Jay Michaelson has a nice piece today in Religion Dispatches in which he outlines the use, and misuse, of the term "abomination" in some translations of the Bible:
Does the Bible Really Call Homosexuality an “Abomination”?
This word, used for centuries to justify an anti-gay posture, has been badly translated and even more poorly understood.
By Jay Michaelson in Religion Dispatches
Homosexuality is abomination. The Christian Right says so all the time, and non-religious LGBT activists say it too, to relegate religion to humanity’s dustheap. After all, isn’t that what it says in the Bible?
No—and progressive religionists should not use the word. It’s a mistranslation and a misconception, doing harm to LGBT people and religious people alike.
The word “abomination” is found, of course, in the King James translation of Leviticus 18:22, a translation which reads, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination.” Yet this is a thoroughly misleading rendition of the word toevah, which, while we may not know exactly what it means, definitely does not mean “abomination.” An “abomination” conjures up images of things which should not exist on the face of the Earth: three-legged babies, oceans choked with oil, or Cheez-Whiz. And indeed, this is how many religious people regard gays and lesbians. It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. Homosexuality is unnatural, a perversion, a disease, an abomination.
Yet a close reading of the term toevah suggests an entirely different meaning: something permitted to one group, and forbidden to another.