The Twistys

February 14, 2016

A Response to Jennifer G. Bird’s “An Open Letter to Kim Davis”


On September 8th of 2015, Jennifer G. Bird wrote “An Open Letter to Kim Davis”. For those of you not paying attention to the news for the past year, Kim Davis is the Kentucky Court Clerk who forbade her people to sign Gay Marriage licenses even though the State of Kentucky had legalized the unions.

In that letter, Miss Bird begins with a compassionate enough tone, sympathizing with Miss Davis for what she had suffered at the hands of people “and that you have been under such intense scrutiny by many news outlets, which has brought about the less pleasant side of many people”. But after the niceties, the real motive of this letter is flushed out, and Miss Bird quickly joins the ranks of those who are aiming their “intense scrutiny” at Kim Davis by telling her she is reading the Bible wrong.

Miss Bird is an educator in the arena of Biblical Studies. And according to her own synopsis, she’s spent “nine years in graduate school learning more about it [The Bible]” and in her twenties, she spent “a great deal of time memorizing biblical passages”. However, I think it is safe to say that Jennifer Bird is not a believer. I say that because a number of her arguments are contingent upon what people knew at the time of the writing of certain passages. A “believer” believes God wrote the Bible. Therefore what people knew or did not know at the time it was written has no value or bearing upon the content.

“And that is why,” Jennifer G. Bird continues, “as an educator, I would like to ask that you [Kim Davis] take a few moments to think about the way you read the Bible”.

She goes on:

For instance, when you read a passage such as Leviticus 18:22 or 20:13, do you ever stop to think about why that was being said? It is also noteworthy that it is in the midst of an incredibly long list of people that men were not to have sexual relations with — none of which seem to need to be said (all women he would see at a family reunion).

We’re going to take this piece by piece so we don’t miss any of the leaps or assumptions Miss Bird makes. I’m not saying they’re intentional, but they are present nonetheless. Because this letter, and many writings like it, fall neatly into the context of Romans 1. We now have a generation of people “who [change] the Truth of God into a lie, and [worship] and [serve] the creature more than the Creator…” – Romans 1:25 – Please read Romans 1 carefully from verse 18-32 to understand the full scope.

In Leviticus 18, Miss Bird is correct: not only does God say that men shouldn’t sleep with other men, but He also says that we shouldn’t sleep with our aunts, uncles, sisters, mothers, fathers, brothers, etc. That same chapter says you shouldn’t sleep with your neighbor’s wife. I’m fairly comfortable in saying that the majority of citizens, be they politically right or left, would agree with all of these things (save the verse about homosexuals), and probably with the rest of Leviticus 18 as well.

The chapter goes on with things like21 And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the Lord.

Passing through the fire of Molech” is a reference to ancient civilizations (such as the Ammonites, and Canaanites) who heated a golden statue until it was red hot, then took their infants and set them in the arms of the statue and watched them BURN TO DEATH.

Then we get to verse 22, and we read something very special and specific:

22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

So up to this point God has listed some pretty nasty and atrocious things to stay away from. But here, in this verse, we have something that sets the verse apart. In listing all of the previous items, not once did God use the word “abomination”. This is a very special word in Scripture and if you study long enough, and thoroughly enough, you will note that it is used sparingly and weightily. It is reserved for very specific things, much like the usage of the word “woe” in Scripture. And this is one of them.

In the Hebrew, this word translates to be “abhorrent; morally disgusting; especially ‘idolatry’; an abominable custom or thing; abomination.”

This act, as marked to stand out in the entirety of this chapter, is something God views as abhorrent above all the rest of the mentions. Molech worship is something The Lord deeply hates (reference Proverbs 6 among others), and also declares to be abominable in Deuteronomy 12:29-32. But in this chapter, He didn’t want this one about male on male copulation to just pass on by as being on equal par with the other mentions. This one apparently has a special meaning to Him and disgusts The Lord in a very special kind of way.

