Homophobia & Religion: Perpetual Bedfellows

I know it shouldn’t, but it always leaves me in a state of disbelief when I hear people spouting homophobic nonsense in this day and age, and more often than not it goes hand-in-hand with religious fervour. Case in point, today one one of the people I follow on Twitter retweeted this nonsensical article by some vacuous Congolese woman called Miss Raissa who, according to her own biography, is “very passionate about helping others and being a positive influence”. Well, if I’m being generous I’d agree she’s passionate, though as for the rest…I fear she’s beaten herself around the head with the Bible one too many times.

Being an atheist who also happens to be gay, the temptation for me is to let my anger boil over and lower myself by name-calling, however I’m going to try my utmost to be the bigger person and merely critique her ridiculous article. One may see this as a fruitless exercise, but sometimes you just need to vent with these kinds of things.

To give you an idea of where Miss Raissa is coming from she uses a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis to make her points; you know the one where God creates Eve from one of Adam’s ribs? *eye roll*

“How can two members of the same sex be fruitful and multiply? Homosexuality is dangerous to humanity. It’s direct rebellion against the plan and vision of God for his creation. Same sex marriage should be illegal because it’s a threat to mankind. How will we replenish the earth if we keep encouraging homosexual relationships?”

First of all she’s using the fact that a marriage is only deemed righteous and worthy if children are produced. So what about all the couples who are cruelly unable to reproduce, or all the couples who don’t wish to clutter up this increasingly over-populated planet with their own spawn? Also, how exactly is homosexuality a “threat to mankind”? Last time I checked, the gay community is not saying “we’re gay, so you’ve all got to join us. Being straight is wrong, what the hell do you think you’re playing at?” We merely wish (cue the bombshell) to be treated like human beings. I know, disgusting, right. How dare we? Miss Raissa seems to think it’s an either or situation: either we’re all straight or we’re all gay; the world can’t exist with both heterosexual and homosexual relationships occurring.

“Many have argued that homosexuality is natural because it’s common in animals. I would like to reciprocate by saying  animals unlike human beings were not given the ability to tell right from wrong. They are barbaric hence they are called animals. Humans beings were created in the image of God and are expected to walk in his ways.”

Ignoring the fact that she unsurprisingly uses “reciprocate” incorrectly here, I love her line of reasoning which goes ‘animals are barbaric, hence they are called animals’; surely if animals are barbaric they ought to be called barbarians? I would also argue that human beings are far more barbaric than animals, who on the whole only tend to kill there own kind when protecting their family, or kill other animals for sustenance. Millions upon millions of humans have died at the hand of their fellow humans due to ultimately meaningless squabbles about land ownership, whose God is the superior, or a false sense of entitlement about who should be in charge. Our actions are more reprehensible since we should all know better, even though we are sometimes driven by our base instincts.

“Society does not decide or determine what is right or wrong, God does. He also decides what is or ins’t[sic] considered sin. Homosexuality is a sin just like robbery, murder, lying and gossip, just to name a few. Just like people choose to steal, kill and lie. I believe homosexuality is a choice and I will disclose why.”

“Allow me to start by asking, is it possible for one to be born gay? Yes it is possible. So then you wonder, if it’s possible to be born gay how is it a choice. Well it’s a choice because you have the option to accept it or reject it. You can either turn to God and ask him to deliver you from the spirit homosexuality or listen to the lies of the devil whispering in your ears “you are born this way, this is who you are.”

Aside from the offensive equating of homosexuality with murder (and bizarrely with gossip *throws away Gossip Girl DVDs*), how on Earth does she reconcile the fact that if one is born gay, in other words to her mind God has made us this way, why should we change this if it is his will? If we are made in his image then God is one sadistic son of a bitch, because he creates millions of gay people every year yet expects them to lead a life full of shame, guilt and abuse. If we are born gay that means we are created with homosexuality inside us already at his choosing, though apparently homosexuality is the work of the Devil, so for it to be born in to us surely God must have worked with the Devil to create us? How does that work? Do I hear someone’s head exploding?

“Many argue that times have changed and homosexuality is acceptable now. Yes times have changed but the word of God hasn’t changed. God is the same yesterday, today and forever more. The word of God has no expiry date.”

