While I don't belong to any formalized religion, I do have a belief system. It is primarily based on the idea of being good to each other, the whole golden rule thing we are taught in kindergarten. Which if you think about it, is actually a good way to live. If we were all polite and kind to each other, most of our laws wouldn't be necessary....as you can tell I'm idealistic. This is my rambling thoughts on things...
Most religions seem to agree on the big issues, not killing other humans and to be the best person you can be holding their followers to be honest, kind and 'moral'. After the big issues religions divert into interesting pathways of what they feel to be acceptable 'moral' behavior. Food rules is a big one, not eating something or other, or only in certain combinations, i.e. no meat and milk products at the same meal. Not having physical contact with someone of the opposite sex, Orthodox Jews and Muslims are two that come to mind where even shaking hands or being alone in a room with someone of the opposite sex is considered 'wrong'. The view that we cycle again and again with our souls intact attempting to work our way up the ladder to reach nirvana. And if you find yourself in the body of a female, then you obviously have a long way to go, but at least you are one step up from an animal!
I think diversity in all things is, well a good thing, including religion. Often we get so caught up in the tangled net of different = bad, that we begin to force our personal views upon others. I don't care what religion you follow, what book you use to learn from that is the sacred words of your G-d, they all can be twisted into 'proving' a point, making a person, a group, or an idea against G-d's word. Humans are tricky tricky beings, and counter to that we tend to be sheep and love to follow behind someone who is willing to lead. Why? Well, I think it's mostly due to the fact that we all suffer to some degree from self doubt, and many of us lack the ability to walk counter to the current flow of the current culture comfortably and happily.
And it really doesn't take much to make others 'suspect' to us. Something as simple as not having a tv, a cell phone, or desiring sex from any gender can open the door to at the very least verbal abuse. I've known many people without a tv, or a desire to have one, had no interest in watching movies or listening to music, and once people find this tidbit of information about these fellow travelers, the whispering campaign against them begins. They are weird! Odd! Not to be trusted! Scratch most of our surfaces and you will find a 13 year old. This seems to be the age when we are just finding out who we are, how we are different from our parents, and if we are alike, similar or vastly counter to our age mates. We are so worried about being pointed out as different, we begin to camouflage our true selves to blend in, and will often throw the first 'stone' to cause a diversion to keep others from noticing our differences. No no, not me! I'm normal, it's this guy who you should worry about!
As religions became more organized and more powerful they began to exert pressure on the ruling bodies to align the laws of the area with the legal laws. Why? I think it all boils down into two parts. One, the whole needing a large group of people to be just like us, even if it does require force to mold non-believers into the form of acceptable behavior. Because if most of the people believe as you do, how on earth can you be wrong? The few who refuse to live the guidelines must be wrong, or even more worrisome, evil. These evil beings are liars, tricksters, seducers to a G-dless life and afterlife. And funnily enough often decades flow past where this type of person is seemingly not a threat to 'life as we know it'. Until a tectonic shift occurs in culture and someone must be to blame for a changing world around them. A change that is often not dealt with well, a change that can't be absorbed easily or for many rationally, and so our scapegoats are born. We are all aware of many of our past and still to some extent, current scapegoats. We structure our scapegoats from many different building blocks: religious peoples ( jewish, muslim, catholics, hindus, etc), color of skin, origin of country (China, Ireland, India, etc.) and some 'lucky' people belong to more that one group! Oh, lucky lucky them!
Two, fear pure and simple. Why fear? Well, most religions seem to operate at least to some degree on fear. Fear you won't get into heaven. Fear that G-d would take offense with your culture if there was not enough adherence to religious law within your population, and do something nasty like flooding the earth, etc. Fear that what others are doing is 'counter' than how you're living, or at the very least different, and different =bad/evil/worries.
From what I have read, most earth based religions seemingly understand that lgbt people have a place in the fabric that the gods have woven for them, and are accepted and in some cases revered. It wasn't until the male god religions effectively sidelined many of the earth religions that things got tricky for many groups of people. Among them of course were/are lgbt, women and children, and the elderly. So basically if you're not young, male and straight, pffft you are worthless and merely chattel to be able to be treated with little or no regard. Why? I truly wished I knew how a society could effectually turn their backs on a major portion of society.
Many people require a larger than usual 'alike' group to surround them, and they will blindly follow their piper into acts of atrocity, and acts that counter their religion. In this group are: the people who believed Hitler's poisonous views, Stalin's backers, and how many Americans treated our native peoples, and others to numerous to list. Sadly, I have to include many large religious groups, primally the Mormons and the Southern Baptists as groups who would do anything to cleanse society of unworthies. Those that are in charge of these religions force their lgbt members to either flee from their religion and families, or to live their entire life as a lie, conforming to keep their families, and their religion. Or even sadder are the people who believe the horrible lies they hear week after week in their churches and homes about how it's counter to G-d's wishes to be lbgt, and in grief and despair take their own lives to make the pain go away.
In the past 100 years or so, our country has been experiencing an upheaval in how it views many of citizens. Black people had to work hard to be accepted as human beings, be allowed to vote, and allowed to marry someone of a different race. Women struggled to be seen as equal to men, to be allowed to vote, and to be considered to be a 'head of household' for tax purposes. And each and every time different groups of people struggled to be seen as equal worthy citizens, as needing and deserving rights and protections afforded to others, religious houses have rang with thunderous denouncements about the end of society as we know it. How this will be the death of our country, the beginning of the end as it were. To be sure, there are always a few out of step religious houses fighting for these downtrodden people, but their voices are thin and fairly ineffectual against the louder din of the popular masses.
And here we are again, listening to religious houses thunder and using massive amounts of air time, ink in newspapers, magazines and books to denounce yet another group of people who are fighting for equal civil rights and protections, using the same worn out and tired line of the end of the world as we know it. From what I have personally seen, and reading around in history books, as the din from religious groups grows louder against any group, this is a signal that the tide is beginning to turn for the marginalized group. As the arguments against allowing lbgt people civil rights become ever more absurd, you know they are scraping the bottom of the barrel for ideas. The people who honestly believe the nonsense that is spewed out is getting smaller and smaller every day. Sadly, one of the reasons for this change in attitude is the passing of many of our elders, because elders are usually the staunch backbone of the "change is bad viewpoint".
But like I said I'm an optimist who does believe/feel that civil rights and equality are very close to being within our grasp.