Religious Views on Homosexuality Essay

Sample Essay

Words 1,178

We begin our survey of how major religions view homosexuality by examining how this form of human sexual behavior is treated by Judaism. In general, despite biblical prohibitions against homosexuality, reform and conservative Jews believe that homosexuals should be admitted into the mainstream of Jewish life and worship.

The best known of these prohibitions is in Leviticus 18:22:

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination.

Leviticus 20:13 also warns against homosexuality conduct:

If a man also lies with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them.

Finally, Deuteronomy 23:17 states that:

There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.

While most orthodox Jews take these prohibitions against homosexuality to be prohibitions against all such sexual behavior, more liberal Jews tend to view these statements as historical statements rather than as directives to behavior in the 21st century.

In an excerpt of a brochure, the New York Federation of Reformed Synagogues discusses that the Bible is not homophobic, but that these three laws are outlawing homosexual acts. They believe that at the time the Bible was written, it was not understood that homosexual acts could be consensual and part of a loving relationship. This piece of writing is an excellent example of many such writings by reform and some conservative Jews who wish to include gay and lesbian people in Judaism, and interpret the Torah to make this possible.

One of the most fundamental problems with homosexuality in Judaism is the disruption of the “typical” Jewish family. The family is very important to the Jewish tradition, especially in certain rituals such as the Passover Seder (http://philo.ucdavis.edu/zope/home/bruce/RST23/STDNTPAGES/michelle.html).

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