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Homosexuality in Religion

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Comparable to racism and sexism, homophobia is another type of discrimination that will, unfortunately, most likely always exist throughout this generation. Religion and The idea of homosexuality tends to be offensive to many religiously people, especially Christians. One of the “Golden Rules” stated in the Bible is to treat others how you would like to be treated, yet homosexuals are mistreated by many Christians all the time. The issue of homosexuality in Christianity has many sides. For many years homosexuals have been named evil enemies and throughout history homosexuality has been labeled as vulgar, perverse and immoral. There are those who believe that it is a sin in God’s eyes and according to the Bible, and there are those who believe the God and the Bible are not specific to homosexuals. Many argue that it is homosexual actions which are sinful, rather than the state of being homosexual itself. The relationship between religion and homosexuality can vary between different religions. There are a lot of religious groups that are generally negative towards homosexuality and there are many different types of actions they may take towards homosexual behavior. However there are many religions who view two people of the same sexual orientation to be a positive thing and many religious may even bless and support homosexuals.

Christian denominations hold a variety of views on the issue of homosexual activity, ranging from outright condemnation to complete acceptance (Bates, 46). The majorities of Christian denominations welcome people attracted to the same sex, but teach that homosexual acts are sinful (Boswell, 23). Homosexuality in Christianity is a tough debate based on whether you are a religious person, how you were raised, and where your morals and ethics stand. You cannot truly believe one way without taking into account the other side and have valid proof to back it up. In Catholic belief, “marriage is a faithful, exclusive and lifelong union between one man and one woman, joined as husband and wife in an intimate partnership of life and love” (“The Catholic Church, Homosexuality and Gay Marriage”). Catholic Churches teach that acts of homosexuality are violations of divine and natural law (Brom). Conservative Catholics see homosexuality as an infringement towards morality and nature (Brom). They believe homosexuals must reject their lifestyle by getting married to a person of the opposite gender. It is also thought that heterosexuality cleanses homosexuality away.

According to some conservative Catholic’s homosexuals must abstain from sex, if they are unable to find a spouse from the opposite gender” (“The Catholic Church, Homosexuality and Gay Marriage”). A heterosexual marriage is believed to lead homosexuals to a path of forgiveness. To become child of God by grace and to receive God’s gift, Catholics believe that we must reject sinful homosexual behavior” (“The Catholic Church, Homosexuality and Gay Marriage”). However to Catholics, homosexual desires themselves are not sinful. To Catholics people are subject to a wide variety of sinful desires over which they have little direct control, but these desires do not become sinful until a person acts upon them, either by acting out the desire or by encouraging the desire and deliberately engaging in fantasies about acting it out (Brom). People that are tempted by homosexual desires are not sinning until they act upon those desires in some manner (Brom). According to the Pope marriage between a man and a woman is a fundamental part of human reality and the basic unit of society, “No other form of relationship between persons can be considered as an equivalent to this natural relationship between a man and a woman out of whose love children are born.” As with most issues, there is diversity of views of members of Baptist churches on homosexuality, but there are some Baptist that are supportive of homosexuals and some even openly condone gay marriage (Bass and Kaufman).

However, the majority of established Baptist churches themselves generally condemn homosexual behavior. The Baptists who hold homosexuality as a sinful behavior also teach that homosexual sin can be forgiven through Christ if repentance is shown. Nevertheless, Baptists generally believe that homosexuality is an issue that can be approached with compassion and love” (“American Baptist Churches Home.”) The Baptist church’s stance on homosexuality normally depends on the individual church’s affiliation. For example, the Southern Baptist Convention adheres to the belief that the Bible denounces homosexuality, therefore it is sinful (Bass and Kaufman). They believe that sexual preference is a choice, and that homosexual people can eventually overcome their homosexuality to become pure. Despite the fact that the Southern Baptist Convention sees homosexuality as a sin, they do not classify it as an unforgivable sin (Bass and Kaufman). A relatively, but small number of Baptists and congregations are open to the acceptance of homosexual relationships, such as The Alliance of Baptists (“American Baptist Churches Home.”).

They are a small group in the American Baptist denomination and they are supportive of same-sex marriage and they are open to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender believers. Lutheran viewpoints concerning homosexuality are diverse because there is not just one homosexuality opinion that represents all Lutherans, but there is a clear difference between Evangelical Lutheran movements and traditional Lutheran churches (Robinson). The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is still in the process of developing a social statement directly related to homosexuality, yet they do call all Christians to respect all people, regardless of sexual orientation (Robinson). Other Lutheran churches make a distinction between homosexual orientation and homosexual behavior. For instance, the Lutheran Church of Australia believes that sexual orientation is not controlled by the individual. The church does not condemn nor judge homosexuality and claims the Bible is silent on homosexual orientation (Robinson). Homosexuals are welcomed into the congregation. Some parts of the Lutheran churches allow for the blessing of gay unions, within the Lutheran Communion. For example, they have an openly gay clergy; Eva Brunne in Lutheran Church of Sweden ( Martin). The Anglican Church has its own view on homosexuality.

