Ah, Heaven. The concept that beyond our mortal passing, some form of Paradise awaits the chosen few, is a time-honored ideal. It’s a belief held so dearly, so fervently, that it’s inspired more than a few wars. Multitudes of people slain, in order to perpetuate this idea of postmortem reward. So then where is it? Who makes such passage, and who is condemned to eternal damnation? And who, pray tell, decides these eternal fates?
Can homosexuals make the cut? How about heterosexuals, transsexuals, and those undecided or unsure of their sexuality?
There is little consensus on any aspect of Heaven, though entire religions manage to control their adherents’ behavior by promising its everlasting joy. Traditional fundamentalist congregations will have us believe that entering the Pearly Gates of heaven is the natural effect of having lived a righteous life on earth. (Now, whose idea of righteousness has been attained, remains a mystery.) Other, more forgiving sects, assert that the criteria for Heaven is more akin to a sliding-scale situation, so that anyone earnestly even trying to be ” good” can expect to ascend to that celestial Paradise.
It’s a matter of such profound concern and controversy to so very many people and entire cultures. As a concept held in such passionate esteem and controversy for so many countless eons, Heavenly requirements of admission remain elusive at best, even for those remaining traditionally religious. It’s nothing short of a fairy tale for those who consider themselves strictly scientific, and therefore immune to believing in anything not clinically proven. So it seems reasonable to assume this group of naysayers will precede any and all homosexuals, among those denied passage to Heaven. (Surely they don’t expect passage into a realm they consider as mythical as unicorns and leprechauns!)
If we restrict the issue to the tighter confines of Judaeo- Christian belief, there is no shortage of rigid rules and regulations to guide the faithful into Heaven. If we narrow our focus further, to those religious guidelines pertaining explicitly to sexuality, it appears that we are all doomed.
According to some of the harsher Old Testament books, we can actually be eternally damned for merely seeing family members naked! Any of us who divorced, and failed to live in celibacy thereafter, are also eliminated from Heavenly grace. Just in case that wasn’t stringent enough, the very act of masturbating, or even having “sexual thoughts” also disqualify us from Heavenly ascent. Here again, all of us lowly mortals, would seem completely and categorically beyond any hope for Heaven by these criteria!
The widely-accepted and formidable Ten Commandments, make no mention whatsoever of homosexuality. This long, long list forbids adultery, murder, lying, stealing and coveting, to name a very few. Yet, it contains not one word about homosexuality. The well-known ” Seven Abominations” of the Old Testament (Proverbs) enumerates a multitude of sins considered absolutely disgusting to Heaven. The highlights of these “Super Sins” include lying, creating mischief, causing discord within the neighborhood, and a” heart that devises wickedness.” Despite some rather vague definitions of these listed ” abominations”, there’s still no reference to homosexuality.
From a researcher’s point of view, it seems evident that acceptance into Heaven is unlikely for any, save the very most morally and spiritually perfect among us. Having said that, it follows to question whether we would even have any desire to be in such exclusive company. ( We may not recognize a single soul!)
Yet, the heart of the spiritual optimist rejoices in knowing that the same Bible containing these impossibly stringent moral requirements also offers a bit of reassurance in Matthew 19:24-26. To paraphrase, it tells us it’s easier for a camel to pass through an eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter Heaven. We are not advised of the sexual orientation of neither camel, nor rich man. It further stipulates, that with God, all things are possible. This means all of us, homosexual, or otherwise, have hope of squeezing into Heaven, although it sounds like a less than comfortable pursuit.
And no one should be too surprised if homosexuals get there first, that they may properly plan music and menus.