Christianity is the Reason the U.S. is So Homophobic, But Here's How We Can Fix It

Tortured, beaten, and mutilated with swastikas carved into his body, Daniel Zamudio died on Tuesday March 27 in a hospital in Santiago, Chile for being gay. Thousands of other men and women in Chile suffer the same ordeal because the country does not currently have anti-discrimination laws, and many people in the U.S. experience discrimination against gays as wellJust this week, a high school principal removed a boy from a school-wide competition in Southern California because he made a comment advocating gay marriage. 

While Chile suffers from a lack of laws protecting gay rights, the U.S. suffers from a homophobic culture, which is largely attributable to Christian teaching.

To change this culture, the government should sponsor school programs that teach the Christian religion emphasizes tolerance. This curriculum would allow Christians to continue practicing their religion, while also treating LGBTs with dignity. These kind of programs would reduce homophobic bullying.

Homophobic bullying is often caused by people believing they need to "correct" homosexual behavior through bullying. This tradition stems from many Christians' misinterpretation of the Bible that argues that men and women should have distinct male and female characteristics, respectfully.

This perspective often creates negative views of homosexuality that ends in bullying. Bishop Gene Robinson describes how even non-religious people believe God thinks of homosexuals as abominations. A curriculum that teaches that Christianity values tolerance would change Christians’ misinterpretations away from negative notions of homosexuality.

This kind of curriculum would very much fit within Christian religious practice. The second greatest commandment in the Bible after loving God is to love thy neighbor. Bishop Robinson argues, “Nothing short of changing our theology of human sexuality will save these young and precious lives.”

This kind of program would be covered as a youth development program under the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. The most recent statistics show that homophobic and transphobic violence rose 13 percent between 2009 and 2010, and murders of gay people rose 23 percent during the same period. A national curriculum could directly counteract this trend.

Importantly, this kind of class would not not violate U.S. laws enforcing the separation of church and state. This policy would not impose Christianity on other peopleit would simply teach how the Bible actually calls Christians to tolerance.

Teaching a different interpretation of the Bible could dramatically reduce acts of violence, while still allowing freedom of religion and separation of church and state. The difficult part of implementing this program would be convincing Americans that the program does not place government in the church’s dealings, but is simply a youth development program designed to reduce homophobic bullying.

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Jacinda Chan

Jacinda graduated from University of California, Berkeley with a dual bachelor's degree in rhetoric and political science. She is currently pursuing a masters in international criminal justice at the University of Portsmouth. She is fluent in German. Since then, she has done various research and writing internships covering Turkish politics at the Diplomatic Courier, writing reports on legal systems in the Middle East, and researching the entire human rights history of Iran and Egypt. At the Levin Institute, she wrote news analysis about human rights in Latin America.

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