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Sunday, March 19, 2006

 

Equality Rider: "I am not a sinner"

From a Gay365.com article regarding Equality Ride's visit to the media, I mean campus of Union University:

Dawn Davridge said that she and her partner, Kathryn Davridge, were expelled from Union two years ago after administrators found out they are lesbians; and in a relationship.
"I fell in love with my best friend," Davridge told about a dozen students who gathered to hear from the riders. "I am not sick, and I am not a sinner. Two years ago, our story was suppressed."


The terms sick and sinner have been in numerous quotes from Equality Riders. I assume that this is one message designed to be a take away point from the entire effort. Seems strange to hear someone who is claiming to come from a Christian perspective saying, "I am not a sinner." To anyone who reads this blog and is up to date on gay integrative theology: When did homosexually attractions come into the human condition, before Adam and Eve fell or after?

Comments:
Warren, good question.
The short answer appears to be after the fall. That is to say it is a result of the fall, rather than a cause of the fall.

Homosexual (and incestuous) attractions and behavior first appear specifically in scripture in Genesis 9:20-24

20And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:

21And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.

22And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.

23And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.

24And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.

The perp in this case was the son Ham, but the it was Noah's grandson who recieve the curse from God. This was of course before God rescinded the family curse in Ezekiel. Incidentally in Genesis 10 we find that Caanan, was the direct ancestor of the inhabitants of Sodom.

Interesting also to note that before there was any sort of Levitical law or any formal type of "holiness" code, this was still viewed as abnormal behavior. As a matter of fact, with only 8 people on earth, it was an abomination.

Although the Genesis 9 account details a specific incident, keep in mind the reason there were only 8 people starting over. Im sure encased within all that wickedness was a good deal of sexual immorality.
 
I think what you are asking is from a gay theological perspective, where did same-sex attraction arise. If so, then go to Ken Stone's essay, "The Garden of Eden and the Heterosexual Contract." (In Take Back the Word: A Queer Reading of the Bible, Pilgrim Press 2000) He assumes homosexuality as existant from the beginning of humanity, but develops where he thinks there are weaknesses in the story of humanity told in the Bible.

He argues that
1. Genesis has some inherent instabilities (the tension in the two accounts of creation--Yahwist vs. Priestly)
2. Heterosexual desire (at least that of the woman for the man) is the result of the fall, and heterosexuality as the Bible describes it (headship etc) is as well
3. The 'adam in the second account is (possibly) non-gendered, and this opens up some textual space for homoeroticism
4. Structurally, these ambiguities are resulting from insecurity in the patriarchal authorship, both with the potentially homoerotic nature of the relationship between Yahweh and Israel, and with the possibility of women taking up roles not prescribed for them.

Now, you'll note that this reading relies upon:
- Higher criticism, source criticism, etc.
- A different view of revelation than most evangelicals are happy with

Personally, I could care less if there was a neatly spelled out chapter in the Bible on homosexuality in all of its forms--I don't believe that the Bible is inerrant or a guide for my life. But for those people who still need some kind of space for themselves reflected in the Bible, books like the one I cited (see also Gay Religion by Scott Thumma and Edward R. Gray, Altamira Press--sociological and descriptive, not prescriptive, but interesting) are important.

(I think the Bible read from an evangelical hermeneutic does [wrongly] condemn homosexuality, but I don't voice that opinion loudly among my gay Christian friends--it's not my battle to fight, really.)
 
I don't know. Nobody does. Most don't care.

What I am interested to know is who did Cain, Abel or Seth have children with...

And why doesn't the obvious answer match up with human genetics?

A further pertinent question is: at which point did the creation story (understood as such by those who wrote the Jewish Torah) turn into conservative Christian "fact" to be "logically" discussed?

Who corrupted the original???

That one's c/o a Rabbi -- well, he will be :)
 
Grantdale,
Not all conservative Christians believe that the creation story was told to be taken as literal fact. The question for me is, why is this a story that's important for me to hear/know? What can I learn from this story? Fact or allegory....what do I do with it? Whether I believe it's a literal story or an allegorical story, I can't ignore it's implications for me as a Christian.
grace
 
Grace is right and Grantdale is right. On one hand, there are evangelical circles where the idea of story is more important than a "literal" reading. (That word is too problematic to really be used in these discussions, I think..but I'll use it.) However, though I think the term "literal" is inapt here, what Grantdale is getting at is that the evangelical view is that this is a story written by God (in some way).

