Monday, September 7, 2015

What Did Jesus Say About Homosexuals? Part 2

In the previous blog I touched on what Jesus actually said about homosexuals. In this blog I will touch on Jesus' encounter with a homosexual man and I will show how fundamentalist Christians have been deceiving people and encouraging hatred, bigotry, oppression and violence toward gay people as a result of their lies.

Matthew 8:5-13 KJV
And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,
And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.
And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.
The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.
For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.
12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

Many people are familiar with this passage. As it has been translated into English it appears that a Roman Centurion approaches Jesus to have him heal his servant. The problem is that the passage has been improperly translated and on purpose at that. It has been purposefully whitewashed to remove all traces of a homosexual relationship.

In verse 6 where it reads "servant", the actual Greek word is pais. Now the word pais can mean several things. It can mean :

-young male servant
-young male servant who is the lover of his master

So which meaning of the word pais is intended here in this passage? We all know that fundamentalist Christians demand that the only meanings used here is either "son" or "servant". Fundamentalist Christians even go as far as portraying the Roman Centurion in art as well as film as a man in his late 40s or 50s because they demand that the "pais" be his son, or a servant he treats like a son. In reality, and due to the life-span of that time, the Roman Centurion would have likely been in is mid to late 20s or early 30s.

Before I go any further I feel I need to explain the sexual practices of the Romans when it comes to homosexuality as found during the time period this event took place. The Romans were open to homosexuality but there were rules. It was taboo for a man to allow himself to be penetrated either orally or anally by another man. So two young teens or men could be sexual with one another as long as this taboo was not broken. To get around the taboo most sex between two males at the time involved mutual masturbation and intercrural sex, which is a type of sex that does not involve penetration. In intercrural sex a man places his penis between the thighs of another man and thrusts until he achieves orgasm. Similar practices occur today with both straight and gay men and are called "titty fucking" and "frotting" (rubbing the penis on the penis or body of another man until orgasm). The key thing to note with regard to this taboo of non-penetrative sex among men is that the taboo was only in place for free citizens. Slaves had no rights at all and a male slave could be orally or anally penetrated if the master so desired. As a result, many Roman men who wanted to orally or anally penetrate a male usually bought a slave specifically to fulfill this desire. In effect, they bought their lovers. These bought lovers were usually young, around the age of 14-16 years old. If they had been faithful to their masters they were usually rewarded with their freedom and full citizenship when they matured.

So back to the question at hand, which meaning of the word pais is intended in this passage? For the answer we will need to go to Luke where the story is told for a second time.

Luke 7:1-10 KJV
Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum.
And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die.
And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant.
And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this:
For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.
Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof:
Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.
For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
10 And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.

The word servant used in Luke's version of events is not the Greek word pais. Instead, it is the Greek phrase "entimos doulos". The word doulos means "slave" and only has that one meaning. The word entimos means "honored, chosen, special". So Luke's version of the event proves that fundamentalist Christians are lying when they claim that this sick boy was the son of the Roman Centurion. Luke specifically says that this boy is the "special or honored slave" of the Roman Centurion. Now to beg the question, what by chance would you think would make this young boy slave special to the Roman Centurion, over and above all his other slaves? It's not hard to conclude that what makes this boy slave special is that he is also his master's lover.

Why would a Roman Centurion seek out a Jewish rabbi to heal just a regular slave? The Romans conquered the Jews. They viewed themselves as superior to the Jews. If we realize that this boy slave is also the Centurion's lover then we understand that the Centurion was so desperate that he sought out Jesus because he had heard he had the power to heal people. What would you do for you boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse or lover? What lengths would you go to just for the hope or chance that they be healed and spared from a certain death? Would you humble yourself unto a person of the race you conquered and whom you viewed as beneath you? Because that's what the Centurion did.

Some interesting things to note:

-Jesus wanted to go to the home of the Centurion to heal the boy. The Centurion refused. Why? It's not unreasonable to suggest that either the Centurion was aware of Jewish customs and felt that Jesus would disapprove of his homosexual relationship. It's also possible that the Centurion feared what would happen to him if he was caught inviting a Jewish rabbi into his house.

-The Centurion tells Jesus that he gives orders and the men under him obey his command. The Centurion believes that Jesus also has the power to command the illness out of his lover from a distance. Jesus is "marveled" by the Centurion's faith.

-Jesus had never encountered a person with as much faith in him as the Roman Centurion before. Not even a single Jew had faith that matched the Centurion's faith.

-Jesus predicts more gentiles than Jews will follow him.

-Jesus is not stupid. Jesus knows good and well that this is a homosexual man who has asked him to heal his lover. Jesus does not condemn him. Jesus does not rebuke him for committing an "abomination". Jesus does not make them be straight before he heals the lover. Instead, Jesus accepts him and his male lover for who they are and doesn't ask them to change. In reality, Jesus exalts the Roman Centurion, a homosexual man, for his faith and promotes him as an example of the faith Christians are supposed to have.

Being gay is not a sin. Sexual preference is not chosen. We are born who were are. If Jesus didn't have a problem with homosexuals then Christians shouldn't either. The lies and hatred that are spewed from fundamentalist Christians must stop.

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