When Church Meets State: Homophobia
One of the things that I find most disturbing now days is the multitude of hatred that people seem to justify. Especially acts of hate in the name of God. One that seems to get a lot of attention is the issue of gay marriage, which seems to get a lot of opposition from the conservative ("Christian") folk of America. Now it would be wrong of me to label all these people as homophobes because not all of them are raging opponents to homosexual behavior and the like, they just feel that gay marriage will ruin the sacred institution of marriage. Now let's delve into this a little. There are six little passages that are really tripping up us "Christians" (I put this in quotes because honestly, I feel that most so called Christians do not truly understand the meaning of the word): Genesis 19:5, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, I Corinthians 6:9 and I Timothy 1:9-10. These six little passages out of a million seem to hold so much weight in our decision-making.
Genesis 19:5 is the infamous Sodom passage. There are many different translations for this passage but lets look at the King James Bible: "And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them." "That we may know them," has been taken to mean, "so we can have sex with them." This is a stretch, but if you still wish to believe it then I have some more arguments which I will bring up after we look at the Leviticus verses.
Leviticus 18:22: "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." Fair enough. Leviticus 20:13 essentially says the same thing (adding death as a punishment). The point here is clear enough, while being vague as it usually is in the bible. But...... if you read the whole chapter it also tells you not to have sex with a woman while she is having her period in Leviticus 18:19. Now honestly, do Christians make a big deal about that? Why is 18:22 more important than 18:19. Also we can't discount Genesis 9: 25-27, which clearly supports slavery. Or maybe Leviticus 20:9, if you disrespect your parents, you shall be put to death. That means pretty much all of us should be killed, because all of us at one time have disrespected our parents. Malachi 2:16 is against divorce, so you divorced half of America... God hates you apparently.
Above two paragraphs are about verses from the Old Testament, which contains many outdated laws. The bible (including the old testament) was written by people. People with flaws, prejudices and bias in their thoughts, therefore everything you read must be taken with a grain of salt. Here is some Lewis Black to give his perspective on Christian interpretation of the Old Testament:
Now on to the New Testament Quotes. "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet." This is from Romans 1:26-27. Now if you read the whole chapter of Romans 1 you will notice one thing. The homosexual behavior described here is not the focus of the chapter. It is more of a side note. If you take the whole passage for its meaning you will see that it is anti loose sexual behavior, such as sex with many partners, and not so much an anti-homosexual rant.
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind." In I Corinthians 6:9 it mentions the effeminate, which can be associated with homosexual. This passage was translated from Greek to English so to understand the meaning trying to be portrayed here we need to know the real Greek meaning of their word for effeminate. Malakos (the Greek word for "effeminate") is the word used which translated essentially means a male prostitute, or an effeminately dressed boy who has sex with men (a male prostitute who likes to play dress up as a woman if you will). It is not so much anti-gay as it is anti-prostitution.
"Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine" (I Timothy 1:9-10). As can be seen this is much like the above passage.
Now I am compelled to bring up the most important four verses in the bible which trump everything. All anti-gay arguments are created useless by these four verses:
"And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."
There you have it. It appears that we have taken petty little rules out of the bible and used them to spread hate while forgetting that it doesn't matter who you are, Jesus commanded us to love that person as ourselves. That's all that matters. So every time we deny rights to a gay person or make their lives a living hell, we are breaking the most important commandment.
The Natural Way of Things
Another argument is that homosexuality is against the "natural way of things." This always makes me laugh. There is no natural way of things (except maybe the laws of physics). This is the most fallacious argument in the book because whatever the leaders of society deem as the natural way of things becomes the natural way of things. There is no book that lays out what the natural way of things is. Nature is nature. If a man is attracted to a man (or a woman to a woman), then that is the natural way of things (it's not some choice that they make to spite the natural way of things). Plus we can't directly communicate with the "nature" entity. How the hell do we know what nature deems lawful?
Then comes the issue of raising a child in a household with homosexual parents. They ("experts") claim that it isn't healthy (mentally) for a child to be raised by a same sex couple. They claim that the child will be confused, depressed and a whole other list of afflictions. I disagree. But even if that were true I will tell you why. Same sex marriages are taboo in our society BECAUSE WE DEEM THEM TO BE! So when Junior goes off to school he will be ridiculed and outcast because he has two daddies. So lets go to the root of the issue, teach our children to not be bigots and accept everyone for who they are. Outlawing gay marriage for that reason would open a whole new can of worms. We would have to outlaw obesity, geekiness, skin color and anything that a kid can get made fun of for.
Why is this even a political issue. There are more important issues for the government to take on than who is having sex with who. We have a war, an economy in crisis, unemployment issues, social security in the crapper and a whole list of other things. Plus our declaration of independence clearly says: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." If it makes a gay couple happy to get married, why don't we let them? If it does not hurt anyone, why do we see it as a threat? More Lewis Black to make you think:
And if I ever hear "we are a Christian nation" and if I ever hear a politician use the bible as an excuse for making policy (eg. reasoning for stance on gay marriage) I will probably explode. SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE! Religion and state do not mix at all.
I could go on forever, but I'll leave you with that for now. I may update this in the future.
(note to all, I am a Christian)