This verse is not to be overlooked or ignored. It stands out as if it was marked with a highlighter – as that’s what the word “abomination” tends to be in Scripture; God’s special highlighter for things that hold a particular place of wickedness in His Eyes. And as we also know from God’s own mouth that “I Am The Lord. I change not” (Malachi 3:6), so it is completely unreasonable and illogical within the context of Scripture to believe that anything the Lord once found abominable, He now finds acceptable. By His own lips, it CAN NOT BE SO.

There is another interesting element in this chapter that should be noted: among all of the other instructions given, does the reference to Molech worship really seem to fit? It reads as completely disjointed unless you understand the single action of the idol worship that connects it to the rest of the chapter and reckon with the fact that this chapter is not about sex, but about children.

I’ll say that again:

Leviticus 18 is not about sex, it is about children. And for that matter, in God’s eyes, as is visible throughout Scripture, sex is not about sex, it too is about children.

It is the sacrificing of children that brings Molech worship into the subject as a viable mention, and it is the only thing that could. It is the often mental retardation and birth defects that come with incest that makes sex with close blood relations abhorrent (along with the family strife it can cause as a secondary measure here); and it is the absence of the possibility of bearing children that

d7f77fd7c4a547d99ea4edafe496c87fmakes bestiality, and homosexuality ultimately wicked and disallowed. This is because the purpose of sex in God’s eyes and plan was for the bearing of children. It is essential to His purpose and overall aim.

Before I go on, I should make clear that I am a believer that homosexuality can occur both by way of nurture and nature, meaning it can be a biological result or a result of experience/influence. But just because we are born with something, doesn’t mean God endorses it. The Christian community, in my estimation, spends so much time bucking the “biology” argument that they ignore the other arguments that are much more easily defensible by biblical writ. To conclude my statement though, homosexuality has yet to be proven to be biological. At this point it is no more than wishful thinking on the part of those looking for a deeper justification than “because I feel that way”.

We were all born in flesh and God has declared all flesh to be unclean, sinful and wicked. So the argument that “He (God) made me this way, so He must be ok with it” simply doesn’t work if you apply it to proper biblical context. It may well be an acceptable philosophical argument, but it can not be a biblical one. There are those born with the urge to kill; the urge to steal, the urge to lie. None of these urges give license to commit the act itself and leave the entity blameless. The biological argument, as I see it, is ultimately moot as it bears no weight on God’s view of the behaviors – and that is ultimately what we should be concerned with.

“An Open Letter to Kim Davis” continues as follows:150925-kim-davis-not-democrat-mbm_da340f7dbdd75015ab7edecfbd435dd6.nbcnews-fp-1200-800

What I do not hear people talking about when they reference Lev 20:13 is the why. For a group of people who had been promised they would outnumber the stars having children, and lots of them, was pretty important. Notice there isn’t a parallel command to women. Back then people tended to believe that all that was needed for a child to begin gestating was the male’s sperm. The woman was perceived as an incubator. Thus, there are three passages that warn men against “wasting their seed.” (Gen 38:8-10, Lev 18:22 and Lev 20:13). Those passages are not addressing two men in love; they are addressing sexual relations that cannot lead to children.”

These are the statements that tell me Miss Bird is not a believer. She clearly does not believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. She believes that The Bible was written by men. If she didn’t believe that, she would never have used the position that “back then people tended to believe” to bolster her position. If she honestly believed the Bible was written by God, the “when” of the Bible writings would not matter, as God knows all and always has.

This is further proven by another statement of hers made to compound her assertion about the story of Lot in Sodom. After claiming that the story wasn’t about homosexuality, but rather about power (as all rape is according to Miss Bird and socially acceptable theory), Miss Bird says, “Perhaps the people who wrote down this story had not stopped to think about the difference, but I assure you that there is a huge difference [between consensual sex and rape].”

As to Miss Bird’s other position on the Sodom story, she claims the act was about power, not sex, therefore it is not about homosexuality. But any male who is wholly heterosexual will tell you that no matter how badly he wanted to exude his power, he would never have anal sex with another man, especially if there was a female option available. In the prison system, where many heterosexual men turn to homosexuality as a form of dominance and sexual satisfaction, they do so in large part because of the absence of women. It is absolutely disgusting to the heterosexual male to even imagine sex with another male. If the Sodom event had gotten that radical, a strictly heterosexual man would have had sex with the women, and simply beaten and possibly killed the visitors to make their point. If there was no homosexual tendency at all, they would have had no interest in sexual relations with the men.

