Reproductive Biology and the Far-Right Religious Fundamentalist Charge That Sexual Deviants Have Caused the Collapse of Civilizations
My Teenage Introduction to the Idea that
Homosexuals and Sexual Deviants Have Always
Caused the Collapse of Great Civilizations
Then and Now...The Lasting Effects of Puritanical Sexism
A World-wide Human Rights Tragedy,
Idealistic Youth Confronting Sin and Sinners
When I was an "emancipated minor" teenager in the 1960s, I was at one point involved as a volunteer with several Detroit Inner City street rescue projects, including that of the famous Rev. David Wilkerson's Teen Challenge Mission. In those days, we were energetic, and not really fearless, but maybe fool-hearted, peer intervention and counseling missionaries. We worked the streets of Detroit's 5th Precinct, which had one of the highest homicide and other serious crime rates in the USA. In pairs, or small teams, we went out on the streets at night, singing hymns, praying with (and for) people and rescuing homeless people from the cold. We rescued prostitutes from the slave-masters who were pimping them. We helped to stop drug trafficking and gang violence. We helped pregnant girls to get prenatal care. At the Teen Challenge Mission, we dried-out drunks and fed people donated cookies and milk, in our dingy little store-front sanctuary. Sometimes we took incapacitated people to their home, if they had one. I cleaned up a lot of puke. I was beaten-up and got shot at. Someone almost knifed me to death, but God always saved me.
Questions About Venial Sin and Mortal Sin
The genuine love and courage that my God-intoxicated young missionary friends continuously exhibited was astonishing, and I deeply respected and admired them for their responsible maturity and their self-sacrificing dedication to the health and welfare of others. Still, there was one area of their 'spiritual and corporal works of mercy' that troubled me. This was their constant harping on issues of gender-expression, 'self abuse' and even same-sex attraction (not acts), as if this kind of sexual sinfulness was just as bad as murder, or any other 'mortal sin' (in Catholic terminology). At the time I was attending a Catholic Church near the Wayne State University campus, which had social-activists and anti-war Democrats in its congregation. These Catholics said that "homosexual orientation was not sinful". They were not bothered at all by shaved-up nuns with men's names and priests and monks who wore dresses. Furthermore, they clearly made a distinction between venial sins and mortal sins, but since Rev. Wilkerson's group was Protestant and Fundamentalist, for the first time in my life I was really exposed to the idea that homosexuality, and other sexually "deviant" behavior, was the cause of the collapse of all Great Civilizations. According to all of the Wilkerson-like Protestant Fundamentalists that I met, sexual sins and especially homosexuality, EVEN THE ORIENTATION, caused the Roman, Greek and other high civilizations throughout history to self-destruct, or to be doomed for their social evils by God. As a punishment for homosexuality, fornication, and even things like long hair on men, short hair on women, cross-dressing and other such sexual 'perversions' and sinfulness, God would surely visit things like plagues and natural disasters or bring hoards of murderous invaders to destroy any wicked city or civilization that offended His righteousness with their sexual sinfulness. Actually, all of the anti-Catholic fear-mongering that I was being constantly exposed to by my new Fundamentalist Protestant Evangelical friends, was laced through-and-through with what is now called 'homophobia'.
Buggery, The Very Worst of the Sexual Sins
Of course, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God, because He was outraged at the buggery of the Sodomites, who even tried to sexually assault the angels that He sent to them. In fact, the Old and New Testaments, as presented over and over by my zealous young street missionary friends, seemed to be full of references to, and the damnation of, sexually related sinfulness. This created a kind of cognitive dissonance in me, as I was myself a teenager, surrounded by other teenagers, all of whom were suffering from the same usual and healthy teenage attractions and urges. I thought then, why has God made us young folks sooooo attractive, and positively compelled us towards sexual intimacy with one another? Is He a sadist, to place us in such a no-win conflict of interests? Has He really condemned us from birth to reach puberty, with its raging storms of hormonally juiced-up libido, to either suffer, or sin, with no other option for sinless relief in-between? According to the Fundamentalists, even masturbation was very sinful, and could send a soul to Hell forever!
