Reflections on Homosexuality in America

Note:

The following article/essay is simply my thoughts on the issue of homosexuality in America and the hold that religious (namely Christians) people have on it. The intent is not to change anyone's mind, but express why I think the mode of thinking shouldn't spill into politics.

My Opening Thoughts

While I am not gay myself, I see myself as more of an advocate or supporter or gay rights. Why? I believe that everyone should have the same freedoms and civil liberties that our constitution says we have. This even means I am against the NDAA since it takes away the right to a fair trial and infringes on privacy; but that is a different topic. The point is I think we have an awesome constitution, but we need to abide by it, not pick and choose like people of faith can tend to pick and choose quotes from the bible and interpret them in a way to harm or hurt others.

I think that even if one has the opinion that homosexuality is wrong (which is okay to have that opinion), they need to tolerate and accept the fact that some people are gay. Note, in no way did I say they have to agree that it’s okay, just know it’s a part of some people’s lives and that it’s normal and they should not be shunned for it. Being gay has been linked to genetics; and here is a URL that shed some light on it: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/01/homosexuality-genetics-usa

While it may not be 100% certain yet that it’s linked to genetics, it seems so obvious to me that for whatever specific reason, gay people are born and wired that way and it’s not a choice they can help. Just like I was born and wired to be straight. I think back to the old phrase, “If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it must be a duck.” Sometimes the answers we seek are very simple and under our nose the entire time.

Even if homosexuality was a choice, I still wouldn’t care and would still fight for their rights. So, choice or not, it’s irrelevant to me and my philosophies on life. While I don’t care for it personally, I don’t see anything wrong with it for someone else… but I have a lack of religion in my life, as I am an atheist, and so I have little or no hang-ups about things like this. I do know and have seen theists who think the same way, socially; so I can argue that being atheist has nothing to do with it, but that’s the fundamental reasoning for my personal philosophy and why I brought it up.

Now, one last thing; I’ve always thought that those who were so angry at homosexuals, those who we would consider homophobic, were secretly repressed homosexuals themselves. I read an article this morning that shows a scientific study with empirical evidence that proves this claim. I never thought I would read such an article, but here is the link: http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/20120309012352data_trunc_sys.shtml

I'm not suggesting that all Christians are secretly repressed homosexuals, but it is something to think about.

What I See

I often see, especially on the hubpages forums, strong opinions from both sides. I’ve gotten into several debates myself, defending homosexuals. For the sake of this article, I’m going to specifically reference Christians because they are the majority of whom I have dealt with. My intention is not to pick on Christians, so please don’t take it as such. It is very much true that other religions have similar beliefs against homosexuality, just like there are sects and philosophies of the Christian religions that don’t believe it’s wrong. I recognize that not ALL Christians feel this way.

I often read hypocritical statements about followers of Christ, who say they have no problem against gays, but then quote the bible and call them sinners, suggest god hates what they do or even suggest god hates them specifically in some cases. These are the majority of the people who likely vote against giving them equal rights during voting times. The reason this is hypocritical is because they have found a loophole against hatred and bigotry by blaming it on god. It seems like if only god had said homosexuality was okay, then it would be just fine and we’d have no problems. This to me is a thinly veiled opportunity to express hatred and/or bigotry. It’s like bullying on a classmate by saying that some other child called them a name and believing it to be true – it’s still coming from your mouth and it happens to also be your belief, which makes you responsible for making the other person feel bad and blaming it on someone else.

I propose the following, which might be closer to the truth for why some Christians pretend not to be hateful, bigots or homophobic: it’s not normal for most people and it’s difficult to understand why someone is homosexual. It’s easier to be a bully about it (since the bible says so) than it is to even attempt to understand it. As for my personal feelings, I simply don’t care if someone is gay. Homosexuals don’t affect me in any way, shape or form, just like heterosexuals don’t affect me in any way, shape or form. Why make a fuss over something that doesn't affect me?

