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Extremely Important Hadith Husband Wife Relationship


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Personalizing Gifts and Workplaces for Branding

Always be marketing is an adage that entrepreneurs and small business professionals need to be successful at to grow their business.  When money for marketing is short branding items is a very creative solution to increase awareness. It helps to initiate creative solutions so as to leave positive marketing experiences with prospective and existing clients.

How you define marketing becomes pivotal.  Here are some ways to creatively personalize gifts and things found in the workplace to promote your branding. This will aid in leaving a lasting impression on all encountered in your business dealings.  Have you ever considered personalizing your entrance way with a doormat that tells your story?  By designing a doormat that keeps your business on your client’s mind.  Make the idea relate back to your business and keep it light!  Personal Creations has so great ideas for personalization.

You can also personalize pillows and blankets in your office space.  The messaging can be specific to your business or again it can be light hearted.  Keep the message clear and concise.  Depending on your budget one could buy several personalized blankets to share with top customers or keep employees.  So when they are out on a picnic or watching a movie in the park you can expand the reach of your business with minimal effort on your part.

Personalizing items can be done in a variety of ways.  One could personalize based on number customers, anniversary dates, adding meaningful quotes or adding other ideas of personalization. Personalizing make the recipient feel special and it makes the gift thoughtful.  Providing employees personalized mugs can also be a way to gain employee loyalty and market your brand.  If you think about it so many things can be personalized in the workplace: coasters, mugs, glasses, blankets, keepsakes, puzzles, or clocks; they make work anniversaries special for everyone.

By creating a brand identity, your employees and clients begin to see you everywhere.  It creates heightened awareness and helps to build your business.  Before you shop at Personal Creations visit Groupon Coupons to activate their active promo codes or take advantage of coupons being offered to get additional savings on your purchases.

Saudi – Iranian competition in Egypt

Saudi – Iranian competition in Egypt

In this article I aim to focus on respectively Saudi Arabia and Iran’s practical possibilities for political influence in Egypt. That is with regard to the competition between those two countries and the ways those two rivals use in today’s Middle East.

From the time of the anti-Shah revolution in Iran in 1979 the Saudi Arabia – Iran relationship has been very controversial and under numerous fluctuations. Both countries have claims of leadership in the Muslim world. However both countries, each has its own interpretation of Islam and its own version of how Islam should be kept alive.

One of the most controversial points in those two countries’ relationship is their vision and their different approach towards the West in today’s world. The relationship with the U.S. has particularly been a crucial criterion of how one of those two countries should deal with the other country.

This tense full relationship has had many negative consequences not only for the political life in both countries, but also for other countries in the region, which have been scenes for this competition or are used as the means in the direction of either Iran or Saudi Arabia’s interests.

For three years ago Andrew Terrill a Research Professor of National Security Affairs had written “Saudi Arabia and Iran have viewed themselves as serious rivals for influence in the Middle East” (Terrill, 2011).

In relation to Egypt, in any case, in the current situation both the rival countries follow the events more determined than in the past.

It causes a more polarization of the political forces in Egypt after the military takeover in June this year. For three years ago Terrill believed that “both Iran and Saudi Arabia remain uncertain over how Egypt’s foreign policy fundamentals might evolve” (Terrill, 2011), but the situation today is different.

Those fundamentals are still unclear, but after all, today for Saudi Arabia and Iran is clear for example that which of them will support and which of them will be against the biggest political organization, i.e. Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

In a like cold war between those two rival countries in the Middle East, there is a very important parameter with a decisive role. It is an ideological hostility, which is combined with the already political competition between the two countries.

The background for the competition

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has a significant political role in Egypt and it has also multiple reasons for that. One of the reasons that Saudi Arabia generally is trying to play a more active role in different Middle Eastern countries is that it competes with Iranians’ expansionism policies in the region.

After all, Saudi Arabia, especially after the fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, tried to fill the vacuum that was caused by the lack of a “contra Iran” power.

Saudi Arabia also tries to present and stabilize it self as the most deserving to be advocate, representative and propagator of Islam in the entire Muslim world.

By following a special interpretation of Islam that is rooted in the Sunni Wahhabism Saudi Arabia strives in developing, promoting and assisting its own ideological representatives and employees the world over. That interpretation of Islam is tied to the structure of political power in the Saudi society, exactly like the interconnection of a unique version and interpretation of Islam and the political structure in Iranian society.


