Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman


My Modest Gay Marriage Proposal: Reactions from Gays and Conservatives

posted by swaldman

My modest proposal on gay marriage has elicited some fascinating reaction. (I suggested religious conservatives should endorse gay marriage if gays back an agenda to reduce the divorce rate)
Religious conservatives have been uncharacteristically quiet. Crickets. Stay tuned.
The reaction from gay marriage advocates has been varied.
The majority said they would support the idea, since they mostly do want long-lasting marriages. Typical was “Matt Carter” who wrote on Huffington Post:

“That’s an interesting proposition. It raises some strange issues about essentially abridging your freedom to divorce, but frankly I find that far less offensive that not having the freedom to marry. And I think that the GLBT community would probably be willing to embrace this idea. You don’t fight this hard for something unless you believe in the principle, and why wouldn’t we want the institution of marriage to thrive? If that’s really want the right-wingers want, then I don’t see why this couldn’t work.”

But quite a few thought gays shouldn’t be working to fix straight marriages. “Ldavis24″ wrote:

“The argument that somehow people will be more accepting of Gay marriage if gay people do more to support the moronic straight people who are incapable of keeping their marriage together doesn’t make any sense and it is quite insulting.”

Finally, several said gays shouldn’t cooperate with people so hostile to their interests. “talkstocoyotes” wrote:

“Since when should ANYONE have to strike deals with religious theocrats to have what is supposed to be a right of citizens in this country? …. There’s ample evidence that there’s a hardcore anti-gay population in the US who are determined that same-sex relationships will get no recognition whatever. That kind of butt-kissing will produce little other than a bad smell at close range.”

The gay marriage debate includes some conflict over principle. But it also includes behavior motivated by irrational fears or rational fears that could be assuaged.
Some conservatives fear that by broadening the definition of marriage, you would weaken the institution. I’ve never found this particularly persuasive since the current high divorce rate has had nothing to do with gays. But just because marriage is in a sorry state doesn’t mean it couldn’t get worse. And it’s theoretically possible that if gays got married to make a political point and then got divorced with even more recklessness than straights (quite a feat, admittedly), then the institution of marriage would be weakened.
Gay marriage advocates could easily help alleviate those irrational fears. They mostly do take marriage quite seriously, and that’s part of why they want to be able to do it. So for most of them, it’s a “give” that involves no concession.
And, by the way, if there were a lot of gays out there who wanted to get married just as a way of getting social approval for being gay, well, then the conservatives fear about marriage being undermined would be justified.
(Yes, the same argument holds in reverse. Gays suspect that the real reason some oppose their marriages is not a concern about the institution but a desire to keep down gays. For those who really are concerned only about the sanctity of marriage, and are open to equal rights for gay Americans, this proposal should assuage your fears.)
Finally, some gay marriage advocates in effect argue that even if it’s something they would normally support, they’re not going to in this case because they don’t want to cooperate with the enemy. This is obviously politically counterproductive.
But more imporant, putting in steps to increase the likelihood of marriages succeeding will not only help straights but gays who do marry. The steps advocated are mostly non-coercive sensible measures, like requiring people to have counseling or a waiting period before marriage (as many religious institutions do already). They will help gay marriages survive too. You’re going to reject them just because they were proposed by the bad guys?



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panthera

posted March 17, 2009 at 11:09 am


Steven,
The concept is basically sound. The problem we face is that the conservative Christians have shown time and time again that they are willing to bear false witness and bargain in bad faith to achieve their goals.
Look, for instance, at the LDS and all their lies about not objecting to providing us with such minimum rights as hospital visitation. As long as it served their purposes of deceiving people into saying “no” on Prop.8, they were all full of Christian love and light.
Then, after they won and legislators in Utah gave then the opportunity to enact legislation granting us precisely what they had promised, in writing, in their wording…they rejected it.
I could list many more examples, but there is just no room for trust on our side, our opponents lie and cheat. That is Christian?



