How religion can incite homophobia (part II)

14 Mar

The danger of this is religion is based on beliefs and not ideas. You can change an idea quite easily, we all do that everyday. A belief however is far harder to change. We cling to beliefs and base our lives on them. When faced with the possibility that a long held belief is wrong it is a devastating thing for most people. Rather than explore the validity of the issue they would rather dismiss it, cite it is a mandate of faith, and close the issue holding fast to what they have always accepted, right or wrong. In this manner the issue of homosexuality as being natural or organic cannot even be entertained.

When some religious leaders single out the homosexual community as being a threat many of their congregation take that seriously. Is there ever a good threat? Not really, the word itself implies imminent danger or attack. Doing that puts peoples guard up and creates a feeling of unease and irrational fear. That is the definition of homophobia to a tee. Most people that are ill at ease will simply avoid homosexuals, some will get proactive and take the fight to them in a figurative and sometimes literal sense. This is often achieved by telling people homosexuals are a threat to their rights, lifestyle, religion, and worst of all their children. As unbelievable as rational minds may find that I have heard it with my own ears more times than I care to admit.

Religion is not an evolving concept for the most part. It does not readily if ever change with time, at least not the big things like the belief homosexual acts are a sin. Consider evolution or evidence the earth is tens of millions of years old, most religions cannot accept this as it defies their belief, specifically the Christian faith system as that is one I most familiar with. As this concerns homosexuality, two millenia of being told it is wrong and against God has made this an accepted belief whether defensible by the Bible or not. Questioning that is questioning God which is a show of lack of faith and pride. As pride in that manner is a sin you therefore cannot question it without offending the Lord in some manner. Saying religion is an institution self insulated by more Catch-22’s than Yossarian’s military career is an understatement.

Although we often discuss peer pressure with teens it exists at all ages to some degree, it’s naive to think otherwise. If homosexuality is presented as a sin, an evil, sickness, or whatever it is being labeled as, a person that may not agree with that may fail to question it simply because they do not want to go against the crowd and potentially suffer ridicule or be questioned them self. As such by their inaction they become just as big a problem as the people speaking out against homosexuality on a religious basis. This happens just because a person does not want their faith questioned.

The final problem I’ll explore on how religion can incite homophobia is that religion is a construct of man. As such mortal men with opinions run the show. Most are good people, some are not. Some use the pulpit to transfer their beliefs to the congregation as if they were God’s. Some people can spot this and some can’t. People that cannot will accept it on faith as religion itself is a belief system based on faith. The person espousing such opinions as true religious doctrine need not back them up if questioned with actual facts, they only have to say it’s acceptance is a point of faith. If a person fails to accept it they then can be said to lack faith. If it is questioned further all they need do is turn the tables on the inquisitor pointing them out as being sinful which nobody wants to be accused of.

In a nutshell it is not belief in God or whatever a person calls their higher power which can incite homophobia, it is the man-made construct of religious institutions which can incite homophobia. It is a select group of people like the ultra-bigots along the lines of Fred Phelps all the way down to the small town religious leaders which stray from a message of love to single out and judge homosexuals as people that are not “with God” as being a threat to long held beliefs in some manner. It is these people spreading that message that taints religion and can incite homophobia.

Certainly not all religions are so bad, I may not agree with them but that doesn’t give me the right to depict them as evil in my mind the way many do to homosexuals. Not all faiths are against homosexuality, I would hate to give that impression, however within those that are and those in which an individual abuses their power to further their own agenda they are a huge threat to the gay community because they propagate homophobia often going unquestioned. At it’s base, blind faith itself is the single biggest way homophobia can be incited by religion.

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