Talk:Homosexuality and morality/Archive

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Great start Ed! Very interesting read -- I think we all write much better when we try to be fair and balanced. --maveric149

Ed, I don't think many people claim that there are *no* morals that apply to sex. For instance, not that many people in Western culture, regardless of their views on homosexuality, would view rape as anything other than highly immoral. Therefore, I consider your third group, as stated in the article, largely illusory.

Whilst I stand firmly in the "liberal" camp by saying what consenting adults do behind locked doors is their business, is that not in itself a position on the morality of sexuality? To clarify, I'm *not* saying that you or anyone else have to agree or endorse that view, but I am asserting that it is a position. --Robert Merkel

I am sorry but the opening statement about immorality is ridiculous, and then people who would reject this assumption are cut down in the next statement by being called "advocates." That is offensive. I cannot speak about Christianity first hand, but i will give some insight on the Jewish view.

  1. According to most contemporary Jewish authorities, the Bible does not condemn homosexuality. It cannot condemn homosexuality, because the very concept is a late nineteenth-century construct.

  1. One biblical verse (repeated, as are many other commandments) says that consensual anal sex is forbidden between two men.
  2. Commentators, including the most noted medieval Jewish biblical commentator, Rashi, state clearly that the prohibition refers to anal sex only.
  3. The Hebrew word to'eva is used to describe the act. In the King James version of the Bible, it is translated as "abomination."
  4. To'eva is similarly used to describe a number of other forbidden acts, including using false weights and eating shrimp.
  5. Oddly enough, no one who condemns homosexuality as immoral would say the same about eating shrimp.
  6. The Talmud explains to'eva as a play on words: To'eh ata ba, i.e., you err with it. The precise meaning of what that means is open to various interpretations.
  7. Given the above, most contemporary Jewish religious authorities do not condemn homosexuality as immoral, even if they do continue to forbid anal sex.
  8. In fact, homosexuality figures very little in Jewish responsa literature, which covers just about anything and everything else.
  9. No where in the Bible is lesbianism forbidden. If anything, it is a rabbinic injunction in Judaism.

I will agree that many leaders of the Orthodox community have not been willing to embrace gays. That is probably because of two major factors: a. The importance of the family in transmitting Jewish tradition; b. The influence of Western ideas on Jewish life and law. Nevertheless, change is certainly underway. I would invite whomever wrote that statement to go see Trembling Before G-d," a documentary film that addresses the issue of homosexuality in the Orthodox community (and see if you can find my name in the credits ...) And finally, even the concept of immorality can be argued as being foreign to Judaism, but this is not the place to argue that. It is really a problem of imposing the terminology of one culture on another (see the Talk section on Jews for more on that). But please, do not impose your belief system on mine. Danny

These are good points, and I agree with them all. I think you have summarized quite well the traditional Jewish view on this difficult subject. It is interesting to note, however, that the most left-wing and right-wing Jewish groups have both deviated from this mainstream traditional rabbinic view. The left wing of Reform Judaism (itself the theological left wing of Judaism) holds that homosexuality is a moral issue, and that it is now immoral to be against it! To some in this movement, one must be pro-homosexual, or one is immoral and a bigot. Surprisingly, many in the ultra-Orthodox community (the theological right-wing of Judaims) have now adopted the theology of conservative Christians, and has made homosexuality a moral issue as well. Many ultra-Orthodox rabbis slander homosexuals as immoral perverts, and even use worse language. These groups have a right to their opinions, but a historian must note that (a) these are new positions, innovations, and not the historical Jewish view, and (b) these are still minority positions that most Jews do not agree with. RK

Danny, regarding your point 10 wouldn't the second half of Romans chapter 10 ( ) at least count as frowning on homosexualality/lesbianism in a broader sense than particular sex acts? -mhjb

As you will see in my introductory paragraph, I said I was giving the Jewish view. Romans chapter 10 doesn't count in that. Danny Oh, and it is Roman 1 (verse 27 to be precise) that you meant.

Yeah fair enough... isn't there a better word for the Jewish scriptures than 'Bible' though? - mhjb

What's wrong with Bible? We've been calling it that for a long time. longer than anyone else, in fact. ;-) Danny
Yes, it is also called "The One Absolute Truth" (c) 2002, The Lord Your God.  ;-)


  • Uncle Ed checked and was reassured that a dubious assertion about funding was dubious and deletable

However, people who consider homosexuality morality acceptable by this argument differ as to what other acts qualify as consenting (cf. age of consent, pedophilia, sodomy).

