NOM Commits Sodomy

Rob Tisinai

February 11th, 2012

I mean genuine sodomy, as described in the Bible:

Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy.

Arrogance? The National Organization for Marriage takes legal action to ensure the entire country abides by their personal religious belief that our relationships our inferior to theirs. Yeah, they got arrogance.

Abundant food? NOM pulls in $10 million a year and pays their top staff 6-figure salaries. That’s a lotta bread.

Careless ease? Well, they do work hard, but they work hard to make sure gay folks don’t get married — in other words, to make sure people do nothing.

Not helping the poor and needy? NOM hampers our ability to provide health insurance for our partners and kids. Furthermore, they don’t care. In fact, Maggie’s even crusaded against private employers offering domestic partner benefits. And if that’s not convincing enough, I’ll refer you to this video I made a while back.

My verdict? NOM is an arrogant and wealthy group that does harm to those in need.

Sounds like sodomy to me. I’d love to see someone call Maggie Gallagher or Tony Perkins a sodomite on one those cable news debates. And by the way, what was God’s punishment for that sin?


February 11th, 2012

I don’t know why, but I sometimes find myself singing the old classic “All of Me” to the words “Sod-o-my! lah lah lah, Sod-o-my!” when I’m doing housework and stuff.

No idea why, though. Does seem to cheer me up.


February 11th, 2012

This is silliness that degrades the discussion.

Rob Tisinai

February 11th, 2012

Stephen, feel free to elaborate.


February 11th, 2012

A little insightful levity never hurt a cause. This was clever and I love it. Thanks for the smile!

Priya Lynn

February 11th, 2012

Lighten up, Stephen.

F Young

February 12th, 2012

Thanks, Rob. Your article very usefully reminds us of how the common understanding of sodomy is completely at odds with the actual Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah, which has nothing to do with gay sex, and everything to do with inhospitality and greed, which, ironically, are very much the sins of the hypocritical people who condemn gays for “sodomy.”


February 12th, 2012

i didn’t know this scripture verse existed. wow! it can’t get much clearer than that. thanks rob.

Reed Boyer

February 12th, 2012

However . . . with the emphasis being on money/greed/hoarding there’s more a “Mammonite” flavor to that kind of “Sodomy.”

And, I’d posit, this rather corresponds to the “feed the hungry” instructions and admonitions of Jesus.


February 13th, 2012

How very true. The story of Sodom was not about homosexual behavior, but about the in hospitality of the people of Sodom towards strangers. But try telling that to religious fundamentalists, their heads would explode.

Timothy Kincaid

February 13th, 2012

Slowly Christendom is coming to agree that Sodom was not about homosexuality. The preachers in the more conservative pulpits still preach it but most seminaries now teach that the story is a warning about inhospitality.

It’s hard to read the story in its complete context and see Teh Ghey -unless preinclined to do so. It really is a leap.

And then there’s the little problem that whatever the authors of the Genesis story intended, Jesus clearly thought it was about hospitality.

In Matthew he sends out his disciples and tells them that they will be a blessing to whoever houses them. But if they come to a town or city in which no one will listen to them, they’re to shake the dust of that town off their shoes and it will be worse for that town than it was for Sodom.

Which isn’t so good for the anti-gays. Either sodom wasn’t about homosexuality, or else inhospitality is worse.


February 13th, 2012

I am still waiting for Stephen’s reply. To me, this enlightens the discussion.



February 13th, 2012

OK. I’m a bomb thrower, so this is going to hurt a little. I’m being light-hearted, but a bit barbed…

I have to agree with Stephen. This is not “news”, it’s barely opinion. It’s more like “waaaah, NOM sucks”.

Yes, most of us know who NOM is and what they stand for, and I’m pretty sure we all agree that these are bad people.

I’m very sorry they didn’t do anything TODAY to warrant the extremely detailed and disproportionate coverage that seems to amount to a personal problem or private personal relations campaign (they aren’t paying you, are they? because the only time I ever hear anything about NOM appears to be on this site, so you’re doing a marvellous job of getting their message out)

That said, I’m glad you found a reason to find something to say about them today — I’d hate for you to miss a day, or lack a vent for your legitimate frustration.

In all seriousness…

I’m just concerned that you risk looking smaller for it. Seriously. So much of the reporting done on this site is so important. I don’t think anyone has done more to bring attention, and KEEP attention to the situation in Uganda, for example, and that could save thousands of lives. The work that’s been done to expose the ex-gay movements, to break down and tear apart anti-gay arguments, and to provide individuals in the LGBT community with cogent reponses to attacks with entire conservative thinktanks behind them… these are so invaluable.

So a diatribe with a provocative title demeans you. It lowers the conversation. It makes NOM look bigger and better than they are. It cedes the high ground. You guys are all each, and together, better than that. Don’t let the bastards get you down.

Rob Tisinai

February 13th, 2012

Thanks Andrew. I appreciate the thorough response. I do want to ask three things, though:

1. Is there an organization that has battled marriage equality more effectively than NOM?

2. Is anything in the post untrue?

3. Do you believe that the average American opposed to marriage equality (or the average American, period) is aware that the story of Sodom has nothing whatsoever to do with consensual homosexual sex?


February 14th, 2012

I’m not a fan of cherry-picking the bible & I really don’t think you’re arming us well by doing so. One of the problems with the Sodomy verse from Ezekiel is that the very next verse is: “(ESV) They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.” or as our most vehement opponents read it: (KJV)”And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.”
And the word ‘abomination’ is one of those words that to an anti-gay means one thing: teh ghey.

