COULD YOU, SHOULD YOU DIE FOR LOVE?
Picture this if you will…the object of your affection, your life partner, your lover, the person you adore, the love of your life, your kindred spirit. Now imagine them being put to death for loving you. Take a second to truly consider this terrifying concept… How does it make you feel?
So here’s a topic you won’t necessarily read about every day, and one I don’t necessarily write about despite it being a subject matter very close to my heart but I recently came across an article that I decided to share on my Facebook page; it received an unprecedented interaction from many Facebookers that’s when I knew I had to feature it on a Different Angle like many other meaty subjects before it.
What am I talking about?
Why the big G of course… no, not the spot (remember, to the pure all is pure) but the word ‘GAY’ or ‘HOMOSEXUAL’, ‘QUEER’ or ‘FAGGOT’, all of which are are sometimes used in association with a myriad of other derogatory adjectives, such as ‘abomination’, depending on your point of view.
Eew, did I really use those words in the same sentence? Yes, I did and they may even have tickled your revulsion trigger first thing on a Sunday morning. I hope not. Sadly, some of these words or the very notion of their meaning does indeed invoke that reaction and more in some.
The generally acceptable adjective for a homosexual is ‘Gay’. We adopted this word into the English language in the 12th century from the French word, ‘gai’. Its primary meaning is ‘joyful’, ‘carefree’ which implies ‘uninhibited by moral constraint’ hence why 17th century prostitutes were sometimes referred to as ‘gay’ as were womanising men whilst brothels came to be known as ‘gay houses’. The use of gay to mean homosexual is believed to have happened around the 1920s through its definition of ‘uninhibited and carefree’ and thus ‘unrestricted by convention or acceptable social comportment’. By the mid-20th century the word became well established in reference to ‘hedonistic and uninhibited lifestyles’ as did its antonym ‘straight’ which has connotations of seriousness, respectability and conventionality.
Practising gays were deemed criminals by law and as such punished by death until 1861 when punishment was reduced to imprisonment. In the 1950’s, the police moved to clamp down on gay practices by actively seeking out homosexuals in ‘sting’ operations (of the type used for fraud and drug trafficking) via a series of high profile arrests and trials. One of the most notorious was that of eminent mathematician, scientist and war time code breaker, Alan Turing, who was charged with ‘gross indecency’ and whom eventually committed suicide. This particular case elicited a public apology in 2009 by the former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. It was Turing’s case and a series of others, including that of ‘Baron Montagu’, which led to a flurry of newspaper articles and eventual public enquiry, the result of which led to the recommendation that the ‘practice of homosexuality between consenting adults in private’ be permissible. The then Archbishop of Canterbury endorsed the recommendation stating “there’s a sacred realm of privacy… into which the law, generally speaking, must not intrude. This is a principle of the utmost importance for the preservation of human freedom, self-respect, and responsibility.” Since 1967, the act that specifically targeted homosexual practices (lesbian practices were never acknowledged or deemed illegal) has undergone various reforms, including the lowering of the age of consent (from 21 to 16). In the 1980s, campaigning by right wing groups led to the passing of a law that prohibited the ‘intentional promotion of homosexuality’ by any local authority’ and ‘the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship’. The provision was known as ‘section 28’ which, apart from sounding like a secret American base, was eventually repealed and led to another public apology by Prime Minister Cameron stating that it [Section 28] was a “mistake” and “offensive to gay people”.
Progress continues to be made though first with same sex couples being able to get ‘hitched’ and enjoy the same rights as other married couples although the war does rage on about how and when and by whom the ‘hitching’ will take place. As do the usual and most recent arguments of whether or not gay bishops should be allowed to serve. Some misguided fools have actually proposed that gay bishops should be allowed to server providing they are not ‘practising’ gays. Um, good luck policing that!
So what is the meaning of this political sermon first thing on a Sunday morning? Well, it’s nothing other than my own look into the history of homosexuality (there’s that word again). Is it my imagination or is there something ‘icky’ about that word? Let me revert back to a much more happy clapppy word ‘gay’ or ‘gayness’… there, better?
So, with all that said… how do you feel about homosexuality or ‘gayness’? Does it make you want to heave? Do you ‘tolerate’ it as long as long as it isn’t ‘paraded’ in front of you with two men holding hands or kissing for that matter? I know somebody close to me who is happy with the whole ‘gay thing’ provided that they refrain from public displays of affection of any kind (but then again, I know some people who can’t abide public displays of affection between straight people… go figure).
So what about you? Could you care less? Live and let live?
Well, there are some people out there who do not believe in the ‘let live’ part of my previous statement. They believe that it is right only for a man and a woman to love and certainly ‘lie’ together and, yes, do the old hanky panky. That’s how nature intended it. Nature, and certainly not God or the bible ever intended for love, marriage or any kind of bedroom naughtiness to exist between those of the same sex. Correction, the bible doesn’t care about two people of the same sex, it just has a problem with two men.
