No to homophobia!
For a united working class movement against prejudice & discrimination
Bishop Dag Heward-Mills caused controversy during his guest sermon at the Grace Bible Church on Sunday when he told the congregation that homosexuality was “unnatural”. Somizi Mhlongo, a member of the congregation and a gay man, walked out of the church in outrage at the remarks. He later posted a video online of himself passionately explaining that he was offended because far from being “unnatural”, he was born gay, and that issues of his faith’s compatibility with his sexuality were a private matter for him to deal with. Below, Hazard, WASP member in the North West, comments on the homophobic prejudices which, unfortunately, are still widespread.
Homophobia deeply infests language and society. Hatred, fear, dislike and prejudice towards homosexuals is expressed daily in terms of abuse such as “fag” and “morfee”, thrown around in workplace corridors, community alleys, places of worship, and in social media comments The choice of words, even spoken over the cradle of a child, such as “act like a man”, “you are not a girl”, and many others, prepares them for a world of anti-gay stereotypes. Debating “nature or nurture” is irrelevant and offensive.
Historically, the ruling class has used religion to defend the inequalities and class divisions in society. They often encourage the idea that the rich need only to give to charity and the poor can accept their poverty happy in the belief of a better after life. This is why religion must be a private affair. The question of the ‘truth’ of scripture depends on who is interpreting it. Priests and pastors should not bring their own prejudices and present them as divine revelation. Many working class people will be firm in their conviction that their faith should not become a means for justifying the oppression of others.
Homosexual people should be able to expect full equality in society without facing prejudice. Socialists fight for a society where every person belongs and is able to thrive regardless of class, race, gender, religion, sexuality, or disability. A humane society would allow every person to hold any view and live any lifestyle that they desire.
The liberation of all people facing oppression and prejudice must be taken up by the workers movement. For a socialist, homophobia is a grave crime. Socialists must be at the forefront in the fight for gay rights. To not stand up against all forms of oppression creates the space for the ruling class to divide us, weakening our struggle for better living conditions and a better future. Whilst many gains can be won to improve the situation facing gay people now, genuine equality can only be achieved in a socialist society. Serious mass protests should meet all homophobic persons, whether a pastor or a politician, who tries to spread their divisive views.