Self Abuse Can Damn You Too
So sex was even terribly wrong with your self, and I tried to understand this logically, on the basis of it being a kind of homosexual act. At that point, I began to challenge my extremely anti-gay missionary friends on the subject, asking them if they ever masturbated, and why they did not consider it as a same-sex / homosexual act when they did. After all, is not sex with one's own body the ultimate same-sex act? But, they always answered me with an adamant NO! They knew that their 'jerking-off' was sinful, but at least it was FOR SURE NOT one of those most dreaded homosexual acts, because they were always 'thinking of girls' or looking at girls' pictures while they were doing it. To me this naturally brought up questions related to idolatry, and the jealousy of God, who forbade the worship of images. Idolatry was always a sensitive subject with my Protestant friends. This equation of masturbating at the altar of a sex-idol, with Biblical 'idolatry', really sparked some late-night-drying-out-drunks-in-the-store-front-mission theological debates.
In any event, not satisfied with my neophyte, freshly saved Fundamentalist young friends' explanations regarding sexual sinfulness, including 'self abuse' and 'secret sins', after a while I took some of my 'moral theology' questions to my devout and saintly Fundamentalist Southern Baptist Grandmother, who was embarrassed and probably shocked that I would ask her such things. However, since I did, she courageously did her best to answer. Keeping my ultimate destination in mind, Grandma did affirm that yes, indeed, although innocent children might not know of it, it was true that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of that terrible sin that she could not bring herself to name, but could only, in her most proper way, remotely allude to.
Catholics Had Perverse
Pro-Homosexual Teachings, but
Protestants Believed the
Holy King James Bible Alone
Speaking of "The Sin of Sodom", Grandma, like my young new Evangelical Fundamentalist Missionary friends, skillfully traced the evils of fornication, adultery and homosexuality from the Old Testament into the New Testament of her beloved Protestant King James Version (KJV) Bible. And there, at the very end of the KJV New Testament, was a whole book of clear prophecy of God's last wrathful cleansing of the Earth. To Grandma, her beloved KJV Bible Book of Revelations clearly equated the social evils (and especially the sexual evils) of the END TIMES with the Catholic Church, which she had been taught was the Whore of Babylon, the very enemy of God, described in the Book of Revelations. To Grandma, the Catholic Church was the Whore of Babylon, which was secretly full of single homosexual priests and monks, and lesbian nuns, doing unspeakable things behind their monastery walls. Nuns shaved their heads and took men's names, a clear sign of their unnatural disposition, and priests and monks took women's names and wore dresses. How much more clear could it be? The entire Catholic Papist enterprize was perverse in the extreme, and led by a faggot anti-christ, who wore dresses and ladies hats, and had grown men kneeling and kissing his hand in public.
Thus, through Grandma and my other Protestant Evangelical friends, I was introduced to the Anglo-Puritanical and homophobia-infected anti-Catholic theology of Protestant Christian Fundamentalism. To them, it was obvious that the Catholic leaders were all sexual deviants, but sometimes a priest or monk would rape a nun, and she would get pregnant. Then the baby might be sacrificed in some satanic ritual, or quietly killed or disposed of in some other godless way. All Catholic orphanages were prisons where poor (and even kidnapped) children were used for sex slaves by their evil sadistic slave-masters, the perverted homosexual priests, monks and nuns. Behind their convent walls, the deviant Catholics had orgies and performed satanic rituals. They worshipped idols and Mary as a pagan goddess, and even ate the flesh and blood of real babies. The Catholic religious orders were all malevolent secret societies that controlled the world. (Years later I would collect CHIC publication anti-Catholic tracts, which told in tiny comic-book style pamphlets, these same kind of horror stories.) Once I began listening to them, there was no end to the enormity of the bizarre stories that I heard about the Catholic Church from my frightened Protestant friends and Grandmother. When my Protestant friends found out that I was regularly visiting the Catholic Church by the University, they were sure that I was in danger of going to hell forever. So over time, I became the focus of their intense efforts to save me from the Papist threat.