Today the Anglican Church is still widely divided over their views of homosexuality. However, a majority of Anglican churches in Africa, which are where a major number of Anglican churches are located feel that, because the Bible states that homosexuality is a sin then they are not willing to condone it, and they are going do far as threatening to leave the Anglican Church if the church continues to condone homosexual behavior (Morris). Anglicans in Africa and other countries who despise homosexuals and homosexuality are demanding that all provinces in the Communion actively discriminate against homosexuals and bisexuals (Morris). Anglicans in North America and other countries have a different belief. They are beginning to accept homosexuality as a normal, natural sexual orientation for a minority of adults and they are advocating equal treatment for persons of all sexual orientations. However we do have the bishops of the Anglican Communion, which in the year of 1998 upheld the traditional Christian teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman and that others are not called to marriage and should remain celibate (Skidmore).

Very few religions of Christianity accept the concept of homosexuality and there are a lot of homophobic attitudes that’s are directed towards and practiced by many places of worship, which I believe are hypocritical to God’s concept of the “Golden Rule”. It is thought by many that homosexuals will be denied from heaven due to their willful choice of perversion. I feel that the severity of homophobia has reached a point of no return, where the lives of many innocent have been viciously taken away. Ultimately, homophobia still survives due to the prejudices surrounding it. There are many factors that still keep homophobia alive, the history surrounding it, the religious perspectives regarding it and the people who practice it. Religious Denominations shouldn’t turn a blind eye to homophobia, because doing so has nearly killed all positive opportunities for homosexuality and homosexuals.

Homophobia in Christianity must be eliminated so one less homosexual has to fight a daily battle. No one deserves to be ridiculed, attacked or, by a religion because of his or her sexual preference. It is not for those whom are heterosexual to play God and punish anyone whom they find deserving. I feel that it’s very important at all times to keep in mind that “God loves human beings absolutely, without pausing to calculate their worth or due” (Smith, 218). Homosexuality is not something one should be condemned for but embraced, as all of God’s children should be. I do feel Homophobia can also be preventable if people learn to look past the fact that someone is different than them and realize homosexuals are people too. To fight homophobia in our religions, the people need to take a chance and fight for humankind and strive for equality for all. In my opinion, homophobia needs to be eliminated from the all religious institutions that choose to practice it.

Work cited

Smith, Huston. The Illustrated World’s Religions: A Guide to Our Wisdom Traditions. [San Francisco?]: HarperSanFrancisco, 1995. Print. Bates, Stephen. A Church at War: Anglicans and Homosexuality. London: I.B. Tauris, 2004. Print. Boswell, John. Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1980. Print. “The Catholic Church, Homosexuality and Gay Marriage.” The Catholic Church, Homosexuality and Gay Marriage. Franciscan Media, 2003. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <http://www.americancatholic.org/News/Homosexuality/default.asp>.
Brom, Robert H. “Tracts.” Homosexuality. Bishop of San Diego, Aug.-Sept. 2004. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <http://www.catholic.com/tracts/homosexuality>. Bass, Ellen, and Kate Kaufman. Free Your Mind: The Book for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth–and Their Allies. New York: HarperPerennial, 1996. Print. “The Revd Dr Jeremy Morris.” Jeremy Morris, Fellow in Theology and Religious Studies, King’s College, Cambridge. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2012. <http://www.kings.cam.ac.uk/research/fellows/jeremy-morris.html>. Skidmore, David. “Lambeth Conference 1998 Archives.” Lambeth Conference 1998 Archives. N.p., Aug.-Sept. 1998. Web. 25 Oct. 2012. <http://www.lambethconference.org/1998/news/lc098.cfm>. Robinson, B.A. “Policies of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America concerning Gays & Lesbians.” Policies of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America concerning Gays & Lesbians. Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, Aug.-Sept. 2009. Web. 25 Oct. 2012. <http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_elca.htm>. Martin, Jeff. “Lutherans Opposed to Gay Clergy Form New U.S. Denomination – USATODAY.com.” Lutherans Opposed to Gay Clergy Form New U.S. Denomination – USATODAY.com. Gannett Co. Inc., Aug.-Sept. 2010. Web. 25 Oct. 2012. <http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/religion/2010-08-28-Lutheran27_ST_N.htm?csp=usat.me>.

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