Sunday, April 14, 2013

It's All About Spin

This piece appears on HuffPost Gay Voices

Here we are in the 21st Century. The year 2013. A time when gay people and those who support us--our desire for equality and human rights--get blamed for many things: birds falling from the sky in Arkansas, Hurricane Sandy, North Korea’s threats against the U.S. Imagine my surprise when I discovered this ever growing power the gays have over the universe dates back to biblical times when my gay brethren of old caused the Great Flood back in the days of Noah.

I learned this interesting bit of information from Matt Barber, conservative co-host of the radio program “Faith and Freedom,” in a video from said program on the website Right Wing Watch. Not only did Mr. Barber present me with the information that homosexuals entering into marriage caused the Great Flood. He also stated, “Tolerance, in the twisted way that the left uses it, in acceptance of all form [sic] of sexual deviant behavior as the norm--as normal, natural, good--it’s a cancer that brings down societies.”

Can I get a “Wow” and an “Oh my goodness?” Who knew we gays had so much power? I’m not sure whether to tell my monkeys to “Fly!” Or ask the mirror “Who’s the fairest of them all?”

As a child from the South, raised in the Baptist faith, I am very aware of the Biblical stories. Never once have I heard homosexuality connected to Noah’s flood. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, always! That's a given. It seems to be the go-to major event for those citing homosexuals as the reason for an epic destruction. But Noah’s flood? That was news to me. Sometimes I feel that certain modern day Christians blame anything “wicked” from Biblical times on homosexuals. As if it’s not possible there was any other wickedness in the world of that day. 

I went home and grabbed my New International Student Bible, copyright 1992. It’s quite the departure from the King James Version of my youth. I immediately found the story of Noah’s flood and started to read. I combed every word of Genesis chapters 6-9. And you know what? I didn’t find anything resembling a homosexual act causing the flood. Then I decided to read the chapters preceding the flood. Again, no homosexual acts. I was confused at this leap by Mr. Barber, to say the least. So, I did a little research.

I discovered the website Delusion Resistance. The mention of Extraterrestrials and UFOs connected to the End of Days should have been enough to turn me away, but I found something interesting. Among the site’s many articles was one by David Ben Yakov under the heading "The Days of Noah." This find led me to the New Testament version of the Great Flood story told in Luke, chapter 17, verses 26-27. After reading it it hit me: it’s all about spin. I’ll explain. Here’s the Biblical excerpt from Mr. Ben Yakov's article:

“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.”

It was unclear to me which version of Biblical text Mr. Ben Yakov was using, but according to the article, per the custom of that day women were given in marriage to men. Therefore, according to Mr. Ben Yakov’s interpretation of the text, "they" must refer to men. The conclusion is then drawn that because "they" equals men, the words "they were given in marriage" must mean men were given to men.

In my Bible’s translation, the word "they" is replaced by "people." It's interesting how different it sounds when you change the noun. Here’s the text from my Bible: 

“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.”

What I see in the above passage is people (men and women) living their lives, doing what people do. That gays caused the flood seems to be all about interpretation and spin. Any of us can find the right translation and the right scriptural passage to make our point. What would be nice is if we stopped having to prove our point and could learn from the mistakes of old and live in the world of the present. 

I don’t practice any organized religion at this point in my life, choosing to focus on a spiritual relationship with God that is all my own. I am, however, proud of my roots, and proud of the courage I’ve discovered to question instead of merely follow. I don’t want to be a sheep who follows blindly. I want to understand why I believe something. I want my life to consist of more than who’s wrong and who’s right. 

I was put on this earth a gay man. There is no interpretation or spin needed for that. It is my truth. In this world full of naysayers who believe like Mr. Barber, I’m doing my best to live my authentic life. However, I’m smart enough to know that as long as people keep spouting their interpretations of the Bible, there are those who will believe them no questions asked.

So for now, I would like “The Power” by Snap! to be on constant loop reminding me that we gays have the power to make things happen. How’s that for spin?