“If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them” (Leviticus 20:13)
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”(1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
One of my American (practising Christian) friends made that clear to me one night. I was in the passenger seat of her car and we were driving home after a weekend away when, out of the darkness, I heard her say, “ I’m really worried about you Tony.”
I thought, blimey, what does she know that I don’t so I asked, “Why?”
She said, “That you won’t be joining me in heaven.”
The comment was so sudden and unprompted that I was temporarily speechless (yes unusual for me) but I eventually uttered, “oh well, I’m just going to have to make the most of this life, I guess,” and I laughed. It was only later, upon reflection, that I realised how sad her statement made me feel quite sad not necessarily for me but for her. The thought must have seriously been troubling her.
Most rational human beings will understand that loving somebody isn’t like ordering pizza, there’s no menu to choose from (at least not in the conventional sense), it just happens, it’s destiny and sometimes just careful scheming but ultimately we’re all pawns for the mischievous machinations of Eros and Cupid who one day, as we’re going about minding our own business, see fit to ethereally bind us to another human being. Sometimes, we’ll notice it immediately, as soon as we lay eyes on them and sometimes it takes a while but those who are bitten by the proverbial love bug succumb and become ‘slaves to love’.
So why does a gay person choose to be, well, gay? Many will know that they don’t. It’s not like choosing to be vegetarian, where you just wake up one morning and decide that you’re done handling meat (yep bad choice of words but you get my meaning). Gays are born gay. So what sets them apart from their heterosexual counterparts? Razor sharp sarcasm, wit, good sense of humour, excellent fashion sense or is it their capacity for oodles of fabulously creative ideas, darling? Um, I’d say that pretty much does it but, physiologically what makes them different is still unknown. Whilst there have been numerous studies there’s still no quantifiable proof or data that can actually explain why gay people ‘lean’ towards partners of the same gender. What is undisputed is that they yearn, love, feel and hurt in the same way as other human beings (some would say a tad more dramatically) because, believe it or not, they too are human (“cut me, do I not bleed?”), no different from every other heterosexual soul on this earth and as such are entitled to the same basic human rights as the rest of western civilisation.
Yet, sadly, there are still many in the world, generally (and I mean generally) religious zealots who see gay love as an abomination, a scourge that must be eradicated by any means possible. The most infamous of groups is Westboro Baptist Church who appear to hate everybody and spend the majority of their time ‘picketing’ to that effect. They appear to have a particular dislike of gays or ‘fags’ as they affectionately refer to them. As you can see from the picture, they’ve also launched a new line of fashionable clothing lovingly modelled by two of their beautiful children. Nope, somehow, I don’t think they’re going to get the gay fashion sense approval.
So what to do with the gays?
Enter conversion therapy the origins of which are believed to have originated from Christian fundamentalist groups (shocker) who believe that is often possible to ‘pray the gay away’. In these tragic cases, parents believe and their children are often brain washed (via personal tuition, peer pressure and subjection to hell house performances – see Magic & Religion) into believing that sexual orientation can be ‘cured’.
Conversion therapy often involves psychiatric, pharmacological and even electroshock treatment. Yet, homosexuality is not recognised as a mental disorder and thus as such cannot be treated with psychotherapy. Even the famous Freud reluctantly attempted to cure a lesbian of her ‘illness’ but concluded that it was not possible. He later wrote (in a letter to a mother who wanted to have her son treated for homosexuality) “…is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation; it cannot be classified as an illness.”
Punishment-based therapy became prevalent in 40s and 50s with misguided doctors believing they could ‘cure’ ‘gayness’ by subjecting ‘patients’ to erotic images of females and then those of males whilst administering an electroshock. The therapy was then repeated and the wattage increased each time the patient failed to declare themselves cured. The same therapy involved intravenous delivery of a pharmaceutical compound that would induce vomiting in the ‘patient’ whilst he (or she) viewed erotic images of those of the same sex. Needless to say that the therapy proved ineffective although some declared it a great success since some sessions did, albeit temporarily, reduce attraction to the same sex, they just missed out the part where it did not increase attraction in members of the opposite sex.
Conversion therapy for homosexuality remains controversial today with numerous cases still doing the rounds before the courts; they include a suit (in the USA) against a counselling group called ‘Jonah’ for ‘deceptive practices’ and the high profile Californian case that seeks an outright ban on conversion therapy.
So, if conversion is ineffective then what to do with the ‘gays’? There’s only one solution, it’s the final solution, first identified by Hitler and now enshrined in Uganda’s Anti Homosexuality bill of 2009. The bill seeks the death penalty for ‘Aggravated Homosexuality’ and life imprisonment for ‘the offence of homosexuality’. Whether or not the bill will be passed in its current form is expected to be announced in February 2013. Rumours speculate that the bill be passed but that the death penalty will be removed. Wow, one century later and Uganda has managed to go full circle now that’s what I call progress.
