Zoroastrianism and sexual orientation
|Part of a series on|
|Angels and demons|
|Scripture and worship|
|Accounts and legends|
|History and culture|
Homosexuality in scripture
The most sacred scripture of Zoroastrianism is called the Avesta. The oldest portion of the Avesta are the writings of Zarathustra himself and called the Gathas. Within the Gathas, there is no mention of homosexuality, nor indeed, sexuality in general. Reformist Zoroastrians who reject the later writings in the Avesta as being corruptions of Zarathustra's original teachings believe this makes homosexuality not prohibited.
However, most Zoroastrians of Asia accept the entire Avesta as their religious guide, including the Vendidad, a collection of 22 Fargards or precepts concerned with religious purity and moral codes. The traditional Zoroastrians argue that the Vendidad was always an inherent part of Zoroastrian oral tradition, only compiled later than other parts of the Avesta.
"The man that lies with mankind as man lies with womankind, or as woman lies with mankind, is a man that is a Daeva [demon]; this man is a worshipper of the Daevas, a male paramour of the Daevas"
This passage has been interpreted to mean that homosexuality is a form of demon worship and thus sinful. Ancient commentary on this passage suggests that those engaging in sodomy could be killed without permission from the Dastur.
Zoroastrianism has been said to have a "hatred of male anal intercourse", reflected in at least one mythological tale. When Ahriman, the "Spirit of Aridity and Death" and "Lord of Lies", sought to destroy the world, he engaged in self-sodomy. This homosexual self intercourse caused an "explosion of evil power" and resulted in the birth of a host of evil minions.
- Lendering, Jona. "Avesta". livius.org. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
- Ervad Behramshah Hormusji Bharda (1990). "The Importance of Vendidad in the Zarathushti Religion". tenets.zoroastrianism.com. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
- Ervad Marzban Hathiram. "Significance and Philosophy of the Vendidad". frashogard.com. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
- "Ranghaya, Sixteenth Vendidad Nation & Western Aryan Lands". heritageinstitute.com. Heritage Institute. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
- Jones, Lesley-Ann. Freddie Mercury: The Definitive Biography: The Definitive Biography. Hachette UK, 2011. p. 28. ISBN 9781444733709. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
In the sacred Zoroastrian text[,] the Vendidad, it is stated: 'The man that lies with mankind as man lies with womankind, or as woman lies with mankind, is a man that is a Daeva (demon): this man is a worshipper of the Daevas, a male paramour of the Daevas
- Darmesteter, James (1898). Sacred Books of the East (American Edition ed.). Vd 8:32. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
Ahura Mazda answered: 'The man that lies with mankind as man lies with womankind, or as woman lies with mankind, is the man that is a Daeva; this one is the man that is a worshipper of the Daevas, that is a male paramour of the Daevas, that is a female paramour of the Daevas, that is a wife to the Daeva; this is the man that is as bad as a Daeva, that is in his whole being a Daeva; this is the man that is a Daeva before he dies, and becomes one of the unseen Daevas after death: so is he, whether he has lain with mankind as mankind, or as womankind. The guilty may be killed by any one, without an order from the Dastur (see § 74 n.), and by this execution an ordinary capital crime may be redeemed.
- Long, p. 68
- "HOMOSEXUALITY i. IN ZOROASTRIANISM". iranicaonline.org. Encyclopaedia Iranica. 15 December 2004. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
- Sky 1992, pp. 8–9
- BBC News 2006
- Long, Ronald Edwin (2004). Men, homosexuality, and the Gods: an exploration into the religious significance of male homosexuality in world perspective. Haworth Press. ISBN 978-1-56023-152-3.
- AVESTA: Vendidad: FARGARD 8. Funerals and purification, unlawful sex
- religioustolerance.org – The Zoroastrian Faith and Homosexuality
- Iranica.com – Homosexuality