24 May 2012

Homosexuality again, thanks to Obama

I don't want to look like all I blog about is homosexuality, or that it is the most important thing to discuss. But, Obama making comments on gay marriage has generated a media storm and a corresponding social discourse, so I have some thoughts.

Over the years, wading through all the talk about homosexuality, I've come up with an analogous trait for comparison on issues. Because society is so polarized on gay marriage, it's hard to avoid being labeled as backwards if you do anything short of promoting homosexuality. So when issues come up I compare homosexuality with obesity. That's right, I said it. You see, being overweight isn't a politicized issue, so it allows for reasonable thoughts and conclusions. It is similar in several respects: both can appear from a predisposition, both are influenced by social conditioning, both are socially stigmatized, and both are undesirable. If you're offended by the comparison, you'll have to wait until the end, but for now just bear with me and assume that homosexuality is an undesirable trait of comparable value. I'll show you how this works by comparing all the major controversial issues going on.

02 May 2012

Forgotten People in Debates over Homosexuality

I'm copying below a post from Jim that he asked to share here. ~Bryan

Jim Habegger

Here are some concerns I might share with some people, on both sides of the homosexuality debates.
1. Concerns about people who are struggling with homosexuality being misused by others, with harmful consequences to them, turning them away from their own hearts, or turning them away from God.
2. Concerns about the teachings of the Faith being compromised and/or misrepresented to others, about God and his laws, or about fellowship and diversity.
3. Concerns about prejudice against gays in the Baha'i Community, and its consequences.

Those are all anxious concerns of mine, which I have been actively addressing for more than ten years, and I would love to exchange ideas and experiences with anyone who is trying to do anything about them besides debating about them.

However, my most pressing concern now, in relation to homosexuality, is possible harmful effects of debates about homosexuality, on Baha'is who see themselves as homosexual or possibly homosexual, and who take very seriously everything that Shoghi Effendi and the House of Justice have said about homosexuality. I think it might mean a lot to them, to see more Baha'is on line who do not depreciate same-sex love, or the House of Justice, either one; and who are not maligning or scolding anyone. I'm hoping that there are a lot more of those people out there than I have ever seen or heard of.

I can see very good reasons for them not to come out on line. They might have much better things to do off line. They might not see any potential on line to do anyone any good. They might be afraid of failing to resist temptations to engage in acrimonious debate, or to reflect on the character of others. They might be afraid of the arrows that will come flying from all directions. They might, in humility or uncertainty, hesitate to put themselves on display.

I think that being seen as people who do not depreciate same-sex love, who do not depreciate the House of Justice, and who are not maligning or scolding anyone, does not require any certainty or arrogance about our own views, or even to debate about them at all. It might not even require discussing our own views. It might not require a lot of time on line, either. Just a post here and there, that allows people to see that we don't depreciate same-sex love, that we don't depreciate the House of Justice, and that if ever we malign or scold anyone, we recognize it as wrong and take immediate and decisive steps to rectify it and keep it from happening again.

I don't know what to say about the possible futility of such efforts, or the arrows flying at us from all directions, other than to weigh those against the possibility of offering some hope and cheer to someone who thinks that God despises her, possibly without ever knowing that you have done so.