The Filipino boxing champ Manny Pacquiao’s popularity with the LGBT community is on the ropes after a couple of posts he made. He first tweeted gay people “are worse than animals.” And later published Leviticus 20:13 in a post on Instagram that calls for the sentence of death for those who engage in homosexuality.
In his rush to scripturally support his position, Pacquiao has introduce some confusion as to what certain passages mean. Some say that his Instagram post is calling for gays to be executed. I do not think that is what he meant, but he knocked himself out on a technicality.
It is not my job to defend Manny, but in the interest of clarifying what the Scriptures teach I will try to dispel any misunderstanding stemming from the statements made and the Scriptures quoted.
Man is created in the image of God. That image is marred by the sin nature we inherited from our first parents. This means man is capable of a nobility of spirit and action that surpasses the animals, and yet, possesses a nature so flawed he is capable of a baser depravity than animals. Animals cannot be holy or sinful; man can be both, and subsequently better than or worse than animals depending on the situation.
Israel prayed to be delivered from Egyptian bondage and God answered by sending Moses and delivering His people through ten supernatural plagues. When Pharaoh finally released Israel he changed his mind and pursued them to the Red Sea where God again supernaturally saved them. God did not set Israel free from slavery to Pharaoh so they could do as they please, but purchased them out of Egyptian servitude so they could serve Him (Exodus 8:1).
In the theocracy of ancient Israel immoral sins were also crimes. A homosexual act was punishable by death, but so were adultery and other immoral acts (Leviticus 20:10-16). Adultery was considered a perversion of the sex act and just as abominable as homosexuality (Leviticus 18:20-30).
God had purchased Israel and expected them to “be holy, for I am holy,” (Leviticus 11:44). The death penalty for immorality showed how serious God was for His people to live holy and to deter immorality, and failing that, to eliminate it. Israel was chosen to be an example of holiness to neighboring nations. There is no indication in the Scriptures that God intended or expected this penal code to be exported from the historical-cultural period in which it was made the law of the land.
To criminalize homosexuality and punish it with death would be hypocritical unless adultery and other immoral acts were treated the same, and that would probably decimate the current cultural population.
Nevertheless, the legal sanctioning of same-sex unions undermines the institution of marriage unable to fulfill the simple command to our first parents to “be fruitful and multiply,” Genesis 1:28. Same-sex unions can contribute nothing to the next generation of our nation’s greatest resource, our human resource.