Sunday, February 12, 2012

Anchorage Clergy Sound Off About 2012 Proposition 5, The Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative And Discuss Biblical Perspective On Homosexuality

Among the seven measures appearing on the ballot for the Anchorage 2012 Municipal Election to take place on April 3rd, 2011 is Proposition 5, known as the Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative. If passed, it will get applicable sections of the Anchorage Municipal Code updated to add the phrase "sexual orientation or transgendered identity" to the laundry list of protected classes. Employers and proprietors would still be allowed to maintain separate-gender restrooms and to impose reasonable dress codes upon employees, and the initiative leaves untouched existing law (AMC 5.20.090) that allows religious groups and denominational institutions to give preferential treatment to people of the same faith.

KTVA Channel 11 offered ministers throughout the community the opportunity to appear on air and discuss their views about homosexuality, and four accepted the challenge; two who hold traditional views, and two with more "progressive" views. The latest news video is embedded below:

-- Pastor Dan Jarrell of ChangePoint: Notes that the Bible is clear that same-sex physical relationships are wrong, and cites the Pauline letter to the Romans (Romans 1:26-27) on homosexual activity as an example of how deep-rooted sin is. Other frequently-cited verses condemning homosexual activity include Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13. The Family Research Council addresses other Biblical injunctions against homosexual behavior. Watch the separate video featuring Pastor Jarrell HERE.

-- Pastor Richard Irwin of Anchorage City Church: Says the Bible is clear about a lot of things related to sexual activity. Notes that we have the tendency to want to pull together just one part of it, and leave out others. We want to focus on homosexual activity, for example, and leave fornication or adultery alone. This means Pastor Irwin is concerned about all sexual activity outside of marriage, and apparently views homosexuality as one of several forms of sexual misconduct. Watch the separate video featuring Pastor Irwin HERE.

-- Reverend Susan Wright of Immanuel Presbyterian Church: Claims the Bible actually is silent on gay sex, explaining that there are several cases in the Bible where English translators have made it "homosexuality", and claiming that the term "homosexuality" did not even come into use or effect or creation until the late 1800s. But what part of "thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind" does she not understand? Watch the separate video featuring Reverend Wright HERE.

-- Reverend George Blair of First Congregational Church: Says what some people believe are passages about the immorality of any homosexual conduct really are a condemnation of temple prostitution as a form of idolatry. Adds that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is about brutality toward strangers, not about sex, as such, although some would claim the real sin of Sodom was pride. Watch the separate video featuring Reverend Blair HERE

The sticking point is the interpretation of the Bible. Those who interpret the Bible as being either inerrant or authoritative will take the more traditional view on homosexuality, while those who interpret the Bible as being merely advisory will take a more progressive view. A person who considers the Bible to be inerrant believes every word is "God-breathed", while a person who considers the Bible to be authoritative acknowledges that it was recorded by imperfect human beings using imperfect human syntax, but will still cite it as spiritual authority nonetheless. In contrast, a person who considers the Bible to be merely advisory will tend to de-emphasize the more unpleasant verses, promote social justice over salvation, and embrace the "Jesus-as-a-hippie" model.

And as far as Jesus not known to have spoken out specifically about homosexuality, it should be noted that Matthew 5:17-18 (NIV) records Him as saying "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished". This implies that the previous counsel about homosexual behavior still applied, as further evidenced by Paul's attitude in Romans. The four synoptic Gospels do not record every word spoken by Jesus during his entire 33-year ministry.

Whether these ministers support or oppose Proposition 5 is one thing, but they should represent the Bible the way it is actually written, not the way they wish it was written.

1 comment:

  1. The reference to the "four synoptic" gospels displays the writer's ignorance of his own religion. There are three synoptic gospels--Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

    The foolishness of assuming a non-"inerrant" interpretation of scriptures is treating them merely as an "advisory" picking-and-choosing of verses displays a blindness about the extreme picking-and-choosing done by those who claim inerrancy. Shellfish anyone?