PRAXIS – Interlude

This post began life as a comment on Addicting Info. The author of the post was trying to dispel the myths of homosexuality and the bible. Obviously some of the commentors were disagreeing with this, vehemently clinging to their beliefs that homosexuality is considered wrong in the Bible, but somehow ignoring the obvious argument that so is a lot of other stuff we all do now…

One commentor in particular, who unbelievably claims she has a gay son, said she doesn’t judge, but that “Sinners can boo hoo all they want, and speak against what the Bible says. It is only to cover up their own sins. There will come that day, when the “gay” man will stand before God. And it will be dealt with as God sees fit.”

For obvious reasons, this got me riled right up. My response wasn’t quite what I expected at first, but I realised that it’s what I really think about the matter. So much so that I felt it was worthwhile posting here, on my blog about anxiety, since being brought up in a religion at the very least contributed to my anxiety as a youth, and since people’s reactions to me since based on the imposition of their faith have also added to it.

“Why is it you think your god is the right one? After all, many people of many faiths believe in different gods, and different divine laws. Many of whom came way before your religion. Why is yours the right one? Can you honestly answer that?

And if you agree that there are many people who believe in their own faiths, and worship in their own ways, do you also agree that there are many people out there who *don’t* believe in God, or religion? You may disagree with them, but that’s a simple fact.

If you don’t think atheists should inflict their beliefs on you, why do you think it’s right to inflict your beliefs on them? You don’t say you BELIEVE that a day will come when the “gay” man will stand before God, you say there WILL be a day – therefore, you think that your beliefs override my own, since I don’t believe that to be the case at all.

Can you honestly explain to me why you think it’s right for someone Christian to apply their beliefs to anyone else?

I want to live in a world where you can believe what you want, and I can believe what I want. For that world to exist, we have to mediate for our differences. If I believe that I was born gay, if I fall in love and settle down in a loving, comfortable and enriching relationship, don’t you think that *my* beliefs should be accommodated for?

If me living as a gay man doesn’t prevent you from believing in God, or carrying out the laws of your Bible *as you see fit, for yourself*, why would you even *think* to pass judgement on me? To say that I will be “dealt with” by a God I don’t believe in?

If you can honestly and considerately answer these questions, then perhaps we can get somewhere. If you can’t, then you’re being unreasonable, and it’s that lack of reason that is setting so many people in opposition to the Church at present.

No one cares what you think or believe – we just think you shouldn’t be allowed to decide the fate of people who DON’T believe the same as you. That’s the reason Church and State should be separate – there’s more than one Church, more than one belief, more than one type of person under the jurisdiction of the State.

You don’t want to be oppressed – I don’t want to be oppressed – we all have to find a way to live our own lives, the way WE want to, without getting in each others way, the best we possibly can.”

And that’s it, really. I realised that that’s the simplest thing in the world, and the one thing we can’t get right. Me expressing my sexuality is about me expressing my sexuality – it’s got nothing to do with oppressing someone else’s beliefs, or persecuting someone for believing in them. The state, and by extension, the large body of public within the state, legislating to allow for and protect my rights does nothing either to persecute or diminish someone else’s faith or beliefs.

If I had the power to, and decided tomorrow that all the vile and vitriol spread by the Church hierarchy over homosexuality was a danger to the overall health and well-being of the State, and threatened its existence, and tried to pass a law preventing people from celebrating their faith in the way they chose, so persecuting them in the process, I would rightly be castigated. That’s my opinion – that doesn’t mean I have a right to oppress anyone who sees things the other way.

If I have the power to, and decide that gay marriage and homosexuality in general is a danger to the overall health and spiritual well-being of my congregation, and threatened the existence of not only the sacraments of my Church, but also the Church itself, and tried to block a law which would allow self-determining individuals the chance to celebrate their faith and their beliefs in the way they choose, I should rightfully be castigated. Instead, because my beliefs are religious and somehow held sacred, I am allowed to continue this battle to invade the rights and lives of those who don’t follow my beliefs.

This is not an easy argument. There are points of contention on both “sides”. But ultimately, this is about whether a book written thousands of years ago that has arbitrary rules written in it, for a time and society that no longer exists, should be allowed to be used as reference for the application of law and freedom in a country that is made of up many different such faiths, and a good many people who believe in none of them.

I think that in the 21st Century, our country, the UK, and the States, and everywhere else, should be looking to try and forge a future that allows for all of us to be welcome, accepted and included members. That one person’s beliefs should not impinge on the rights of another, that no one should be able to say my religion or faith is stronger, or more true, than yours. Where religion and state are separate not only so that individuals who do not believe are not oppressed, but so that religious freedoms are also safeguarded.

How many people out there, how many of you Christians and atheists would stand for a second to see Islam used as a rule of law in Britain? How many Muslims would stand to see Christianity accepted as the only officially recognised religion in Britain, or a law passed that prevented all forms of religious expressions? Hmmm? How many?

No. Didn’t think so. Then ask yourself this – why do you think you have the right to apply your beliefs to anyone else.

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1 comment
  1. With all the things frowned upon in the Bible that these same Christians are happy to disregard, I’m of the opinion that those who are so opposed to gay people aren’t that way because “the Bible tells them so”, but because of their own bigotry.

    As I’ve said to you before, Garry, I’m a Christian, and I think it’s because of the values I learned as a Christian from a young age and still try to live by (though not always too well!) that I have such a strong belief in gay rights and detest homophobia. I think some Conservative right-wing Christians forget that much of the New Testament is about Jesus being at odds with religious leaders using their authority to dictate their views upon the masses and exclude people.

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