Last week a masked gunman killed two and wounded 15 at a gay youth center in Tel Aviv. As protesters mourned the victims and condemned the homophobic sentiment assumed to be behind the attack, police hunted for the assailant, whom many believe to be a member of the Orthodox Jewish community.
The Orthodox have clashed with Israeli gay and lesbian Jews over civil rights. “While Judaism is a religion of peace and tolerance, without strict adherence to the commandments of the Torah â€“ which speaks strongly and unambiguously on this issue â€“ we cease to be the â€œlight unto the nationsâ€ G-d commands us to be,” said one Orthodox statement on a gay pride march.
Knowing how strictly traditionalist Christians, Jews and Muslims feel about gays and homosexuality, I thought I would check out the Buddhists; specifically the Dalai Lama, who seems to have become an international spokesman for Tibetan liberation and cultural survival, and a universal spiritual icon for peace and justice.
My 25-year-old son is quite taken with him and his philosophies on inner calm, the practice of meditation, compassion, and peaceful living. I have not delved into his teachings, but he seemed to me to be a jolly, joyful, earnest and indeed, holy spiritual leader and man.
Imagine my shock, then, to discover the Dalai Lama doesn’t sound one whit different than the most conservative Vatican bureaucrat, bishop, fundamentalist preacher or orthodox rabbi when it comes to gay and lesbian sex.
“A gay couple came to see me,” he said during an interview, “seeking my support and blessing. I had to explain our teachings. Another lady introduced another woman as her wife – astonishing. It is the same with a husband and wife using certain sexual practices. Using the other two holes is wrong.”
“A Western friend asked me what harm there could be between consenting adults having oral sex, if they enjoyed it,” the Dalai Lama continued, warming to his theme. “But the purpose of sex is reproduction, according to Buddhism. The other holes don’t create life. I don’t mind – but I can’t condone this way of life.”
Although he says that no real love between people can be condemned and that any discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation must end, the Dalai Lama nevertheless persists in considering the natural expressions of gay and lesbian physical love as “wrong,” “unwholesome,” a “bad action,” and as “vices.”
In an interview with the French magazine Dimanche, the Dalai Lama says of gay and lesbian sexuality:
“It’s part of what we Buddhists call “bad sexual conduct. Sexual organs were created for reproduction between the male element and the female element–and everything that deviates from that is not acceptable from a Buddhist point of view.”
In the same interview, he specifically said he was “for” (heterosexual) sex with condoms or the pill. That is, it’s fine for heterosexuals to have non-procreative, recreational sex–as long as it doesn’t involve foreplay with other areas of the body.
A Newsweek article on the Dalai Lama entitled “Lama to the Globe” stated that, “Although he has affirmed the dignity and rights of gays and lesbians, he has condemned homosexual acts as contrary to Buddhist ethics.”
Sound familiar? Pope Benedict XVI expresses the same kind of “support” for gay people.
When respected lesbian educator and Claremont College professor Lourdes Arguelles asked the Dalai Lama when and where the Buddha gave teachings on inappropriate organs to use during sex, the Dalai Lama honestly replied, “I don’t know.”
The Catholic church is covered, since all sex outside marriage is a sin. Period. However, what does it say about oral sex for couples married in the faith?
I googled “catholic church teaching on oral sex” and found this little gem: “The Morality of Oral Sex Within Marriage.”
Here’s an excerpt: “Naturally, one would first look to the Catechism of the Catholic Church for a definitive answer to the question. (After all, it seems to talk about everything else Catholics should and should not do…) The Catechism does not speak of oral sex by name, but it talks about offenses against chastity and names lust and masturbation as two of these offenses. The Catechism states that lust â€œis [a] disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes.”
“..the Church clearly teaches that oral sex is wrong when a couple chooses to separate the act from sexual intercourse and merely achieve orgasm(s). However, what happens when a married couple wishes to use oral sex as a means of foreplay? This is where language and wording becomes trickyâ€¦ for would this action be called oral sex, or oral stimulation? In the case of foreplay before sexual intercourse, the act is more properly called oral stimulation. By engaging in this activity, the couple wishes to promote orgasm during the intercourse that follows.“
So, this puts Catholics united in sacramental marriage one step ahead of Buddhists when it comes to oral sex. It’s “morally acceptable” so long as its a warm up to intercourse… without birth control, of course. Buddhists are OK on birth control, but no fooling around with the wrong “holes.”