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An open letter to Bradlee Dean (and all Biblical literalists who label homosexuality as sin)

by Sam Killermann · 12 comments

in Op-Ed

Nobody Remembers the Pizza Comic

Bradlee Dean, heavy metal rocker slash minister, recently alluded that the Muslims who were calling for execution of gays are “more moral” than Christians (read about it at the Huffington Post).  He’s since backtracked a lot, and wishy-washied, and etc.  But it’s as apparent how he truly feels as it is how bad he is at playing politics.

I sent him an email.  It’s below.  Discuss.


Dear Bradlee,

I heard about the whole Rachel Maddow thing.  Bummer.  Here’s the deal: the context, the specific wordings, the supposed omissions — they don’t matter.  You think homosexuality is a sin, and whether or not you want gay people dead (you do), you’re already mislead.  Allow me to set you straight.

Get my book!
From the one picture I’ve seen of you, I can tell you have some pretty impressive sideburns and at least a couple half-sleeve tattoos. Now, I think we would both agree it would be silly to call for your execution because you trim your hair (Leviticus 19:27) or put tattoo marks on yourself (Leviticus 19:28).  So why would you worry about Leviticus 18:22 or 20:13 (do not lie with another man)?

We all know Leviticus gets a bit intense.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be the guy to tell every NFL player he’s a sinner doomed to hell because he’s tossed around the ol’ pig skin (Leviticus 11:8).  Those guys are big.  And sinners.

But hey, maybe you’re more of a Genesis guy.

I might go out on a limb and guess that you’ve “wasted [your] seed on the ground” (tubesock) at least a few times.  Uh oh — execution time, buddy (Genesis 38:9-10).  But I bet you’re not even worried about that (they’re just words, right?).  Fire away!

No, if I had to guess, I’d pin you down as a “Sodomite” guy.  I mean to say I bet that’s the story you draw from when you preach the anti-gay Gospel.  Sorry if you misunderstood.  Is that it?  That’s fair.  It’s both a fun word (sometimes I yell it like Gandalf: “You shall not SODOMIZE”), and a commonly misunderstood story.  I’m sure you know it (you’ve read the Bible, right?), but I’ll synopsize just in case.

The people of Sodom are being hardcore sinners.  God decides to give them one last chance.  Sends in a couple of undercover angels (not Cam, Drew, or Lucy — first mistake) to look for just 10 righteous people in the city.  If they find them, God will give the city a pass.  The angels are taken in for some old-fashioned hospitality by a cool dude named Lot, but the rest of men in the city aren’t happy about the strangers.  They gather around Lot’s house and demand he send the angels out so they may “know” them.  ”Know”, translated from the Hebrew word “Yada,” has been understood to mean “violently gang rape to death.”  God wasn’t happy with what happened (obviously), so he destroyed the city.

Now, if you’re like other people I’ve talked to, you’ve somehow managed to convince yourself (and actually believe) that God was more concerned with the idea of a penis entering a man’s anus than the idea of an angry mob violently murdering two innocent angels.  Rape (man-on-man and man-on-woman) was a practiced form of degradation back then (still is); JuicyCampus hadn’t been invented yet.  What happened wasn’t motivated by gay (two people of the same sex who love one another), it was motivated by hate.

But that’s all Old Testament stuff, you’re right.  What did Jesus have to say about homosexuality?  That’ll really settle this.  Dude had a lot to say (and other dudes had a lot to say about him).  Surely the New Testament was ripe with “Jesus says burn the gays” imagery.

Sorry to disappoint you again, but that’s just not the case.  Jesus never mentions homosexuality.  He was more concerned with preaching that we should be compassionate, minimalistic, and kind.  Sorry, dude, looks like you’re out.

In case you aren’t following, let me synopsize this all really quick for you.  The Old Testament had a hardcore procreation slant.  All of the laws add up to say “don’t screw with your body, don’t screw with animals or dangerous stuff, just screw each other and make, like, so many babies.”  And the Jesus didn’t have an opinion on homosexuality one way or the other, but we can probably assume he wouldn’t be pro-mass-execution.