Miss Bird uses the “either/or” argument here. The trouble is, that simply doesn’t cut it. It is entirely possible, and even probable, that the Sodom story was about both power AND sex, not power OR sex. Her argument on the Sodom story ends with this conclusion:

“In the story, the actions and intentions of the men of Sodom would have been no less harmful if Lot had succeeded in handing over his two daughters to them. Notice that in 19:9 the men say, “Now we will deal worse with you than with them,” implying that they would like to inflict harm on Lot, instead. The Sodom story is sending a message that God wants His people to be kind and hospitable.”

These men of Sodom were threatening Lot because he would not give them what they demanded. Their response makes clear that they would not accept the daughters as a substitute; they would not accept females in the place of males. They didn’t want the daughters, they expressly wanted the men “that they may know them”. That is, they desired to have sexual relations with them, as “know them” is a Hebrew idiom that expresses a desire for or the act of sexual intercourse.

As “An Open Letter to Kim Davis” continues, she tackles Genesis 2:24 and 1:28 with the following:

When people look at Genesis 2:24 and say, “See! There is Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” I do understand why. This is the first couple discussed in the Bible, and of course it is a man and a woman. The tricky thing about this verse, though, is that it is not even talking about marriage. It is talking about the human tendency to want to pair up and strike out on our own, away from our families of origin, to start our own families. The use of “wife” in 2:24 is a choice by our translation committees. It can just as easily say “woman,” instead, just as it does in the previous verse, “this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.”

Here Miss Bird inadvertently makes our point for us.

V0034367 God animates Adam and operates on his rib. Etching by G.B. L Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images God animates Adam and operates on his rib. Etching by G.B. Leonetti after C. Cencioni after Nicola Pisano. By: Nicola Pisanoafter: Carlo Cencioni and Giovanni Battista LeonettiPublished: - Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

God takes Eve from Adam

In Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” The word “meet” in this statement means “aid, or help”. Now here is the question Miss Bird must answer: why didn’t God just create another man? If there is no significance to the pairing of man and woman, why did God endeavor to make an ENTIRELY NEW CREATURE as the man’s aid? He already had the male blueprint. If it wasn’t important to God, if there was no real purpose to the diversity, why go to the trouble?

When Miss Bird asserts that “the use of ‘wife’ [in Genesis 2:24] is a choice of our translation committees, and could just as easily have said ‘woman,’” she is absolutely correct, and in being correct she has made our point for us. Because the significance in this statement was not “husband and wife” but rather, MAN AND WOMAN.

Miss Bird says this is about “pairing up and striking out on our own”. If that be the case, why not make the words genderless? The words are not genderless, they are in fact gender-specific on both counts, the one being different from the other: they are emphatically man and woman (“ish” and “ishah” in Hebrew). And for that matter, never in all of Scripture, is marriage spoken of in any other way. It is ALWAYS in gender-specific reference to a man and a woman – one of each gender. This excludes any other type of marriage.

Bird continues:

“Many people also look at Genesis 1:28 and claim that couples are meant to be able to procreate, since God commands the two newly-formed-humans to, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.” I understand the focus on this verse, but again, the story was initially written to a small group of people who had been promised they would outnumber the stars. Today we have an overpopulation issue on this planet, do we not?”

Firstly, Adam and Eve WERE NOT promised that they would “outnumber the stars”. In Genesis 21:12 we see the subject of the above referenced promise, as God tells Abraham “In Isaac, shall thy seed be called”. The specific promise Miss Bird references is first given to Abraham in Genesis 22:17, and is given ONLY to Abraham’s seed through Isaac, excluding all tribes and genealogies prior to Isaac through Abraham.

This may seem like splitting hairs, but Cain came from Adam and Eve, Cain is not included in this promise; the Canaanites, the Ammonites, the children of Lot; this was not promised to Noah, or Shem, or Ham, or Japheth; it was not promised to Ishmael, Abraham’s son by the bondwoman Hagar. It is a distinctly specific promise given to a specific bloodline for a specific reason.

