Let's Stop Blaming the Bible for Our Homophobia
After all, the Good Book was once used to justify slavery.
I stopped even peeking at "comments" sections a long time ago, like many writers. However, in the wake of a piece I did on the controversy over homophobia among black comedians, rappers and others, I have been pointed to some comments sections by other people writing on the subject, and have made an exception and taken a look.
What I have been struck by is how often perfectly sensible commenters approach this rich and delicate subject by simply stating that the Bible forbids homosexuality. It's clear that a lot of people out there honestly suppose that this just settles it. But I can't help thinking that there are times when we need to be more creative in deciding how the Bible fits into our lives -- black, white or other. And I mean something more than hating the sin but loving the sinner.
If the Bible has been used to justify racism and slavery and we've learned to value the Bible while letting those things pass, then can't we get a little more creative when it comes to the new phase in the civil rights revolution, the liberation of gay people? The new Book of Mormon musical is telling us to take exactly this approach to religious teachings -- channeling the spirit rather than getting caught up in the more fantastical details -- and audiences are cheering the roof off every night. They couldn't all be wrong.
I'm not sure the people who think of citing the Bible as a sufficient response to this issue realize what they are calling for in real life as real people live it. We have all become quite familiar with the "down low" phenomenon, but this seems to attract interest more for the infidelity aspect, as well as the health aspects, than for the specific human tragedy of having to spend your life living a lie.
I'll never forget a guy I knew in passing about 20 years ago, whom I will call Greg. He was friends with a guy he had met in the cast of a play he was in. Good friends. The other guy, "Allan," was about to move away. This was a big deal for them -- they both talked about it with anyone they met. It was such a big deal for them that a couple of days before Allan's departure, they spent the day at a faraway beach, to have "quality time" before Allan left for good.
You know this kind of thing when you see it: Greg and Allan were in love and we all knew it. Perhaps not physically involved, although I'll bet they were. Regardless, that beach thing was not typical of men who are friends. It's what lovers do.