In reply to this I will merely point to this brilliant excerpt from the television show “The West Wing” as it highlights the typical pick-and-choose mentality of these religious types. If these words of God are so unchanging why aren’t all the other commandments followed so strictly?

“Homosexuality is sexual immorality and it should not be accepted by the church or society. I don’t believe homosexuals should be treated like aliens. Homosexuals needs to be loved by the church and society, after all God wants us to love the sinner but hate the sin. Loving homosexuals doesn’t equal accepting their lifestyle.”

Well thank you so much, Miss Raissa, I am overwhelmed with the love of God. I’m glad you don’t want to treat us like aliens; how magnanimous of you. The “love the sinner but hate the sin” line is so clichéd, she’s like a paint-by-numbers Christian homophobe. It’s almost cute. Almost…

“In conclusion homosexuality is a sin. In asserting so, one should not be called a bigot because that statement represents truth not bigotry.”

In conclusion? She makes it sound like she’s been doing some extremely high-level reasoning here using objective evidence rather than regurgitating the same tired old bullshit. It also exemplifies why religion should always, without exception, be kept separate from law making. There is no critical thinking involved, no reasoning whatsoever. On the positive side, at least she decides to end with a joke in relation to her follow-up piece:

“Please stay tuned for “Homosexuality is a sin: Truth or Bigotry Pt 2″ which will be release sometime next week. We will be discussing this very topic from a scientific point of view.”

Now this I can’t wait to see…

People like Miss Raissa treat the Bible as a crib sheet for life and it makes them dangerous as they are closed off to any alternative view point. It is understandable that she treats the Bible as the ultimate infallible truth since this is after all what it’s meant to be, and in some ways it makes her a more committed Christian than most. A lot of today’s so-called Christians like to hold on to the security blanket of the God idea but ignore most of the actual information laid out in the Bible. They site Jesus as being fundamentally about loving your fellow man and that this is the important point to focus on. This is certainly a good way to lead your life, however I find it quite frustrating when talking to these part-time Christians who dismiss great chunks of the Bible, such as the Old Testament, saying they are merely allegorical and should be viewed as poetic metaphors rather than words to follow verbatim. Really? I must have missed the small print in the Bible where it explains which bits are OK to ignore and which parts are actually the Gospel truth. Perhaps there’s a “Bible Reading for Dummies” book that I should have read that explains all these things?

I find it all the more astounding when these Christian homophobes are from the black community, especially if they are living in the Western World where their community has been grossly mistreated historically by the white community. The civil rights movement is a direct parallel to the gay rights movement of today, and it amazes me how any black person cannot see the similarities. It is another reason why religion offends me so, how it can cloud people’s perceptions on such basic rights like being allowed to publicly commit to the person you are in a mutually loving relationship with. Roll on the day when religion is a thing of the past; sadly it won’t be in my lifetime.

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2 thoughts on “Homophobia & Religion: Perpetual Bedfellows

  1. I’m an Atheist, and I’ve noticed A LOT of homophobic atheists. Religion, yes can be used as an EXCUSE for homophobia, but there is something else at play. Homophobic atheists just don’t have a reason..at least I haven’t seen any.

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    1. EJ

      Well I can’t say I’ve noticed a lot of homophobic atheists, though that’s not to say they don’t exist; there are bad apples everywhere. I would say homophobia as a proportion is undoubtedly lower amongst atheists than amongst religious people.

      Those guys in the “Atheist Experience” video you linked to mentioned the “ick factor”. I would suggest that the “ick factor” comes from a lack of exposure to two men kissing as it’s still perceived as unusual or strange. After all, I don’t experience revulsion when I see any of the countless heterosexual couples shown kissing in TV shows, films and the like, but that’s most likely because heterosexual kissing is everywhere. Homosexual kissing is still rare in its frequency of portrayal, even more so outside of “gay” shows or films like “Queer As Folk” “Will & Grace” and their ilk.

      Homophobia in general is irrational; it’s just from a religious persons perspective they have a religious text to back up this repulsion and make it out to be legitimate. At least with atheists like those in the video they can admit to the unease they feel without maintaining a homophobic point of view.

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