In the same quote from Miss Bird, she states:

“Many people also look at Genesis 1:28 and claim that couples are meant to be able to procreate, since God commands the two newly-formed-humans to, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it….” Then finishes the paragraph with, “Today we have an overpopulation issue on this planet, do we not?”

Here Miss Bird asserts that she knows better than God and knows exactlyb9c42d69be3120c7140ecfacaf25bd17 what He meant, didn’t mean, and what time frame He put on His instructions to mankind. She has decided that God’s statement, though He has given no time restriction on it, is only valid until she herself deems the world is “overpopulated.” But Miss Bird did not create man; she did not establish the earth, she did not create the universe. So I think it best that we listen firstly to the One Who did.

First of all, what is the world overpopulated with? As Adam and Eve knew, sought, and for the most part obeyed God, God gave this instruction ONLY to HIS PEOPLE, i.e. those that follow Him. So those who seek to follow and obey the One and True God should “be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth”. This may be a point on which Miss Bird and I disagree, but from my standpoint, I pray that true believers start having more children and raising them to believe. Because the world, in my estimation, is sorely UNDERPOPULATED when it comes to believers in, and servants of The Living God.

Miss Bird continues on with her next point:

“Additionally, I do not see people claiming that the very next verse [Genesis 1:29] still needs to be upheld. “God said, ‘See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food'” (Genesis 1:29). But if a person has to endorse procreation as essential for couples, then it seems to me that you also need to be a strict vegan. As self-proclaimed “hillbilly types,” I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you are not vegans.”

Well, that is because in Genesis 9:3 & 4, God says this to Noah: Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. 4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.” Here God says we can eat the meat of animals, just not the blood.

Miss Bird ends her article with the following:

I understand that the Bible is central in your life [referring to Kim Davis, the subject of her letter] and that you are committed to upholding what you read there. Thinking about how we read the Bible is just as important, it seems to me. It was those same convictions that led me to seek education about the Bible. That education, in turn, led to me teaching many courses on the Bible, and to writing a book that presents important basic information about the Bible on topics such as this one.”

Nowhere in the Bible does God say that two men or two women who love each other are going to hell for it. Nowhere. What the Bible does say about marriage and sex is at times rather startling. I think it would be in your own best interest to be fully informed on them, given your stance regarding marriage licenses.”

Just to point it out, this last line is super condescending. Apart from that last line, these paragraphs may contain the only point where Jennifer G. Bird and I agree: Yes, Miss Bird, you do have to take care in how you read The Bible. And she is absolutely right: in no place does it say that “two men or two women who love each other are going to hell”. Sisters can love each other; brothers; even friends (consider David and Johnathan). But that must be a different kind of love. It is the romantic consummation and copulation that God expressly forbids; the purpose of the pairing of man and woman is for the reproduction of the people; to bear children and to raise them in The Lord. Anything apart from that is not acceptable to Him.

The liberal critic argues that because a specific thing is said multiple times, but not in exactly the way they would prefer, it creates a loophole where they can comfortably dwell and do whatever they want as long as the gnat strains quietly and peaceably. God does not agree. In all of Scripture, God speaks only with disgust of the copulation between two men, and he does not distinguish or separate the act between two who love each other, or two who don’t. We must safely assume, then, that the “feelings” between the two individuals do not change His position on the matters of marriage or copulation. To speculate otherwise, would be dangerous indeed, and wholly in error with regard to the Word of God.

Jennifer G. Bird’s “An Open Letter to Kim Davis” is laced with unfounded, misinterpreted, misquoted arguments that are, for the most part, pulled wholly out of context and spirit. She seeks to deconstruct the instructions of Almighty God by changing The Word Itself. Don’t let her.

In Pursuit of Context,

Joe Christian

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About the Author

Joe Christian
Joe Christian is a student of God's Word. He has no formal education, but has spent the better part of 20 years studying The Bible by following subject and object, and studying the original languages of the Scriptures. You can too.



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