Last week, Mississippi state Rep. Andy Gipson (R) condemned the gay community on his Facebook wall, citing Leviticus 20:13, which opponents of LGBT equality interpret as calling for gay men to be put to death. Responding to a Change.org petition calling for his apology, Gipson stated on Friday, “I do not, cannot, and will not apologize for the inspired truth of God’s Word.” Yesterday, he has offered an official statement attempting to distance himself from those remarks:
Since that time, a well-known radical liberal blog (The Huffington Post) ran an article falsely claiming that this Facebook post was a call “to kill gay people.” Nothing could be further from the truth. I have never publicly or privately called for the killing of any people. I believe all people are created in the image of God and I stand firmly for the sanctity of all human life. All people are entitled to the protection of the laws of our nation and state protecting human life.
Any reasonable person who reads the actual post can see that both scriptures were cited only for the proposition that same-sex marriage is morally objectionable — sin. I believe this reflects the values of the vast majority of Mississippians and the people of District 77 whom I represent.
Many Biblical scholars counter the notion that this Leviticus verse actually translates to modern-day understandings of homosexuality. But any reasonable person who reads the scripture he cited for the purposes he cited it can see that if it condemns homosexuality as a sin, then it also calls for gays to be put to death. As long as Gipson stands by his interpretation of Leviticus 20:13 as the “inspired truth of God’s Word,” it is reasonable to conclude that he endorses its message. If he does not actually believe the words on the page as they are written, he should specifically qualify that he makes exceptions for which of God’s Words are inspired truth or admit that he has misinterpreted the scripture.