Eventually I was sprinkle Baptized as a Catholic. But still my Protestant Fundamentalist friends continued their relentless effort to convert me and to save my soul from Catholic Deviance, through their Protestant Submersion Baptism. Their efforts became insufferably abusive to me. The psychological hell-fire-and-damnation terror that they were inflicting on me in the name of saving my soul became impossible for me to endure any more. So, regrettably I finally had to say goodbye to my protestant friends, whom I loved dearly, to save myself from them.
Grandma Still Tried to Save Me
But I did not say goodbye to my beloved and truly great Baptist Grandmother. She sincerely believed that the Pope was Satan's Homo-in-Chief and either the Anti-Christ, or the False Prophet of the New Testament Revelation story. Grandma was not sure which one, but it didn't matter. I should get the main idea anyway: The Catholic Church was the Church of Satan, in which was every abomination. Satan himself, in the mental image of her Protestantism, was a goat headed human-bodied hermaphrodite, with female breasts and a penis. This perverse anti-god embodied her greatest horrors and surrounded Him / Herself with Sodomites and other sexual deviants committing unspeakable acts. Grandma's primal fear was conjured-up by this idol of unnatural union between man and beast, male and female. And from ancient Sodom and Babylon, to the 'Roman' Catholic Church of today, Yes, Grandma emphasized that there was an undeniable continuity. To Grandma, being baptized as a Catholic was worse than being a pagan, and She never stopped praying that I would become a real (Protestant) Christian some day. She really knew her Bible, and out of her deep love for me, and concern for my everlasting soul, she wanted to be sure that I understood completely what sinfulness was, and how much God hates sinfulness, and cannot abide in its presence.
What about Grace?
Well, then I asked, If God has rejected us, because of our sinfulness, then what was (or IS) Jesus about? If Jesus Christ is God, why did He leave Heaven to come here, the place full of sinfulness, to befriend and SAVE sinners?
From various Christian sources, I continuously received conflicting answers, and these, with my experiences of reality, kept me in a kind of state of moral-versus-dogmatic theology 'cognitive dissonance'. Moral theology must be logically and consistently compatible with the Divine Revelation of Dogmatic theology. However, beside confronting some of the Christian denominational controversies over issues of moral theology, I had questions about Dogmatic Theology, concerning the very nature of God Himself, and of the individual soul, and the relationship between the soul/self and God, and other beings. If God is merciful and loving, If God Is Love, and would or did give HIMSELF (as Jesus Christ) for our forgiveness and redemption, why does anyone teach that a mere 'sin of the flesh', committed out of our natural human weakness, can separate us from God in eternity? Even the training of dogs depends upon timely and properly proportional disciplinary responses. So does it make sense to punish a soul for their teenage masturbation, eighty years later, after they die, by sending them to Hell "for ever and ever"? I could understand the proportional Catholic concept of the forgivable weakness of the venial 'sins of the flesh', as opposed to the mortal sins of the body and 'sins of the spirit', which were much more evil.
Broadening the Scope of My Inquiries
Studying in the stacks at the Wayne State University Library, I found many Judeo-Christian related, and other cultural and religious texts, which revealed a wide variety of ancient attitudes and actual laws concerning both spiritual and corporal sin. Comparatively studying these source texts, I observed that there was a similar tradition of specific sin-related 'demonology' common in such widely-diffused religious complexes as Nepalese-Tibetan and North East Asian HRIH centric Buddhism, Northern Indian Hari-centric Vaishnavism, Southern Indian Hara-centric Shaivism, Persian Hvare-centric Zervanism and Zoroastrianism, Central African Niger Olu-related Traditions, North African Egyptian Heru-Ausar religions, and the Heleno-Semitic complex of Eli-Yahu/Helios (and Asclepius) centric Monotheism. This very ancient Heleno-Semitic ELI-YAHU / HELI-OS Tradition is the one that finally evolved during the centuries just before Christ, into the regionally predominant Alexandrian, Rhodian and Jerusalem salvific cultus of Eli-Yahu/Heru-Asu, incarnate in His Own Son and Second Person, as The World-Saving Great Physician. From the Intertestamental Period, this Eli-Yahu Tradition, which we have since inherited as Christianity, can be traced to all of these other anciently related traditions, and a comparative study of both the Dogmatic Theology and the Moral Theology of each and all of them is profoundly revelatory.
