Gay Issues

Does Romans 1.26 Condemn Lesbians?

| by Rick Brentlinger

From GayChristian101

No, Romans 1:26 does NOT condemn lesbians.

Anti-gay Christians
believe Paul is condemning lesbian sexuality in Romans 1:26.

"For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even
their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:"
Romans 1:26

Anti-gay Christians arrive at their false
conclusion because of other false beliefs they hold. For example, they believe
that Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 condemn both gay male and lesbian female
relationships (even though females/lesbians are not mentioned in the Leviticus

Anti-gay Christians then assume that since Paul was brought up
in the Jewish faith, he must have interpreted Lev 18:22 and 20:13 the same way
anti-gay Christians interpret them today, as universal proscriptions of all
homosexual behavior, including lesbian behavior.

So when they get to
Romans 1:26, they interpret "against nature" to mean lesbianism and
nothing but lesbianism. According to their opinion, Paul couldn't possibly have
been referring to any of the other "against
nature" behaviors I list at this Link.

If it does not fit,you must acquit.

The anti-gay
interpretation of Romans 1:26 does not fit the rest of scripture however,
since lesbians are never condemned in the Old Testament or anyplace in the New

Here is an interesting look at Romans 1:26 from Jeramy's helpful website.

"While Romans 1:18-32 is the primary text used from the New
Testament by those people who condemn homosexuality, that interpretation
has not always been the interpretation of this passage.

For example,
verse 26, which is the only verse in Scripture which is often interpreted today
to refer to lesbian sexuality, is often used to round out the beliefs of those
who condemn all homosexuality as sin, since all of the other alleged
condemnations of homosexuality specifically refer to male-male behavior,
linguistically excluding female-female behavior.

Looking back at early
interpreters of this verse, while some have believed that this verse referred to
lesbians (John Chrysostom), many key church leaders have not held this view,
such as Clement of Alexandria and Saint Augustine, who believed this to be anal
or oral sex between heterosexuals (Brooten, 1985; Miller, 1995).

early Christian writer, Anastasios, clearly dismisses the view that Paul
was referring to lesbianism in his comments on Romans 1:26:

Clearly they
(the females referred to in Romans 1:26) do not go into one another, but rather
offer themselves to the men. (Brooten, 1996, p. 337n)

continues this line of thought (fairly explicitly):

But if one has
relations even with one's wife in a part of the body which was not made for
begetting children, such relations are against nature and indecent. In fact, the
same apostle earlier said the same thing about women, "For their women exchanged
natural relations for those which are against nature." quoting Romans
(Marriage and Desire, 20.35)"


There is however, ONE female sexual practice
which IS condemned in the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 23:17-18, which is linked
to Gentile idolatry and which perfectly fits Paul’s "against nature" argument.

That sexual practice is female shrine prostitution, using
sex to worship Ashtoreth,
the fertility goddess consort of the male fire-god

Qedesha-female shrine
are mentioned in Genesis 38:21-22, Deuteronomy 23:17, and Hosea
4:14. It better fits the context of Paul's argument in Romans 1:26 (idolatry) to
understand that Paul is referring to the illicit sexual practice of female
shrine prostitutes who serviced men than that, suddenly and unaccountably, with
no Biblical basis from the Old Testament, Paul injects into his teaching against
idolatry, a one verse condemnation of lesbians, (which is unrelated to idolatry)
and which is without any basis in the Old Testament.

Read the Opposing Views debate, Is Homosexuality a Sin?