Up From Sodomy!
25 June, 2018
Indeed, it was an advancement for our Christian civilization to condemn the crime of manstealing and criminalize that which had been practiced for over two centuries in America. But how slow we were to recognize that crime which was disguised by the cover of “employment” and “debt payment” and “servitude.” Indeed! Manstealing was a capital crime under the Law of God. A crime meriting the death penalty! And if that fellow that you bought as a slave from another was one who had been stolen, then you were a participant in his crime. You were complicit. You shared a measure of the thief’s guilt. Oh, if we had heeded the Law of God! We could have restrained ourselves and avoided the corrective Judgment of the Civil War.
It is tough to come out of the darkness when we live in it for a long time. We become accustomed to it and adjust our perspective to make our ways as best we can. But once the light is shined on the path, we find out how far we are from it and pry our way through the weeds to get back on it. And so it is, it seems, when we see the weedy mess that sodomy is and recognize the good in the rejection – not the toleration – of it.
Back in another dark time, when the Romans practiced various forms of perverted sex (got to think about what that means in our contemporary time of confusion), Lex Scantinia limited certain sexual practices which the laws of the Christian beginnings of Western Civilization would subsequently forbid.
Specifically, Roman law, via Lex Scantinia penalized any male citizen of high status for taking a willing role in what might be called “passive sexual behavior.” It forbade freeborn Roman citizens to take the bottom position. He had to be on “top.” So, also, if he took on another fellow. Had to be on” top” and take the “active” role in sex. To do otherwise would be bring shame to his family name and the loss of legal status and social standing.
Sodomy was permitted to freeborn Romans with prostitutes, slaves or war captives. But to be passive or submissive, like a slave, or someone on the bottom of the sexual action would have been a disgrace. The bottom position belonged to women, lower class folk, and slaves. Sodomy, curiously enough, was permitted among the upper class as long as the upperclassman assumed to top position. Yes, he must be the penetrator, not the “penetratee” (shall we say?).
Hmm. Those slave children. A puer delicatus (a dainty boy) served to appease the sexual appetite of his master. The Warren Cup, a silver Roman vessel from the time of the Julio-Claudian dynasty from the first century presents sodomite acts, one of which features an adult male having his sexual way with a young a young slave boy. In some cases, a puer delicatus would be castrated and dressed with feminine attire in an effort to preserve youthful qualities of children and young males.
No, that Roman world is not the one we see glamorized in the movies. Those gladiators would be “on top” – of those women and young boys! Lex Scantinia exempted freeborn men from prosecution in the case of rape. It was a brutal, disgusting, and by the contemporary favorite measure – “equality” – it was an “inequitable” world.
But Lex Scantinia did restrain the evil erupting from the (fallen-in-sin) “natural” ways of mankind. In 227 B.C., for example, Gaius Scantinius Capitolinus was tried for sexually molesting the son of Marcus Claudius Marcellus. The high-born Capitolinus was made to pay recompense to the father with some “articles of silver” – as historians are wont to put it. However perverted the general population might be permitted to be, a perpetrator could not get away with doing such things to the children of respectable politicians.
Thanks be to God for the Kingdom of God which our Lord inaugurated and the Spirit continues to expand. But do we forget the gains that the Law of God via the advancement of the Gospel brought to Western Civilization? Sodomy was made a capital crime where Christendom spread throughout the world. But now, in the wake of “modernity” following the Renaissance and the de-Christianization of culture, we delude ourselves with the proposition that the decriminalization of sodomy is “liberating” and a “good thing” – an advancement of “rights” – rather than a descension into degradation.
Let’s return to the Law and get back Up From Sodomy!