I think I’ve said this before… but, I grew up in a Catholic-dominated environment. From kindergarten to high school, I studied in a Catholic school. Then, I went to another Catholic college to get my Bachelor’s Degree. To say that I was surrounded by religious people would be an understatement. However, “fake religious” people exist. They only tend to spew out the Word of God when a topic surrounding the LGBTQ+ community suddenly rises. They use Bible verses to justify their homophobia.
So, I decided to cut off these “religious” friends of mine – mainly because of their blatant homophobia.
I was really young when I started questioning my sexuality. I remained aware of the fact that lesbians and gays exist. However, I did not know about the other letters in the acronym LGBT meant. And, the schools I went to never gave us enough chance to learn about it. So, I remained unaware of my own sexual orientation, unable to express my authentic self. At the age of 17, I was writing a paper for my Laws and Ethics of Mass Media class at college when I found out what bisexual and trans really meant.
A few years later, a couple of months before I turned 21, I came out of the closet as bisexual. It wasn’t a thought-out moment. I did it out of the blue and without any prompted posts whatsoever. I just did it. Then, a teacher at the high school that I used to go to sent me a message on Facebook. He said and I quote, “This is just an excuse to cheat on your partner.” I sat on my desk, at work, seething. He didn’t even have me as a student in that freaking school. Why would he say that to me? Like, bish, you’re not important enough for me.
Although he was not important, that interaction alone opened my eyes to the homophobia that I have lowkey and highkey experienced.
I remember, when I was in college, I used to be part of this “religious” group. We would go to Church together, sing praise songs, and gather at school for a Bible study. It was great… at first. Until I met this guy. He was also great… at first. One time, I had my feet up on the bench, typing on my laptop. He and another “religious” friend of ours sat with me at the table. They were in the same class. So, they started talking about upcoming requirements and asking me about mine.
After a while, they went quiet as they watched an openly gay man walking around wearing his classmate’s heels for a bit. This openly gay man was an acquaintance. So, I greeted him and when he walked away, the two “religious” men beside me started talking. They harrumphed at the fact that he wore heels, saying how wrong it was, and how God would hate him for wearing that. They started listing down Bible verses to justify their homophobia. Unfortunately, I stayed quiet. And, I regretted that for a long time. When we graduated, I stopped faking shit and cut them off from my life.
Now, let me utilize this time to use Bible verses against their homophobia.
The Bible serves as the road to the beacon of light. We carry it with our journey towards God. And, we study its contents to understand more about life. It helps us realize something about ourselves and about our identity. The Bible’s original purpose is to teach us about real love: long-suffering and kind. It doesn’t expect anything in return nor it disappears when never reciprocated. With love comes acceptance of ourselves and of others. That sounds so good, doesn’t it?
The verses become weapons against the LGBTQ+ community. The teachings become words against us, condemning us for being and loving differently.
Because, first of all, God does not hate. It’s literally His thing. He does not hate. He also does not judge me for being who I am. If He does not judge me for being a bisexual, why should you, a mere human, do so? Second of all, the Bible – the Word of God – does not have verses about hate nor does it have verses about condemning the LGBTQ+ community. So, do not use it to justify your homophobia. Being LGBTQ+ does not affect another person’s life… So, leave us alone and let us love who we want to love. Admit it, you’re not religious, you’re not worried about the kids, and you’re certainly not worried for our souls… You’re just an asshole.
LGBTQ+ individuals have long experienced discrimination against self-proclaimed religious people using the Bible and its contents as a weapon. We see this in action when we’re having fun at Pride festivals. They carry placards with Bible verses that should have been a friendly approach. However, we see them aggressively yelling bigoted statements rather than being accepting just like Jesus was. Being an LGBTQ+ means having to face all kinds of discomfort. Of course, this includes internalized shame, religious intolerance, and the exclusion that comes with it. As our community grows, we have to realize that religious intolerance is still intolerance.
Note: The Bible never condemned homosexuality.
There are homophobic people who condemn gays just because, apparently, “the Bible says so.”
The same Bible also forbids charging interest on loans, trimming your beard, pre-marital sex, wearing torn or ripped clothing, having short hair, having tattoos, selling land, eating shrimp, and even wearing clothing of different fabrics. If those were written off as society progresses, shouldn’t we stop the hate against homosexuality which wasn’t condemned in the Bible in the first place?
In the 1800s, no mention of homosexuals or even condemning them were made in any versions of the Bible. The famous Leviticus 18:22 actually said, “A man shall not lie with young boys as he does with a woman, for it is an abomination.” Even famous German Theology professor Martin Luther’s original German translation from 1534 said the same thing. The verse was condemning pedophiles, not homosexuals. I did some research. And, 1674 Swedish translations and 1830 Norwegian versions of the Bible condemn pedophilia rather than homosexuality, too.
Researcher and Theology graduate Ed Oxford sought to understand how the word homosexual ended up in the Bible.
“It first showed up in the RSV translation. So, before figuring out why they decided to use that word in the RSV translation (which is outlined in my upcoming book with Kathy Baldock, Forging a Sacred Weapon: How the Bible Became Anti-Gay), I wanted to see how other cultures and translations treated the same verses when they were translated during the Reformation 500 years ago. So I started collecting old Bibles in French, German, Irish, Gaelic, Czechoslovakian, Polish… you name it. Now I’ve got most European major languages that I’ve collected over time.”
In an interview with Forge, Oxford revealed that the word first showed up in a German translation in 1983.
“Anyway, I had a German friend come back to town and I asked if he could help me with some passages in one of my German Bibles from the 1800s. So, we went to Leviticus 18:22 and he’s translating it for me word for word. In the English where it says “Man shall not lie with man, for it is an abomination.” The German version says “Man shall not lie with young boys as he does with a woman, for it is an abomination.” I said, “What?! Are you sure?” He said, “Yes!” Then we went to Leviticus 20:13— same thing, “Young boys.” So, we went to 1 Corinthians to see how they translated arsenokoitai (original Greek word). And, instead of homosexuals it said, “Boy molesters will not inherit the kingdom of God.””
“As I was talking with my friend I said, “I wonder why not until 1983? Was their influence from America?” So, we had our German connection look into it again. And, it turns out that the company, Biblica, who owns the NIV version, paid for this 1983 German version. Thus, it was Americans who paid for it! In 1983 Germany didn’t have enough of a Christian population to warrant the cost of a new Bible translation. Because, it’s not cheap. So, an American company paid for it and influenced the decision, resulting in the word homosexual entering the German Bible for the first time in history. So, I say, I think there is a “gay agenda” after all!”
Hmmm… So, when and why did the mistranslation start? Two words: Stonewall Riots.
Although he did not say it, there are journals, studies, and researches that note the influence of the Stonewall Riots in the mistranslations. This becomes suspicious because 1983 (and before that) was a time of culture change and gay activism. Mainly, the Stonewall Riots in June 1969. The Riots where everything changed, where Pride started. If it weren’t for those Black trans women and POC gay men strutting down and protesting for their rights, we would have nothing.
If you’re still using the Bible to justify your homophobia, I suggest you stop. And, if you don’t want to, I suggest you research what the verses actually meant and if they went through mistranslations before spewing it at us when we, the LGBTQ+ community, try to live our most authentic selves.
Angela Grace P. Baltan is a Communication graduate from Colegio de San Juan de Letran. She doesn’t hesitate to be opinionated in analyzing movies and television series. As a writer, she uses her articles to advocate for feminism, gender equality, and mental health among others.