What makes homosexuality immoral? For those who are now scratching their heads wondering why I am asking that question, it really is a valid question, and one that should be asked of every Catholic bishop, Mormon elder, Baptist minister and anti-gay Politico out there. Why do you believe that homosexuality is immoral?
If the answer simply is ‘because the Bible says so’, then the immorality of homosexuality is in doubt. Religiously speaking, most moral actions are things that ensure that the interactions between people and within a given social structure do not result in some form of harm. Thus, it is immoral to eat pork if you live in a desert situation where pigs consume carrion and carry diseases. It is immoral to have sexual affairs with a neighbor’s spouse because that leads to strife. Most of what is considered immoral dates back to the days when governments were weak, but the religious authorities were strong.
The problem about what constitutes immorality is that it varies from region to region and culture to culture.
So, back to the question of what makes homosexuality immoral. The reality is that there are two things that would have lead to male homosexuality being deemed immoral. It should be noted that female homosexuality was largely ignored by religious and secular authorities for centuries.
Let us go back to the issue of pork for a moment.
Most of the food laws governed by the Old Testament and specifically Leviticus govern the consumption of tainted foods. For instance, you do not mix meat and milk. Why? Simple, cross contamination and curdling. Today, that is not an issue, but back when Leviticus was being formed, it was a big deal. After all, you could not properly clean clay and you could not refrigerate foods properly.
The second, the issue of pork, is broader than that. The animals covered by Leviticus with regards to what could and could not be eaten were all scavengers. In this case, it was about parasites and animal bourne illnesses.
So, the immorality of homosexuality has, in part, its roots in hygiene. It also has its roots in the patriarchal nature of the societies that surrounded the eastern Mediterranean, and especially the Arabian peninsula. To begin with, life in the Arabian peninsula was not easy. People died young, and any man or woman not producing children put the fate of the village at risk. While the Greeks had a large enough population base to be able to kind of get around this, though with prohibitions on anal intercourse, most tribal situations in the desert could not.
This is kind of a thumbnail sketch of what immorality and morality are with regards to homosexuality, but let us take a moment and look at something. What defines bigotry?
Throughout our various discourses on the subjects of racism, sexism, and homophobia, we as a society have really not discussed what constitutes bigotry and prejudice. Why is it wrong to assume that, say, slavery was a net boon for Blacks? Why is it wrong to assume that women are weaker than men? Why is it wrong to assume that gays harm children?
Bigotry has to do with being unwilling to examine one’s own beliefs.
For instance, was slavery advantageous for Blacks? Well, if you take a particular view on things and add in a whole bunch of caveats, then yes, slavery was beneficial to the Blacks alive today. That is, they live in a country that is not being ruled over by some horrible dictator like Robert Mugabe or Idi Amin. They are not being starved to death because the currency is so inflated that it takes a truckload of bills just to buy half a loaf of bread. They aren’t being rounded up and forced to be child soldiers.
Yeah…slavery was wonderful for Blacks, right?
Of course, I’m being sarcastic here so before you write me hateful comments….
Slavery was horrific for the Africans who were enslaved, as well as their children. Yes, they got taken to America where, today, life is better than it is in most of Africa. What they got here was their freedom taken away. They were raped, tortured, mutilated, and all at the whim of the slave owner. While there were some good slave owners, there were plenty of bad overseers. Slaves were not educated, they were not allowed to officially marry, and they were not sure if they would get to see their own children grow up.
Post slavery, Blacks were mistreated by much of society, and it was not until the 1960′s that equal access to education was even a near reality. Most Blacks still live in conditions which are worse than for Whites in part because of the deliberate efforts to sabotage their ability to get up in society.
So, yes, Alabama Representative Jon Hubbard is a bigot, but he is a useful bigot. One sign of being a bigot is the inability to realize that what you are saying is absolutely offensive because you assume things that are not part of reality. Another is the pretzelling of logic in order to try and justify your prejudices and reliance on stereotypes.
However, let us go back to the question at the beginning- why is homosexuality immoral?
Does homosexuality actually harm society in this day and age? The reality is ‘no it does not.’ There are currently more humans alive today than can be easily supported by our planet, and yet, the idea that we should procreate to the point that there is literally one person per square foot of space on the surface of the Earth is ludicrous, is it not? That is, however, what those who constantly attack homosexuality advocate because they also advocate a ban on contraception and abortion and the subjugation of women.
Go back to why homosexuality is considered immoral according to Judaism, Christianity and Islam- hygiene and village survival. Today, we have powerful antibacterial cleansers, condoms, and an understanding that even most gay men don’t engage in anal intercourse on a regular basis. Our villages are hitting a point where continued survival is not being threatened by too few children, but too many, and lesbians and gays are having children as well.
So, why is homosexuality immoral?
It kind of is not, is it? Not when you look at what immorality is and is not, and those who try to justify it as being immoral…well, they really are bigots, now aren’t they?