Homosexuality in the contemporary society is a popular topic of ethical discussions that exhibits a polarized debate that offers no compromising solution. Moral dilemmas involved in homosexuality make up its ethical issue. The arguments for and against homosexuality have justification through moral principles however; no argument is fully accepted. Borrowing from an article published in The Windsor Star journal by Don Lajoie, August 9, 2011, where a pair got themselves 36 months of imprisonment for assaulting a gay man allegedly because of his homosexuality. The victim explained that the couple “did use anti-homosexual slurs during the attack,” (Lajoie 2011, Para. 3). The contemporary society is normally viewed as a democratized world where everyone is allowed to mind their own business but in accordance to the aforementioned article, one is left with more questions than answers on that analogy. No doubt there are people who cannot withstand other people’s sexuality and will even go as far as physically attacking the individual probably to ‘instill some sense into his perverted mind’ so he will join them on the other side of life- the side of, as they call it, normal people. Most countries often tend to shun the homosexuality question. Where the secret practices of homosexuality practice thrive, the ethical judgment on the same is always neutral. Severe criticism of homosexuality occurs when the practice is openly done unsuccessfully.
Homosexuality in the contemporary society
Homosexuality is a practice of engaging in sexual relationship with a party of same gender, the act can be female to female or by male partners (Persell & Green 2001). Male partners in a sexual relation are referred to as gays while female companions are called lesbians. Most homosexuality cases are reported after individuals reach their adolescence. These youths engage in search of their mates from their tender age and it is the responsibility of the society to address these issues. With more people coming up clean and confessing their sexual status, more debates on gayism have been stirred. According to Young (2000, p.302), a contemporary society is a social setup which is enlightened or is in the process of accepting the diverse cultures and practices of its citizens. Most of the people receive the news with feelings of abhorrence and indignation and they are not hesitant to express their feelings even if it means beating the hell out of a gay person (like the couple in this article). Human rights activists are often in the forefront fighting for the rights of these individuals. The underlying principle is that every human being is entitled to some freedoms. Some of these freedoms are envisioned in the constitution as human rights and include freedom of association and choice. The big question that arises therefore is, is it morally right for two people of the same sex status to engage in sexual intercourse and even culminate their relationship by walking down the aisle?
We cannot deny that the number of people who are homosexual is quite alarming. There are quite a number of even the most famous people.These persons have come out openly and declared that they are either gay or lesbians. People like Ellen DeGeneres and Christian Anderson are not alien to our ears. One would think that after all this, people could get used to the idea of living with people of a different sexuality other than theirs. Nevertheless, apparently, this will never happen, at least not in the near future. There are usually many daily scenarios where homosexual persons are often harassed, from physical assault to being hurled at with insults, by the members of the public because of their homosexuality. Homosexuals in the contemporary society often face a lot of trauma because of the discrimination encountered not only from the public but also from their immediate families.
Common good for all
The society is in a gradual social development journey. The ultimate future of the society will be a country that is fully democratized and liberal. A liberal society is one that accommodates diverse social activities and acts, homosexuality included. A contemporary society needs to accommodate its citizens despite their social status. Leaders are constantly engaged in a battle for individual fundamental rights and freedoms. They are under pressure to legislate laws that are able to accommodate all citizens without any discrimination. This is because every individual needs the entitlement of enough freedom. The leaders are seeking to answer the question, What happened to the believe that we should not be discriminatory against each other regardless of sex, gender, race, religion or on any other ground?. With the gradual processes of liberation, creation of harmony amongst citizens is paramount for the public good.
Public good is often what is acceptable to the larger population and incorporates certain ideals. An individual is able to choose his/her own path of life and follow it without fear of being discriminated or of being assaulted or insulted. In other words, a person is able to create his own values and judgments and act on them without attracting ill feelings from the public so long as it is what he feels that works for him, for his own good. The human good ought to be what one chooses in as long as it does not infringe on the rights of other persons. For a practice to be termed good it must not be infringing on the rights of other citizens and should be morally acceptable.
Homosexuals are looking for recognition and acceptance from the general society. Those who refuse to be associated with this idea are labeled conservatives, traditionalists, old-fashioned, and sexists, even primitive. Christianity has especially been at the receiving end of this kind of criticism. The media and the big figures view them as fundamentalists and use this to discredit Christians who hold the belief that a man was created for a woman and vice-versa. They refer to them as social conservatives who have stubbornly refused to adapt to changing times. No one can explain why this is not being seen as a violation of the same fundamental rights which they themselves have always fought for, as a lack of tolerance to different views and practices from their side, for the common good of all.
What is morally good?
Is it possible for individuals to formulate their values and beliefs, consider them right and then proceed to follow them and tolerate no criticism from other people? In one of the feature article, a gay person was quoted saying that “For us, having safer sex means feeling good about who we are as gay men,” (Bartram 1994, Para. 5). They view gayism as a blessing as opposed to a curse, as other people view it, which should be upheld rather than be embarrassed about. A columnist on the Toronto stars asked; “”Why should they (the homosexuals) be forbidden the same physical expressions of tenderness and love most people enjoy…?” (Gwyn 2011, Para. 3). So is the society actually justified to deny them something so basic in life?
