Editor's Picks Op/Ed

Stop deceiving Christian followers about homosexuality!

Photo by www.daehanmindecline.com
Rev. Daniel Payne

I’m pissed off! You know, in that turning-over-the-tables, brood of vipers, kind of Jesus way. I’m pissed that so-called Christians (in name only) whipped themselves up into a half religious, half nationalistic frenzy on Sunday afternoon in response to the Korean Queer Culture Festival Pride Parade. I’m pissed that those entrusted with spiritual care are murdering our precious young queer people. I’m pissed that far too many of these so-called Christians are willingly telling lies about my queer family. And, specifically, I’m pissed tonight at a deceiving, rabid Korean pastor named Rev. Kim Kyu-Ho, secretary general of the Counter-Measures Committee on Homosexual Issues.

Kim gave an interview recently with The Korea Observer, in which nearly every single sentence is a bald-faced lie. He spread false information about queer people, about various countries, and about the Bible. I will briefly expose his lies in reverse order.

First, the Bible. Rev. Kim states that the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuals and homosexuality. Since he mentions no specific Bible passages (you’d think as a Christian pastor, what the Bible says or doesn’t say would be the most important thing to him), I can only assume he has in mind the six so-called “clobber passages” (Genesis 19; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; I Corinthians 6:9; and I Timothy 1:10). So much good, quality biblical scholarship has been done on these passages in the last 30 years, I can dispense with the fundamentalist, anti-homosexual interpretation in a paragraph.

Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19) is not about homosexuality. It is clearly about rape for the purpose of intimidation. The word translated as “abomination” (to-evah in the Hebrew) in Leviticus is a word which connotes ritual impurity or something which is taboo. It is not an ethical or moral term, and there are over 100 things in scripture referred to as “abomination,” including Egyptians eating with Hebrews (Genesis 43:32). The entire context of Romans 1 is cultic prostitution and idolatry, not loving same-sex relationships. This is clear to an elementary reader of the text as it stands. The Apostle Paul uses the confusing Greek words malakoi and arsenokoitai in Corinthians and Timothy. Biblical scholars have reached no consensus on the meanings of these words, and one of them (arsenokoitai) was coined first by Paul in the Corinthians passage. Most scholars believe they refer to pederasty and/or abusive master/slave relationships. That’s all the Bible has to say about any kind of same-sex activity, and there’s not one single condemnation of homosexual relationships as we understand them today.

So why does Pastor Kim insist on lying about the scriptures? Simple: culture and fear. It is traditional, patriarchal culture that requires fundamentalist Christians, in this country and in others, to force scripture to fit their own preconceived notions of gender conformity. They claim to cherish and respect the Bible as God’s word. Nothing could be further from the truth! They make an idol of the Bible in their own image, with their own biases, and then use it to bash queer people. They do this because certainty is more comfortable than change, and they fear nothing more than change, even if that change is required by biblical and natural evidence.

To understand the Bible, one must read it as an ancient text – which it is. This includes having an understanding of the cultural, historical and linguistic contexts of the scriptures in question. The Bible was not written yesterday in English or Korean. It was written in the ancient Near East in Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek. Sorry, Pastor Kim. If you do not understand the contexts, you do not understand the scriptures.

Pastor Kim also lies about other countries in his interview. He states, “In the Netherlands, bestiality is now legal. There are places where you can pay to have sex with dogs.” In fact, it has never been explicitly legal in the Netherlands, and has been explicitly illegal in the Netherlands since 2010. He goes on to vaguely state that “people” in Europe support incest. I’m sure there are a few in every country who support a variety of sexual activities, but this does not represent the views of said countries. If Pastor Kim would like to start cracking down on sexual immorality, perhaps he’d like to start in his own love motel-filled backyard, beginning with adultery and domestic abuse.

Finally, this so-called man of God lies about my own queer family. His “evidence” is purely anecdotal, offering the “testimonies” of a few men who claim to have become ex-gay. I can think of a thousand and one reasons why a gay man growing up in Korea might want to become straight, not least being family, social and religious bigotry and spiritual violence. But – and this is crucial – a change in behavior does not equal a change in orientation. People can change their behaviors to avoid stigmatization. But this in no way proves a change in sexual orientation is possible, and every major national and international psychological and psychiatric organization agrees.

