By Lisa Haddock
NJ Faith Forum editor
A Nigerian Islamic Court sentenced a man to death by stoning for homosexual activity, Reuters reported on July 9.
Without doubt, homosexuality is the cause of great division in the religious world today. The three major monotheistic religions -- Judaism, Christianity, and Islam -- have condemned homosexual activity for thousands of years. Conservatives within Christian and Jewish traditions argue that homosexuals can be cured (turned heterosexual) through through marriage, therapy, or ministries and support groups. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints employs aversion therapy to treat gay Mormons. The Catholic Church calls for homosexuals to refrain from sexual activity.
Meanwhile, liberals within these traditions push for full participation of gays within congregations, blessings of same-sex unions, civil marriage, ordination of actively gay clergy, and equal rights under the law. For example, the advocacy group Dignity USA "works for a time when gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics are affirmed and experience dignity through the integration of their spirituality with their sexuality and as beloved persons of God participate fully in all aspects of life within the Church and Society."
Liberals turn to modern scriptural interpretations and social science to push for more tolerance. Traditionalists point to sacred texts to bolster their argument against further permissiveness for gays. Many denominations are at the verge of splitting over these issues.
Under Islamic law (Sharia), homosexuality is punishable by death. Afghanistan, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen all mete out capital punishment for homosexuality. Islamic law governs or heavily influences each of these countries.
To read about the Nigerian case, click on headline. For traditional condemnations of homosexuality, click on link below.
To return to main index, click below:
To return to archive index, click below: