For Arizonian Homophobes Everywhere

Homophobia among some is a failure of Christianity, a belief based on compassion and love, to concede that the same human emotions that strengthen heterosexual relationships can exist in homosexual ones too.

itsaboutloveIt’s really about love and affection.  Not anatomy.

The attention the legislation in Arizona recently received that sought to allow certain business to refuse service to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual) people is simply more of what’s been going on in this country and other nations around the world such as Russia and Uganda for some time now.  It’s a concerted effort by those who find homosexuality repulsive to sustain a protective barrier between them and their fear of gays, for personal or religious reasons.

The homophobe is a product of the environment that promotes heterosexuality as a norm.  I get it and so do most other people.  But we have also likely been raised with the corollary that its counterpart, homosexuality, is deviant behavior for reasons that may derive from a repressive fear of being viewed as “socially broken”.  The notion that somehow we could commit acts that seem to violate our anatomical makeup may indeed seem broken.  What is removed from the concept of same-sex acts unfortunately is that above it all, the one emotion we all hold in high esteem is equally in play.  Love.

Sexual behavior is something very private and personal and thus the creation of social mores that condemn pornography in all its various forms.  But sex is a strong motivator in the human animal as it is with all species for reasons that are important to the survival of species.  It is so strong that we all reach a point in our lives where sex is on our minds frequently.  In fact, a recent Ohio State University study found that men think of sex in the neighborhood of 19 times a day where for women, it’s about half that amount.

A lot of this sex is absent any real emotion of love, It is purely sought out for the physical pleasure it gives us.  If you ask any homophobe, the notion of heterosexual lust  is itself an offensive behavior on certain levels.  The Christian homophobe who is currently obsessed with banning homosexuality in all its forms, sees sex in a very constrictive manner – for purposes of procreation only.  The emotional release we get from sexual intercourse is valued greatly but with orthodox Christians the sexual drive that arouses within us naturally is also viewed as one that leads us to a sense of impurity within certain theological concepts and thus an inhibitor to an eternal afterlife with their creator.

The obsession of sex can and has led many people to acts of depravity.  So for Christians, like the love of money is considered the root of all evil, the love or lust of sex is considered the root of depravity.  It was perhaps St. Augustine’s view of depravity that planted the seed for Christians and their general repugnance for sex but he was later enabled by the very dark and austere theology of John Calvin.

It is however the biblical references, seven I believe, that sent people like Augustine and Calvin over the edge concerning sex and that condemns same-sex behavior as an abomination or something unholy.  I suppose the Christian homophobia evolved from the first biblical reference in the Genesis story (Gen. 19) of Sodom.  This is where the men who gathered outside Lot’s home wanted to have sex with the male visitors who came to warn Lot about the city’s inevitable destruction.  The allegory represented in this story is the evil versus good model.  Sodom and its people were evil and the forced sex aimed at Lot’s guest was meant to humiliate and defeat the good.

This image of depravity led later believers to see anything between same-sex partners as something to be avoided and even condemned.  Unlike heterosexual relationships the emotion of love between consenting same-sex partners is never considered.  To fundamentalist Christians homosexuality is always about depravity, not a sincere affectionate relationship.  It doesn’t receive the same allowances for heterosexual depravity which are equally condemned in the bible.

One only needs to recall recent comments by people like Todd Aiken or Rick Santorum, who though condemning the act of rape, still see the pregnancy of a rape victim as an act of God.  Man on woman rape is seen at least then as bringing something of value to the table where consensual sex between same-sex partners brings only sexual lust into the consciousness of people of faith.  A faith which also asks them to be compassionate and forgiving and where their founder himself exemplified this by bringing a social outcast prostitute into his inner circle.

bushholdinghandsHow difficult is this image to view for homophobes?

This makes the entire notion of anti-gay actions by the christian-right so convoluted.  The over-reaction in today’s religious fundamentalists anti-gay movement is likely the result of a bias that dismisses the emotion of love.   Somehow only sexual opposites can have lasting and deep-felt concerns for each other.   Not relationships between same-sex partners.  How this is determined isn’t clear but in the minds of people who take in faith that the earth was created in seven days by an unseen being, despite the physical evidence to the contrary, no clarity is required.  Feelings take precedence over facts in many religious matters and often those feelings have been twisted by religious apologists throughout the centuries who have and continue to prevail among the leadership.

I have been where today’s anti-gay activists have been emotionally.  So also have many others, especially those who have discovered that their own children, raised in the church, are overwhelmed with strong emotions of same-sex feelings.  The nature versus nurture view weighs in on the side of nature more and more.  We have discovered too that our earliest feelings about homosexuality have essentially been unfounded.  If there is any soul-searching that needs to be done today concerning same-sex relationships it does not automatically and solely fall to the LGBT community.  It falls, I feel, more readily at the feet of those who would hide behind their faith to condemn others they simply haven’t taken the time to know more personally.



