Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Homophobia Runs Rampant in Anguilla

Homosexual men and women are those that love another person of their own gender.  Homosexuality is the natural inclination to be sexually aroused by a member of the same gender.  It is not an act as such, nor is it a state of morality.  It is a state of being, a state of nature.  It is no more unnatural than being left-handed rather than right-handed.  It is so natural that similar numbers of butterflies, dogs and cows, share it with humans.

Homophobia is an irrational hatred felt towards homosexual men and women.  It is an exaggerated, irrational or extreme fear of gay men or lesbian women.  It is a mental state most commonly found in backward, rural areas, and not tolerated among urban and more thoughtful persons.  It is best viewed as a form of mental illness, appearing strongest among persons who secretly doubt their own sexuality.

In the US, the Kinsey Report by Indiana University zoologist Alfred Kinsey in his Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male, written in 1948, and his Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female, written in 1953, estimated that 10% of the US population was homosexual.  Those percentages of 10% for each gender are a bit high.  Modern research indicates that approximately 4% of the US population identifies itself as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.  In the UK, the Office for National Statistics in its Integrated Household Survey has estimated that a total of 1.5% of the UK population is gay or lesbian.  Whatever the figure, we will agree that homosexuals are a minority of the population.  Anguillans are no different from the rest of the world.  Everywhere that 100 Anguillians are gathered, somewhere between 1.5% and 4% of them are guaranteed to be gay or lesbian.

God made us all, both homosexual and heterosexual.  Our sexuality is not a personal choice:  it is part of our very nature.  Why then do some of us in Anguilla, who call ourselves Christian, get so worked up at the thought that a few among us naturally love another person of the same gender?

Homophobia leads its sufferers to fear and sometimes hate these groups, and subsequently avoid most people they envision as homosexual.  There is a variety of professional treatment options available for persons suffering from homophobia.  These include behavioural therapy, psychotherapy, exposure therapy, relaxation techniques, and meditation.

Fundamentalist, evangelical Christian cultists have long preached against versions of human sexuality that diverge from mainstream sexuality.  They traditionally interpret passages in the Old Testament Book of Leviticus that prohibit “lying with mankind as with womankind,” and the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, as condemning and prohibiting homosexual acts.  There are also several Pauline passages in the New Testament, in particular, Romans 1:26-27.

Not that any of the so-called Christians who quote Leviticus bother to read the entire text.  If they did, they might notice that it also condemns eating shrimp, crop co-mingling, eating rabbit, wearing linen and wool at the same time, and eating raw meat.  It is to be hoped that they all sew their own clothes, plant only one food-crop in the garden, eschew lobster and crayfish, refuse to eat steak tartar, and commit themselves to vegetarianism.

No sensible person would normally quote with approval the misogynist, Saint Paul, on the question of the relationship between the sexes.  But, one of the few uncritically positive things he ever wrote on the topic of love is to be found at 1 Corinthians 13, as represented in the New Living Translation.  I quote him as follows:

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.

If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind.  Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.  It does not demand its own way.  It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless.  But love will last forever!

Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!   But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child.  But when I grew up, I put away childish things.

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.  All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

Three things will last forever — faith, hope, and love — and the greatest of these is love.

I commend Paul’s words to the Christians among us.  These are among the truest words he ever wrote, and imbued with the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount.

Jesus had very little to say in the Gospels on the questions of human sexuality and morality.  One passage, with which we are all familiar, deals with the case of the alleged adulterer brought to him by the Scribes and the Pharisees, the pastors, preachers, and would-be lawyers of the time.  According to the Gospel of John, the Pharisees, in an attempt to discredit Jesus, brought before him at the Mount of Olives, where he was teaching his doctrine of love and forgiveness, a woman caught in adultery.

They made her stand before him, and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  In the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such a woman.  So, what do you say?”

They did this to test him, in order to have a basis for accusing him.  But, Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.

When they continued to question him, he straightened up and said to them, “Whoever is without sin among you, let him be the first to cast a stone at her.”  And, again, he bent down and wrote on the ground.

When they heard this, they began to go away one by one, beginning with the older ones, until only Jesus was left, with the woman standing there.

Then, Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are your accusers?  Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, Lord,” she answered.

“Neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared.  “Now, go and sin no more.”

If even Jesus refused to condemn a person who was generally considered in his time to have engaged in an immoral act, which of us today is qualified to do so?

The demands of the Old Testament are varied and confusing.  The result is that even the Devil can cite Scripture for his own purpose.

Given that a sexual preference for another person of your own gender, rather than for one of the opposite gender, is a God-given characteristic, who of us is authorised to declare it a sin?

By what authority does either the Church or the State enter into the bedroom of two consenting adults and declare what they do to each other either wrong or illegal, so long as no third party is harmed?

Given that the Constitution of Anguilla constrains us not to discriminate against the minorities among us, is it not simply wrong for these so-called champions of the majority to take up a cudgel against the minority among us?

And, on the other hand, given the Scribes and Pharisees among us who are secret wife-beaters and child abusers, and who attempt to stir up hatred against homosexuals, should we not proclaim them as the hypocrites they are?  Let them go and take the mote out of their own eye.

Dante’s Ninth Circle of Hell in his Divine Comedy is the hottest level in which the souls of the most evil are consigned to burn for all eternity.  This spot is reserved for those hypocritical cultists who, calling themselves Christians, repudiate both the teachings of Christ and of his Apostles.

My final curse is this:  may those so-called Ministers of Religion who stir up hatred against the minority among us, because of their God-given, personal sexual preferences, burn in eternal hellfire for all eternity!