Iran’s policy toward Saudis in the recent thirty and several years, from the time the Islamic government came to power, has had many ups and downs. That policy in the recent years has reflected unfriendly and occasionally a real hostile relationship between those two countries than earlier. One of the latest serious cases was an accusation against Iran of involvement in the conspiracy to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in USA. With all the contradictory statements, including doubts about the accuracy of that accusation, it had an impact in creating of new tensions in the relationship between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Iran considers itself as the central base for Shiite activities. It naturally seeks to promote the growth of Shi’ism in the world.

Which direction tends Egypt?

In the current political situation in Egypt, where the country is suffering of crises and political chaos, it is maybe not so relevant to talk about the directions of the foreign policy in that country. Therefore, in a country that is grappling against its internal political problems, there seems also irrelevant to ask questions such as, what political orientation the country adopt in its relations with other countries. It can be said that a country’s international policy is a reflection of what goes on in the internal political relationship. It can also be said that at least, the domestic politics have a major impact on the international policy so that Fearon (1998) argues “domestic politics is typically an important part of the explanation for states’ foreign policies” (Fearon, 1998).  So until the internal problems remain unresolved in Egypt, it is doubtful whether there can be talking about a consistent and logical foreign policy in that country?

However, many of those who are interested in the Middle Eastern countries’ international relations follow closely the events and even make predictions regarding what direction Egypt’s foreign policy goes after the recently events, especially after the June military coup. It raises questions such as:

Can Egypt continue with its so-called “non-alignment” principles? Can the country still play a significant role in the Middle East? How will interferences from different sides in Egypt shape this country’s adaptations of its international stances? How will the relationship between different internal political forces affect the Egyptian foreign policy?

It is clear that both the Egyptians and various states and international organizations have interests in how the patterns of the country’s foreign policy will shape. External stakeholders are often concerned about their economic and political interests, regardless of whether or not there will be a real democracy in the country. Therefore, those exogenous factors focus on having as significant as possible role in the political affairs in the country.

What are Saudi Arabia and Iran’s potential influences in Egypt?

Saudi Arabia

One of the most debatable and perhaps the most important strengths in the current political situation in Egypt are Salafi groups. They have been tremendous visible in the period after the so called “the spring revolution in the Arabic world”.

The reciprocal relationship of “Salafi Muslims’ position and status in Egypt” on the one hand and “political relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia” on the other hand is worthy to note.

The two facts – “Salafism in Egypt” and “Saudi-Egypt relationship” – can be seen as an equation relationship, so that in a political analysis neither the one nor the other side of the equation can be ignored. One can neither focus on the relationship between the two countries without an analysis of the Salafis’ status and role, nor can one define this status and role without a consideration of the scope of political relationship between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

There are many rumors among the people that Saudi Arabia is trying to affect the Egyptian revolution in the direction, which is in accordance with its interests. One of the ways in this direction is lending. It can lead to affect on the political decision-makings in Egypt, because those debts come to connect themselves with political conditions. Against this background the Egyptian’s economic foundations can eventually become dependent on foreign debts. Despite that in one case – before the military takeover in June – The Supreme military Council had refused to get into debt, but the proposals were continuing.

Another way is a broad support to the Salafi movement in Egypt by the Saudi state. These supportive efforts to the Salafis in Egypt are something that have been existed before “The Arabic Spring”. Within the last 25 years Salafi communities and groups have received many donations from Saudi Arabia. Those flows appear under different titles and coverage. Thus, the Salafis in Egypt have satellite TV channels, incredible number of mosques and charities.

Abdul Aziz Ghattan, Saudi ambassador in Egypt in an interview with Al Arabia network in August 2012 rejected the charge regarding the Saudi’s financial support to the Salafis in Egypt.

Whether in how far those allegations are true and to what extent those are exaggerations, there are many Egyptians who are dissatisfied with the Saudis’ efforts in relation to support the Salafis.

Ahmad Shaban the representative of “Al Dimoqrati” (Democratic Party in Egypt) in interview with “Al Moraqib” in July 2012 had stated that Salafi movement in Egypt was the result of illiteracy, poverty and culture deficit, and that it was an appropriate factor in order to spread false ideas among people. He said the financial support to the Salafis by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States had taken place both before and after the Egyptian revolution with the aim that they could dominate a large part of Egyptian society.

