You are hereGod Is My Shepherd, I Shall Hate In His Name
God Is My Shepherd, I Shall Hate In His Name
Yesterday, a close acquaintance of mine said to me, "I read that thing you wrote about the gays going to the prom, and I think you're wrong. If my son went to that high school, I wouldn't want him around that kind of thing." And so the conversation began...
It wasn't long into my questioning Sarah* about her views on homosexuality before she brought up God. Sarah is a devout Catholic, married and in her late thirties, with three kids. She told me it says in the Bible that homosexuality is a sin, and went on to list a few verses that supported her position. She said, "Gays won't go to heaven, I know that." I asked her if there was anything besides her religious beliefs that made her think homosexuality is inappropriate. She said she thought it was a "disgusting lifestyle" and that she wanted no part of it and wanted her children to have no part of it.
Oh, where do I begin? First, there are a multitude of logical pitfalls in the belief that homosexuality is a sin. The most obvious being that such a belief posits the existence of God and we all know what a philosophical can of worms that is to prove. Second, the terms and phrases used in the Bible are some of the most misinterpreted, misunderstood words ever captured on paper. For example, there is much debate about the translation of the Greek word "arsenokoite" as homosexual offenders when a more accurate translation may be simply male prostitutes. Third, while the terminology of the translation of the Bible is open for debate, as is the interpretation of its message by various religious officials. For Catholics, the interpretation of the Bible by the Pope is final. For Lutherans, it's the Bible according to Martin Luther. How is it that so many different religious sects interpret the Bible with such variation and yet all claim to be the correct interpretation?
The next problem I have with using religion as a means to validate anti-gay ideologies is that I thought the Christian God was supposed to be all forgiving. Even if I subscribe to a belief in God, and I believe the translation of the Bible is correct, and I believe the Pope's interpretation of the Bible is correct (if I'm Catholic like Sarah), then isn't the God I believe in supposed to love all his children. Gay people weren't dropped from the sky by some alien spacecraft. If I believe God made me, don't I also have to believe that God made homosexuals? And if God is all-knowing, all-good, and all-powerful, mustn't He have known what He was doing when He made homosexuals? So homosexuals must be exactly the way God intended them to be, because God cannot make a mistake.
And, if a religious supporter wants to argue that God didn't make homosexuals the way they are, they choose to be gay, then I revert back to my point about God being an entity of love and forgiveness. Even if people choose to be gay (which I do not believe they do), then wouldn't God love them anyway? After all, they are still His children, misguided, perhaps, but His children nonetheless. God is supposed to "Forgive us our sins," right? Why wouldn't that forgiveness be extended to homosexuals?
I didn't gain any ground in my conversation with Sarah. While she couldn't answer most of the questions I've asked above, she held tightly to her belief that God doesn't like the gays. But given the logical imperfections of her position, as I've pointed out in this post, I have to wonder if God is the actual reason Sarah is anti-homosexuals or just the excuse she offers to justify her disdain. For that matter, I wonder how many others use God as a scapegoat to validate hatred.
FOLLOW-UP TO: Gays Stay Home! Prom Is For The Straight Kids?
*real name changed