Not sure what is being said here: does it mean that those who consider homosexuality morally acceptable are hypocritical because they vary on what is not acceptable (e.g. pedophilia). If so, this makes the statement somewhat POV. I also think the association of 'age of consent' with 'pedophilia' to be unnecessary and borderline POV. Of course, people who think homosexuality is OK, think that pedophillia isn't OK. It's not really saying anything important so, unless anyone can give me some reason otherwise, I would like to delete it. Finally, is there some controversy over whether the act of sodomy is consensual? Why is it specifically mentioned in this context?

The purpose of this paragraph is actually to avoid any POV interpretation, namely that people who believe homosexuality is morally acceptable agree on which other sexual behaviors are acceptable. I fail to see how this can be interpreted as hypocrisy, they merely disagree about the meaning of the word consent, and this different definition seems crucial. Some advocates believe that homosexuality, zoophilia, pedophilia etc. are all morally acceptable as long as the "partners" agree, but most people consider a relationship with a very large gradient of power one where consent is not possible. I think any discussion about homosexuality and morality needs to mention the age of consent / pedophilia issue, particular in light of the publications of such people as Judith A. Reisman, who specifically lump homosexuality advocates together with those of pedophilia (NAMBLA etc.). --Eloquence 23:02 Apr 19, 2003 (UTC)
I agree with what you say, in fact I think you should possibly put what you just said into the article - in fact, i think it should add that 'the basis that those who believe that homosexuality is acceptable do so on the general basis that what occurs between consenting adults and harms no others should not be judged.' The fact that pedophilia, consent and homosexuality are linked by some individuals should be moved to the section(s) about moral objectors to homosexuality. I just think the sentance is unclear and needs disambiguation. I'd rather you did it than be accused of bias myself or treading on people's toes, although I'm more than happy to work on the article myself. -- [User:Axon|Axon]]
  • Axon - I think that most people would say it is not so much a matter of "sexual acts among consenting individuals are morally acceptable" but that those amongst adults, providing they fall within other non-sex based laws (i.e. it is illegal to consent to be murdered) are acceptable. The definition of who is an adult in sex is not a matter specifically realting to homosexuality, but to all sexual contact. Most who do subscribe to the "if they're consenting adults it's ok by me" philoshophy don't find the concept vague at all. Tompagenet 23:35 Apr 19, 2003 (UTC)

A small minority of people believes that sexual morality is entirely off limits, or that humans should not judge each other's behavior.

Similarly, I actually believe this is the accepted view of the 'left' or 'liberals' - that, largely, no-one should judge the actions of consenting adults. I don't really consider this view to be a 'minority' view. --Axon

Actually, if you check this paragraph in its context, you will notice that it is placed in contrast to the view that "no one should judge the actions of consenting adults": Namely, this one is about people who think that nobody should judge sexual behavior at all, regardless of whether it is consensual or not. I consider this view mostly absurd and doubt that many people believe in it, it is a remnant of earlier versions of the text and I left it in for completeness. Feel free to remove it if you think it's useless. --Eloquence 23:02 Apr 19, 2003 (UTC)
Sounds like it's a view not about homosexuality and morality, but just about morality. Sounds a lot like LaVey satanism, in fact. Perhaps it should be moved to morality? Martin
Sorry Eloquence if I came across a little abrupt, I'm just confused by the sentence(s) and exactly what is meant by it(them). I agree that few people should judge sexual behaviour at all, regardless of whether it is consensual or not. Those who hold that view do, indeed, constitute a very small minority. However, they are such a minority do they warrant mentioning at all? Mentioning them in association with advocates rather implies, accidently in this case, that they share this view. Otherwise, I agree with Martin: this interesting issue should be moved to Morality and expanded upon there.
I think it should be deleted unless someone can actually come up with supporting evidence for this view (advocacy groups etc.). --Eloquence

Axon, I've elaborated a bit in the "anti" section about the pedophilia allegations, but I still think that the consent discussion in the "pro" section should remain there; primarily for the reason that there is a significant number of advocates who do believe that both homosexuality and pedophilia are acceptable for the same reasons (do a Google search for "boy love"). --Eloquence

Whoa there! I would like to see what evidence, other than a google search, do you have that a 'significant number' of homosexual advocates believe that 'both homosexuality and pedophilia are acceptable'. --Axon
Look at sites like BoyLinks (a link directory with links to literature, groups, personal sites etc.) - there is a huge subculture of "boylovers" (really pedophiles) who of course also advocate homosexuality, and try to enlist existing homosexuality groups in their efforts. I have personally tried to bring attention to the issue of juveniles being thrown into therapy for being homosexual [1],[2], and when I contacted existing gay rights groups, they were very reluctant to get involved for fear of being associated with existing "boy love" groups. --Eloquence 00:13 Apr 20, 2003 (UTC)

