Well, you had to figure this was going to happen: over at CNN’s Belief Blog, Daniel Burke has an article where he asks the question, ‘Did Phil Robertson get the Bible wrong?’ Because, of course, he must have. Right?
Well, after giving us a batch of background on the case, and pointing out that Phil Robertson was paraphrasing 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, he goes on to refer to a gentleman by the name of O. Wesley Allen Jr., who happens to be an associate professor at the Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky (who, interestingly, just happens to be ‘co-authoring an upcoming book on homosexuality and heterosexuality in the church’).
Professor Allen trots out the old wheeze that the kind of homosexuality Paul is writing about isn’t the same as the kind of homosexuality we’ve got now:
The first word Paul uses is "malakoi," which means "soft" in Greek, according to Allen. By analogy, the word came to mean "effeminate," which is how the King James Version of the Bible translates it.Immediately after this, Professor Allen admits:
"In the ancient world, it would refer to a boy in a relationship with an older man," Allen said. "It was pederasty, not homosexuality as we think of it today."
The other relevant word on Paul's "vice list" is "arsenokotai," which means "male sex." It refers to the other half in the man-boy relationship, common in Greece at the time, Allen said, the older male having sex with the "soft one."
"It isn't anything to do with what we would see today in an intimate, mutual relationship between gay adults," said Allen.
Even so, scholars such as Allen acknowledge there are no Bible passages that support same-sex relationships, and at least seven that appear to condemn gay sex.So, apparently, the form of the relationship – be it dominant/submissive, pederast, or an ‘intimate, mutual relationship between gay adults’ – makes no difference: homosexual behavior is condemned by God in His word, the Bible.
"There's no way around the fact that those passages take a negative view of homosexuality, and nowhere in the Bible is a positive view offered," Allen said. "So conservatives and liberals continue to debate." (emphases mine)
The Bible actually does mean what Phil Robertson thinks it means.