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MikeNYC

posted March 17, 2009 at 11:44 am


The idea is a good one and tends to prove that the “sanctity” of marriage is not nor has it EVER been the real issue among the anti-marriage crowd. When the nay-sayers bring up the idea that marriages is for the raising and protection of children, and it’s pointed out that same sex couples have children, then all you hear are the crickets chirping. We all know that a same sex couples getting married won’t and hasn’t affected marriage in the least. We have about 4 years of proof in Massachusetts to look at. Finally, when the religion issue is brought up that it’s against “faith based” people and it is pointed out the a number of denominations support and marry same sex couples, then again..crickets chirping.
In the end, the opposition to same sex marriage is clearly and plainly an opposition to homosexuals and homosexuality, nothing more. It is based on prejudice and bigotry with nothing rational or logical to support it. Gays are not the first to be treated this way and, sadly, they probably won’t be the last.



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panthera

posted March 17, 2009 at 11:53 am


Of course, Mike is right.
Living between two cultures, I always puzzles me as to why Americans are so resistant to learning from others’ experiences, even the Canadians, much less us in Europe.
Gay marriage works, it hasn’t hurt the heterosexual world one bit. Nor, sadly helped it measurably.
It just becomes increasingly harder for me to understand why people believe Britanny Speeers 55 hour marriage is desired of God, but my now multi-year marriage to the man I have had a committed, faithful, monogamous relationship with for 24 years shouldn’t be?
What total, complete blindness, to put is mildly.



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RJohnson

posted March 17, 2009 at 11:53 am


Crickets on the conservative side? Surprising…given that covenant marriage is something they say they believe in.
Compromise involves two sides moving towards each other. Seems to me that the pro-same-sex-marriage crowd has moved a bit. Maybe it’s time for the conservatives to offer some response to the ideas.



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Husband

posted March 17, 2009 at 2:05 pm


Allow me to echo all of the above sentiments. Here inn Canada, we have now had more than 8 years of same-sex marriage legally recognized by the goverment. And in all that time, not one single heterosexual couple has been denied the opportunity to partake in the institution. Not a single opposite sex marriage has collapsed because I am legally married.
We have supported all of your ideas (my husband and I ‘waited’ 19 years, had 19 years of counselling and experience, etc.). The radical rightwing ‘religious’ wingnutjobs have not move one iota from their hate-filled, lie-inspired agenda of false witness and exclusion.
Sorry Steven, but it’s your turn now, not ours.



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panthera

posted March 17, 2009 at 2:34 pm


Husband,
I think Steven is not exactly against us, as much as I get the feeling he has not the faintest idea how to guys can, uh, want to do that with each other…but, at the same time, he is bound and determined to find a solution out of a sense of fairness.
Now, that is a big jump from the really hatefilled, spiteful christianists. It is also a major distinction to someone like Rod Dreyer who, intellectually, understands that it is better to have a negotiated peace than this endless culture war, while still unable to come to terms with what medicine and science have made clear.
Our biggest weakness, is simply that too many gays are too unwilling to get up of their rear ends and actually fight.
I can’t begin to tell you how nice it is to be back in a country again in which I am fully human.



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Steven Waldman

posted March 17, 2009 at 2:58 pm


Husband, What is it about my posts on this that is “hate-filled and lie-inspired”?



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Tim

posted March 17, 2009 at 3:04 pm


You write, “Some conservatives fear that by broadening the definition of marriage, you would weaken the institution.” In many states, marriage was not defined as an institution for one man and one woman. Many of these legal definitions came later, when the same-sex marriage controversies began. Sure, it was generally understood as a man-woman proposition, but that was more tradition than legal definition. So while conservatives whine about “broadening the definition of marriage,” what has really happened is that they have succeeded, in many states, in narrowing the definition. The bigger truth is that we have wrongly imposed heterosexist gender roles on the marriage, and it’s time to strip them away.



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David Hart

posted March 17, 2009 at 4:23 pm


It’s an appealing quid pro quo. It’s an interestingly subtle way of framing the gay marriage issue which the right will probably see as rhetorical. Sometimes what appears to be “begging the question” is really begging the answer.
However, it suggests that you misunderstand the hatred of the radical Christian right towards us. I mean Scott Lively’s report from Uganda ( http://www.tips-q.com/content/radical-evangelical-scott-lively-reports-uganda ) is bouncing around the echo chamber today.



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Anonymous

posted March 17, 2009 at 8:35 pm


Some say that we conservative christians are afraid of homosexuals. Let’s get to it I’m not afraid of you I’m afraid for you. Hell is a big place with no fire exit.



