Monday, December 12, 2011

Homophobia, Heterophobia, Racism, and Gay Marriage

Recently a church made the news for its opposition to interracial dating. Those who support homosexual marriage will often make comparisons between those who oppose interracial marriage and those who oppose homosexual marriage. But is the comparison valid?

Historically, marriage laws have been written to attach children to their biological parents. This is really the only reason the state is interested in marriage. Attaching children to their biological parents has absolutely nothing to do with homosexual marriage.

The motivation that stands behind homosexual behavior is actually the exact opposite of what stands behind interracial marriage. Interracial marriage involves a relationship between two people who are not just different from one another as far as their gender goes, but also different from one another in appearance. There are often cultural differences as well. There is a healthy attraction that God has given us to people who are different from ourselves. When we only love people who are exactly like us, our desires have become perverted. Incestuous relationships are the result of heterophobia.

Racism and homosexuality are both the result of perverted desires that cause a person to only love people who share certain characteristics. In both cases, the person has become heterophobic. They fear or at least have a disdain for that which is different from themselves. Because of our sinful nature, it is highly unlikely that we actually become homophobic. Talk radio is so popular not because people want to hear someone with opinions different from their own, but because people want to hear other people who have the same opinions that they hold. I've been to churches where people have no real interest in establishing any type of friendship with you unless they find out your are related to someone else in the congregation. Some churches want the younger people to leave during part of the service or only want to cater to a certain segment of the "market." These are all forms of heterophobia or at least a form of narcissism.

When people respond to homosexuals by taunting them or beating them up, even this is a strange form of heterophobia which is directed against another person suffering from heterophobia. The first person is inflicting pain on someone else because he has hatred towards those who have different desires from himself.

The same is true with religious persecution. You can hear heterophobia coming from the pulpit as pastors warn their congregation against visiting other churches and spout off all kinds of slander against other church bodies. There is a healthy curiosity give to us by God that allows us to engage in discussion with people who have beliefs different from our own. If we are primarily concerned for the truth instead of the preservation of institutions we can critically evaluate the reasons people give us for what they believe without fearing their beliefs.

Religious pluralism isn't the answer either. Pluralism is also a form of heterophobia. Rather than engage in discussion and debate over the real issues that divide the heterophobic pluralist tells himself that everyone is pretty much teaching the same thing--unless of course you teach that your beliefs are the only true beliefs. The pluralist has a fear of those who unlike himself believe in absolute truth.

Heterophobia in the church rears its ugly head when people make a common emotional experience the criteria for church membership. Some churches insist that everyone have a dramatic conversion experience and question the salvation of those haven't had one. Some churches are united around being "happy all the day." They fear suffering and so they tell themselves they are happy all the time and avoid anyone who actually appears to be suffering.

In the Scriptures, unity is found around a common confession that centers around Jesus Christ and His work. Those looking for a spouse should look for someone with a common confession as well. The insistence on this one point of "sameness" allows for the greatest overall diversity. There can be great diversity in age and cultural background. There can be a great deal of variety when it comes to personal taste.

Part of the common confession is a confession that we are sinners. We can treat those outside of the church with respect and dignity because we know that we are sinners just like they are and Christ shed His blood for them just as He shed His blood for us.


Anonymous said...

Nice topic! I really love to read about racism and also gay marriage.

african girl said...

Very well said! It's a very helpful thought. Now I know how does homophobia, heterophobia, racism and gay marriage affected the our way of living and how it increasingly adopted by us!

Thanks for sharing this one.