Tag Archives: politics

Politics of Homosexuality: Sexual Prohibitionism

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What Does the Bible says about Homosexual Behavior?

The Bible is very clear when it comes to the issue of homosexuality: it explicitly condemns homosexual acts. This is the word of god. We must take the bible seriously and literally. Or should we?

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination. If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”  (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13 KJV)

One man shall not lie with another man. It is also clear that the penalty for committing such an act is punishable by death. But lets put that into perspective. Another quote from Leviticus says,“the man that commits adultery with another man’s wife, even he that commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” (Leviticus 20:10 KJV) Anyone who commits adultery, according to the Bible, is also punishable by death.

The Absurdity of Taking the Bible Literally

If biblical literalism is the argument, then why are fundamentalist republicans not campaigning to execute all homosexuals? Why is there no campaign to execute all the adulterers? (A conservative estimate of those who engage in extramarital sex is 20 percent through nationally conducted surveys) God is clear that he wants all homosexuals and adulterers dead. If people argue that the Bible needs to be taken literally, then it is simply not enough for one to discriminate against them and deny them their civil rights; you must equally advocate for their execution. If not, the argument for biblical literalism is incoherent.

How Do Catholics Try To Justify Their Discrimination Against Homosexuals?

Now, Catholics are a little smarter. In justifying their bigotry towards gays and lesbians they also cite the scriptures to teach the unacceptability of homosexual behavior but they maintain that their rejection of homosexuals is not an arbitrary prohibition. It, like other moral imperatives, is rooted in natural law—the design that god has built into human nature.

To clarify, the Roman Catholic Church holds the view of natural law set forth by Thomas Aquinas, particularly in his Summa Theologica. Their take on natural law reasons that people have a basic, ethical intuition that certain behaviors are wrong because they are unnatural. Human beings were designed by god to procreate and therefore, be heterosexual. To some level, the church believes that homosexuals do not exist. They believe that we are all born heterosexual but some of us choose to engage in behavior that is unnatural; a revolt against nature. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law.” (CCC:2357) Thus, sex acts that prevent it from reaching its natural end, i.e., conception, is perverting this natural law.

Obviously, a man and a man or a woman and a woman cannot procreate. Therefore, the entire purpose of sex and sexuality is being perverted away from its natural end. Similarly, a heterosexual couple who engages in sex with contraception is equally perverting this natural law because they are deliberately trying to stop conception. This is also the reason why the church is equally adamant on their stance against condom use or birth control pills.  Their argument is not to single out homosexuality as evil per se, but that it merely falls under the larger prohibition against perverting their definition of natural law. You can now understand why they are also against masturbation and abortion as well. (sex with no chance of procreation is a no-no)

Makes perfect sense, right?

Exceptions, Exceptions And More Exceptions

But what about heterosexual infertile couples? Should people who cannot bear children, through no fault of their own, be equally prohibited from engaging in sex acts, knowing full well that their ability to conceive is zero? Going by their position on natural law, the church should prohibit marrying such people, and equally condemn any sex between these two couples. Do they receive the same condemnation as homosexuals or condoms? Nope.

During a woman’s period, it is equally impossible for the woman to conceive. Same when the woman is pregnant. Does the church prohibit sex during these times? No. How about women who are post-menopausal? They are biologically no longer able to bear children. Does the church condemn these woman for having sex after she is unable to conceive? Of course not.

Their argument concerning natural law is riddled with exceptions. To say that homosexual acts are unnatural because they have no chance at procreation, is violated in many other occasions with straight couples.

So then why are gay people not worthy of an exception? Simple. It is an act of stigmatization. It is an act of discrimination. It is an act of bigotry. And this bigotry comes from the church that has engaged in the most grotesque cover-up of sexual abuse than any other institution in the world.

But miracles can happen, right? Look at Virgin Mary. She never had sex but she still became pregnant. If miracles can happen, maybe a gay couple can become pregnant and have a baby as well! Who are you to put a limit on the power of GOD?

sources:
“Understanding infidelity: correlates in a national random sample” Journal of Family Psychology, 2001.
“Extramarital Sex: Prevalence and Correlates in a National Survey” Journal of Sex Research, 1997.
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Book Recommendation #1

Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights

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Lucid, lyrical, and compelling – a wonderful blend of memoir and legal analysis. This is what legal writing should be. A former English scholar, law student, and now professor at Yale, Kenji Yoshino beautifully articulates the unfortunate phenomena of “covering,” a term used to describe an individual’s attempt at minimizing or hiding a fundamental part of one’s self or identity that others may see as inferior.

The law is clear that protecting peoples’ differences based on race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, and (dis)ability, is a fundamental part of our civil liberties. Despite this, however, we still routinely deny equal treatment to people who refuse to downplay differences along these lines. Racial minorities are pressed to “act white” by changing their names, languages, or cultural practices. A case study he examines is about a black women who worked for American Airlines and fired for defiantly wearing cornrows. She sued arguing that wearing cornrows were an intrinsic part of her race/culture but lost. Women are told to “play like men” in white collar workplaces but simultaneously expected to be feminine and dress sexy. We see this often; a double standard and usually a catch-22. Gays are asked not to engage in public displays of same-sex affection. Yoshino recounts a story of a woman who was offered a job at a law firm but immediately had the offer rescinded after being found out that she was lesbian and planning to marry. She sued and lost because courts deemed that the “flaunting” of her sexuality is not legally discriminatory.

It’s a very fine line. It may be illegal to refuse to hire or fire someone for being gay but it is completely legal to regulate and discriminate against certain behavior. Since the courts do not see behavior (a black woman wearing cornrows or a gay man having overtly effeminate mannerisms) as an immutable aspect of ourselves, they are not protected under equal protection laws. We can be gay, but just not act gay. How asinine. 

Reviews:

“‘Covering’ is essentially a book about Civil Rights, its past, present, and future, and what role the law has played in this epic American struggle. In a stroke of brilliance, Yoshino intertwines his own personal coming-out story in between the pages; in a beautiful and quite amazing blend of memoir and history and jurisprudence.” – James Hiller

“Drawing on actual cases, he persuasively illustrates that the courts fail to protect men and women who refuse to “cover,” mute, or conceal those aspects of their identities that are socially stigmatized (i.e. their gayness, their status as mothers, their racial identities). If this were all the book did, it would be significant enough. But Yoshino combines his legal and historical arguments with a memoir in which he “uncovers” his various selves–his lawyer self, his gay self, his Asian American self, and his poetic self.” – Natasha

“This book should be an absolute must-read book for anyone in the areas of law, ethnic studies, women’s studies, LGBTQ studies, sociology, and human rights. As a minority myself, Yoshino’s articulation of his story resonated greatly with my own life. He is so clear and concise in his description of American laws and recommendations to improve equality for all.” – KP

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