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valkyrie

posted March 17, 2009 at 8:54 pm


At what point do religious leaders notice that there is no such monolithic Institution Of Marriage, only a large collection of individual marriages? Making divorce more difficult may improve divorce statistics by delaying or frustrating individual divorces, but it won’t do a thing to improve the health of those marriages or the non-existent Institution to which they belong.



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Mordred08

posted March 18, 2009 at 1:05 am


Anonymous:
“Some say that we conservative christians are afraid of homosexuals. Let’s get to it I’m not afraid of you I’m afraid for you. Hell is a big place with no fire exit.”
That’s why I’m afraid of you. You’ll never stop hurting us because you’re completely convinced you’re helping us. And that’s why even though some of you are very decent people, I will fight you to my last breath.



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Jesus Krishna

posted March 18, 2009 at 1:17 am


I must say that although there is reason to criticize the Pope, what he said makes sense.
In the Third World, condoms are not often “used” the way they are in the First World. They are often reused improperly, are subject to intense heat that renders them ineffective, and people who are (unfortunately) ignorant get a false sense of security. This is what he means by “aggravates.”
Officially, the Church will be against it. As long as they do not put much EFFORT into stopping their distribution and REQUIRED supporting education about them, then the Church can maintain the “high ground” and I will not publicly chastise them.
I know condoms are proven most effective, but when misused then the efficacy is lost. Perhaps the Pope’s reality is different than yours?



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Anonymous

posted March 18, 2009 at 1:41 am


>>> Some say that we conservative christians are afraid of homosexuals. Let’s get to it I’m not afraid of you I’m afraid for you. Hell is a big place with no fire exit.



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panthera

posted March 18, 2009 at 4:51 am


Anonymous,
Unfortunately, it is still these people who determine the law of the land.
Until Prop. 8, it was nearly impossible to get anyone to be politically
Living between Europe and the US, every time I return to the US, it is like stepping back in time a few decades. The infrastructure, the educational system, medicine…
Sigh.
We need to get these people out of politics and back in their co’cola belt churches, where they can rub blue mud into their bellies all day long without bothering the rest of us.



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Mr. Incredible

posted March 18, 2009 at 11:56 am


==…conservative Christians have shown time and time again that they are willing to bear false witness…==
How are they bearing false witness by telling the truth according to the Word of God?
==Look, for instance, at the LDS and all their lies about not objecting to providing us with such minimum rights as hospital visitation.==
Hospital visitation is not a matter of law, rather of consent. That can be set up by the parties involved right now.
==…there is just no room for trust on our side…==
So what?
==… our opponents lie and cheat. That is Christian?==
What do scoffers know about what is “Christian”?



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Mr. Incredible

posted March 18, 2009 at 12:00 pm


==You’ll never stop hurting us because you’re completely convinced you’re helping us.==
That’s why we know that you wanna impose your agenda on the rest of us; you want surrender, and we ain’t into that.
== And that’s why even though some of you are very decent people, I will fight you to my last breath.==
See, everybody? It’s all about fighting, not the discussion and understanding they say they want. They wanna beat you into submission.
And we will fight YOU to our last breath.



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Mr. Incredible

posted March 18, 2009 at 12:02 pm


==One cannot go to a place that doesn’t exist.==
The Devil is pleased that you think he and Hell don’t exist. He works best under those ignorant circumstances. No resistance.



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Mr. Incredible

posted March 18, 2009 at 12:05 pm


==Living between Europe and the US, every time I return to the US, it is like stepping back in time a few decades.==
Feel free not to come here. Why make yourself miserable. Stay there and be happy, and, thereby, make us happier.



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Mr. Incredible

posted March 18, 2009 at 12:10 pm


==It just becomes increasingly harder for me to understand why people believe Britanny Speeers 55 hour marriage is desired of God…==
God created the “marriage” template: the man, as husband, and the woman, as his wife — WHAT, not who. Not every marriage is Godly.
==…but my now multi-year marriage to the man I have had a committed, faithful, monogamous relationship with for 24 years shouldn’t be?==
Correct.
==What total, complete blindness, to put is mildly.==
To remain faithful to you agenda, you must believe that.



