“God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!” We’ve all heard the religious right protest this at one time or another. It has always bothered me.
You see, before I moved to Rochester and became the fabulous diva you read before you, I was a little boy living in the Bible belt of Missouri. This meant more than a few Sunday school visits and Church sponsored summer camps. Looking back, I don’t remember much in the way of scandalous man on man action going on in the bible, because, trust me, if there had been, young Robby might have paid more attention. All kidding aside, what I did learn then, something that is still quite relevant now, is how subject the bible is to interpretation.
The Adam and Steve thing is quite irksome. I don’t think when Genesis was written, it was meant to imply anything about Adam and Eve‘s sexual orientation. Sure, the whole snake-forbidden fruit-temptation thing is a brilliant foray into metaphor, but tell me, why the instant homophobic retaliation? Does the scripture say something about Adam being tempted by the White Party? Am I missing something? Who makes this shit up?
I would love for anyone to show me just how he or she took the “Steve” leap from what was actually written. To me, Genesis is about what it says it is, God’s period of creation. I always thought Adam and Eve were included to represent examples of, rather than definitive versions of, man and woman. To me, they’re nothing more than models filling in the beautiful scenery. Kind of like the cast of The O.C. So yeah, it is Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, but I hardly think that had anything to do with the blasphemy of homosexuality. Maybe there was a Steve, but maybe they ran out of tablets and had to cut his part. The same thing happened to Anne Francis in Funny Girl.
I’m also rather annoyed with the whole concept of equating the “evils” of homosexuality with the tales of Sodom and Gomorrah. Again, my bible study days taught me that those places were destroyed because its people were morally deviant and not charitable to others. Sure, the phrase “to know man” is a direct reference to sexual acts, but I’m more disturbed by the offering of two virgin daughters, which hardly seems to raise an eyebrow. Blatant prostituting of your own children or vague references to same sex action? Hmmm? Which one sounds more morally deviant to you? And the reference to same sex acts written there are those of violence and humiliation, which, for the record, don’t have anything to do with being gay, in my opinion.
Leviticus contains the oft-mentioned line, “Thou shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination.” It seems whenever someone gets a little too homo for comfort, this is what most bible beaters throw out to thinly disguise his or her contempt. I really want to send these people back to the fifth grade and hand them a dictionary. Abomination means to detest. Detest means to not like. Nowhere in either of those explanations does it say, “Robby, stay away from that penis or you’ll burn in hell.” The way I read it is, “God would rather you not do that.” Well, I’m sure Martha Stewart would rather I not alter one of her recipes because I’m too damn cheap to buy fresh ingredients either, but I hardly think I’m going to burst into flames over it.
I just find it aggravating how quick religious zealots are to throw their righteous perceptions of the bible on to us members of the gay community out of misconception and fear. I personally don’t put too much stock into the written scripture, because when my days on this Earth have come to an end, I don’t think I’m going to be having that great big one on one with a book.
As turn around is fair play, I propose to end this vicious cycle of perception of convenience with a few convenient perceptions of my own. Have you heard of The Ten Commandments? Yes, it was a brilliant movie by Cecil B. DeMille, but that’s not the one I’m talking about. I’m referring to those little guidelines we were raised on. Two of them seem extremely relevant to the topic at hand. “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain”, and “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour”. My perception of these? Don’t use God as an excuse for uneducated rhetoric and hatred and don’t judge my lifestyle solely based on a limited interpretation of what he (or she) may have supposedly said. I think we all know whom we ultimately have to answer to… and it’s not each other.
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Originally published in the June 2005 issue of The Empty Closet, New York State’s Oldest Continuously-Published GLBT Newspaper, published since 1973 by the Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley.