“The simple fact is that Old Testament references in Leviticus do treat homosexuality as a sin ... a capital offense even,” Bakker writes. “But before you say, ‘I told you so,’ consider this: Eating shellfish, cutting your sideburns and getting tattoos were equally prohibited by ancient religious law.
“The truth is that the Bible endorses all sorts of attitudes and behaviors that we find unacceptable (and illegal) today and decries others that we recognize as no big deal.”
Leviticus prohibits interracial marriage, endorses slavery and forbids women to wear trousers. Deuteronomy calls for brides who are found not to be virgins to be stoned to death, and for adulterers to be summarily executed.
“The church has always been late,” Bakker told me in an interview this week. “We were late on slavery. We were late on civil rights. And now we’re late on this.”
Tony Jones, a “theologian-in-residence” at Minnesota’s Solomon’s Porch, one of the pre-eminent “Emergent’’ churches in the nation, echoes many of Bakker’s arguments. Peggy Campolo, wife of evangelist Tony Campolo, has been saying this kind of thing for years, despite her husband’s disagreement.
And while he stops short of explicitly saying “it’s not a sin’’ in his 2010 book, A New Kind of Christianity, Brian McLaren, godfather of the Emergent church movement, condemns a Christian preoccupation with homosexual issues as “fundasexuality.’