Sex and scripture
Apropos of the ongoing legal review of homosexuality in India, here’s what three men of cloth have to say about “unnatural sex.”
“The Quran inherits its views on homosexuality and unnatural sex from its chronological predecessors, the Torah and the Bible. It defines itself as ‘Ad-deen-al-fitr‘, the natural law, and imposes restrictions on several things considered unnatural including edible items. In Surah Hud and many other places in the Qur’an, wherever Looth, the nephew of Prophet Abraham, is mentioned, there are strict injunctions against homosexuality and other unnatural acts (sex with animals, unnatural positions with women and children, group sex). In fact the common Arabic term for homosexual is loothi while homosexuality is lawaatat.”
Mualana Syed Athar Husain Dehlavi,
Anjuman-Minhaj-e-Rasul (a socio-religious organization),
Walled City of Delhi
“Both Sruti (divinely revealed scripture) and Smriti (composed by men) are against unnatural sex. The Taittiriya Aranyaka of the Krishna Yajur Veda says that unnatural sex demands the severest penance. Manu Smriti is against it. The Kama Sutra is also opposed to unnatural sex, including oral sex (mukha maithunam). All the shastras warn that if the semen falls out anywhere but in its rightful place, the yoni, the pitris (ancestral spirits) will be outraged and refuse to accept pindadaan (funerary offerings) for a thousand years, it is a crime of such severity. Abstinence is recommended as ‘urdhvaretas‘, as drawing the body’s life juice inward and upward to nourish the brain.”
Veda Dharma scholar,
Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu
“In the Old Testament, in Genesis, Chapter 2 and 3, sex is affirmed as part of a responsible relationship before God. In the Song of Songs, the body is affirmed as part of God’s creativity, and sex is between a serene man and woman as lovers. Marital rape is not sanctioned in the Bible.
So what is sexuality in the Bible? It is for building generations. Psalm 128 spells this out in detail.
As for unnatural sex, in Genesis, Chapter 18 and 19, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed for indulging in aberrant sex because these are sins before God. That kind of sexuality is not considered responsible.
Coming to the Greco-Roman world, in the New Testament, in St Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 7 is completely about sexual immorality and licentiousness. Only hetero sex in a responsible mutual commitment is affirmed. Abstinence is also respected, not as a negation of sexuality but as an affirmation of a different calling.”
Father Sam Koshy,
Marthoma Syrian Church
How does it matter if it’s between two consenting adults?
It seems unfair to the perfectly nice gay men I know, who are good, unpredatory company for a regular hetero woman. You can laugh and chat with a gay man knowing that he won’t turn around and start bragging to the Boys’ Club that you were hitting on him. There’s always a dirty cloud of suspicion hovering over hetero men and women.
And hetero men – with due apologies to the ‘good guys’ – can be pretty obnoxious, seen from a regular woman’s perspective.
So personally, as a hetero woman, I support gays.
I figure Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that was drafted by Lord Macaulay in 1860 and made law in 1861 was done to protect children from the pedos.
And perhaps women from marital rape? Don’t think so.
It’s an ugly world out there and most of the ugliness descends on women, girls and helpless boys.
Indian society is as hypocritical and goody-goody as any other Eastern society between Turkey and Japan. So long as the respectable façade is maintained, anything goes, while disgusting stories on incest and rape and pedophilia continue to flood our News pages.
Religion, as quoted above, took those views, I think, to hold up the ‘ideal’ relationship structured long ago as a unit of society.
What happens if you don’t fit the formula?
What happens if you grew up motherless, fatherless or orphaned?
What happens if you are childless (and not by choice) or have a handicapped child?
What happens if your partner dies?
What happens is you’re divorced?
What happens if you’re handicapped yourself?
What happens if you’re dalit or any other underclass?
Does society make it easy for you to ‘belong’ in any of these situations – situations that don’t belong in the ‘norm’, in the golden world of TV commercials where everyone and everything is in place?
What is quoted right on top is the theory of religion, the missionary position, if you’ll pardon the pun.
What people seem to do and have done for ages is quite another matter.
Also, abuse is of many kinds. Physical abuse is the obvious kind. What about emotional abuse? But the laws are beginning to catch up on that.
In this sad scenario, however, here’s a cheering thought.
How cool is our society if I, a woman, can call three traditional men out of the blue and ask them matter-of-factly about the religious stand on ‘unnatural sex’…and they answer as matter-of-factly without batting an eyelid. Wotcher think?
PS: If women between puberty and menopause are forbidden at Sabari Mala because they are supposed to incite lustful thoughts in the male pilgrims, what the hell do they do about gay pilgrims?