An allegory in this understanding is "factual" in a sense--because it tells truths about humanity. Whether Adam is a "literal" man or not, most evangelicals will agree that the Genesis story tells of God's intent to form an opposite-sex coupling as the basis for his world.

There's no getting around the argument that there is no "Adam and Steve" or "Eve and Eva" (the second one always gets left out!)

Grantdale will assume that the text is potentially corrupted, or only partially inspired, etc.

Grace will assume that the text is God's word, even if in story form.

[Correct me if I'm putting words in either of your mouths...]

And those two positions aren't able to be debated through the framework of science and exegesis--they're pre-philosophical intuitions that one assumes.
 
I am not sure we could know the answer. If we developed along the lines of some of our cousins, like the bonobos, then I think you could make the arguement that at least the potential for homosexuality pre-existed the Fall. Of course you have the problem of addressing when the Fall happened? Did it include homo erectus and neanderthal? I think a safer reading would be that the Fall is symbolic for the human condition rather than a literal event.
 
Grace and CK,

Yes, sort of, no. Ack.

I should have used "bible literalist" instead of conservative. You were right to pick that up Grace, even if CK did end up the interpretation I meant. Sort of.

I meant those who believe it to be the literal truth. That it really did happen that way. I take it Grace you aren't "one of those" :)

But I also think it is an "inspired" story, in the sense that someone/s did weave the story together and it's a good one. Whether the ideas were poked into someone's head by God, or someone had waaay too much wine one evening, or however. It simply seeks to illustrate the place of man (and women) in this World etc, as do most of the creation stories from the Torah. A story guiding one to "greater truths" (note the deliberate little "t"!)

But I also have no idea of the original text has been corrupted along the way. Find me an original text, and we can go check if it has...

I do know that the Jewish creation story parallels much older creation stories. Stepping back and noticing that men and women have been getting together for eons and wondering "what does THAT all mean?" seems a fairly universal question. The answer need not be exlusionary, as far as gay men and women are concerned, any more than should be the general observation that we are "all" born with 2 arms and 2 legs.

And CK -- I'm stunned. I thought God created Adam and Steve, and Eve and Eva, and John, and Mary, and Warren, and DL, and, well, EVERYONE!
 
Grantdale--God just created Adam and then was kind of tired, so he made woman out of his rib--it saved him having to create a whole other human being.

After that, he left us on our own to do the procreatin' --

Which is why gay is bad, because there is no procreating if everyone turned gay.... :)
 
(Oh, and you don't even have to go to higher criticism to think Genesis 9:20-24 isn't about homosexuality or incest. There's some pretty good debate about that one.)
 
Which is why gay is bad, because there is no procreating if everyone turned gay

Has anyone told the lesbian "gayby boom" about this???

And I cannot read Gen 9:20-24 as about incest or homosexuality. Seeing your Dad in the nuddy, yes. In any case I cannot imagine why you'd blame the son for that, considering it was the father who passed out pissed as a newt and exposed his saggy derriere to the whole World.

It would take a particular internal dialogue, rather than the words themself, to convert that into incest or homosexuality.

And odd -- but I thought this whole Dad nude thing was encouraged to ensure your son didn't turn gay?

How confusing these people are.
 
Which is why gay is bad, because there is no procreating if everyone turned gay

Has anyone told the lesbian "gayby boom" about this???


This is why I practice safe sex. I'm not ready to be a gayby boomer just yet.

It would take a particular internal dialogue, rather than the words themself, to convert that into incest or homosexuality.

Some people think that the phrase "and knew what his younger son had done unto him" implies this--"know" or y'ada is sometimes used (depending on context) for sexual intercourse. However, all the text says is that Ham saw his dad naked and told his brothers.

Now if Ham were Noah's daughter, I'd say we have the explanation for where lesbians originate...

Sigh. This is why I don't let texts like this be the guide for my life.
 
It's an interesting history around "the curse of Ham" as well... and I don't mean those times we've all selected just one too many slices at the Xmas luncheon.

Personally I never got why that curse "proved" non-white races were inferior. But, hey I must be wrong -- it was the traditional accepted bible-based explanation for a very long time.

Wonder when it was dropped. (note to self: look up curse of Ham, history)
 
"And I cannot read Gen 9:20-24 as about incest or homosexuality. Seeing your Dad in the nuddy, yes. In any case I cannot imagine why you'd blame the son for that, considering it was the father who passed out pissed as a newt and exposed his saggy derriere to the whole World."

I think the point was that he told his brothers, thus disrespecting his father, which was kind of a big no-no.
 
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