And this also brings me right back to the article I mentioned at the beginning of this post. The article alleges that PASSION FOR SOULS ministry member and owner of Christian book/coffee shop, CORNERSTONE, in St Neots, Cambridgeshire (UK), Paul Shinners, is an ardent supporter of the ‘Kill the Gays’ bill. You can view the article that caught my attention by clicking here. His alleged support appears to be reported on a selection of websites, here, here and here, and, well, you know what they say about no smoke without fire. So, if this is indeed the case then Mr Shinners, then there doesn’t appear to be much ‘passion’ for souls, in fact your sentiments appear to be devoid of any ‘compassion’, it certainly doesn’t appear to be very Christian of you, or is it?
They say love is blind. Enough said.
Have a ‘gay’ Sunday! 🙂
Excellent Article again .one Image that sticks out in my mind is that of the two little girl wearing those awful Tshirts .Hatred is not born within us it is taught .everyone who is born into this life is deserving of a full and happy one without the Obstacle of Hatred ,due to their Race, Colour .,Creed ,Sexuality or Religion .sadly this is not the case.another person who in a high profile manner did suffer for Love was Writer Oscar Wilde is arrested after losing a libel case against the Marquess of Queensberry.
Wilde had been engaged in an affair with the marquess’s son since 1891, but when the outraged marquess denounced him as a homosexual, Wilde sued the man for libel. However, he lost his case when evidence strongly supported the marquess’s observations. Homosexuality was classified as a crime in England at the time, and Wilde was arrested, found guilty, and sentenced to two years of hard labor. why should anyone have to suffer for love but of course we do in general .but surely in this day and age we should let everyone Live and let Live love and let Love .
I love how much research goes in to your articles. Personally I find it amazing to learn that in ancient civilisations being in love with the same sex was more accepted than now! Socrates openly had gay relationships. Not through choice or whim but because you love who you love. Maybe I am radical but I can’t help but find the bible and other religious texts damaging to civilisations… Because before these texts people lived with far less judgements. Historically the bible was just as damaging for women (ah your wise lets burn you). I would like to see a world without the confines of a document that puts out hate towards love. Love should be simple.
Live & Let Live – I love my life by these words, but I am saddened by how much evil is still in people around me. I consider myself a spiritual person. I believe in God, but a God who creates us the way he intended us to be. If we live on this earth as good people & make our mark in the hearts of others, we are welcomed open armed into the kingdom of heaven. If however we are spiteful, vindictive & have hatred in our hearts, we are destined to live the rest of eternity in the bounds of hell (After all, what goes around should certainly come around!) I don’t attend church, although I used to when I was younger. My reasons for not continuing to attend are my own, but I am a great believer that I don’t need to visit a place of worship once a week to remain in favour – I also believe that am most probably more ‘Christian’ on a daily basis that most of the congregation who do attend!.
God made us who we are – He created each & every one of us. Homosexuality isn’t a choice as you say, no more that whether we are born with dark or light hair, blue or brown eyes – Our sexuality is decided by our Creator…
I don’t pretend to know much about religion, but I do know that the Bible was written by human hands! (Read into that what you will!)
All I know is, if everybody concentrated on the original 10 Commandments as God Intended, this world would be a much nicer place to live….Maybe even heaven on earth!
Sign the petition to stop ‘kill gays bill’ http://www.allout.org/uganda-now
On the etymological history of ‘gay,’ I recall reading that female parts played by actors were known in the 19th century as ‘gay parts.’ it’s only an assumption, but I’ve always reckoned that that had something to do with it’s later adoption as a synonym for homosexual.
Oops. I meant female parts played by male actors.
Everyone claims to be unprejudiced but no one is. We all have something that we don’t like or agree with which could have an impact on another person’s life. Homosexual men have always been persecuted but, in civilised society at least, they do have the weight of the law on their side. Lesbian woman however, seem to be able to maintain a much lower profile but that could be a woman thing or more likely due to the fact that lesbianism has never been illegal in this country. It is worth mentioning that the cultures which abhor same sex relationships also tend to be the ones that treat women with a harshness beyond belief…women still get stoned to death on the say so of their husbands…women are murdered for bringing ‘dishonour’ to their families and rape is not even considered a crime in some countries. In our own great nation more violent crime is perpetrated by men towards women and children and there is culture of prejudice towards many people who do not conform to our personal view on society, e.g. disabled or disfigured people, the elderly, race, religion, social status (many people have an opinion of guests on the Jeremy Kyle show and we don’t even know what has shaped them) and those with too much or too little. And to get back to your article…no one should die for loving in a way that society disapproves of as long as all parties are consenting adults. Finally, I would like to spare a thought for Oscar Wilde’s poor wife and children, life couldn’t have been easy for them either. Judge ye not lest ye yourself be judged.
I am the reporter for the St Neots News and Crier.
I maybe writing a piece on Paul Shinner, are you available for a quick chat?
My number is 01480 402133.
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