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Homosexuality: Truth, Perspective and Compromise

A wise man once said that truth depends greatly on one’s point of view. For different people the same subject has different Truths. From one’s experience one draws conclusions based on one’s perceptions of facts and events. In this there is one universal truth that is often disregarded. Fact and Truth are very different things.

When dealing with social issues and beliefs regarding morality fact is rarely at the heart of the discussions. While many things may be presented as being factual, they are dependent on the acceptance of assumptions either openly expressed or implied. It is these assumptions that determine the Truth of the matter for the individual. One of the most controversial arguments of Truth in this day and age is the nature of homosexuality and the rights that should or should not be afforded to homosexuals. The conflict between the core premises of the polarized opinions and the ambiguity of the centrist views leaves a wider consensus on the Truth of the matter virtually unattainable. Given that an ideological consensus may not be reachable the best we can hope for is to come to some level of compromise on what should be done to assure that this segment of our population is not mistreated by our system that is supposed to guarantee equal treatment under the law for all. In order to find that compromise we need to understand the viewpoints behind the conflicting ideas about the issue. To understand the conflict better it might be useful to take a look at the core premises driving the debate.

From a socially conservative view, homosexuality is a religious issue. In most Christian conservative circles, homosexuality and Sodomy are interchangeable words. Sodomy of course refers to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah depicted in the Bible as being so decadent that God was forced to destroy them for their wickedness. Among the wickedness of their people was the “deviant” practice of homosexuality. From this point of view it is assumed that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice that is displeasing to God. It is among the behaviors that God feels so strongly about that he would destroy his own creations to eradicate it from an area. From this point of view, the acceptance of homosexuality on a societal level is blasphemous. To accept it on a governmental level is an affront to God and risks the damnation of our nation. That nation includes their families and children whom they feel an obligation to protect from the danger of eternal damnation. Given that our religious beliefs tend to be the strongest views we hold, this threat to the souls of their nation drives them to strike out against the perceived threat. Since there are no real facts to support or contradict their arguments from a purely empirical standpoint, they are left basing everything on faith in what they believe to be the word of God their lord and master. When you understand that deep-seeded foundation to their position, you can understand that it is a position that will not easily be altered and no amount of information is going to likely sway them from their Truth. Contradicting God is not something any amount of rhetoric or science is going to easily do. Knowing that is the case, you have to find ways to look for compromise that involve acknowledging their beliefs as being valid beliefs and their faith as important.

From a liberal perspective comes one core idea that homosexuals are homosexual because of nature or other forces outside of their control. Another perspective among many liberals is that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality and that it is merely bigotry and outmoded notions of arcane philosophy that see it as being wrong. Many of these liberals are also religious and point to the areas of religion that contradict the views of their conservative counterparts. They point to the acceptance of the untouchables by Jesus in the Bible and acts of compassion that showed Jesus to be a man of acceptance. Liberals tend less to argue homosexuality as a religious issue and focus more on the human rights perspective. From this viewpoint it is assumed that homosexuality is something that is little different from skin color when being considered by lawmakers. They will often point out that interracial marriage was forbidden for many years and that the exclusion of homosexuals from the bonds of marriage is no different than that prior policy which is seen today as being ignorant and bigoted. From that perspective the issue becomes a fight for human rights for a group that is seen as being unfairly persecuted. As it is with any righteous crusade the fight for gay rights is an emotional fight driven by the beliefs of the people fighting for their Truth that will not be won until the ultimate goal is reached. In crusades partial victories don’t really count. Knowing this, you can look for compromise in finding victories for their cause and humanizing their opposition. By pointing out that not acknowledging the validity of the religious viewpoint is as much marginalizing them as not acknowledging the validity of homosexual relationships you show that there are rights on both sides of the argument that should be preserved. When you can give validity to both sides the probability of compromise becomes better.

The moderate viewpoints on gay rights as with their views on most subjects can often see validity in both the conservative and liberal arguments but consider both to be incomplete and extreme. The understanding of the religious views often leads to questions of interpretation of the Bible and its meanings. Hearing the arguments comparing homosexuality to ethnicity can often make and lose points with moderates who see that there are similarities and differences from certain perspectives. The overriding tendency with moderates though is to not give the matter a lot of thought. It is often seen as a matter that impacts a very small percentage of the people and therefore less deserving of attention than other more universal issues. While they are not heartless about the needs of homosexuals, they are not terribly concerned about them either. At the same time they often look at the vehement protests of the hard core conservatives against gay rights on the basis of it being a threat to traditional values as being the ranting of unintelligent people driven by a narrow interpretation of one segment of the Bible that might or might not reflect the actual desires of God. In the end it is a matter for others to debate and not something they will spend a lot of time on. Their Truth assumes that there are more important things to be talking about than gay rights. To bring them into the debate the arguments have to be balanced and give credit to both sides’ valid points and show that the debate is worthy of their time. Moderates are often eager for compromise and can likely add the ideas that will lead to that meeting of the minds. Driven by the desire to move on to other things, the moderate will likely see the solution that the polarized parties cannot see without outside help.

When you look at the starting points of view in the debate it is easy to see why little progress has been made in finding consensus on the issues surrounding homosexuality and the rights of homosexuals in America. Like many wars throughout time, this war of ideologies will likely only come to an end with an uneasy peace between the extreme factions and the vast majority of people being simply glad the issue has been put to rest. It would likely be best to let the moderates sort things out and tell the liberals and conservatives what the solution will be. That probably would be the best thing to do but it’s not likely to happen. The crusaders for both conservative values and gay rights have their hearts set on a war for all the marbles and they will not easily be denied. They will battle and propagandize and declare heroes and villains in the fight along the way and in the end the likely outcome will be some sort of compromise. Sadly, more than likely, the compromise will be where the moderates would have started.

Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | Give your feedback on this article. | Visit Troy's blog at http://reform-america.blogspot.com | Visit Troy's MySpace page at www.myspace.com/reform_america

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