The State of Washington has a lot of empty space in the middle. I was driving through that empty space, going over Manastash Ridge between Yakima and Ellensburg, searching for a signal in the radio dead zone. (One reason I’m grateful for satellite radio.) I had set the scanner to search for a live station, and then forgot about it….because there just wasn’t anything there. After about twenty minutes of silence, I was startled to hear the word “Sodomites!” blasting from the receiver.
I had finally found a station. But of course, in that conservative part of the state, the station I found was a religious one, and the preacher was fulminating about homosexuality, and the sodomites who were about to take over the country. After managing to keep my pickup on the road, I decided to keep listening–after all, it was the only thing on. As the preacher continued, I began to grow bored, and since I was getting close to Ellensburg, I was about to search for another station when the preacher said something shocking.
Shocking, because he didn’t know what he had just said. The preacher was talking about how sodomy was taking over, and added, “And you know how it is. Once you get a taste of that gay sex, you’ll never go back to the regular kind.”
Pardon me? WHAT?
I realized that the preacher had just added his name to the list of people in churches I had served who, as soon as the subject of homosexuality came up, went immediately to 10 on their outrage scale. By that time, I had been a pastor for more than 25 years, and in that time, I had noticed a pattern: the first people to violently object to discussing homosexuality in church were those with some well hidden homosexual yearnings. I later saw this mentioned in a publication for pastors about what happens when the subject comes up in the church. (Congregations Talking about Homosexuality: Dialogue on a Difficult Issue, Beth Ann Gaede, ed.)
All of this is by way of introducing the story which has given us the word “sodomy,” which has found its way into the law of a number of states, in which sodomy is illegal. The story in the Bible which provides us with the word “sodomy” is located in the first book of the Bible, Genesis, chapter 19. I’ll be saying more about this story in future posts, but consider this an overture to reading. If you’re interested, you might want to start a chapter earlier, with chapter 18.
More to come. Stay tuned.