The Story of Sodom; Oft Quoted, Not Quoted

There is something that puzzles me about those who point to the Bible and it’s views of homosexuality. Those who do, will quote the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. In the story two angels; presumed to be men, come to the town of Sodom to spend the night with Lot. The men of the town surround Lot’s house demanding to have the two angels brought out so they can “know” them. This has been interpreted to mean have sex with them. The men don’t succeed; Lot and his family escape; and Sodom is burned up in a hail of sulfur from God. Anti-gay persons often point to this as a place where the “Bible says” homosexuality is wrong. This is sometimes followed with indignation that the Bible is God’s word; therefore, it has to be followed. What puzzles me about the Christians who quote this passage is they don’t comment on the rest of the story of Lot, and just why we are not following it as well.

The chapter and verse within the story where the men demand of Lot to bring out the angels so that they can know them is Genesis 19:5. In Genesis 19:8, just three verses after the demand of the townsmen, Lot offers up his virgin daughters:

Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. — English Standard Version

Yet, the angels seem to have no qualms about yanking Lot back in house to rescue him. Lot offered up his daughters for gang rape and he deserves rescue, but if gay men or lesbian women have sex with each other we deserve to be burned up in a rain of sulfur? How is it that you can support the story of Sodom without condemning this passage? And if we condemn this passage, how can the logic follow that the rest of the story of Sodom deserves our adherence?

The story of Sodom’s Lot and it’s incongruity to the belief that the Bible is God’s word to be followed doesn’t end with the cities extreme case of acid rain. As Lot makes his way to live safely in a cave with his daughters, the two women realize that there is no son to carry on the family. How they resolve this problem is by getting Lot drunk and having sex with him in order to get pregnant:

31 One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children—as is the custom all over the earth. 32 Let’s get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.”

33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

34 The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” 35 So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

36 So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. 37 The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab[g]; he is the father of the Moabites of today. 38 The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi[h]; he is the father of the Ammonites[i] of today. source

Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed for their homosexual tendencies, but that’s okay, because an incestuous relationship helps to create a whole new civilization (Lot and his wife couldn’t try for some more kids since she was turned into a pillar of salt for glancing back on their hometown as it burned). While anti-gay activists may claim that gays getting married will lead to family members getting married as well (aunt/nephew, brother/sister, mother/son), it seems they shouldn’t have to worry much about it because according to this passage of the Bible, incest is a-okay in God’s mind. Or maybe that is only in the case of those families who haven’t sons. What a waste of time and money we’ve been spending on in vitro fertilization when the answer to these pregnancy problems were right in Genesis 19:33 all along.

There are other places in the Bible that people point to as God’s view on homosexuality, but those passages still pose the dilemma of cherry picking which parts of the Bible you follow. I don’t think there are many “Bible believing” folks out there who would condone the actions of Lot’s daughters; even though God does not condemn it. If you feel that the incestuous part of the story of Sodom is one to frown up on or just a product of it’s place and time in the world, why do we not view the Bible’s views on homosexuality through that same lens? And if you view the Bible as truth or absolute then why are we not following everything it has to say?

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