In addition to the carrot policy, Saudi Arabia uses occasionally the stick policy. Of the important means one can mention the restrictions in relation to Egyptian workers, who were employed in Saudi Arabia. It was used a while ago before the military takeover in order to put pressure on the government in Cairo.

Those policies all applied in order to pave the way for own political influence in Egypt. The problem was finally solved in that way that “an agreement has been reached between the Egyptian and Saudi authorities over new procedures for Egyptians working in Saudi Arabia” (Ahram Online, 30 May 2013).

By pointing to the Saudi Arabia’s avoiding to renew the work permits of thousands of Egyptian workers who work in this country in order to put pressure on the Egyptian government, Karim Al-Johari at the ceremony of introduction of his book – The Diary of Arab Revolution – in Berlin said the Saudis have no interest in the success of efforts for a fundamental transformation in the Arab world.


The Iranians do not have the same role and influence in Egypt as the Saudis have. Nevertheless, with regard to the popularity degree the Iranians have not a high popularity among the Egyptian population.

According to a 2013 survey by the BBC World there are only 15% of people in Egypt, who support Iran’s influence, while 48% do not look favorably on an Iranian influence in their country (2013 World Service Pol).

With regard to the practical possibilities Iran has a lot of geographical distance to Egypt, which is a determinant factor for a country that is not a high-technological country like the greater powers. In addition in the years after the Iranian Islamic power takeover the political relationship between Iran and Egypt has been very limited. Finally, the ethnic and language proximity between Egypt and Iran in the face of ethnic and linguistic affinities between Egypt and Saudi Arabia are not significant.

One of the important factors in the competing relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran as mentioned above is presence of a predominantly Salafi minority in Egypt.

In the same way, as the Salafi minority in Egypt works in favor of the Saudis, it acts in the opposite direction to the Iranians.

One of the Salafi basic positions is the religion’s hostile viewpoint in relation to Shiite thinking. One can therefore consider the Egyptian Salafists and in somehow their real strength in the Egyptian society as a factor of lack of a really willingness to improving of the diplomatic relations between Iran as a Shiite country and Egypt, which has been cut off after the 1979 revolution in Iran.

Already these factors determine the Iran’s situation far behind of Saudi Arabia’s position in terms of influence on the political scene in Egypt.

The occurrence of the Islamic revolution in 1979 in Iran had a great impact in the diplomatic relationship between Iran and Egypt. “Iran was angered by Egypt’s decision to give asylum to the deposed Shah of Iran” (BBC News, 14 January, 2001). Especially after assassination of President Sadat in 1983 and the Iranian support to that terrorist act, an even more hostile era in the relationship between those two countries began. Andrew Terrill believes that “the future of Egyptian-Iranian relations consequently remains uncertain (Terrill, 2011), but as much as the Saudis were dissatisfied with Mubarak’s fall “the Iranian leadership also saw some potential opportunities” (Terrill, 2011).

The Iranians attempted at least after Mubark’s fall to gain influence in Egypt. Especially after the Egyptian presidential election in which Morsi became the first president after Mubarak’s time, the Iranians tried in order to form a different relationship with Egypt compared to before the Arab Spring.

Morsi’s participation in the Conference of Non-Aligned in Tehran, by many analysts was also interpreted as a beginning of Egypt’s rapprochement with Iran.

Therefore the military “coup” could not be something that the Iranians could see in their favor.

Iranians claim that Saudi Arabia’s immediate reaction after the military intervention and its support of the military takeover of power is due that the Saudis are in fear of the rise of Iran’s power in the region.


Although many countries around the world expressed their concerns after the military coup on July 3, Saudi Arabia was among the first countries that recognized the new Egyptian government and congratulated Adly Mansour the new president.

Riyadh’s position in relation to the internal strife is now quite clear. Under the Muslim Brotherhood Riyadh cut off its aid to Egypt, but just after Morsi’s fall it paid 12 million dollars as a financial support to the military and the Egyptian new government.

The Iranians in turn condemned the coup and expressed their desire to Muslim Brotherhood’s return to power.

For Saudi Arabia and Iran in the Egyptian battlefield at this time it is Saudis, who evidently are winners.

Nevertheless, as the world has been witnessed the events in the last two years, also on the basis of the current internal tensions in Egypt at a such high point, no one can assess that the country has received, or in the near future will have a political calm and stability. Therefore, any sudden occurrence at this time can be expected.

Now after the latest events and moving towards of polarization of political forces and their new stances, it is still too early to assess which direction the Egyptian foreign policy will go.


