A pastor of a large Southern Baptist church near Chattanooga, Tennessee said this week that Christians would never repent for discriminating against gay people like they had for racism because African-Americans could not change the color of their skin. Brainerd Baptist Church Senior Pastor Robby Gallaty devoted his entire hour-long sermon on Sunday to justifying Christian opposition to the sexuality of LGBT people.
And how does Pastor Gallaty justify "Christian opposition" to LGBT people? With every hater's favorite verse:
After spending about 20 minutes recounting the perils of homosexuality throughout history, Gallaty asserted that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God because of gay sex*. “God said that the sins of the people had infected the very land in which they live,” he explained. “So what happens to people who engage in this activity, this sexual immoral activity? Go to Leviticus 20, God gives us the punishment for engaging in these sins… ‘If a man sleeps with a man as with a woman, they have both committed a detestable thing. They must be put to death. And their blood is on their own hands.’”
Leviticus is some Old Testament shit.
Whenever someone who isn't a Christian points to all the shit in the Old Testament that American Christians choose to ignore—force your daughters to marry their rapists, God endorses genocide and killing babies, girls who aren't virgins on their weddings nights should be stoned to death, etc., etc., etc.—we're inevitably told that the Old Testament is irrelevant. Christianity is about the New Testament, God's new covenant, and all those silly Old Testament rules don't apply. Ralph Reed pulled that move on Bill Maher in this this interview. But these same Christian bigots never object when a fellow Christian bigot uses Old Testament shit to slam gay people. Ralph Reed won't personally call Robby Gallaty to tell him that Leviticus is irrelevant, and Reed certainly isn't going to call Gallaty out publicly.
As I wrote the last time I was told Leviticus is irrelevant...
Sorry, John Mac, but the Old Testament is germane. Anti-gay Christian hypocrites—and not all Christians are anti-gay; not all Christians are hypocrites—are constantly citing passages in the Old Testament to justify their persecution of LGBT people. We are far likelier to hear about Leviticus 20:13 and Sodom & Gomorrah in an anti-gay sermon than we are to hear about Corinthians or Timothy. And when conservative Christians toss Leviticus 20:13 in our faces—or get it tattooed on themselves (in violation of Leviticus 19:28)—we have a right to confront them about everything in the Old Testament that they choose to ignore, from the "abomination" of eating of shellfish to God giving dads the okay to sell their daughters into slavery. ("Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" is a popular an Old Testament reference too.)
It's only when gay people bring up a passage like Deuteronomy 22:20-21 that you hear anyone say, "Oh, that stuff about stoning daughters to death on their wedding nights if they're not virgins is in the Old Testament, you goof! That's not in the New Testament!" If it's out-of-bounds—totally not kosher—for gay people to bring up what the Old Testament says about clams and farming and personal grooming and tattoos and menstruation and virginity and adultery, then it shouldn't be kosher for conservative Christians to bring up Leviticus and Sodom & Gomorrah. Which they do. Constantly. And it's not like they have to: there are, courtesy of Paul, plenty of anti-gay verses in the New Testament. But those verses aren't anywhere near as hateful or murderous as what you'll find in Leviticus, of course, which is why they're nowhere near as popular with anti-gay bigots who call themselves Christians.
Paul says that gay people—or effeminate people—won't inherit the Kingdom of God. Which is like being told you might not be allowed to visit a theme park that may not exist. But Paul isn't good enough for Pastor Gallaty because Paul doesn't order believers to murder gay people.
It's not just antigay discrimination that Pastor Gallaty is endorsing and fomenting with this sermon. It's antigay violence.
* Pastor Gallaty tells his congregation that the homosexuality was the sin of Sodom. But God disagrees with Pastor Gallaty (Ezekiel 16:49): "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy." So we have two interpretations of the story of Sodom here: Gallaty's interpretation as laid out in this YouTube video and God's interpretation as laid out in the Bible. YouTube is a 10-year-old video-sharing website (says Wikipedia) and the Bible is the "infallible, inerrant Word of God" (say Christians like Gallaty). If Gallaty is right about Sodom, then God is wrong, and vice versa.