From: (Deacon Maccubbin)
Newsgroups: alt.homosexual
Subject: Putting Sodom to Rest (LONG!)
Date: Fri, 03 Mar 1995 22:51:11 -0500

SIN AND THE SODOMITES: An examination of homophobia, fact, and faith


I think it's time to call the fundamentalist right on their claim that the
Sodom story gives proof of God's wrath against homosexuality. Let's start
with what their own primary authority -- the Bible -- says about Sodom's

Following is a list of every verse in the Bible that refers to the sins of
Sodom. Perhaps they can now point out every time that homosexuality occurs
in this list:

Genesis 13:13: But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the
LORD exceedingly. (Nope, no homosexuality mentioned there)

Genesis 18:20: And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is
great, and because their sin is very grievous. (Nope, no homosexuality
mentioned there)

Genesis 19:13: For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is
waxen great before the face of the LORD. (Nope, no homosexuality mentioned

Deuteronomy 29:17-26: And ye have seen their abominations, and their
idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were among them:)...And that
the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and the
overthrow of Sodom...which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his
wrath...Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this land? what meaneth the
heat of this great anger? Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken
the covenant of the LORD God of their fathers...For they went and served
other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom he had
not given unto them: (Just idolatry and false gods; nope, no homosexuality
mentioned there)

Deuteronomy 32:32-38: For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the
fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are
bitter...And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they
trusted, Which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of
their drink offerings? let them rise up and help you, and be your
protection. (idolatry again; nope, no homosexuality mentioned there)

Isaiah 1:9-23  Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small
remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto
Gomorrah. Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the
law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah....How is the faithful city become
an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now
murderers.Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water: Thy
princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts,
and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth
the cause of the widow come unto them. (hmmm...murder, greed, thievery,
rebelliousness, covetness; nope, no homosexuality there)

Isaiah 3:8-15:  For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen: because
their tongue and their doings are against the LORD, to provoke the eyes of
his glory. The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and
they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul!
for they have rewarded evil unto themselves. for ye have eaten up the
vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses. What mean ye that ye
beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? (mistreating
the poor; nope, no homosexuality mentioned there)

Isaiah 13: 11-19 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the
wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to
cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible....And Babylon,
the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as
when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. (haughtiness, yes, but no

Jeremiah 23:10-14: For the land is full of adulterers; for because of
swearing the land mourneth...For both prophet and priest are profane; yea,
in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD....And I have
seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused
my people Israel to err. I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an
horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen
also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness:
they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as
Gomorrah. (adultery, lying by priests and prophets; nope, no homosexuality
in there)

Jeremiah 49:16-18: Thy terribleness hath deceived thee, and the pride of
thine heart...Also Edom shall be a desolation: every one that goeth by it
shall be astonished, and shall hiss at all the plagues thereof. As in the
overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah. (evil and pride, but still no

Jeremiah 50:2-40: Declare ye among the nations...say, Babylon is taken,
Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are confounded,
her images are broken in pieces....thou hast striven against the
LORD...for she hath been proud against the LORD...As God overthrew Sodom
and Gomorrah and the neighbour cities thereof, saith the LORD; so shall no
man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein. (there's that
idolatry and pride again, but still no homosexuality)

Lamentations 4:3-6: ...the daughter of my people is become cruel, like the
ostriches in the wilderness. The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth to
the roof of his mouth for thirst: the young children ask bread, and no man
breaketh it unto them. They that did feed delicately are desolate in the
streets: they that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills. For the
punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than
the punishment of the sin of Sodom, that was overthrown as in a moment,
and no hands stayed on her. (cruelty, failure to tend the young and the
poor, but still no homosexuality)

Ezekiel 16:49-50: Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom,
pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her
daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And
they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took
them away as I saw good. (Well THAT's pretty clear, huh? But what are we
missing in that list? Oh yeah...homosexuality)

Amos 4:1-11: Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan, that are in the mountain
of Samaria, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, which say to
their masters, Bring, and let us drink. I have overthrown some of you, as
God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out
of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.
(oppression, mistreating the needy...still no homosexuality)

Zephaniah 2:8 I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the
children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached my people, and magnified
themselves against their border. Therefore as I live, saith the LORD of
hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children
of Ammon as Gomorrah...This shall they have for their pride, because they
have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of the LORD of
hosts. (there's that pride again, and the intimation of inhospitality, but
still no homosexuality)

Well, so much for the Old Testament's linkage of Sodom with homosexuality.
Maybe the fundamentalists were referring to something in the New
Testament? Let's see...

Matthew 20:11: And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire
who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye come
into an house, salute it....And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear
your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust
of your feet....Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the
land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
(Jesus said these words; they draw a comparison to inhospitality, but
there's still no homosexuality there)

Matthew 11:19-24: The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say,
Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and
sinners....Then began Jesus to upbraid the cities wherein most of his
mighty works were done, because they repented not. Woe unto thee,
Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were
done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented
long ago in sackcloth and ashes....And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted
unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which
have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained
until this day....But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for
the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee. (They ridiculed
Jesus and treated him with utmost inhospitality, refusing to repent...but
still no mention of homosexuality)

Mark 6:10-11: And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an
house, there abide till ye depart from that place. And whosoever shall not
receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under
your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be
more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for
that city. (Another repetition of the instruction against inhospitality,
but still no mention of homosexuality)