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Mr. Incredible

posted March 18, 2009 at 12:14 pm


==Unfortunately, it is still these people who determine the law of the land.==
We knew alll along that you people don’t like the majority of the People turning back your agenda.
==We need to get these people out of politics and back in their co’cola belt churches…==
That’s something like what the worst dictators in history said, too.
We know that majority rule bothers you, but that’s too bad.



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Mr. Incredible

posted March 18, 2009 at 12:19 pm


==Truth is, the EDUCATED people of society, from legal scholars to social scientists overwhelmingly support gay marriage. That includes everyone from the American Psychological Association to the American Anthropological Association. That includes over 300 pediatricians and countless law professors. ==
They’re selfish and deceived. A combustible mix.
==Survey after survey keep showing the higher the education level, the more supportive they are of gay marriage.==
Goes to show that education doesn’t automatically translate into “smart,” nor “intelligent.”
==Now if these uneducated religious/homophobic bigots would spend just a little more time in school (where they can learn some science and logic) and less time sticking their noses into other people’s personal lives (which don’t affect them one bit), maybe they’ll earn some respect from those of us who are educated and civilized.==
In other words, if we come over to the dark side, everything will be ok.



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Mr. Incredible

posted March 18, 2009 at 12:26 pm


==In many states, marriage was not defined as an institution for one man and one woman.==
That’s cuz they had more sense then, and they assumed everybody had sense to know that “marriage, as given by God, is the union of a man, as husband, and a woman, as his wife.
== Many of these legal definitions came later, when the same-sex marriage controversies began.==
That’s cuz those controversies created the need to set in writing what had been assumed Godly.
==…while conservatives whine about “broadening the definition of marriage,” what has really happened is that they have succeeded, in many states, in narrowing the definition.==
To counter the agenda to dumb America down into slimy thinking that accepts the foolish notion of so-called “same-sex ‘marriage.'”
==The bigger truth is that we have wrongly imposed heterosexist gender roles on the marriage…==
They had already been “imposed,” throughout history, by Godly sense.
==… and it’s time to strip them away.==
Of course, you wanna impose on the rest of us what has never been. THAT’s what we’ve been saying! See, everybody?



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Mr. Incredible

posted March 18, 2009 at 12:30 pm


==Husband, What is it about my posts on this that is “hate-filled and lie-inspired”?==
The automatic, agenda-generated response we can expect is, “everything.”



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Mr. Incredible

posted March 18, 2009 at 12:36 pm


==Some say that we conservative christians are afraid of homosexuals.==
I know I’m not.
== Let’s get to it I’m not afraid of you I’m afraid for you.==
The epitome of compassion [Matthew 9:36]!
==At what point do religious leaders notice that there is no such monolithic Institution Of Marriage, only a large collection of individual marriages?==
Foolish, irrelevant question.



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David Hart

posted March 18, 2009 at 12:38 pm


At the end of the day, Steven, the debate over gay marriage hasn’t been a debate at all. Nobody in opposition has EVER formulated a single coherent argument that supports the notion that one couple’s gay marriage has any effect – whatsoever – on any other couple’s “traditional” marriage. As Joel Belz has said, take God out of the argument and there is no reason to oppose same-sex marriage.
Many of the arguments in opposition are factually incorrect and are framed as hyperbolic “loss of religious freedom.” Again, those concerns have no basis in fact. What remains is an argument from authority constructed as “God’s plan.”
Aside from issues associated with the Establishment Clause, “God’s plan” is actually an interpretation or supposition by man with a certain amount of arrogance attached.



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Husband

posted March 18, 2009 at 12:55 pm


Mr. Waldman, I did not mean to imply your blog was hate-filled and lie-inspired.
What I said was, “The radical rightwing ‘religious’ wingnutjobs have not move one iota from their hate-filled, lie-inspired agenda of false witness and exclusion.
In no way do I see you among those radicals. I was specifically referring to what is allowed to be posted on Rod Dreher’s blog (whence cometh the gay = “marrying a plant/bicycle/rock/child/animal/corpse” etc. charges, the lesbian rape victim = “twit” and “freak” crapola, (all of which he encourages and you – as editor – allow!).
If those ain’t lies and hate, I don’t know what is. Sorry if it wasn’t clearer.



