Queen Elizabeth II and Jesus silent on homosexuality

Elderly Elizabeth with a smile

Queen Elizabeth II (2007) [Courtesy Wikipedia]

By Spencer D Gear

It is time to bash Queen Elizabeth II in print because she did not mention homosexuals in her signing the new Commonwealth charter, which states: “We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds.”[1]

Journalist Patrick Strudwick made these points:

  1. ‘We extremists, who believe gay people should not be tortured or persecuted, shall be granted a new comrade: the supreme governor of the Church of England, the head of the Commonwealth, the Queen of more than a dozen countries. And then I read the detail’.
  2. ‘Fighting for gay rights? The Queen won’t even mention them. She dare not speak our name – that is, if you believe she is even referring to gay people’.
  3. ‘Jesus never mentioned homosexuality – has that dissuaded many of his followers that “love thy neighbour” does not in fact mean: “as long as his partner’s not called Steve”’?
  4. ‘No, to refrain from specification is to collude with silence, the Grand Pause that keeps lesbians and gay men invisible, suffocating in marriages of inconvenience or trapped in police cells. The hush of polite conversation is the rusty mattock of a millennium’s oppression’.
  5. ‘Of course. Stating that all humans deserve rights is “political”. How controversial it is that people should not be discriminated against. But how laughable would it be for an unelected head of state to preach equality anyway?’
  6. ‘If only the alleged intention were expressed explicitly, unequivocally. Most Commonwealth nations, injected by our colonial laws and Old Testament homophobia in the first place, need it. Desperately’.
  7. ‘Two Commonwealth countries sentence gay people to death, one tortures them with flogging, five impose life sentences and 41 of the 54 nations keep homosexuality illegal’.
  8. ‘This is why our opposition to discrimination needs spelling out’.

Let’s tackle these allegations and statements directly, according to numbers 1-8 above.

1. Gay people should not be tortured or persecuted

It is a fundamental of Christian beliefs that no people should be tortured or persecuted. All should receive this kind of love, whether gay or non-gay, no matter what the race or nation: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these”’ (Mark 12:30-31 NIV).

Christians are fallible human beings who have the Saviour living in them, but they sin and do not always follow God’s commands as He intended. For that they need to seek God’s and the people’s forgiveness and repent of their evil ways.

I can hear a secularist’s objection: ‘Your God tortured and persecuted people in the Old Testament’. No, God carried out his just judgment on the people of Israel and the nations when they violated God’s laws. This is not indiscriminate torture and persecution. There is a fundamental difference between persecution and judgment. Here are a couple of examples:

a. God’s judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah

You can read about it in Genesis 18 and 19. Genesis 18:20 states, ‘Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave”’.

Abraham interceded for Sodom but there were not 10 righteous people he could find there (Gen. 18:32). Lot and his family escaped Sodom, but the Lord rained down judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah because of their sin (Gen 18:23-29).

God brings judgment, but it is not torture and persecution from an indiscriminate, brutal, uncaring, unfair God. He is the God of absolute justice. This is a lesson for all nations of the world in the twenty-first century. God will not tolerate sinning against his holy nature. Nations and people will be punished with God’s judgment.

b. King Jeroboam of Israel built golden calves

See 1 Kings 12 and 13. Jeroboam set up gods – golden calves – one in Bethel and the other in Dan (1 Kings 12:29). Jeroboam built an altar in these places and offered sacrifices to these gods. But a man of God ‘cried against the altar by the word of the Lord’ (1 Kings 13:2) and Jeroboam’s hand dried up (1 Kings 13:4). This was enough judgment on Jeroboam to cause him to ask the man of God, ‘”Entreat now the favour of the Lord your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me”. And the man of God entreated the Lord and the king’s hand was restored to him and became as it was before’ (1 Kings 13:6-7).

But God is a just judge. The Scriptures declare in Genesis 18:25, ‘Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”’ (ESV)

Here the one God of the world, revealed in Old and New Testaments, is declared to be the God of justice. Not one single person or nation, will receive an unjust treatment from the Lord God Almighty.

Therefore, it is not an extremist position to say gay people should not be tortured or persecuted. It is a Christian position that all people should be treated fairly and ones enemies should be loved:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:43-48 NIV).

2. It’s discriminatory to accuse the Queen of not fighting for gay rights

Isn’t it amazing how skewed the perspective can become of those who fight for equal rights (gay rights)? Surely one of the fundamentals of human rights is freedom of choice?

Eleanor Roosevelt with the Spanish version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Spanish version)

Courtesy Wikipedia

In the Preamble of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights it states:

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people.

 

Article 18 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes this statement: ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion….’.

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes this statement: ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference’.

The Queen, as representative of the Commonwealth countries, has signed a document that the Commonwealth countries have approved. Surely she has the right to freedom of thought, religion, opinion and expression, based on Articles 18 and 19 (above)! But she is castigated by Strudwick for her silence on gay rights issues.

The article by Patrick Strudwick stated:

according to a Palace spokesman, the charter’s words are not even the monarch’s: “In this charter, the Queen is endorsing a decision taken by the Commonwealth… The Queen does not take a personal view on these issues. The Queen’s position is apolitical”.[2]

Why can’t the Queen be granted a basic human right of freedom of speech and belief or freedom not to speak or not believe as her choice? This sounds like an awfully hypocritical stance by Strudwick, the homosexual and human rights’ advocate, who does not like the Queen’s personal silence on this issue.

