The Anti-Homosexual “Clobber Passages”

The standard biblical case against homosexuality is based on a collection of verses which some people call the “Clobber Passages.” These verses and passages are found mainly in Leviticus and Romans, and in Paul’s famous “sin lists.” I’ve heard and read some of these refutations of the Clobber Passages, but I’ve never felt completely satisfied with them. During the past several years I have come to realize that the Bible itself proves that the way many of these passages are used by anti-homosexual Christians is actually a misuse and a twisting of the Bible on behalf of their anti-gay crusade. In the weeks and months to come I will be blogging about the deficiencies, and in places the outright twisted falsehood, of the standard anti-homosexual case. You will discover that:

  • Some passages are used in ways that actually indict the motives and credibility of the people who invoke them, and not their targets
  • Some passages are interpreted impressionistically, like a Rorschach Inkblot test
  • Some verses are used illegitimately as evidence–verses that the Bible itself says no longer apply to us
  • Some passages are used in a way that is exactly opposite of the intended purpose, the purpose stated in the passage itself

I do not simply ignore parts of the Bible that I don’t like it. I do, however, compare scripture with scripture. As Paul wrote to the Christians in Thessalonica, “Test everything; hold fast what is good.” The Bible verses used by anti-homosexual Christians sound so slam-dunk convincing that some people feel compelled to ignore the Bible on this topic. That is understandable, since:

“The one who states his case first seems right,                                                                until the other comes and examines him.” (Proverbs 18:17)

I will be doing precisely that, however—examining the case presented by anti-homosexual Christians, and demonstrating that it is not nearly as air-tight as it seems.

About Ron Goetz

My first wife used to say, "There's nothing so sacred that Ron won't pick it apart." My desire to be a pastor -- that was a temperamental mismatch. She was so patient. If my birth mother had lived somewhere else, maybe I would've become a cold case detective. But I would have had to be J instead of a P, I think. And that mid-life reevaluation, starting adolescence as a GARB fundamentalist and transitioning to a non-theist, that gave me an unusual skill set.
This entry was posted in Clobber Passages, Gay Marriage, Homosexual Marriage, Homosexuality, Homosexuality and the Bible, Leviticus, Romans, Same Sex Marriage and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to The Anti-Homosexual “Clobber Passages”

  1. William Hackett says:

    I have come to realize that if a person refuses to consider interpretations of the “slam dunk” passages other than the incorrect, homophobic interpretations, it proves that their homophobia has nothing to do with their “faith”.


    • liberalalert says:

      Your argument about Christians hating homosexuals and not living by the Old Testament fails. Christians do not hate homosexuals, hatred is a sin itself and that’s from the new and Old Testament. God does not hate, he just told the people what the penalty for breaking his laws are. Jesus coming to earth does not change anything. He’s here to fulfill it, and to guide the way to ever lasting eternity.

      Matthew 5:17-18
      17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
      18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

      Yes, Jesus came to deliver us from the curse that is true, but the apostle Paul is telling us that we’re able to be saved, not to continue to sin and have a out of jail card, that makes absolutely no sense. You would have to discard everything up to the point where Paul wrote. I’m sorry you didn’t find anything, but only what you wanted to see. The devil is good about pulling the wool over our eyes and I suggest you get out some shears and start clipping away.


      • Ron Goetz says:

        I have never made a blanket statement to the effect that all Christians hate gays and lesbians. I suspect that most Christians do not experience feelings of intense dislike or animosity toward gays and lesbians. As the years pass, the percentage of Christians who accept gays and lesbians on the same basis as others only increases.


      • “Christians do not hate homosexuals, hatred is a sin itself and that’s from the new and Old Testament”

        Nonsense. “ALL Christians hate homosexuals” is an incorrect statement. NO Christians hate homosexuals is also incorrect. You suggest that, because hate is a sin that Christians can not hate.

