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Unclobbering the Tangled Mess—Part 2

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Published on Aug 24, 2018

Unclobbering the Tangled Mess: the History of Cultural and Religious Discrimination against the LGBTQ Community in America—Part 2

For additional support, resources and community—go to The Reformation Project and Q Christian Fellowship. Find welcoming churches at gaychurch.org or ChurchClarity.org. Baldock's website is CanyonwalkerConnections.com

In September 2017, I took a trip to Yale University with my fellow researcher, Ed, to find the answer to another simple question: “Why did the translation team of the 1946 NT Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Bible use the word “homesexual” in lieu of two Greek words arsenokoitai and malakoi?”

The translation team was led by Dr. Luther Weigle who was the Dean of Yale Divinity. His archived notes, including those from the translation team, are housed at Yale. So, Ed and I spent five days pouring through about 60,000 sheets of paper in boxes and on microfilm hoping to discover why the team made the decision they did. I had speculated in my frequent presentations that the decision was ideologically and culturally based, not theological.

The medical understanding of homosexuality through the 1950s was not only wrong, it bounced speculatively across a wide and often absurd spectrum of guesses as to what caused it.

I began again to do new research going deeper into the slow medical progression of understanding human sexuality, the impact of the military and federal government on the conversation, and best practices of progressive pastoral counselors mid-century. And with Ed, we travelled to look at more archived translation notes.

A fascinating web began to evolve.

We could clearly see that pre-1980, there was no obvious malice directed at those who were LGBTQ. It was abundantly evident that the earlier teams knew almost nothing about the increasing knowledge about sexual orientation which was slowly coming from human sexuality experts.

However, there does appear to be a time in the early 1980s, when information was readily available, when translation teams ignored it, and translated from their own ignorance, biases and ideology.

Though I have been surprised by findings and allowed my own biases to be corrected when needed as I dig in deeper, all evidence to date points to intention and malice in some Bible translations that were directed at the conservative Christian market since the 1980s. Rather than those teams revisiting assumptions made by the 1946/1952 RSV team, they appear to have acted with severely egregious intentional ignorance. They enshrined discrimination in Bible texts.

The research is continuing. All pieces of new information are viewed along the same historic timeline framework which I have found to be an excellent lens and tool.

The as-yet unnamed book will be out by mid-2019.

Until the book is ready, here is a good five hour video overview of the current work. It is difficult to tackle this topic in this “short” time. I’ve tried to pick the best connection points, and tossed in some stories, so that I could untangle this damaging mess.

I hope that in using the framework that I have created, I can help viewers escape their boundaries of assumptions and limited information, and see the many layers of faith and sexuality that they may have never considered.

I invite objections and calls for clarification; some of the answers may already be in Walking the Bridgeless Canyon, a 465 page book. Please pick up a copy (book, ebook, available and audio). Other concerns will be addressed in the next book, which will likely be as long as the first. I don’t intend to address all the question while I am busy writing. I want to focus my efforts.

NOTE: I DO NOT engage with hidden identities. Experience has shown me it is unproductive.

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