At its most basic level, homosexuality is the kind of thing that, unless you are somehow involved in it, doesn’t have to touch you. Perhaps seeing same-sex couples in public bothers you to no end. It might even affect your health if it causes you to lose sleep. Ultimately, sexuality boils down to bedroom preference. While biology has shown that bedroom preference is not really a matter of choice, letting someone else’s bedroom preferences cause you to lose sleep is. It would be easy to say that it’s a matter of people being less judgmental or perhaps just keeping their opinions to themselves.
But while reading these articles I was struck by how something so individual (for both participants and bothered spectators) makes its way into the domain of public debate. What is MOST striking is the way that individual sentiments and prejudices find their way into macro-level institutions like government and religion. Because these sentiments, coupled with the power of institutions, become dangerous once unchecked. And the presence of this danger is especially apparent when these sentiments are consistent. Avoiding a rant about the hypocrisy of institutions like the Catholic Church, with their numerous allegations of sodomy and maltreatment of boys, what is ALSO worth highlighting is the conflict within institutions that results from the variance within instsitutional bodies. When an entity wields as much power as an institution like the Catholic Church, it cannot afford to be shaky or flexible in its moral compass, neither can it afford to be careless in its distribution of justice.
At the heart of the matter is fear, misunderstanding and perhaps even ignorance. How this fear misunderstanding and ignorance goes from being individual sentiment to institutional law is no mystery. The same individuals who hold the sentiments make up our institutions. And as long as our institutions make laws, these sentiments go from being feelings held by a disgruntled few, to being a mandated law that impacts many. Because lawmaking bodies inherently are up gist doing the most god fret most people, they also cannot afford for their policy-making to be tainted by fear, misunderstanding and especially ignorance. Aside from the fact that these laws often bring about conditions that serve to perpetuate the very problems they are drawn up to solve, they also serve to reinforce the same skewed and harmful sentiments that birthed them to begin with.
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