Homosexuality and Religion

BluejayWay

More evidence? Thank you!
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I grew up in a time when homosexuality had no mainstream cultural acceptance, and certainly little or no religious toleration. I absorbed the prejudices of my culture, and reflected them, until, in the freshman year at a Christian college, I became aware that many of the people I was hanging with were gay.

Funny thing, they all seemed pretty much like me, except for that one detail. At that time, since I was rejecting most of the values of organized religion (the Church), it didn't occur to me to frame my acceptance of my friends' sexuality in terms of faith. I just saw it as one more area where Paul got it wrong, and Jesus wouldn't have cared.

On merely a personal level, homosexuality has become a hotbutton issue for me. I lost one good friend to the AIDS epidemic, and he was not as promiscuious in his gay relationships as I was in my straight ones. Another aquaintance killed himself because of his familiy's refusal to accept who he was.

Even before my daughter came out to me as a lesbian, I therefore had a lot of anger and concern over society's treatment of gays. My acceptance of her is total and complete, and the only anguish I have suffered by her revelation is knowing the pain that she will undoubtedly suffer at the prejudice of others. Unfortunately, this includes many members of otherwise loving religious belief systems.

Since that coming out a couple of years ago, I've been struggling with my own coming out--as someone who is now realizing that he needs desperately to return to a faith that he may perhaps never have grasped fully before he rejected it. Any perceived teaching of the Church that denies my daughter's nature (and the natures of so many friends and aquaintances) will be rejected by me. That's just the way it is--my revelation is that God loves all of his Creation, and I'm sticking to it.

I had an extended wait in a public waiting room yesterday, and in the magazine rack, the cover of the Notre Dame Magazine caught my eye: "The love that dare not speak its name"--Oscar Wilde. The magazine is published by the University of Notre Dame, and as the flagship Catholic university in the United States, is not officially accepting of homosexuality (the student body as a whole, though, seems to be much more tolerant), so I was pleased to see thoughtful and senstive articles by gay Notre Dame alumni about their struggles with their sexuality and their faith.

Especially interesting to me was the article "My alternative lifestyle
It's a love that has wings, a countercultural calling that turns restraint into liberation"
, written by a young man who, in accepting Catholicism, has also embraced celibacy, not merely as a homosexual, but as a sexual being like any other. I'll not try to summarize his eloquence, and let his linked story speak for itself, but I will extract one quote from the article here:
I hesitate to say that God spoke. I heard no words. Yet a thought landed in my mind with all the force of a bomb. "Love," it said, "is not the same as sex." It does not seem so profound in hindsight, but it was a great shock to my teenage self.
In fact, the author's story is echoed in the lives of many early Christians, for whom celibacy was not a burden but a release. In
Elaine Pagels' Adam, Eve, and the Serpent, she says

For many Christains of the first four centuries and ever since, the greatest freedom demanded the greatest renunciation--above all, celibacy. This identification of freedom with celibacy involved a paradox, then as now, for celibacy (to say nothing of fasting and other forms of renunciation) is an extreme form of self-restraint. Yet as Christians saw it, celibacy involved rejection of "the world" of ordinary society and its multitudinous entanglements and was thereby a way to gain control over one's own life.
Now, I'm certainly not trying to promote celibacy as the only acceptable choice for anyone, gay or straight, but it is one way to express one's faith and acceptance that God works through the individual believer's life.
As a heterosexual person, I've come to a point in my life where insisting on seeing myself as a practicing sexual individual would have the potential to inflict emotional harm on myself and others--so, to avoid that potential, I feel I must take the path that seems to offer the greatest good.

And, funny thing, it does feel more like freedom than denial....

So, if I have to come to a point here, I think what I've been learning lately is that sexual orientation is a completely secondary issue. One's practice of sexuality is what's important. I've done greater harm in some of my heterosexual relationships than some gays that I've known have done in their committed, monogamous, loving relationships, because they knew what love was when they begain. That, my dear friends, after a half century of life, is what I'm just beginning to learn.

God bless us all in our various paths.
 

Sacredstar

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Dear Bluejayway

Bless you, your post moved me....

Dear All

My two pennies......making love is meant to be a sacred experience and celebration of love and life, not an after dinner mint!

The difference between lust and love.

Behold you are the temple of GOD, our bodies are the temples to be honoured and cherished.

Making love is a wonderful gift from GOD to ALL human beings !

But how many people treat it like a sweet instead of the banquet that it is meant to be?

Making love to GOD's creation is the way it was created to be.

GOD is not the church, GOD is not religion, GOD is part of US, our divinity.

GOD is in our hearts.........and our love can be there too!

Love beyond measure one and all

unconditionally

Sacredstar
 

Sacredstar

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Aristophanes, speaking in Plato's Symposium says

"Original human nature was not like the present, but different. The sexes were not two, as they are now, but originally three in number; there was man, woman and a union of the two, having a name corresponding to this double nature, which once had a real existence, but is now lost, and the word "Androgynous" is preserved only as a term of reproach".
 
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