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Mr. Incredible

posted March 18, 2009 at 9:25 pm


==No wonder they call you Mr.Incredible.==
Uhhh, I picked the name.
== Nothing you post is credible.==
I’m credible with those who count.



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Mr. Incredible

posted March 18, 2009 at 9:36 pm


==Nothing you post is credible.==
Then, there’s nothing for you to worry about. You can go ’bout yo’ bidness’ as though I’m not even here.



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panthera

posted March 19, 2009 at 8:58 am


Husband,
I really am glad you are here. So many times, you say what I am thinking, but far better than I can put it.
Probably the most hateful of all the things I read at Beliefnet is when one of the conservative Christians here says they would like to directly intervene and dissolve marriages such as yours or mine.
Hard to imagine that any progress with such people can ever be achieved.



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Joseph21

posted March 20, 2009 at 1:44 pm


I suggest that we get the government out of the marriage business completely. Anybody could say that they are married or not as they wish and it would not be binding on anyone else. The government would only need to protect children. Individuals could make contracts to protect any property rights among themselves.



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Mr. Incredible

posted March 22, 2009 at 1:59 pm


==Probably the most hateful of all the things I read at Beliefnet is when one of the conservative Christians here says they would like to directly intervene and dissolve marriages such as yours or mine.==
We can’t “directly” intervene. We rely on our representatives.
==Hard to imagine that any progress with such people can ever be achieved.==
And YOU say that you wanna sit down and discuss solutions. Heh.
Your posts indicate the kind of “discussions” they would be. All one-sided. YOUR side. It’s quite different in message boards, though, isn’t it? And you don’t like that.



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American Guesser

posted March 25, 2009 at 12:18 am


The truth is that th entire homosexual agenda is a group of individuals rebeling against the Lord God. They don’t want anyone telling them how to live not even God so they must reject his authority or pay the most severe of penalties. The thing that is the most dangerous about that decision however is that to merely deny the truth doesn’t change it. Homosexual behavior is wrong and against the will of God. That is the truth.



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Mr. Incredible

posted March 25, 2009 at 5:42 pm


==The truth is that th entire homosexual agenda is a group of individuals rebeling against the Lord God.==
That’s true.
== They don’t want anyone telling them how to live not even God so they must reject his authority or pay the most severe of penalties. The thing that is the most dangerous about that decision however is that to merely deny the truth doesn’t change it. Homosexual behavior is wrong and against the will of God. That is the truth.==
Glad to see you’re speaking up and speaking the truth and the Truth.



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American Guesser

posted March 25, 2009 at 11:44 pm


I will speak the truth,the truth, the truth, the truth. I will as long as I have breath. I’m not full of hate as some would assume. I’m obligated to warn all who are stumbling blindly towards a cliff that leads to a eternity of torture and regret. I’m obligated by a savior that redeemed me from just such a fate.



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Mr. Incredible

posted March 25, 2009 at 11:48 pm


==I will speak the truth,the truth, the truth, the truth. I will as long as I have breath. I’m not full of hate as some would assume. I’m obligated to warn all who are stumbling blindly towards a cliff that leads to a eternity of torture and regret. I’m obligated by a savior that redeemed me from just such a fate.==
PRAISE THE LORD!



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American Guesser

posted March 26, 2009 at 11:32 pm


And Amen



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Your Name

posted March 27, 2009 at 1:07 pm


American Guesser,
Your guesses aren’t very accurate at all, and have nothing to do with the truth.
FYI, the gay ‘agenda’ is equality.
“I’m not full of hate as some would assume.”
In this you could possibly be correct. I assumed you were 100% filled with hate, and maybe it’s only 99.9%.
Bearing false witness is a sin, which you seem to have forgotten. Please spend the appropriate time bashing the heterosexuals who have also “rebelled” from your version of the Lord God.



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Mr. Incredible

posted March 27, 2009 at 10:27 pm


==Bearing false witness is a sin…==
Where does he bear false witness?
==Please spend the appropriate time bashing the heterosexuals who have also “rebelled” from your version of the Lord God.==
There is appropriate “bashing” of heterosexuals who have rebelled against God. It happens all the time.



