SOUTH BEND, Ind. — It is ironic that some of the loudest anti-immigrant voices originate from people who say they are Christians. If we listen to the words of Christ in Matthew 25:34-35, it’s clear the final judgment depends on how we treat others who need our help:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.”

It is also ironic that the same individuals voicing anti-immigrant chants are often sources of anti-LGBT speech. If you look at what sacred Scripture says about the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah, it is clear that the sin in question was not homosexuality at all — it was anti-immigrant fervor.

Regarding the biblical texts, several key factors are often generalized or overlooked in a way that obscures the passage in Genesis 19:1-15, which describes how two angels visited Sodom to verify whether the city deserved destruction. The city was indeed destroyed, but the reason for its destruction was not homosexuality.

In the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament, the prophet Ezekiel explained why Sodom was destroyed. The prophet, speaking for God in Ezekiel 16:49-50, allegorically compares Jerusalem with Sodom and another town, Samaria, which he refers to as “two sisters,” and said:

“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.”

Rabbi Mendy Kaminker provides additional background in an online article titled, “Sodom and Gomorrah: Cities Destroyed by G-d.” Kaminker is an editor at Chabad.org:

“Scripture is characteristically sparse when telling us of their failures, only saying that ‘the people of Sodom were bad, sinning to G-d very much.’ Talmudic and Midrashic sources give us a much fuller account of the hair-raising wickedness and godlessness that characterized these towns. The Sodomites enjoyed a relatively high standard of living. Regarding Sodom, the Torah tells us that the entire plain was ‘well-watered … like the garden of G-d,’ and it follows that the crops were plentiful and good.”

The selfish Sodomites did not want to share this bounty with outsiders. To this end, they enacted laws and took great pains to repel travelers. Two maidens of Sodom met at the well, where they had both gone to drink and fill up their water jugs. One girl asked her friend, “Why is your face so pale?” Her friend answered, ‘We have nothing to eat at home, and are dying of starvation.’ Her compassionate friend filled her own jug with flour, and exchanged it for her friend’s jug of water. When the Sodomites found out about her act, they burnt her to death. A second tale: It was announced in Sodom, “Whoever will give bread to a poor person will be burnt at the stake.”

Also, the following text of Genesis 18:20-21 is misinterpreted as referring to homosexuality:

Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

Rabbi Kaminker provides the context for Genesis 18:20-21, which explains why the two angels, at the request of God, visited Sodom:

Plotit, the daughter of Lot, who was married to a prominent Sodomite, once saw a poor man who was so hungry that he was unable to stand. She felt sorry for him. From then on, she made sure to pass him every day on her way to the well, and she would feed him some food that she had stashed in her water jug. People wondered how the man managed to live.



Upon investigation, they discovered her act and prepared to burn her. Before she died, she turned to G-d and cried, “Master of the world, carry out justice on my behalf!” Her cries pierced the heavens, and at that moment G-d said, “I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached Me.”

Those who assert the story of Sodom is fundamentally about homosexuality must also examine the text of Leviticus 19:34: The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.

If we leave judgement of people’s actions up to God instead of ordinary people, it’s clear it depends on what we did to help those in need. Don’t take my word for it, just listen to Christ in Matthew 25:31-46.

The irony is palpable. Fire and brimstone, if it strikes the nation, will not be due to homosexuality. It will be due to the wrath of God directed toward those who seek to build a wall and send immigrants back.

Sanguinetti is the author and translator of the book, “Joan of Arc: Her Trial Transcripts.”