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The impact of religion on homosexuality & bisexuality

 Anti-homosexual legislation promoted
by some conservative Christians

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Quotations:

bullet"Jesus' life and teachings are built around love and forgiveness and reconciliation. There is no way you can say that (he) would have supported a policy of revenge, which is what the death penalty is." Rev. Joe Ingle of Nashville, TN, a death row minister. 1
 
bullet"Marriage, defined by one man and one woman, has been the foundation of civilization for thousands of years. Any attempt to alter that definition is an effort to undermine the most fundamental building block of every society: the family unit." FAQ about Same-Sex 'Marriage' " by Focus on the Family. 2

Legislation promoted by religious conservatives:

Religious conservatives generally refer to homosexuality as a behavior -- as something that one does. Gays, lesbians, mental health professionals, religious liberals and other groups generally refer to homosexuality as an orientation -- something that one is; it is defined by one's person's feelings of attraction towards men and/or women. This difference in definition generates an enormous amount of confusion and misunderstanding.

Most religious conservatives reject genetics as a cause of homosexuality. They view homosexual behavior as an abnormal, unnatural, chosen and changeable disorder, condemned by God, which has serious negative moral implications. Most of their legislative wishes derive logically from their ideas about homosexuality. The most important of these beliefs may well be that homosexuality is a conscious choice by young persons. Religious conservatives often feel that anything that encourages more youth to choose the "homosexual lifestyle" is to be opposed. Factors that make the "homosexual lifestyle" less desirable are to be encouraged.

Their personal nightmare is that North American culture will change to:

bulletAccept all sexual orientations as equal from a moral standpoint, and
bulletRecognized all committed relationships, whether by opposite-gender or same-gender couples.

The following are some examples of legislation that religious conservatives are promoting or opposing are:

bulletThey oppose same-sex marriage because they feel that it would seriously damage the institution, which they regard as a special privilege to be reserved only for opposite-sex couples. If homosexuals can marry, then millennia of family tradition would be dissolved. They believe that extending marriage to allow gays and lesbians to marry would encourage more young people to choose the "homosexual lifestyle." It would make marriage meaningless. A 2002-APR-9 poll by Focus on the Family revealed that 86% of its web site visitors agreed that "The institution of marriage is in serious danger in America." 3 On 2002-JAN-22, over 95% of their visitors agreed that "Civil unions in California would be a major threat to [heterosexual] marriage across the U.S."
 
bulletConservative Christians oppose allowing gays or lesbians to adopt children, presumably out of fear that the parent(s) will train their children to accept homosexuality as a normal "lifestyle" and may even influence them to choose homosexuality later in life. A Focus on the Family poll on 2002-MAR-20 showed that over 90% of their visitors opposed adoption by homosexuals. 3
 
bulletReligious conservatives generally oppose including sexual orientation as a protected class in legislation which outlaws discrimination in employment and accommodation. They advocate that only factors like race and national origin, etc. be included. Legislation protecting gays and lesbians would demonstrate that the government regards homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle.
 
bulletMany religiously conservative groups have opposed federal anti-hate crime legislation which would include gender and disability as protected classes, because the proposed bills would also include persons of all sexual orientations.
 
bulletThey oppose including mention of homosexuality in public school sex-ed classes, because to do so would typically present homosexuality as one of three alternative normal and natural sexual orientations. Again, this would legitimize homosexuality in the eyes of the students, and lead to more youth deciding to be homosexual.
 
bulletMany promote having health-care plans remain as a special privilege reserved only for married couples. They wish to exclude the spouse and children of same-sex couples for a variety of reasons. It would legitimize same-sex partnerships; it would recognize same-sex parenting as valid. They feel it would also encourage more youth to become gay and lesbian. A Focus on the Family poll on 2001-NOV-20 showed that 61% of their visitors were more inclined to donate money to the Salvation Army after they terminated benefits to spouses and children of unmarried employees.
 
bulletConservative Christians often encourage the continuation of existing state laws that criminalize same-sex behavior. They fear that if gay and lesbian behavior were to be decriminalized, that more youth would choose this "lifestyle."

Legislation recommended by Robert T. Lee:

Only the most extremist groups within conservative Christianity advocate the death penalty for homosexuals. But such radical elements do exist.

