Why is Jesus of the Gospels silent about homosexuality?

So much for earthy details in Bible stories. Telling the children more about Lot's plight in Sodom, I thought to tell them about the bizarre event of Lot's wife turning to salt. Decided to read them some backstory about why they were leaving Sodom, forgetting temporarily and stupidly what the men of the city wanted to do with the two angels (Genesis 19). I, uh, had to pause a lot and, uh, "whitewashed" the story.

But our children already detect homosexuality in media, hear "homo" and "gay" at school. We've already had to talk to our 8 and 10 year olds about homosexuality because of this exposure to the world.

Why is Jesus silent about homosexuality? Does the fact that Jesus never once spoke of homosexuality say anything to us out of the silence? The African bishops of the Anglican church were not silent about the ordination of an openly practicing gay bishop. Politics is not silent. Will our choice of president--George W. Bush or John Kerry--make any difference in this area or is it we who are called to make a difference? Will our churches continue to be silent? What is our stand? Perhaps more properly put: What is our relationship with homosexuals in our midst and in our communities?

Lynn Anderson's son, Jon, wrote an excellent article, How do we respond to homosexuality? for the Jan/Feb 03 Wineskins. We're working on another piece for the Fall '04 print issue (yes, we're still doing print until we phase completely out of current subscribers--we haven't been taking print renewal money for more than a year) on homosexuality and how the church responds. Also, Tony Campolo's new book, Speaking my Mind, is also a good resource for a different angle from the Fundamentalist hardline view.

[comments imported from my Radio blog]

While it is true that Jesus never mentioned homosexuality in the Gospels, his silence probably doesn't suggest anything except, perhaps, that the subject was not a controversial issue between Jesus and the Jewish leaders — which would imply, in turn, that he agreed with their judgment that homosexual acts were sinful. It is probably for this same reason the Gospels do not record Jesus commenting on the sinfulness of child sacrifice, bestiality, domestic violence and various other behaviors. Those who act as spokespersons for the Christian church, whether as teachers or writers or preachers or evangelists, should make it clear when they speak about homosexuality that sexual sin is an essentially universal problem in the human race. By no means is homosexuality the only, or even the most prevalent, form of sexual sin in our society. For every person who engages regularly in homosexual acts, there are at least five (and probably more than that) who are regularly engaging in adultery or other "heterosexual" sins. Hardly any adult in America today, it seems, can honestly claim to have lived a completely chaste life. (Sometimes it seems hardly anyone even knows what "chaste" means!) Worse, the vast majority of the people who commit sex crimes — rape, incest and the like — are heterosexual males. To ignore these facts when dealing with the issue of homosexuality skews the discussion and prevents legitimate criticisms of the homosexual lifestyle and movement from being heard. John Alan Turner • 8/5/04; 1:58:27 PM #

Well put, JAT. And I should add that the New Testament is not silent about homosexuality, nor is Scripture by any means, silent. Leviticus sets the tone against homosexuality in the clean/unclean passages and holiness codes, even in the Gospel of Mark is reference to a list of vices that could include--though not specifically--homosexuality. Romans 1:24-27 is a strong denouncement of the homosexual lifestyle. Certainly these should be discussed and, as you mentioned, JAT, brought into the mix so that the discussion is not skewed. And perhaps the silence, as you note, doesn't say much other than it may have not been a controversial issue in Jesus' day, but shouldn't the pitch and volume for all sins of immorality match that against homosexuality? I think you are correct to say that hetersexual sin is more prevalent yet more overlooked in favor of crying out against something that those doing the speaking are not publically tempted by or guilty of. I appreciate the insights and welcome further comments by others. gt Greg Taylor • 8/5/04; 3:38:57 PM #

GeneralGreg Taylor