Shuck and Jive

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Using the Bible for Justice

I find quoting passages of the Bible to support some cause or another tiresome, annoying, and for the most part, meaningless. If your argument doesn't hold up on its own in the light of reason, no amount of biblical prooftexting is going to make it better.

A halo around a turd just makes it holy sh**.

That said, since certain passages of the Bible are chosen to "prove" that certain categories of people are unfit for places of power, prestige, or even human rights, it is good to address the Bible.

Sexual and gender minorities are the target of the day. Several passages from the Bible are quoted in attempt to show that G-d agrees with the prejudices of those who quote them.

Plenty of students of the Bible have written fine essays and books to show that the passages quoted do not stand up to the light of reason in regards to denying people rights, freedoms, and access to power. Here are plenty. (Or see the sidebar of this blog).

A recent post by
More Light Presbyterians takes a different strategy. This post offers texts from scripture that can be used to support rights and freedoms for sexual and gender minorities.

If the Bible is a big deal for you, you might be interested in these texts (and you are invited to add your own). Here are a few:
  1. "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22:36-40)
  2. "God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them." (I John 4:16)
  3. The story of Ruth and Naomi shows Biblical consecration for "non-traditional" families. (The Book of Ruth)
  4. David and Jonathan. (1 and 2 Samuel) Even the most conservative plain text reading of this story would conclude it's certainly an extraordinary covenanted relationship.
  5. The story of Lydia (Acts 16: 11-15) shows Biblical consecration of a female-headed household.
  6. Jesus was an unmarried man in a tradition culture and his group of followers consisted of a sort of non-traditional extended family.
  7. So too with Paul.
  8. Jesus welcomed sexual minorities. "For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can." (Matthew 19:11-12)
  9. The first Gentile convert to Christianity was a sexual minority. (See Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch, Acts 8:26-39)
  10. In Acts 15, the Apostles welcomed Gentiles into the church. This was a radical reversal because previously Gentiles were seen as "by nature" unclean and "by practice" polluted by idolatry. (See Acts 15:1-21)
  11. "As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:27-28)
  12. "Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God." Romans 15:7
Check out the post for more and feel free to add yours!


  1. What's hilarious about that essay over at MLP is the number of fundies who have been sputtering on their blogs about it ... "B-b-b-bbut it's only prooftexting! Don't they know anything about Biblical interpretation?!?"

    Gotta love that. I like my irony like I like my coffee -- so thick you can cut it with a knife.