Disclaimer: This post is not for young readers.
Last Thursday, Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo was grilled by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker about his view of the sex act of sodomy.
Senator Booker asked, “Do you believe gay sex is a perversion, yes or no? Yes or no, sir? Yes or no, do you believe gay sex is a perversion?”[i]
Mr. Pompeo, according to Wikipedia, is a Presbyterian deacon who teaches Sunday School. His local congregation is affiliated with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, one of many breakaway evangelical Reformed denominations such as the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). Not only is Mr. Pompeo an evangelical, he is Reformed. Not only is he Reformed, he is a Reformed church officer. Not only is he a Reformed church officer, he is a civil magistrate of high position, a deacon of God to do good for We the People of these United States. How did he respond to Senator Booker’s question?
He avoided directly answering the question, promising Senator Booker that he earnestly believes in the dignity of all people, and that he would be scrupulous, as he is now as CIA Director, to defend the marriage rights of the gays and lesbians under his command.
While this answer will ensure that Mr. Pompeo will continue to serve in government, was his answer faithful? Did our brother in Christ Mike Pompeo faithfully witness to Jesus Christ before the U.S. Senate, or did he hide his light under a bushel?
Mike Pompeo did not faithfully represent Jesus Christ before Senator Booker, but chose to hide his light under a bushel for the sake of his hopeful confirmation as Secretary of State. We, as Reformed evangelicals, or even as Presbyterians (some of us), shouldn’t look down on Mike Pompeo for his faithlessness. All of us have learned well how to avoid suffering for Jesus’ sake. We learn from Mike Pompeo’s poor example that we must mortify our desire for acceptance, and be willing to bear our Savior’s reproach by faith.
The Holy Spirit, Who is fully God and fully one with the Father and the Son, inspired every word of Holy Scripture. That means that those “Red-Letter Christians” who claim Jesus, the Son, never spoke against homosexuality are wrong, and implicitly Unitarian and/or Arian.[ii] Rather, we Christians confess that all of Scripture is God-breathed, and that what was inspired by the Holy Spirit is affirmed by the Father and the Son. What the Holy Spirit inspired is what Jesus says also. Defending Scripture is defending Jesus.
Jesus says that men who lie with men have committed an abomination (Lev. 18:22). Jesus recorded for us the terrible judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah, and before that judgment, the attempt of all the men of Sodom (both young and old) to have relations with the angels who visited Lot’s house (Genesis 19). The Church has historically referred to the sexual penetrative act common among homosexual men has “sodomy.” This word reminds us of the “degrading passions” (Romans 1:26) that led to God’s fearful judgment of fire and brimstone on the Cities of the Plain, and that this judgment will fall on us also if we do not repent of our sexual perversion.
Note my term, “sexual perversion.” All Christians with even a tiny bit of biblical literacy know that sodomy, gay sex, is a perversion, just as Senator Booker asked. Why didn’t Mike Pompeo answer an emphatic “Yes”? I can think of two reasons.
The first is that in the Church over the last several decades, we have ceased using the term “sodomite” or “sodomy” when speaking of those tempted to same-sex intimacy and of the indecent acts they are tempted to perform. As a result, sodomy and sodomites have become mainstream in our society, but as that has happened, little is said about what sodomy actually is: men buggering one another up the poop chute.[iii] We fail to speak frankly, which is to say manfully, about what sodomy is. In doing so, we have removed the shame from sodomy, and so the sodomites have eagerly reassigned the shame to those who oppose their sin. Modern sodomites, just like their forebears in Genesis 19, detest anyone who judges what they do with righteous judgment (Gen. 19:9).
God designed the sexual act to be mutually pleasurable for both man and wife. Sodomy inverts this order: only one, the initiator, receives pleasure. The recipient experiences pain and humiliation. According to Dr. Robert Oscar Lopez, a former homosexual, drug and alcohol use are indispensable in the gay community, for they make the sex acts bearable.[iv]
The natural sex act of man and wife brings forth life, both literally and figuratively; sodomy brings forth pain and disease. Sodomy is incredibly unsanitary and dangerous. The Apostle Paul referred to this when he wrote that those who engage in un-natural degrading passions receive in their own persons the due penalty of their error (Romans 1:27). The Apostle Paul was not ignorant of precisely what sodomy was and he did not shrink from condemning it.
The old Common Prayer book marriage liturgy contained a vow from husband to wife: With my body, I thee worship. This vow contains a potent truth: just as our worship practice shapes our theology, how we think about God, so our sexual practice informs how we think about others. The natural sexual union of marriage commending by Scripture spurs us on to mutual self-giving love and fruitfulness. Sodomy spurs us on to an unspeakable selfishness that seeks to gratify our lusts no matter the cost. It forms in us callousness to the suffering of others, while we think only of ourselves. Thus, it is inevitable that a society that celebrates sodomy will also tolerate or even promote gross injustice and selfishness, e.g. the killing of the unborn, the aged and the sick.
The selfishness of sodomy isn’t limited to sodomites only, but extends to the rest of us. That brings me to the second reason Mike Pompeo failed to call sodomy a perversion--it’s because he--and us--have a guilty conscience.
The aim of the sexual revolution is to turn all of us into perverts. When all of us have been corrupted by our pornography, by our liaisons in high school or college, or by the sexual abuse and incest we endured--or perpetrated-- in our younger years, none of us have the heart to condemn the sodomite in his perversion. Even if we have avoided the aforementioned perversions, our association with a corrupt society implicates us in the corruption, just as the corruption of Sodom corrupted Lot and his family. None of us are clean or guiltless.
The warning of Sodom and Gomorrah is a warning for all of us. Like sodomites, we must flee our sin and corruption and turn to Jesus, for it is by His blood that our perversions can be paid for and removed from our account. Only by standing in Christ’s righteousness--not our righteousness, but Christ’s righteousness--may we declare that sodomy is a perversion, and that all perverts, including us first and foremost, must repent.
Faithlessly remaining silent and allowing ourselves and those we love to suffer the same fate as that of Sodom is intolerable for a Christian. We must have the faith to answer men like Senator Cory Booker: Yes, Senator, sodomy is a perversion, and while I’m no better than the sodomites, I know a God Who can save sexual perverts.
[i] Steven Nelson, “Cory Booker presses Mike Pompeo: ‘Do you think gay sex is a perversion?’” Washington Examiner April 12, 2018. Accessed April 14, 2018. www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/white-house/cory-booker-presses-mike-pompeo-do-you-think-gay-sex-is-a-perversion
[ii] Unitarian - Someone who denies the Trinity, saying God is only singular, not Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Arian -- Someone who denies Jesus was fully God, but was instead a created being.
[iii] I’m indebted to the late columnist Joseph Sobran for this phrasing.
[iv] Dr. Lopez describes his experience here: www.englishmanif.blogspot.com/2018/01/mapping-the-swamp-charting-sodom-in-2018.html His whole series on “Charting Sodom” is excellent and worth reading.
Written by Benjamin Carmack