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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sinister crusaders

The religious persecution of homosexuality is tantamount to the medieval demonisation of left-handedness.

'Twas a time, not so long ago, that true believers, pious Christians, would force left-handed people to become right-handed. You see, being left-handed was considered to be a sin. It was believed that those unfortunates who favoured their left-hands did so because of an evil spirit - not because they were 'born that way'.

These days Christians of similar piety believe they can 'pray away the gay'. In other words, that homosexuality is not natural, that people are not 'born gay', so therefore all homosexuals can 'become straight'.

The bible no doubt favours the right hand.  After all, Jesus sits at the 'right-hand of the Father'. When imparting a blessing on someone, it was the right hand that would be laid upon them. The left hand was seen as a sign of deceit, foolishness and sin. Take Ecclesiastes 10:2 for example, 'a wise man's heart is at his right hand, but a fool's heart at his left.' The Judgement Day parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25, has Jesus separate them by placing the sheep on the right and the goats on the left. The parable ends with the sheep being welcomed in and blessed of God, while the goats are cursed and ordered to depart into everlasting fire.

Even the word 'sinister' reveals the dark nature of being left-handed. One definition of sinister is 'bad, evil, base or wicked'. Another is, 'of or on the left side; left'. So there you have it, being left-handed is out of favour with God and is evil.

Too bad that people are naturally born left-handed ... regardless of what the pious witch-burners of yester-year claimed with their twisted scriptures and scientific ignorance.

Some might quite cleverly argue that the bible does not actually say 'thou shalt not be left-handed', nor that we actually force the left-handed out of anyone these days, so comparing attitudes to left-handedness with attitudes to homosexuality is fallacious. Most of the right-wing religious folk have grave issue accepting that anyone can be 'born gay', because to do so kind of makes it a little difficult to call it a sin. Some pious folks will accept that maybe some people are born gay, however, they believe that it is a condition that can be healed. Interesting points of view, however, if people are naturally homosexual, are 'born that way', then how can they be accused of sinning. No other congenital condition is considered a sin.

The way that some pious folks carry on, anyone would think that homosexuality is the new black (or in this case, the new left) when it comes to demonising people, that it is the worst sin in the world.

Romans 3:23 says 'for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God'. 'All have sinned'! The scripture goes on to state in verse 24, 'being justified freely by His Grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus'. Because all have sinned and we have all been justified by the grace of God, none of us can boast of being more righteous than anyone else. Just a few scriptures after these, in verse 27, 'Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith'.

If you believe that homosexuality is a sin, then keep in mind that in God's view it is no worse than any other sin. Yet the pious folk want it outlawed and those who are homosexual to be banned from marrying. There is more campaigning against homosexuality then there is against poverty, yet there are literally thousands of scriptures that quite clearly state that we are to care for the poor. In fact, the same pious folk who campaign against homosexuality, also campaign against any activity of the government that redistributes wealth from the rich to the poor because they fear it is 'socialism'.

Where are these people's priorities? To ban love and ban charity. In spite of their precious bible being based on love and charity. Instead of banning gay love, instead of rejecting gay people, we should love them, treat them as we would anyone else.

The pious are happy to trot out statistics that indicate that homosexuality leads to a life of abuse, homelessness and living on welfare. What they fail to understand is that those who do end up in these situations have often been rejected and abused by their own families and peers - rejected by the heterosexual community. The abuse, bullying and the gay-hate crimes of the staunchly heterosexual or pious Christian, are often the cause of gay children running away from, or being kicked out of, home. To the pious, Matthew 7:5 says 'you hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye'.

If it is so important that the pious ban gay love, then perhaps they should ban left-handedness. After all, homosexuals have a greater propensity to be left-handed than their heterosexual counter-parts, as claimed in this extract from a scientific study: 'male homosexuals are about one third (31%) more likely than heterosexuals to be left-handed, while lesbians are almost twice as likely (91%) to be left-handed as heterosexual women' - Lalumire, M.L.; Blanchard, R.; Zucker, K.L. (2000): "Sexual orientation and handedness in Men and Women: a meta-analysis." Psychological Bulletin 126, 575-592.

If almost defies belief, that in the 21st century there are still people who have similar ignorant, superstitious and hateful attitudes as those that dominated the Dark Ages - a time when left-handedness was a sign of witch-craft and devil possession. Future generations may well look back on us with the same disbelief and horror as we view the Dark Ages or the violent and intolerant Crusades.

Whether you believe that homosexuality is a sin or not is irrelevant. We do not have a right to tell consensual adults that they cannot have a committed relationship with each other, enjoying the same benefits as those in a heterosexual marriage.

If you believe homosexuality is a sin you still do not have a right to legislate against it. You can't legislate homosexuality into non-existence. Laws won't change the fact that people are gay, whether they are born that way or not. In terms of spirituality, there are gay Christians and their relationship with God is between them and God.

There is no room or excuse for persecution in the name of religion.

Instead of hateful and superstitious crusades against nature, Christians would do better to apply the scripture as it is written in terms of love for all, extending grace, mercy and charity to everyone, whether they meet your standards of morality or agree with your political or religious persuasion.

Instead of banning love, we should be the embodiment of love.

We are not commanded by God to wage crusades of fear, hate and ignorance.

We are commanded by God to love our neighbours, to love everyone - unconditionally!


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