Abominations: Bias by the Book
Published on -10/29/2012, 10:15 AM
When Mom and I visited an elderly aunt in Nebraska, the topic of homosexuality somehow came up.
I shared some of the large body of evidence that alternate sexualities (SISOs) are not "chosen," but ingrained.
"Well," said my aunt, "they might be born that way, but they don't have to act that way!"
That is, God created "them" with an intense biologic drive, then insisted they suppress it. It wasn't the first time ...
In the pristine natural paradise of Eden, the Gardener displayed a wonderful fruit tree, and deliberately set in motion the events that would lead to the expulsion of the fraternal twins, Adam and Eve. They were cut off from Nature, no longer a part of it. Destined, perhaps, to dominate it, but forever separate.
The Hebrew creation myth introduced the estrangement from Nature that would characterize the Religions of the Book -- Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
As we must subdue Nature at large, so must we deny it within ourselves -- especially when it comes to sex.
Leviticus 18 condemns men lying with men "as with a woman." Other abominations include eating oysters (that, at least, makes sense!).
It's also abominable for a man to glimpse a male relative naked. In Genesis 29, Ham's descendants are cursed because he accidentally sees his father, Noah, naked.
When I was a kid, sons and fathers casually disrobed in front of each other -- and in front of strangers -- when we changed clothes in the commons area of the swimming pool dressing rooms. Oops.
Lesbians escape mention, but the priests who wrote the rules wrote them for males; females were property for all practical purposes, second-class citizens at best.
Check out Genesis 29 for a beautiful love story, in which Jacob has to labor 14 years in order to purchase two sisters, his cousins, both of whom he eventually married. Just up and eloping with a man's daughter was tantamount to grand theft.
So we see the Old Testament's rare unambiguous references to (male) homosexual behavior have been cherry-picked for today's True Believers, turned into a major focus of attention while other unsavory behaviors are granted a pass for modern practitioners.
And the New Testament? So far as we can rely on the accuracy of words attributed to Jesus, here's what he had to say specifically about homosexuality: nothing. But ...
It was nearly scandalous for a 30-something man in ancient Judea to remain unmarried, but many believe Jesus never tied the knot.
However, he spent all his time with an all-male posse, eleven other dudes.
He maintained a platonic relationship with two spinster sisters, but devoted more attention to their ailing brother.
He had a foot-fetish, both giving and receiving.
Judas "betrayed" Jesus with a kiss, believing that a kiss between males was sufficiently innocuous to avoid rousing the suspicions of Jesus or the other men in his retinue.
Be wary of stereotypes.
Paul might be the only New Testament author to mention homosexual behavior, as he does once, in the first chapter of Romans. He denigrates men who lust for each other.
Paul was a misogynist who would've preferred we all renounce sex entirely. He describes "normal" sex as "the natural use of women."
To Paul, marriage was the lesser of two evils. Unconsummated lust distracted men from obsessive devotion to God, so although he advised against marriage on general principles, it would be better to marry than "to burn." In other words, as a last resort, marriage helps us avoid the penalties for Orwellian thought crimes; even lusting after a woman is committing adultery in your heart.
Today, despite minimal discussion of homosexuality in the Bible, many Christians place SISO on a par with rape and murder. In the process, they conveniently exempt other "sins", which for the most part are activities they'd like to "commit" themselves, such as eating shrimp.
This hypocrisy, plus the veneration of an ancient patriarchy's repressive taboos, hardly justify imposing such biases on modern society as a whole. Consensual sex between adults should not be legally restricted to those situations that conform to any given religion's ingrained prejudices.
Luke 16 makes it clear that divorcing one's partner and then remarrying is adultery, and so is marrying someone previously divorced. Many Catholics and some Protestants still believe this. But we don't have laws that outlaw divorce or remarriage for everyone. Nor should we.
For centuries, literal interpretation of the Bible forced clergy to deny a heliocentric solar system, and allowed them to burn those nature-loving witches. Many today would burn SISO people, if they could.
Atypical sexuality doesn't merit special protection, just the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else. Allowing legal same-sex marriage doesn't imply government endorsement of SISO, any more than legal alcohol sales imply approval of alcoholism. It doesn't "demean" my marriage or yours.
SISO is natural, not a matter of "choice." It isn't "catching." You can't seduce someone into becoming SISO, nor bludgeon him into "escaping" it. There is no "homosexual agenda" other than access to equal human rights.
The Constitution guarantees us freedom of and from religion, but not the ability to impose one set of sectarian beliefs on others. If you're not SISO, fine. Others are, and it's not your call whether or not they may legally act on their own beliefs -- so long as they don't injure anyone.
Jon Hauxwell, MD, is a retired family physician who grew up in Stockton and now lives outside Hays. firstname.lastname@example.org