Answers To My Questions,
From a Pre-Catholic Common Tradition
Across these geographically, sometimes chronologically remote, linguistically and culturally diverse traditions, certain themes reoccur again and again. Metaphysical and spiritual versions and vestiges of many Biblical stories, including the story of Adam and Eve, the "Original Sin" and the ''Fall of Man" can be found, which have profound implications for those who invest their religious faith in the literal interpretation and inerrancy of the Bible. Here I am not speaking of the Gnostic literatures or any such late and in-authentic pseudo-christian writings. I am saying that historically there are real-world Biblically related traditions and texts scattered in bits and pieces, or pervading entire cultures and religions, all over the ancient world. If we objectively study these in comparison to each other, and to the Judeo-Catholic Tradition (because catholicism IS ancient and apostolic), we can actually understand what the differences between the traditions were and WHAT the related common-ground of the Eli-Yahu Mega Tradition was really teaching, both about God and humanity. To undertake such objective comparative studies, we must first divest ourselves of all ETHNO-CENTRISM and SEXISM, in the form of either misogyny or feminism.
In the realms of both Dogmatic Theology and Moral theology we can productively compare the Eli-Yahu related Traditions. Through objective study, we can answer our personal and societal concerns about defining virtue and vice, and about insuring personal freedom and individual human rights, as well as public safety and order, at the same time. From a Biblical perspective, can begin with the Old or New Testament story, word, name, object, plant, place, river, practice, personality, psalm, proverb, law, ritual or instruction etc., and compare it to the cognate word or name, the related story, the river or place, etc. in the historically related Central African, European, Egyptian, Persian, Indian, Asian and even Western Hemisphere Eli-Yahu connected traditions. Since the subject of this letter is the problem of blaming homosexuality and sexual sinfulness for the collapse of civilizations, let me begin now to give one little example of how a Biblical and Puranic 'Hindu' comparison may be helpul.
The Attempted Homosexual Rape of Prajapati Brahma
In the Old Testament story of Lot, the Hebrew Patriarch Abraham pleads with God to spare the Sodomites, who Biblical traditionalists identify with the sin of Sodomy (anal intercourse). In India there are classes of religious literatures called "Puranas". These Puranas, histories, traditions or legends, are further sub-divided into the educated pietist Sattva-guna "mode of goodness" traditions of Vasu-Deva Vishnu (HARI), and the Tamasic Tamo-guna "mode of ignorance" traditions of Tamo-Deva Shiva (HARA). There are also Sattvic (pietist)-related Shakti Tantras and Puranas, like the Vishnu-related Maha Devi Bhagavata, which describes the Feminine Shakti of Vishnu, in Her countless Forms. Another class of Tamo-guna Puranas and Tantras deals with the Left-Hand Tantric Traditions of Shiva's Feminine Shakti, Durga or Kali, by Her various names and forms. It is primarily in these Tamasic and Left Hand Tantric traditions of Indian so-called 'Hindu' lore that we find various versions of the Abraham and the Sodomites rape story. For instance, one common version says that Brahma, the Praja-pati or Progenitor of the human race, whose wife's name is SARASVATI (Abraham's Wife's name is SARA) once erroneously fathered two unnaturally lusty sons who chased him, trying to rape him. Since this Brahma was the organizing demi-god of our local finite universe ("brahma" is usually a POST and TITLE of the local presiding demigod and material praja-pati), these miscreants were the first of their kind in our universe, and they were classed as very wicked beings for this particular sin.
