Savage Truth: Religion Versus Homosexuality

This is a column of opinion and analysis by 13WMAZ's Randall Savage.

From the so-called Religious Freedom Act to local laws that prohibit discrimination against gays and transgender people, the battle continues over whether homosexuals should get equal protection under the law.

At the heart of the issue is whether the Christian Bible calls homosexuality a horrendous act and that granting equal protection to those participating in those sinful deeds would fly in the face of the living and loving God they serve.

Last year, the Georgia General Assembly approved a Religious Freedom Act that, among other things, would've allowed bakers and florists to refuse service to anyone who would use their product in a manner that conflicted with their deeply held religious beliefs. Those deeply held religious beliefs included gay couples who were getting married.

Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed the measure and let the lawmakers know he'd do it again if they enacted similar legislation in 2017. The lawmakers didn't test the governor's resolve.

Earlier this month,  Macon-Bibb County officials faced strong resistance when Commissioner Larry Schlesinger introduced an ordinance that would prohibit discrimination against gays and transgender people. Schlesinger is also a rabbi.

Judeo-Christians often cite biblical passages when making their arguments against legalizing gay rights. They support their argument by pointing to Chapter 18, Verse 22 in the Old Testament book of Leviticus. 

The NIV, or New International Version of that book, chapter and verse says, "Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable."

That verse, some Judeo-Christians maintain, makes it clear that God frowns on homosexuality and governments shouldn't do anything to protect those who engage in it.

But those same Judeo-Christians never mention Chapter 20, Versus 13 of that same book of Leviticus.

The NIV version of  that chapter and versus says, "If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."

So if one uses Leviticus, Chapter 18, Verse 22 as the biblical truth to justify their opposition to governments approving gay and transgender rights, should that person use Leviticus Chapter 22, Verse 13 to justify a governmental homicidal crusade to eradicate homosexuals?

Or should they abandon the Leviticus offerings and embrace John 13 Verses 34-35 when Jesus himself offers his version of how people should be treated?

"A new command I give you," Jesus says. "Love one another as I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

Jesus doesn't mention loving straight people and throwing homosexuals under the bus. He said, "love one another as I have loved you..."

A few years ago, many Christians wore wrist bands with the acronym WWJD written on them. The WWJD stood for "What Would Jesus Do."

With that in mind, should Judeo-Christians ask themselves What Would Jesus Do the next time they oppose governmental measures to grant equal rights to homosexuals?

We'll see how that plays out.

Randall Savage is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and host of 13WMAZ's "Close Up" talk show which airs Saturdays at noon and 6 a.m. Sundays. Follow him on Twitter at @RandallWMAZ.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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