Patricia Ireland on the Teaching of Jesus
For more than a decade, Patricia Ireland has been one of radical feminism’s most vocal leaders. From 1991-2001 she led the National Organization for Women (NOW). In addition to her well-known struggle for the “right” of women to extinguish the lives of their unborn children, Ireland has been a vigilant defender of various issues pertaining to the homosexual agenda. As a lawyer, she has been a moving force in promoting lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues.
What has not been publicized is her apparent claim of being an expert in biblical matters.
In a television interview on November 11, while attempting to justify the “pro-gay” doctrine of her political party, Ms. Ireland boasted that she was raised a “Christian,” and that she knows the Bible quite well. Her parting shot, as the interview concluded, was to this effect. “Jesus never said anything about homosexuality.”
One can reasonably surmise that this was intended to buttress the notion that if Christ never condemned homosexual activity expressly, he must have approved of it. Presumably, then, if he were on earth today he would be promoting the “gay rights” movement!
Quite frankly, this distorted claim with reference to Christ is ludicrous; it reveals a void of biblical knowledge, to say nothing of a deficit in reasoning skill. The celebrated feminist carelessly and conveniently overlooked the following evidentiary facts.
- Any elementary Bible student knows that Jesus Christ did not mention, by name, every sin of which human beings are capable. Nor did he need to. Christ never specifically addressed shoplifting, credit card fraud, or income tax evasion. Is one free, therefore, to conclude that Jesus condoned dishonesty? When the Lord condemned “theft” (Matthew 15:19; Mark 7:21) were not the varieties mentioned above included — in principle?
With regard to sexual matters, where did Jesus ever specifically speak out regarding the perversions of bestiality, pedophilia, prostitution, and rape? Is one to assume that the Son of God would have endorsed these deviate practices, and led a parade in support of their “rights”?
- The reality of the matter is this. Jesus Christ did censure homosexual activity — when he condemned “fornication.”
First, the Lord made “fornication” the only cause for divorce (Matthew 5:32; 19:9), and, thus, by implication denounced this evil. In a graphic rebuke of moral transgressions, Jesus characterized “fornication” as a defiling act, under the same condemnation as theft and murder (Matthew 15:18-20; Mark 7:21-23).
Second, every serious student of the biblical languages is aware that homosexual activity is but a sub-category of the more generic term porneia (generally rendered “fornication” in the better translations — KJV, ASV). In the world of the ancient Greeks, from the time of Demosthenes onward, the term porneia was applied to a wide variety of sexual sins, including homosexuality (see: Colin Brown, ed., The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975, Vol. I, pp. 497-501; see also: Danker, et al., Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Chicago: University of Chicago, 2000, p. 854).
Unless there is evidence to the contrary, the responsible student must conclude that the word carries the same meaning in the literature of the New Testament.
Jude, an inspired New Testament writer, explicitly identified homosexual conduct as a form of “fornication.” Regarding the antique cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, the sacred author notes that the men of Sodom, etc., gave themselves over to “fornication” (ekporneuo — intensive sexual activity), pursuing “strange [heteros] flesh” (v. 7).
Those ancient deviants “were interested in sexual relations with men,” hence they “perverted the created order of natural intercourse” (Simon J. Kistemaker, Peter and Jude, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1987, p. 381). Professor Ralph Earle declared that the term “fornication” in this context “obviously suggests homosexuality” (Word Meanings in the New Testament, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2000, p. 455).
The gross sin of these cities in the region of the Dead Sea (cf. Genesis 19:4-9) became the infamy of antiquity. For example, sometime prior to the destruction of Pompey (A.D. 79), someone had scrawled on a wall of that wicked city, “Sodoma Gomorra” (E.M. Blaiklock, Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, Merrill Tenney, ed., Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1967, p. 800).
- Finally, Jesus stated that anyone who rejects the teaching of his appointed representatives, rejects him as well. To the seventy disciples he said: “He who hears you hears me; and he who rejects you rejects me; and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16).
If such was the case with reference to that group, it certainly was no less true of the Lord’s apostles.
In this regard, Paul, the apostle of Christ, unequivocally condemned homosexual activity as one of the most heinous of sins of which humankind is capable (see: Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:10).
In view of the evidence above, therefore, Ms. Ireland might be well advised to restrict her commentary to issues upon which she is informed — whatever they may be. Certainly that range does not encompass biblical matters.
About the Author
Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.