One of the Clobber Passages still used occasionally is from the Book of Jude. Jude is a short, one-chapter book, and verse 7 is sometimes quoted to argue that “unrepentant” homosexuals are doomed to hell fire.
In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 7)
What follows is patterned after dialogues like the Dialogue with Trypho and the Dialogues of Plato.
Dialogue with Charlotte
Howard: Charlotte, do you have a minute? I want to talk about your support of homosexuals a little more. It still seems to me that you have to ignore an awful lot of scripture to keep condoning these so-called gay and lesbian “Christians.”
Charlotte: Not a problem, Howard. I always enjoy a good conversation with you.
Howard: Okay. We’ve never discussed the verse in Jude–Jude 7. Let me read it to you. “In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.” You see? The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah is specifically called sexual immorality and perversion. Now you really can’t get around that, Charlotte.
Charlotte: Jude? I love Jude! It is absolutely one of my favorite books in the Bible–it’s so weird!
Howard: Weird? C’mon Charlotte–the Bible is not weird.
Charlotte: Well, Jude certainly is. You’ve heard of apocryphal books, right? Jude quotes two apocryphal books! They’re not even in the Bible. Tell me that’s not weird.
Howard: But the apocrypha isn’t in the Bible. Only Catholics use the Apocrypha.
Charlotte: Not the Apocrypha, but apocryphal books. Jude quotes the Book of Enoch and The Assumption of Moses. Let me see your Bible for a minute. Here it is: “Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: ‘See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.'” That quote comes from the Book of Enoch.
I’ve read it. It describes the Son of Man like it’s straight out of the Bible: clothed in dazzling white coming down out of the clouds. And the book is pre-Christian! It is so cool.
Howard: Uh, I’ll have to borrow it some time.
Charlotte: Not to worry. It’s online.
Howard: Some New Age site, I suppose?
Charlotte: Actually, no. It’s a Nazarene site.
Howard: You’ve got to be kidding me! Phineas Bresee must be turning in his grave.
Charlotte: I wouldn’t be surprised! You know, Jude also quotes The Assumption of Moses. It’s here: “But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!'”
Howard: Let me see that. (pause) I never heard about Satan fighting with an angel over Moses’ body before–not in Sunday school or church.
Charlotte: Now do you understand why I love it? I said the Book of Jude was weird!
Howard: Uh-huh. I do see. But what does that have to do with God destroying Sodom and Gomorrah because of homosexuality?
Charlotte: Well, Howard, where did Jude get that idea, that the sin of Sodom is homosexuality? Some apocryphal book? It certainly didn’t come from the Bible!
Howard: Of course it’s in the Bible. It’s in Genesis.
Charlotte: Okay, but if Sodom and Gomorrah is really about homosexuality, then why do Ezekiel and Jesus only mention the sin of inhospitality to strangers and the poor?
Howard: Yes, I know about Sodom and inhospitality.
Charlotte: Well let’s look at it anyway, okay? Look here in Ezekiel: “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” Nothing here about homosexuality that I can see.
And remember when Jesus sent out the disciples to preach in the cities, how he told them to “search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave”? And he said if no one would welcome them or listen, that it would be “more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.” Why? Because on one would welcome them and let them stay with them–no hospitality.
The sin of Sodom is not homosexuality, Howard. It’s about being inhospitable to travelers, and to the poor and needy. And that’s in the Old and New Testament.
Howard: No. Hospitality is not that big a deal, not compared to homosexuality. It’s just not that big a deal.
Charlotte: Maybe not to you, but it was back then. I don’t know what the hotel and motel situation was, but Jesus and Ezekiel obviously taught that not being generous and hospitable was a big deal–enough to incur God’s wrath. If someone wouldn’t let you sleep on their floor or in their stable, you could be robbed, or die in the cold. It gets pretty cold at night in the desert. Things were really different back then.
And if you don’t think so, I think you need to re-read Jesus and Ezekiel and take their word for it.
Howard: Charlotte, that may be, but you’re ignoring Jude itself. Look at what it says: “Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion.” How much clearer can you get? The inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah will suffer the punishment of eternal fire because of their sexual immorality and perversion, not because of inhospitality. You can’t pick and choose which verses to accept and which to reject, Charlotte.
Charlotte: I don’t reject that, Howard. What did the men of Sodom want to do?
Howard: They wanted to rape the angels staying with Lot.
Charlotte: Did they know that the visitors were angels?
Howard: Well, I don’t know.
Charlotte: They didn’t know, Howard. As far as they knew, the angels were just impressive-looking strangers in town, and Lot was being hospitable to them. And the men wanted to rape the strangers to establish their territory and dominance.
Charlotte: Howard, is rape sexually immoral?
Howard: Well, of course it is.
Charlotte: Is rape a perversion?
Howard: Raping a man would be perverted, but I don’t know about raping a woman. That’s different.
Charlotte: Really? So you think raping a woman isn’t perverted? You think it’s normal?
Howard: Well, when you put it that way, then, yes. Rape is perverted, whether you’re raping a man or a woman.
Charlotte: So, based on Jude, you really can’t know for sure whether the sexual immorality and perversion he talks about is related to homosexuality or rape, can you? Rape is sexually immoral and perverted.
Howard: (pause) I still think you’re wrong.
Charlotte: That’s okay, I didn’t think I’d change your mind with one conversation. I just hope you won’t keep quoting Jude to people to try to prove that gay and lesbian Christians are going to hell. You know better. And when somebody else quotes it? Remember that quoting it really isn’t right.
Howard: You know Charlotte, I’ll think twice before I bring this up with you again!
Charlotte: Oh no, Howard. I enjoy our little chats! Still friends?
Howard: Yeah, still friends. You’re so mean!
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[For more posts on the Clobber Passages, click here.]