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Sodomy and Civil Rights

 

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

 

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.
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The Church issued the following statement today:

It is disturbing that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is being singled out for speaking up as part of its democratic right in a free election.

Members of the Church in California and millions of others from every faith, ethnicity and political affiliation who voted for Proposition 8 exercised the most sacrosanct and individual rights in the United States — that of free expression and voting.

While those who disagree with our position on Proposition 8 have the right to make their feelings known, it is wrong to target the Church and its sacred places of worship for being part of the democratic process.

Once again, we call on those involved in the debate over same-sex marriage to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility towards each other. No one on either side of the question should be vilified, harassed or subject to erroneous information.

Let me get this straight. It is "wrong" for protestors to make Church worship places part of the democratic process. These would be the buildings owned by the Church, the buildings which host those who fund the Church, the buildings which serve as symbols of bigotry enacted into law. But it is not "wrong" for the "Church" to pay for the removal of the right for loving couples to marry? Does a protest at a Temple make the matter too personal for Church members? Does the Church now say this should be the most civil and depersonalized of public discourse? I've never really had reason to agitate against this Church, but it has now bought itself and its membership a front row seat on the wrong side of this civil rights battle. It cannot claim to be innocent.



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