I appreciate that 'boylove' groups exist but what I disagree is that they represent a 'significant number' of the pro-homosexual and gay-rights groups. Far from it, these groups are actually pedophile groups attempting to find some justification through the gay rights movement, not gay rights groups supporting paedophillia. It's misleading and misrepresentative to associate the gay rights movement with these people and suggests bias in this matter. Certainly, its incorrect to assert this as 'fact' which is why I changed the text in the first place. The accusation exists, but the details remain controversial which is why I would appreaciate if you would change the text back to my NPOV ammendments.
You are correct in that these groups are primarily pro-pedophilia groups who also advocate gay rights, not the other way around. However, you will find it hard to back up the assertion that these groups are pro-homosexual for political reasons only. First, boylove is by definition mostly homosexual, and "boylovers" have traditionally been involved in trying to repeal laws which treat heterosexual adult/juvenile relationships different from homosexual ones. Secondly, there is an undeniable common history of the boylove and the gay rights movements, which precedes the time when pedophilia groups were widely ostracized in the 1980s. It is this common history that writers like Reisman are exploiting (check out this article by her). As a German, I am more familiar with the German history, where pro pedophile groups even had backing by political parties such as the Greens, and shared many of the same magazines and other outlets with other advocacy groups. Today the situation is different, nevertheless many boylove/pedophilia groups still advocate sexual rights in other areas, and even if they do not openly do so for lack of resources, they almost certainly share the view that homosexuality is acceptable. --Eloquence 00:34 Apr 20, 2003 (UTC)
The last update is, I believe, the best, Eloquence. Thanks for elaborating and clearing up the ambiguity here to one that we can all agree with. Its nice to see that, through Wikipedia, we can come to a mutual consensus that all can agree with and it goes someway to re-affirming my belief in human nature. --Axon
I'm sorry, but unless there's any decent proof that the incidence of paedophilic tendancies is higher in homsexuals than in hetrosexuals (and the much cited Carole Jenny, et al., Are Children at Risk for Sexual Abuse by Homosexuals?, Pediatrics, Vol. 94, No. 1 (1994) would seem to indicate there isn't) then can we leave in the line saying "The fact that a few advocates of homosexuality consider [paedophilia] morally acceptable is sometimes used as an argument against the morality of homosexuality." ? Just think about this - imagine if the line said the equally offensive (and equally ridiculous statement): "The fact that a few advocates of the holocaust exist in Sweden is sometimes used as an argument against the moral acceptance of being Sweeden". It's not the point that some might use this argument - some people will say anything! The issue here is the way the first line in the paragraph is written! Tompagenet 00:41 Apr 20, 2003 (UTC)

Hi Eloquence. That last change you deleted didn't actually break the sentence at all, in fact my change made the sentence much simpler to read without actually changing its meaning at all. I don't mind people editing my changes, but I object to people undoing work for some sort of personal crusade.

YES, I'm on a personal crusade for better grammar and spelling on Wikipedia. After your change, the sentence was as follows:

Some groups that advocate the legalization of currently criminal sexual activity, especially that of child/adult sexual interaction (e.g. NAMBLA), also consider homosexuality morally acceptable and frequently try to align themselves with the existing gay rights movement has been used as a "slippery slope" argument against a more lenient attitude towards homosexuality.

Read the whole sentence please. It's broken. "Some groups that advocate .. has been used ..." Original: "The fact that some groups that advocate .. has been used ..". Now this may come as a surprise to you, but I don't give a damn about the word "the fact" here, so breaking the sentence up is perfectly fine. --Eloquence 21:00 Apr 29, 2003 (UTC)

Others claim that gay rights groups are, in fact, largely identical in their goals and motives to these "boy love" advocates, and only use homosexuality as a cover for a more sinister long term agenda. For example, the US based group Restoring Social Virtue & Purity to America by Judith A. Reisman claims that homosexuals have deliberately subverted the mass media in order to garner support for a wide range of previously condemned sexual behaviors, including "man/boy love" (pederasty).

I have to admit, I still don't see what this section is donig in this article. It seems apropo of nothing and seems to say little about the topic of this page. It really belongs in a discussion of pederasty or on some other page, possibly reduced to a one or two line note saying that opponents of gay rights link them to pederasty. --Axon

I agree. Homosexuality and pedophilia are regarded as two distinct things by the medical and psychiatric communities but opponents of gay rights try to assert there is a connection. That's all we should say. --mav

As per NPOV, it does not matter so much what the medical and psychiatric communities think when it comes to whether the point of view of other groups should be included or not. Anti-homosexuality has nothing to do with science. What matters is that some groups who oppose homosexuality focus specifically on the pedophilia point, hence, an article that discusses moral positions on homosexuality should discuss this argument, just like an article on adoption rights for homosexuals should mention that those who oppose those rights claim that homosexuals will somehow corrupt their children. --Eloquence 20:24 23 Jun 2003 (UTC)

