Religion

Staying true to my Muslim faith and my gay friends

The crowd celebrates outside of the Supreme Court in Washington in June after the court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States.
The crowd celebrates outside of the Supreme Court in Washington in June after the court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States. AP

My gay friends are happy about the recent Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationally, and it’s nice to see friends happy. What’s not nice to see is the hateful rhetoric some spew at the gay community over this decision.

I know many gay people – co-workers, fellow board members, ministers, community leaders, activists for all kinds of causes and loving parents of biological, adopted and foster kids. They are kind, caring, hardworking folks who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Being gay does not define the person; they are so much more than their sexual orientation.

From what I understand, the decision allows gay couples to marry and to have the same legal rights as any other married couple. Those rights apply to things like tax laws, insurance issues, etc.

Enforcing laws and assuring its citizens have equal rights is the role of the American government and the people employed by the government.

However, it is not the role of the American government to enforce religious standards. It is the role of a religious institution to provide a moral code to its followers. It is the role of individuals to follow whichever faith tradition they choose, to the degree they elect to follow it. That is what free will is all about; making choices and being held accountable for them.

If governmental laws are in place that permit something that one’s faith tradition does not allow, then it is the responsibility of each person to decide whether to stand by what their faith dictates.

Some of those religious dictates are rulings on permissible and prohibited sexual interactions.

In regards to sexual acts between people of the same gender, the Torah/Bible says: “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22)

The Quran says: “Indeed, you approach men with desire, instead of women. Rather, you are a transgressing people.” (7:81)

These and other passages tell me that sexual acts between same-sex partners are not permitted. These are not my rules or thoughts or feelings. These are the limits which I believe God has mandated. I will not apologize or excuse away what my faith teaches and I should not be vilified for my beliefs.

We live in a country that was founded on religious freedom, which means we have a diversity of beliefs. I am not trying to impose my beliefs on others. The Quran specifically says, “There is no compulsion in religion” (Quran 2:256).

By the same token, gay people are not trying to make people gay. Gay friends have told me they did not choose to be gay. They didn’t ‘turn’ gay; they believe they were born that way. And I know God doesn’t make mistakes, so how should I, as a Muslim, process that information?

I don’t speak for all Muslims, but to me the answer is clear. I should not judge anyone.

The relations people have between each other are between them and God, and God is the judge.

Some say that being born gay is a test from God.

I think it is a test. Maybe God is testing us to see how we treat people who are different than us.

– Rose Hamid of Charlotte is president of Muslim Women of the Carolinas

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