May 16, 2012

Religious Conservatism and Homophobia


A brief review of history will easily reveal that religious conservatism has always been anti-progress, anti-justice, anti-equality and anti-rational thought -- from the issue of slavery to racial segregation, from women’s suffrage to women’s reproductive health. Although morality and traditional values might be invoked, religious conservatism was never about morality but mainly about bigotry and backward mindset invoking the ‘god-said-it-so’ argument and the so-called appeal to absolute truth.

Same thing can be said about the current opposition of the religious conservatives against same-sex marriage. It is as if God will again bring down his capricious wrath upon the earth much in the same way that Sodom and Gomorrah were allegedly consumed by fire from the sky -- well, assuming that the story was not a mere myth.

Conflicting views

It should be pointed out that not all religious people are religiously conservatives. Some are actually liberal-minded and emphasize compassion rather than condemnation. Some Christian sects such as the Christian Catholic Church of Switzerland and the Metropolitan Community Church of Metro Baguio (Philippines) conduct special blessings of homosexual unions.

However, majority of these church-sanctioned wedding ceremonies and blessings for homosexual partners are still not legally binding in many countries and considered as taboo. This is especially true here in the Philippines where the mere suggestion of possible legislation in favor of LGBT rights to marry is preemptively rejected by the righteous and respectable lawmakers.


It can be argued that religious conservatism is closely related and corollary to fundamentalism. This brand of conservatism is particularly common in the three major categories of monotheistic, Abrahamic religions, namely, Judaism, Christianity (with its several thousands of sects and cults), and Islam.

Religious conservatives, in their self-righteous splendor, will unapologetically and pontifically declare that homosexuality is an abomination and a great sin. Of course, the rants of homophobic religiots (i.e., religious idiots) will not be complete without quoting some scriptural passages.

Some of the favorite biblical passages that are fondly quoted by Christian fundamentalists include Leviticus 18:22 and Romans 1:26-27. Islamic fundamentalists, on the other hand, are fond of quoting Qur’an 029.028-29 and some specific hadiths or sayings attributed to Prophet Muhammad.

One hadith impliedly prohibits homosexuality or at least the temptation towards homosexuality:

“Narrated AbuSa'id al-Khudri: The Prophet said: A man should not look at the private parts of another man, and a woman should not look at the private parts of another woman. A man should not lie with another man without wearing lower garment under one cover; and a woman should not lie with another woman without wearing lower garment under one cover.” -- Book 31, Number 4007, Sunan Abu Dawood

Spirit of the law

One should not be surprised why some Islamic teachings on homosexuality seem to correspond with the teachings of the Torah of Judaism and the Apostolic Epistles of Christianity. The historical and theological origins of Islam can be traced back to Judaism and Christianity. In fact, some passages in the Qur’an are either paraphrased or quoted from the Old Testament.

Despite of the apparent homophobic teachings of the three great Abrahamic religions, the interpretations and applications of these teachings are still dependent on the mindset of the adherents. Unfortunately, religious conservatives and fundamentalists emphasize hatred instead of compassion. They are keen on blindly following the letters of the law rather than trying to understand the spirit of the law. In their dirty minds, they confuse love from mere carnal lust. They arrogantly assume that heterosexual domestic partnership is the only valid and natural form of love that deserves to be legally protected under a supposedly secular government.

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