Homosexuality & Religion
Doesn't the Bible condemn homosexuality?
Some Biblical scholars believe that the Bible condemns homosexuality, others do not. Different denominations use the Bible as a basis for their faith, yet beliefs between these churches can be quite diverse. Throughout history some mainstream Christian churches have used the Bible to justify slavery, racism, child abuse, domestic violence, and sexism. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used Scripture to inspire those struggling to overcome racism at the same time others used the Bible to promote racial segregation and violence. Obviously, the Bible can be interpreted in many different ways.
Out of the 31,173 verses contained in the Bible, there are less than a dozen that allegedly deal with the topic of homosexuality. The meaning of these verses remains fairly obscure to many Biblical scholars, especially in the context of loving committed relationships. Jesus himself said nothing, which leads many people to believe that the subject of homosexuality was not a concern. Interestingly enough, the word homosexual did not appear in any translation of the Bible until 1946 (Blumenfeld, & Raymond, 1988). Likewise, there are words in the Greek language for same-sex sexual activities, yet they never appear in the original text of the New Testament (Blumenfeld, & Raymond, 1988).
See also: The Bible & Homosexuality
See also: Dispelling the Myth, By Rev. Bob Ellis
But my church teaches, and I believe, that homosexuality is morally wrong.
As citizens of this country we have the right to pursue the faith of our choice without fear of persecution; but, as citizens of this country we also have the responsibility to insure that no one persons' beliefs, religious or otherwise, interfere with another persons basic civil rights. Some religious faiths teach that eating meat or consuming caffeine is wrong. Others prohibit dancing, the use of modern technology, eating pork, or the use of birth control. These people have the right to live by the teaching of their faiths, but they do not have the right to insist that all people live according to their personal beliefs. Our government is not a theocracy based on Biblical law. Legislation must reflect a tolerance for diversity in extending basic civil rights to all citizens with respect for the common good of society. As demonstrated in Baehr v. Miike (Hawaii same-sex marriage case) same-sex marriage would not adversely affect society, children, or the institution of marriage (Baehr v. Miike, 1996).
If gay marriage were legal, wouldn't that force my church to perform same-sex marriages?
As with heterosexual marriage, religious institutions maintain the power to choose who they will marry based on their own policies and beliefs. Gays and lesbians are not seeking the right to get married in the church of their choice, but rather the right to a legal union and the benefits provided by our government to married couples. There are already several churches that perform same-sex union ceremonies, but these ceremonies provide none of the legal benefits of marriage. Gays and lesbians are not looking to marry in the religious sense (they already can), they are seeking the right to marry in a legal sense.
Are gay people religious people?
Although religion has traditionally been a major source of oppression for gay and lesbian people, many still actively participate within their respective religions. The degree to which they are able to be open about their sexuality is dependent upon their particular religion, denomination, and congregation. The issue of homosexuality has been given much consideration by a number of mainstream religious organizations within the last few decades. Many still hold conservative views about homosexuality, while several have become more welcoming to gay and lesbian people, and supportive of homosexual issues and concerns.
AIDS is Gods punishment for homosexuality!
HIV is a virus that has the potential to infect anyone. Over 70% of HIV infection Worldwide is the result of heterosexual contact (World Health Organization, 1996). According to CDC statistics (July, 1997) heterosexual sex is the fastest growing mode of transmission for HIV in the United States - growing at a rate of 15 to 20 percent a year, compared to 5 percent for intravenous drug users and 5 percent for male homosexual sex. Lesbians remain the least likely group of people to acquire HIV through sexual contact.
Simply put, AIDS is a disease, like any other disease. If we believe that disease is a form of punishment, then what did the people who suffer from cancer do to deserve such a fate? What about Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, and the thousands of other horrible diseases, birth defects, and illnesses?
Who are these anti-gay organizations, and what is their goal?
Anti-gay organizations have played a paramount role in the opposition of gay rights. In an effort to gain wide support, they often operate under the premise of defending Christian values or traditional family values. The real motivation behind these organizations is political power and greed.
Relying on society's ignorance about homosexuality, they exploit the faith of their followers by perpetuating long disproven myths, twisting factual information to suit their self-serving needs. They show a blatant disregard for scientifically sound research, while promoting the findings of inherently flawed studies, placing unwarranted fear in the hearts and minds of the nations faithful.
Many mainstream Christian churches are appalled by the behavior of homophobic organizations which profess to teach the word of God by spreading lies that perpetuate ignorance, resulting in hatred, fear and all to often violence.