We have over 7 BILLION people on this planet.  Trust me, we don’t need to worry about procreating any more.  If God had known we’d be this good at doing each other, he probably wouldn’t have made it so fun.  Oh, perhaps he did know, and that’s why he gave us Grindr.

It’s never too late to find Jesus.  If not, enjoy your sinnin’, brotha.

Peace,

Samuel

P.S. I didn’t mean to rub my fine Biblical name in your misspelled mid-19th century Old English name’s face.

Written by Sam Killermann

Sam is a writer and performer who uses those skills as an ally to advance progress in the realms of LGBT equality and social justice. He tours the country speaking to college students about stereotypes, prejudice, and oppression, and writes for this site when he's at home in Austin, TX.

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  • William Cheung

    The whole “Jesus didn’t say anything about this and that, so it must be okay”  argument is tired and passe. Jesus didn’t say anything about a lot of things. That doesn’t imply He was ok with it.

    But Jesus, being the social revolutionary that he was, evidently still affirmed the one man, one woman arrangement for God’s only for what a marriage looks like.  Matthew 19:3-9.  Jesus also said that He didn’t come to destroy the Law but to fulfill its righteous requirements. He also said that not a stroke of the pen of the Law will pass away. Yeah, even that homosexual-sex-is-sin-because-God-said-so passages.

    As for Sodom and Gammorrah, lest you think modern day Christian theologians all of the sudden interpreted the incident erroeously, read what the Apostle Peter had to say:

    “if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men 8(for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.c 10This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful natured and despise authority…18For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 

    ..19They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.”

    Sam, I’m sure you get the point.  You have the freedom to advocate whatever wish as you live in a free country.  But please, don’t try to twist the passages of the Bible in order to be deluded into thinking that God is ok with homosexuality or any other deviation from what He intended.  You and I, and everyone will have to stand before God when we die and be accountable for what we have said and done that was for or contrary to His Word.

    • http://samuelkillermann.com/ Samuel Killermann

      Hi William, 

      I really appreciate the comment, sincerely.  I would like to hear a bit more of a point-for-point argument from you, though, because I’m struggling to see how your response lines up with what I wrote.  Here are my thoughts for now:

      Yes, there was plenty Jesus didn’t talk about, but that doesn’t mean it’s *not* okay.  That argument is just as passe as mine. 

      If you believe Jesus gave his rubber stamp to Leviticus 18:22, what are you responses to the other few dozen laws laid down in Leviticus and Genesis that are broken daily by Christians everywhere?  If you don’t adhere to those proscriptions, how can you reconcile the forbidding of homosexuality?

      And I’m not sure what you are referring to about the modern day Christian theologians interpreting Sodom and Gammorrah incorrectly.  My letter is based on interpretations of the text made by modern day Christian theologians.  What did I write that you view to be incorrect?

      And I can assure you I didn’t feel like I was twisting anything above.  I’m not spot-reading with a gay agenda.  I personally don’t have any reason to slant things, as I’m not Christian (Lutheran school ended that) and I’m not gay.  Other than the sarcasm, I laid things out above as bluntly and straight-forward as I could.  If I had come to another conclusion, I wouldn’t have written this article.  

      As I’m sure you’d guess, I’m of the persuasion that the church has been the one twisting the passages of the Bible into deluding people into thinking whatever the hell they want.  Most Christians I know have never even read the thing themselves, yet still thought homosexuality was wrong, and when I showed them clippings of every passage in the Bible mentioning homosexuality, they quickly started to rethink things.  Or, more acutely, they started thinking about things for themselves, for once.

      I wrote this article more for straight Christians than for secular gays, believe it or not.  Because, like you, I’m an empathetic person.  I’ve seen how horrible some of my Christian friends feel about the whole Christian = Anti-Gay thing.  They feel horrible, because deep down in their hearts, they *know* it’s wrong.  I’m giving them an out.  Hopefully they will read this article, start to release that hate from their hearts, and be accountable for one less transgression with they meet their god in the after life.

      And I’m going to leave the free country comment alone.  I think I’ve already said two mouthfuls.

