Is Rom 1:24,26-27 Only Condemning Homosexuality Because It Was Associated With Idolatry?

When publically debating homosexuality with the Gay Church, my favorite passage to condemn the practice is Romans 1:24,26-27. But because idolatry is condemned in the same context, the Gay Church’s reply is usually that Romans 1 is only condemning homosexuality because it was associated with idolatry. How do I respond to their assertion?

First, if this argument has any merit at all, then the other sins mentioned in the same context (fornication, murder, deceit, haters of God, etc., verses 29-31) would also only be wrong when they are associated with idolatry. I doubt even the gays are willing to go that far.

Second, the language of the passage condemns the act of homosexuality by itself:

· vile affections – driven by their personal affection, not for the idol

· change the natural use – sex act itself is unnatural

· burned in their lust – doing it to satisfy their own lusts, not for the idol necessarily

John Boswell (a homosexual and famous scholar) makes the same point about why this Gay Church argument is inadequate: “… it is clear that the sexual behaviour itself is objectionable to Paul, not merely its associations. … Paul is not describing cold-blooded, dispassionate acts performed in the interest of ritual or ceremony: he states very clearly that the parties involved “burned in their lust one toward another.” It is unreasonable to infer from the passage that there was any motive for the behavior other than sexual desire.” (Christianity, Social Intolerance & Homosexuality, p.108)

Richard F. Lovelace makes a good point – “The disorders in verses 24-32 are not wrong because they issue from idolatry, they are wrong in and of themselves, and Paul mentions them because they prove the spiritual bankruptcy of idolatrous cultures.”

Conclusion: To any extent homosexuality is connected with idolatry, it simply compounds the sin. Homosex is a sin in and of itself, in every case, in any shape, form, or fashion!

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