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Talking Points
What you need to know and say when they say:
“But the Bible clearly condemns homosexuality!”
Compiled and written* by Rev. Stephen Parelli
June, 2012; revised March 2013
This paper was first presented in Kampala, Uganda, in July of 2012, by the author, at two separate
conferences. Copies of the paper were made available to conference attendees.
Topic #5:  Once the context is understood,
it is clear that
Lev. 18:22 and 20:13  – that a man should not lie with a man –
is not a blanket condemnation of homosexuality

Topic #1:  The
erroneous use of the
word “sodomite(s)” in
the 1611 King James
Bible (KJV; also
known as the AV –
Authorized Version)

Topic #2:  “The
Gen. 19 notorious
story of Sodom and
Gomorrah [is]
irrelevant to the topic”
of homosexuality

Topic #3:   Modern
Bible versions that
use the word
“homosexual(s)” or
“homosexuality” in its
translation of I Cor. 6:
9 and I Tim. 1:10 are
“driven more by
ideological interests
in marginalizing gay
and lesbian people”
than by scholarship

Topic #4:  Romans
1, probably the
passage most often
used to condemn
homosexuals, isn’t
about homosexuality

Topic #5:  
Once the context is
understood, it is clear
that Lev. 18:22 and
20:13  – that a man
should not lie with a
man – is not a
condemnation of

Topic #6:  The
reference in Jude 7 to
Sodom and
Gomorrah “going
after strange flesh” is
perhaps best
understand in light of
a first century legend

Books and Web
Sites Cited
This web page was created in the Bronx,
New York, and published from the Bronx, on
February 17, 2013.

Visits to this web page:
click Talking Points for the entire paper in Word document formate
In point of fact:  The forbiddance of male/male penetrative sex in Lev. 18:22 and 20:13 is a
Hebrew cultural prohibition prescribed for the purpose of keeping Jewish identity strong [Helminiak,
p47].    The facts surrounding the Hebrew prohibition are so dissimilar to the facts surrounding
questions about homosexuality today, that the Hebrew prohibition has no justifiable binding force or
applicability for us today [Miner, p8].

Talking Points:
  1. The phrase “the lyings of a woman” in Lev. 18:22 and 20:13 is a prohibition specifically
    against male/male anal intercourse only, or male/male penetrative sex.  The text does not
    prohibit male/male non-penetrative sex such as frottage, intercrural sex, masturbation and
    oral sex.  The text does not prohibit female/female sex. [Goss, p189-190]
  2. The prohibition of male/male penetrative sex, for the Israelite, was not a question concerning
    ethics or the morality of same-sex sexuality, but was a matter of belonging to a certain people
    who distinguished themselves from the other nations by their uniform observance of the
    Torah (of which Lev. 18:22 and 20:13 is a part). [Countryman, p21]
  3. The Torah made obligatory the prohibition of mixing kinds [Countryman], the observance of
    gender roles (otherwise, a type of mixing kinds) [Goss], and separation from pagan cultic
    practices [Miner].
  4. As a type of mixing kinds, male/male penetrative sex meant the penetrated male acted as a
    female.  The Talmud, at a much later time than the social context of the Torah, comments
    that the penetrated male consigns himself “to the class of females . . . a degradation of
    status” which the Talmud says is a “sort of mixing of kinds, a general taboo” in Hebrew
    culture. [Goss, p191]
  5. The immediate context of Lev. 18:22 and 20:13, indicates that the rules set forth in chapters
    18 and 20 are meant to prevent the Israelites from worshiping the Egyptian and Canaanite
    goddess of love and fertility, Astarte or Ishtar [Miner, p10]. Every kind of sexual practice
    imaginable was performed at these pagan rituals, including homosexual sex [Miner, p11].  No
    thought is given to whether the sex in itself is right or wrong [Helminiak, p47].  Lev. 18:22 and
    20:13 condemns male/male penetrative sex as a religious crime of idolatry only [Helminiak,
    p45], not as a sexual offense of immorality or unethical behavior, not as a sin.

Conclusion:  To be a Jew did not mean to primarily confess a certain faith, but rather to belong to
a certain people.  One was obliged to participate fully. The alternative was to become a nonperson.
[Countryman, p.21]  This mass uniform conformity was practiced with the purpose of keeping a
strong Jewish identity [Helminiak, p47]. The Lev. 18:22 and 20:13 prohibition of male/male
penetrative sex is a particular Hebrew prescription given in the larger context of prohibiting the
mixing of kinds [Countryman, p26, 27] and the imperative to separate from pagan religious
practices [Miner, p10].  The male/male penetrative sex prohibition was not a same-sex sex
per se.  The context in which the prohibition was prescribed conditions its applicability
for us today [Miner, p8].  Since none of the Hebrew qualifiers of the prohibition exist for us today, it
is unjustifiable to evoke Lev. 18:22 and 20:13 as a “Biblical” prohibition for us today.  (The rule of
no male/male penetrative sex established in the Hebrew case is limited to the facts of that case.  
The rule of no male/male penetrative sex cannot be applied to any future situation if the facts of
that situation are not similar to the Hebrew case [Miner, p8]).