However the same ancient 'Hindu' traditions treated feminized or trans-gendered males as worthy of the Transcendent God's love and protection. In fact, all three so-called Hindu traditions of Vishnu, Shiva and Devi (Kali) worship, anciently protected feminized males, intersexed persons and transsexual male-to-females, treating them with respect and even honor, inviting them to bless personal and community religious celebrations like weddings, baptisms, initiations, planting and harvest festivals, religious holy days and other joyful events with their auspicious presence. This practice, traditionally employing the "Hijra" class honorably, actually continued until the Muslim invaders, the Islam-infected Iberian Catholic invaders (in Goa), and the Puritanical British Protestant invaders brought their own particular Taliban-like versions of Puritanical Islamo-Christian homophobia to India. Once these puritanical invaders arrived, they all tried to demonize effeminate males and gender-variant persons in general. They forced their own homophobic laws on the population, criminalizing everything that they imagined as the "Sodomy" condemned by their God. The invaders tried to destroy the Hijra class, which they saw as being especially protected by the evil immoral gods of the idolatrous 'Hindus'.
They also forced their Muslim, Iberian-related Islamo-Catholic and Puritanical ideas of proper womanhood on the people of India. Previously the women of Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Devi worship, were very free, and even able to express themselves in all kinds of atypical gender roles. Thus there are famous women warriors in Indian history. Architecture and building, medical practice and pharmacopoeia, language skills, time-keeping (the Stars, Moon and Sun), the playing of chess and other games of mental skill, math and the arts and sciences, physical culture, and many other activities and occupations were variously numbered, along with the more western tradition-like 'feminine' activities, among the "Arts of Radharani" (In Krishna-centric Vaishnavism, Radharani is the Ultimate Sourse of all of the Shaktis of both Vishnu and Shiva.) In ancient India there was NO COMPULSORY VEILING OF WOMEN, but today, Millions of 'Hindu' women keep their heads covered, thinking that this is an authentic 'Hindu' custom. It is not. It has been insinuated and forced into India, from India's Islamic invaders. Whatever rights and freedoms typical women used to enjoy in ancient Vaishnava and Shaivite Vedic India, the Hijra class of atypical women also enjoyed. Whatever loss of respect, rights and freedoms that India's women suffered under Islam, the Goan Iberian Catholic inquisition, or the British Puritans, their atypical Hijra sisters suffered too, and often doubly so.
Then and Now...The Lasting Effects of Puritanical Sexism
Today, the result of centuries of such persecution, is that consenting adult 'homosexual' acts are now illegal in India, and the sexually receptive 'eunuchs', the trans-gendered, intersexed and transsexual class of Hijras, have generally lost their former respected and honored social position. Although some Hijras are still welcome and perform at Vaishnava, Shaivite and Devi religious events, as a class they are no longer at the top of the social order, as highly educated and refined beauty-and-cultural events experts, musicians, dancers, and other performing artists. Once they were even healers, time-keepers and seers. They were highly educated in the "Arts of Radharani". They even performed their story-telling dances for God and Shakti in the Temples on High Holy Days. But now, instead of being educated, appreciated and paid for their healing ministries, and their culturally and religiously enriching artistic services to the community, the traditional 'Hindu' Third Sex or Hijras have now lost their honorable traditional livelihood, along with their cultured education and auspicious name. Now most often Hijras are forced to live at the very bottom of the puritanized social pecking order, barely surviving as an extremely disrespected and abused class of 'male prostitutes'.
A World-wide Human Rights Tragedy,
Effecting an Enormous Class of Individuals
What God-Who-Is-Love Hates
What God-Who-Is-Love Wants For Us
Of course, this great human tragedy, in the name of God's hatred of 'Sodomy', has not been exclusively confined to the experience of feminized males and their loved-ones in India. All around the world, 'People of the Third Sex' (as they are generally known in India) have been caught in the global confrontation between the more accepting and empowering traditions of their natural social-role appreciation, and the puritanical traditions of their demonization, shunning, torture and execution. The Old and New Testaments of the Bible also describe "eunuchs" and "barren women" who were not only worthy of salvation, but who held respected positions among God's humble faithful, and even among the most honored members of the Temple and Royal households of their time.
