I’m going to tell everyone a midrash, a story that helps to explain aspects of Judaism, and which may or may not be true, depending on the story. This story, no matter how you look at it, is very interesting and helps to explain why I’m able to give these reinterpretations.

The story dates back to the writing of the Talmud. Several rabbis were trying to decide on an issue of kashrut, or dietary law. Eventually all the rabbis except one decided a certain way on the issue, with the remaining rabbi insisting he alone was right. This rabbi, who was apparently so learned that he could teach Harry Potter a thing or two (my own phrasing, not the story’s), said that if he was right, then the walls in the study house would cave in, a tree would move from one place to another, and that the river outside would flow backwards. Sure enough, the walls started to lean in, a tree walked across the ground, and the river started flowing backwards. With each occurrence the other rabbis would remind the rebellious rabbi that walls, trees, and rivers don’t decide matters of Jewish law (and they chided the walls for trying to bring themselves down when it wasn’t their conflict). Finally the rebellious rabbi said, “If I am right, let a heavenly voice confirm it!”

At that moment a great voice from above was heard saying, “Follow this rabbi’s opinion!” The other rabbis, instead of cowering and giving in, replied to the voice, “Matters of law are now on Earth, not in Heaven.” The heavenly voice replied, “My sons have bested me.”

What does this tale tell, besides the fact that apparently Talmudic rabbis were said to be quite powerful? Besides the teaching that a majority rule is stronger than a single zealot (and the rebellious rabbi later became a heretic and was excommunicated, interestingly enough), the story shows that once God gave the Jewish people the Torah at Mt. Sinai, it was in their hands, and therefore they had to decide how to interpret it. So basically while some may claim that LGBT people and their allies are going to hell and claim the Bible says so, I can claim just as much that that law no longer applies and that LGBT people and their allies are just as holy as anyone else. And guess what? We can both be right!

I tell this story because a lot of people’s arguments and opposition to LGBT rights are based on a singular interpretation of the Bible, so alternative interpretations of the Bible can be just as legitimate as traditional ones. I also tell this story because, while two opinions can both be right, sometimes one opinion may have more reason to be right than the other (as in the ruling of the majority in the story). For example, I can say that I believe both evolution and the Genesis story to be right. I can’t ignore that dinosaurs, the fossil record, and the distance travelled by the light of certain stars make evolution seem more right than Genesis (which I tend to view as a metaphor for the Big Bang and evolution that humanity is too stupid to understand at this point in our existence).

No denying it: gay people are born that way. It’s in their DNA.

Understanding this, let us look at what science has proven: that sexuality is a genetic trait, and that multiple genes make up sexuality, so multiple sexualities arise. Some people, like a pastor I had the displeasure of hearing speak out on the Oval at OSU this spring, claims that meant homosexuality is a genetic defect. But that would mean there would have to be a loss or impairment of quality of life for the affected. If anything, the scientific method has shown through studies that people who are open about their sexuality and accepted for it tend to live happier lives. It’s only when they try to deny, change, or hide their sexuality that there is some impairment.

Likewise, this also means that homosexuality isn’t a lifestyle, or something you can indoctrinate youth into. As I said, differing sexualities are genetic, and you can’t pray away, condition someone, or ban something so caught up in the very DNA in a person.

Now, some might ask about my previous post, where I said that homosexuality was commonplace in Greece in a ritualized form. I say that was a form of cultural homosexuality. It was done because it was part of the culture, everyone was doing it, and nobody could see any reason not to do it. Plus, having a male lover was a choice, not a requirement. You could almost compare it to video games: everyone seems to play video games these days, and most people don’t see a reason not to play them if you can. (I know that we’re talking about two very different things here, but you get the idea, right?)

In any case, I’ve said what I wanted to say about the Bible, religion, and homosexuality before Pride weekend here in Columbus. I hope you enjoyed the posts I’ve written and perhaps were given some food for thought. And if you’re in the Columbus area this weekend and are looking for some fun, come to Pride. Leave the picketing signs at home, and have a blast. I’ll see you there.

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