The good pastor also seems to have an obsession with the male ass, which makes me wonder if he’s not also drawn to it. His descriptions of anal sex are far more explicit than anything I heard at this year’s Pride festival. And – surprise! – the descriptions are mostly wrong (take it from one who actually has anal sex). He even writes, “…sneezing could cause them to lose control of their bowels.” I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Who knows? Perhaps he’s also into scat. For a man so full of shit, such a fetish would not be surprising.

He also states that, “whenever a gay person sees a butt, he must have sex with it.” Speaking as a gay person, I can say with no hesitation that I am very picky about the butts I have sex with, and they are always attached to a person. This objectification of the male ass, removed from the rest of the body, is a creation of the pastor’s own making. Delving into the obsessive fascination of fundamentalists with anal sex and excretions is beyond my imaginative ability.

Another obvious lie Pastor Kim hypocritically bellows is that 70% of homosexuals have AIDS. Did he not expect a fact check? The fact of the matter is, such a statistic would require access to statistics that do not even exist. But let’s assume he’s just referring to the U.S. population. Around 9 million Americans claim to be LGBT. There’s a total of nearly 1.2 million Americans who have so far been diagnosed with AIDS (CDC. HIV Surveillance Report,2013; vol. 25. Published February 2015.) Either the pastor’s math skills are lacking or he’s an outright liar.

So, yeah, I’m pissed. I do not hesitate for one moment to call out Pastor Kim and his ilk for having queer blood on their hands. Through their propaganda and rhetoric, they destroy precious lives. And the worst is that they know exactly what they’re doing. Their fatal preaching based on such obvious falsehoods leads to death: spiritual and too often, physical. It produces a righteous anger deep within my spirit which will not allow me to idly sit back and let it go.

No, tables are going to get turned, the radical kingdom of God is going to twist things upside down, and this country is going to see the light of a new social order that accepts all people as God created them to be. Thankfully, based on his tone and stridency, I sense more than a little acknowledgment that he’s on the losing side of the battle for equity and justice for Korea’s LGBTQIA community.

Stand strong, brothers and sisters. Pastor Kim and his like will soon be a distant memory of desperation and intolerance. A new day is dawning. A queer revolution has begun. Love wins!

Gagnon, Robert. The Bible and Homosexual Practice, pg. 71; Powell, Mark Allan, Faithful Conversation: Christian Perspectives on Homosexuality, pg. 23
MacArthur, John. The MacArthur Bible Commentary, pg. 1038; Unger’s Bible Dictionary, pg. 413
Morris, Leon. The Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Epistle to the Romans, pg. 89; Hodge, Charles. A Geneva Series Commentary, A Commentary on Romans, (1983 reprint) pg. 41
Plato, The Republic, 360 BC, Book III; Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 7.4.4.; Dionysius, Roman Antiquities, Book VII.9.3, p. 172; Josephus, Wars of The Jews, 7.338; Antiquities of The Jews, 5.246; 10.194.

*The opinion expressed is the authors opinion and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Korea Observer.

About the author

Rev. Daniel Payne

Rev. Daniel Payne

Rev. Daniel Payne is the pastor of Open Doors Community Church, an open and affirming church welcoming of LGBTQ people, in Seoul, South Korea.

  • James Farganne

    All the translations at the following link *explicitly* condemn “man lying with man as with woman”. It is disingenuous of the “Rev.” Payne, who rejoices in the thought of the demise of anyone who disagrees with his progressive tendencies, to gloss over this.