So we continue with the question, what can be classified as good? Most of the people largely believe that what is good is what brings happiness or pleasure to them. Therefore, the liberal will argue that if something yields happiness then the whole society should adopt it. So is it prudent to say that it is good for two people of the same sex to get married? What if they are allowed to continue with their lifestyles? The society is reluctant in accepting the later question with opponents of the subject arguing that it could allow an erosion of morals where every person will be seeking protection to continue with their ‘vices’. The prostitutes will come out asking for recognition, for acceptance, for protection. In the end there will be all manner of ‘values’ particular to each individual in a single society; this can cause social anarchy as there is no clear direction of moral values to be followed. However, is it possible for a contemporary society to live without any standard guiding principles for everyone to adhere to and uphold?
Christianity vs. Homosexuality
Since time immemorial, the Christian conception of right or wrong was applied for all ethical as well as political policies. The biblical view is that of God as the law giver and thus the determinant of right or wrong. He defines moral law and sets the guidelines to be observed by the whole creation. According to the book of Psalms, God is the representation of good and uprightness; and therefore he is the one who teaches sinners and the whole creation the way. Therefore, for one to qualify to be good he/she has to align to the will of God and whatever else that does not conform to this will is but evil.
The bible, in the book of Genesis, prescribes the right sexual relations by saying that, a man shall leave his home and be united to his wife, upon which they will become one being. So God’s way is a man marrying a woman as that is how he intended it to be from the beginning when he created the woman for the man. In Corinthians, Paul said that it is important for a woman to have a husband and a man to have a wife to avoid fornication. He did not leave room for other kinds of marriages; just a man and a woman.
The book of Romans condemns the act of homosexuality in open and clear terms. Paul declares the wrath of God against all those who engage in ungodly and unrighteous acts and who have substituted the true way of life with unrighteousness. Paul here is expressing the disgust of God against those who have embraced ungodliness and unrighteousness and substituted the truth for the same. So what is this ungodliness that Paul is talking about? And what is the truth that they should uphold instead? From Paul’s perspective, homosexuality is an unnecessary practice to all those who believe in God.
Romans continue to argue that, women deviated from the natural and acceptable way of deriving pleasure from their bodies and used it in a way that is against nature. The men also, left the natural use of a woman, and started lusting for other men and having sexual relations with men, a behavior which the bible describes as unseemly and which results into punishment. Thus, the ungodliness that Paul was talking about is man having unnatural sexual relations. The unnatural refers to the act of a man lusting for a fellow man and a woman the same. Therefore, God delights doing what he himself has authorized through his own mouth or using the mounts of his anointed, through the bible.
From the aforementioned biblical teachings and views about marriage and relationships between a man and a woman, it is acceptable that homosexuality has been condemned in the bible, the very basis of our moral principles. Timothy says that, the scripture is given through God’s inspiration, and is important for teaching, reprimand, correction, and for leading people into righteousness. The bible is the largest contributor of ethics followed in a contemporary society where majority is against homosexuality, normally practiced by the minority. It is can therefore be understood why Christians are rebelling against acceptance of homosexuality as a way of life. Acceptance of homosexuality in the Christian perspective is accepting to digress from God’s teaching in the Satan Avenue. Moreover, doing so is viewed to undermine the origin of our moral standing of contemporary society that is believed to originate from God himself (Geinsler, 2010).
Democracy calls for social justice for everyone. It requires that everyone be allowed to practice what he wants, how he/she wants it and whenever he or she wants it. In addition, this means of course that we should accommodate diverse beliefs and lifestyles. Nevertheless, Christians must not keep quiet and give up their democratic right to adhere to their own moral beliefs at the expense of the gay community. Considering homosexuality is an act free from legal fines, it could be prudent for a contemporary society to accommodate and respect the rights of these minority grouping. Christianity is more than just some moral guidelines. It is a way of life that every individual should be ready to adopt. All the values we uphold should be in line with the bible teachings and Christians should not shy away from correcting those who are ‘lost’. However, this should not be done through kicks and brawls but through love and patience. The human behavior is also governed by the public policies, on what the society thinks is right or wrong. The will of a contemporary society is embodied in its own legal laws, societal norms and traditions. The government should therefore draft legal policies that advocate for normal marriages between a man and a woman and not any other way.
List of References
Bartram, J. 1994, A sacred gift from God, Globe and Mail, Toronto star.
Correani, L., Fabio, D. and Giuseppe, G. (2009), “The evolutionary dynamics of tolerance”, MPRA Working Paper, No. 18989, University Library of Munich, Munich.
Geisler, L. 2010, Christian ethics. Grand Rapids, MI, Baker Academic.
Gwyn, R. 2011, The good society: moral standards and the current debate on homosexuality. Reformed Reflections.
Kingston, P. W., Hubbard, R., Lapp, B., Schroeder, P. and Wilson, J. 2003, “Why education matters”, Sociology of Education, Vol. 76 No. 1, pp. 53-70.
Lajoie, D. 2011, “36 Months for pair in beating”, The Windsor Star. Canada.com network.
Law, S. A. 1988, “Homosexuality and the social meaning of gender”, Wisconsin Law Review, Vol. 2, pp. 187-235.
Perry, E. and Perry, J. 1999.Contemporary Society:An introduction to social science, Harcourt-Brace, Sydney.
Persell, C. H., Green, A. and Gurevich, L. 2001, “Civil society, economic distress and social tolerance”, Sociological Forum, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 203-30.
Shoko, T. 2010, “Worse than dogs and pigs? Attitudes toward homosexual practice in Zimbabwe”, Journal of Homosexuality, Vol. 57, pp. 634-49.
Young, B. J 2000, Homosexuality:contemporary claims examined in light of the bible, Elsevier, Edinburgh.