        “As it is written:
        “There is no one righteous, not even one;”
        –Romans 3:10

        “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
        –Romans 3:23

        All people sin, even Christians. Some of those sins are hatred. Some of those who hate, hate homosexuals. To say that Christians do not hate because hate is sin is saying something very unbiblical, and contrary to the core teachings of the faith. It is because we sin that we need grace…. and we get it not because we are worthy nor because we’re free from sin. We’re not. We get grace as a gift from God. Your statement makes no sense from a Christian perspective.


  2. Wayne Johnson says:

    Looking forward to reading your posts Ron. I found some interesting discussion and ideas at the Hope Remains site:

    I wonder sometimes – in an alternative universe where the dozen or so apparently anti-gay verses simply weren’t there – how many so-called Christians of our universe would have no interest at all in the Bible? I think for a good many people, an anti-gay statement is necessary in order to get them interested in any religion.

    I think many would move to a completely different religion and theology if they didn’t find justification for their antipathy toward gay people. Homophobia *is* their religion.


  3. Lee says:

    Thanks for telling us how to keep getting your columns, which are always great.


  4. John Meunier says:

    I look forward to your thinking on this issue, Ron.

    I’ve always heard the term as “clobber passages,” not that that matters.


  5. Fred Conwell says:

    Recently Jesus cleared up this misinterpretation situation using a verse/truth I had not yet considered. Jesus defines ALL sin as lack of love (Mt.22:36-40). So what is unloving about a homosexual relationship? Who is unloved, hurt and ready to file suit? So far no Christian (?) homophobic blog has answered these questions. Another root-truth is that the word “homosexual” was coined about 1860 so any use of that word (Paul’s letters) should be held suspect. What exactly was he writing about? And thanks for your initial blog. Looking forward to other inspirations.


    • Grace says:

      Well first of all,most people don’t know how Homosexuality started.The Lucifarians (Satan Worshipers) were the first to start cross-dressing and having Homosexual Intercourse.God wouldn’t support somthing that Satan himself invented.Secound,Homosexuality goes against Nature.If we were ment to be Homosexual,we wouldn’t have different genders.There is a reason that ONLY Male and Female together can create Life.Third,Homosexuality is becoming more and more protected,and more and more people are becoming homosexual.Homosexuality is harming the earths popukation and when an innocent child is raised by a Homosexual couple,it’s harming that child.A child cannot propperly develop morals with two of the same sex raising them.So over all,Homosexuality is Against God’s Law,Against Nature’s Law and Harming both the Population and Young Children.


      • Ron Goetz says:

        Kagome, elsewhere you wrote that “This world is full of hate.” You are right, and I think you’ve been reading or hearing some of that hate about gay and lesbian people. You need to be careful what you repeat.

        You also wrote, “I tend to be a bit cut off and in ‘My Own Little World.'” As you grow older, and meet more people, you will get to know gay and lesbian people who are not what you think. I hope you will learn to love all people the way God loves them. My son is gay, and he will make a wonderful dad someday.

        In your quest to “truly trying to find peace within” yourself, I wish you well. I know you are sincere. God bless you.


      • DocMarsico says:

        Now I truly appreciate the fundamentalist anti-gay movement’s ability to turn otherwise loving people into talking heads, wholly void of logic and reason; to wit: turn to the undereducated. If they can’t spell, they likely cannot discern veracity from utter fabrication.

        Please recall that biblical verse was once equally manipulated to support slavery. This, in no way suggests that anti-gay atrocities are tantamount to the atrocities levied upon slaves and their familial lineage. Still, when the FRC – with help from anti-gay corporations, such as the ‘all American fried chicken demagogue’ – fiscally supports foreign legislation that aims to jail and worse yet, condemn gays to state-sanctioned death, your biblical interpretation has gone too far.

        Blow the dust from your Old Testament and consider what it condemned. Be wary – avoid eating shellfish, wearing fabricated clothing (sorry to those of you that wear polyester), adultery, etc., lest you find yourselves condemned in God’ eyes and legally stoned to death by your neighbors. Indeed, if you call yourself a Christian – that is, Christlike – you inherently acknowledge that Jesus preached the flaws of the Old Testament; ergo, the New Testament. Inherent in those teachings is the notion of judging not, lest thee be judged!


