Homosexuality is Worse than Murder

What makes homosexuality so destructive to society? How is it worse than fornication, worse than theft, even worse than murder? Why are the Scriptures and the Saints so vehemently opposed to this particular sin?

Originally appeared at: Global Orthodox

Homosexuality — Worse than Murder

Even though good Christians understand that homosexuality is a sin, many of them don't realize just how serious it is. They know it is wrong, and they wouldn't want to do it themselves, but they put it in a similar category as cheating on your taxes, reading dirty novels, or getting drunk at home. They say things like, "It's none of my business", "That's his personal choice", or "Some of my friends are like that, and they are perfectly nice people . . ." They may figure the proper response is just to keep quiet, ignore it, and "try not to judge".

But this is not how they treat rape. This is not how they treat murder. If they thought their nextdoor neighbor had kidnapped a child and was guilty of both rape and murder, they would not say, "It's none of my business" or "That's his personal choice." They would be horrified that such a heinous crime had been committed, and they would want to see the criminal brought to justice.

Some sins are worse than others. Every sin may be equally forgivable, but not every sin is equally destructive. Stealing a dollar from your employer is bad, but kidnapping a child is worse. Vandalizing a car is bad, but killing a family of five is worse. And according to St. John Chrysostom, abortionists and homosexuals belong in a class unto themselves, even worse than murder.

There are a couple ways in which murder and homosexual activity are equally sinful. In both cases:

  • God commands us not to do it.
  • Those who rebel against God in this way will also justify rebellion against God in many other areas of morality.

There are many more examples where homosexuality is uniquely sinful and destructive, in ways that murder is not:

  1. When God destroys entire cities and civilizations because of the proliferation of this sin, it is not only the homosexuals that get drowned or incinerated. Everyone else gets destroyed too. Consider these Three Ancient Cultures God Destroyed Because of Homosexual Activity, and also Three More Cities God Destroyed for Sinning Like Sodom.
  2. The homosexual lifestyle (especially sodomy) damages the human body, and frequently leads to deadly diseases, such as AIDS.
  3. Pedophilia is much more prevalent among homosexuals, than among heterosexuals. The more promotion and proliferation that we have of homosexuality, the more widespread problems we have with the sexual abuse of children.
  4. Homosexuals are never satisfied with tolerance. They demand everyone else to glorify them, and ultimately to participate with them.
  5. Homosexual behavior leads to acceptance of the transgender delusion, which leads people to sexually mutilate themselves and also to mutilate their children.
  6. Homosexuals are intentionally sterile and such unions cannot produce children. Such a lifestyle is fundamentally self-centered.
  7. Since homosexual unions cannot produce offspring, they recruit from the children of heterosexuals. Thus the movement as a whole is parasitic.
  8. Homosexuality (and specifically "gay marriage") is a Christological heresy and ecclesiological heresy. God created marriage as a picture of Christ and the Church. But two lustful men in a bed, unable to produce any offspring, bear no resemblance whatsoever to the relationship between Christ and the Church. Thus the entire "marriage" is an ongoing lie, constantly telling a lie about who Christ is and what His relationship to the Church is.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He created Adam & Eve, and presided over the first wedding. God created man and woman to live together as husband and wife, creating multigenerational families who would love God and each other.

Society itself rests upon the foundation of marriage and the family. Destroy the family, and you destroy the very foundation of society. When men and women turn their backs on one another, burning in their desire for same-sex activity, imagining that marriage is a sterile playground where adults can indulge their lusts, they take one of God's most precious gifts to mankind, and they throw it back at Him, spitting on His whole vision of how things should function.

(By the way, this helps explain why many Saints compared the use of contraception with homosexual activity. Marriage is intended to be fruitful, bringing many children into the world, not merely using marriage as an outlet for the satisfaction of sexual desires.)

Murder — Less Destructive than Homosexuality

We see the widespread destruction of society that is caused by all these corrosive aspects of homosexual behavior. Meanwhile, murder does not cause the same widespread effects:

  • God often brings individual murderers to justice, but when He destroys entire cities or civilizations, He doesn't normally suggest that murder is the reason for it.
  • Murderers don't propagate disease.
  • Murderers do not tend to become pedophiles. (Pedophiles, however, often do become murderers.)
  • Murderers don't push the rest of society to praise murder or to participate in murder.
  • Murderers do not generally promote transgenderism or the mutilation of children.
  • Murderers are usually not sterile, and can have children.
  • Murderers rarely recruit others to become murderers. (Inner city gangs exhibit one of the rare exceptions to this.)
  • Murder is an attack on God, because man was created in God's image. But murder is not a Christological heresy, teaching falsehood about who Christ is.

