I was listening to a discussion on 702 talk radio the other day about homosexual couples who are planning to have children. In December last year South Africa became the fifth country in the world to legalise homosexual marriage, and naturally it has become easier for homosexual couples to raise their own families.
It was an interesting discussion, but what really worried me was the type of on-air calls the station was receiving during the show. There were at least three individuals who called in and immediately started preaching about how evil and sickening homosexuality is, how un-spiritual and sinful homosexuals are, and how the gay lifestyle goes against God’s will and his creation. The host of the show calmly asked each of these callers what was the basis of their beliefs. The answer was the same in each case: The Bible.
“The Bible says . . . “
“The Bible does not condone . . . “
“According to the Bible . . . . “
The three callers are not alone: many in South Africa who argue against homosexuality appeal to the Bible when they present their arguments. The host of the show then patiently pointed out to each caller why this type of appeal is fallacious: she simply stated the fact that not all people subscribe to the precepts of the Bible, not everyone in South Africa is Christian. In other words, Christians don’t have the right to impose their moral code and biblical beliefs on unbelievers.
It worried me, listening to the show, that there is still much hatred shown towards homosexuals in this country. Ironically, the most intense hatred is expressed by those who preach love on Sunday mornings – this is a contradiction that for the life of me I cannot understand.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I know it’s not all Christians. I know there are many Christians who, although they might have reservations about homosexuality, understand that they are living in a society characterised by many cultures, religions and beliefs. They use the Bible as a positive guide for their own lives, but they are aware that they cannot force, or even expect, others to do the same. It is these Christians, Christians who view tolerance as a virtue, for whom I have respect. The Christians I am concerned about those who believe that they have the moral high ground to dictate, from their own interpretation of a religious book, how others should live.
The Bible is a fascinating book, but – as long as there are people living in South Africa who do not subscribe to the Christian creed – certain teachings of the Bible cannot be imposed, or even suggested as possibly becoming, a universal code of conduct for all persons living in society.
What do you think?