·      2013 World Service Pol

·      Fearon James D., 1998. Domestic Politics, Foreign Policy, and Theories of International Relations, Annual Review of Political Science, vol. 1: 289-313 (Volume publication date June 1998)

·      Terril Andrew, 2011. The Saudi-Iranian Rivalry and the Future of Middle East Security, Strategic Studies Institute, 2011.

How to Restore Lost Love Relationship

An association is an opportunity to make love and flourishing in the life. We make bundle of relations in the life. Some of them are holds significance for us. These are not count under the blood relations. They are other than blood relations that contain our energetic association. An animal can in like manner fathom the estimation of relations and we are people. Consequently, we should give a doubt the relations without fall flat. The obliged altering that needs an association is warmth, planning, profound respect, comprehension and many individuals more. In every one of them perception is the most basic nature of powerful relationship that can run a relationship long. Notwithstanding all, sometimes, the circumstances happen that convey obstructions in effortlessly running relations and transform into the purpose behind lost reverence. There are a couple of reasons of dissatisfaction in love and people meet with them at beyond any doubt times in an association. You pass on a relationship until your mental care matches with your accessory. At that moment, when slight changes happen in this match, association transforms into the center of trouble and exhaustion. One of the essential reasons of lost fondness relationship is escaping of lover explanation behind minimal mixed up presumptions that can be seen through the talk. People endeavor their sincere endeavors to begin with of a relationship to attract the love and a while later specifically after stop to doing so until their reverence amicable does not transform into the various person who no more with your worship criteria.


Losing affection seeing somebody an essential strategy. Anyone can do it purposefully and unknowingly. The central concern is that how to get back the lost friendship. Is there any methodology to get back fondness? Yes, here it is. To bring back lost worship is the system of investigating all the minutes that you have experienced with him or her. Just start to act and live in the course as your life associate want to you.

A friendship disdain relationship by and large fuses the simultaneous change in contemplations of veneration and scorn. A worship  detest relationship suggests the occasion of mental instability in the early time of youthfulness with the conflictive responses by a same individual with different points of view. The affected individual shows love and hatred for the same relationship issue that is the reason it is called fondness disdain relationship. To manage it, the one should continue understanding. It could be long process. To get the fruitful treatment, you should go to the directing sessions.

Recovering lost love needs to process a hot logbook. You have to start going about as you arrived at him or her first time. Besides, you have to recuperate the trust in your relationship. Just use all your qualities that you had used to motivate your friendship. The trap is the fundamental reason of lost adoration and people decay to be tied again in the same association explanation behind the inquiries against the person who deceived last. Losing love in long detachment relationship gives more distress than the direct fondness break ups. Partition relations experiences the different modes of correspondence. While the modes meddle with, it impacts the association. In case you are not in contact with your mate in view of possessed schedule, first endeavor to contact him or her. In case you are not ready to contact, it regards send an email on his or her working email id with forming the reason how you oblige him/ her and what are the reasons of correspondence cleft. It will without a doubt help you to restore the relationship.

Love Thy Neighbour: A Look at the Relationship between Modern Christians and the LGBT Community

equalpeple1.jpgHomophobia and transphobia are serious issues within Canada and yet majorly overlooked due to this country’s reputation of acceptance and multiculturalism. It is reported that both gay and lesbian Canadians are two times more likely to be victimized and bisexuals are four times more likely to be victimized than heterosexual Canadians (Statistics Canada). This statistic is the product of many factors, but in the following essay I will take a look at the involvement of contemporary Christianity in regards to support for and hatred against the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual) community. While I hope to represent the whole of the LGBT community, I will be using examples mostly about male and female homosexuality due to the lack of reputable sources on bisexuality and transsexuality. I hope to demonstrate that while the sources of homophobic discrimination from Christian groups are plentiful, their lack of ability to change and progress ensures that the voice of the supportive Christian groups will inevitably become consensus opinion. First, I will identify the Christian roots of homophobia through exploring biblical passages, the fear aroused from the church’s subordination to the state, and the apocalyptic attitude that oversees it all. I will explore the community of openly homosexual Christians and the methods used to cope, and lastly, I will identify the roots of support through the fear of a larger threat, post-Enlightenment critical thinking, and also the Eastern influence on Western religion and culture.