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Mr. Incredible

posted March 27, 2009 at 11:25 pm


American Guesser,
Don’t let’em get you down!
(Rom 8:1) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
(Rom 8:31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?



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American Guesser

posted April 1, 2009 at 12:23 am


Nobody gets me down. I’m curious as to which statement I made that was bashing anyone? The homosexual community is very defensive if anyone doesn’t agree with them they are immediately labeled a hate filled bigot. I ask this question. If you see a blind man walking towards a cliff wouldn’t you warn him, even if he was convinced that it wasn’t a cliff?
I do also believe that heterosexuals should also follow the plans laid out for them in the Bible. They don’t they get divorced for stupid selfish reasons and leave a wake of destruction behind them. I’m sure that you will still hate me for my belief, but I’m not surprised because my Lord Jesus said you would because of him and I’m not ashamed of the TRUTH found in him.



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Your Name

posted April 2, 2009 at 10:49 am


Where have you “bashed” and “borne false witness” against God’s gay and lesbian children?
“The truth is that th entire homosexual agenda is a group of individuals rebeling against the Lord God.”, for starters.
“They don’t want anyone telling them how to live”
No more than you like other people telling you how to live.
“so they must reject his authority”, for seconds.
“or pay the most severe of penalties.” – according to your beliefs. Thank God America ‘promises’ freedom of religion to ALL its citizens so we don’t have to believe what you believe.
“Homosexual behavior is wrong and against the will of God. That is the truth.”
Only according to your religion/relidious beliefs. We are free to believe otherwise – or not at all.
What your religion teaches is irrelevant in a country that actually has true freedom of religion. Sorry you don’t seem to accept (or even understand) this freedom of religion thing. Some citizens (rightfully) cherish it.



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Mr. Incredible

posted April 2, 2009 at 4:35 pm


==Where have you “bashed” and “borne false witness” against God’s gay and lesbian children?==
God didn’t create any one homosexual. They created themselves through their own choice. Therefore, those who claim to be homosexual are not the children of God because those who claim to be homosexual are more in tune with their lusts and with God, through Christ.
==Only according to your religion/relidious beliefs. We are free to believe otherwise – or not at all.==
You are free to believe that you can jump out of an airplane without a parachute, too, and fly to safety.
==What your religion teaches is irrelevant…==
We don’t have “religion.” Christianity is a relationship. Muslims have a religion. Atheists have a religion.
==… in a country that actually has true freedom of religion.==
How many Muslims were on the Mayflower? How many Buddhists were in the Virginia settlements?



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Mr. Incredible

posted April 2, 2009 at 4:37 pm


God didn’t create any one homosexual—> God didn’t create anyone homosexual
more in tune with their lusts and with God, through Christ—> more in tune with their lusts than with God



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Steve O

posted April 6, 2009 at 1:33 pm


My Christian breathren, Jesus NEVER MENTIONED HOMOSEXUALITY. Ever. Anywhere in the gospels.
The only unambiguous prohibition against it is in Leviticus, where it is condemned as being a sin of the same seriousness as eating shellfish, working on the Sabbath (Saturday), and wearing clothing made of more than one kind of thread — things Christians do every day without a thought of their being sinful.
I’m not saying Christ would necessarily have been an advocate of gay relationships, but since he never mentioned the subject, we cannot be sure.
There has always been intense SECULAR prejudice against gays, and too many so-called Christians like to pretend there is solid scriptural basis for their own personal dislikes. There is not — except in blasphemously altered “translations” of the Bible where words in some of Paul’s letters that seem to mean “male prostitute” or “l;icentious person” are deliberately mistranlsated as “homosexual”.
If your Bible contains the word “homosexual” anywhere — a word and a concept that was unknown in Jesus’s time, you’re reading blasphemous propaganda, not Holy Scripture.
Most of the revulsion seems to come from the “ick” factor of people imagining gay people having sex and being disgusted by their own imaginings. In truth, it’s no picnic to imagine really fat or ugly or elderly people having sex either, but of course people rarely do that. Only gays seem to suffer from this projected ick factor.
Despise gay people — or blacks, or Jews, or Mormons, or whatever — if you like. It’s a free country. But don’t delude yourself into thinking you have real scriptural grounds for doing so.



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