Dear Religious People, Stop Using The Bible As A Weapon Of Homophobia

Dear Religious People, Stop Using The Bible As A Weapon Of Homophobia

(Originally published on Queerty)

God works in mysterious ways.

Or so I was told throughout my childhood, when going to church was a ritual my family completed several times every week. But even having spent years logging countless hours sitting on those hard, uncomfortable pews listening to interminable sermons about the holy men who wrote the Bible thousands of years ago, I find it difficult to believe they could have foreseen days like this, a post-Stonewall world where LGBTQ people have fought for and won many of the same rights as everyone else.

Did God, as some holy rollers would like us to believe, actually think it necessary to condemn homosexuality because it was such a threat in the B.C. era? Did he go and tell it to Moses on the mountain, or plant the seed in Jesus’s ear? It’s not like there were same-sex couples and gay-rights activists showing out on the streets of Nazareth.

But then, I’ve never read the Bible in its entirety. And I suspect neither have most of the people who insist on using it to support their homophobia. When folks have an agenda, though, pretty much any sentence can be spun to further their cause.

Which brings us to Seyi Omooba, an actress who was fired from a UK stage production of The Color Purple after she refused to apologize for a homophobic Facebook post she wrote in 2014. Now, like the owner of a Colorado bakery who took his refusal to make a cake for a gay wedding all the way to the Supreme Court, Omooba is claiming religious discrimination.

First, let’s consider the post that cost Omooba her gig. In it, she wrote, “Some Christians have completely misconceived the issue of Homosexuality, they have begun to twist the word of God. It is clearly evident in 1 Corinthians 6:9–11 what the bible says on this matter. I do not believe you can be born gay, and I do not believe homosexuality is right, though the law of this land has made it legal doesn’t mean that it’s right.”

For those unfamiliar with the specifics of 1 Corinthians 6:9, as I was before I looked it up, here is what it has to say: “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men.” As 1 Corinthians is attributed to Paul the Apostle, that wasn’t actually a direct decree from God. They were the alleged words of a man who claimed to be His representative.

Corinthians, by the way, is the same book of the New Testament that forbids women from speaking in church: “If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home.” Had Paul been sage enough to foresee the rise of social media, I wonder what he would have had to say about female actors who write about the Word of God on Facebook.

The problem with using the Bible to support homophobia is that the source material — at least the King James version — isn’t 100 percent dependable. Many of the points in the original text, which was written in various ancient languages, including Hebrew and Latin, were likely lost in translation. And in any form, the good book is riddled with inconsistencies, contradictions, and impossibilities, beginning with one heterosexual couple, Adam and Eve, populating the entire planet.

Should we revert to the supposed mores of a time in which a vengeful, wrathful, and jealous God practically wiped out the human race by making it rain for 40 days and 40 nights and turned people into pillars of salt for daring to look back at a city He had destroyed. I’m not willing to change the way I love in order to comply with what Paul, a mere mortal who lived thousands of years ago, claimed was the will of that version of God.

Of course, if you gotta have faith, that’s your prerogative. People are free to believe what they want to believe, and they’re free to write about it on Facebook. I don’t think their misguided points of view should cost them their livelihoods. That said, Omooba wasn’t just fired from a random job. It was a part in a musical adaptation of a novel written by an LGBTQ author. If she is as dedicated to her religious convictions as she claims to be, why did she not have a problem earning a living through the work of Alice Walker, a woman whom she would just as soon condemn to hell for living a sinful life?

It wasn’t a random job, nor was it a random part. Omooba was dismissed from the lead role of Celie, who is involved in a same-sex relationship during the course of The Color Purple’s story. (It’s the part that earned Whoopi Goldberg a Best Actress Oscar nomination in 1986.) If she’s going to claim religious discrimination after being sacked, where was her dedication to her religion when she accepted the job? Can she use her religious convictions to back her up now when they didn’t seem to matter when she was pursuing the job?

Having grown up in a strict, religious environment (affiliation: the Pentecostal Christian denomination Church of God), I’ve been dealing with people like Omooba all of my life. Sometimes they’ve been folks in my own clan (thankfully, none in my immediate family). They claim to be guided by love, but all I’ve seen in their eyes when they see me is hate. If looks could kill, I’d be a pillar of salt, just like the doomed wife of Lot. What would the God that Paul the Apostle claimed to have such a strong connection to think of that?

