Webster’s Dictionary defines Sodomy as “sexual intercourse involving anal or oral copulation.” The term originates from the Biblical account of Sodom and Gomorrah which were twin cities destroyed in Genesis 19. The complete elimination of these two cities was one of the most destructive acts carried out by God in the Old Testament. Not since the flood of Noah, had we seen God’s wrath in such a tangible and extreme way. So what was it about Sodom and Gomorrah that so offended God? Was it a city rampant with homosexuality as most believe… I think not.
Somehow it came to be believed that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of homosexual activity. The focus on sexual sin was so strong in this passage that any non-missionary sexual act was immediately associated with these cities by being deemed “Sodomy.” The idea that God destroyed two cities full of homosexuals has invaded pop culture, and it seems like Sodom and Gomorrah will forever be remembered as the gay capitols of the Ancient World. What’s interesting is that Sodom and Gomorrah seemed to have a lot more going against them than the fact that “they had homosexuals.”
After re-reading Genesis 19 one get’s the feeling that this town is really hostile and doesn’t seem to have a problem with gang-raping two handsome visitors that happen to be visiting Lot with a message from the Lord. Lot tries to protect his guests, but the townspeople demand that Lot gives up his guests for their pleasure. When Lot protests their only real rebuttal (v.19) is along the lines of “Who are you to judge us.”
It seems that Sodom and Gomorrah aren’t really so much about homosexuality as they are about hedonism to the extreme. They are selfish and pleasure-seeking without any regard for the welfare of others. Any sense of morality or universal brotherhood is completely lost on these people. This is explained further in the book of Ezekiel.
“Now this is the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.”
– Ezekiel 16:49-50
It seems that these people were guilty of a lot more than just a little man on man flirtation. What is scary to consider is that I know that I, as well as a lot of the modern world, seems to fit the Ezekiel description of the sins of Sodom. I know I have been arrogant, overfed, and have at times shown no concern for the poor and needy. I’ve been selfish, self absorbed, and even down right cruel. I’ve never lead a mob of people on a rape spree, but on my not so good days I’m not all that different from the description of your average Sodomite.
Perhaps it’s time we stop using this passage as a club to bash homosexuals and start looking on it as a reminder and a challenge to ourselves never to become like the Sodomites. Hopefully this will serve as a reminder that we are called to be humble, generous, compassionate, and to strive for lives that are holy and pleasing to God.