Saturday, January 9, 2010

The bible and gay rights

The lovely and talented Ellen DeGeneres has been quoted as saying, "I believe that someday we'll look back on this and not allowing gays to marry will seem as absurd as not allowing women to vote."

Of course, to most people same-sex marriage should seem like a no-brainer, akin to racial equality and women's suffrage, as Ellen's quote suggests. However, while it seems to make sense on the surface, there is one essential element that unfortunately renders it impossible: religion.

As far as I know, there is nothing in the bible that specifically prohibits women from having the vote (although religion certainly does its part to prevent women from enjoying the same status as their male counterparts - but I digress). People who were opposed to the female vote didn't necessarily have direct biblical passages to quote, and no one can really prove that female suffrage goes against the will of god. But homosexuality is another story.

One of the scarier sections of the bible, Leviticus, does make mention not of same-sex marriage, but of homosexual acts.

Leviticus 20:13 states: "If a man lies with a male, as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."

All those who oppose gay marriage can invoke these words and claim to have god on their side. An even bigger problem is how much political sway is given to these religious bigots. Same-sex marriage is legal now in Canada, but I don't see how America will ever get there at the rate they're going. Politicians in the US who even want to be considered for candidacy have to make loud, public proclamations of their (Christian) faith and end every speech with "god bless America". Evangelical nutjobs have massive voting power, and they know it. They are constantly being catered to, either because the politicians are religious themselves (a la George Bush), or because the politicians know whose ass they have to kiss if they ever want to see Washington.

So, with all due respect to Ellen DeGeneres, it is wishful thinking to hope that same-sex marriage will one day go the route of the woman's vote. So long as the words of the bible have influence on the public political sphere, there are people who will feel justified in their hateful, prejudiced, discriminatory ignorance. Yet another way that the beliefs of one group can infringe on the rights of everybody else.


  1. How is homosexual marriage rights not infringing the beliefs of Chrisitans? Why are the opposers wrong while the proponents are right?

    People who oppose same-sex marriages do so not out of religious nut jobery, but fear of the Lord. I know that's my motivation. I'd rather fear God than man.

    By the way, the New Testament has much to say about the sin of homosexuality. Romans 1 as a start. The NT also addresses adultery and fornication.

    Any sex outside of marriage between a man and woman is sin. Sin weighs a people down. God judges sin. I'd rather not embrace sin in the name of "enlightenment" and ignore God's heart to bless a nation by their holiness and obedience.

    Both sides want to inflict what they beleive on the other. In the end, the one with the will and heart of God, triumphs.

    There are plenty of hateful homosexuals. And far too many hateful Christians. But most simply want to share their beliefs in love yet make a stand for righteousness. Far too often, we can't get a word out without being called names and shouted down.

    Best to deal with the attitudes of your own camp, perhaps even scrutinize yourselves and attitudes like you're doing Chrisitans. Are you tolerant? Are you loving? Are you righteous?

    Chrisitans should also examine their hearts and attitudes and stand right before God. Then speak the truth in love to homosexuals.

    If we don't declare it as sin, how will you ever be free?

  2. I am not trying to tell you that you are wrong for choosing to believe what you believe - that is entirely your prerogative. If it suits you to have god and religion in your life, if you think it makes you a better, kinder person, if it gives you comfort and community, I can honestly say I think that's nice for you. I do apologize for the name calling because you're right in saying it's not productive and sometimes in anger people can get petty.

    The thing is, I can respect your decision to be a Christian, but you need to respect other people's decision not to be. If your religion tells you that being gay is a sin, then by all means, don't be gay. You can personally feel however you want about the matter. But I don't think it's right to legally force everyone else to live in a way that is prescribed by one faith. Why should non-Christians have to live by Christian rules? Legalizing gay marriage wouldn't make it any less of a sin for you and it wouldn't be forcing people to become homosexual. But at least people would have a choice. A choice to follow the beliefs of a select group or not to. In the west, we enjoy freedom of religion, but this also includes freedom FROM religion; otherwise it's not really a freedom at all.

    God's existence and the word of the bible are true in your opinion and not true in mine. We both had the freedom to make that choice, just like people should have the freedom to live by religion's rules or not. Banning same-sex marriage on the word of the bible takes the freedom of choice completely out of the equation.

  3. heartlikemary: "People who oppose same sex marriages do so not out of religious nut jobery, but fear of the lord."

    Wow...since when did cowering before the invisible surveilance system in the sky not constitute "nut jobbery" as you so elegantly put it?

    Religion doesn't much like gay people, does it...but then of course religion doesn't much like anything. If I were to list everything that Christianity dissaproves of we would probably be here until next Thursday. It does seem to hold a special place in its hard little heart for homosexuals though. In your mind, if you're gay, then you've got something wrong with you. In my opinion, if you think it's some kind of insult to call somebody gay, or so say that it is a sin, well that's when you've actually got something wrong with you. I can see that you receive much of your morality from the bible; homosexuality is clearly a sin as mentioned in Leviticus 18:22, end of debate.

    I am curious to know whether or not you live your life in accordance to other "tolerant" commands of your bible.

    How do you feel about slavery, which is encouraged in Exodus 21:2-6? If you were searching Craigs List to try to find the best price to sell your daughter into slavery, search no more! Exodus 21:7 has it all.

    I think that most decent people can agree that other than murder, slavery has got to be one of the most immoral things a person could do. Yet slavery is rampant in the bible. You claim that homosexuality is an abomination and a sin because it is stated in the bible, yet I would hope that you would also say the same for something as cruel and immoral as slavery. Why don't you have slaves heartlikemary? It is because you pick and choose which laws of the bible you should obey. Is there a small chance you might get your morality from somewhere else other than a homophobic, sexist, racist, delusional Bronze Age text?

    I find the fact that you condemn homosexuals to burn in hell, and then use words like "tolerant" and "loving" in the same blog to be laughable. You are a hypocrite. Your blog, like your bible, is riddled with contradictions.