Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Kirby, speaks about homosexuality at the Parliament of World Religons

An interesting speaker at the Parliament of World Religions was Michael Kirby, former Australian high court judge. Kirby is an interesting choice because of his own homosexuality as well as his position within the Australian legal system.

Quoting from the age::

He urged religious people to read biblical texts in the context in which they were written, saying his 35 years as

a judge had taught him the importance of analysing words.

''You cannot take words out of context. You cannot take words in isolation … especially holy books that are written in terms of parables and in terms that are often poetic,'' he said.

Mr Kirby said Leviticus 20:13 was usually cited by Christians who condemned homosexuality, yet other passages of Leviticus that condemned men and women to death for adultery were no longer taken literally.

''There are many theologians now who say we have to re-read this, we have to read it in context. You've got to read it in the context of adultery being a death sentence for straight people,'' he said.

''Why don't all those people who are being nasty in religions to gays ever quote verse 10 [condemning adulterers to death]? If we are going back to the rules in Leviticus, we've got to be neutral and we've got to raise them all.''

He also went on to quote scientific studies that there was a 'Genetic' component to sexual orientation.

'If it's genetic, it means it is part of a great design,'' he said. ''In the end, in a battle between interpretations of scripture and science, science will always win.''
I'm not sure about the last quote. I see it problematic for there are many genetic issues facing humans. But yes Homosexuality does face bigotry unlike any human genetic disposition, if that is the point he is making. (I would like to have seen the full transcript for this)

Overall I think Mr Kirby is right. We as Christians have read the scriptures selectively especially in relation to sexuality. When overall Jesus spoke more about the dangers and corruption of money...

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