Religion and Homophobia

I have chosen to look into the article “Doctor refuses treatment of same-sex couple’s baby”. In this article, due to a doctors religious beliefs, the doctor defers treatment of a baby that was born to a same-sex couple.  It’s extremely difficult, especially in today’s North American society where everyone comes from different background and upbringings, to be “different” from what society has deemed normal. This family’s structure, two mothers and a child, is not what our heteronormative society is used to. The struggles this family faces in the doctor’s office are very specific though. They were struggling against religious beliefs. This situation brings to light the systemic issues of religion based sexism. Is it okay to be homophobic if your religion says you have to be? Is it okay to deny service to someone based on your religious views? I believe that everyone is entitled to their opinions and beliefs but as a service worker, I don’t think those views or beliefs should stop you from providing your service.

It can be said that oftentimes people will use their beliefs as a shield for their sexism. We see this specifically in this situation where the doctor says “After much prayer following your prenatal, I felt that I would not be able to develop the personal patient-doctor relationships that I normally do with my patients” (http://ww.myfoxdetroit.com, 1). She doesn’t comment on the fact that she in inherently being homophobic because to her it isn’t her choice, her religion says she should be homophobic. This type of sexism is much different from any other that is simply developed through social constructions. By this I mean it isn’t something that you see as a child growing up and eventually just naturally come to terms with. This sexism is purposefully taught and engrained in people and is extremely harmful to our society. Everywhere that we see discrimination against any non-heterosexually oriented people, there will almost always be a religiously charged input as part of the mix.

This type of religious sexism, refusing to provide service based on sexuality, plays itself many times.

We can see in this video Chris Thompson address the situation of teen, Austin Wallis, being asked to leave his private, religious school if he is going to continue to be openly gay or “go back in the closet” if he would like to continuing attending school there. It is the religious thought process that to be queer is a choice that makes these issues arise so often.  Thompson reads a quote from the school essentially outlining that due to the schools “Biblically bases and Christ-like lifestyle” if a student doesn’t uphold those characteristics, they are subject to expulsion. Because the school is private and receives no funding from the federal government they can actually do this lawfully. It’s disheartening and sad to know that this kind of thing is happening all over the world.

The argument about whether or not to be queer is a choice or not I feel is one that has been going on for ages. As someone who personally identifies as bisexual, I can’t remember a time when I suddenly decided I wanted to be queer. I am also someone who identifies as a Christian, making my religion and my sexuality a conflicting intersection. I have found that there are places in the Bible where it is arguable to say that because all sins are equal in Gods eyes that being queer is simply another one of millions of sins that religious people commit and it is not something to oppress others over. This is all personal opinion where research will go back and forth saying the Bible is for and then against being queer. This creates difficulty and confusion for religious people who look to be accepting but are extremely conflicted by the answers they get as religion and the Bible are often taught based on certain interpretations.

Based on everything I’ve looked into on this subject, it is a sad reality that people will be discriminated against and not receive service due to the fact that they, not by choice, happen to love someone that identifies as the same sex. I still personally believe that if another person’s sexual orientation does not directly affect you or the service you need to provide, you should not be stopped from providing said service. Religion, often interpreted in different ways, will always have an interpretation that prevents people from being fully accepting of the differences of human beings. I think it is only but a dream to one day have a completely accepting society.

– NoSpeakAfricano

Work cited:

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5 thoughts on “Religion and Homophobia

  1. I would like to point out, first and foremost, the importance of one of your final statement’s that ” if another person’s sexual orientation does not directly affect you or the service you need to provide, you should not be stopped from providing said service”; this is a great way to critically look at both sides of this situation from an objective point of view. However, I would be cautious with making assumptions and general statements. For example, “her religion says she should be homophobic”; this is an assumption because we do not know what religion she identifies with nor do we know what her religion says about homosexuals. Furthermore, I would be cautious in saying “Everywhere that we see discrimination against any non-heterosexually oriented people, there will almost always be a religiously charged input as part of the mix”. It is not fair to blame one entire construct (such as religion, which is very very large and has a huge number of different views and parts involved) as (almost) always causing or influencing another systemic problem (such as discrimination to non-heterosexual relationships) in our society. There is no proof that all religions are against homosexuality, nor is there any proof that all discrimination towards homosexuals stems from religious backgrounds. I would just be careful about statements that cannot be supported.
    Finally, I would like to thank you for putting your own experiences and personal thoughts into your argument regarding this issue; that adds another layer to your argument which is very valid and strengths your point of view.
    -rayofsunshine

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  2. I appreciate the fact that you incorporated your personal thoughts and experiences into the argument even if it can result in arguments, because people aren’t always willing to fight for their opinions in fear of offending someone. I agree that people do use religion and their beliefs as a way to deflect the blame for their actions but I think it’s important to remember this not only applies to religion as people tend to use whatever excuse possible to get out of trouble. As a non-religious person I do know much about the Bible and what it states so I personally like how you explain some it and this allows non-religious people to have better understanding of the situation, as many times non-religious people feel uncertainty when comment on such issues. Great review.
    -Secretlybatman

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  3. I’m glad that you talked about your personal experiences when addressing this topic and how your intersecting identities aid you in understanding the situation and make connections to it. I feel as though you raised a good point when talking about whether or not it’s right, or even fair, for a service worker to use their beliefs as a reason not to help people since the point of their job is to provide services that, in this case especially, is vital to their survival. However, it can be seen as controversial because this limits one’s ability to practice their religious beliefs freely. I like that your blog points out that religion is used in order to reinforce ideals that are often that of an individual, rather than that of an entire religious group and that things written in the Bible are often taken out of context or certain parts are paid more attention to rather than others.
    I also applaud your usage of media and the relation to made to the corrupt schooling system. This points out the idea that government institutions, medical and educational, are still not void of homophobic undertones as they still allow for people to be discriminated against on the grounds of their sexual orientation.

    – MasalaCHICKen

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  4. I just wanted to start by saying that I’m not too sure if I agree with you on your point where you say “It’s extremely difficult, especially in today’s North American society where everyone comes from different background and upbringings, to be “different” from what society has deemed normal.” I think it depends on where you are and the situation. for example, my high school was mostly populated with white, heterosexual people. In my graduating class, there were only two Asian students, one African-American student, and one Latino student (me), compared to the other 200+ white students. I’m not saying that we were the victims of racial slurs and other types of discrimination, but what I am trying to say is that we were seem different just by not being part of the norm.

    I appreciate you talking about your personal life and feel like you make the right types of connections. I really liked your review and the video you posted also makes good connections that relate to the article. overall, good job!
    -mejicanluis

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  5. Hey everyone, thanks so much for your comments!
    @Rayofsunshine, I apologize if my statements seemed to be making nonfactual assumptions. My intent wasn’t to say all religions are homophobic but that often times you will see some sort of religiously charged homophobic attack when observing homophobia in action.
    Thank you all for appreciating my personal stories and such. Glad you enjoyed! 🙂
    – NoSpeakAfricano

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