Monday, September 15, 2008

Gay People and You

I surmise that there are not too many conservative Christians who read this blog (among the tens who already do). However, I have been harassed a couple of times over the weeks by Christians over my postings (apparently, they did not take kindly to my revelations of the violence and hatred of their religion). Well, it needs to be restated, especially as it concerns the one group that remains most acceptable for people to openly hate in our society--gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people.

For those religiously inclined, especially the Christian religion, it does not take a physicist to understand the connection of their bigotry. Here is the Old Testament's command for treatment of LGBT peoples.

Leviticus 20: 13: "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."

It is not an accident that televangelists like Jimmy Swaggart advocates killing gay people.

In fairness to our religious friends, and to those who consider themselves liberal Christians, the New Testament does not treat LGBT people much better. Here is what Paul has to say about God's law on such matters.

1 Corinthians 6: 9-10: "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 [i.e., LGBT], Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

This is why when Christianity consolidated itself in Europe, homosexuality became a criminal offense. During the Inquisition, suspected gays, particularly lesbians, were targeted as witches. And of course, this attitude carries itself down to this day in our attitudes towards members of the LGBT community.

However, if one just bothered to get to know gay people, they might think otherwise. I say this because I was raised in a religious Catholic family, one that was politically liberal but at times still religious (if not my parents, certainly amongst the older members of my family), and not surprisingly like most straight people raised in the Midwest in the 1970s and '80s we were taught to believe that homosexuality was a mortal sin. Indeed, this attitude was a part of our culture. Here is comedic great Sam Kinison, extolling his much beloved act of genius and hate (and one that was more accepted than people might expect).

Here is another '80s icon, Eddie Murphy, the one your kids, reared on Nutty Professor and Shrek, never knew existed.

As for myself, I never knew any openly gay people until I went to college, and it was an eye-opening experience (living and working on campus and getting to know LGBT people [in a city with one of the largest LGBT communities in the country]). I discovered something very quickly. In spite of the difference in orientation, and approach to sexuality and even conceptualization of one's own sexual identity, there were very little difference between straights and the gay people I knew and went to school with. That interaction, and my general liberal outlook (admittedly, a product of my upbringing), did much to change what view I had of gay people instilled by years of religious and homophobic cultural brainwashing.

To be sure, things have changed. Homosexuality is certainly more accepted now than ever before. If anything, it has become almost chic on many college campuses and among young teenage males downloading and viewing porn. Nevertheless, the religious opposition, at least among most religious peoples, remains the same, as ever. Well, here is what people blinded by the Book of Leviticus are missing. Real people, who care and love each other as much as any so-called Christian.

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