For the past several decades, the campaign to recognize the equal rights and privileges under the law for those citizens who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) has been gaining momentum. To say that religion has fought tooth and nail against gay rights and same-sex marriage wouldn’t be strictly fair, given the early support offered to gays by Episcopalians, Unitarians, Reformed Jews and others, but religious attitudes towards homosexuality are a major reason why, in the U.S. and around the world, members of the gay community and their allies have been compelled to continue fighting for equal rights, including the right to marry and have children. It’s an uphill battle, especially because any religious people still believe that being gay is a sin and a crime and, therefore, by their logic, “if homosexuals are allowed their civil rights, then so would prostitutes, thieves, and anyone else.” These words were spoken by Anita Bryant—former entertainer and orange juice representative—who now has the honor of an award in her name, to be given to lucky winners for “unbridled and unparalleled bigotry.”
It’s astonishing that much of Christendom remains mired in pre-Civil Rights, pre-Enlightenment, pre-Scientific thinking, basing its beliefs on a handful of biblical passages, such as Leviticus 20:13: “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” This is a verse that itself is tucked in between other passages that instruct you (and obviously the you here is male) not to wear linen/wool blend clothing, nor to get tattoos, eat shrimp, marry your wife’s sister, become a wizard, round the corners of your head, or clip the ends of your beard. Ladies, if your husband’s in a fight, don’t defend him by grabbing his opponent’s genitals—for that you get your hand chopped off. More draconian still, parents should kill their disobedient children and men are further advised to execute adulterous wives and non-virgin brides. That’s right, the death penalty for adultery, which would eliminate a good number of Christian Senators and Congressmen, preachers and televangelists, along with a nontrivial percentage of the rest of the world’s population.