Social experiment shows homosexuality still isn’t readily accepted

Edward Leonard

Why is it that everyone makes such a big deal of homosexuality? Why are the gays even worth all of the hatred and rhetoric directed against them? Whether you’re for or against same-sex marriage, it’s an issue just about everyone pays attention to.

This weekend, I was hanging out in a park with my roommate, another guy. We decided to run a little social experiment. Neither of us is homosexual, but we pretended to be a gay couple. He laid down on my belly and we held hands and, from the safety of our sunglasses, we watched the reactions.

It was pretty startling some of the stares we got. There were more than a few double takes. Some people went clearly out of their way to ignore us. Some steered their children away from us, and a few just smiled like most people do at a cute couple being a cute couple.

I remember one girl in particular:

She stopped and outright stared at us, an expression that can only be described as unadulterated loathing on her face. She clearly did not approve of our apparent homosexuality.

Another of our friends, a girl, noticed her hostile glance and saved us with a sultry “hey baby,” scaring her off, but the message was clear: Two men together is a big deal.

This is something I don’t understand. The most vocal opponents to homosexuality are traditionalist Christians; those who believe the Bible should be taken literally, word for word: “The word of the Bible is the literal word of Jesus — the literal word of God,” or so they would say.

But what did Jesus have to say about homosexuality? Pretty much nothing. In fact, nothing at all, according to the four canonical gospels. Jesus never once mentions homosexuals in the bible. No big deal here.

But what about Leviticus? The most famous biblical quote on homosexuality is from Leviticus, damning it as an abomination. It goes on to say that this is an offense punishable by death. That’s pretty hard to misinterpret.

But Leviticus also says that it’s illegal to wear any clothing with more than one type of fabric. It also states that no one can touch a woman on her period. Leviticus is also the source of most of the dietary laws of Judaism, and in fact encourages slavery, saying to treat Canaanites as slaves and to “bequeath them to your sons after you to inherit as a possession forever.”

Many of these laws are not followed at all anymore, a few are still in practice by a small number of Orthodox Jews, but almost none are followed by Christians, even the most conservative. This is typically attributed to Matt. 22: 35-40, a passage in which Jesus liberates his followers from the laws, famously saying that there are two commandments off of which all the law and the other 10 hang — love your neighbor and love God.

I guess this means we can pick and choose which laws to follow.

It’s pretty convenient to follow the laws on homosexuality, mentioned only two times in the new testament. There’s a third mention of sodomy in Timothy, but the passage on Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis really deals with rape and not homosexuality.

The Quran has even less to say, explicitly mentioning homosexuality only once. In the Quran’s eyes, homosexual activity is a forgivable offense, but the participants must both give up their ways. Contrast this to apostasy, a capital crime in the Quran and the Bible’s more than 250 quotes about love in the New Testament alone.

It seems like the emphasis placed on homosexuality in traditional religious groups is undue emphasis on this issue that’s relatively minor when the scriptures are actually analyzed.

I’m not talking about marriage here, or even civil unions. What I’m talking about is allowing someone to embrace their own identity.

It’s a hostile world for a homosexual, whether they want to get married or not. These are people that can’t walk down the street without getting a dirty look, unless they hide who they are. This seems to be in stark contrast with the ideal of a universal love, which the message of Jesus seems to emphasize so heavily. 

One way or another, though, homosexuality is more and more present in our society, and despite opposition more and more people are being open about it. James Derrico, a man who has had to deal with these criticisms for years, said, “I dont hide it…I’ll never lie about who I am.”