I think the problem is that this whole section of the document seems to be a discussion of issues that don't really belong under this heading as it does not discuss morality, or really homosexuality, at all. I think a couple of lines saying that gay rights opponents draw a link is sufficient. Otherwise, the rest of this section belongs in the pederasty page or somewhere similar. For example, the fact that NAMBLA seeks to align itself with the gay rights movement really has little to do with the gay rights movement - the link has only ever been proven to be one-way. Also, the actual length of space devoted to this minor point seems inconsitant, almost NPOV itself. I think the following would be sufficient and more succinct:

Many gay rights opponents draw similarities between homosexuality and paedophilia, or see no difference at all, using this as a "slippery slope" argument against a more lenient attitude towards homosexuality: If this particular sexual behavior is legalized and tolerated, the argument goes, the "floodgates" of "sexual perversion" are opened. For example, the US based group Restoring Social Virtue & Purity to America by Judith A. Reisman claims that homosexuals have deliberately subverted the mass media in order to garner support for a wide range of previously condemned sexual behaviors, including "man/boy love" (pederasty).

Axon, I can't follow you. While it is true that NAMBLA's position has little to do with the gay rights movement, this article is not about the gay rights movement -- it's about positions on the morality of homosexuality. Pedophile groups think that homosexuality is morally acceptable, which might not need to be mentioned, except that this is used as a moral argument against homosexuality by others. I think in the interest of NPOV, it is fair to say that pedophile groups do in fact advocate homosexuality. Your suggested edit looks a bit like an attempt to remove unsavory information from the article -- this common history of pedophile groups and gay rights groups does exist to some extent, and should not be deliberately hidden to make opponents of homosexuality look stupid. Now, I agree that the argument is bogus, but I still think it should be presented the way it is actually held. --Eloquence 10:53 24 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Despite what you say, I'm not trying to sanitise this page by denying 'unsavory' facts. My concern is that an unproven and much used link from the gay rights movement to pederasts and paedophile, paedophile rights groups is given undue emphasis, in an article that should be about homosexual morality. Similarly, in your previous edits, Eloquence, you've attempted to list a variety of sexual practices that have little or nothing to do with homosexuality (such as zoophilia, rape, etc) so I'm being slightly cautious about your inclusion of pederasty here. I apologise in advance if I'm being unfair here.

Certainly, if you agree, I think we should mention that there is no proof that the incidence of paedophilic tendancies is higher in homsexuals than in heterosexuals, and we shoudl cite Carole Jenny, et al., Are Children at Risk for Sexual Abuse by Homosexuals?, Pediatrics, Vol. 94, No. 1 (1994) which suggest otherwise. Has anyone read this document? Can anyone obtain a hyperlink to a copy of this document?

Similarly, we should certainly emphasise the point that whilst 'boylove' groups, etc, try to align themselves with gay rights movements, the gay rigths movement distances itself from such groups and declaims any such link. --Axon Tue Jul 8 13:57:38 GMTDT 2003

I have linked to zoophilia and pedophilia as examples of moral discussions regarding the definition of consent. I don't remember having linked to rape. The topic of this article is and has always been the morality of homosexuality, but it is completely reasonable to provide links to other articles where they may be useful to illustrate a particular point. I think your rephrasing to "consenting adults" is a good solution, though.
I disagree with your claim that the link between pederasts and the gay rights movement is "unproven". Note that I am only saying that such a link has existed in the past, not that it exists any longer. I'm most familiar with the situation in Germany, where the link definitely existed in 1970s, with many gay publications also publishing articles highly defensive of pedophilia and "boy love". In Germany this lasted until the mid-1980s, when the whole child sexual abuse awareness/hysteria began. Prior to that point, even political parties such as the Greens (who are now part of the government) had started to defend pedophilia. Even today, there still exist some mainstream groups like the AHS which provide a home for pedophiles. Curiously, the AHS has managed to maintain a relatively high reputation, possibly because of its inclusion of big name sexologists, and because it keeps a low profile and acts mostly as a self-help group for pedophiles.
You are correct that such links are much exploited. Please do take a look at Judith Reisman's Crafting "Gay" Children article for an excellent example of such propaganda -- with lots of footnotes, scans from magazines etc. However, we cannot address these propaganda claims simply by removing them or banning them to hard to find pages. We should openly document the links that have existed, and also document that these same links have, for the most part, disappeared in the 1980s. I wholeheartedly encourage you to also link to existing scientific research. Morality is empty without science.
Please note that I regard pederasty and homosexuality as completely distinct from one another from a neuropsychological point of view. However, both are homosexual alignments, and this has made it very convenient for pederasts to use gay rights group as umbrellas for their own agenda. This was no longer possible when child sexual abuse became a big media topic and the gay rights groups started excluding them. --Eloquence 02:13 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)