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Luther and a Gay Reformation?

Raymond J. Keating

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On the Church and Society
July 18, 2007

Raymond J. Keating

If Martin Luther were around today, would he be working to rewrite Holy Scripture and church teachings to please gay activists?

Advocates for what can only be called "gay theology" are relentless in their pursuit of altering language and Holy Scripture to fit their own desires. In an op-ed in the July 9 USA Today, one audaciously and ridiculously argued that Luther would essentially embrace gay theology if he were around today.

This bit of clairvoyance came from Mary Zeiss Strange, a professor of women's studies and religion at Skidmore College.

Strange put forth the gay theology idea that scriptural prohibitions against homosexual acts were a mere product of ignorance at the time. She wrote that both St. Paul and Luther were products "of the social prejudices" of their times and cultures, where "the concepts of homosexuality as an 'orientation' or a 'lifestyle' were still unheard of."

Since Christians believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, gay theology can be summed up in the arrogantly heretical assertion: If only the Holy Spirit knew better.

Strange asserted that if around today: "Luther would certainly still find himself at odds with the Catholic Church's rigidity on sexual matters and its intolerance of principled dissent." I didn't realize sex was central to the Reformation. Of course, it wasn't. Other than whether or not marriage is a sacrament, and priests getting married, Luther and Rome agreed that sex was meant for a man and woman within the bonds of matrimony.

Professor Strange also noted: "Writing for the online magazine Blogcritics in December, Richard Rothstein likened the struggle between pro- and anti-gay factions in the churches to 'a Second Protestant Reformation.'" Strange continued by asserting that somehow the Augsburg Confession and efforts to unite Christians by Luther mean that he would be for gay marriage and gay ordination.

Really? Strange fails to grasp what Luther's Reformation was all about, i.e., at its core, that, in the view of Luther and other Reformers, Rome had strayed too far from Holy Scripture. Too much was asserted and practiced that could not be found or was not rooted in Holy Scripture.

As much as theologians like Strange do not like to admit it, homosexual acts were understood and proclaimed quite clearly as sinful in both the Old and New Testaments. Luther grasped this, accepted it as the Word of God, and was anything but shy in making that known.

For example, consider the following from Martin Luther (as quoted in What Luther Says): "The vice of the Sodomites is an unparalleled enormity. It departs from the natural passion and desire, planted into nature by God, according to which the male has a passionate desire for the female. Sodomy craves what is entirely contrary to nature. Whence comes this perversion? Without a doubt it comes from the devil. After a man has once turned aside from the fear of God, the devil puts such great pressure upon his nature that he extinguishes the fire of natural desire and stirs up another, which is contrary to nature."

Whew! No mistaking where Martin Luther stood on the matter.

Strange asked: "What would Luther do?" Given his commitment to the Word of God, he was not about to stray from Holy Scripture. Given his boldness, he was not shy about proclaiming what he believed. The answer offered by Luther is clear, and it is not what gay theologians want to hear.

Raymond J. Keating, also a columnist with Newsday, is the editor and publisher of the "On the Church & Society Report." This column is from the latest issue of the "On the Church & Society Report," which also features "An Odd Invitation," "Mary & the Wise Guy," "A Stroll Through Media Bias," "From Aaron to Bonds," and "Tranformers and the M Word." To receive a free four-issue trial of "On the Church & Society Report," send an e-mail request to ChurchandSociety@aol.com.

Posted: 22-Jul-07

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