The foundation of homophobic sentiment in the Christian faith lies within the bible. In order to remain focused, I will be only referring to the New Testament as it is the defining text of Christianity and also the most frequently read. It is a common misconception on the part of LGBT defenders that the New Testament, unlike the Old Testament, is free from homophobic passages. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While the authorship is debatable, Paul was said to have written a few passages in his epistles regarding the unholiness of same-sex intercourse. Regarding homosexuals, he states that “God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another…and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error” (Romans 1:26-27). The key issue with this passage, and to all biblical passages regarding homosexuality, is its allusion to the unnatural. This is where sayings like ‘pray the gay away’ come from. Instead of accepting that LGBTs are born with their own personal gender identity that strays from the socially constructed ‘norm,’ it is perceived as a choice that stems from corruption of the soul. The idea of God’s abandonment of these people to their seductive desires and their impending punishment creates an atmosphere of punishment that begins here on earth. Nowhere does the New Testament say that they should be punished by humanity because it is commonly known that divine judgement is only for God to dole out. That being said, the message marginalizes this group of people and leaves them open to scrutiny.

The New Testament does more than solidify the idea that any sexuality other than heterosexuality and asexuality are abominations. It manages to put same-sex relations in league with other sins in order to emphasize how completely monstrous it is. Paul states, “Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers – none of these will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 5:9-10). This method of incorporating homosexual relations with truly immoral actions such as adultery and theft is used even today. A common argument against same-sex marriage is that if it were to be legal, then we would have to let people marry multiple partners, children, and even animals. The serious issue is that the act has been deemed to be a vile sin and the people involved in the act have been stripped of their agency as cognitive and moral beings. They are seen as puppets being controlled by their sinful desires and because of this, the hateful Christian parties can pretend that they are completely separate and subordinate entities.

Not all that long ago, the Church had a monopoly of power over the people of the Western world. It is unclear whether the reason behind this is that the authority of the church was unquestioned for that many centuries or if the public was merely afraid to rebel. It is clear, however, that eventually religious rule was seen as an inappropriate method of governance. In Canada specifically, “a sedate inquiry awakened in the minds of a progressive people in respect to the result of a Separation of Church from the State,” and the government officials agreed that it would be beneficial to remove Christianity as the governing body (Stimson 198). The subordination of the church to the state meant many thing for Christians including the idea that God was not an all-encompassing, political force. Ever since the inception of Christianity, it has always been common for various groups to validate their causes through the use of God. The early Christians fought Roman rule and became martyrs because they believed that God was on their side. Constantine made Christianity the state religion because he believed that God would support his army. The early ascetics made their way into the desert and lived minimalistic lives of suffering because they felt God wanted them to. What has changed between then and now is a growing sense of human autonomy and responsibility. Subscribing to Christianity is not the only way to live or succeed anymore. The separation of the church from the state is a definitive example of humanity taking fate and morality into their own hands. This is quite possibly where the fear of the hateful Christian groups began and it only grew as the government became more and more secular.

Eventually, in 1985, the Human Rights Act came out and proclaimed in Section 2 that:

all individuals should have an opportunity equal with other individuals to make for themselves the lives that they are able and wish to have and to have their needs accommodated, consistent with their duties and obligations as members of society, without being hindered in or prevented from doing so by discriminatory practices based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status… (“Human Rights Act”)

This passage not only acknowledges sexual orientation as a basis of discrimination, but it also serves to humanize the parties in question by explaining that they have their own hopes and dreams, and they also have every right to live their own lives in accordance with their own ideals. Hearing such a proclamation forces a Christian to either accept and incorporate such a decree into their lives, or resent it. Those who resented this statement and the secularization of the government that lead to it, share the same emotion from which hatred stems: fear.

Fear in Christianity is noticeable in the form of apocalyptic thinking or apocalyptic literature. Like eschatological thinking, they tend to focus on God’s ultimate plan or conclusion for the world and humanity; however, apocalyptic thinking goes further to expect punishment for the wicked, rewards for the righteous, and often the destruction of the world as we know it. In any case, it is common for fearful people to live apocalyptically and this theory is seen in the works of René Girard. He came up with four stereotypes of persecution in his anthology of religion and violence known as The Scapegoat. According to him, it all begins when a select group perceives themselves to be in a time of crisis. The crisis is deemed to be a crime instead of a natural event. Due to this conclusion, it is only natural from there to need a criminal who caused the crisis and this ends up usually being a small group of people who are already “susceptible to persecution” (Girard 12-25). From here, violence is used to restore the natural order. In the case of modern day secularism, we have a group of Christians who are confused by the power being taken from the church and laws being put in place that counter sacred, biblical passages; this is conceived as a crisis. Then we have the LGBT community which is already susceptible to persecution and is, for all intents and purposes, much smaller in number. They have become the criminals who caused the crisis and only by eliminating them, shunning them, and shaming them, will the balance be restored. Violence is often used against them as was previously mentioned, but regarding Christians specifically, there are other measures that can be more detrimental than violence. The methods of social exclusion are endless: telling strangers and even loved ones that they will go to hell because of whom they love, creating camps to convert homosexuals back to heterosexuality, verbally abusing them in public sermons, Christian parents disowning their own children, etc. This reaction to crisis is primitive and detrimental to a growing society where it is becoming harder and harder to put people into separate, neat categories.

