Religion and Homophobia


Many religions have a proscription against homosexuality. In Judaism and Christianity, it is likely based on God’s commandment to Adam and Eve, to be fruitful and multiply. When there are only two people on the face of the earth, having lots of babies is important for the continuation of the species.

But other cultures and other religions were more tolerant of such behavior. Homosexuality was quite common in the Greece of Homer and Socrates. In Greece, the beauty of female and male bodies was celebrated and homosexuality was more than tolerated.

The existence of Homophobia

I don’t know that in modern times it is a religion that incites homophobia. Homophobia exists for a lot of reasons. I believe that religion is simply used by homophobes to support their prejudice. Homophobia needs to be seen as the complex issue that it is.

In terms of religious homophobia, it is the sanctity of the family that is usually used as an argument against same-sex relationships. Sexual relationships should only occur within the framework of marriage and marriage should only occur between a man and a woman. Why? Because the purpose of marriage and of sexual relationships is to be fruitful and multiply.

Even though our problem today is overpopulation, people still behave as though we need to crank out as many children as possible. If homosexuality was a sin when the world was under-populated, then not using birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancies should be a sin today.

Again, I don’t think that homophobia has much to do with religious beliefs, even though homophobes will often call upon religious beliefs and quote the Bible to defend their position.

There is a great deal of hypocrisy here. You can go to the Torah (Old Testament) and find justification for homophobia. In fact, you can find justification for stoning homosexuals, just as the people in Jesus’ time felt justified in stoning the woman caught in adultery (but not the man). The hypocrisy comes in with fundamentalists who cherry-pick the Bible to support whatever prejudices they happen to hold.

Homosexuality from an Old Testament standard

If you are going to judge homosexuals based on the Old Testament, you need to be consistent if you want to think of yourself as an honest and consistent Christian. If you’re going to hold homosexuals to an Old Testament standard, you need to hold yourself to the same standard. If you do that, just about every Christian fundamentalist is going to find themselves worthy of being stoned for one sin or another.

Religious justifications for homophobia aside, most homophobes are simply insecure about their own sexuality.

The louder someone proclaims their heterosexual stance, the more likely they have a big shadow in their psyche that is attracted to at least a homosexual liaison.

A good example of this is Republican senator Larry Craig from Idaho. He was busted for “foot-tapping” in a men’s restroom at the airport. Craig had previously been accused of homosexual behavior. Craig was a strong proponent of anti-homosexual legislation and recommended more severe punishment for a fellow representative accused of a homosexual liaison with a prostitute.

Religion doesn’t necessarily incite homophobia, but homophobes will not hesitate to use religion to justify their stance. If you look a little deeper, you’ll probably find something else going on.

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