It is no secret that most religions of the world are opposed to homosexuality. The Bible clearly 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 is upon them.” (Leviticus 18:22). While the Quran does not have such an explicit declaration, traditional Islamic jurisprudence fully proscribes homosexual acts. Hindu jurisprudence has no equivalent bans on homosexual acts, and its law books do contain a recognition of a ‘third gender’, but most Hindus oppose it vigorously in practice.
Of course, none of these religions are monolithic and all contain various elements that are sympathetic towards homosexuality, whether among general followers or in their institutions. Despite all that, only a fool would say that the religions of the world fully accept homosexuals or their rights. This is epitomised in the most patronising argument religious people put forth, i.e. that while they accept LGBTQ persons like any other human being and believe homosexuality to be natural, their dogma commands that they continue to consider homosexual acts as immoral.
The question is: what can one do in such a situation? Can an LGBTQ person agree to disagree with the religious person and still continue to co-exist? Or is peace simply not an option? The religious person obviously insists that they are only proceeding from a vantage point of empathy, that they demand restraint from the gay person not out of prejudice but because all persons have to control their desires under a religious framework, not just homosexuals. So, there is no ground to allege homophobia on their part at all. But all of this is utter hogwash.
Aside from the fact that this new kind of argument is a clear attempt at dehumanising the homosexual, because it proscribes the very fruition of the gay person’s inner desires, it has more sinister implications: It leads to religious people favouring the maintenance of legal bans on homosexual acts because that is not seen as an impeachment of LGBTQ rights by itself. It also leads to a moral justification for continuing with the torturous practice of gay conversion therapy because that is verily seen as an expression of love which only seeks to prevent sin. And it is the brutality of these points as well as the very sinews of religious beliefs on homosexuality that makes such beliefs worthy of eradication.
Religions, after all, view the very fact of homosexuality as wrong. To them, it is fundamentally unnatural and a deviation from the human normal which God(s) has thought fit to prohibit. The outward empathy they seek to exhibit for LGBTQ rights is informed not by an understanding of the fact that homosexuality is no deviation from the normal, but by their desire to be kind in a way no different to the kindness/forgiveness they may have for the rapist or the murderer. When one takes that into account, one can clearly see that religious people want the LGBTQ community to become dogs on a leash - restraining themselves from a fruition of their sexual desires and a more visible existence in public life - in exchange for little treats of kindness and little beatings of gay conversion therapy.
Therefore, the question of making peace with the religious person who denies the normalcy of homosexual relations or deems them sinful is moot. The religious person may seek to caustically self-victimise here by saying that their human rights as religious people cannot be restricted by the homosexual agenda. But the fact of the matter is that their argument would likely not find traction in any human rights court save the ones found in America with elected Republican judges. It is well-known in human rights jurisprudence that the right to practice one’s faith may be qualified. The requirement is that such a qualification be for a legitimate aim, that it be the necessary means to achieve such an aim and that it be the least-intrusive means available for achieving that aim. We clearly know that a criminalisation of the espousal of anti-homosexual beliefs is for a very legitimate aim: the securing of fuller rights to LGBTQ person. We also know that such a measure is necessary to achieve that aim. If there is no threat of criminal sanction on the espousal of anti-LGBTQ beliefs, then a threat to the right of LGBTQ persons to lead a dignified existence forever remains.
The only hurdle would be the question of intrusiveness. But given the nature of the mischief sought to be controlled here, criminalisation is not in the least excessive. The threat of criminal sanction that secures the rights of homosexuals is hardly intrusive upon religious rights: such a measure does not require the religious person to go out of his way to do anything, it merely requires them to forbear from preaching certain values. That may be intrusive due to the fact that proselytisation is an article of some faiths, but again, there’s no ban on proselytisation here - just a ban on bigotry.
Religions will make every attempt to try and hold on to their homophobia, going so far as to to suggest that their moral values are given by a creator and are immutable, regardless of the fact that science and nature condone homosexuality. They will say that their laws are not bendable and that science does not provide an objectively ethical guide to what is permissible among humans. So, a restriction on their right to believe is not objective or valid. But that’s not the point, society is not here to play religion’s game of “my group’s values are objective and right, your group’s values are subjective and wrong”. What society, at this present moment, is required to do is secure complete rights to human beings who have sexual and romantic relations with persons of the same gender. This is the reality of the here and now, and it is non-negotiable, morally or otherwise.
It is about time that religion killed God’s homophobia, lest He face the proverbial sulphur of a modern society.
Subscribe to The Pangean
Get the latest posts delivered right to your inbox