Apocalyptic attitude is not mutually exclusive to Christianity and therefore, it is noticeable even in groups who support homosexuality. In times of crisis, violence and scapegoating are not the only reactions. Sometimes Christians feel that the crisis is a call to being better Christians. Yes, this mentality can lead to the rejection of homosexuality, but it can also lead to the acceptance of it. According to Laurence Freeman, a renowned Catholic priest and monk, “We re-enact the Cross, as victims or as crucifiers, many times each day. When we gossip, spread rumours, slander or lie we are crucifiers. When we mock cruelly, strip others of their dignity, denigrate, humiliate or marginalize others” (Freeman 256). Here we can attribute the negativity in the world and within ourselves to the cruel actions that we put out into the world. This minimalizes the sense of Christian exceptionalism that is very much prominent in the more strict groups. What I mean by Christian exceptionalism is that these groups hold a sense of entitlement because they have chosen the ‘correct faith’ and from there, they can justify their decisions and actions based on that superiority. Seeing one’s self as the crucifier, however, allows every Christian to be accountable for their own actions. While it may do very little against homophobic thought, it does ensure that these Christians will refrain from outwardly putting down anyone based on their sexuality or otherwise.

There is also an apocalyptic outlook regarding the events of war and conflict happening all over the world. In times of war and violence, it does seem as though the world might end and that humanity will never reconcile their differences. In such a scenario, it makes divisions such as that of sexual preference seem silly. There are bigger battles to fight and unity is what is needed right now. This can be seen in a statement by the United Church of Canada:

The United Church of Canada is among many faith communities locally and globally that celebrate sexual and gender diversity. We as a society need to actively work for positive and safe spaces that celebrate diversity…Ours is a message of solidarity and support to the LGBT community in Saskatoon. (Kim-Cragg, 2013)

Unity and support are being offered to the formerly rejected groups and this is a very good sign. Once such acceptance is offered and considered, it is difficult to go backwards from there. Apocalyptic outlook is common in humanity as a whole, but it does manifest in different ways. This sense of unity and kindness in light of the very real terrors that exist in the world, whether physical or spiritual, is certainly the more constructive path to choose.

Ever since the Enlightenment, we have challenged ourselves to explore the inner workings of society and dissect what is commonly deemed to be the ‘norm.’ From Marx’s theory of religion as an opiate to Nietzsche’s theory that God is dead, religion has become a topic of discussion to which we can employ critical thinking. Critical thinking does not need to be used to degrade religion, but it can explore and help it grow by allowing the practitioners to see the flaws and the human contributions that have been imposed over time. According to Carter Heyward, “we no longer have to wage our campaigns for ‘rights’ on the basis of being homosexuals who can’t help it because it’s just the way we are…whether we are heterosexual or homosexual, we expect our society to offer basic conditions of human worth and self-respect to all people” (Heyward 41). Through critical thinking, we are able to transcend our biases to question our personal motivations. As Heyward says, the question of homosexuality being a choice is immaterial now because there is an understanding and expectation that as humans, we all deserve the same respect. The line gets blurry when discussing rights such as marriage and adoption, but the existence of homosexual humans has been accepted for the most part. Through critical thinking, we have been able to come this far even considering that homosexuality was still a very much taboo subject as little as twenty years ago and this very fact illustrates that we, as humans, will only explore ourselves more thoroughly from here on in.