    • Truth is freedom

      Rev Payne – that’s right without the quotation marks because he is an ordained minister, isn’t disingenuous my dear James Farganne because he actually goes further than just a comparative study of the English Bible text you refer to (and so kindly attaches) and in the piece refers to a long period of biblical study of the original Hebrew and Greek text. It’s not a ‘glossing’ over at all. Nowhere in the piece does he say that he rejoices in the demise of anyone, but that he is angry. Quote “Pastor Kim and his like will soon be a distant memory of desperation and intolerance.” which means that their point of view will be discarded as their opinions are shown to be just that, opinions, not Biblical or scientific fact. Please read carefully because it seems that you might have been ‘glossing’. Futhermore, its interesting to note that you made no reference to the other statements that Pastor Kim made and the Rev Payne answered on. Statements that can much easier be tested for substance than ancient culture and texts. SELA

    • https://myhueintherainbow.wordpress.com/ Craig Bartlett

      Mr Farganne, your posting of the above link addresses nothing. It simply sidesteps the core issue when it comes to the interpretation of Scripture – can the passages in question, as cited by the Rev Mr Payne, be used to condemn the variations in sexual orientation and gender identity as they are understood now? If ‘yes’, how are we justified in throwing aside the insights not only of modern Biblical exegesis, but also of psychiatry, psychology, sociology, and anthropology?

      Moreover, there is a larger issue you simply do not address. Do you believe the Rev Kim Kyu-ho’s analysis is accurate and fair? I, and many other readers, I’m sure, would like to read your thoughts on this.

      (In the interests of full disclosure, I am the Rev Daniel Payne’s colleague in ministry at Open Doors Metropolitan Community Church.)

    • Pieter
  • José María Areta

    The problem with this discussion is that, as soon as you engage it, you are in their territory, so the chances of losing are exponential. This is the way: the bible is just another book and their god is just another god (one which, btw, wasn’t Korean until very recently). This is not a problem of religious beliefs, but of values, traditional Korean values, which have been used to hid “defects” for many centuries (how many blind kids you see on the streets? How many disabled kids?). Engaging in bible talking and god’s desires won’t help anyone. The bible can’t be the basis of modern law and I believe in Thor.
    Just for helping those who care, one of my neighbors has a daughter with disabilities, phisical and mental. That kid has not been outside her home for, at least, 10 years. Her mother won’t take her ourside. The mother feels very sad, but I always wonder what she is sad about.

    • IAM

      Since you’re an expert on this subject, just curious, how many times have you read the Bible to have an expert opinion on God? Just wondering…

      • José María Areta

        Which bible? There are several (based on translation and canon).
        I don’t read the bible as a “standard book” because it lacks story line and there are many characters with small roles. Despite of that, it is an interesting book. If you think it contains your moral law, good for you. I don’t think so. So the next question is: Why do you think (if you do) that your moral law is better than mine, which is based on this bible (http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/)?
        Christians don’t just read the bible: They also interpret it. So reading it, it does not really matter, unless we have the same glasses on.
        And I don’t use glasses like yours.
        And for the record, I would be amazed if you could read Old Hebrew, Aramaic and Old Greek.

        • IAM

          You still didn’t answer MY question, about actually reading it. Yes or No would suffice. You answered my question with a question and did a nice dance along the way.

          Never did I say one Law is better than the other. Also, when you say Christians interpret the Law, I’m curious as to where you found that info. TV or the internet?

          If you mean by interpret, as in understand God’s purpose for writing it, then glad you understand the Christian ethic. Since most people who’ve never read the Bible, often make those comments. I assume you’re not one of them.

        • IAM

          NIV or ESV, although the ESV seems closer to the original.

  • Pieter
  • Aaron

    “Pastor Kim and his like will soon be a distant memory of desperation and intolerance.”

    A very polite way of putting it. I prefer to be blunter.

    Pastor Kim and his like will soon be nothing more than bones in dirt. They will be dead. And no one outside their families will miss them.

  • TheDickinDixie

    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

    I like your confidence, but I think that, sadly, Korea is quite some distance from equality when it comes to race or gender nevermind the LGBT community.

    The church has too much of a grip on its congregation, too much influence with politicians and even many non-christians share similar sentiments.

    The govt. is too afraid to force churches to pay tax, let alone confront them about this.

  • IAM

    True Christians would not feel the need to publicly protest this parade. The so called Christians who oppose gays publicly or argue and get satisfaction from that, don’t know God’s Word.

    These parades and the ruling from the Supreme Court does not and will never change the Christian ethic. True Christians need to read God’s Word before judging. Although they may not like it, that’s the world we live in. We as Christians have no right to judge. Fix what’s in your own house before throwing the 1st stone.


