NEW EVIDENCE FOR “RELIGIOUS LIBERTY”, A.K.A. Discrimination against Gays.
It may seem surprising that those who defend religious liberty from the perilous effects of providing services to gay people so rarely cite the most compelling biblical evidence in support of their position. That is partially explained by the fact that liberal denominations (including Anglicans, Catholics and variious Orthodox churches) have conspired to suppress the oldest evidence on the subject, even though I have repeatedly called attention to it.
Some years ago in the souk in Cairo I purchased a papyrus fragment from a dealer who has also provided texts to eminent scholars from Harvard and other famous institutions. He assured me that th fragment dated to the second century CE. Its significance was immediately clear , for the fragment began with words from Mark 12. 31 (or possibly Matthew 22.39) “…thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” The new fragment continues, “unless thy neighbor loveth another of the same sex. Those shalt thou not deck the weddings thereof with flowers, nor strike the lyre nor blow the tuba (Grerk salpigx) nor make unto them a graven image for their album, nor serve them nor bow down before them. Neither shalt thou let them draw water from thy well, nor eat the bread of thy oven. Nor shalt thou lay healing hands upon them, not on their handmaidens. Neither shalt thou fix the axle of their cart when it carrieth no longer its burden, nor sell them cloaks to warm by night nor hats to shelter from the heat of the day.” The prohibitions continue for another 23 lines in the papyrus thereby including almost all activities known in the eastern Mediterranean of the time.
The significance of the papyrus is all the more evident when one realizes that no other biblical passage explicitly restricts the providing of services or the sale of commodities to gay people.