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Four Decades Along the Rainbow Road

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bigotry and the Bible: My Letter the Howard County Times Chose Not to Publish

This is in response to Geri Ungurean’s letter (“Nobody is denying rights to gays, transgender people,” May 3).  In her letter that speaks out mostly against abortion but also includes the following: “I also thought about my right as a Christian, to be able to worship God and agree with Him from His Word about homosexuality.  It’s not bigotry, it’s called the Bible.”

I am not accusing Ms. Ungurean of being a bigot, as I do not know her personally.  But we have seen and heard so often during debates concerning the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and in particular civil marriage equality that it is not bigotry but that the Bible condemns homosexuality. Keep in mind that Jesus never condemned homosexuality.

Again, I’m not accusing Ms. Ungurean, but the inconvenient truth is that bigots have used the Bible to cloak their own prejudices and quote Scripture to justify their beliefs. We have seen examples of this not that many years ago when Southern Baptist preachers—all Christians—used the Bible to condone slavery, segregation and Jim Crow laws against blacks and opposing interracial marriage.  For example, in the Old Testament, slavery was regulated and by no means condemned:

“However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.” (Leviticus 25:44-46)

My point is that the Bible was crafted at a time when tribal societies existed and much of what was written was to control the population as a means of ensuring the survival of those tribes.  As such, Scripture included scores of verses that demand retribution for myriad sins.  Another example: “For anyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother; his blood is upon him.”  (Leviticus 20:09)

As we have evolved to a modern world view, our society has chosen to move past these archaic mandates and to a more tolerant place.  The Bible was never amended to reflect these changes, but clearly slavery has been outlawed and parents are not murdering their disrespectful children.

Denying bigotry by saying they are following the word of the Bible is simply an excuse in some cases because these people feel their views would be less subject to criticism. 


Anonymous said...

This is an excellent letter. I completely agree with Mr. Charing on how religious extremists quote the Bible for their own convenience.
This letter needs to be published.

Rob Lance said...

I believe that the editors chose not to publish Steve's letter because they didn't think that the ridiculous, off-topic rant of this woman deserved further comment. In other words, they felt she basically self-destructed. I agree. I also was tempted to respond, but I thought it was a waste of my time.

That said, Steve's excellent response needs to be published not in the Letters section, but in the editorial section. It should have as much exposure as possible. Fat chance that the conservative Republicans who run the Times/Flier will do so.

Great job, Steve.