His argument isn't anything new. Like many, Granderson is discontent with the popular anti-gay arguments of (other) Christians that always seem to make the news and the sandwich boards. If Jesus set us free from the law, why are we so adamant about the prohibition of homosexual intercourse in Leviticus? Why don't we ever raise the banner against other sins mentioned in the law, "such as making love to your wife while she's menstruating." Why don't we lobby for legislation that would punish adultery with the death penalty? Wouldn't that be Biblical and consistent?
Some conservatives might attend church only twice a year, but ask their opinion about gays in the military. They can find Leviticus 18:22 blindfolded, handcuffed and sinking underwater: "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is an abomination."
... like I said, this is a well written piece.
Granderson concludes by asserting unambiguously that he sees all of the 'conservative' protest as a thinly veiled attempt to use the Bible to buttress our own prejudices.
I think there is a lot of merit to Granderson's reading of scripture.
The Bible doesn't offer any distinction between 'ritual and moral laws' in Leviticus, as people like to imply. Why are people ignoring some and running with others?
The Bible also, as he suggests, doesn't give any justification for the all too common, supreme-demonizing of the GLBT crowd. Homosexual intercourse isn't elevated above other sins in scripture; instead it's frequently mentioned as one in a crowd: you find it right next to envy, thievery, etc. I don't see any sandwich boards about that special place in Hell for all the covetous.
If you want to argue with me on this point, go find me the scripture. This might involve reading the Bible, which you probably have not done before.
But what's wrong with Gradnerson's reading? Because there is something wrong.
I could offer several different points here, but let's highlight a simple one. These highly publicized debates all seem to center around Leviticus 18 and the sexual purity laws presented there, and everyone acts as if this is the only passage in the Bible that addresses the topic... when it's not.
In my opinion, the most important passage in relation to the question of homosexuality is not in the Old Testament at all: it's Romans 1. Despite popular construals, Romans 1 is not pronouncing some sort of extra measure of God's wrath upon gays and lesbians--this chapter isn't a prophetic word about AIDS or some such nonsense--nor is it, I think*, giving homosexual intercourse pride of place in the list of sins Paul mentions. But it is, nevertheless, absolutely condemning the practice, and Paul presents homosexual intercourse as a model indication of the fallenness of (all of) humanity away from the worship of the Creator.
The conversation around Leviticus isn't getting us anywhere, but it also simply isn't necessary. The Bible is, Old Testament and New, very consistent on this question, and it does come up multiple times.
The problem with offering a stance on the question of the Church's relation to gays and lesbians is that this has become a two-sided debate... and both sides are wrong. If I want to maintain any kind of interpretive integrity, I have to completely reject the 'progressive' view that would affirm homosexual partnered lifestyles as consistent with the faith of the Church. On the other hand, if I want to seek the kingdom of God with integrity, I cannot support the political maneuvering, the clear prejudices, the unquestioned hypocrisy, or the outright hatred of various parties on the other side.
People won't always recognize love beyond uncompromising condemnation of a lifestyle--and no, I don't mean to imply anything about 'lifestyle choices' by that--but that doesn't mean it's not there; this is just a difficult matter to address and to be addressed concerning. I do think LZ Granderson can be proud of his handling of it in his column. But I still have to dissent. I just pray that, as I do so, I still manage to look like Jesus.
Any post on this topic will be too short, and it won't give the kind of care, detail, and qualifications that I would in a longer discussion. There are so many more aspects of this that I could address here, and I do not line up with the typical conservative viewpoints on many of them--this just isn't the place to go into it all. I more than welcome whatever remarks you would make in the comments, though, and I'd be glad to continue the topic, if need be, there.
* I am here following Richard B. Hays's reading of Romans 1 in his The Moral Vision of the New Testament (pp 383-89--though the entire chapter is excellent). Hays concludes, in summary: "Paul singles out homosexual intercourse for special attention because he regards it as providing a particularly graphic image of the way in which human fallenness distorts God's created order... Homosexual acts are not, however, specially reprehensible sins; they are no worse than any of the other manifestations of human unrighteousness listed in the passage" (388).