I understand that certain interpretations of the bible (and even if you take it literally, that is still your interpretation) suggest that homosexuality is wrong and Christians think they are doing someone a favor by trying to save them from hell. Regardless of how much faith you have, there is no empirical proof that the way you view your religion is right. You need to have an open mind about that. As an atheist, I may reject the existence of god because it seems most logical to me, but that doesn’t prove a god doesn’t exist and I don’t make that claim. As an atheist, I am free to find out the truth when the time comes, but in the mean time, I believe what I believe, and you believe what you believe, and there is nothing wrong about it for either of us. What’s wrong is when you take your religious beliefs and infringe them upon others who don’t feel that way in a manner that is harmful, hateful or limiting. Remember, we are NOT a Christian nation; we are an extremely diverse nation with many different beliefs, so the Christian religion beliefs cannot be the standard for the entire population.

Remember, its fine that you have your beliefs – I do not want to change your mind or your position on the issue. As long as you have thought critically on your position, that’s fantastic; but it’s unfair to prevent another group of people from having the same freedoms and civil liberties you have. While I wish I could find the exact quote, an example of this is when president Obama said something along the lines of him disagreeing with gay marriage, but it’s not up to him to decide if it’s right or wrong for the people.

What I think is Correct

Homosexuality has been around for a long time, it isn’t something new. I believe that homosexuality exists naturally for two reasons. One is that, as humans, we have evolved beyond using sexual intercourse for more than procreation. Whether you want to believe it or not, most sex is done for pleasure. Homosexuals can only have sex for pleasure, but that isn’t a negative since heterosexuals do the exact same thing. Homosexuals obviously can’t procreate or raise children without scientific intervention or adoption; which leads me to my next reason is that I think homosexuality is a natural form of population control – in the same vein as frogs that can change genders when populations get low and their genders get disproportioned. Again, this isn’t meant to be taken negative, as that doesn’t have anything to do with their parental skills and the fact that homosexuals want to be parents and are adopting unwanted children is awesome.

So, you might be thinking, why would it be okay to vote on a plan to give schools more money, but why can’t I vote my opinion for the rights of homosexuals? Well, firstly, in my opinion, the rights of other individuals shouldn’t even be brought to a vote, it should just be okay and tolerated since they should have the same rights and civil liberties as everyone else. And second, when you vote against homosexual freedoms, you are limiting the civil liberties and opportunities that you have. What if interracial marriage was still frowned upon and people voted to make it illegal? This would harm you as an American if you wanted to vote someone of a different race since it would limit who you could marry. That isn’t fair, is it?

We are supposed to have a separation of church and state in this country, but as ex-president George Bush showed us, he didn’t care and brought a lot of his religion into office with him. This was wrong. I don’t agree with everything Obama has done either, but none of it has been because of his religious beliefs. Whatever religious beliefs Obama has, he keeps them personal. I very much appreciate that.

I think that if you disagree with the homosexual “lifestyle,” (lifestyle is a pretty lousy term, as all homosexuals I know are normal, they just enjoy being in the company of a person of the same gender, but that seems to be what some Christians say, so I am using their term), it’s perfectly fine, but don’t limit the rights of others just because it isn’t for you. If you’re a Christian and you are against homosexuality, just imagine for a moment and pretend that Christianity was the minority religion and enough people of America wanted to vote for Christianity to be outlawed. I realize while I am comparing religion to a genetic issue (or lifestyle choice if you still think it’s a choice), the point is the same – it’s simply not fair. As I stated before, we have religious freedom in this country, and I am all for that, but it shouldn’t spill into social and political issues, thus taking away the civil liberties that everyone else has.

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Comments 6 comments

theoldgeezer 4 years ago

Like you, I am a straight person who is in favour of gay rights. However, you say it is okay to hold the opinion that homosexuality is 'wrong'. I disagree. Homosexuality is an accident of birth. It is also an accident of birth, for example, to be American (which I am not). So, by your logic, it would be okay to hold the opinion that being American is 'wrong'.


jdflom profile image

jdflom 4 years ago from Sacramento, CA Author

I see where you're coming from, but I think personal opinions are okay to have. Otherwise we become the thought police. We sill have freedom of speech in America (mostly), and voicing an opinion that opposes others is allowed; I just don't want the rights of others to be tainted by harsh opinions based on religious beliefs.

