David R. Weiss, November 7, 2008
This country has a sodomy problem. And until we have the wisdom and the courage to be honest about what that means we're not going to resolve the question of civil rights for homosexuals. We need to be clear about why sodomy is such a threat to the common good of civil society, why it undermines the family, and why it is such an evil when afoot in faith communities. It's not going to be easy. But it needs to be done.
The word "sodomy" comes from a biblical text (Genesis 19) where the ancient city of Sodom is marked out for divine destruction because its evil ways so angered God. Sodomy names those who act like the inhabitants of Sodom.
( Fine. But listen carefully... )
So let's be clear: the desire to close off the protections afforded by marriage to persons living in committed same-sex relationships (and to their children) is itself an act of sodomy and it has no place in civil society or in communities of faith.
Further, when African-Americans and Hispanics vote in large numbers alongside conservative white Christians to ban same-sex marriage they ally themselves with the same strand of Christianity that in the past quoted other biblical texts just as effectively to justify genocidal policies toward Native Americans, xenophobic laws toward immigrants, and abominations like slavery, Jim Crow, and apartheid.
So, yes, this country has a sodomy problem. But so long as we think it has anything to do with gay sex we've missed the point of God's outrage. Sodomy happens when any group uses their majority or their power to abuse and marginalize another group. That's what happened in California, Arizona, Florida, and Arkansas on November 4. And it's time for us, as citizens and as Christians, to stop acting like the inhabitants of Sodom.
David Weiss is a theologian and author of To the Tune of a Welcoming God (2008). He lives with his wife and children in St. Paul, MN.