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Opinion

Religious debate emerges in light of recent suicides, persistent homophobia on campuses

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October 14, 2010

In the last month, more than five teenage boys have died from taking their own lives. Why? Because homophobia is and always has been an intentional attitude that harms people in more ways than one. Clearly, in the last month, this type of attitude has proven to be deadly. The abuse has been happening in schools, general public areas and at home.

Even at UW-River Falls we are seeing this kind of hate and discrimination. I’m sure you all have heard about the “chalking” incident that happened last week. For those who haven’t, the Gender Sexuality Alliance group decided to write nice, inclusive messages on the sidewalks around the University Center. One message in particular said, “it’s okay to be gay.” The next morning, an anonymous person or people wrote in blue chalk underneath the GSA’s message “on a bridge” and then drew an outline of a body. This message was referring to a death of a teenage boy who jumped off a bridge after being secretly videotaped by his roommate while having a homosexual encounter. It is obvious to say that the person who wrote this disgusting and hateful message is homophobic.

How does someone become so hateful and threatened by a certain group of people? No one is just born hating gays, blacks or any other kind of minority group. This type of vulgar behavior is learned. It is hard to say when and where this type of hate begins, but there are a couple obvious environmental factors.

The first and most obvious factor is religion. Leviticus 20:13, “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

Obviously, this passage states that homosexuality is not only wrong, but homosexual individuals should be put to death.

However, before we start slaying all the homosexuals on campus, should all the fathers start selling their daughters to slavery?

Exodus 21:7, “Whenever a man sells his daughter into slavery, she will not go free the way male slaves do.” Or I guess maybe the fathers should just inform their daughters that they “will not go free the way males do.” Bummer.

Maybe after that we should ban all shellfish from the cafeteria. Leviticus 11:10, “But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales-whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water- you are to detest it.” I guess I don’t have to worry about that since I’ve learned that I am highly allergic to shellfish.

Certain members of the Christian faith try to justify their hate for homosexuals because of one passage in the bible. Yes, Leviticus 20:13 very clearly does not favor gays (to say the least) but why do these other passages get overlooked? Why did men stop selling their daughters into slavery? Why did our society decide eating shellfish wasn’t an abomination and actually a delicacy? Simply because those rules are completely outdated and ridiculous just like the passage about homosexuality.

Also, there are passages in the New Testament that contradict the Old.

John 3:16-17, “God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” However, it seems that the homophobic people tend to overlook these kinds of passages and focus solely on the ones that promote hate.

People need to realize these books were written thousands of years ago and using the bible as an excuse to be homophobic is just another form of finding a scapegoat. I know this may sound harsh, but as a member of the gay community and of the Christian faith, I find it outrageous and disrespectful to the Christian faith to use the faith as a reason to hate and, in some cases, kill.

Sarah Hellier is a student at UW-River Falls.