Where does hatred begin?
Homosexuality is a naturally occurring phenomenon that has been documented in species as diverse as human beings and penguins. It is as original as the race and has developed in every culture therein. Yet, there are those who insist on labeling it “abomination” because passages in sacred works sought to define it as such.
While such words may be the wellspring of homophobia, they do not represent the raison d’être for that particular hatred. No, as racism is entrenched in social economics, the genesis of homophobia is the economics that built the world’s religions.
Texts such as the Torah, pronouncements such as the Hadiths, and clerical practices that prohibited homosexual equality were created because old world religious leaders needed justification as to why same-sex acts should be outlawed.
The true reason for religions making homosexuality anathema was the most mundane of all: money.
For religions to propagate, they needed followers. Missionaries and martyrs spread the word, but the easiest way to amass a flock wasn’t in changing people’s minds, or trying to convince strangers to give up their beloved traditions in favor of new ideas. The easiest way to amass a flock was in creating followers, and raising them up from cradle to grave in a singular worldview.
The goal of every religion is to perpetuate itself. The greater the population of believers, the greater the chances of that religion enduring. The simplest thing to do is to encourage breeding among the followers while prohibiting any measure that is counter to that purpose.
Religious leaders drilled it into their subjects that sex was a sin unless it was for the unique purpose of creating children. Birth control became a sin. Homosexuality, which provided sexual release, but would not result in pregnancy, became a sin. Likewise, masturbation, another sexual release that has nothing to do with procreation, became a sin. Roman Catholic Canon Law 1084 commands that impotence, “whether on the part of the man or the woman, whether absolute or relative, nullifies marriage by its very nature,” meaning that if someone was born a paraplegic, the Church wouldn’t allow that person to marry.
Prohibition in those areas, however, led to the encouragement of others. When Judaism and Mormonism began, multiple wives were allowed, turning each home into a stud farm. Multiple husbands were never allowed, though, because only the wives could become pregnant. But then, the subjugation of women has always had a special place among the world’s religions. After all, any institution that controls women controls the population.
Old world religious leaders devised that the most profitable solution to the female issue was to make wives the property of their husbands. Half the race was relegated to being second class citizens in their own bedrooms. The dowry and the very identity of the female was absorbed into the male’s life, and her role became to provide him heirs. The contract of marriage was nothing more than an agreement that signed over property rights.
The utter worthlessness of women is reinforced time and again in sacred stories. According to the Old Testament, it was corruptible woman who brought about the fall of Paradise, whose curious nature smote her into a pillar of salt, who sapped not only man’s virile strength, but God’s very love for him. The New Testament offers the impossible and ironic standard of a virginal matron among several fallen women. Jesus shames those who would stone the adulteress, but it is a daughter’s sexy dance that fulfills her mother’s craven desire to behead the man who baptized the Progeny.
From the page into practice, that contempt for womanhood was upheld by orthodox religious services and hierarchies that did not have roles for women. Islamic ideology went public, prohibiting women from showing their hair, from showing their faces, and having to walk behind their husbands, when even the family dog is free to run ahead.
Old world religious leaders looking out for their own interests did not possess the imagination to foresee a free society where couples unable to produce their own children would be able to welcome little ones into their homes.
Fortunately, we do live in such a world, and it is time the sad and desperate damnations of the greedy dead stop having sway over how we conduct our lives.
For Pope John Paul II in 2003 to uphold that homosexuals “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided,” while at the same time speaking out against same sex unions and quoting Scripture that calls homosexual acts “a serious depravity” is laughable.
For American Evangelical groups in 2010 to back a bill in the Ugandan parliament that would make homosexuality punishable by death is horrific. But both acts arise from the same strain of hate that is intermeshed in literature we are told speaks of love.
Old world religious leaders created homophobia and other imagined sins as nothing more than devices to help perpetuate their group’s continuance. They were men of ambition and human foible, same as today. Let not their mistake be made our mistake. Let not their cunning be made our truth. Let not the root of their evil be made the root of our faith.
Where does hatred begin? Money.
Where does hatred end? Where you stop it.