View Full Version : Why is religion-based homophobia so tenacious?
04-12-2007, 11:33 AM
Why are so many conservative religious folks so persistently homophobic?
In post #12 (http://www.soulforce.org/forums/showpost.php?p=25621&postcount=12) in the thread "Reconciling" Faith and Sexuality (http://www.soulforce.org/forums/showthread.php?t=2689"), Daniel wrote:
I really started unraveling things biblically after I read John Boswell's tome, Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), which I still consider a great book. It's hard slogging for many people, but it is worth it. This book opened my eyes, not simply for the conclusions that Boswell came to, but for the simple fact that it introduced me to the idea that one could ask questions- which is something conservatives resist mightily- and something I was taught I should not do.
Good boys didn't do that. God boys did as they were told to do without question.
"Trust and obey- For there's no other way- To be happy in Jesus..."
Indeed the "trust and obey" attitude is probably the main thing perpetuating religion-based homophobia in the more conservative branches of Christianity and other religions. Do others here agree?
04-12-2007, 11:45 AM
a similar concept came up in a conversation with my dad a few weeks ago. He is a member of the AoG. I have defected from that denomination, and I am now a member of the Disciples of Christ, Christian Church. My dad asked me again about our denomination's claim that we have no doctrine. I explained that while we have no "official doctrinal statement" there is doctrine. as Disciples, we like to say "where the bible speaks, we speak and where the bible is silent, we are silent." That is the closest thing to a doctrinal statement that we have. I went on to explain that Disciples value and encourage scholarship; we expect our members to read the scriptures and come to an understanding on their own as the spirit reveals itself to them. Consequently, our ministers do not spend a lot of time sermonizing on controversial topics like abortion or homosexuality. My dad made some kind of statement that a person wouldn't know what to believe if someone, like a minister, didn't tell them what the scripture meant. I countered with "you mean to tell me you're not smart enough to read it and see for yourself? you need someone to tell you what to believe?" This really offended him. But you see how it relates to the idea of "trust and obey." It's very important for fundies to be in submission to authority, to trust and obey, and very often they put themselves under the authority of the local pastor. I've seen enough fundie pastors to know that they will take advantage of that power.
04-12-2007, 01:26 PM
But you see how it relates to the idea of "trust and obey." It's very important for fundies to be in submission to authority, to trust and obey, and very often they put themselves under the authority of the local pastor. I've seen enough fundie pastors to know that they will take advantage of that power.
I would be interested to hear some examples of the ways you've seen fundie pastors take advantage of that power, besides such obvious things as convincing people to donate loads of money.
04-12-2007, 10:13 PM
I once sang at a wedding of some fundie friends. When I went to their church to practice, their pastor was in a room and no one would disturb him. They talked him up like he was next to Jesus. When he finally emerged, he was an aging football star and held himself like he was amazing. He didn't really come to shake my hand, but nodded in my direction. When he spoke on the day of the wedding, a long sermon, he was all fire and brimstone, and used fear and authority to keep people emotionally subdued. Least that's what I thought.
I've seen it many times in the most fundie churches that doctrine of say--losing salvation--will keep people in line, if they fear they will lose Heaven through sin. And homosexuality is about as low a sin as fundies can imagine...perversion! I think the fear of doing something perverted, or of allowing it to fester in their church without doing something...creates a) a lot of scared closeted men, b) a lot of married closeted men, and c) an attitude of hatred that is hard to get rid of.
It's easy to preach about gays--they aren't in your room, and they are so "other"--that I think without them there to provide an alternate answer, fundies just believe what they're told, especially when the pastor holds the keys to the Bible and Heaven...
And we Baptists like to say we don't have priests.....well, we nearly give our pastors the power of popes. (Nothing wrong with some popes...not a particular fan of Benedict....but really liked JP 2) But it's the power people hand over to these pastors.
Another story--this one scary and funny. I went back to my old home church which I was in as a child when my dad was pastor. And I called the new pastor ahead of time and told him I was bringing a few nonchristians with me. If they had any good sermons aimed there, that would be okay. Little did I know that we would receive the most hellfire sermon I ever heard, complete with the temperatures at which skin burns, and testimonials from burn victims! My friend was a folklorist and we were recording the service for our work, documenting styles of music in the area. My friend loved it. i was aghast. When I got the pastor alone, he talked about KJV as the only way, and other extremely conservative fundie statements. His congregation was growing --much larger than when my dad was pastor--and they love him. But he had an iron grip. And he liked to scare them. Keep them fearing God....
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