We already know that religion and the LGBTQ+ community clash all the the time. Ideals that have been passed on for generations are going head to head with something that is slowly becoming more widely accepted today: homosexuality. There are some worshipers who firmly believe that the situation is black and white, that there is no question that homosexuality is immoral and should be avoided at all costs. However, not everyone feels that way. Why do some people believe that you can still be religious while being an LGBTQ+ ally?
Before you dismiss this article as "just another liberal stance," let me make this clear: I am no stranger to religion. I was raised Catholic, and from preschool to 8th grade, I went to a Catholic school. I attended mass weekly, and every weekday, we cracked open our religion textbook to learn and discuss different aspects of Catholicism. I was baptized, received the Eucharist, and received the Sacrament of Confirmation. I have confessed my sins to a priest, and I have memorized multiple prayers as part of my school curriculum. My belief that religion and the LGBTQ+ community can coexist does not come from a place of ignorance.
While I was raised as Catholic, this piece isn't specifically about Catholicism versus the LGBTQ+ community. It is about the fact that you can still continue to be a religious person while being an LGBTQ+ ally. Despite the differences in rituals and celebrations, there is one concept that is present at the core of just about every major religion: the Golden Rule. In short, the Golden Rule is to treat others the way you want to be treated.
In Judaism, the idea is present it Leviticus 19:18 ("You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your kinsfolk. Love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.. In Christianity, the message is in Sirach 31:15 ("Recognize that your neighbor feels as you do, and keep in mind your own dislikes."). Hinduism cites the Golden Rule as well, stating that "One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one's own self. This, in brief, is the rule of dharma. Other behavior is due to selfish desires."
While it is debatable whether there is a place for homosexuality is or is not a sin, it is clear that there is a place for the LGBTQ+ community in your life through the Golden Rule. You cannot choose your neighbors. Without realizing it, you might have come across someone who identifies with the LGBTQ+ community. They might have even treated with greater kindness than you have ever seen before. It is as simple as that.
In the United States, the estimated LGBTQ+ population in 2018 is 4.5%. Is it really worth it to pour so much hate into a community that makes less than 5% of the population? Is it really worth your time to concentrate your resentment towards such a small percentage of the population and shun them?
Following the Golden Rule does not mean you accept homosexuality. Showing compassion towards someone in pain is not compromising your beliefs. Coming to the aid of someone who is unable to care for themselves is not being a traitor to your beliefs. If you believe that it is immoral, that is your right; however, it is not immoral to treat your neighbors the way you want to be treated. There is a place for your neighbors in your life. Just about every religion agrees.