Scripture has been so commonly quoted in support of arguments against same sex relationships, that we too easily overlook the simple facts that the texts being quoted were written in a foreign language, in a remote cultural setting, in contexts very different to that in which pseudo-religious bigots abuse these texts today. To extend correct understanding of these texts, every useful explanation deserves wide exposure.
At Religion Dispatches today, Jay Michaelson has an explanation of one particularly treacherous and widely abused and misunderstood word, “abomination”. Critics of the clobber texts routinely point out that the same word is used to proscribe certain foods, shaving, as well as “men lying with men”, and the inconsistency exposed in its modern use to attack selectively one but not the others. Outside the scholarly journals however, not enough attention has been placed on the word itself, which emphatically does not have the connotations and strength of meaning in the original Hebrew text that it does in the modern English usage of its translation. (Renato Lings, meanwhile, has offered a useful analysis of the Levitical texts from another perspective, the words for “men lying with men”, and also finds that they simply do not mean what modern abusers of the texts think it means).