John McNeill: Homophobic Abuse and Distortion of Scripture

Guestpost:

Gay theologian, psychotherapist and former Jesuit, Dr Fr John McNeill has sent me this commentary on Renato Ling’s interpretation of Leviticus 18:22:

John McNeill

The recent effort of evangelical pastor Martin Ssempa under the tutelage of American Evangelicals to pass a “kill the gays” bill in the Uganda parliament and the extensive persecution of GLBT people throughout eastern Africa is based primarily on a questionable interpretation of a passage in Leviticus 18: 22.

The words of the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation of the Vatican Council II deal with the interpretation of Sacred Scripture:

“Since God speaks in Sacred Scripture through men in a human fashion, the interpreter of sacred Scripture, in order to see clearly what God wanted to communicate to us, should carefully investigate what meaning the sacred writers really intended, and what God wanted to manifest by means of their words”

This cautious investigation of the intention of the human author is especially called for in dealing with the biblical passages which traditionally been accepted as dealing with homosexual activity. We are keenly aware that back in the days of slavery, slave owners regularly quoted passages from scripture to justify keeping slaves as God’s will. There is a real possibility that the homophobia of the translators and their culture has led to a distortion of the meaning of scripture.

The best way to arrive at an understanding of what the author means by this verse is to read it within the overall context of Leviticus. “Just as the overall aim of Leviticus is to ban incestuous heterosexual practices. Lev. 18.22 may well be there to ensure that homosexual incest is added to the list of proscriptions

This understanding of Leviticus frees us from making the assertion that God wills the death or imprisonment of all those humans that God created gay.

John McNeill’s Books:


John McNeill’s Books:

The Church and the Homosexual

Freedom, Glorious Freedom

Both Feet Firmly Planted in mid-Air

Taking a Chance on God

Sex as God Intended

John McNeill’s Websites:

johnmcneill.com

mauriceblondel.com


This Joyful Season of Lent

At Mass this morning, these words from the preface leapt out at me – words I do not usually associate with Lent:

Each year you give us this joyful season

when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery

with mind and heart renewed.

This is entirely correct of course. Lent is indeed a time of solemnity, a time for austerity and preparation,, but that is the key. Above all, it is a time of preparation for that great season of Easter, and its culmination in the resurrection, which is what the Christian religion is all about.

ash2006

This perspective gives added meaning to the standard formula which opens the preface, as it does with only minor variations for every Mass:

Father, all-powerful and ever-loving God,

we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Incestuous Virgin Mary? (cf US Bishops). *

This post has moved to my new domain at http://queering-the-church.com/blog