Jechbi wrote:1. To me that appears to be an overgeneralization. The broad rubric of an "institution of Christianity" is attributing the cause-and-effect relationship far too imprecisely. In these types of cases, it's certainly possible to be more specific than to say that Matthew Shepard was killed because of "Christians," and to hold some faceless institution responsible.
2. Damn tootin'. I wouldn't even want to be friends with such people.
3. Religion might be the lame excuse people invoke for horrible conduct, yes.
4. But it doesn't make any sense at all to condemn all of Christianity or all of Islam due to the extremely poor moral conduct of some individuals who self-identify as members of those faiths.
5. btw, I admire your sense of justice and agree with much of your perspective.
1. It's certainly a very complex multifaceted issue - politics, enormous amounts of money, high-powered careers, level of education, power, etc...all play a part, but looming very large within this issue is the multimillions of dollars that nearly all factions of religious institutions annually pour into maintaining the 2nd class citizenship of gay people. It is this 2nd class citizenship declared by religious authority on the basis of statements attributed to the divine being who has the power to keep believers from frying in Hell for eternity that gives simple religious people permission to persecute gay people, even to carry out The Supreme Leader of the Universe's unambiguous command to put homosexuals to death. I don't know where you live, but here in the U.S. the most well-funded and powerful faction of the Christian Institution places great emphasis on a literal understanding of the Holy book as "the authentic word of God", and usually the second defense (the first defense is inevitably "he came on to me") that pops out of the mouth of someone arrested for a violent act against a gay person is something like "I was following the will of God", which is not infrequently used as a defense in court.
2. But you may be already...have you checked?
3. The physical acts of violence against gay people are nearly always committed by simple people. When they site their faith as justification it isn't a lame excuse...they nearly always seem to believably mean it.
4. It does when said "extremely poor moral conduct" is completely consistent with The Supreme Leader's own words, The Holy Book, and the constant drone of hate (explicit or implicit) regarding gay people from religious leaders, many of whom openly state that gays should be killed.
5. I'm sure we have more common ground than uncommon.
I'm very aware that there are many Christians and Muslims who don't believe that gays should be killed, or that acid should be thrown in the face of women who step outside of the boundaries of religious authority...but, if they support the institution and the institution's leaders that holds these beliefs to be integral to the religion by remaining silent out of fear for their soul's final resting place - then they are also clearly supporting the direct causes of violence and death. As long as there is religious provocations of violence against gay people or anyone else I'll speak up about it ,and I'll question friends who are believers, hopefully in a way that they can receive without being offended so that there can be a dialogue.
The thread has strayed a bit from the OP's question so I'll try to push it back in that direction by stating again:
Like most religions, it has devolved over the many centuries from being a far-reaching brilliant body of astronomy and mathematics voiced in allegorical format with instructions for living an integral "way of life" consistent with the "movement of the heavens" - into a fundamentalist, literalistic social code controlled by a powerful elite intent on preserving their religious and secular power and social control through the use of fear rather than through love which is it's roots.