I’m a regular poster over at Fundies Say the Darndest Things. If you’re not familiar with the site, it’s a collection of bizarre, funny, and occasionally frightening comments made by fundamentalists of all stripes. Primarily religious fundamentalists but there are others.
As it is an American site, the majority of the fundies on this site ascribe to one of the three monotheistic religions, with Christians representing the overwhelming majority of them.
And we do see some of these fundies saying some extremely bizarre things. Frightening things. Things that make you fear for the lives and safety of those around them, and, for those who have had children, things that make you worry about the future. It’s the kind of site that could put you off to all religious people and it takes something to remind yourself that not all religious people are fundamentalists like the people whose words find their way onto FSTDT.
If there is a group of people for whom they seem to reserve the most vitriol, it is the gays. At the end of the day, all of their arguments against homosexuality boil down to one or more of three basic arguments:
- It’s immoral and a sin in the bible punishable by death.
- It’s not natural.
- It’s a choice, so they can be made to choose the “right” path.
So let’s take a look at these three arguments.
It’s true that Leviticus 20:13 does say “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” (NIV translation).
You want to know another crime that’s punishable by death according to the bible? Gathering sticks on the sabbath (Numbers 15:32). Furthermore, there’s no shortage of rules in Leviticus alone — remember, this is an Old Testament book — that Christians seem to have no problem breaking. Like tattoos. Or wearing mixed threads. Or mixing meat and dairy products. Or, for that matter, eating pork, shellfish, or rabbit. I really don’t quite understand when and how they decided which biblical rules became unnecessary with the advent of Christianity and which had to remain. (Incidentally the prohibition on eating rabbit — Leviticus 11:6 — is wrong from the start because it says you shouldn’t eat it because the rabbit chews its cud. Um, no it doesn’t…)
At the end of the day, proper morality and ethics, as far as I’m concerned, ought to be derived from a source other than the bible.
It’s not natural? Let’s ignore the fact that any time there’s a question for which our current knowledge of science yields a “no known natural explanation” for its answer, many religious folk automatically assume a supernatural response (god, for lack of a better term). If being gay is a supernatural thing, does that mean god is gay?
I have a simple challenge for anyone who holds that being gay is not natural. Nothing can be more natural than the way someone makes you feel, right? So, the challenge is to allow yourself to be stripped naked and restrained in some capacity, along with blindfolds. I will then parade ten people into the room where you are restrained. It’ll be at least one man and one woman, but a random number of each. And they will pleasure you using non-gender specific body parts and otherwise masking their genders.
If you can correctly tell me the genders of at least eight of these ten people, then I might consider accepting the argument that it’s not natural. Maybe. Assuming you didn’t cheat in some capacity.
The third one is the most bizarre of all when you think about it. Homosexuality is a choice and therefore something you have control over. I’d like to roll with this one for a little bit.
If we truly want to explore this possibility, we have to take a look into what that actually means. Let’s start with the tacit recognition that there are gay people who choose to be straight. Some might even be happy with this choice, but have no doubt about it: they are still making this choice. We can delve into the psychology of the choice itself, but it does happen. With this admission, I suppose it is possible, then, that there is a subset of the straight population that chooses to be gay. Considering the sheer amount of vitriol spewed at gay people from politicians and pulpits, I can’t imagine this being a large portion of the population, but I’ll bet that they do exist. It’s why Russian writer Andrei Sinyavsky wrote under the Jewish pseudonym Avram Terts at a time of rising anti-semitism.
But if you really want to expose the “it’s a choice” argument for the inanity that it represents, you need to look to the one choice any of us truly has in terms of our sexual lives: the identity of our partners (at any given time, that is.) My partners have always been, and will always be, women. So with that in mind, my heterosexuality is laid bare, so to speak. Being attracted to a group of people, and choosing a member of that group are two very different things. What this means is that the only people who truly have a choice about their sexuality, are the ones who are naturally bisexual. If they could choose either being with a partner of the same sex or of the opposite sex, then when they choose an individual member of either sex, they are tacitly making the decision to be either straight or gay, for at least as they’re with that particular partner.
What this therefore tells me is that the fundie who argues that homosexuality is a choice, is admitting to be bisexual.
Now that’s funny!