Homosexuality is romantic or sexual attraction to members of one's own sex. The rights of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals is a contentious political issue in much of the world, due in part to religious views on the perceived moral incorrectness of homosexuality. One particularly fierce debate at the time of this writing is the legality of gay marriage.
Many conservative Christians, Jews, Muslims and Sikhs prefer to continue current restrictions against gays, lesbians and bisexuals — including prohibition of same-sex marriage. Some advocate the restoration of laws which once criminalized same-sex behavior. Many oppose the extension of existing hate-crime laws to include sexual orientation.
The Bible on homosexuality
- In Genesis 2:24 , “a man” “is united to his wife”
- In Genesis 19 , God destroys the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah; some say that widespread practice of homosexuality was the main reason.
- Leviticus 18:22 : "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."
- Leviticus 20:13 : "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them."
- Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 23:17 ) and 1 Kings (1 Kings 15:12 ) state that there shall be no sodomites allowed in Israel.
- Romans 1:26-27 : "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence [sic] of their error which was meet."
- 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 : "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." (emphasis added)
- 1 Timothy 1:9-10 : "Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine." (emphasis added)
Counter-arguments to the Bible's stance
- Verses leading up Genesis 2:24 talk of finding a companion for Adam. That he is alone is stated as being unnatural. That a woman is the only suitable partner is only implied.
- Genesis 19, while commonly held to describe the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah for the "sin" of homosexuality, more likely describes their destruction because of wickedness in general rather than just for homosexuality. They wanted to rape the angels, it makes sense that the sin was in fact rape, not consenting homosexuality. Ezekiel 16:49 (KJV) reads as such:
- "Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."
This supports the view that the sins of Sodom were not homosexuality.
- Leviticus 18:22 can have more than one interpretation. Some people have suggested what is condemned in this verse is pagan rituals, which involved homosexual acts. This fits in with the context of the verse, as Leviticus 18:27-28 specifically says that the pagans defiled the land with such acts.
- Although the book of 1 Kings does say that there will be no sodomites in Israel, that's only in the King James Version. Other, more accurate modern translations render the word "male temple prostitute".
- The translation of 1 Corinthians 6:9 as "homosexuals" is contentious. The words translated as "homosexual"(RSV) are "malakoi" meaning soft or effeminate, and "arsenokoitai" whose meaning as debatable but literally translates as "male-bedder". It is possible that Paul in this verse is condeming prostitution. There were temple prostitutes in Corinth at the time who were involved in worshipping other gods.
- There is also no indication that homosexuality is somehow a more severe sin than fornication. So at worst homosexuals should be treated the same as anyone else who has sex outside of marriage. Have you ever seen an angry mob opposing unmarried couples?
- Romans 1:26-27 describes clearly how God himself made people homosexual. This passage could also be a reference to idol worship and prostitution, due to the context of the preceding passages.
The Qur'an on homosexuality
- Surah 7:80-81: "And Lot! (Remember) when he said unto his folk: Will ye commit abomination such as no creature ever did before you? Lo! ye come with lust unto men instead of women. Nay, but ye are wanton folk."
- Surah 26:165-166: "What! Of all creatures do ye come unto the males, And leave the wives your Lord created for you? Nay, but ye are froward folk."
- Surah 27:54-55: "And Lot! when he said unto his folk: Will ye commit abomination knowingly?"
- Surah 29:28-29: "And Lot! (Remember) when he said unto his folk: Lo! ye commit lewdness such as no creature did before you. For come ye not in unto males, and cut ye not the road (for travellers), and commit ye not abomination in your meetings ? But the answer of his folk was only that they said: Bring Allah's doom upon us if thou art a truthteller!"
Arguments for the naturalness of homosexuality
- The discovery of homosexuality in many thousands of other species including goats and penguins, and even our closest relatives the bonobos and chimpanzees, has shown that homosexuality most likely isn't a choice, but rather something a person is born with. See Wikipedia:Non-human animal sexual behavior.
- In addition to relating to biological naturalness, the claim that homosexuality is unnatural (or "abnormal") may also be used to denote a deviation in behavior from the majority, or the norms of a society. To counter this argument, one just needs to slightly change the scope: it is natural for a society to include a certain amount of people who are homosexual, just as it natural for there to be a certain amount of people who are left-handed.
- Even if homosexuality were unnatural or "abnormal", it does not logically follow that it is bad. Instead, one would still need to show, why homosexuality itself is bad. And once you shift the argument to the alleged bad effects of homosexuality, the fact whether it is natural or unnatural does not add any additional value and loses its relevance.
Language and Interpretation
- The word “homosexual” was not created until the late 19th century. It first appeared in an English Bible in the New International Version, 1973. Before that, “sodomite” was commonly used, clearly defined as a sexual act and unrelated to the Greek root words of “arsen” meaning “man” and “koitai” meaning “bed” with a sexual connotation. “Arsen” and “koitai” appear separately but near each other in Leviticus. These are Koine Greek translations of Hebrew that appear in the LXX version of the Torah that Paul would have drawn from to create the word “arsenkoitai”. Online Greek translators do not recognize the word “arsenkoitai”. Its first appearance in writing was in the writings of Paul and has very little use outside of Biblical references.
Psychology and Understanding
- In Biblical times, homosexuality as a loving relationship was rarely written about. Men raping men was used to show domination and was used by conquering soldiers. Homosexual sex also used in pagan rituals. In the time of Paul’s writings, homosexuality was seen as a more lustful expression, and men having sex with a properly submissive woman seen as a normal expression of lust. (See Romans 1:26 above).
- Thomas Aquinas wrote about homosexuality being unnatural.
- Homosexuality was still seen as abnormal into the 20th century and homosexuals were not allowed to be psychiatrists. In 1957 Evelyn Hooker conducted the first analysis of homosexuality that included men who were not diagnosed with a disorder, that is, men who were functioning normally in society. Her methods have been criticized, but her analysis has been repeated and verified.
- Amid protest by gay activists for the classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder, it was removed from the DSM of the APA. It was ratified by a 58% vote. “Closeted” homosexuals had managed to become psychiatrists, leading to accusations that they “infiltrated” the APA to change the DSM.