This season of love, I saw a film, a love story with a difference. ‘The Case Against 8’, an HBO American Documentary film, showcased the legal battle to overturn California’s Proposition 8, a ballot initiative, and a California State Constitutional amendment, passed in the November 2008 elections, which said that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California”. A question continues to be asked, ‘If marriage is a relationship between two people who love one another then why can homosexual couples not be given the stamp of law to live together respectably?’
The gay agenda has since long alleged and argued about homosexuality being natural; but they have often been questioned with the eternal query of their incapability of procreation. There is also the CDC (The Centre for Disease Control) which reveals to us several risk factors involved in same sex partners. To add to it, there is the lobby of the Psychiatric Association which believes in its research and says that the LGBT people are at a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and deliberate self-harm.
Those with a religious frame of mind also showcase the Biblical verses which speak against such a relationship. They believe that disobedience of age old wisdom will only bring about decay in the society.
Romans 1:27, “Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.” The next verse, Romans 1:28 goes on to tell us that when we fail to stay connected to our creator, we are likely to become slaves of the lusts of the world. “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.”
Matthew Vines, an LGBT activist, well known for his You Tube video “The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality” and his book “God and the Gay Christian” however questions the contextual truth of the above verses. He points out that in the Biblical times same-sex behaviour was primarily seen happening between adult men and adolescent male servants. These adult men were married to women and yet lustfully went in search of young lad prostitutes. He points out that in such relationships, there was no mention of love, commitment or faithfulness and so it was obvious then that homosexuality was rebuked and viewed as sinful and lustful. To assert his need for a changed manner of thinking, Vines points out that Paul as he spoke to the Romans, also condemned women from speaking in the church; but today we do find women pastors everywhere.
Now to be the devil’s advocate, the questions one can put forward to the so called ‘straight’ people are, ‘Aren’t you scared of overpopulating the world and shouldn’t you thank the LGBT for the benefit of their inability to procreate?’ Also, aren’t there enough sexually transmitted diseases in the so called normal relationships and wouldn’t it be unfair to shift the blame on LGBT in totality? As concerning the area of depression, couldn’t it be that if the rate of suicide is large with the LGBT, it is because of the ‘repression’ and the ‘rejection’ of the ‘who they are’ and not because of the ‘what they naturally are’? That if they were not to face the embarrassment of not being straight, wouldn’t there definitely be a drop in their self-destructive tendencies?’
The truth of life is indeed difficult to arrive at! Arguments about the real and the unreal, the natural and the unnatural could go on endlessly but as men and women we have the power to choose. To exercise that power is again our choice. Life offers us many ways of living, and it is obvious that when we are unable to make right decisions for ourselves, we inevitably end up in complicated situations.
As humans, we surely have a right to live our life the way we feel best suites us; provided it does not hurt or cause inconvenience to others. This is exactly the reason why, from the beginning of civilization mankind has tried to make laws, which if everyone were to follow would lead to a problem free life. Take for example the law of wearing a helmet while riding a two-wheeler. A biker may feel more comfortable without a helmet and justify his not wearing one, saying that he feels lighter without it and that he is more relaxed in its absence. Need we say more after the number of accidents reported due to such disobedience of the law? If research shows us, that going away from the usual pattern of relationships causes a good amount of mental, emotional and physical damage, then shouldn’t we as intelligent human beings learn from the mistakes of the others or should we always insist on experiencing everything firsthand? Or should we further argue and point out the mental, emotional and physical damages which also occur in the usual relationships? Even if this is true, should we not desist from creating more such damage? In Jude 1:7 we read that, “as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire”. The flames of fire may look attractive to a child who rushes to put his hands into it hoping that he will be able to catch its rising movement, but the mother who is aware of the natural law, is the one who holds him back from any inevitable harm. Could we say then, that to rush into love of another kind is foolish and that ‘Fools rush in where angels fear to tread’? The man, who refuses to wear a helmet while riding a two-wheeler, when he meets with an accident, is not always the only one who gets hurt. A majority of times he causes hurt to innocent people around him and if the accident proves fatal for him, then he leaves behind a very pained family for no fault of theirs. Isn’t such behaviour a kind of intoxication, with defiance of laws? Shouldn’t we be worried then when we break a law such as the one mentioned in Leviticus 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” Probably it is here that Matthew Vines begins his contextual argument, in relation with the times of the Biblical writings; where he points out the sexual relationship of men with male child servants. But surely the writers of those times did not lack in vocabulary and could have certainly mentioned the word child to be most precise? The lust mentioned in Romans is not between men and male children. The words are crystal clear when they say in Romans 1:27 “......burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful,.....”
On the other side of the world of the Biblical text, there are the Hindu Mythologies, which showcase a good amount of different sexual behaviour. The walls of the Hindu temples show erotic images which the modern laws of the world today deem unnatural.
All rules can be seen to be broken on those walls. Could we dismiss such images as perverted versions of the artist? Some puritanical thinkers believe that such perversions sculpted in stones were the works of degenerate minds at a particular time in the history of India and some believe that the images represented the crudeness in intimate relationships of the flesh which needed to be left out before entering the temples.
