In the development of every religion there are guidelines to living. In Judaism, it is the Mitzvah, in Buddhism it is the Buddha’s teachings and in Wicca it is the Book of Shadows. These rules demonstrate what should be done and what shouldn’t be done in the lifetime. Many religions in the world have different opinions on guidelines and this research essay will examine and compare the religious views on homosexuality and same sex marriages in the religions of Judaism, Buddhism, and Wicca.
Judaism is one of the oldest religions in the world. The earliest written source of homosexuality in Judaism begins with the Book of Leviticus which is one of the five parts of the Torah. Orthodox Jews will argue the fact that the Torah forbids homosexual acts. “It states, “A [man] shall not lie with another man as [he would] with a woman, it is a to’eva” (Leviticus 18:22)” (“Homosexuality and Judaism,” 2004). In the past, if people were homosexuals it was a capital offense, and known as unnatural. If one was to have homosexual attractions their actions would be held accountable by God. Modern Orthodox Jews don’t care if homosexuality is a mental disease, or if you were born with it, they still believe that it is morally wrong no matter what the case is. Conservative Jaws are on the fence.
They say according to the Halakha (Jewish Law) you should not judge homosexual relationships. Though the position of the conservatives is at the point where they know that homosexual relations is a violation of Jewish law they find it a less punishment just like breaking any other law many Jewish member violate such as eating non-kosher food. Therefore this leads them to believe there is no reason to view homosexuality as anything other than a Jewish law violation. The last category of Judaism is the Reform branch in North America. Reform Judaism does not prohibit rabbis and cantors as being homosexuals. In 1990, Central Conference of American Rabbis officially stated that regardless of their sexual orientation, they will fulfill their sacred occupation (“Homosexuality and Judaism,” 2004). Many of the points under this document support the equality of gays and lesbians and want to help legalize same-sex marriages. That is the wide variety of viewpoints that exist in Judaism.
In Buddhism there are a variety of opinions on homosexuality and same-sex marriages as well. Buddhists are required the follow the five percepts, which include abstaining from harming living beings, sexual misconduct and false speech. In Buddhism there is no scripture in which it states that homosexuality is a wrong thing to do but usually is considered the third percept (sexual misconduct) by the Dalai Lama. A Buddhist author wrote, “…where the sexual act is an expression of love, respect, loyalty and warmth, it would not be breaking the third percept” (“Homosexuality and Buddhism,” 2006).
This quote goes against the Dalai Lama’s opinion and explains that whether the love is heterosexual or homosexual; love is love, and as long as they are not committing adultery, it isn’t against their religion. Dalai Lama, the leader of Tibetan Buddhism would say homosexuality is wrong and is considered part of sexual misconduct. Dalai Lama states in an interview, “…the purpose of sex in general is for procreation, so homosexual act does seem a bit unnatural” (“Homosexuality and Buddhism,” 2006). In Theravada Buddhist countries, they do not practice homosexuality. They believe that it is a punishment for being heterosexual unfaithful in a past life (karma). This illustrates that the Buddhist religion fosters a wide variety of opinions on homosexuality.
Wiccan is a modern western religion having to do with witchcraft. The traditions of Wiccan do not usually accept homosexuality however modern day Wiccan followers do accept it. The traditional belief is that the magical energy developed between heterosexual relationships is not present in a homosexual one. The traditional followers believe that a man and a man or a woman and a woman cannot create a tension so strong to be able to generate magic; this was at the time of the life of Gerald Gardner.
The theory of Gerald was that heterosexual men are dominant/projective and all females were passive/receptive (“The wiccan way.”). Modern day thinking is that each gender can be either projective or receptive which can give homosexuals the same amount of power as heterosexuals have. Therefore the Wiccan way does accept homosexuality in modern day, but in the past it was not accepted due to lack of ability to generate magic in the traditional way.
These three religions are considered very different in many ways. Judaism is the oldest religion and uses scriptures as the history and law of their religion. Buddhism is a branch of Hinduism and uses the Buddha teachings as the way of life. Wicca is witchcraft and looks upon the Book of Shadows. Wiccan is the only religion in modern day that accepts homosexuality and same-sex marriages unlike Judaism who completely reject the idea from what their ancient scriptures states. Buddhism is the one in the middle; they believe that it is unnatural because of common sense but don’t necessarily forbid it to occur.
Throughout history, opinions can change. Sometimes they change in religion like the Wiccan way, or sometimes they can stay exactly the same, like throughout Judaism. This research essay examined each of these religions including Buddhism on the topic homosexuality and same-sex marriages.
Gardner, Gerald. (1954). Witchcraft Today. London: Rider.
Homosexuality and buddhism . (2006). Retrieved from http://www.religionfacts.com/homosexuality/buddhism.htm
Homosexuality and judaism. (2004, May 24). Retrieved from http://www.religionfacts.com/homosexuality/judaism.htm
Homosexuality in wicca (and paganism too.) . (2010). Retrieved from http://www.wiccantogether.com/forum/topics/homosexuality-in-wicca-and
Moonfyre, A. (2002). Wiccan book of shadows. Retrieved from http://www.wiccanbookofshadows.50megs.com/index.html
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