To be frank, I’ve been dreading this post. Anyone addressing this topic has to be prepared for brickbats from every direction. Nevertheless, Cindy asked a legitimate question, and, as a Christian, I think I have a duty to answer her honestly.
I want to make it clear, for anyone who doesn’t yet understand, the opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of the church at large, the Mid-America Union, the SDA denomination– even my family members may disagree. So it’s just me, just my understanding.
So here goes. When it comes to “gays” or “homosexuals” and the Old Testament, I understand how one could come to the conclusion, that it teaches “hatred of gays,” but I don’t believe that is an accurate reading of the text.
I will not here undertake an exhaustive review of every OT text but my understanding is this: When the OT condemns what we today would describe as “homosexual conduct,” it is always in the context of fasle worship, that is, the sexual activity as worship of a fertility goddess. That is the context in which it is called “an abomination.” But so is heterosexual activity as worship of a fertility god or goddess.
Many of the activities forbidden in the OT are forbidden because they had religious significance we do not understand today.
For example, Ex 23:19 forbids cooking a goat in its mother’s milk. What’s that about? Well, archeological evidence indicates that strange recipe was part of a conjuring or divining ceremony. They understood what it meant, even though we don’t.
Lots of things which are obvious in context may be obscure outside of that context. Sexual conduct in general was viewed in radically different ways in Ancient times. Both Isaac and Jacob married cousins. Cain, and Seth must have married sisters. The OT allowed polygamy. Does that mean these things are good, wholesome, or proper today? Of course not.
I could go on at some length. And the NT is a different situation entirely. But my take is that the OT does not directly address what we call “homosexuality.” When it describes those behaviors, it is in the context of false worship.