(The statements above are in reference to the murder of adults and youth, not including murder of the unborn. Of course, abortion is a specific type of murder, but St. John Chrysostom sets it apart and also calls it "worse than murder". In regard to societal consequences, abortion shares more in common with homosexuality than other forms of murder. Abortion often causes disease, sterility, and various health problems. Abortion supporters recruit others to promote and perform abortions, and they mutilate children. Abortion is popular among pedophiles, to stop children from being born of these illicit unions. Abortion supporters also blaspheme both Christ and His Church — When Christ told the Church, "This is my body", he was referring to the Eucharist, which is for healing and forgiveness. But when abortion supporters scream, "This is my body", they do it for the purpose of murdering the innocent.)

Murders are very, very bad. But in general, they are not nearly as destructive to society as homosexual sin is.

Homosexuality According to Scripture and the Saints

This helps explain why according to the Saints, and also according to Holy Scripture, homosexual sin is worthy of capital punishment, or worse. The Old Testament (Leviticus 20:13), and the New Testament (Romans 1:32) both indicate that people practicing this sin are worthy of death.

And this commandment was observed by the greatest Christian rulers. For example, in the life of the holy emperor St. Justinian, who was considered to be an exemplary ruler, we read the following:

“Having discovered a number of homosexuals, conducting an investigation and identifying them, St. Justinian had some of them castrated with spears. And for others, he ordered that sharp sticks be shoved into their shameful orifices, forcing them to walk in a public procession through the agora. There were also many officials and senators, as well as many bishops, who had their property confiscated, and who were driven along the agora until they died a miserable death. The remaining people began to fear, and thus they became chaste."
— St. Symeon Metaphrastes Logothete, Chronicle, Justinian, 9

The greatest Russian religious writer, St. Maximus the Greek, wrote that Christians are obliged not only to disdain this “godless filth” but also to “anathematize” those who do it and to "burn them with fire".

These decrees do not contradict the Christian commandments of love and forgiveness. If we were to believe that homosexuals do not need to be punished, then it would also be necessary to advocate the abolition of punishments for other sins, such as murder, theft, etc.

From the point of view of secular humanism, there is an essential difference between sodomy and murder: The murderer sins against another person, while sodomy does not formally go against someone's will, since he is engaged in sodomy by mutual consent.

However, from a Christian point of view, his sin is even worse, since it defiles the image of God by which he was created. That is why St. John Chrysostom said:

"I affirm that these [homosexuals] are even worse than murderers: since to die even is better than to live under such insolency. For the murderer separates the soul from the body, but this man ruins the soul along with the body."
— St. John Chrysostom, 4th homily on the book of Romans

Harsh words? For some of the Church's greatest Saints there are no words too harsh for this particular sin against God.

In the Orthodox Church, St. John Chrysostom one of the best known and most well respected names. He lived more than 1600 years ago, during the 4th century after the birth of Christ. He preached hundreds of phenominal messages, many of which we still have with us today. Though his name was simply "John", his teaching was so highly esteemed that people started calling him "Chrysostom", which is Greek for "Golden Mouth". 

He preached in favor of many virtues, and he preached in opposition to many vices. To my knowledge, there are only two sins which St. John Chrysostom ever called "worse than murder" — These are abortion and homosexual activity.

In his 4th sermon on the book of Romans, St. John says that life as a homosexual is worse than death. While a murderer only destroys a body, releasing the soul, a homosexual destroys both body and soul. He says that homosexual sex is far worse than fornication. Those who practice it lose their very manhood, and make themselves into animals more disgraceful than dogs.

Here is a longer excerpt directly from this sermon by St. John:

I affirm that these [homosexuals] are even worse than murderers: since to die even is better than to live under such insolency. For the murderer separates the soul from the body, but this man ruins the soul along with the body. 

And name what sin you will, none will you mention equal to this lawlessness. And if they that suffer such things perceived them, they would accept ten thousand deaths so they might not suffer this evil. For there is not, there surely is not, a more grievous evil than this insolent dealing. For if when discoursing about fornication Paul said, that Every sin which a man does is without the body, but he that commits fornication sins against his own body. 

What shall we say of this madness, which is so much worse than fornication as cannot even be expressed? For I should not only say that you have become a woman, but that you have lost your manhood, and hast neither changed into that nature nor kept that which you had, but you have been a traitor to both of them at once, and deserving both of men and women to be driven out and stoned, as having wronged either sex.

And that you may learn what the real force of this is, if any one were to come and assure you that he would make you a dog instead of being a man, would you not flee from him as a plague? But, lo! You have not made yourself a dog out of a man, but an animal more disgraceful than this.

When a person repents, God can forgive any sin. And when God forgives, we must forgive. We cannot hold a person's past against him.

But when a person does not repent, and demands the "right" to live such a blatantly godless lifestyle, a Christian society has no legitimate reason to tolerate it. The unrepentant wicked must be driven out, lest society itself be infected and ultimately destroyed.

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