Now that Uganda’s so-called “kill the gays” bill has been revised to drop the death penalty and reportedly add provisions for prevention and therapy for homosexuality, I think there may be room for tentative support in the Christian community in the West, even though it retains jail terms for offenders.
Here are three reasons why:
First, the Bible has always defined homosexuality as a crime, and not just in the Mosaic Law. Homosexuality was condemned by God long before Moses declared it a capital crime (by God’s own instruction), and God’s condemnation of it was reaffirmed repeatedly in the New Testament. Preceding Moses, there is the account of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19, and a somewhat similar account in Judges 19. According to Rabbinic tradition, even the Great Flood of Noah in Genesis 6-9 was precipitated by homosexual sin. In the New Testament, Chapter 1 of Romans not only condemns homosexuality as “depraved,” but reaffirms the death penalty for it as well (verses 18-32). I Corinthians 6:9-11, the “ex-gay” passage, both condemns homosexuality and reports that some of the Corinthians to whom the letter was written were themselves recovered homosexuals who had been healed and delivered by faith in Christ. These are just a few of the numerous Bible passages addressing homosexuality, all of which condemn it in unequivocal terms.
In modern times, we have infused our laws with the mercy of Christ, as exemplified in the story of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). We have done away with the harsher penalty that God’s justice would otherwise demand in the absence of mercy. But neither homosexuality nor adultery, for that matter, has ever stopped being crimes in the eyes of God. Nor did they stop being crimes in certain cubbyholes of our law, just ask Gen. Petraeus, who is under prosecution for adultery. And don’t forget that it was only last year that sodomy and bestiality (sex with animals) were decriminalized in the U.S. military.
Just because secular humanist America began to decriminalize sexual sins in civilian law starting in the early 1960s doesn’t mean criminal sanctions against homosexuality are “un-Christian.” Indeed, given the enormous damage to our culture from the so-called sexual revolution, it was obviously a big mistake for us to have done this. Knowing what we know now, it is arguably more “un-Christian” to support the status quo than to support a return to the legal framework of the 1940s and ’50s regarding sexual misbehavior.
Second, in all the media-driven hysteria about the Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill, one glaring fact has been consistently omitted (despite my having pointed it out to nearly every “journalist” who has interviewed me). The fact is, Ugandan law is typical of most African law in that it tends to be very harsh in the letter, but very lenient in the application. I doubt very much that anyone arrested under the new law (if it passes) will receive anything close to the jail terms allowed for in the bill.
Third, and most importantly, there is one easy, guaranteed method of protecting oneself from ever being subject to the anti-homosexuality law in Uganda: Don’t commit sodomy! We all seem to forget, in the dense propaganda haze of American popular opinion, that homosexuality is defined by voluntary sexual acts. Homosexuals are no more compelled to commit sodomy with each other than a married man is compelled to cheat on his wife.
In my opinion, the Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill is still too harsh in the letter. I would prefer something closer to the approach several American states have taken toward marijuana: Criminalize it, but minimize the penalty and turn a blind eye toward discrete violations. Indeed, this would be my prescription for dealing with homosexuality (and all sex outside of marriage) in the United States. This would preserve basic freedom of choice for people who choose to inhabit various subcultures out of the mainstream, yet provide the larger, marriage-based society with the legal power to prevent sex activists from advocating their lifestyles to children in the public schools or to flaunt their sins in “pride” parades through the city streets.
However, since I didn’t write the Ugandan bill and have no power to redraft it on my own terms, and since the alternative to passing this bill is to allow the continuing, rapid, foreigner-driven homosexualization of Ugandan culture, I am giving the revised anti-homosexuality bill my support.