Omooba, if you’re reading this (and she wouldn’t be the first homophobe to spend way too much time on an LGBTQ website), don’t answer that. She probably thinks He’d be cheering them on.

For all her protestations of religious discrimination, at least she gets to live. Thanks, in part, to people who think just like her and a number of holy rollers I’ve had to quietly dismiss from my life, many in the LGBTQ community aren’t so fortunate.

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  1. BlackPope
    October 27, 09:00 Reply

    Africans, free yourselves from the shackles of Religion and face true identity and true love to humanity.
    Time is fast ticking!!!

    Religious fanatics free your minds from those fairytales and mythology and make useful use of your minds.

  2. Higwe
    October 27, 09:11 Reply

    This topic is so hackneyed at this point .

    Chat up ten ” woke ” gay men and nine of them will claim they’re atheist .

    Yet they stay seeking for validation in the Bible.

    If we swear we don’t believe in God and see the scriptures as a mere bafflegab .

    Why do we put so much effort seeking for justification in what we try to convince ourselves we don’t believe in.

    The Bible was very clear in its stance against homosexuality.

    Maybe we are forgetting the place the term ” sodomites ” emanated from and nope this is not from the mouth of an apostle .. it was a direct deed from God Himself .

    No circumvention … twisting and turning of the scriptures can change that limpid sooth.

    I’ll say this again ….

    Either you accept you’re a sinner awaiting eternal damnation and live the way you like or you be a good atheist and ignore everything that has to do with God or the bible.

    Yes , their religion gave them every leverage to be homophobic …just like your wokeness or atheism should give you every leverage to treat all their words like a total amphigory .

    Using the Bible to raise awareness against homophobia is like a south Korean hiring a North Korean lawyer to defend him in a North Korea court .

    For every verse you can string up to make a semblance of some point , there are twenty that counters it .

    Robert Greene said it best …if you can’t have it , treat it like it doesn’t exist.
    That’s the only way you stay on top .?

  3. Ken
    October 27, 10:07 Reply

    One mistake some people make is to assume that just bcos u are a Christian or Muslim or whatever religion simply means u must be homophobic. This type of thinking is both unhelpful and infact indulges in the very disastrous generalizations which is responsible for homophobia. Newsflash: there are gay pastors, gay imams and other religious leaders who are also gay.
    So saying religious people are homophobic is untrue. Also I see many gay people in frustration try to fight the church or provoke unnecessary hatred between religion and being gay. People of God, religion is not your enemy. Ignorance is. The Bible and the Quran can be interpreted in different ways, depending on the motives of the reader. Heck! We have different sects of the same religion fighting each simply cos of their own interpretation.
    Being gay shldnt translate to automatic hatred for religion. Just as being a Christian shkdnt translate to automatic homophobia. To each his own, live and let live. Isn’t that what the community preaches anyways.

  4. bamidele
    October 27, 10:31 Reply

    As I have sadi several time, I think Africa’s origin of hatred began with their adoption of Abrahamic–Islam and Christian–religions. Within West Africa for example, ISlam which preceded Chritianity, incrase escaled group conflicts and slavery as history has shown. Homosexuality apart, we can see how hatred has surged in many African societies. Group who had always united because of belief in the same river deity, or so, now turn enemies after having accepted islamic and christian norms. Besides, most indigenous African religions are highly polytheistic..ie, they understand variety of gods, whereby some can be male, female, or both, hence, there was acceptance of gays, lesbian etc. But the rigid monotheistic religions of islam and christians don’t even value women, let alone homosexual. Unfortunately, some indigenous african priest try to interpret their religions through abrahamic norms. Now the world is adopting what Africans have adopted several centuries ago while africans are embracing what they are abandoning… Terrible!

  5. Black Dynasty
    October 27, 10:33 Reply

    People often blindly quote the bible without understanding it’s history and origins.
    They fail to understand that a lot of the old testament includes societal norms of the time which would be considered barbaric by today’s standards.
    Heck, Jesus had to clarify so much misunderstanding in the new testament. They forget the second most fundamental law, i.e. love your neighbour as yourself. Any Christian spewing hate needs to go ask for forgiveness and step back into the light real quick.

  6. Mikey?
    October 28, 17:49 Reply

    Jesus even said thou shall not judge in Matthew 7:1, if Jesus could say this who are they to judge us based on Paul’s words?

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