I obviously don't agree with the opinions that homosexuality is wrong, but those that do are coming from a different perspective.

And there are some people out there that I am sure would think that being an American is wrong.


cinea-chan profile image

cinea-chan 4 years ago

I agree that it should be allowed to have the opinion that it's wrong but that people should try to see it in a less biased way. Usually people only see things as wrong if they're legitimately bad things or if the people are ignorant about the thing they're calling bad. But at any rate.

I really respect what you said about how, despite being an atheist, you have time to find out the truth one way or another and Christians should try to be open-minded and think of it similarly. I kind of do see it like that: I have faith, but I have no -real- way of knowing if my beliefs are the right beliefs, so we're all just stuck guessing, and it's good to have those beliefs for ourselves, but you can't "save" others on the basis of religion when none of us know for 100% certain what gets you to Heaven or Hell (for those who believe in it).

I also believe that religion has clearly been the only thing really keeping them from their rights, and that's ridiculous. Even as a Christian, I think a nation founded on a separation of church and state, comprised of many people with their own free will, should not be forced to follow Christian ideals. I support gay unions, as they deserve the same legal benefits as any other couple.


livelonger profile image

livelonger 4 years ago from San Francisco

Interesting commentary and I mostly agree with you. A couple of additional thoughts:

- In the legal sphere, I agree that people can believe whatever they want as long as those beliefs don't infringe on the freedoms of others. However, some homophobes have children and say a lot of hateful things about gay people, that emboldens many to bully gay kids, and encourages gay kids to commit suicide. The suicide rate among gay (or perceived-to-be-gay) children is many times more than it is for heterosexual children. Being gay is one of the very few ways that kids, through no choice of their own, are kicked out of their own families.

- Scripture does not unambiguously condemn homosexuality. This is the collective decision by (mostly) evangelical Christians to interpret ambiguous scripture that way. I can tell you as a Jew that we have a totally different interpretation of the "sin of Sodom & Gomorrah" that has nothing to do with homosexuality, and it's *our* story! Tellingly, Jesus said nothing about homosexuality but condemned divorce no fewer than 4 times in the gospels; how many evangelicals want to ban divorce?


jdflom profile image

jdflom 4 years ago from Sacramento, CA Author

livelonger: I think that bullying kids into suicide is infringing on their rights, so I do agree with you. Although any kind of bullying should be looked at.

You are right about the Hypocrisy of the sanctity of marriage. Most people don't want to recognize or don't know that marriage actually predates religion and it was a business transaction between two families... It's been redefined so many times. As far as I am concerned, it's the union of two or more people.


Lady Wordsmith profile image

Lady Wordsmith 4 years ago from Lancaster, UK

Brilliant article. I don't think that this is really exclusive to American though - I still see gay couples (or individuals) treated as second class in the UK, as though they don't deserve the same rights as 'normal' people. It's getting better, but discrimination and bullying still happen a lot - particularly in schools.

My eldest son has been bandying the word 'gay' around as an insult lately, which he's picked up from school - we had a serious talk about that, immediately! I find it shocking that these attitudes are being passed on to a brand new generation (my son is only 8), and that it's going to take a lot longer than I would have suspected for us all to just accept homosexuality as being absolutely fine.

My mother is, for want of a better word (she doesn't like to be labelled at all, she's just my mum!), gay, so of course I stand up for the rights of gay people - but I also stood up for them before I knew that my mum wanted to spend the rest of her life with her female partner. I don't know whether it's genetics - my mum never knew she was gay for the first 35+ years of her life - but I don't know that it's a choice either. We just find certain people attractive - I guess that's got to be cell deep!

Whatever. Live and let live. Let's all just get along :)

Thanks for a thought-provoking read.

Linda.

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