A majority of U.S. public officials are going through great lengths to deny aslyum to thousands of Syrian refugees seeking escape from a conflict stemming from extremist ideologies. Daesh, better known as ISIS, has wreaked havoc on Syria and other parts of the Middle East, causing thousands to flee from their homes.
The refugees have gone through hell in their quest for safety. LGBT Syrian refugees have the added danger of Daesh using its radicalized ideologies to promote homophobia. Gay men have been beheaded, which has led at least one gay Syrian refugee to sell his kidney to escape Iran.
And instead of aiding these refugees from a war we helped create with the invasion of Iraq in 2003, many prominent Americans are partaking in sodomy (stay with me here).
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson compared the refugees to rabid dogs in an attempt to express his concern over possible threats the refugees could pose. Another Republican presidential candidate, Chris Christie, said he would not even consider accepting orphan refugees under 5 years of age. Rhode Island state Sen. Elaine Morgan suggested segregated camps for refugees. The list of atrocious comparisons and denials for refugees continue to grow.
Ironically, many of these standing against the refugees politicize their Christian beliefs on a slew of social issues. Yet what most of these Christian officials don’t realize is in advocating against aiding Syrian refugees they are partaking in biblical sodomy.
An important history lesson: The term sodomy is inaccurately used to describe anal sex, both by progressives and right-wing pundits. The term came from the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah, cities said to be so sinful and evil that God destroyed them. Traditional interpretations have presumed the sin of Sodom was gay sex due to the story of Lot and his daughters, but that’s a misnomer.
Genesis 19:4-8 says, “Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom — both young and old — surrounded the house. They called to Lot, 'Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.' Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, 'No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them.'”
Indeed, this passage speaks on same-sex rape, and this is what conservative Christians pinpoint as the “sin of Sodom,” while completely ignoring the fact that Lot — a man of God — offered his two virgin daughters to be gang-raped (but those are just details).
What these traditional interpreters fail to include in their deduction is the rest of the Bible’s references to Sodom and Gomorrah. Or the weight that was put on hospitality in biblical times; this was back when there were no Holiday Inns or Best Westerns, and travelers who were not taken in by strangers were often robbed and left for dead.
In Ezekiel 16: 49-50, Scripture says, “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. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” [Emphasis mine.]
So what did the Bible label as the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah? Not same-sex sexual relations, but being “overfed and unconcerned”; not helping the poor and needy, being inhospitable.
Sodom was not destroyed because it was filled with gay sex. It was destroyed because the town was so vile and hostile to strangers that all men (note: the Bible doesn’t say just the men who had same-sex attractions but all men) within it attempted to gang-rape two traveling visitors, demanding they be turned over to their death.
Jesus, in Matthew Chapter 10, refers back to Sodom, when telling his disciples of the fate that would fall on any town that refused to give them shelter or aid. Like the strangers visiting Lot — and many people in need today — Jesus’ disciples went out without food, extra clothing, or any place to stay at night.
In Hebrews 13: 2, Scripture reminds us, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it,” a clear reference to the angels Lot protected. In Isaiah Chapter 1 we see a prescription for the sin of Sodom. In verse 17, scripture states, “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Sound familiar?
Then in the Gospel, in case those references were not clear enough, Jesus really nails it in a chapter referred to as the “Judgment of Nations.” In this passage, Jesus tells his apostles that what they did to the “least of these” they did for him — emphasizing the need for us to welcome those in need with food, shelter, and clothing. The consequence for those refusing to help people in need? A fate worse than Sodom's.
Of course, it is not just conservatives, Republicans, or Christians who are engaging in sodomy. The GOP-led U.S. House voted to keep Syrian refugees out, and 55 Democrats supported the bill. It’s just particularly ironic that the majority of public officials who are rejecting refugees spend a large portion of their time promoting their "Bible-based" beliefs.
But perhaps only they can quote Scripture accurately.
ELIEL CRUZ is a speaker and writer on religion and sexuality. He is the bisexual contributor for The Advocate. His work has also been found in Mic, Religion News Service, The Huffington Post, Sojourners, The Washington Post, Everyday Feminism, Details, and Rolling Stone.