The vast majority of people who claim to oppose homosexuality (or civil unions, for that matter) for religious reasons are lying.
They may be lying to themselves as much as they are lying to others. We have a great deal of evidence to show that people are capable of embracing the greatest absurdities when it is psychologically comforting to do so. A person who is unwilling to face the true nature of their disapproval of homosexuals, and unwilling to accept what it says about them as a person, can easily grab onto a lie that gives them an illusion of legitimacy.
However, whether this is self-deception or an attempt to deceive others, few people, if any, actually oppose homosexuality for religious reasons.
This can be proved.
There is a fire, and the fire department needs to determine what caused it. The investigator sets out to do his work. He gathers evidence and conducts experiments. Then, several weeks later, he calls a press conference to discuss his findings. He reports that the reason for the fire was the presence of oxygen in the air, because his research has shown that if there was no oxygen there would have been no fire.
Immediately, the mayor of that community would have reason to start looking for a new fire marshal.
“Excuse me, Mr. Investigator. There is oxygen present in every house on the planet. Yet, very few of them burned down. When we asked you to find the cause of this fire, we were asking you to explain why this particular house burned down. The cause that we are interested in is what makes this house different from all of the houses that did not burn down.”
Anybody who gives us a reason, where we can answer that there is another case where that reason applies but the outcome one is trying to explain did not come about, has given us a poor reason indeed. We are justified, in these instances, to answer, “That is not the real reason. We need you to give us a reason that actually explains what we asked you to explain.”
When some people are asked why they oppose homosexuality, they answer that the Bible says that it is an abomination before God. We know that it is an abomination before God because it says so in the Bible.
Excuse me, Mr. Religious Ethicist. There are a whole lot of things that are an abomination before God, as mentioned in the Bible. These include the eating of shell fish to working on the Sabbath to collecting interest from fellow citizens to suffering a witch to live to NOT killing somebody who recommends belief in another God. However, you do not condemn these other things. So, this cannot be the reason for your condemnation of homosexuality. Why can't you treat homosexuals the same way you treat those who work on the Sabbath?
This is not a novel response to those who condemn homosexuality for religious reasons. I have not written anything that those who have been involved in this debate has not seen a number of times before. Yet, most people leave the argument here. In fact, this response opens up a number of interesting moral questions.
If Biblical abomination is not the true source of this condemnation, then what is?
"You are not getting this from the Bible. We know this. We can prove this. So, if not from the Bible, then from where?"
The fact is, those who condemn homosexuality suffer from a learned bigotry. They do not learn to hate those who eat shell fish, work on the Sabbath, or charge interese on loans. In fact, they learn to be quite tolerant of such people. As such, shellfish eaters, Sabbath workers, and interest chargers live relatively safe and comfortable lives.
The government even steps in to try to improve the lives of these people. It establishes standards that aim to keep shellfish safe to eat. People who work on the Sabbath have the same legal rights and protections as those who work on weeksays. Nobody dares argue that Sabbath workers are seeking 'special protection' by applying labor laws to Saturday or Sunday labor (which ever actually is the Sabbath).
Worse, the government participates in charging interest - through the Federal Reserve, and charging interest on late payment of taxes. This should be viewed as the biblical equivalent as the government participating in homosexual acts. This latter act itself would be the moral equivalent of the Federal Government itself setting up organizations to facilitate homosexual acts – perhaps by running a house of homosexual prostitution. Such is the government’s attitude towards the charging of interest.
On the other side of the equation, we can imagine a government that says that fair labor laws and overtime requirements simply do not apply to those who labor on the Sabbath. Clearly, the moral fiber of our country cannot withstand the assault that would befall it if we were to give weekend labor official recognition and the sanction of government protection. This is if we do not ban it outright.
Just as clearly, at the very least we must abolish the application of pure food and drug laws to the shellfish industry. If the government were to take steps to protect citizens from the ill effects of eating unhealthy shellfish, this will do nothing more than to promote this perversion, inviting an overall lack of respect for God’s law that will do nothing less than bring down civilization as we know it.
If biblical prohibition were the real source of condemnation, we would find ourselves in a society where shellfish eaters and bankers would be prohibited from participating in youth organizations like the Boy Scouts. Those who insist on such a ban would argue that those who so flagrantly violate God’s law cannot possibly be moral, and clearly cannot be considered good role models for our children.
What type of message does it give our children to be a member of a troop whose troop leader is known to be a practicing shellfish eater or banker – when the Bible so clearly identifies these acts as a violation of His law? These children will no doubt come to think that all of God’s law are open to question. This type of moral relativism is the last thing that we need to be teaching impressionable young minds.
We do not hear these arguments. Therefore, we need something that explains why the homosexual is subject to these types of claims, but the shellfish eater (or harvester) and the banker are not. There must be some other reason for this distinction.
So, he who says that the condemnation of homosexuality is driven by its being called an abomination in religious text is like the fire marshal telling us that the fire was caused by the presence of oxygen in the air. The fire marshal cannot explain the difference between the house that burned down and the house that did not burn down. Both, as it turned out, contained plenty of oxygen. The religious ethicist cannot explain the difference between the homosexual and the shellfish eater or the banker – all three of which are equally engaging in practices that are abominations according to scripture.
We are still in need of somebody who can tell us the real cause.
The real cause is actually quite obvious. The difference between the homosexual and the shellfish eater is simply a learned hatred. Parents and priests teach their children or their flock to hate homosexuals in ways that they do not teach their children to hate shellfish eaters and bankers. In fact, parents and priests quite openly teach their children and their flock to ignore God’s prohibitions on these activities, and to treat these practitioners with the same respect given to any other neighbor.
From this, we must ask whether there is any good reason to teach a hatred of homosexuals, but not of shellfish eaters or bankers. When we look at this question, we discover that the reasons we are typically given to hate homosexuals are make-believe. It is a hatred cloaked in a sheet of lies and nonsense.
We are told that the reason that the 9/11 hijackers were successful is because our nation has weakened its intolerance of homosexuals. As such – because we so flagrantly allow citizens to ignore God’s law – God has removed his protective hand. Yet, it would seem that, if such a story made sense, God would be even more furious over our acceptance of shellfish eaters and bankers. They, clearly, have gained far more acceptance in our society than homosexuals.
When we are asked to explain why Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans – this too was ‘explained’ in germs of God’s anger over the town’s greater tolerance of homosexuals. Yet, here too, perhaps God was not targeting homosexuals (and those who are tolerant of homosexuals) at all. Perhaps God was angry at New Orleans because it was the center of a huge shrimp industry.
These arguments against shrimpers and bankers make absolutely no sense. Anybody who tried to use them would be immediately exposed as hate-mongers devoting themselves to adding misery to the lives of others for no good reason. Moral progress will be made when homosexuals, in fact, are given the same type of treatment as shrimpers and bankers – fully accepted in society in spite of the fact that the Bible condemns their lifestyle – because there is no good reason to hate them.
So, the next time somebody says that they base their condemnation of homosexuals on religious text, call them a liar. Let them know that you cannot tell at the start if they are only lying to others, or if they are lying to themselves as well. However, they are deceiving somebody. What they are saying is false, and can be proved false.
Unless the speaker actually gives homosexuals the same social status as shrimpers and bankers, they are doing as poor a job of reporting the actual source of their hatred as the fire marshal who reports that oxygen is the true source of the fire.