      • “Well first of all,most people don’t know how Homosexuality started.The Lucifarians (Satan Worshipers) were the first to start cross-dressing and having Homosexual Intercourse.”

        –Ummmmmmmmm…… I’m gonna need to see some sort of attribution from genuine historians/anthropologists/archeologists to back up that claim. O_o;


  6. liesl geneva says:

    thank you for taking on such an important endeavour. i often get into debates regarding the Biblical stance on homosexuality and am shocked to find that the people using the Bible against me are less knowledgeable of the content and context than i am, though they call me godless and a heathen. i peronally think that Jesus would hang with the homos, being the rebellious soul that he was.

    peace be with you,



    • pwrnJC says:

      Hang with the H***s? Uh..well, JESUS always confronted those that were obviously wrapped up in their own sins, for sure. [Edited]


      • Ron Goetz says:

        I generally don’t post comments containing abusive language.

        Please re-read the gospels. There are three groups that Jesus vociferously denounced. They did not include gays and lesbians.

        Jesus did denounce 1) people who financially exploited their co-religionists, 2) a handful of political leaders, and 3) religious leaders. There are entire chapters</ with Jesus’ rebukes and warnings directed at religious leaders.

        It shouldn’t be a shock that people rail against others, but not against themselves. No shock that many pastors and theologians (Pharisees and scribes) focus on scapegoats, instead of examining the corrupt and self-serving foundations of their own ministries.


  7. Derrail says:

    Look God spoke the man who lays, lies with mankind like woman shall die. Saying it is confusion.. No life comes out of two males dry humping one another it’s not procreation. You took what is still Holy and have polluted it and God spoke forbidding any of us whether in the beginning or now or as time goes on to profane his holy name. These are right steps right paths follow them and obey. Now because you’ve ruined yourselves over curiousity how so say you? Even if you turned away and forsook this your folly. The error of your own ways would judge and condemn you. How so say you? You’ve laid with men then to turn and go back to a woman and procreate would be on your mind. The disgrace and shame you’ve poured down on your on seedling would be to much. You would know and understand you’re worthless as a man. So you covet other peoples seedling to corupt them to excuse and justify yourselves. You are as paul himself spoke about a wretched man in rome.

    The messenger of death is upon you I have come to warn you God is about to destroy you all around you’ll soon see. Saying and forbidding going up and down like a talebearer and bribing judges with money and gifts. When God spoke don’t do it for the gift even blindeth the eyes of the righteous! If it corrupts even the holy how much more the wicked ones! Get ready to meet God wo will take his name out your mouth and kill you wicked demons wait and see. Your unholy exaggerating same in everyway you’ve offended God you’ll see. Misrepresenting God’s bow which forbids him from pouring judgement down on you all like he did in Noah’s time watch and see. It is a pitiful verdict the wages of sin is death. I was moved here slowly by him to denounce you wicked gainsaying sinners you’ll see why watch and see. It’s painful to even have to say this to you. You all are about to die. You’ve turned around knowledge and put it against itself for shekels and as Judas your all about to burst asunder wait and see. Who also walked with the Lord and showed affection by a kiss to point him out. And brought damnation upon him. Who took issue with Yahshua on account of the woman pouring on him a costly fragance. Come see open up your eyes and behold what’s standing before you you’ll see


  8. billiejenkin says:

    “How many legs does a jackass have if you call its tail a leg?”
    As I read the posts above, it seems that some people only SAY “Lord, Lord.” If the measure of a person’s faith is love, then … “being right” (and damning others for actually THINKING) doesn’t quite meet the measure of “but he that DOES the will of the Father,” does it? Yeah, a jackass has only 4 legs (even if it can spout chapter-and-verse affirming otherwise). Callin’ a tail a leg (or a person a “good Christian”) don’t ‘zactly make it one! Pronouncin’ curses and sendin’ she-bears to maul little boys–well, let’s just say that “Elijah-izing” doesn’t make many folks want to join that religion!


    • Ron Goetz says:

      Amen to that, brother.

      You sound like you might be a preacher. My wife is from Florida, and every once every year or so she utters some regionalism I’ve never heard before. It’s always quite fascinating.


