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I find little weight in people's prejudices against anyone - based on values, morals, theology, race or hatred. Our debates and issues surrounding homosexuality are especially troubling to me. No, I am not a homosexual. No, I am not a participating Christian. No, I have no right to make people accept my views of tolerance and acceptance. However, I do find a need to express my opinions due to the flurry of, in my mind, hypocritical and narrow-minded remarks in regards to homosexuality.
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One of the biggest troubles I find in many prejudices against homosexuality is the idea homosexuality is a "new" aspect of society, and what's more, that gays are in some way responsible for the downfall of society. Through history there have been homosexual men and women who have contributed immensely, and dare I say, positively, to our present. Serving in the capacity of doctors, legislators, authors, artists, scholars, soldiers, and let's not forget blue-collar workers. I could list a whole slew of names to prove my point, but I hope you will take the time to research on your own. For the sake of brevity I'll list just a few: Tchaikovsky, a masterful musical composer, Gertrude Stein, a talented author who greatly aided the homophobic Ernest Hemingway in his authorial career, and arguably Walt Whitman, another author who is often attributed as one of America's first great poets.
Are we so prejudiced against homosexuals that we cannot admit that they have contributed, at the very least, marginally, to our society?
Are we so strident that we are to suppose homosexuals are a lot of sinful, slothful, ignorant and nefarious citizens? Can we not admit that heterosexuals exhibit these same qualities? Does a person's sexual orientation, whether you believe it's natural or not, have absolutely anything to do with his or her capacity to love, learn, write, work, and succeed? Indeed, is a heterosexual's attraction for a man or woman what we choose to judge the integrity of his or her character by? Are we supposed to adhere to the notion that peoples' attractions, plainly physical, should warrant the limiting or removal of their fundamental rights as citizens?
Unfortunately, I must give some concessions. There is no legitimate argument that I could make to say that Christian moral traditions based upon the Bible speak kindly of homosexuality - there are many examples from the Old and New testaments that note the sinfulness of homosexuality. It is not my purpose to make a theological debate.
However, I need not remind Bible readers, being one myself, that the ultimate judge, the arbitrator of all laws in the Christian sense, is God - not his servants, not us. We have no capacity to carry out such judgments or decisions. Further, there seems to be few and far between examples of Christ condemning and persecuting sinners to "teach them a lesson" - though I will admit there are some. Perhaps I remove Christ's words too far out of context when I recall one of the most quoted phrases from the Bible: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." John 8:7.
On another note, why, with all the persecution, phobia, fear, condemnation and hatred that has been exhibited throughout history toward homosexuals, would anyone choose a lifestyle that has consistently garnered so much oppression from mainstream society? Are homosexuals just trying to prove a point? I find this motive difficult to accept, but I am not a scholar who knows such things - although there are a growing number of studies that suggest homosexuality is biologically determined, not the result of angst behavior.
Finally, I hope my words have not been scathing or enraging - they were not meant to be. Herein has been a simple expression of ideas, share them or reasonably and logically argue with me, but do not attempt to revoke my right to speak freely.
Forest Kvasnikoff is a Juneau resident.