“To be homosexual is an abomination.” Such is the phrase touted around many conservative circles when referencing the issue of homosexuality. It is a highly divisive, if not the most divisive, issue within both the American political and religious arena today. So in usual form my position finds itself landing outside of both conservative and liberal ideologies.
To begin, I must first go to a very honest place. I have never known what it is like to struggle with being homosexual. So am I in any position to make any statements about how people experience same-sex attraction? No. However, I do know what it is like to struggle with urges that proved to be beyond my natural control. Regardless of how much will power I mustered or efforts to abstain, I would eventually succumb to desires I was unable to overcome through natural means. For a good portion of my life, I struggled with the sin of lust.
It began at a very young age. I certainly was not old enough to comprehend what sex really was or what it entailed. Yet, exposure to nudity and pornography seemed to feed into an involuntary desire for more. And of course, learning about sex from a fellow first grader who clearly knew too much only made things worse. So along with him and other first grade boys, we set about trying to grope and grind on girls in our class. We got into trouble as a result here and there, but boys will be boys after all.
Fast forward to my teenage years and the urges are still there, if not reinforced by the onset of puberty. One memorable moment occurred while talking to an adult neighbor outside. He told my friends and I about his collection of porn tapes and to simply ask his stepson if we wanted to see them. So why bring all of this up in an article about homosexual sin? I assure you, it certainly is relevant. Because although this behavior was sinful, it was also more culturally acceptable.
I am fairly certain had those same instances been reframed within a homosexual context, the reaction would have been much different. I can only imagine the outrage from both peers and adults if I went around groping other boys. I am sure our neighbor would have been reported if he were a gay man offering gay porn to a group of teenage boys. Yet, all instances would have been equally regarded as sin according the Bible.
So if the Bible considers both heterosexual and homosexual immorality to be sinful, why does the latter typically receive much harsher treatment from religious circles? I dare to say our society’s historical reaction to those who are homosexual has far less to do with religious piety, and much more to do with cultural taboos. And yes, a very strong case can be made for this.
I acknowledge that as a heterosexual male, I enjoy a certain amount of privilege. It is privilege in that a female or homosexual would not be able to get away with some of the same behaviors. For a boy to sexualize women is often accepted as a sign of masculinity. To make this point clearer, simply consider the difference in both public and legal reactions to adult teachers caught having sex with teenage students. When the student is female, she is usually seen as a victim who was preyed upon. But when the student is male, there are many who consider him to be lucky or some kind of hero.; especially if she was attractive.
I have heard other Christians express seeing a homosexual in the same light as they would view a pedophile. They claim their stance on the issue is rooted in the Bible. After all, it was the reason for Sodom and Gomorrah being destroyed (despite God also demolishing kingdoms all throughout the Old Testament). And we must not forget homosexuality’s special designation as an “abomination” to God. But is religion really the root of hostility towards someone who is homosexual? I beg to differ.
If someone engages in homosexual behavior, the Bible certainly considers it to be an abomination. However, there are dozens of other acts and behaviors also called abominations that fail to arouse nearly as much animosity. These include but are not limited to:
Cheating/Dishonest monetary interactions (Wall Street, politics in general)
Using religion for greed (too many churches and televangelists to count)
Oppressing the poor and vulnerable (most conservative political practices)
Pride/Arrogance (ahem, “America is the greatest country in the world!”)
Having sex with a menstruating woman
Shedding innocent blood (abortion, wrongfully executed prisoners, wars for money, police brutality)
Prayers of the wicked (religious lip-service by most who claim to believe in God)
Customs of pagans (Christmas, Easter, jumping the broom, superstition)
Sowers of discord (gossips, those who love to start or perpetuate drama, political strategists)
A lying tongue (humanity)
The thoughts of the wicked (ever thought anything bad?)
Adultery (Jesus said to even look at someone with lustful desire is adultery)
One who does not pay their debts (most of the American population)
One who exacts interest (the entire credit industry)
Apparently, those who crusade on God’s behalf have dropped the ball when it comes to addressing the other 97% of abominations. In fact, they have probably committed quite a few themselves.
Furthermore, a homosexual person often found themselves to be targets of discrimination in nations with hostilities toward religion. Homosexuals were among the most highly persecuted groups by the Nazis. And until the 1990’s, most of the major communist governments considered homosexuality to be a crime punishable by imprisonment; if not worse. And even in the countries that have since decriminalized homosexuality, few have yet to make it legal for homosexuals to marry.
With all of this said, I would like to make a very clear statement to those on both sides of the homosexual argument. The belief that the Bible is responsible for most people’s decision to mistreat or harm gay people is a complete farce. Some of the most popular television shows in recent history include a ruthless meth manufacturer, murderous biker gang, self-righteous serial killer and woman who helps powerful people cover-up crimes. But if the main character on any of these shows were suddenly portrayed as homosexual, how many ministers would call for boycotts?
Religion is often a justification for showing hostility to a homosexual person, but is actually rooted in cultural norms. Being that most of these crusaders seem to have a much higher tolerance for so many other sins, this should be evident. But the larger issue at hand is how much the American church has allowed cultural and political beliefs to inform actions done in the name of God. How many have been turned away from God because of those misrepresenting Him? How many have handed down judgment on homosexuals for their sins, all the while sanitizing their own in the waters of cultural acceptance?
Ironically, one sinner treating another as if they are less righteous (homosexual or not), is something God surely considers to be an abomination.
“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. 2 For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. 3 Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.” Matthew 7: 1-5
So how about we remove a few logs in order to better handle this issue? For every log we fail to remove from our own eyes, adds another one to the fires of those who see Christians as nothing but a bunch of hypocrites.
By Corey Dorsey