The acceptance of homosexuality in Christian circles is effectively seen within the very people known as homosexual Christians or gay Christians. First, the fact that this term exists shows that there is an avenue of acceptance within the church; logically speaking, gay Christians have always existed, but only now do the practitioners actually feel comfortable announcing it. Understandably the realisation of one’s homosexuality is a stressful experience and it does not always happen that the person chooses to accept both their sexuality and their faith. There are generally four different strategies that one uses to come to terms with their identity. They can reject the religious identity, reject the homosexual identity, compartmentalize, or integrate their identity (Rodriguez 334).

First, rejecting the religious identity is certainly more of a modern solution. Now that Christianity has been lowered to a level where it is deemed to be contestable, it is believed that “as many as 62% of gays and lesbians feel that religion is not an important aspect of their lives” (Rodriguez 334). Some of this statistic can be seen from the standpoint that many people in general, gay or otherwise, are choosing to not adhere to a religion simply because they do not believe in it. It can also be seen as the product of rejection. The rejection of Christianity is partly a disbelief in a God who could possibly hate someone for being exactly who they are; it is a disbelief that God could create a large population people just to say that they are damned.

Second, the rejection of the homosexual identity can range from ignoring one’s own urges and choosing to marry someone of the opposite sex to undergoing therapy in order to change one’s own sexual orientation. This is quite possibly the most unfortunate choice as it forces a healthy human being into believing that they are corrupted and that they will not be pure in God’s eyes until the Christian community around them agrees that they are.

Third, compartmentalization is a “compromise between conflicting identities” (Rodriguez 334). This is perhaps not the most constructive way of meeting homosexuality with religion, but it is a start. Here, they are not violently opposed to one another. Rather, they are seen as two different parts of an identity that should never mix; be gay at home and be religious as church. The issue with this mentality is that there is still room for internal conflict and self-loathing due to the fact that neither identity is necessarily positive. Compartmentalization provides rather a sense of cold tolerance.

Fourth and last, the integration of one’s identity is the most constructive way for a person to amalgamate their religion and their sexuality. According to Rodriguez, “Such individuals hold a positive gay identity, a positive religious identity, and do not feel conflict between the two” (335). It is quite possible to hold this view without any outside influence, but it is more likely to happen when a person is surrounded by a loving community of family and friends. This is the very mentality that is seen when Christian groups speak out for the LGBT community and when individuals of the LGBT community fervently claim that God made them the way that they are and therefore they know God loves them. This is the most beneficial belief that reflects a positive church sentiment and an inner acceptance on the part of the LGBT community. The most wonderful thing, is that this mentality is clearly growing as seen through an increased number of Christian gay rights protests and public apologies from specific church communities. What I will be exploring next, however, is the reason behind this growing positivity.

The twentieth century is unique for its incorporation of Eastern culture and religion. It is not only that people in the Western world are discovering religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Daoism, but also that they are incorporating them into their own faiths. If you look at Buddhism specifically, its essence has become so engrained into culture that it is hardly noticeable. This can be seen through exploring the first four steps of the Noble Eightfold Path, a text that is one of the first pieces of dharma (teachings) that was said to have been brought to the world through Buddha when he reached Enlightenment. The first four steps are the following: right understanding, right mindedness, right speech, and right action. We do not need to have memorized this list to accept that the meaning underneath it has been assumed into our culture. We have right understanding by realizing that everyone suffers as we do; we have right mindedness when we refrain from thinking cruelly; we have right speech when we refrain from using harsh language and succumbing to self-involved thought; we have right action when we abstain from violence (“The Noble Eightfold Path”). We have entered a paradigm where it is not merely good enough to be polite externally, but we are expected to hone principles of kindness and patience into our very personalities. Such an outlook when combined with Christianity reaps very positive results. It does not change the principles that Christianity is focused on in any way; it merely allows Christians to focus more on the positive teachings and the kindness shown by Christ.

Another influence of Eastern tradition can be seen in Christian meditation. An example of the fusion of Christianity and Buddhism can be seen in the following excerpt by Laurence Freeman, “We should say the mantra without impatience, without force or any intention of violence. The purpose of the mantra is not to block out thoughts. It is not a jamming device. If thoughts attack us while we are meditating we turn the other cheek. In saying the mantra gently we learn from Him who is gentle and humble of heart” (Freeman 256). The Buddhist concepts of patience and non-violence complement the Christian belief of turning the other cheek or not letting your anger consume you to the point that you hold ill will against another. The meditator uses mantra in a similar way to their Buddhist counterparts; however, instead of learning from within oneself and contemplating the emptiness of the universe, the meditator opens themselves up to the grace and teachings of Christ. This shift in the communication between God and humanity needs to be celebrated because it is embracing God’s changing ‘nature.’ God is changing; it can be seen even from comparing his loving and forgiving self in the New Testament to his wrathful and angry self in the Old Testament. Meditation allows the meditator to feel at peace and strengthen their faith through human emotion instead of through archaic laws. Essentially, having a stagnant idea of God and a stagnant relationship with Him is simply not convenient for anyone and the introduction of Eastern elements into Christian practice has certainly contributed to the expanse of kindness seen in many modern day Christian groups.