      • Daniel Halkyard says:

        1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

        Where I believe that people get hung up on is versus 9-10….sure, all of that is an abomination with one sin not being more “sinful”than the other HOWEVER..verse 11 is the one to listen to..””And as such, were some of you” in verse 11 he separates the believer in 9-10 to the believer in 11. The believer in 11 knows it is wrong and while he may have trouble with some of these sins, he is always asking for forgiveness when it occurs.


  9. TxMom says:

    The New Testament was written in ancient Greek. There was no word for homosexual or homosexuality.


  10. Leben says:

    I have done a great deal of reading up on the gay situation. Historically, it has always been with us, with a certain, random minority of all people formating to gay or “sexual misalignment”, in too many cases from before they remember. The Bible appears to preach against heterosexuals acting homosexual to rape or impose their bodies on others. A very dark heart in need of repentence would be behind such abominable acts. However, most not-entirely-heterosexual people had absolutely no say in the matter, any more than they choose whether they are left-handed or right-handed.

    It is very unfortunate if all the science is true (many studies on sexuality are available) that most people cannot change their sexual attractions any more than they can change their skin color. Any heterosexual reading this: If the Bible required you to become homosexual to please the Lord God Almighty, how easy would it be for you to force yourself to be attracted to those of your own gender?

    Yet the scripture seems so definite and threatening that we have gays who have joined programs to have their sexual urges “converted” so that they can conform to the common understanding of scripture. Except for a few, very rare cases where some sort of change was realized, all such efforts have been abysimal failures. Not only that, but for those unfortunate gays who could not make change happen, they often felt like suiciding because the very grace of God had, in their reasonable perception, failed them.

    Between Bible and most churches, I do not see any sort of recognized salvation for those of sexual misalignment. The scripture (food for thought) also contains no clear direction for hermaphrodites, those human beings born with both sexes. The scriptures can always be applied against such, even to the conclusion that God regards all such as an abomination.

    So, we have a gospel that saves those of any sin save two – the unpardonable blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and the sin of homosexual attraction and/or romance and/or private bodily acts. If you don’t believe me, just try praying for the miraculous gender-preference change of any gay or lesbian person you know. If your experience is like mine, you will find that neither God nor science seems capable of effecting gender-preference “repentence” or conversion.

    I am not shorting or faulting God here … He has already done far more than any supposed obligation to forgive and save us. Rather, I am noting here what God appears to be doing, either miraculously or through the application of medical science. Most all non-heterosexual people are doomed to remain that way in spite of the best efforts. Or, is it unreasonable for me to assume that if more people DID change their orientation by means of prayer or science, that such phenominal successes would be announced everywhere with trumpets?


  11. Leben says:

    Clarification on my last post, next to last paragraph: “…neither God seems willing, nor science seems capable…” I intended not to say that God was in any wise incapable; but when persistent prayer does not move Him, he seems arguably unwilling.

    Clarification on last paragraph, first sentence. God was not, as some might suppose, obligated to come and die for us through Christ, but He did anyway.


  12. camari2 says:

    Thank you for insights…i think what Jesus says trumps it all…. The greatest commandments are to love the Lord God with all your heart, soul and mind and love others, as you love yourself, this fulfills all the laws of the prophet’s. I take that to mean …we are to focus on the only people we can change, OURSELVES and Love Him. As we do that, we can’t help but love others and see others through His lenses. I am a mother to a son who came out at age 19….and Jesus showed me what it means, to actually follow Him, and not the opinions of man. He is breaking my heart for what breaks His….the disenfranchisement of people condemned by religious people because of who they are. I follow Jesus and I hope that others will follow Him and not those who try to hurt others in their pharisaic ways. 😊


  13. Mark says:

    You mean these verses?

    Romans 1:21-27 (New International Version) (edited for length)


  14. Pingback: Speech or Religion? – Tipsy Teetotaler ن

  15. Can not the clobber passages be reconciled with “confess your sin” and “go and sin no more” they’re a laundry list-
    -greed, bitterness, envy greed (be thankful and rejoice with those who rejoice but mourn with those weep)


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