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Buddhism and homosexuality


Beliefs about homomosexuality
among the Buddhist traditions

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"LGBT" refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender persons and transsexuals.

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Beliefs towards LGBT persons are greatly influenced by many factors. Two of the most important are the interaction of culture with religion.

Culture often trumps religion. For example, in the case of the worldwide Anglican Communion:

  • Many Episcopal/Anglican/Church of England members in the U.S., Canada, and UK feel that the Communion is in a state of great sin because it does not grant equal rights to lesbians, gays bisexuals, transgender persons and transsexuals including recognition of their loving, committed relationships.

  • Many believers in African provinces believe that Anglican Communion is in a state of sin because many Anglicans in the West support equal rights for LGBT persons, including the right to:
    • Enjoy the same rights and protections as heterosexuals
    • Marry the person that they love and to whom they are committed,
    • Be considered for ordination as priests, and
    • Be eligible to be consecrated as bishops.

  • Here is a single religious tradition, using the same texts as their holy books, sharing the same rituals, and sharing a common history that has extended over many centuries. Yet they take opposing views on homosexuality because of their vastly differing cultures. They are able to find biblical passages concerning homosexuality and interpret them so that they support their very different cultural views.

The same cultural override appears to have happened within Buddhism as well. 1 In Western Buddhism, there seems to be a growing acceptance of consensual and safe same-sex sexual activity as moral, at least among persons with a homosexual or bisexual orientation. In many Asian countries, cultural influences cause many Buddhists to continue of a long tradition of considering same-sex behavior to be a form of sexual misconduct, no matter what the nature of the relationship is.

Within Christianity, there is no consensus on the ethics of homosexual behavior, only:

  • A general anti-LGBT agreement among fundamentalist, evangelical and other conservative Christians and

  • An opposing consensus among progressive and liberal Christians who favor equal rights for persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities, with mainline denomination and congregations split between these two positions.

It appears that the same dynamic appears in many other religions. It is part of a long-term series of conflicts between science and religion within many faiths:

  • Religions are typically based on ancient writings by authors who knew little about sexual minorities. However, the authors are widely believed among followers of some religions to have received inspiration to write material that was free of error.

  • Science is gradually discovering the causes and nature of sexual orientation. Recently, researchers have discovered that a homosexual orientation is pre-determined before birth by a person's epigenetic layer that covers their DNA. The layer remains constant throughout one's life span. A test has been developed which samples a male's saliva, tests for epigentic factors, and predicts the person's sexual orientaiton with an accuracy of 83%.

In the West, science seems to be winning the battle for people's minds, as more research is performed into sexual orientation.

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Topics covered in this section concerning LGBTs:

Copyright © 1998 to 2021 Ontarios Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest updated and reviewed: 2021-SEP-05
Author: B.A. Robinson

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