Suicides of gay youth rooted in faith-fueled homophobia

3:37 pm July 26th, 2012

By Kris Alan
While I agree with Claudia Branham that marriage is a choice, I am not sure where she got the notion that “civil rights has nothing to do with a personal choice.” (The Dispatch, June 27, “Gay marriage is a choice”). Among the things that civil rights covers are notions that people make a choice in, such as freedom of speech and religion. When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Virginia’s anti-miscegenation law 45 years ago, the court declared that “Marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man, fundamental to our very existence and survival.” I am familiar with the scripture that supposedly condemns homosexuality. I have to wonder if she’s ever taken a look at the scripture in the original languages (Ancient Hebrew and Ancient Greek)? She will find that the condemnations against homosexuality are way overblown.
The scripture has been translated and retranslated into many languages, and the translations usually reflect the authors’ bias and aversion towards homosexuals. A prime example of this is the translation of the Greek word “para physin” used in Romans 1:26-27. Some translations are vague, while some go out on a limb and outright refer to homosexual behavior. But “para physin” is also used in reference to men with long hair (1 Corinthians 11:14) and also to the way God brought Jews and Gentiles together (Romans 11:24). This is just one example of the way people are being too liberal with their translations.
This is highly problematic, since many gays, bisexuals and lesbians are being wrongly oppressed by certain Christian communities, which Claudia Branham, for whatever bizarre reason, is denying in her letter. I am all for the truth, but the truth isn’t exactly crystal clear. Until these translations have been conclusively resolved, I think it’s best for Claudia Branham and others to keep their own interpretations of the Bible themselves. Not only for that reason, but also for because not everyone shares their religious views. I’m also a Christian and don’t see why we should focus our attention that is not clear in our scripture. But there are people who are not Christian, and they should not be subjected to whatever our religion dictates.  This reckless proclamation of the “truth” has played a role in the suicides among gay youth, which Claudia Branham is puzzingly downplaying in her letter. She’s right, suicides are not unique to the gay community, but I don’t think anyone in the gay community is saying that. The reasons for the suicides are unique, though, and they have their roots in homophobia, much of it fueled by religion. Christians, Muslims, Jews and other people of faith are in a vital position to put these suicides to an end; to do so otherwise would be irresponsible.
Stop making gay and lesbian youth feel like outcasts. Accept them for who they are. Most of all, love them and their God-given gift of their sexual orientation. I thank Claudia Branham for Dr. Regnerus’ contribution to the nature of same-sex parenting. But I also invite her to peruse the reasoned critiques against Regnerus’ study and methodology. I also suggest that she consult the wealth of studies that come to a different conclusion. Regnerus’ study is hardly the consensus and should not be treated as such.


Kris Alan lives in Spanaway.

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