There are stories too in the epics that would be worth considering. In Valmiki’s Ramayana, Hanuman is mentioned to having seen Rakshasa women kissing and embracing each other. These were the women who had been kissed and embraced by the demon king Ravana. Could we here conclude that the texts then were attempting to tell us that same-sex relationships were demon induced?
Srila Prabhupada of the Krishna Consciousness, believes that heterosexual desires can be accommodated with the grihastha-ashrama, but that there is no scope of accommodating homosexual desires. For men who express homosexual attraction to men, he recommends marriage to a woman. To cut it short, it is like saying that within the Vedic culture, marriage channelizes lust in an acceptable manner. In the Srimad Bhagavatam purport 3.20.26, Srila Prabhupada says, “The homosexual appetite of a man for another man is demoniac and is not for any sane man in the ordinary course of life.” Some followers in fact go to the extent of believing that even heterosexual desires are a perverted reflection of one’s original love for Krishna. However, they accept that homosexuality is not uncommon today but this is due to the influence of the Kali-yuga.The story of the birth of mankind, Adam and Eve tells us that God wanted love between the two. This was the actual design the creator wanted for his creation which got perverted in numerous ways by the fallen man. When in the beginning of creation God made Adam, He said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner” Gen. 2:18, and so He proceeded to make a woman for the man. Mind well, He made Eve and not Steve for the man. The original plan as can be seen from what we read, was that this couple would work together to help flourish the Garden of Eden, but could it be that some Rakshasa wanted destruction of this plan and changed the equation of the sexes?
It is interesting to note that it is believed that the laws prohibiting ‘unnatural’ sex were imposed across the world through the imperial might. Some believe that such laws were the product of minds that were deeply influenced by the ‘sex is sin’ stance of the religious text of the Christians – the Bible. However, in Genesis 2:25 it says, “Now although the man and his wife were both naked, neither of them was embarrassed or ashamed.” Where then is the concept of sin and shame?
As my mind goes wondering on the journey of the why and the how of such gay relationships, a whisper asks me, “In this world which appears to have taken an oath of self-destruction and goes warring with hate; a world where we repeatedly hear of stories of rape where heterosexuals reveal their basest selves to us, shouldn’t we allow people who wish to live in peace, live the way in which they feel best suited to?”
Life is surely a commitment between all people to live in peace and simplicity. The straight people are the ones who are undiluted in their honesty, and who aren’t evasive but upright, unbiased and without any malice in their thoughts.
As a community of human beings, shouldn’t we consider the crooked married men who visit prostitutes, in line of worrying worthy matter, rather than waste our precious time criticizing people who wish to stay in a relationship in all honesty? Shouldn’t we put our thoughts of violence and hate under scan and get them corrected before we deal with people who love differently?
If we then were to go through such self-analytical exercise, how many of us would be truly STRAIGHT? In our world, there is no dirt of unfaithfulness in many relationships, if then we have some people who desire to be committed and monogamous in their same sex relationships, wouldn’t we be the finger pointing hypocrites?
Heterosexual couples, who cheat on one another or who fail to hold hands even in their differences or who oppress one another in pride of their knowledge or sexual supremacy are in a sorry state of togetherness. In fact they could be called sinners because they choose to live in dead relationships as compared to those homosexual couples who live with commitment and cherish honesty and love in their relationships.
Ultimately, every soul is important and if we claim to be so great, then most certainly let us share our great knowledge with all, but let us not take away their decision making powers. Let not a brother, fight a brother because he believes himself to be better, let the work of judgement be left to the Father.
We definitely need not accept a thought if we do not agree with it; but let us be able to at least hear it out. As someone rightly said, “We are all sinners, judging sinners, for sinning differently.”
A transgender once asked me, why the so called normal and straight people, seem to be so very upset with the Pride Marches, when he very willingly goes for their Pride Marches- their weddings? How would it be if the LGBT began claiming that their kind of world and love was the correct kind, and that the others were perverts? He further added that when little boys began writing love poems to girls, he desired to write them to boys. He indeed felt that he was a woman caught in a man’s body. This wasn’t something I hadn’t heard before, and wondered if he had ever given a thought to a sub-conscious mind which had received some kind of different information in his childhood? Could there have been some incidents in his life as an infant, which had triggered the future happenings in spite of him being unaware of them? Well, haven’t we all heard of cases of infant molestation?
If marriage is a relationship between two people, then life is an art of relationship to exist peacefully between ideologies. Let us be more humble unlike the military authority who gave a medal for killing two and a discharge for loving one.
Probably, when there is too much evil all around, the only alternative left is to choose the lesser evil. But then Psalm 119:2 and 3 says that “Happy are all who search for God, and always do his will, rejecting compromise with evil, and walking only in his paths.” It is difficult indeed to continue to walk in His plans when the world at large is walking the Pride Marches, one may also have to face rebuke from the world. Psalm 119:22 “Don’t let them scorn me for obeying you.”
Let us then not be holier than thou and say that the only thing we can do is to pray for all those who have strayed from the STRAIGHT path. Because, prayer is not an expression of being better than the other; it is a voice of love and friendship. Prayer is an expression of silence in which we do not force decisions on others but present them in submission on our knees.