So what was the sin of Brahma's sons, or of the Sodomites, that was so abhorrent to God? And why have these 'Third Sex' people been so demonized, degraded and persecuted because of it, all over the world? As opposed to the Puritanical and Talibanical interpretation usually given, what was the real 'sin of Sodom', for which all of these innocent souls have wrongly suffered so much, and for which they have died as martyrs, innocent of any sin at all, for just being who and what they were?
Studying the various Indian versions of this legend shows that HOMOSEXUAL ASSAULT AND ATTEMPTED RAPE was the sin, NOT a consenting sexual act between a man and a 'person of the third sex', such as a feminized sexually receptive 'eunuch', intersex person or male-to-female transsexual. Consistently in the related Sattvic traditions, RAPE IS A MORTAL SIN. Homosexual rape and heterosexual rape are both, equally, described as mortal sins. Mortal sins are those which are so grievous, that they separate a soul from God, and the rest of His loving communion of creation. Rape is right there with murder as a greatest evil and violation of the sanctity of human life. This is what is abhorrent to God. In fact, sexual aggression or assault, which violates the autonomy and sanctity of any human being's bodily integrity, and their moral freedom/freewill is an abomination.
What God-Who-Is-Love Hates
There is no possibility of love, without freewill and the physical freedom to exercise it. God-Who-Is-Love hates human slavery, oppression and whatever denies the autonomy and the integrity of His People. Eli-Yahu (Hari-Vasu) the Biblical God, and His Feminine Shekinah/Shakti, love all of their children, MALE, FEMALE OR OTHER. They do not want any of them to be sexually violated, assaulted or raped, by any of the rest of them. Since unwanted purposeful seduction is also a form of sexual aggression, the related Sattvic Traditions also encourage culturally relevant respectful modest and 'chaste' behavior. But such publicly respectful conduct is the same for all, male, female and other, and it is a matter of mutually respectful behavior and attitude, not how much skin is exposed or whether people decorate their bodies with mud, feathers, grass skirts, lace and jewels,or nothing at all (like the "sky clad" saints of the Shaivite Lingayat Tradition).
If a class of vowed celibates wants to socially distinguish itself by the voluntary wearing of a simple or austere habit or religious uniform, that is their choice. The Sattvic Traditions that retain their ancient appreciation for the differences in God's children, make a social distinction between those who want to live a 'lay' life of common devotion, and those called to the 'religious' life of vowed celibacy, voluntary austerity and simplicity etc. Protecting and promoting such personal freedom, human dignity and bodily integrity is the essence of the God of Freewill's Law. Thus we see that in such free societies, there is an honorable place for each soul, according to their unique gifts and needs. God is equally pleased by the austere monk or nun, voluntarily covered in their chaste and plain habit, and the brightly dressed and decorated girl, celebrating the God-given beauty of her youth. No one should be forced or coerced to cover or uncover (Islamic law forces covering), to be celibate or to marry (many Muslims and 'Hindus', as well as Eastern Europeans, are still married by their guardians' arrangment), to grow or to cut their hair or beard (In Iraq barbers are often slain if they shave any muslim man's beard off), or to decorate or modify, or not to decorate or modify their own body.
What God-Who-Is-Love Wants For Us
God has a respected, valued and honorable place in His Earthly communion of love, (the social Bosom of His Shakti/Shekinah, our Holy Mother) for every one of His and Her unique and lovable children. It is our work to realize and to incarnate this inclusive divine social order, which is life-giving and empowering to each of us, according to our needs and gifts. As long as we deny the natural beauty and giftedness of any precious human being, we are robbing and impoverishing the entire human race of one of its most wondrous treasures.
Bhakti Ananda Goswami, World Vaishnava Association, Retired Former Head of Interfaith Research and Communications