Isn’t it amazing how the arguments of some advocates can be so self-defeating?

3. Jesus never mentioned homosexuality. So what?

Patrick Strudwick shows his ignorance of what Jesus said. Jesus understanding of marriage was:

“Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’” And he said, “‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together (Matthew 19:4-6).

Jesus did not need to mention homosexuality to affirm marriage was between a man and a woman. It is obvious Jesus supported heterosexual marriage.
However, Patrick’s point is valid that the call of Jesus’ followers to “love thy neighbour” does include all, including those males whose partner is called Steve. Too often Christians have excluded the biblical love of one’s neighbour, no matter who that neighbour is. I urge such Christians to repent.

There is an additional point. The Bible as a whole (Old and New Testaments) is inspired by God. Therefore, the New Testament does give God’s judgment on all sinners, including those who practice homosexuality:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous[3] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,[4] nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV).

Here is a statement of condemnation for all sinners – the unrighteous – they will not inherit God’s kingdom. But the good news is, ‘Such were some of you’. Yes, the heterosexually immoral, idolaters, thieves, greedy, drunkards, swindlers, etc., can be changed by the power of God through salvation in Jesus Christ. Thus, those who practice homosexuality are not practicing a genetic condition, but a sinful condition, that God says can be changed: ‘Such were some of you’.

4. To be silent is to ‘collude’

That is one possible meaning. Another possible meaning is that as head of the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth countries have agreed to this charter but the Queen may not be supportive of the Commonwealth position, but she still has to sign it. I can’t read the Queen’s mind for not speaking up for ‘gay rights’, but a basic of any democracy is that the Queen has every right to say or not say what she wants regarding gay rights.

Silence does not necessarily mean collusion. It could mean an expression of her own views that she does not want to make public.

5. So it’s ‘laughable’ for the Queen to preach equality

As an unelected head or state who wants to be apolitical, why should it be ‘laughable’ for her to be silent on gay rights? So, according to Strudwick, it is controversial that people should not be discriminated against. But what does he do? He discriminates against the Queen for being silent on this occasion. That is a hypocritical and self-defeating response.

6. Explicit, unequivocal statements would oppose the Old Testament homophobia

Ah, so that is one of the issues! To speak out explicitly and unequivocally in favour of gay rights would counter the colonial laws and Old Testament homophobia – which is desperately needed. Again, this is Strudwick’s discrimination against Old Testament (and colonial) laws against homosexuality.

The Old Testament states:

Leviticus 18:22, ‘You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination’.

Leviticus 20:13, ‘If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them’.

Homosexuality in the Old Testament was regarded as such a serious sin that it deserved capital punishment. But never let us forget that other sins also required capital punishment. See Leviticus 20:1-5; Leviticus 20:9-21;

The Christian does not live under Old Testament law, thanks to the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. See Matthew 11:13; Romans 5:13-14; 6:14; 10:4; 2 Corinthians 3:11-13; Galatians 3:19; and James 2:10.

However, the unforgiven sins of the unrighteous, including unforgiven homosexuality, has the ultimate consequence of denying eternal life to the perpetrators. See 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

See Matt Slick’s article, ‘Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, and a “man who lies with a man”’.

7. Is it correct to execute homosexuals or make homosexuality illegal?

There are many sins mentioned in, say, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, that are criminal offences. These include theft, being drunk, revilers (slanderers), and swindlers. However, Strudwick has a point here. To execute homosexuals is an Old Testament punishment that has been abolished since Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross. To torture, flog and impose life imprisonment on homosexuals is parallel to Old Testament law that has been superceded. To make homosexuality illegal has benefits when we understand some of the consequences of a homosexual lifestyle:

The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (USA) reported (May 2012) on HIV among homosexual and bisexual men:

  • Gay and bisexual men are more severely affected by HIV than any other group in the United States.
  • Among all gay and bisexual men, blacks/African Americans bear the greatest disproportionate burden of HIV.
  • From 2006 to 2009, HIV infections among young black/African American gay and bisexual men increased 48%.

What about the prevalence of anal cancer among homosexual men? According to WebMD, ‘Gay and bisexual men are at significant risk for developing anal cancer, and testing them for the disease would save many lives, says a new study in the American Journal of Medicine [the year 2000]…. The number of cases of anal cancer is rising in gay men’. Physicians for Life reported that ‘a study which appears in the February [2007] issue of the International Journal of STD & AIDS, has found that “HIV-positive men who have sex with men are up to 90 times more likely than the general population to develop anal cancer”’.

8. Opposition to discrimination needs spelling out

This is an excellent point, but this article by Strudwick was also discriminatory towards Queen Elizabeth II. She has a right to silence because of her position, values, or any other reason that she accepts as a free person in a free society. To oppose the Queen’s silence and call it discrimination is self-defeating when Strudwick engages in discrimination towards the Queen because she does not line up with his gay rights beliefs.

Marriage cover photo

Courtesy Salt Shakers (Christian ministry)

Notes:


[1] Patrick Strudwick, ‘The Queen defending gay rights? She can’t even say the words out loud’, The Guardian, 11 March 2013, available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/11/queen-gay-rights-commonwealth (Accessed 13 March 2013).

[2] Ibid.

[3] The ESV footnote at this point was, ‘Or wrongdoers’.

[4] The ESV footnote here as, ‘The two Greek terms translated by this phrase refer to the passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts’.

 

Copyright © 2013 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 29 October 2015.