Sunday, June 08, 2008

tfam Homosexuality Mentioned

Mentions of Homosexuality on the Badi Blog

2008 June 08, 04 Nur, 165 BE


Yesterday's brief discussion of homosexuality as unsustainable behavior provoked the following response from a reader signing himself as "Mavaddat"

"Badi, it seems to me that your whole argument hinges on the presumption that homosexuality must imply promiscuity. Otherwise, not a single thing you wrote has any hope of validity. So for the sake of defending the Baha'i Faith's condemnation of homosexuality, could you justify this assumption for us? That is, why do you assume that homosexuality necessarily means promiscuity? Why is it not conceivable to you that the sexual expression in homosexual relationships could be restricted to after marriage as it is in heterosexual marriages? After all, the more homosexual people are allowed to marry, the less they have sex outside of marriage. So it seems like ... you are for stable marriages and less promiscuity, then you should be in support of gay marriage, not against it. Your position seems rather self-defeating seen in that light, wouldn't you say?"

 This was followed by the following feedback from Alexander M Zoltai -- who has been exceptionally supportive of both my work and that of my daughter Silvie, a budding writer and artist; I am grateful to Mr. Zoltai for that. He says,

 "You have again set my mind to rumination. Thanks! Mavaddat's comment reminded me that there was an "unsupported" assumption in the essay. I was able to fill in the blanks--"most" homosexuals, what about God's desire for sex to lead to family?, etc. Looking forward to your response to Mavaddat..."

 Now I have no choice but to respond! I was going to anyway, RSN, but now I will do it promptly. It is nice to be read.

 I do not want to go over ground that I have already covered in past years, so I will summarize and refer you to past essays on this subject over the years. My recent writing can be divided into pre-Badi' Blog and post-Badi Blog, which started up around 2004. For the latter I can give links to the essays in question but the former is not accessible save to those happy few who were on my mailing list at the time and who kept everything I sent out. These older essays I can just give date and title; if there is interest I can rewrite and repost them.

 The essay most directly relevant to Muvaddat's point about "marriage" of homosexuals is, "Coverture, The Marriage Scab." This responds to discussion in the press of whether to legalize same sex unions in New York State. It features a brief but illuminating history of marriage in recent times as summarized in a New York Times Op-Ed piece. This was posted on the Blog August 01, 2006 and is at:

 What I say here is less important than the history in the included article. Muvaddat would do well to study it carefully.

 I can say now that I think the reason that society has been so quick to buy into the gay rights agenda and gay "marriage" is that we have completely forgotten the history of the family as an institution. We imagine that the Victorians were total dummies, and that we are the first to be liberated sexually. This happens every generation, not because we are finally getting it but because we are not reading our history of the family.

 As the "Marriage Scab" essay implies, if you do not know what the word "coverture" means, you do not understand the basics behind the issue. Baha'is, especially new believers, find homosexuality a test because we are no less ignorant about the history of this institution than anybody else. I found the brief history of family in this article highly illuminating. If I do any more writing on this subject I will definitely have to delve into the history of family in more depth.

 This essay was followed on August 2nd, 2006, by a second installment, "Marriage Scabs and the Alliance of Excellence, Part II" This talks about a fascinating Hadith holding that sex with one's spouse is a kind of charity. It reminds me of a recent article about a church that, as an experiment, encouraged its married members to have sex every day and its non-married members to refrain from sex for a two week period. The participants reported very positive results. The married spouses felt much closer and happier with one another after two weeks of daily sex. Interesting, not only for the results, but also because it is a rare example of a faith group actually conducting a scientific experiment. In Marriage Scabs II I also talk about homosexuality among animals and speculate that in humans it acts as a sort of "rebellion or counterpoise to sexual reproduction." It can be read at:


 Most recently, in "Poverty of Environmentalism Concluded," written on May 28 of this year, I talk about how the provision in the Kitab-i-Aqdas condemning homosexuality evidently kept the UHJ from endorsing the Earth Charter, a document in which Baha'is had participated from the start.


 The closest thing I have made to an original contribution to this topic is an essay called "The Gay Paradox," written on November 13, 2005, which is at,


 This was a re-write of the main thesis an earlier series of essays called, respectively, On Original Sin (9 December, 2003), "Religion and Homosexuality" (11 December, 2003) and "Commentary on Lydia Lovric's Commentary, written on 25 November, 2003; these evidently came out before the Badi' Blog started up. The latter was a response to an article written by a former classmate in the Hamilton Spectator:

 "Homosexuality; Religious freedom is not absolute," by Lydia Lovric, Hamilton Spectator, Saturday, November 22, 2003, F10

 I picked up the theme again on 15 July, 2004 with an essay series called, "On the love that now dares say its name." A second installment of the same title came on 17 July, 2004, and on 24 July was, "At the Confluence of Sex and Oneness of Humanity," and on 31 July, "Living Life Through to the End." Then on 9 September, "Life as a Slide Show; Homosexuality taken up again."

 As far as I can see, none of this is on the Blog. I need a research assistant, is what I need. Anyway, let us concentrate on what is available to you.

 The 6 August, 2006 essay "Escaping the Neutral Values of Nature" discusses the only mention of cannibalism in the Writings of the central figures of the Baha'i Faith, in a Master talk that took place in the present day Baha'i Shrine in Montreal. I thought that Abdu'l-Baha's comment "sheds a great deal of light on (cannibalism and primitivism) as well as ... drugs, alcohol, suicide, as well as homosexuality. This essay is at:


 At the end of "Lost Years of Feedback, Part I; C.S. Lewis and Homosexuality" I go over old reader's feedback to the above material, one of which mentions Baha'u'llah's strong condemnation of sodomy. This is at:


 Finally, on February 8, 2007, in "Rough Hewn (sic) Ends," a series on Kant's Third Thesis, I wrote,

 "This is why it is moral for those who otherwise stand for free choice to deprecate suicide, euthanasia, abortion and homosexuality. Each in its way exercises free will, but it interferes with a culture of welcoming and perpetuating new life. Such abominations to the "life project" cannot long be tolerated."


 This hints at why Oscar Wilde's expression "the love that dares not say its name," is really an oxymoron. What negates family, children and new life can hardly be called love at all. Love is whatever creates or enhances new life, it cannot subtract from them and still be worthy of the name.


Alexander M Zoltai said...

Whew !

A resounding cannonade of scholarly response !

Lately, I've been learning, in depth, about the necessity for submission to the Manifestation to even hope to understand various proscriptions...

Unknown said...

John, you made many references, none of which seem to answer my very simple question. So I will repeat it:

Why do you take it for granted that homosexuality implies promiscuity? Why is it inconceivable to you that two people of the same sex could fall in love, want to marry, and stay committed and monogamous for the rest of their lives?

This seems like a rather simple question. I don't see why you need to make all sorts of references to other apparently irrelevant side-discussions.

Do you think it's possible that you have written so much about the subject of homosexuality that you have surpassed the ability to have a regular conversation about it? No references to past posts, no links to other sites, just a good old fashioned conversation. What do you say?