Monday, January 10, 2005

Religious Beliefs Underpin Opposition to Homosexuality

Religious Beliefs Underpin Opposition to Homosexuality

Here we have the report from The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. There is no surprise that it concludes that there is a direct connection between religion beliefs and rejection of homosexuality. But it is important to read the full report, to see the many nuances the report brings.

As we know, also, the African American religious community is very opposed to gay marriage and to gay rights in general. Darryl Fears from The Washington Post states so in an article:

A study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life showed that since 2000, black Protestants have become far less likely than other Protestant groups to believe that gays should have equal rights. Black Protestant support for gay rights dipped to a low of 40 percent this year, down from 65 percent in 1996 and 59 percent in 1992.

The Pew Report shows that:

Attitudes about gay marriage are closely linked to where a person lives ­ with opposition significantly higher in the South, and in rural areas of the country. But there is little racial divide over gay marriage. Both whites and blacks oppose gay marriage by roughly two-to-one ­ most Hispanics also oppose the idea, but by a smaller margin (51% to 36%).

We certainly know how people use those common grounds to carve association with the same people they despise and whose interests they oppose in every other issue. It's the same strategy as when they try to divide African Americans and Hispanics on the grounds of low paying jobs, minority scholarships and other crumbs while obscuring the huge list of similarities and things and extremely important things they have in common that would allow them to fight together, instead of against each other. The issue of homosexuality, as much as the emphasis on virginity, and the like are divide and conquer issues, and we should not let them play with us on that. And, as many of us have come to realize by digging into this issues, homophobia and racism often, too often, go hand in hand.

On something directly related to our issues in MCPS, -remember when someone asked about gay teachers in Einstein???- the report also gives some hope that common sense and love for freedom and equality is still holding a place on society:
In 1987, the Times Mirror Center for the People and the Press found Americans divided over whether school boards should (51%) or should not (42%) be allowed to fire teachers based on their sexual preference. Today, Americans reject this idea by nearly two-to-one (62% to 33%). While significant differences remain across partisan, religious, and generational lines, all segments of American society have become less willing to allow this kind of explicit job discrimination, even in schools.

And, while you are in the Pew website, stop by the following Press Briefing, with many interesting views, but mainly one regarding the manipulation of numbers.
How the Faithful Voted: Political Alignments & the Religious Divide in Election 2004
In some ways you can argue that the strong pro-choicers and the strong pro-lifers are the most philosophically consistent people in the electorate, but an awful lot of Americans, even on an issue as philosophically and personally difficult as abortion, or in search of some other ground, the same is true on the gay marriage question: 25 percent said that gays and lesbians should be allowed to legally marry, 35 percent favored civil unions, 37 percent favored no legal recognition of homosexual relationships. Again, you can percentage these numbers whichever way you want, and I'm sure interest groups will do exactly that. On the one hand, 60 percent of Americans favor either marriage for gays or civil unions, or, alternatively, 72 percent of Americans oppose gay marriage. Both statements are true from these exit polls. So it suggests, I think, a certain subtlety out there in the electorate and a country, again, involved in a very serious argument with itself.


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