Friday, December 26, 2014
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Sodom a story about hospitality and God's presence, not an admonishment against homosexuality

At the Christian seminary where I earned a master’s degree in divinity, we understood that the story of Sodom involved lessons on what happens when we are not hospitable and do not recognize the presence of God in our midst.

Posted on March 13, 2014 at 4:10 p.m.

I read the March 10 article including two pastors’ viewpoints on “the dangers of same-sex marriage,” and I would like to offer a third pastor’s viewpoint — mine.

At the Christian seminary where I earned a master’s degree in divinity, we understood that the story of Sodom involved lessons on what happens when we are not hospitable and do not recognize the presence of God in our midst. Only from a spiritually immature viewpoint might one see it as an admonishment against homosexual sex.

In the story, angels, disguised as human men, are staying at Lot’s house. Men from Sodom who do not understand hospitality, and do not recognize the angels as a presence of God, demand that the man hand over the angels so that the men may abuse them. Rape is a violent demonstration of force and power, regardless of the victims’ gender or orientation. Sodomite men were not gay — they were rapists, and even Lot, who tried to offer hospitality to the angels, eventually offered up his daughters to be raped instead.

It is not a surprise that Sodom was destroyed for being unredeemable, but not because of homosexuality — the people were so brutal they did not understand hospitality to each other nor recognize God’s presence amongst them.

When we do not offer hospitality to our gay and lesbian neighbors, when we do not recognize their God-given dignity and worth, then woe to us! We need to understand as religious people of high moral character that as marriage laws have changed since biblical times (gratefully our laws do not make rape victims marry their abusers, do not expect or allow men to marry multiple wives), so must we welcome our gay and lesbian neighbors into loving, nurturing, legally sanctioned commitments. Virtues such as hospitality and recognition of the divine are eternal.

REV. AMY DeBECK

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Elkhart


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