League Of Thinkers
2019-11-03 21:22:25 UTC
Posted on November 25, 2015 by azlewis
I wrote this at the beginning of the Republican campaign. I believe it
In my circle of Christian friends one will occasionally hear someone speak
of the importance of eating meals with one another, using the etymology of
the word companion as their point of argumentation. The argument goes
along the lines of: the word companion comes from the Latin con panne
which means with bread. Therefore, those whom you claim to be friends
with are those with whom you eat bread. Or something like that.
The problem with this argument is that word meanings evolve and that is not
what people mean when they say companion anymore. Thats not to say that
companions shouldnt eat bread with one another. Its just that I would
prefer another reference to point to. If for instance, there was a classic
book that people still read where the origins of the word are clear we
could recover companion in the way proposed.
For an example of what I mean, lets take the word sodomy. The common and
legal definition of sodomy is Anal or oral intercourse between human
beings, or any sexual relations between a human being and an animal. The
etymology of the word supposedly comes from its use in the Bible. Sodom was
a town known for and destroyed by God for its wickedness. It is assumed
that this wickedness is that they practice sodomy as it is defined legally.
But what is sodomy as actually described in the Bible? The passage where
the term originates is not so clear. The first real mention of Sodoms
wickedness comes from Genesis 18:20, when the Lord says, How great is the
outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah and how very grave their sin!
Apparently, people have been crying out to God regarding the sins of Sodom,
but we dont know what that is, so we read on to find out.
In the next chapter, two angels who look like men to the people of Sodom
enter the city, ostensibly intent on sleeping in the square, but are
persuaded to eat and sleep in the house of Lot. Once there, the men of the
city, the men of Sodom surrounded the house, from the youngest to the
oldest, all the people from the entire city, and they tell Lot to send the
men outside so the men of Sodom can know them. Lot, horrified by their
request, suggest the men of Sodom take his two virgin daughters in order to
protect his guests, but the men of Sodom will have none of it. They
decide that they will now threaten Lot with the same fate they threatened
the angels, pointing out that Lot had no authority in the town because he
had only been there a short time to sojourn in Sodom. Because they were
angels, though, they were able to use the force or a patronus to help them
escape before the Lord destroys Sodom.
Based on this summation, it is understandable that one might conclude that
sodomy might include sex between two men. However, any responsible reading
would also need to add the caveat that the text is silent regarding
consensual sex of any kind. The visitors are clearly being threatened with
rape. But, you say, they refuse to rape Lots daughters, so therefore we
should conclude that sodomy is, at the very least, related to
You might be asking yourself at this point what does this have to do with
Republican presidential candidates? How might they be Sodomites? Trump, et.
al. never allegedly threatened to rape people, whether male, female, or
angel, as far as we can prove. But that assumes that sodomy as described in
the Bible is fundamentally about rape. What if its something even simpler
than that. Lets go back to the passage at hand.
Note Lots reasoning behind offering his daughters in place of the angels.
He says, only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the
shelter of my roof. In ancient Southwest Asia, a child is considered an
extension of oneself, but a guest in ones own home is someone one has to
protect. Lot is, in a way (however obviously problematic), bargaining with
his own property to avoid being a bad host. The men of Sodom dont like
this deal so they threaten Lot, describing him as an outsider, or as some
translations put it, an alien. The fact that he is an alien apparently
justifies his lesser value to the men of Sodom. Thus, we can see that a man
of Sodom, a Sodomite, is one who threatens foreigners living in their
midst. They show no hospitality toward the outsider.
REPORT THIS AD
REPORT THIS AD
But still, you say, they didnt accept the females and still wanted to have
sex with another man, thus, sodomy is intrinsically related to
homosexuality. Maybe. But lets see what the rest of the Bible says. The
majority of the Bible mentions Sodom only according to its fate, often
comparing the fate of Sodom with the fall of Jerusalem at the hands of the
Babylonians. But there are some more descriptive passages. Ill start with
Paul, who includes sodomites in two lists of sinners. In 1 Corinthians
6:9-10, Paul says:
Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not
be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes,
sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbersnone of these
will inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Timothy 1:9-11 says something similar:
This means understanding that the law is laid down not for the innocent but
for the lawless and disobedient, for the godless and sinful, for the unholy
and profane, for those who kill their father or mother, for murderers,
fornicators, sodomites, slave traders, liars, perjurers, and whatever else
is contrary to the sound teaching that conforms to the glorious gospel of
the blessed God.
You could be forgiven for assuming that sodomy has something to do with
sexual depravity based on these verses. But notice that in 1 Corinthians we
could divide the list into two categories: sexual depravity and
inhospitality. Which list do the sodomites inhabit? In the English Bible,
sodomites is the last word of verse 9 and thieves is the first word of
verse 10, but Paul didnt write his letter with verse numbers. So
sodomites could easily be included in the second list. The same goes for
1 Timothy, where sodomites could be included with either fornicators or
Still, you say, what about Jude 7, which equates Sodom with sexual
immorality? This does complicate matters, Ill admit, but not in the way
many people might assume. The sexual immorality described in the verse
has nothing to do with men having sex with men, but men having sex with
angels. In verse 6, the author is apparently referring to Genesis 6:4 where
we read that the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans which
leads to God destroying the earth with a flood. Jude 7 describes the
Sodomites as the opposite as those in Genesis 6:4, where they engaged in
sexual immorality and went after other flesh (emphasis added). That is,
Jude 6 is concerned with angels having sex with humans while Jude 7 is
concerned with humans having sex with angels. In both stories from Genesis,
these sins lead to destruction by God. In other words, Im not sure Jude
helps us out too much other than to suggest that sodomy might not be much
of a modern problem. Theres one more verse I want to explore, though,
before we dismiss sodomy as an issue altogether.
In the Old Testament, as mentioned above, there are several references to
Sodom as a warning to the children of Israelthat, if they are not careful,
the fate of Jerusalem will be like that of Sodom. This suggests that
Jerusalem may be wicked in a way that Sodom is wicked. Does that mean that
the inhabitants of Jerusalem were participating in anal sex or rampant
rape? The prophets never suggest that. In fact, while we are left to parse
the meaning of sodomite from Paul or Jude or the author of Genesis,
Ezekiel spells it out quite clearly. He writes, in 16:49,
This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride,
excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.
There is nothing about sex in that description. Rather, if one accepts
Ezekiel as an authoritative part of the Canon, which any purported
evangelical Christian would do, one must change our definition of sodomy
from anal sex to key component of the Republican presidential platform.
What did Lot do to get saved from the fate of Sodom? He offered shelter to
the outsider. In fact, he even offered the outsider food. What is a
Sodomite, then? A Sodomite is not a person who participates in anal sex,
according the origins of the word. A sodomite is someone who is
inhospitable to the outsider, who refuses to show hospitality to the
sojourner or the immigrant or the refugee. A Sodomite is someone like
Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, who would rather a foreigner be brutalized than
offer them shelter and food. How does one avoid the sin of sodomy? You
treat strangers like companions.