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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The Homophobic Verses

A minister who helped out at a prison has resigned after complaints that he read out a "homophobic" verse from the Bible.

The verse concerned is 1 Corinthians 6:9-10:  "neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor coveters, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the Kingdom of God"

Now it's a short article in the BBC. We aren't told if Mr Trayhorn then expounded upon the passage. I guess he might have,  as he says " I...do not believe it is right to alter the Christian faith so as to tailor it to any modern view of sexual ethics."

Now I guess we're all in our own ways inclined to tinker with the ethics (sexual or other) in the Bible. If I ever meet a Midianite, I always resist the urge to kill them and burn their village down, sparing not even the sheep. If anyone with crushed testicles wants to join the Beaker Folk, I won't ban him from entering the Moot House. And black pudding - banned in the New Testament as well as the old - is in my view a tasty snack.

But however we look at it, the Bible is still the Bible. We can't edit out the bits we don't like. We can't just change the Bible itself. You have to deal with it as it is, even if you make of it what you want or believe you should. Maybe you do believe we need to read it in the light of modern sexual ethics. Or maybe you think all gay people should repent and settle down with people of the alternative genital grouping. But the text you start from is still the text. You can't edit out bits about sexual behaviour any more than you can take out St James' s warnings about speech or give Samson a happy ending, where he and Delilah make up and all their kids go to Oxford.

In other news, the Governor at Littlehey is considering separate complaints from drunkards, thieves, coveters and extortioners. Apparently a few of them were in the congregation as well.


  1. Surely any Bible read today is always going to be a "changed" version of something that came before it?

  2. I wonder if an Anglican Vicar would have read that passage without some interpretation or chosen an alternative reading, there is always choice. This guy, being a Pentecostal, has a different view from an Anglican and that need to be taken into account.

    But to harass him out of his civilian employment, which has no connection with his ministry volunteering does seem on the face of it, to be over the top. But we need to hear all sides of the story before we can make a personal judgement.

  3. I must say, though, old Paul did have a bit of a thing about sexual sin, didn't he? In a list of ten shortcomings destined to land the perpetrator in hell, four are about sex. I call 40% a pretty large minority. What about murderers, or wife or child abusers, torturers, slanderers, or traitors? They get a free pass?

    I would love to have seen him, steam coming out of his ears, reading an article in today's Guardian by a militant lady with big hair, called Suzanne Moore: "It's good to be genderqueer* but don't forget the sexual radicals who paved the way."
    *I don't know what it means either.

  4. Focusing entirely on this verse in isolation would have been provocative. I suspect there is more to this story than meets the eye. Religious freedom is a protected characteristic and just reading out the verse would not have been enough to justify a complaint. I fail to see how stopping him preaching forced him to stop gardening. Chaplains in prisons do have to be careful - their congregations cannot simply choose another church if the preacher is being homophobic.


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