12 responses to “For Arizonian Homophobes Everywhere

  1. I strongly believe that Christians interpret the Bible to support their own inherent distastes, bigotry and prejudices. They use Bible verses to put a stamp on their narrow-minded behavior. They believe in a Jesus who would punish people for being different from them. Idaho’s own attempt at codifying homophobia failed in the legislature this year. I suspect the bill will return, though. It’s so disheartening to know that the same hateful, demeaning attitudes that enslaved millions of African Americans is still alive and at play in our state legislatures.

    • Agreed. One of the … amusing … demonstrations of this, particularly relating to Arizona, is that while they’re quoting Leviticus to justify their homophobia, the very next chapter has a verse saying that you are to welcome foreigners and treat them as yourself. Which they conveniently manage to avoid in their anti-immigrant rhetoric.

  2. “I strongly believe that Christians interpret the Bible to support their own inherent distastes, bigotry and prejudices.”

    Agreed. To borrow a phrase from Ian Haney Lopez’s book about the covert racism that still exists today, anti-gay christians practice a “strategic christianity”. It’s selective in how it justifies its contempt for non-orthodox human behavior.

  3. Lot’s story you mention has no redeeming parts in it. The girl is tossed out into the street like red meat and is raped and abused all night, then is murdered by her master for being raped and abused. What kind of person even writes such a story, and what type of person in the 21st century doesn’t find every character in it (excluding the girl) deeply offensive?

    Fundamentalists make no sense. They have criminalised the flesh, thinking it a virtue to suffer.

  4. “Lot’s story you mention has no redeeming parts in it.”

    Not even for a sociopath? 😉

    It gets worse as we both know when Lot’s daughters go on to get him drunk and to have sex with him thinking, stupidly, that he is their last remaining chance to get impregnated. You would think that a person so drunk who was unable to determine who they’re having sex with would also put be in a state where erection is highly unlikely. So either the story is absurd on the surface, which is most likely, or the writer is winking at us and telling us Lot wasn’t all that drunk and was guilty of incest.

    It’s interesting too that the child born, Moab, to one of these girls, goes on to be the familial link who ultimately produce the “son of God”. Oh what a tangled web we weave.

  5. Most people have missed one of the core flaws of the Arizona law. It was written so broadly (to avoid having to mention queers and faggots by name) that it allowed discrimination for any religious belief held by any religious person. In other words, Arizona was, ironically, on the brink of being the first state to endorse Sharia law. (Did they not understand? Probably.) So, any Muslim, taking offense at another Muslim’s actions could implement Sharia law right there on the spot and their law would support their actions. Shop lift in my store? Off goes the offending hand. Defame the profit? Off goes the offending infidels head (Muslim or not). All would be legal under that law and the clones of that law currently being touted in other red states.

    This is all we need: states being run by conservative ignorameses.

  6. “This is all we need: states being run by conservative ignorameses.”

    I fear we are already at this point in the South and many Western states

  7. Fundamentalists do indeed use the bible to support their personal beliefs and desires. The biblical verses that allegedly speak to the issue don’t in fact. They refer to acts of temple prostitution and have nothing to do with homosexuality. Similarly, the story of Sodom has nothing to do with homosexuality, but rather it has to do with hospitality, the essential ingredient in a shame/honor society. No modern exegete would argue that the sexual element has anything to do with the point of the story.

    • “the story of Sodom has nothing to do with homosexuality, but rather it has to do with hospitality”

      I wouldn’t disagree with that Sherry. There are a variation of interpretations found in almost each line of scripture. I was merely speculating on how homosexuality likely became so repulsive within the Xian community and it seems like the implied rape of men by men may have had an early influence in what has evolved today.

  8. How would they enforce such a law, anyway? How do businesses identify people as being LGBT? Do you have to have it on your id? Hey, wait,, I’ve got an idea:, What about it they all wear pink stars, And if there gets to be too many of them, they can be taken off to a nice camp somewhere. There, solved. Oh, hang on,, the pink star thing has been done already.OK we’ll get them yellow ones..

    • “How do businesses identify people as being LGBT?”

      A point often missed in this issue. I think this arose initially from a bakery that refused to make a wedding cake where two male figurines were on top as opposed to the traditional male/female duo. There have been cases too where photographers refused to shoot photos of gay couples. For the most part however most businesses would never actually know unless it was revealed to them by the purchasers (for whatever reason) or someone who claimed to know.

      So it appears that for fundamentalist christian entrepreneurs anyway, the invisible hand of the free market is attached to a heterosexual apparition.

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