The Pope is still Catholic

The Pope is still Catholic

If you think it sounds like this episode is going to delve more into religion that it has up until this point, you have a discerning ear. But when I started this podcast, I promised you a take on these issues that you might not have heard elsewhere. So, depending on the circles you run in, this could very well fit the bill; a Protestant defending Catholic doctrine using Jewish texts.

I posted an article to my social media audience from CNS News headlined, “No Unambiguity: Homosexual Acts Sinful and Disordered”. It’s an opinion piece that explains the Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality. I received a comment on the Google+ posting of it, with common misunderstandings that I thought I’d cover in the podcast. But 10 minutes or less is only enough to point you in the right direction, and so the links in the show notes will be very helpful.

Mentioned links:

No Unambiguity: Homosexual Acts Sinful and Disordered

Google+ conversation with Christopher Li-Reid

Bible Verses About Homosexuality

THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO INTERPRETING OLD TESTAMENT LAW

Does the Old Testament condone slavery?

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Show transcript

Did you know that I post links to interesting news articles between episodes of the podcast? Well, if you didn’t, it’s not your fault. Facebook has significantly reduced the number of people who see posts on a Facebook page, even if you’ve liked it. To see everything, you need to go to the page, hover over the Liked button, and select “Get Notification”. Then you see them, not in your newsfeed, but in your list of notifications. Annoying, but they’re trying to make money by getting page owners to pay for more exposure.

Google+, on the other hand, doesn’t, as far as I can tell, have that issue. So if you circle me there, you’ll see everything I post, if you’re on Google+ at the time. And that brings me to this. I posted an article to my social media audience from CNS News headlined, “No Unambiguity: Homosexual Acts Sinful and Disordered”. It’s an opinion piece that explains the Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality. It featured a picture of the Pope, and so I mistakenly posted it suggesting that the Pope himself had used those words recently. Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t, but whatever he has said in the past (like “Who am I to judge” that liberals have trumpeted far and wide), the position of the Catholic Church has not changed. It is, in the words of their Catechism itself, “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to the natural law”. Whether you agree with that or not, whether you are religious in any sense of the word or not, that’s the Catholic Church’s doctrinal stance, as laid out in detail, with Scripture references, by the article’s author Monsignor Charles … Pope. No relation.

So on the Google+ posting of that article, I received a comment by Christopher Li-Ried. He’s commented on a posting there before, and on the same topic, but I don’t know how he found my posting, since he doesn’t have me in any circle. But you can search for posts on particular topics, so perhaps it was that way. In any event, his comment was one I’ve seen often and thought I’d answer the common objections on the podcast.

I have a link to the conversation in the show notes, but here’s what he said.

the only scriptures in which call [sic] homosexuality an abomination is leviticus.. so if you believe that garbage – you must also believe in my right to slave ownership.

Leviticus 25:44-46

And he goes on to quote it, where God is permitting ancient Israel to buy and sell slaves from neighboring nations, but not within themselves.

Fair points, but there are a number of problems with taking a verse like that way out of context, not to mention his making statements of fact about the Bible that just aren’t true. So I’m going to give this my 10-minute-or-less treatment, but the links I put in the show notes are going to be where to look for more details.

Let’s start with the first sentence, “the only scriptures in which call [sic] homosexuality an abomination is leviticus”. Fair enough, that’s the only place that the King James Version uses that word for it specifically, but 2 things. It uses that word to apply to homosexuality at least twice that I’m aware of in that book, and I have to wonder how many times Christopher thinks that God has to say something before He really, really means it. “It is an abomination. Verily. Seriously. I mean it this time.” And if Christopher had actually read the article, he would have found Monsignor Pope listing more places, in both the Old and New Testaments, where the Bible speaks against it. I provided an additional link, as I do to you via the show notes, with an article that mentions those and a few more. But even more so, consider this; a very simple observation is that when the Bible speaks of homosexuality — Old or New Testament, no matter the context — it is always spoken of negatively. At the very least, that must count for something.

Which brings us to his second sentence, “so if you believe that garbage – you must also believe in my right to slave ownership”. First of all, this is quite clearly God talking to the Israelites themselves. It even refers to “your brothers the people of Israel”; that’s the audience for this. Now, it’s true that the audience for God’s pronouncements on homosexuality was also Israel, but there is a fundamental difference between those pronouncements and the ones about slaves. A moral judgment is made on homosexuality. God doesn’t say it’s an abomination for you. He says it is an abomination, period. Even Christopher acknowledges the word, but he fails to grasp the very basic difference; one is directed at the Israelites for the Israelites, and the other, while directed at the Israelites, is an overarching moral judgment for everyone; revealed to Israel, and from there to the world. The word “abomination” is rather all-encompassing, is it not?

And that dovetails wonderfully into the second point. Many Bible scholars have agreed, for a very long time, that there are 3 types of commands in the Old Testament; ceremonial laws, civil laws, and moral laws. Ceremonial laws dealt with certain forms of worship, as well as day-to-day things to prefer or avoid. Civil laws were just that; laws to govern the Israelites in that place and time. The verses Christopher quotes fit into that category. Then there are the moral laws that, as I said, while given initially to Israel, express God’s views on particular topics for everyone for all time. “It’s an abomination” doesn’t sound like a civil law; it’s a moral judgment.

And finally, what about the slavery issue? Well, the Hebrew notion of slavery, as laid out by the Old Testament, is far, far different than the slavery you’re thinking of. A link in the show notes has a very good list of 8 assumptions many people make about it, and it’s really worth your time to check it out, but in short, slavery was overwhelmingly voluntary, mistreatment of a slave was forbidden, and slaves were afforded most of the same freedoms and responsibilities as free citizens. And in that sense, the actual word “slavery” probably ought to be changed in most Western Bibles to reflect the actual circumstances; translating the meaning rather than the words.

Filed under: HomosexualityHuman SexualityReligion