Now before I start in on my blog entry and my issue with it here is a definition of phobia. Phobia: a thing about something, anxiety, exaggerated reaction, fear, fixation, fixed idea, hang-up, insanity, mania, neurosis, obsession, phobia, preoccupation, repression.

Now for those of you who may not have read previous entries in my blog I am a lesbian. Yes that is what I said. I love women. Therefore I have an issue with homophobia and what it does to my community, as well as the Church’s beliefs and why they believe what they do.

Notice I did not say I hate homophobic people because I don’t. I do not understand how someone can hate what they know nothing about. I also did not say I hated the Church. I am a lapsed Catholic because being tolerated in my own Church did not sit well with me I just don’t like the beliefs that deprive people of a full, loving life that is equal to everyone else’s.

I found a great website http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_bibx.htm while trawling the net today. It was interesting reading that I think everyone should browse through. As I’ve stated regardless of who you are you must conquer your fear, hate, dislike and mistreatment of that which you do not know or understand. Therefore I am leading by example and I read the information provided on this site and others so that I may understand why others do not think I am entitled to be as equal as they are and that I will spend the after life in hell. I’m going to include some of it here so that you may learn as well.

Now Fundamentalist Christians typically believe the Bible is true without the possibility of error. Fundamentalists interpret most biblical passages literally. They view the Bible as the Word of God fully applicable to present day situations.

Many Fundamentalist believe the sexual act is a sin when defined by the act itself so therefore all homosexual activity is sinful regardless of the relationship between the people involved. Heterosexual activity is not a sin if done within a marriage so all of you living together without a marriage license beware they may come knocking on your door next. According to them many biblical passages condemn all forms of homosexual behaviours and that God destroyed Sodom and its inhabitants because of their homosexual activity.  There is also no committed, consensual same-sex relationships described in the Bible. Which is kind of funny since there are 3 mentioned: Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathan, Daniel and Ashpenaz. ”

Homosexuality is described in the Bible but there is no mention of sexual orientation-true point. If such a thing as sexual orientation existed it would’ve been mentioned in the bible.  Some fundamentalists interpret 1 Corinthians 6:11, as stating that if gays and lesbians are truly saved, God will remove their homosexual feelings and convert them to a heterosexual orientation. Thus, no individuals who continue to engage in homosexual activities have actually been saved; all are destined for Hell after death.”  Would you believe some Fundamentalists think we can change our sexual orientation through counselling and prayer and have even gone so far as to spend and stupid amount of money in the media emphasizing that we can leave our homosexual lifestyle behind.  I must admit I laughed uproariously at this last as I can no more change my biological make up than I can change my eye color.

Now mainline Christian conclusions are as follows:  “A serious problem facing most mainline denominations is that the conservative/liberal split is reflected in the membership of their own congregations. Within each mainline faith group, there is a wide range of belief on all social and theological topics, from abortion access to the virgin birth. The larger mainline denominations have spawned internal, conservative, reform movements which are attempting to restore church teaching, belief and practices to those of earlier times. They seek to prevent sexually active gays and lesbians from being considered for ordination, and to prevent the church from holding homosexual union or commitment ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples. Meanwhile, liberals within these same denominations — often including central leadership in the denomination — are fighting for change. For the foreseeable future, mainline denominations will undoubtedly remain split over the homosexual issue, with one part of their membership following conservative Christian beliefs and the rest following liberal beliefs.”

And for the rest of us who are a little more liberal than others: “Religious liberals generally do not view the Bible as inerrant. They see it as a collection of writings by various authors, each of whom was promoting their own religious beliefs. Thus, biblical passages describe how Jewish and early Christian societies viewed various matters. They may or may not reflect the will of God. Passages relating to the genocide of whole peoples, the oppression of women and slavery are certainly not in accordance with the wishes of God.”

Some religious liberals argue one or more of the following points: The English versions of the Bible are translations from other language texts. The definitions, usages, etc., have been filtered through the mind-set and prejudices of the people who translated those texts. In order to fully understand the precise meaning of the passages of the Bible you must carefully examine the original texts from the point of view of the ancient Israeli and early Christian societies-kind of hard to do 2,000yrs after the fact. Most liberals believe that some but not all sexual acts are sinful. It depends mainly on the relationship, not on the act itself. Liberals view manipulative, dominating, coercive, under age and/or unsafe sex is sinful. Safe heterosexual or homosexual sex within a truly consenting and committed relationship is not sinful. “Author Chris Levan sees this reflected in the Bible. He writes: “The best response that scripture can give with regard to homosexuality is the declaration that our Creator is very often not concerned about the ‘who’ of relationship so much as the ‘how.’ It simply asks if the relationship is functioning according to principles of justice and dignity? Does the partnership demonstrate mutual trust and compassion? If so, it is blessed by God.” The original passages in the Hebrew Scriptures usually do not refer to homosexual acts in general, but to specific immoral behaviours, such as rape, ritual sex in Pagan temples and prostitution.”

