Leviticus 20:13 and Homosexuality

“If a man lies with a male as with a woman, they have committed an abomination; the two of them shall be put to death; their bloodguilt is upon them.”
‭‭Leviticus‬ ‭20:13‬ ‭

I was getting into a debate with a close friend who does not approve of homosexuality, saying homosexuals should not have rights.

This really struck me because I know Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves and what not.

But then he used this quote from Leviticus to justify his hate of homosexuals.

  1. Why does God tell us to put homosexuals to death, but also tell us to love our neighbors?

  2. Is there a deeper historical or biblical context as to why homosexuals were put to death?

  3. What about the new testament? We see Jesus as advocating for love, but in the old testament telling people to kill homosexuals. Why is that?

Because it is a pernicious sin that spreads throughout society and corrupts it (like we can see now), and God wanted to protect the Jews.

God still loved them, love is not at odds with justice.

You realize you can post in the same thread from earlier, right?

He doesn’t tell US to put homosexuals to death, he told Moses and the Jews to put homosexuals to death. Why? Well they had no avenue in which they could have their sins forgiven like we do today. You also must remember, the Jews in Moses time were plagued by the paganism, and even when God delivered them from the hands of the Egyptians, as soon as they felt unsatisfied they went back to worshiping many Gods and having orgies. God promised these people a kingdom that would usher in the messiah, but in order to have it they needed hold up their end of the bargain and that meant maintaining the strict moral laws God set for them.

Yes the corruption of paganism and not being able to have their sins forgiven like we can today.

When Jesus died he gave us corruptible beings a way to redemption and through his sacrifice and his Church we no longer need to abide by the laws of the Old Testament.

You are correct. In fact, justice is love in my opinion.

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Of course they should have rights. They are human people. Rights don’t include marriage, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be treated with dignity.


Is this your homophobic friend from the other thread?


Come again?

I think he meant the Old Testament.

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Still completely untrue.

Half untrue (more needs expanding)

He (I believe) is confusing the kosher, legal code, and ceremonial laws with moral laws.


Seems so.

We have a new Covenant with the New Testament and abide by its divine law.

I think that is what @WA_Catholic meant


What Jesus and his Church tells us about our new Covenant

Sorry meant Old


Well said @CaptainPrudeman (5/16)
We are called to uphold and respect the human and civil or secular rights of every human being

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For some perspective, keep in mind this punishment wasn’t unique to homosexuals or homosexual activity.

If your friend is using that passage “to justify his hate of homosexuals”, he’d best be prepared to hate himself or relinquish his own rights if he gave his parents much trouble as a kid or ever worked on the sabbath. These are also punishable by death and hold about the same relevance to the modern Christian.


I don’t think that there is anything in that bible quote about “homosexuals.” The passage condemns a particular action. It is only in recent times that we have come to adopt the concept of “orientation” as a personal identifier. So no, the passage is about actions, not personal tendencies.

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The word your looking for is pornea in the NT, and Jesus does prohibit it. It means sexual immorality, MT 19. In the OT it is used in Lev 18 for prohibited marriages as well as Lev 20, Deut 22 and 27: 20-23. Some translators limit it to “adultery” only, the Church translates and understands it as unlawful and prohibited marriages as in Lev 18.

Whitewashing it to include “love” (the modern meaning, not “agape” of scripture) would logically mean we should also allow all the other Lev 18 prohibitions. I. E. Marrying you daughter, niece, sister in law, mother, mother in law etc.

Jesus never makes the exception people imply he does, in fact the opposite, as does St. Paul

Just to put “love” in a biblical context (agapate alleliieu- love one another as I have loved you) when Jesus chose the sacrifice himself on the cross, was it an emotion where one thinks he actually enjoyed it? Or was a decision, a sacrificial commitment?

Certainly there are emotions that can be connected to love but biblically love is objective, not subjective. It is a decision, mainly of sacrifice.

In other words you should be just as willing to put your life on the line for a homosexual as much as Jesus did for example the Pharisees or even the worst of us. But that doesn’t mean one should be sleeping with or marrying them as in Jesus pornea prohibition. There is a major difference.

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I have read a scholarly opinion in BAR which said that Lev. 20:13 was not part of the original text.
(Sorry that I am unable to provide a reference. The article was in Biblical Archeology Review a few years ago.)

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