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Rev. Susan Russell Headshot

Homophibia

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No, it's not a typo. It's a new word. My friend Giles Fraser, an extraordinarily clever English clergyman, invented it on Monday:

ho.mo.phib.ia | noun

Definition: the lies people tell in order to justify homophobia

And so he inspired me, not to invent a new word but to start a list -- a list of the lies people tell in order to justify homophobia. Here's what I've got so far:

"Homosexuality is unnatural."

Actually, homosexuality naturally occurs in species ranging from primates to gut worms. Why a percentage of animals (including humans) express a sexual orientation toward members of the same sex isn't clear. What is clear is that they do, which makes "homosexuality is unnatural" a homophib.

"Being gay is a choice."

Another homophib. Regular-or-decaf is a choice. Chocolate-or-vanilla is a choice. Paper-or-plastic is a choice. Homosexuality is no more a "choice" than heterosexuality is. There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation, but there is a consensus that sexuality is a continuum. So the "choice" is not to be gay, straight, or somewhere in between; the "choice" is to build our own healthy relationships -- and leave other people alone to build theirs.

"Homosexuality is a sin."

Sins are acts that separate us from God and keep us from loving our neighbors as ourselves. Being gay is not a sin. Bullying is a sin. Being hateful to other people is a sin. Putting yourself in the place of God to judge others is a sin. Being gay is not. Saying that it is: homophib.

"But God clearly condemns homosexuality. It says so in Leviticus."

Leviticus says that a man "lying with a man" is an abomination (Lev. 18:22). So is shaving (Lev. 19:27), gossip (Lev. 19:15), eating shellfish (Lev. 11:10), eating pork (Lev. 11:7), wearing cotton/polyester blends (Lev. 19:19), and associating with a menstruating woman (Lev. 15:19-20). The Bible is also clear that wives should be subject to husbands, that slaves should be obedient to masters, and that the Sun revolves around the Earth. For what the Bible really says about homosexuality, read Mel White's What the Bible Says and Doesn't Say About Homosexuality.

"Monogamy is antithetical to the gay lifestyle, which is characterized by promiscuity and sexual excess."

The "gay lifestyle" is as characterized by promiscuity and sexual excess as the "straight lifestyle" is characterized by Hugh Hefner. There are gay couples who want to form lifelong relationships to love, honor, and cherish each other until death do they part, and there are straight couples who get married for 72 days to get ratings for their reality show. Gays can't be monogamous? Homophib!

"Homosexual activists want to redefine the institution of marriage from the definition that God established at the beginning of time."

The fact that you cannot sell your daughter for three goats and a cow means marriage was "redefined" long before homosexual activists got active working for marriage equality. What makes up a marriage are the values that bind a couple together in commitment to each other and to the life and family they build together, not the gender of the two people making up the couple. What we need is a protect-marriage movement that protects all marriages, and a family-values network that values all families.

"Same-sex marriage is an attack on religious liberty."

This is one of the biggest homophibs of all. The good news is that the First Amendment protects your right to be as bigoted, homophobic, and/or sexist as you want to be, in the privacy of your own religion. The better news is that the First Amendment protects the rest of us from the bigotry, homophobia, and/or sexism of your religion. Seriously, people! Get off the "attack on religion" high horse and read the Bill of Rights!

So that's what's on my homophibia list: the list of lies people tell to justify homophobia. What's on yours?