Someone’s sexual identity is not a conscious choice. If you are sexually attracted to guys, you are. Try to talk a straight person into ‘becoming gay’ and you won’t succeed. He may even try and have sex with another man, but if he isn’t gay by nature, he won’t enjoy it and probably won’t try it again. It’s the same with gay people.
What do Christians, Jews and Islamites say about homosexuality? There are many different ways of thinking about homosexuality. Unfortunately, the negative and official ways often preveal.
Christians – The Roman Catholic Church disapproves sex between men, but does not disapprove gay people. Inside Protestant Churches the orthodox Churches often disapprove homosexuality and see it as a taboo. But even there, things are changing.
Some Evangelic Churches try to turn gays into straight people. Something doomed to go wrong. The liberal churches accept gay relations, as something natural. In The Netherlands, there are churches where gays can get married (remonstranten, doopsgezinden). In the United States, there is a church that is particularly oriented at gays and lesbians: the Metropolitan Community Church
Violence towards gay people is disapproved by all churches. People sometimes forget to love their neighbour as themselves.
Jews – Also within the Jewish religion there are great differences. Many Jews are orthodox and they often disapprove homosexuality. Liberal jews see homosexuals as liberal Christians do. The points of view of Conservative Jews vary and they have several opinions about it.
Islamites – As with Christians and Jews, the Islamites have many ways of approaching homosexuality. Many official statements are negative, but in daily life things are and were often very different. In the Koran, as well as in the Bible and Thora, are phrases that can be explained as anti-gay but other ones that can be explained as pro-gay. Many views and opinions about homosexuality of Islamites are rather cultural than religious.
Homosexuality and religion can go hand-in-hand. It’s o.k., to be gay and religious at the same time. People have to find their own way, which can sometimes be a hard and long way.
Religion – It is hard to give a definition of religion or belief. Because religion can mean so many different things for different people. For every person, his belief originates in someone’s first environment: his place of birth and family. Religion therefore is not an absolute truth, but a product of someone’s cultural environment. People believe in what is imparted to them as what they should believe. That is hardly ever subject to discussion, because the source of it ‘should not be’ doubted about.
Every person is free to believe in what he or she finds valuable for life. You have to respect that. And religious people have to respect people who have a different belief or who have no religion (anymore).
You can be religious without religion. Without having ties with any religion, you can still be religious. For example because you feel there is more between heaven and earth. Everybody has personal feelings, thoughts, religious experiences and ideas about life and all that comes with it. And they can change throughout life.