Luke 10:10-12: But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you
not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say. Even the very
dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you:
notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh
unto you. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day
for Sodom, than for that city. (There's that inhospitality reference
again, but still no homosexuality mentioned)

Luke 17:26-29: And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in
the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives,
they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the
days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they
planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it
rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. (still no
mention of homosexuality)

2 Peter 2:6: And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes
condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that
after should live ungodly. (Ungodly? Is that idolatry again? It sure isn't

Jude 1:7-8: Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like
manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange
flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal
fire. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise
dominion, and speak evil of dignities. (Awww...this one comes SO close,
but no cigar; the Greek word translated here as "fornication" is "porneia"
and had a distinctly heterosexual connotation; and the "strange flesh" was
a reference to angels or "sons of God" that WOMEN had sex with [see
Genesis 6:1-4] according to Jewish tradition; still no mention of

Well, except for a brief mention of Sodom in Revelations (where there is
no reference to the city's supposed sins), I'm afraid we've covered them
all. Now it's up to the fundamentalists. Surely they should have no
difficulty pointing out ALL the verses in the Bible that refer to the sin
of Sodom being that of homosexuality.

But they'll have to make them up first. ;-)

But we're not done yet. The traditional concept of the sin of Sodom arises
from the fact that the Hebrew word here translated as "to know" (yadha) is
used by itself in ten places in the Old Testament to denote heterosexual
intercourse.  In five additional texts it is used in conjunction with
mishkabh (in this context, "to lie") to mean the same thing.  But yadha
appears by itself no less than 943 times in a nonsexual connotation, to
simply mean "get acquainted with" or "learn of."

There is no Old Testament text in which yadha refers to homosexual coitus,
with the single exception of this disputed Sodom and Gomorrah story in
Genesis.  The less ambiguous word shakhabh, however, is used for
homosexual, heterosexual, and bestial intercourse.  Shakhabh appears fifty
times in the Old Testament; if it had been used instead of yadha in the
Sodom story, the meaning of the text would have been unmistakable.  As it
is, we have no grounds to assume that the men of Sodom wanted to rape the

An alternate theory has been developed by some biblical scholars.  Since
yadha commonly means "to get acquainted with," the demand to "know" the
visitors may well have implied some serious breach of the rules of
hospitality.  Several considerations provide support for this view. 

In the first place, Lot was not a native of Sodom, but had the status of
resident alien, or "ger."  As such, he may not have had the right to admit
unidentified foreigners to the city.  City gates were closed at night
expressly to prevent lawless or subversive aliens from entering on unknown
errands, and travelers carried credentials because they might at any time
be asked to prove tha they were abroad on legitimate business.  Thus we
might translate "Bring them out to us, that we might know them" as "We
wish to know whom you are bringing into our city" or (in the vernacular of
WWII German movies) "Ve vant to see your papers!" Lot's refusal to turn
his visitors over to this horde of vigilantes is totally in keeping with
the then contemporary laws of etiquette, because in those days no civic
police force protected strangers in a city. Any kind of robbery or
physical abuse could have been meted out to the two angels if he had
agreed to surrender them, but in his home they were safe.  He was obliged
to protect them as honored guests.  It is certain that the Sodomites were
demanding he violate the code of hospitality, but not AT ALL clear from
the text that they were inclined to indulge in homosexual acts. 

Lastly, even if the fundamentalists must insist (evidence to the contrary
notwithstanding) that the men of Sodom wanted to have sex with the
strangers, that's a matter of rape, not homosexual love. I think we can
all agree that rape is right up there on the list of big sins, and further
that it is an act of power, control, and violence, not of love between
consenting adults.

There's another Old Testament passage that is relevant. The story is found
in Judges 19:14-28. It bears a striking resemblance to the Sodom story --
a traveler arrives at the city (in this case, Gilbeah). There he meets an
old man who is, like Lot, a resident alien. The old man warns the traveler
that he should not stay in the town square, and he extends the hand of
hospitality in accordance with Holy law, inviting the traveler to share
his abode for the night. But the men of the city surround the old man's
house and demand that the traveler be sent out so "that we may know him"
(there's that "yadha" again). The old man refuses, but offers his virgin
daughter and his concubine to the mob instead. When the crowd refuses the
offer, the old man throws his concubine outside as a diversion, whereupon
the "base fellows" in the mob rape and abuse her all night, leaving her
dying at the threshhold. When the Israelites learn of the abuse of the
concubine, they rise up against Gilbeah and, with God's help, destroy the

Here we have an instance almost identical to Sodom, in which a city is
destroyed following inhospitality to strangers, and a clear case of rape.
Except this time it was a heterosexual rape. Yet no one uses this story to
imply God's condemnation of heterosexuality in general. It is specious,
then, to suggest that the story of Sodom is instructional with regard to
homosexuality in general.

Those who insist that Sodom was destroyed for homosexuality are denying
the very Bible they claim to revere, and attempting to push a laden camel
through the eye of a needle. They are required to make five outrageous
leaps of faith: (1) homosexual love is equal to rape; (2) "yadha" meant
homosexual acts only once or twice and something else 953 times; (3) all
of the other references to Sodom's sins contained in the Bible are in
error, incomplete, or obfuscatory; (4) the strict codes regarding
hospitality and the safety of travelers were immaterial; and (5) the
concubine of the man of Gilbeah was a male.

(Copyright 1994, Deacon Maccubbin; permission for reprinting
electronically hereby granted. Authors e-mail address:

/s/ Deacon Maccubbin
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