With the way that society has been described thus far, it may be wondered how it is that these anti-homosexual groups continue to survive. There is one aspect within Christianity that allows these groups to continue on with a sense of entitlement: the belief that God is constant. While God did clearly change between the Old and New Testament, it is written in the New Testament that “the gifts and the calling of God is irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). It also refers to “the unchangeable character of his purpose” (Hebrews 6:17). Unfortunately, there is some legitimacy to the archaic and hateful messages within the bible and due to this inclusion, there will most likely always be a group of people who cannot let go of the homophobic passages. Fortunately, it is also this very inclusion that ensures that Christian support will undoubtedly become consensus opinion. It is as simple as knowing that this world is changing very quickly and we naturally adapt to survive in it. We must adapt or get left behind. This homophobic mentality that has been engrained into select Christian groups by an old text and approved of by the unwavering nature of God cannot keep up with the ever-changing expectations of the nature of humanity.

Supportive Christian groups are grounded in progress and change. It is not only a sense of kindness and acceptance that makes it so, but also that we have realized the inefficiency of discrimination. The youth of today, if cultivated, will go on to be successful and prosperous. If we degrade them, then our country and culture will go nowhere. An optimistic view is given by Calvin B. Ball when he states:

We can see our younger generation offering warming approval of inclusion for those in the LGBT community… those of us who believe that education, particularly higher education, is the gateway to opportunity, the great leveler that can unlock doors of the imagination and the future, should be able to see the urgent, vital importance of ensuring inclusive campuses now. (Ball)

Acceptance of diversity can be seen in many changes such as gender-neutral washrooms, gender-neutral vocabulary, etc. While some see these changes as Band-Aid solutions, it is better to see them as manifestations of the positivity that is slowly working its way through the world. When this positivity meets religion, together wonderful things will be possible.

Homophobia has many roots and causes, and among them is the root of religious thought. Thus, violence toward the LGBT community cannot be said to be mutually exclusive with the relationship between Christian groups and homosexual people. That being said, Christian support is a good sign of communal acceptance and perhaps the foreshadowing of decreased violence in the future.

Works Cited

Ball, Calvin B. “Institutions must Ensure Inclusion of LGBT Community.” Diverse Issues in Higher Education 29.26 (2013): 23. ProQuest. Web. 27 Jan. 2014.

Canadian Human Rights Act. (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-6). Section 2. Web. 1 Mar. 2014.

Freeman, Laurence. “Dearest Friends,” WCCM International Newsletter, January 1997. Web. 1 Mar. 2014.

Freeman, Laurence. “Steps in Relationship,” Jesus: The Teacher Within. New York: Continuum, 2000. 256. Print.

Girard, René. The Scapegoat. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1986. 12-25. Print.

Heyward, Carter. Touching Our Strength: The Erotic as Power and the Love of God. New York, NY: Harper and Row, 1989. 41. Print.

Kim-Cragg, David. “Supporting LGBT.” Star – Phoenix. Sep 21 2013. ProQuest. Web. 27 Jan. 2014.

Meeks, Wayne A., and Jouette M. Bassler. The HarperCollins Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version, with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1993. Print.

Prebish, Charles, and Damien Keown. “The Noble Eight Fold Path.” Buddhism – the ebook: An Online Introduction. 4th ed. Pennsylvania: Journal of Buddhist Ethics Online Books, 2010. 52-53. Pdf.

Rodriguez, Eric M., and Suzanne C. Ouellette. “Gay and Lesbian Christians: Homosexual and Religious Identity Integration in the Members and Participants of a Gay-Positive Church.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 39.3 (2000): 333-345. Print.

Statistics Canada. Sexual Orientation and Victimization, 2008. Web. 1 Mar. 2014.

Stimson, E. R. “Conclusion.” History of the Separation of Church and State in Canada. 3rd ed. Toronto: n.p., 1887. 198. Print.