argument that "the sexual act is for procreation" was promoted by Justinian and he
used these arguments as a justification for homosexual oppression/death.
Most religions in other areas of the world were more lenient. In the Koran,
Muhammed forbade sodomy, but 4 witnesses were needed to enforce the law, and so few
homosexuals were actually prosecuted. The Hindus regarded homosexuality as abhorrent but treated the practice with leniency. Buddhists were tolerant, if not accepting. In Japan, it was considered more admirable for a man to love another man than
for him to waste his time on "a mere woman." The Zoroasters of the Middle East were
closer in belief to Christian tenets. To them, homosexuality was an "unnatural sin"
for which there was no way to atone. It was considered worse than "the murder of a
good man" and all citizens were given the right, indeed, charged with the duty, of
murdering any known homosexual.
In the Middle Ages, there was very little distinction between Church and State.
The two were so closely aligned that a person who violated the precepts of the Church
was considered guilty, not only of heresy, but also of treason. St. Thomas Aquinas
justified the persecution of homosexuals with the logic that "right reason declares
that the appointed end of sexual acts is procreation." (For this reason, Aquinas
considered rape to be a lesser sin than masturbation or homosexuality, since rape at
least led to procreation.)
The words "heretic," sorcerer," "sodomist," and "witch" were often subsumed
under the same category in the Middle Ages. During the Spanish Inquisition, those
who were accused of heresy were assumed to be homosexual as a matter of course.
These people were burned at the stake, drowned, or buried alive. Throughout history
homosexuality and heresy have been equated. In English speaking-countries, the connection between the two is expressed through the use of a single word to denote both
concepts, "buggery." Webster's Unabridged Dictionary defines "buggery" as "heresy,
sodomy" and "bugger" as "heretic, sodomite." Also of interest is the origin of the
fagot or faggot:
1. A bundle of sticks or twigs, esp. as used for fuel, a fascine, or as a means
of burning heretics alive. (Webster's 3d Int.)
2. The embroidered figure of a faggot, which heretics who had recanted were
obliged to wear on their sleeves. (Oxford English Dictionary)
3. A term of abuse or contempt applied to a homosexual male.
Today, in our overpopulated world, the concept that the sex act is for procreation only is still promulgated by such influential groups as the Roman Catholic
Church and fundamentalist religions. And so women and men of these religions are
denied the right to birth control, abortion and the practice of homosexuality. These
churches, while not able to burn offenders at the stake as in the days of the Inquisition, today promise transgressors the fire of everlasting Hell after death, and
impose whatever hell on earth they can manufacture for the living.
Barbara Cigainero and Linda Lovell
Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation, Dennis Altman. 1971.
Religious Roots of the Taboo on Homosexuality, John Lauritsen. 1974.
The Manufacture of Madness, Thomas Szasz. 1970.
"Homosexual Love", The Origins and Development of the Moral Ideas* Edward Westermarck.
The Holy Bible, King James version. 1611.
Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, Alfred Kinsey, et al. 1953.