Another problem with throwing one liners from the bible out there is that by doing so we’re accepting at face value that the tactic of quoting one liners from the bible out of context is appropriate. Also, by reducing ourselves to such tactics we’re conceding the terms of the argument. If I try to counter an anti-gay with an alternative definition of Sodomy via a one-liner from Ezekiel then the subject of the argument has shifted. Whereas we may have been talking about Civil Rights before now we are arguing about the Bible; a futile argument if there ever was one.


February 14th, 2012

Rob, you set a very low bar for yourself here, but I’ll take the bait.

1. The Republican Party, the Catholic Church, the Church of Latter Day Saints, and the Family Research Council come to mind – they all have representatives on the weekend talk shows. Maggie Gallagher doesn’t get an invite. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t know who she was.

2. Just because it’s untrue doesn’t mean it warrants an article. If you’re out just to score rhetorical points on a slow news day against no-names who tee you off, it’s going to come across as a website devoted to countering those no-names. Set your sights higher. Play the bigger field.

3. Do you really think the average American opposed to marriage equality is prepared to change their opinion on what the story of Sodomy is really about? The average American of any stripe believes in ghosts, angels, and many things that rely more on feeling, faith, or traditional culture passed on than on recent determinations made regarding bad translations from the Bible. After all, we still talk about the Red Sea during Exodus, not the “reed sea”, as the proper translation shows. We have politicians in Texas who literally believe that if English was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for the schoolchildren of Texas. I’m pretty sure your article isn’t going to have the effect your 3rd point would aspire to, and it’s not really the basis for an article at this level.

Maybe if you wrote it more as a reflection and less with a Hot Title “Man Bites Dog” it would be a little more bloggy, and there’s plenty of room for that. Or better still talk about how ironic it is that the gay community, which has such a tradition of charity and caregiving is confused with Sodomy.

But Maggie Gallager? Please, she giggles every time you give more print space.

Oh, and one more thing. When it comes to my rights, the Bible has nothing to say about it. My rights as a citizen don’t derive from that document. And, as Blake points, out, we cede the wrong territory there. In an era where apparently even contraception has become a hot-button issue, driven by those who crave a theocracy, it somehow implies that if only we got the Bible translation right they would see the error of their ways. Unfortunately, it’s the attempt to mix Church and State that’s the culprit here, and I’d rather not feed the bear.

Rob Tisinai

February 14th, 2012

Andrew, I guess we’ll have to disagree on the importance of NOM. I’m not sure the Republican Party would care so much about marriage equality if it weren’t for folks like NOM, or the Mormon Church would have such an effective political tool if it weren’t for NOM. And as fo the FRC, it has even less credibility than NOM. If I’m paying too much attention to the group’s activities, it could also be true that you’re paying too little.

Really, though, I don’t think there’s any silver bullet when it comes to dealing with our opponents. I can do demographic breakdowns of the survey sample in anti-gay polls, critiques of scientific studies, and 12-part dissections of scholarly articles by Princeton professors, but at some point a stab of fact-based mockery is called for.

And perhaps it’s simply what I need to blow off steam after doing all those other things.

Ultimately, though, it comes back to that lack of a silver bullet. This post didn’t reach you, and that’s fine. No post will speak to everyone.

Priya Lynn

February 14th, 2012

I’m with Rob on this one. Like the Box of rocks posts, not every post on this site needs to be serious and calculated to the n’th degree to gain some micromillimeter of ground towards equality. I like these lighter hearted posts particularly given what can often be a depressing fight.

Its a joke people, lighten up.


February 14th, 2012

Yeah I agree with Rob and Priya. Sometimes the parody stuff can only help point out how ridiculous some of the arguments against equality are.

Jonathan Justice

February 14th, 2012

I am always pleased to discover that Mr. Tisinai has read my mind and managed to put a more graceful and professional gloss on it as well. I would give a little more attention to the reported behavior of the men of Sodom: Ignorant of the preliminary discussion between God and his buddy Abraham, where God suggests that they should be killed for the way they treat the poor, the men of Sodom engage in a very active sort of inhospitality towards Lot’s guests, and pay for that too.

The parallel with the behavior of NOM et al. is pretty stark. Acting as if what they believe is Christian because they happen to believe it, they proceed to decorate the cake of habitual inhospitality with a rich icing of active hostility and add the pretense of victimhood for a garnish while spending millions of anonymous patron dollars on political advertising that bore a lot of that ole time false witness.

By way of an instructive contrast, we should note that Abraham tried to get God to back off from his intention to punish Sodom and actually managed to get God to lower the standard for relenting. Abraham and Lot are the good people in the story, not the men of Sodom. Abraham argued with God for mercy. Lot offered hospitality to strangers, at some risk to himself.

Timothy Kincaid

February 14th, 2012

I think that to understand the sodom story, you have to look at the (surprisingly obvious) set-up for the tale.

And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, 3 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: 4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: 5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. 6 And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. 7 And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. 8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.

Lot too insisted on providing for the strangers. The entire tale is structured on this set-up and contrast.


February 15th, 2012

RT, I really liked your response. I can agree to disagree on that ;).

BTW – I liked the box of rocks posts, they were more Oniony, and served as a great running joke.

By the way, RT – kudo’s for graciousness. It’s a rare trait.

Priya Lynn

February 15th, 2012

Andrew said “By the way, RT – kudo’s for graciousness. It’s a rare trait.”.

Yes, I’ve got to hand it to him for that too, a real classy guy – I wouldn’t have been able to pull that off.

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