    A Christian

  • billy bob

    Homosexuality is genetic since many Homosexuals claim they are born with it. Have you thought about the possibility the homosexual genes go hand in hand with Europeans genes? Koreans do not have homosexual genes. So stop trying to force your crap down the throats of Korean people. Koreans are not homosexuals as much as they are not Europeans.

    • Jenny Jackson-Smith


      This is hilarious. very very wrong, and very very funny.

    • Shuddy

      I don’t even. ……what?

  • Russ Westbrook

    The “clobber passages” cited above wouldn’t need all that revisionist “scholarship” if they said what Liberals wanted them to say. They do “clobber” the homosexual sin, in that they show God hates it. Say what you will; but the Scriptures denounce homosexuality as a perversion, sin, and bondage for the soul, that if unrepented of leads to damnation.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    It’s about time.

    It’s about time that minority members directly call out and take on these politically connected, institutionally protected purveyors of perverted truths directly. It’s about time; constitutional right to (false) reputation be damned:

    Kim gave an interview recently with The Korea Observer, in which nearly every single sentence is a bald-faced lie. … I do not hesitate for one moment to call out Pastor Kim and his ilk for having queer blood on their hands. Through their propaganda and rhetoric, they destroy precious lives. And the worst is that they know exactly what they’re doing. Their fatal preaching based on such obvious falsehoods leads to death: spiritual and too often, physical. It produces a righteous anger deep within my spirit which will not allow me to idly sit back and let it go.


  • IAM

    “To understand the Bible, one must read it as an ancient text – which it is. ”

    If that were true, then what’s the point of preaching it at all in the pulpit today Reverend Daniel?

  • Shuddy

    This article and comment thread are surreal. LBGTs analysing the book they’ve been bashed with for hundreds of years in order to feel justified in accepting the love a fictional deity. Honestly, I wouldn’t put it past the god of the bible to be a bigoted homophobe; he was a racist, sexist, mass murderer and just downright anti-humanist. Hitch your horse to a wagon that isn’t being driven by a make believe lunatic, my dear queer friends.

  • Kenneth James Abbott

    It’s interesting that the people who tell us the Bible doesn’t say at all what it says in black and white accuse others of “lying” about the Bible.

    If someone wants to seriously make the claim that the Bible says adultery and homosexuality is fine, then let’s have a good laugh and go over it, but for the rest of us, the Bible is quite clear on the concept.

    The Bible also has something to say about bearing galse witness–and quite a bit to say about false teachers–verses that Mr. Payne should read carefully.

    It’s lovely to think that if we just apply the right filters, change a few words, and “re-interpret” a few parts, then we can remove the parts of Christianity that make us unpopular with the world. That’s why we were told specifically not to do that.

    While the infamous “animal brothels” are not legal in the Netherlands–they ARE legal in Denmark (and not like in some American states where it’s public indecency or abuse but there’s not a specific animal-sex law, but specifically noted as allowed). Pastor Kim got the country wrong, but to paint him as a liar is rather unfair–especially after your attempt to take a pair of scissors to the Bible.

    Incest is actually legal in at least two European countries. It’s true that the entirety of Europe doesn’t adopt the practice–but nor did Mr. Kim say so.

    And while there’s certainly other issues with sexual immorality, that’s not excuse for him to ignore your favorite one. Moreover, the love-motels aren’t setting up parades in the streets demanding praise, or viciously slandering pastors for saying people shouldn’t go to them.

    Finally, there are tens of thousands of ex-gays–and if you want to see actual, real bigotry, look how those are treated! Not only is it possible, they’ve done it.

    The rest of your screed is simply silly–accusing anybody who criticizes you of being homosexual himself, for example. One note–while 70% of homosexuals do not have AIDS, it IS true that 70% of American AIDS cases were transmitted by homosexual activity or drug-related activity. It’s no secret that AIDS–and other sexually transmitted diseases–are far more prevalent in the homosexual community.

    Finally, for a man who pretends to be outraged at lies, the “Reverend” doesn’t hesitate to viciously, and falsely, accuse Pastor Kim of “destroy[ing] lives.”

    Physician, heal thyself.

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