Progressive Christian Channel
Regarding Marriage Equality: Who's on God's Team?
The argument that people choose their sexual orientation, and can choose differently, is also irrelevant, unless we enact policies or laws based on ranking all nuanced behaviors as sufficiently masculine or feminine choices. It is absurd to imagine a strictly enforced requirement for indefinable characteristics. (Who is assertive, nurturing, graceful, aggressive, strong, or demur enough to be deemed "properly" masculine or feminine?) This point, too, should settle the issue of marriage equality.
Issues of Supremacy, Choice, Compassion and Religion
Meanwhile, heterosexuals who speak against others enjoying the joys and rights they reserve exhibit something like white supremacy—an innate superiority and lack of compassion, as if deserving credit for their privileged orientation while those "others" deserve their unfortunate state. Heterosexuals didn't choose their state and wouldn't/couldn't choose an alternative one, just as LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) people don't choose theirs and cannot simply switch.
Those who teach, preach or rail against LGBTI equality should ask themselves what they are contributing to the culture of hatred, teasing, bullying, depression, assault and suicide, which disproportionately impacts these groups. Can't we all better apportion our energy and righteous indignation toward critical issues such as war, poverty or environmental degradation, rather than fixating on whom one loves?
Some cite religious scriptures to justify their views. But, multitudes of varied textual interpretations of scriptures exist, mostly favoring differing views of the interpreters. A single example is how, or whether, the commandment to keep Sabbath, is observed by avowed religious folk who prefer to work or shop all week.
I've recently tried to understand an Islamic view of homosexuality. While I'm not Muslim nor a religious scholar, from what I understand, little in the Quran pertains to this issue except a reference to Sodom and Gomorrah, which also speaks to Jews and Christians.
The actual, deplorable practices of these degraded towns are not described. What is clear is that men acted forcibly upon male guests. Any rape is despicable. Yet, the existence of heterosexual rape has no bearing on the goodness of heterosexual love and sexuality overall. What bearing, then, have these verses on loving, committed homosexual relationships?
Ancient scriptures acknowledge the existence of those whose attraction is for the same gender and those who present as an alternate gender. Many indigenous and other cultures and religions have historically acknowledged, even esteemed, gender variation, including in persons sometimes designated as "two spirits."
We don't choose the biology, religions and ethnicities into which we are born. The full humanity of some is not inherently inferior to others by virtue of their birth. Can we imagine Mohammad or Jesus, whose teachings emphasized compassion, condemning those with physical or biological anomalies to lives of isolation and exclusion?
Attacking or Allying with Others
I've worked passionately against bias and the designation of any group as "other." Although Jewish, I've combated Islamophobia, which I consider a dangerous, chilling, current scourge. Islamophobes accuse Muslims of particular homophobia (while not themselves contesting homophobia with anything like their zeal in fomenting Islamophobia). But Muslims don't own the rights to homophobia, and there are LGBTI Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, Mormon, Baha'i and other groups all addressing the biases they face within their religions and the culture at large. Poignantly, some individuals seek "marriages of convenience" as strategies to hold their truths, while hoping to maintain connection to their families, religions and cultures.
Anya Cordell is a writer, speaker, presenter, and recipient of the Spirit of Anne Frank Award. She is the author of the article "Where the Anti-Muslim Path Leads" and the book RACE: An OPEN & SHUT Case.