Religion, for many years, has caused issues throughout history, for some individuals religion works, for others, it doesn’t. Before we go any further, disclaimer alert;
These views are of Unite UK, in no way shape or form are we experts when regarding religion within the LGBTQ community. These are our thoughts & feelings regarding the issues with sources to back up our views.
Now that’s out of the way… let’s get going!
I have witnessed first hand that homophobia within religious groups still exists, I was shocked when I read they thought that homosexuality was ‘contagious‘ and ‘was spreading‘…. really?!
Why it is thought that LGBTQ individuals have an agenda to convert everyone to our lifestyle choice. They must be confused… that’s religion they’re thinking of.
So the real question is, can someone who identifies in the LGBTQ community still practice their religion? Unites view is yes. Many religious groups are now updating their beliefs to understand that LGBTQ individuals are not any different to themselves.
Breaking religion down, it’s a set of values and beliefs that individuals live their lives by. Many religious people believe that in these beliefs and values, it is preached that homosexuality is a sin, which in some countries can mean the death penalty.
This is the main cause of why religious individuals discriminate against homosexuals, as they believe it is a sinful act.
However, this view is dated and many views in religious groups are dated. E.g. No sexual intercourse before marriage. But no one is being ridiculed for this ‘sinful act’. So is it that religion is a way to cover someone’s homophobic thoughts and views? Maybe, yes.
However, this is changing. In 2013 Pope Francis made a statement that confirmed religious views are altering.
“If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them?”
Here he states, if you have accepted the lord and are still homosexual, then he has no place to judge. Now… if the POPE has no place to judge, you get the gist.
As well as religious leaders having more open views towards the LGBTQ community, there has been a rise in the number of religious congregations all supporting LGBTQ rights & equality.
For example, Metropolitan Community Churches or commonly known as MCC was founded in 1968. MCC was the first church to perform same-gender marriages and has been on the forefront of the struggle towards marriage equality worldwide.
These amazing establishments are showing that you can practise your religion whilst being out in the LGBTQ community.
Certain religious groups such as Jehovah’s Witnesses have recognised that some individuals may be homosexual, including those in their congregation. They even go as far to teach not to hate homosexual individuals. Although they do not condone homosexual behaviour, their views ensure that the LGBTQ community has been acknowledged.
However, there are some religious groups that are not so supporting towards LGBTQ rights. Their views regarding same-sex relationships are very extreme, but sadly there will always be some who will ridicule.
Throughout history, there have been minorities killed or punished for their lifestyle or views. This is something that we as a species fail at. We are all human, all the same, no matter religious, lifestyle, race or gender. But for some reason, it seems to alter the way people view an individual. Identifying in the LGBTQ community does not make you any different to those identifying in any other community, we just hold different views on how we live our lives.
It’s important to know that although some religious views clash with LGBTQ lifestyles, you are entitled to practise your religion and faith. For many, it is a great outlet from which they find peace. Don’t ever stop being who you are, not for anyone or anything.
Because of the complexity of Religion, this is a very broad post applying to many religious groups. If you are part of a religious group and would like to find further information on your Religious group’s status on LGBTQ individuals, get in touch and we can try help out as much as possible.
As well, there will be future posts regarding Religion, if you’d like a certain area covered, again get in touch.
Religious LGBTQ Support Groups:
The Unite Team