Q: #500. Was King James, who commissioned the KJV Bible, a homosexual?
By: Steve Shirley
A: ***Note: Years ago, the very first question I answered on this site was on the KJV only debate. Therefore, it seems fitting to once again deal with a question on the KJV Bible to commemorate the 500th question answered. I thank the Lord for getting me to this point, and for His blessings on the site.
Somehow, in all my years of being a Christian, I have never heard the charge that King James was a homosexual until the other day. A man (on Facebook...) was saying (in short) that since King James was a homosexual, and he commissioned a Bible that is still used today, homosexuality must be acceptable to God. I HAD to find out more about this!
So, was King James a homosexual? There are websites and articles which show evidence that he was, and also that he wasn't. The number of websites/articles which show evidence that he was a homosexual far outnumber those which offer proof that he wasn't. Of course, just because there are more saying that he was means nothing. What's important is if the evidence that they show is credible. And the answer, to me at least, is yes.
While the evidence pointing to King James being a homosexual is pretty plentiful, we must first look at something else. It is important to note that King James (1566-1625) got married when he was 23 years old on November 23, 1589 to Anne of Denmark. He remained married to her for the rest of her life, until she died in 1619. They also had 8 children together (only 3 lived to adulthood). In addition, he apparently had an affair with a woman for several years, which began while Anne was pregnant with their first child. Therefore, King James was clearly not attracted to men alone.
The above is verifiable fact. What follows now is not as clearly verifiable, but still seems like pretty solid evidence. (***Note: Because it is not verifiable, I am not naming names here.) It is said that James' relationship with his wife deteriorated over time. While they stayed married, they were rarely together. After his affair with the woman (which apparently lasted about 2 years), it is believed by most that he began a series of relationships with 3 different men (one after the next) which lasted for the rest of his life. (Some believe the first of his male relationships began before his marriage, while he was still in his teens.)
The evidence pointing to these relationships is found in "love letters" that he wrote to these men. However, whether he was actually the author of them is up for debate. A bit more conclusive evidence is found in the writings of people who lived during that time which mention the homosexual activities of King James. Reading these letters and writings is pretty convincing proof.
However, on the other side are those who say that this is all a fabrication. The websites/articles that deny the homosexuality of King James seem fairly united that the "evidence" about King James was primarily the work of one man who really disliked him, and who spread these lies about James after he died. In addition, they point to different writings that James is said to have written in which he condemns homosexuality (sodomy), and other writings in which he extols the virtues of marriage.
The two problems I see with these websites/articles that defend King James is that: #1. They really don't show any evidence that the letters and historical articles about the homosexuality of King James are fabricated, #2. Nearly all of the websites which deny the homosexuality of King James are KJV only websites, meaning that they are hardly impartial. (Some actually believe that the "fabricated evidence" is a "plot" to get people to read other versions of the Bible.)
The reason why most of these KJV only websites are so adamant in denying the homosexuality of James is primarily because of people like the "guy on Facebook" (from above) who believe that if King James was a homosexual, it means that God condones homosexuality since the KJV Bible has flourished so much. Or, on the flip side, there are those who say that since King James was homosexual, the Bible which bears his name is invalid since homosexuality is a sin.
Both of these views are nonsense! The popularity of the King James Bible is simply the result of the fact the it is an amazing translation of the Bible. It clearly condemns homosexuality. (The articles which say it originally didn't are untrue. I have read the verses in a copy of the 1611 KJV Bible.) Therefore, its popularity does not mean that God "condones homosexuality...." As for the second view, the King James Bible was translated/written by 47 men who were commissioned by King James (54 translators and scholars were commissioned, but only 47 actually did the translating/writing). King James himself did not write the KJV Bible. (He did lay out a few guidelines to follow.) Therefore, whether or not he was a homosexual had nothing to do with what was written in it, nor does it invalidate it.
Apparently, all but one of the 47 men were clergy from the "Church of England." They did an admirable job. IF (a big "IF") King James was a practicing homosexual until the end of his life, he was not a Christian. However, in my mind, we cannot know with certainty that he was a homosexual. If he was, I hope that he repented before he died, and is heaven right now. However, whether he was or wasn't has no bearing on the validity of the KJV Bible that he commissioned.
***Note: There is also a theory floating around out there that Shakespeare wrote Psalm 46 in the KJV Bible. I don't believe it to be true, but run an online search if you're interested.