Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Islam and homosexuality
As Salaamu Alaikum! (The peace of God be with you!)
Homosexuality is wrong, a sin, in Islam. Of that there really can be no dispute. See the excellent articles already on-line cited at the end of this article for the citations from the Qur'an. The point of this article is to try to put this into some reasonable perspective.
Sex outside of marriage is forbidden. It does not matter whether it is fornication, adultery, bestiality, pederasty or homosexuality. Many homosexuals claim they were born that way, they can't help being homosexual. The truth is that man has an urge for sexual gratification. As rationalizing (more than rational) beings, people will always try to find a justification for any activity which they find enjoyable. As to the claim by some homosexuals that it is genetic, this has been decisively disproven. Studies have shown that children of homosexuals are no more likely to be homosexual than any other children. If it were hereditary, many more of them would be homosexual. In our society, homosexuality frequently seems to result from a failed male role model, a father who is abusive or grossly negligent. Bestiality and pederasty are certainly natural as well. Every society has men who use children sexually. Everywhere sheep or goats are kept, they are used for sex. So the argument that homosexuality is natural or inborn has little persuasive power for Muslims.
Why do some sins offend us more than others? Why are there such strong feelings about homosexuality? One psychological explanation is that we are threatened by that to which we might succumb. A man who is secure in his masculinity will be less threatened than one who has homosexual impulses himself. This is an interesting idea, especially when applied to a broad spectrum of sins. Why does pederasty offend so? When the victim is four years old, and is seriously injured, this feeling is understandable. But when the victim is sixteen years old, and the lynch party is composed of grown men, one certainly may speculate that they are engaged in exorcising their own demons, expiating their own lust.
Which is worse, the man who has sex with a six year old girl or a six year old boy? If you immediately answer the one with the boy, perhaps you would do well to examine your own proclivities. A six year old child is not a suitable object of sexual desire regardless of gender. Which would you rather stand next to in Juma prayers (congregational prayers on Friday), a homosexual who is in a monogamous (faithful) relationship with another man or a pimp who keeps young women enslaved in prostitution by supplying them with cocaine? Let us not judge the sins of others by our own problems.
Promiscuity is very wrong. AIDS is spread by promiscuity. Many homosexuals are promiscuous. Many are not. Some practice "safe sex" to avoid transmitting this and other diseases, others do not. Teenage girls are frequently made pregnant by older men. Boys don't get pregnant. Which is worse, a man who seduces boys or girls? Too frequently, religious commentators on sexual behavior get stuck with the obvious fact that all sex outside marriage is forbidden and fail to acknowledge different degrees of wrongness. If a boy and a girl are going to engage in sex before marriage, being careful not to transmit disease and not to produce a child they are not prepared to care for certainly diminishes the number of wrongs being committed. "Safe sex" outside of marriage is still wrong, but much less so than "unsafe sex", which can hurt so many more people. So if teenage boys are impelled to have sex, would it be better for them to have sex with each other than to cause girls to conceive unwanted children? God judges these matters, it is not for us to say, but the very question should make us evaluate our attitude towards homosexuality differently. Promiscuous homosexuality is terrible because it kills people by a horrible, debilitating disease. Monogamous homosexuality is wrong, but is it worse than a man and woman living together without marriage? Is it as bad as using a prostitute? Is it worse than abusing drugs like cocaine and ecstasy, or drinking alcoholic beverages like beer, wine, whiskey, etc.? As the prophet Jesus said, "Judge not lest ye be judged."