A simple look into the history of mankind and one can quickly conclude, discrimination of the homosexual is, quite possibly, one of the earliest forms of discrimination to exist. Centuries later tolerance, acceptance, and equal rights continue to have a stronghold on the homosexual community, often fueling public debate and strong opposition within Congress, the workplace, and even in the confines of the family dynamic. Discrimination of the homosexual quite possibly has one of the greater disadvantages of all other forms of human discrimination because many would argue, according to the Holy Bible, God, Himself, disapproves.
From the earliest chapters of the Bible, such as Leviticus 18:22 (New King James Version) which reads, “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. ”1 to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 that states, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. “2 man quickly comes to the conclusion that God clearly sees the homosexual as unacceptable.
Therefore, many feel entitled to discriminate against the homosexual community believing if God says it is wrong, one is somehow given permission to act as they are God and carry forth hatred and zero tolerance for the group. However, if one truly studies or reads the Bible, one will find that God detests quite a few things, one being “hatred”. And, where one may point to a few of these scriptures with regard to homosexuality, the very group tends to forget to include the many other scriptures that support God’s mandate for all to love one another, to forgive one another, and to avoid judgment of all humankind.
Discrimination is painful – it stirs hatred, it destroys individuals, families, communities, nations, and the world at large. Discrimination of homosexuals, in particular, has resulted in countless deaths, suicides, assaults, and shattered lives yet this discrimination continues and shows little signs of coming to an end. And, it remains fact that one of the greatest tools many have to show just cause for their hatred and discrimination continues to be the Bible.
Often taken out f context, or neglecting to study the historical or geographic reasoning behind various scriptures, entire churches and denominations band together in direct opposition of the homosexual community all while forgetting God’s direct words, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. ” (John 15:12)3 This one scripture is a far cry from God’s permission to allow homosexual discrimination. Yet, many “Christians” are quick to dismiss the scripture and opt to use the Holy Bible to support displays of hatred and bitterness all while destroying families and contributing to the suicide rate of the world’s youth in alarming numbers.
Discrimination can be defined as “the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex. ”4 Discrimination shows little room for tolerance or a desire for understanding, compassion, or respect for an individual’s right to chose his or her path in life. Discrimination stirs anger and hatred as evidenced by many acts of violence that have taken place for centuries. Discrimination causes individual self-doubt, feelings of hopelessness and lack of security.
Discrimination of the homosexual often leaves an individual feeling out casted by everyone; often alienated by his or her very own family. For the young individual facing such scrutiny and hatred, there often seems no way out, especially for those surrounded by others who have lost compassion and a true loving heart. With no one to turn to, no one to fully understand or provide support, many of these youth turn to the unthinkable: suicide. It is a burden and pressure far too overwhelming for many – often much more so when you belong to an organization that feels they’ve been granted biblical permission to target an individual.
Such was so in case of young Eric James Borges. Eric James Borges endured a life-long struggle with coming terms with his sexual identity. Feeling “different” and unlike other boys from the time he was a young child, he quickly learned to suppress his feelings and emotions for fear of others finding out he was a homosexual – a gender identity that had been made clear to him was unacceptable to society, to his family and, above all, to God. But, it wasn’t long into his life where this became difficult to mask, far too overwhelming of a task to keep hidden.
His less han masculine mannerisms and attractions to activities associated as girlish made him a quick target. And, soon came harassment. As though not difficult enough to deal with the bullying, emotional and physical abuse of his peers, young Eric’s fundamentalist Christian home provided little by way of a haven from the pain. If anything, the home provided added reinforcement and strengthened Eric’s certainty that something was deeply wrong with him. Unfortunately, the adults in Eric’s life, including his Christian parents, made life dramatically worse for the young man.
Growing up in a home where Christian values and standards were strictly enforced, Eric’s parents viewed his sexual orientation as defiant and wrong in the eyes of God. Eric began a life on display, often the subject of family prayer during which time family members would pray for his “healing” and “deliverance” from the “curse” placed on his life. His family, too, endured pressure by many within the church, some accusing the parents of living a sinful life of their own that resulted in the curse.
Rather than learn to love their son and support, guide, and encourage him with compassion and loving arms, Eric’s parents succumbed to their own inner insecurities, often applying far more pressure on the youngster and accusing him of choosing an immoral life, at one point calling upon divine intervention: an exorcism. When performing the ritual exorcism with the anticipation of curing him of his cursed sexual orientation failed, his parents chose the next best course of action: demanding he leave the household.
Shattered, torn, and disowned, the young Eric found support in a few who showed him love and compassion. He joined and participated in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Questioning (LGBTQ) groups which introduced him to others who had led difficult lives – some less devastating than Eric’s, but others just as tragic. During this time, he participated in a movement designed to educate and create awareness and provide information to the public that the homosexual life was neither a “curse” from God neither the demonic lifestyle so often portrayed by many within the world’s churches.
Eric became a guest speaker, a young author, a figure among struggling homosexual youth and a noted survivor of a life targeted by discrimination. But, despite all the advances and his personal accomplishments, the damage had been done to Eric. Without the love and support of his family and relatives, with the pain associated with a lifetime of abuse, Eric, could no longer endure his internal suffering. Young Eric James Borges committed suicide January 14, 2012 at age 19 near his hometown of Visalia, California. Discrimination of the homosexual continues, and it must end.
But, will it? Consider the recent development in Australia. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has very recently assured religious organizations new rights under a recently-passed bill will ensure they have the freedom to discriminate against those they have deemed “sinners,” including homosexuals. Under this law schools, hospitals, and faith-based organizations will be able to refuse to hire “sinners” with minor stipulations. Discrimination by religious organizations throughout Australia has been a long-standing issue and has now only strengthened its case by the passing of this new law.
This law, alone, could produce many with the future of Eric James Borges – one that ends in tragedy largely due to people’s harsh, unkind, and inhumane words – words many feel entitled to use because they use God as means to support their hatred. God is a God of love, mercy, and compassion. In His eyes we are equally and beautifully-made, a perfect Masterpiece, a wondrous work. It’s time for this discrimination to end and for us to embrace the homosexual community with love, compassion, understanding and the true Heart of God.