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The gay question – the Bible, the Christians and the homosexual | 5.1.1/ENG

Worthaus Pop-Up | Tuebingen: February 7, 2015 by Prof. Dr. Siegfried Zimmer

Full of verve dedicates the german professor of theology Siegfried Zimmer himself to the topic that has probably been, and still is, discussed within Christianity as intensely and controversially during the last years as hardly any other. And you can tell that the topic is not an easy one.
If you look back in history, you can clearly see that gays and lesbians have been exposed to marginalization and persecution as extremely in traditionally Christian societies as in almost all societies, according to the principle “outlawed by society, damned by religion”.

However, this historical review is also a sad example for how Biblical texts have widely been dealt with in a manipulative and biased manner. Siegfried Zimmer demonstrates this in an impressive way with the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. For centuries, in the Christian world this story served to underpin a homophobic view, while its actual content was completely faded out. But Siegfried Zimmer goes still further: All Biblical passages that might deal with homosexual love – and there are surprisingly few of them! – are examined both within their Biblical context and within the social context of their origin.

He finally asks the justified question whether it is an expression of God’s love for his creatures that during the last 1.800 years “his children” have silently stood by and watched the execution and outlawing of lesbians and gays? And if it is not about time to be ashamed of the fact that Christians have sacrificed the core message of Christian faith, the message of the loving God, in favor of their own discomfort towards human beings that are foreign to them?

Basketball legend Charles Barkley got to the heart of it during a debate on homophobia: “Conservatives hide behind the Bible. They just do not like gay people. And they should simply admit this fact.” If you follow the explanations of Siegfried Zimmer, it is hard not to agree with Charles Barkley, since, objectively considered, the rejection of gay and lesbian relationships is untenable from a Biblical perspective. Or to put it bluntly: Discriminating people due to a personal characteristic in the name of the Bible and the Man of Nazareth is not only dishonest, but is even a severe case of abusive behavior.