Homosexuality and religion

Conservative Christian protesters at a 2006 San Francisco Pride event

The relationship between religion and homosexuality has varied greatly across time and place, within and between different religions and denominations, with regard to different forms of homosexuality and bisexuality. The present-day doctrines of the world's major religions and their denominations vary vastly in their attitudes toward these sexual orientations.

Among the religious denominations which generally reject these orientations, there are many different types of opposition, ranging from quietly discouraging homosexual activity, explicitly forbidding same-sex sexual practices among their adherents and actively opposing social acceptance of homosexuality, supporting criminal sanctions up to capital punishment, and even to condoning extrajudicial killings. Religious fundamentalism often correlates with anti-homosexual bias.[1] Psychological research has connected religiosity with homophobic attitudes[2] and physical antigay hostility,[3] and has traced religious opposition to gay adoption to collectivistic values (loyalty, authority, purity) and low flexibility in existential issues, rather than to high prosocial inclinations for the weak.[4] Attitudes toward homosexuality have been found to be determined not only by personal religious beliefs, but by the interaction of those beliefs with the predominant national religious context—even for people who are less religious or who do not share their local dominant religious context.[5] Many argue that it is homosexual actions which are sinful, rather than same-sex attraction itself. To this end, some discourage labeling individuals according to sexual orientation.[6] Several organizations assert that conversion therapy can help diminish same-sex attraction.

However, some adherents of many religions view homosexuality and bisexuality positively, and some denominations routinely bless same-sex marriages and support LGBT rights, a growing trend as much of the developed world enacts laws supporting LGBT rights.

Historically, some cultures and religions accommodated, institutionalized, or revered same-sex love and sexuality;[7][8] such mythologies and traditions can be found around the world.[9] The status of homosexuality in Hinduism is ambiguous. Hindu texts contain few specific references to same-sex relations, though some punish it.[10] Ayoni sex, which includes oral and anal sex, was not seen as a serious crime, and could be practiced in some cases.[11] Sikh wedding ceremonies are non-gender specific, and so same-sex marriage is possible within Sikhism.[12]

Regardless of their position on homosexuality, many people of faith look to both sacred texts and tradition for guidance on this issue. However, the authority of various traditions or scriptural passages and the correctness of translations and interpretations are continually disputed.


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