New Understanding of God, Not New Scripture
Christian leaders frequently use the biblical reference to Sodom in describing homosexuality as "sin." Sodom was a city destroyed by God because God found it wicked. Scripture states, however, that the sins of Sodom were arrogance, excess, and inhospitality to the downtrodden: "This is the sin of Sodom … pride, excess … and prosperous ease, but did not help … the poor and needy. They were arrogant and this was abominable (offensive) in God’s eyes." (Ezekiel 16:48–49) Homosexuality was not what destroyed Sodom.
Classical Greek is the language of the canonical New Testament. Very often Paul wrote his letters to various churches using colloquial terms, such as "malakoi" (temple prostitutes) and "arsenokoitai" (temple worshipers). These terms have baffled scholars and biblical translators since 400 A.D. These prostitutes and worshipers in ancient Greece practiced sex while worshiping fertility gods; i.e. the terms did not carry a subtext for homosexual relationships as understood in our society. In fact, the actual word, "homosexual," was not introduced into New Testament translations until the late 1950s and early 1960s. Translators could not find other modern words to describe these terms. Perhaps if those translators had instead used "temple prostitutes" and "dirty old men" to describe "malakoi" and "arsenokoitai," respectively, there might be no need for this article.
Many theologians point out that the two most clearly described commitments conducted between two people in the Bible are between Niobe and Ruth, two women (Ruth 1:16) and David and Jonathan, two men (1 Samuel 18:1-4 and 2 Samuel 1:26). These two couples loved each other so completely that they committed themselves to each other fully and, in David’s case, created a stronger bond than with a woman. Scripture remains silent concerning what kinds of things a marrying couple says to each other at an actual wedding ceremony.
The Christian Bible does not explicitly denounce same-sex relationships as we understand them in our society and culture. Jesus had nothing to say about same-sex couples. The concept of a homosexual couple living in a home together, working, and making their way in the world was simply not a historical or cultural aspect of Old or New Testament societies.
By comparison, the Old Testament described other acts as offensive or abominable that we in our culture and society consider normal, ignore, or view as unfashionable. For instance, eating pork or shrimp, and playing with pigskin were abominable acts. Adulterers were stoned, unless the adulterer conveniently happened to be the king of Israel. Wearing a garment containing two different fabrics was punishable by death. Moreover, modern society through science understands that sperm together with an ovum results in a baby. The Old Testament frame of mind thought that the man alone delivered life into a woman; women were simply the vessel for the baby when the man had sex with the woman. From that perspective, we understand why women were property, that polygamy and concubines were worthwhile (and even promoted), and why men who masturbated were stoned!