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  • Writer's pictureNnaemeka Ali, O.M.I

Are We Culturally or Naturally Homophobic?

As human beings advance, you would expect that we will become wiser. But, in fact, we continue to commit the same crime each century. Over time, we even degenerate. Crimes committed centuries ago keep resurfacing, covered in new doctrines and laws, from religious crusades through the Inquisition, slave trades, witch hunting, and homophobic attitudes based on people's sexual orientations.

Moreover, experts in social and natural sciences and humanities invest their energy in ensuring the marginalization of the victims at every moment. Though some wake up earlier than others, they all contribute to making society unlivable for the victims. It is often said that racism, like all crimes, is perpetuated not because of ignorance but because intellectuals in every field of study are bent on ensuring the masses are fed with wrong information.

A quick look at our recent communal memory line could help me understand what I am discussing here. In between the 11th and 13th centuries, for God and the state, we embarked on a crusade, killing each other for holy war. Men and women dedicated their lives to what we now understand to be madness. Mothers and fathers were often massacred before their children, women were sometimes raped, and boys and girls were taken as prisoners.

And, as we attempted to escape this madness, we discovered the Inquisition. For heresy, people were executed for refusing to adhere to the general belief in the official doctrines of the Church. In addition to the over 8 million victims of the crusade, around 5 thousand others were added during this lunatic called the Inquisition. This time again, valuable men and women were sacrificed to the altar of our nationalistic religions and power-hungry empires. Of course, we should not forget its Islamic quasi equivalent, jihad.

And like a joke, the Inquisition turned itself into a witch-hunt. Thus, from one part of Europe to another, women (mainly), men, and children were torched and burned alive whenever accused of witchcraft. They were sometimes forced to confess something they were unaware of. Again, this is done in the name of God and the law of our civilized nations. Within the late 15th to early 18th centuries, intellectuals and religious leaders appeared to have lost their wisdom and foresight, as 35 to 50 thousand people were burned at the stake. What a civilized society!

Moreover, over 15 million human beings were transported like animals during the tragic transatlantic slave trade. These men and women were treated worse than domestic animals and were sold like animals. One might think that this is the sin of capitalism, but we know that churches denied them baptism, claiming they had no souls and could not be saved in the name of God and enlightenment.

Behind this craziness is the handwriting of the later Social Darwinism. This theory supported laissez-faire capitalism, as well as political and religious conservatism. A pseudo-scientific theory that divides our societies into classes, justifying all the inequalities among races and stereotyping some as drunk people, lazy races, and emotional as opposed to reasonable white people. Thus, the moral standard was measured according to different races in sciences and humanities. While some were considered to be industrious and temperate, others were considered lazy, intemperate, and lecherous.

Following this theory, laws were passed that condemned many black Americans whenever a white woman accused them of rape simply because of their race. Again, social Darwinism has stereotyped them as being naturally lustful because of their race. Furthermore, it is said that in certain societies, certain people are struggling with alcoholism by nature. Throughout all these moments, no one considers social factors and oppressive and discriminatory systems.

In the 21st century, you would expect that humanity has evolved, but we continue to repeat the same errors. In the name of God and the nations, we select a group within our society to oppress and label them as not usual and need to be treated inhumanely. Has our society ever considered that people with different sexual orientations from what our hypocritical society is prepared to accept are victims of the 21st-century witch hunt? Nations and churches systematically exclude them from society, like lepers. Our laws are designed to oppress them and pass bills that strip away their rights to health benefits. We ghettoize them in our Churches and propose therapies to them as if they have mental problems. Our religious groups treat them as if an evil spirit possessed them. Yet, within less than a century, we will all gather and confess that we did not know what we were doing. By then, the men and women we have collectively forced to die in silence will no longer be there to receive our pseudo-confession.

Before criticizing religion, I want you to understand that religion is only one arm of our hypocritical society. Religion requires pseudoscientists, psychologists, anthropologists, philosophers, and law experts to speak in the name of God. I have seen people always point accusing fingers at religion, but the truth is that religion is always the scapegoat of society. However, that does not excuse our religious leaders, for they should be better informed that empathy is not only deserved by those we like but also by those who appear, to our shallow minds, to be at fault.

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