Indonesia: Religious Leaders Say Homosexuality 'Not From God'

JAKARTA, INDONESIA: A controversial discussion late last week on homosexuality spilled over Monday (31 Mar) as mainstream religious organisations claimed homosexuality was a psychological disorder, not a natural behaviour given by God.

Comments by several progressive Muslim scholars last week that the dominance of heterogeneity was a social construction spurred mainstream religious organisation of all denominations to clarify that its roots were in the word of God.

"Yes, it's a social construction, but it is derived from the Koran. The Koran clearly states that homosexuality is unacceptable, and we ulema have agreed about that," Ma'aruf Amin, chairman of the Fatwa Commission at the Indonesia Ulema Council, told The Jakarta Post.

Siti Musdah Mulia of the Indonesia Conference of Religions and Peace said last Thursday (28 Mar) in a discussion hosted by the non-governmental organisation Arus Pelangi that homosexual behaviour should be considered a condition sent by God.

Responding to this, Ma'aruf said homosexuality was an option, not something natural.

"It's a curable disorder. There have been many cases where homosexuals have realised what they did was wrong and became heterosexuals again. It's something that can be fought off," he said.

Ma'aruf acknowledged that every behaviour was rooted in God.

"God created both good and bad behaviours, but He told humans to choose the good ones. So, it's a matter of options," he said.

Benny Susetyo of the Indonesian Bishops Council said humans were not born with sexual disorders and that the Catholic Church opposed homosexuality because it violated both the divine and natural laws applying to human beings.

"According to official church documents, we weren't born with sexual disorders. The church regards homosexual behaviour as a psychological disorder that is curable," he told the Post.

Benny said such disorders could not be seen as natural or deserving of justification.

"God creates men and women with their corresponding intuitions and behaviours. Just because something was not chosen doesn't mean it was inborn.

"The reasons to become a homosexual can include acquired desires or childhood or environmental conditioning," he said.

Benny said that because homosexual behaviour was curable, homosexuals deserved pastoral care.

"Homosexuals deserve church services and therapy to help them get back to their true nature."

"But above all, they also deserve respect," he said.

Gomar Gultom of the Indonesian Communion of Churches said many Indonesian churches opposed homosexuality because it was against the concept of procreation as stated in the Bible.

"Sexuality reflects God's affection to the world, with God designing sexual interaction to create new life. A couple, with God's grace, create a new human life so that this life will not end," Gomar told the PostM.

He said, however, that many churches regarded homosexuality as a personal matter.

"Christianity firmly believes in the heterosexual concept, but doesn't want to judge anyone with homosexual behaviour because it's an option that should be respected," said Gomar. (The Jakarta Post/ ANN)

MySinchew 2008.04.01