Our concept of lesbian and gay relationships today is likely to be very different indeed from the way things were understood in the past, which is why religious texts are not always helpful guides in these matters. People who have a point of view to uphold will sometimes ‘cherry-pick’ ancient writings for evidence to support their views. We actually have very little knowledge of how homosexuality was understood in past times. For example, whilst there are references to sex between men and male rape in the Bible, there is little reference to same-sex relationships.
It can sometimes be helpful to compare religious texts with current practice. For example, some Muslim states punish homosexuality, but the Koran itself preaches tolerance and says nothing about punishment of lesbian and gay people.
Ancient texts such as the Torah, the Bible and the Qu’ran are all affected by issues of both translation (from the original language) and interpretation (where there is some ambuguity about the actual meaning of certain passages).
For those who wish to study these issues further:
- The LGCM (Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement) has produced short pamphlet called: ‘Abomination? A short introduction to what the bible says about same-sex relationships’
- SARBAT provides a pamphlet entitled: ‘Sikhism and Same Sex Relationships’
- The ‘Imaan’ website has a section called: ‘Islam and Sexuality FAQs’
The catechism of the Catholic Church says that homosexual people:
‘…must be treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.’
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