Anytime a major ethical conflict crops up in North America it is usually resolved first among the religious liberals and last among religious conservatives. No surprise there at all as far as I can see. This pattern has been observed during the fight for equal rights for women, the right for women to vote, ending racial segregation, and legalizing interracial marriage. Our current hot topics under review for resolution the same way in the church are abortion access and funding, physician assisted suicide and equal rights for the GLBT community.

The “gay agenda” includes:

protection from hate crimes based on sexual orientation; an end to discrimination in employment and accommodations (housing); the right to marry or enter into civil unions; the right to be accepted as church members; the right to be considered for ordination, etc.

“Most conservative Christians are firmly in favour of maintaining the status quo; many liberal Christians feel that ethical considerations require equal rights for homosexuals both within and outside of the church.”

It’s true that if you take the time to read the Bible you will see little about homosexual feelings just like you will see nothing about sexual orientation. There was no such thing as sexual orientation during Biblical times because it is a mostly western concept which came into being in the late 19th century. Modern medical science, i.e., psychologists, psychiatrists, etc., didn’t really start seriously investigating sexual orientation until the middle of the 20th century. “Of the many hundreds of Jesus’ instructions and prohibitions recorded in the gospels, few if any have a sexual component and none deal with homosexuality. Most religious liberals agree with the main mental health associations. Sexual orientation is determined before school age, and is perhaps determined genetically at conception. It cannot be changed through prayer, religious conversion, reparative therapy, aversion therapy or counselling, any more than a person can change their race or gender. I wonder how heterosexual people would feel if they were suddenly a minority and the majority of the population was heterophobic.  Oooh wouldn’t that be interesting.

A lot of people in this world are homophobic. Some because of their religious beliefs while others because they themselves are homosexual and are afraid to be who they are for varying reasons-inner homophobia. A good portion of the rest of this slightly larger than I would like group learn it while imbibing mother’s milk again for whatever reason but mostly because of the fear and ignorance of what they do not understand.

God is supposed to be a loving, benevolent, caring being that was he message I learned in Sunday school. Vengeance is not a part of any definition I found in the dictionary for these words. So my question is who decided that the people of my community will spend the after-life in Hell and not in heaven like everyone else just because they love someone who is the same sex as they are? I know it wasn’t the subject of any of those stories we ever talked about in Sunday School.

As of May 2010, 76 countries criminalize consensual sexual acts between adults of the same sex. They are punishable by death in seven countries:

Iran has executed more than 4,000 people charged with homosexual acts since 1979.

Mauritania

Saudia Arabia: Although the maximum punishment for homosexuality is execution, the government tends to use other punishments (fines, prison sentences, and whipping), unless it feels that homosexuals have challenged state authority by engaging in LGBT social movements.

Sudan, Nigeria, Yemen, and Somalia round out this distinguished group.

Countries where homosexuality is criminalized but not punished by death, by region, include:

Africa: Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Comoros, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya,Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria (death penalty in some states), São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia (death penalty in some states), Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Burma, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar,Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirate, Uzbekistan, Gaza Strip under Palestinian Authority, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (internationally unrecognised).

Latin America and the Caribbean: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago

Oceania: Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands

Afghanistan, where such acts remain punishable with fines and a prison sentence, dropped the death penalty after the fall of the Taliban in 2001, who had mandated it from 1996. India criminalized homosexuality until June 2, 2009, when the High Court of Delhi declared section 377 of the Indian Penal Code invalid.

Jamaica has some of the toughest sodomy laws in the world, with homosexual activity carrying a 10-year jail sentence.

International human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International condemn laws that make homosexual relations between consenting adults a crime. Since 1994, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has also ruled that such laws violated the right to privacy guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Has anyone noticed the underlying connection among the countries that are listed above and how they deal with homosexuality?

Another bit of information I forgot to add…”Other than the reference to un-described sins the men of Sodom committed. Leviticus is the only source for the church’s teaching on male homosexuality. Two verses, forty-five words, out of nearly a thousand pages. Female homosexuality is not mentioned at all in the Bible.” Now isn’t that interesting? It sure sounds like there is a lot of obsession, neurosis and preoccupation in some people’s heads that to be revised.

Just saying

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