Obama’s rebellion deserves pulpit rebuttal
What a brilliant example of the reasons I found belief in gods so destructive. Obama said nothing that could be construed as calling people to rebel against any sort of god or religious text. What he actually said was that he supports marriage between people of the same sex.
OK, so some characters in the Bible show their prejudice against what we now call gays and lesbians. We could argue that they didn’t know any better, especially Saul/Paul, but is that true? The Greeks were well traveled throughout what we laughingly call the Holy Land – and one thing the Greeks knew quite a lot about was nature. As a Roman, Saul/Paul was almost certain to have met Greek travelers and philosophers. Unlike the Greek masses, what Romans called ‘the mob’, many learned and wealthy Greek and Roman men are well-reported to have had a penchant for young males. And women were not to be left out, as the few texts that remain of Sappho’s work attest.
It was reported that Socrates was made to drink hemlock because he was leading young men astray. However, homosexuality was well-known among men of Socrates status so that was obviously a concocted charge. No, Socrates was put to death because of his ‘infernal’ questioning of Greek society and values. In fact, from all accounts Socrates was as open-minded and forgiving as Jesus was said to have been. So where did the prejudice arise?
Given the clues within the Bible, together with archaeological evidence and the translation of hieroglyps, we can tell that the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, if it actually happened, must have been during the reign of Ra-meses the Great. That places the Exodus at around 1350 bce, somewhat before Greek civilization became established and well-known, i think it is admissible for the Israelites to have developed their own prejudices against homosexuality for a couple of possible reasons. Could they have been a reaction to Egyptian beliefs, which are thought to have included the requirement that the Pharaoh masturbate a statue of Ra to ensure the sun returned each morning? Could they have been a reaction to the small number of Israelites who would have been around at the time of the exodus (unlike the implication in the Bible, the Israelites are now known to have been a small tribe of nomads who eventually settled in what is now known as Israel)? Such a small tribe would be likely to have insisted that homosexuality was frowned on because of the need to increase the population as quickly as possible. We are still unable to prove conclusively what caused the rise of homosexual prejudice, we probably never will, but we can make educated guesses.
What we can be sure of is that Saul/Paul is the writer who was most responsible for establishing the prejudice against gays and lesbians we see from Christians today.
So far I haven’t mentioned personal preference. It is often apparent that some men and women are violently opposed to homosexual behaviour because they just do not lkike it. Personally, I’m not bothered whether my friends are gay or straight; I have friends who are gay, friends who are straight – I am straight, by the way – and I feel at ease with either. I also know both gays and straights who I feel are total shits and I wouldn’t have them as friends if the end of the world was nigh. No, I have an equal opportunities attitude to my friends and enemies.
That wasn’t the way I was brought up, however. As a child I knew no-one who was gay; being homosexual was illegal. For reasons I will not go into here, I was encouraged to feel antipathy towards gays. And until I learned the difference between gays and paedophiles I knew no better.
The most important thing is that I learned to open my mind and reject, especially religious, authority and bigotry. I taught myself not to be afraid of gays and lesbians by being amongst them and learning that they are human beings just like myself, except with different sexual preferences. What I will no longer do is try to impose my own beliefs and prejudices on other people
To me, those who try to impose their own prejudices on homosexual men and women, especially by claiming their religion requires it, are more contemptible than I have words to describe. And to claim that Obama is against religion because he is more open-minded and less bigoted than extreme Christians is worse than contemptible. It is pathetic.