Gagnon says Obama ‘audaciously’ twists Christ’s Sermon on the Mount to affirm homosexuality
A Special Report for Republicans For Family Values (www.rffv.org)
Note: RFFV has excerpted the text in question on pages 222-224 of Barack Obama’s book, The Adacity of Hope, here: “Obama’s ‘Audacity of Hope’ Passage Downplays ‘Obscure Line in Romans’ Proscribing Homosexual Sex.” The “obscure line” in the New Testament Book of Romans to which Obama refers is evidently this (all links are to the New International Version of the Bible):
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. (Romans 1:26-27)
Barack Obama’s Disturbing Misreading of the Sermon on the Mount as Support for Homosexual Sex
by Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D.
October 23, 2008
Presidential candidate Barack Obama has written in The Audacity of Hope—a book that perhaps should have been entitled The Audacity of Portraying Myself Messianically as the Herald of Audacious Hope—that he is not “willing to accept a reading of the Bible that considers an obscure line in Romans [about homosexual practice] to be more defining of Christianity than the Sermon on the Mount.” He repeated this line in a campaign appearance in Ohio this past March. He stated that if people find controversial his views on granting the full benefits of marriage to homosexual unions, minus only the name, “then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans.” These remarks by Obama represent a gross distortion of the witness of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures.
On Romans 1
First, they misrepresent the text in Romans 1:24-27 against all homosexual practice, a text that belongs to one of the two or three most important books in Scripture, a catalyst for frequent spiritual revivals for the past two millennia. Romans 1:24-27 depicts all homosexual practice as an “indecency” and moral “impurity” that does three things. First, it violates God’s male-female standard for valid sexual relations given in Genesis 1:27 (the text contains strong echoes to Genesis 1:26-27). Second, it violates the obvious evidence in the material structures of creation that male and female, not persons of the same sex, are each other’s sexual counterparts or complements (a particularly obvious example on the plane of human interrelationships of suppressing the truth about God and ourselves accessible in creation and nature). Third, it “dishonors” the sexual integrity of the participants who engage in such activity by imaging themselves as only half their own sex in their attempt to merge with an alleged complement of the same sex. The passage is no more “obscure” than Paul’s comments on idolatry in the preceding passage in Romans 1:19-23 or his comments regarding a case of adult-consensual man-stepmother incest at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 5—another instance of prohibited sexual intercourse between persons who are too much alike (here on a familial level, already of the same “flesh”).
On Scripture Generally
Second, Obama’s remarks misrepresent Scripture generally in that they suggest that Paul’s stance on homosexual practice is somehow an oddity within the pages of Scripture. The truth is that a person would be hard-pressed to come up with an example of consensual sexual relations that the witness of Scripture opposes more strongly, consistently, and absolutely. Paul’s remarks were certainly not isolated. Every law, narrative, proverb, poetry, metaphor, teaching, and exhortation in Scripture that has anything to do with sexual relations presupposes a male-female prerequisite. The creation texts in Genesis 1 and 2 both establish such a prerequisite. Genesis 1:27 integrates the creation of “male and female” as a sexual pair with being made in God’s image, suggesting that same-sex pairing would efface that part of the image of God stamped on the sexual self (as also would adultery and incest, the latter even of an adult-consensual sort). Genesis 2:21-24 portrays a male-female sexual bond as the re-merger of the two complementary sexual halves of an integrated sexual whole. In other words, the sexual “counterpart” or “complement” of a man is a woman (and vice versa), a being both “corresponding to him” and “opposite him” (as the Hebrew word kenegdo infers).
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