      • William Cheung

        You wrote:

        “If you believe Jesus gave his rubber stamp to Leviticus 18:22, what are you responses to the other few dozen laws laid down in Leviticus and Genesis that are broken daily by Christians everywhere?  If you don’t adhere to those proscriptions, how can you reconcile the forbidding of homosexuality?”
        As you have said you aren’t a Christian, so it’s no wonder you dont have the knowledge regarding the historical context in which these Laws were applied to the ancient Jewish nation.  Which makes it very curious why you think you could rebut Christian “literalists” with your own qualified biblical commentary. Ballsy, but you still get it wrong.  But I digress.

        There are three basic categories of Laws applied to the Jews: customary/hygenic, civil and moral.  Sex between the same genders falls under the moral and had the harshest penalty as the act is a perversion of what God created sex to be: life creating, not only just orgasm-inducing.  The masculine-feminine intersection is also to reflect His image in the deepest way possible to human beings.
        So Jesus absolutely affirmed this principle by going way back to Genesis. The Law was just a codification of the Creator’s intent on a societal scale.

        If I were to follow your argumentation, how could I reconcile the forbidding of the incest law, and the bestiality law, both of which rank as high as same-sex acts.

        You wrote:

        “And I’m not sure what you are referring to about the modern day Christian theologians interpreting Sodom and Gammorrah incorrectly.  My letter is based on interpretations of the text made by modern day Christian theologians.  What did I write that you view to be incorrect?

        As for your interpretation of Sodom and Gomorrah, it based on a small minority of theologians most of whom deny the basic tenets of the faith too, so I hold little regard to their opinion. For since the written form of the Torah up unto Jesus himself to 2000 years of Church history, the interpretation was been consistent:  this story is an example of lust, which is a sin because it is desire that has no respect for boundaries. Not only boundaries of permission (rape) but of gender (homosexuality), and ultimately violence.  But my point in quoting 1 Peter was that, lest you thought I was misinterpreting the text to have a “homophobic” stance, the apostle Peter, as well as Paul, affirm this interpretation as the correct one.  You’re simply wrong.

        You wrote:

        “And I can assure you I didn’t feel like I was twisting anything above.  I’m not spot-reading with a gay agenda. ”

        With all due respect, yes, you are reading with a gay agenda. Because the “gay agenda” is to true to make the Bible seem either a) indifferent or b) accepting of homosexual behaviour.  Which is what you’re doing, isn’t it, with your article?  Frankly, this is impossible, as the Bible expressly forbids it everywhere, the topic or situation comes up.

        You wrote:

        “As I’m sure you’d guess, I’m of the persuasion that the church has been the one twisting the passages of the Bible into deluding people into thinking whatever the hell they want.”

        Again, funnily enough, the Christians and Jews are been remarkably consistent with these passages regarding homosexual behaviour for about, oh, 5000 years. It is verboten.

        You wrote:

        “Most Christians I know have never even read the thing themselves, yet still thought homosexuality was wrong, and when I showed them clippings of every passage in the Bible mentioning homosexuality, they quickly started to rethink things.  Or, more acutely, they started thinking about things for themselves, for once.”

        Well, isn’t lucky that I stumbled on your blog then!  For I happen to be one of those Christians who has actually studied my religious book extensively.  Now, you may be surrounded by Christians who are more intent on watching the X-Factor then actually reading their holy book.  And they may be just parroting what their pastors told them without actually working it out for themselves.  Pity.  But they doesn’t follow that what they’re parroting is actually incorrect.

        You wrote:

        “I wrote this article more for straight Christians than for secular gays, believe it or not.”

        I feel privileged.

        “Because, like you, I’m an empathetic person.  I’ve seen how horrible some of my Christian friends feel about the whole Christian = Anti-Gay thing.  They feel horrible, because deep down in their hearts, they *know* it’s wrong.”  <— LOL I see what you did there!

        "I'm giving them an out.  Hopefully they will read this article, start to release that hate from their hearts, and be accountable for one less transgression with they meet their god in the after life."

