effeminate" will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. As a Christian who has befriended some wonderful gay people, this saddens me. But I didn't write the book, nor can I change it.
Friendly Inquirer, Christian, Jacksonville
Melissa Fryrear, gender issues analyst for the conservative Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, distinguishes between the Old Testament's ceremonial laws, abolished in the New Testament, and its moral laws, reinforced in the New Testament.
"Differentiating between these two types of laws answers the question," she said. "Also, disobedience to ceremonial laws resulted in uncleanliness, as in Leviticus 11:24, while disobedience to moral law resulted in death, as in Leviticus 20. So there's more gravity there."
Fryrear, who turned away from life as a lesbian in 1992 after "a lot of soul-searching," stressed that Focus on the Family mainly tries "to affirm the permissible and most healthy expression of human sex: a male and female in a lifetime commitment in marriage. …