Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Another clobber passage?

(For the record, I just posted this at SoulForce. This is pretty much verbatim)
Has anyone else ever heard Judges 19 used as a clobber passage?

I caught this the other day on a radio program (which I later transcribed so I could quote from).

The Judges 19 story is almost exactly like that of Sodom and Gomorrah, except for a couple of potentially important details, but anti-gay social conservatives generally tend to have a thinking handicap. I feel pretty confident in betting that they'd use and abuse this verse in a second if they knew about it. Who could pass up a new anti-gay hate toy?
For reference, here’s the relevant portion of the Sodom and Gomorrah story from Genesis 19:
1 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2 "My lords," he said, "please turn aside to your servant's house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning."
"No," they answered, "we will spend the night in the square."

3 But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. 4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them."

6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, "No, my friends. Don't do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don't do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof."

9 "Get out of our way," they replied. And they said, "This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We'll treat you worse than them." They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.

10 But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. 11 Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.
Now here’s what was said on the radio program:
pastor Dr. Robert Lewis: Ephraim was a watchman with my God a prophet, yet the snare of the board catcher is in all his ways, and there is only hostility in the House of God.

And listen to verse 9, they have gone deep in depravity, as in the days of Gibeah. Now if you’re a Bible scholar, that should turn all kinds of lights on, ‘cause Gibeah and the event of Gibeah, is in Judges 19, when a Levitical priest comes in Gibeah, the city of Gibeah, and he’s got his concubine, this young lady with him, and they go to house themselves in Israel for protection, and when they get there, the men of Gibeah come out and bang on the doors and shout and kick in the roof, and all of that, and demand that the priest come out so that they can have sexual intercourse with him. That story is found in
Judges 19.
And here's the rest of that story:
20 "You are welcome at my house," the old man said. "Let me supply whatever you need. Only don't spend the night in the square." 21 So he took him into his house and fed his donkeys. After they had washed their feet, they had something to eat and drink.

22 While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, "Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him."

23 The owner of the house went outside and said to them, "No, my friends, don't be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don't do this disgraceful thing. 24 Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But to this man, don't do such a disgraceful thing."

25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. 26 At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.

27 When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28 He said to her, "Get up; let's go." But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.

29 When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel. 30 Everyone who saw it said, "Such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt. Think about it! Consider it! Tell us what to do!"
The similarities are too many to list

The woman in this story did get gang raped, implying that the men were bisexual? Oh yeah, she also gets cut up into twelve parts.

So, I’m thinking it’s more the implication of bisexuality than the cutting up of the concubine. Plus, cutting someone into 12 pieces isn't very angelic, like the guests of lo... ... ...I'm sorry, I'm just not seeing your average reason-deprived homophobe being bothered by the "limb by limb, into twelve parts" part.

Then again, they've proven time and time again that they really could be that ignorant...
So, Judges 19, anyone?


Emily K said...

For me, Judges 19 helps disprove the "homosexual slant" heaped upon Genesis 19. That it really was about rape, and gender mattered not. Which fits in perfectly with the idea of rape - it's not intercourse, it's power and humiliation.

Andy said...

Of course, all other scriptural references to these stories talk about the sin of inhospitality. But never mind that - it doesn't fit with the conservative agenda.

I've always thought that these stories are most similar to what happens in men's prisons. Like Emily said, it's about power, pecking order and humiliation than sex. In the misogynistic world, treating a man like a woman is considered the lowest of the low.

Lastly, scholars know that Judges is a re-write of Jewish "history" - the product of a different region and tradition. It isn't full of new stories, as much as old stories told with a different agenda.