        Well, again Jesus, being the social progressive that He was, must have been the biggest homophobe around then.  Because He affirmed the Law and he affirmed God's original intent for the human species – that sex should be between a man and a woman in a marriage context only.  But hey the funny thing is, I meet more and more people, many of whom are not Christian, who are starting to wake up from all the propaganda we have been taken in for the last 30 years.  Like my friend Steve.  Steve is not a Christian. Steve is in his early 50s' and has been in a civil partnership.  He is also HIV positive. He tells me he has slowly waking up to the fact that he was never born this way, but he realizes his family dynamics left him underdeveloped in his manhood. Thus when he hit puberty he started sexualizing men. He says even while he was living as a gay man in the gay community he always felt uneasy about the whole thing but didn't want to say anything, lest he be accused of being a traitor or giving into the Christian mindset. These are his words not his.  He is now on the path to reclaim his real masculine identity. He laments at the amount of homosexual propaganda that's going on in our society.

        The God I worships love Steve and love all people who are attracted to the same gender.  And the God I follows is overjoyed at the fact that Steve has come to realize the truth about what he is doing and the fact that it is never too late to change.

        • Rene

          William you are missing the entire point.

          Show me where, with scripture references, Jesus said to *hate*, ridicule, demoralize, abuse, mistreat, etc, someone who is gay/bisexual/transgendered???

          “Christians” are always degrading these particular human beings because of their “sins” (homosexuality) yet they do not violently attack others who “sin” by getting tattoos, having sex with their wives while they are menstrating, steal, murder. What Samuel is saying is that these indiscretions are overlooked and forgiven easily. These types of sins are accepted. No one pickets their funerals, or is constantly telling them that they will burn in Hell for their sins.

          Ephesians 4:29

          Jesus came to satisfy and fulfill the law. But what did he say were God’s 2 greatest commandments?? Oh that’s right #1 Love the LORD with all your heart, soul and mind, and the second is equal to the first #2 Love your neighbor as yourself. Then the “Well, now Jesus, who is my nieghbor?” question was brought into play and he gave us the parable of the “Good Samaratin”.

          The one resounding message that *SHOULD* be found in the scriptures but is usually missed is…. wait for it…. LOVE.

          Love the “sinner” but not their “sin.” Who was Jesus found to sup with through out his ministry after he was baptized? Sinners.

          Only God can condemn a person to hell. Last time I checked my scriptures we meet up with Him *after* we die.

          It takes more energy to be mean, angry, spiteful, violent, etc, than it does to be happy. Kind. Gracious. Loving. Accepting.

  • Megan Kryska

    Your letter made my day! :) Thank you for fighting for LGBT equality! We need people as articulate as you. 

    • http://samuelkillermann.com/ Samuel Killermann

      Thanks for the comment, Megan.  It made my day.  I’m happy it struck a chord with you.  Hopefully you can use it as a resource in the future :)  

      Thanks for reading!

  • Frankie “Corazon” Sanchez

    wow sam youve given me a whole new tool to fight our good fight against all those bible thumpin a holes.  i tend to run into them ALOT, and its just old and done with.  Never the less thanks for this post

  • Sabbysavvy

    @google-0a6dee14a0bae04859d316e467382331:disqus : Lot totally offered his daughters up to get raped in place of the angels. God saw this as acceptable. Maybe we: a.) shouldn’t see Lot as a standard for moral sociosexual conduct, and/or b.) shouldn’t use the Bible as our social or sexual compass.
    Aside from all this nonsense: I could care less if Jesus flat-out stated that glorious, glorious gay sex will get you a one-way ticket to eternal burninating (Trogdor, is that you?!) What matters is the Constitution, which basically states people can keep their religion to themselves. Therefore, you’re entitled to think I’m nasty for liking the ladies and being a lady myself. You just can’t do jack about it.

    • William Cheung

      “Lot totally offered his daughters up to get raped in place of the angels. God saw this as acceptable. Maybe we: a.) shouldn’t see Lot as a standard for moral sociosexual conduct, and/or b.) shouldn’t use the Bible as our social or sexual compass.”….OR you can see some to the passages of the Bible as descriptive of human interactions that are dsyfunctional, jacked-up, and sinful that are NOT prescriptive for humanity, but are DESCRIPTIVE, and other passages of the Bible – the Laws, commandments, overall moral precepts ARE prescriptive.

      As for hiding behind the Constitution, Samuel is make an argument from the Bible so I am responding in kind.  But as for making public policy, it’s an open debate.