Robert Lee of the Society for the Practical Establishment and Perpetuation of the Ten Commandments is one of the more outspoken of radical conservative Christian sources on the matter of homosexuality. In his essay "Against Homosexuality," he proposes much more punitive legislation against gays and lesbians. 4

Lee makes a number of points in his essay; some are stated and others are implied. In the chart below, we contrast Lee's arguments with possible counter claims by those who promote equal rights for persons of all sexual orientations:

Item Robert Lee's argument Counter argument
Definition Homosexuals are individuals who engage in same-sex behavior. A homosexual is a person who is sexually attracted only to members of the same gender.
Laws Only the Judeo Christian God has the authority to define the nature of criminal acts. Governments have the power to create legislation, including laws that restrict behavior.
Range of law: All Americans -- Agnostics, Atheists, Buddhists, Christians, Humanists, Jews, Muslims, Wiccans, etc. must follow the biblical laws of God. Americans follow a diversity of religious faiths. Each faith group has unique beliefs governing behavior.
Scope of law: Those who sympathize with homosexuals or who promote tolerance of persons of all orientations are also to be executed. For a government to do so would be to destroy freedom of speech, belief, and association.
Bible Leviticus 18:22 requires that all homosexuals are to be executed. "...it is the God-given responsibility of corporeal governments to do the proper things to remove it from society." The verse actually refers to homosexual ritual sex in Pagan temples. The Bible calls for execution for many forms of behavior no longer considered to be crimes.
Sentencing God requires execution both for murder and homosexuality. Democratic societies do not execute adults for consensual and victimless behaviors.
Pedophilia Many homosexuals are abusive pedophiles. Pedophilia is extremely rare in society; about 85% of abusive pedophiles are heterosexual.
Tolerance Many homosexuals "want to recruit or teach children to accept homosexuality.....[and to] create tolerance for the horrific crime of homosexuality." Many non-gays also promote tolerance of persons of all sexual orientations. Society normally reserves the word "crime" for behavior that injures people; homosexuality doesn't.
Nature of homosexuality The homosexual has a spiritual and moral defect which has no right of existence. Heterosexuality, bisexuality and homosexuality are three normal, and natural sexual variants which can be moral or immoral depending upon the circumstances.
Cause Homosexuality can be caused by demon possession, either before or after birth Mental health professionals, and religious liberals have abandoned the concept of indwelling demonic spirits many generations ago.
Other causes: Some are taught to be homosexual; others make a conscious choice to be homosexual. Sexual orientation is not taught, nor can it be chosen.
Abortion Although Lee apparently opposes abortion access, he recommends that if a pregnant woman becomes aware that their fetus will be a homosexual, that she have an abortion. Most people would not regard the gender, race, or sexual orientation of a fetus to be grounds for aborting it.
Alternatives Lee implies in his essay that homosexuals cannot be persuaded to remain celibate or to convert to heterosexuality. Instead, they must be exterminated. Some gays and lesbians can successfully adopt a life of celibacy. Bisexuals can decide to engage only in heterosexual sex. Very few homosexual adults, if any, can be converted to heterosexuality.

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Christian groups promoting restricted homosexual rights:

The websites' URLs for some of these groups are listed below

bullet Alliance for Traditional Marriage (Hawaii)
bullet American Family Association
bullet Americans for Truth About Homosexuality
bullet Center for Reclaiming America
bullet Christian Family Network
bullet Christian Coalition
bullet Citizens for Community Values
bullet Concerned Women for America
bullet Coral Ridge Ministries
bullet Exodus International
bulletFocus on the Family
bullet Kerusso Ministries
bullet Liberty Counsel
bullet Mission America
bullet National Legal Foundation

Organizations promoting the death penalty for sexually active homosexuals:

bulletSociety for the Practical Establishment and Perpetuation of the Ten Commandments, at: http://www.tencommandments.org/
bulletCitizens for the Ten Commandments at: http://www.hom.net/~angels/deathpenalty.html
bulletCoalition on Revival, a Christian Reconstructionist movement. See: http://www.ifas.org/fw/9101/radical.html
bulletThe Society for the Promotion of Reformation in Government, at: http://www.spring-ni.com/downloads/title3e
bulletWestboro Baptist Church (WBC) of Topeka, KS. See: http://www.godhatesfags.com

Current beliefs among the public:

We have only been able to find one public opinion poll on whether persons who engage in homosexual sexual acts should be executed. Unfortunately, that was reported in an About.com section on Atheism and Agnosticism. The persons participating in the poll were self-selected. Although most were Americans, some probably lived in other countries. Thus, the results are probably not representative of the beliefs of the average American. 

About.com's online survey "Should homosexuality be a felony that is punished with death" conducted by About.com found that:

bullet82% of persons voting rejected making homosexual activity a corporal offense
bullet17% accepted the alternative: that same-sex sexual activity should be punishable by execution on the grounds that "... homosexuality is an abomination before God." 2

References:

  1. "Bible Belt Death," at: http://www.sullivan-county.com/
  2. FAQ about Same-Sex 'Marriage' " by Focus on the Family, at: http://www.family.org/cforum/research/
  3. "Previous polls," CitizenLink, at: http://www.family.org/cforum/citpollarchive.cfms
  4. Robert T. Lee, "Against Homosexuality," The Society for the Practical Establishment and Perpetuation of the Ten Commandments," 1998-JUN-20, at: http://www.tencommandments.org/homosexual.html
  5. "Poll results," About.com, at: http://atheism.about.com/

Site navigation: Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > Religious impact > here

Copyright © 2002 to 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2002-SEP-21
Latest update: 2009-MAY-13
Author: B.A. Robinson

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