Republicans are literally obsessed with S-E-X. If they aren’t trying to pass laws banning oral sex or sodomy, they’re trying to prevent women from gaining access to birth control or crying about the homosexual agenda. Not a day goes by when they’re not screeching about gay sex, oral sex, anal sex, sex outside of marriage, dirty sex… horrible, awful, evil, sinful S-E-X.
If you get your religion from the right wing, you could easily get the impression that Jesus was especially enraged by sex and sexual sins. You would think that he was offended by birth control and abortion, and that he angrily condemned anyone who engaged in such “evils.”
Actually, the opposite is true.
Before we talk about Jesus stance on sexual sins, let’s take a look at the Old Testament, and Jewish law.
The book Song of Songs contains vivid, sexual language. In Chapter 7 we read:
“Thy stature is like to a palm-tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes. … I will climb up into the palm-tree, I will take hold of the branches thereof; and let thy breasts be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy countenance like apples; And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine, that glideth down smoothly for my beloved, moving gently the lips of those that are asleep.”
Conservatives claim that sex is for the sole purpose of procreation. Yet Song of Songs makes no mention of making babies. It does, however, repeatedly reference various plants that are known to have been used as birth control. Some of these ancient forms of birth control included pomegranates, wine, myrrh, spikenard and cinnamon.
Scholars also point to the Biblical story of Queen Esther, who anointed herself with myrrh for an entire year. During Biblical times Myrrh was used as both an abortifacient and a method of birth control. As Salon reported in 2014, the fact that myrrh was used to prevent pregnancy has been substantiated in various ancient documents, most notably in the writings of Soranus of Ephesus, a Greek physician who was an expert on gynecology and midwifery.
In addition, Jewish law has always placed the life of the mother above that of a fetus. Under Jewish law, life begins at birth, not conception. The Old Testament, which laid the foundation for Jewish law, makes a clear distinction between a human life and the life of a fetus. Under Old Testament law, the punishment for murder was death. The punishment for causing a woman to miscarry through violence, on the other hand, was a measly fine. (Exodus 21:22) Only if the woman died, not the fetus, was the offender guilty of murder.
Lest we forget, Jesus was a Jew. Throughout the Bible, there are many instances of Jesus confronting the priests and elders of the church, saying they substituted God’s laws for the laws of men. Yet nowhere does Jesus condemn or criticize the Jewish law regarding abortion. Neither does he condemn the idea of contraception, although it was clearly used during New Testament times. If He was God then obviously he knew about these things. If they were some huge deal, as the Christian right constantly claims, then he why didn’t he address that?
In Luke chapter seven, a woman, who we can assume was a prostitute, came to Jesus and kissed his feet, and washed them with her hair. The self-righteous right wing types of his day were shocked and offended that he would allow such a sinful woman to touch him.
“And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.”
Later in the New Testament, Jesus encounters a group of angry right wing types, who are getting ready to stone another “sexual sinner,” who is known only as “the adulteress.” Jesus said to the blood thirsty crowd “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” After all of her accusers left, Jesus refused to condemn her.
The question then, if he was so offended by sexual sin, why did Jesus challenge the crowd that was condemning the women, rather than her?
Did Jesus condemn gays? No. Some scholars believe he did the opposite.
In Luke 17:34-35 Jesus said this:
“I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”
The Bible-Thumping Liberal published an interesting background on this passage. Once it becomes apparent that the word “grind” was used throughout the Old Testament to represent sexual activity, it’s pretty hard to deny that Jesus was talking about two gay couples in this passage. This would mean that gays, like everyone else on earth, have at least a fifty-fifty chance of getting into heaven.
In Matthew chapter 21, Jesus told the chief priests and the elders of the church:
“Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you.”
Since Jesus himself said that prostitutes have a better chance of getting into heaven than certain church leaders and members, that tells us a lot about whether sexual sins are a priority in his book.
*Featured image credit: public domain photo, via Wikipedia