  • Anna

    The bible contradicts itself in many places and was written and translated many times, I doubt it’s even sililar to how it was since most of those translations were probably skewed to suit the moral opinion of the translater. I agree with all your points, especially regarding it being rape and murder that was more sinful but I heavily dislike that story because it later advocates Job thinking it was okay to rape then murder-by offering up his daughters- and even later it advocates his daughters thinking it’s okay to rape their sleeping father to create more offspring. The whole story is highly problematic, which is incidentally how i feel about the whole bible.

    I like that you point out some of the inconsistances here and how people ‘cherrypick’ what they hold fast to and use for hate while ignoring what doesn’t suit them. The same can be said for those who use religion to try and shame and squash. I often here it used (by the same people using it to condemn homosexuality) to state abortion is a sin, yet the bible clearly states that baby’s souls don’t enter the body til the first breath, not are they worth much until adults.

    If all us sinners (according to the bible) are going to hell, heaven’s going to be very very empty and there’s going to be one hell of an afterlife party in hell!

  • kerry57

    very well said

  • felixthecat777333 .

    No where in all of scripture do I find any of the prophets or apostles going out to speak against what was going on in the world as to speak against homosexuals or those who have had abortions. Even in Abrahams time there is not one word given where Abraham did what this Bradlee Dean is doing. In fact Abraham had men of Sodom in his army and the king even offered him anything he wanted but Abraham refused and said that God would supply his needs. Now for those who do this kind of thing the bible is very clear on. It says if you rebuke anyone living in sin they will hate you. That really tells me then all I would be doing is causing more damage than good. I have to say that even in Rome the Apostle Paul never did this either. I can tell you how to live by biblical standards all I want but man is in rebellion against God and will never ever see the light on this nor does he want to. I remember back when I was in my early 20’s and my now Ex wife’s mother sent the pastor over which he came right after I had gotten really stoned. He drilled me on how it was my responsibility to see my wife and child off to church and that my actions was taking them both to hell with me. I didn’t get mad at God either. I did however get mad at him and now that I am truly saved I can say for all you who want to know the truth then ask . I did and God answered but it wasn’t pretty either. I would never expect anyone to live as I do now unless they are truly born again. I can preach to you all I want and all anyone is going to do is resent Christians all the more. If I come to you with a message of the judgment without fully explaining what is going on and why Christ absolutely had to come and die and most of all why we are alienated from Union with God I have done nothing but confuse you. This man doesn’t even know that he speaks about things that he doesn’t even understand which one example is how the founding fathers were Christians. They appeared to be so they could fool the Pilgrims and Puritans when really they were Luciferian free masons who were laying the foundations of the New World Order which they now called “America the New Atlantis”. Even the streets of DC are laid out to form inverted stars, hexagrams ,Maltese cross and more. All the buildings in DC are built to gods and are the same architecture as found in Rome. In fact in the House of Representatives there is a symbol on both sides of the stage called the Fasces’ which is a bundle of sticks with a hatchet which is a symbol of Rome and was also on the currency in Germany when Hitler was in power. There are many other very dark things surrounding our nations founding and Capitol but does he tell you this, no. This should be the message to all. It is true satan is the god of this world and we either serve him or God. Can’t be free unless the Son of man sets you free. My prayer is that many will awaken and so be saved then they can be free not to sin. That is the awesome message in part.I myself was the worst sinner of all I have ever met in the church yet God saved a rotten man as myself. One thing I ask everyone though is what does it profit us to live as we see fit and forfiet eternity? If there is a God and his word be true then should we not be more concerned with knowing what the heck is really going on here with this thing called life and death? Bradlee Dean seems as though he is one who believes in Lordship salvation. I cannot stand anyone who says to turn from your ways and turn to God, Impossible. Like I said ask him to show you . One lady who was in the LGBT movement was saved just recently and her response was that God ruined her. He did me also. But this is a good thing for in knowing him I am free as she is also. She had to leave where she was living as her life changed this drastically as did mine. I cannot say it has been a easy life since either, rather the opposite yet you come to like it and the peace of knowing him is nothing I can put into words.