Dangerous to use religion as a crutch

Speaking to a meeting of Hasidic Jewish leaders on Sunday, New York GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino said, “I don’t … Continued

Speaking to a meeting of Hasidic Jewish leaders on Sunday, New York GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino said, “I don’t want [children] to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option” to heterosexuality.

Religious organizations and people frequently lead opposition to gay rights in the United States.

In the August ruling which overturned California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage, a witness asserted, “Religion is the chief obstacle for gay and lesbian political progress.”

Why does religion play such a central role in debates about homosexuality?

Religion often plays a central role because the Bible often carries conflicting messages that reflect the complexity and changing understandings of life and relationships over the course of many centuries — relationships both with other human beings and with God. On the one hand the Bible tells us that we are created in God’s own image. On the other, it prohibits a man to lie with a man as he would with a woman.

When people approach religion as a crutch, a means of validating their own fears and prejudices, instead of grappling honestly with its challenges, they often end up with ugliness rather than the chance for love and growth.

We are taught to respect each other. We know that children are born gay, straight, or somewhere in between on the scale, and gayness cannot be taught or learned. We also know that there is nothing shameful in being gay. That is what religion teaches us.

  • Sajanas

    I would be willing to believe you, if you were also willing to write these things down and put it in the back of the Bible. Every religion talks about tolerance and respect when its not supreme, but can you guarantee that you won’t follow those laws to the letter when you don’t have to be accountable to anyone?

  • eezmamata

    “When people approach religion as a crutch, …”Really, is there ever a moment where it is *not* used as a crutch?

Read More Articles

Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

An Untold Story of Bondage to Freedom: Passover 1943

How a foxhole that led to a 77-mile cave system saved the lives of 38 Ukrainian Jews during the Holocaust.

Friend or Foe? Learning from Judas About Friendship with Jesus

We call Judas a betrayer. Jesus called him “friend.”

Fundamentalist Arguments Against Fundamentalism

The all-or-nothing approach to the Bible used by skeptics and fundamentalists alike is flawed.

Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.