Stuff Christian Culture Likes

Stuff Christian Culture Likes


#146 Mike Huckabee’s stance on gay marriage

posted by Stephanie Drury

huckabee.jpgMike Huckabee’s recent statements on gay marriage made many American evangelicals quite pleased. Because boy howdy, Christian culture does not like the idea of gay marriage. They really, really, really do not. Christian culture feels strongly that legalizing gay marriage would hurt the institution of marriage and that it would be a shock to our fundamental understanding of human social relations and institutions. They also feel that legalizing gay marriage would cause God to bring his judgment against America.

Dr. James Dobson, who has been referred to as “the nation’s most influential evangelical leader” by Time magazine, [1] also made this statement on the subject:

“Indeed, those charges are already being leveled against Christians who espouse biblical values. How about group marriage? Or marriage between daddies and little girls? Or marriage between a man and his donkey? Anything allegedly linked to civil rights will be doable, and the legal underpinnings for marriage will have been destroyed.” [2]

The possibility of donkey marriage becoming legal is terrifying to people who hold moral conventions close to their hearts. But Jesus did not endorse morals or politics. Jesus endorsed love and relationship. In particular, he endorsed showing unmerited favor (i.e., grace) to members of society whom the Pharisees deemed unsavory (i.e., tax collectors and prostitutes. Do homosexuals fall in this category?). Making same-sex marriage legal would mean Christians would have to relinquish some political and moral control and trust the issue to God. It is quite a conundrum for the Christian culture, indeed.



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Rainee

posted April 14, 2010 at 11:41 am


it can’t be illegal to marry a donkey cuz I was married to an a$$ for almost 18 years. He was also a pastor, and abusive in several differnt ways, the foremost being spiritual or religious abuse. I wonder about that “Sanctity of Marriage” phrase every time I hear it. On the flip side, my brother, who is a gay man, has been married (legally, in HI) to his spouse for 7 years and they are SO devoted to each other! I’m inspired by his relationship and can’t figure out what’s so diabolical about it. I guess that’s why have to have people like Dobson and Huckabee around – to figure these things out for me…



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Chuck Anziulewicz

posted April 14, 2010 at 12:24 pm


I’m reminded of a Republican political candidate here in West Virginia who would purchase hour-long blocks of radio time to host his own talk show as part of his campaign strategy. I called his “show” and told him that, while I found myself becoming increasing conservative as I grew older, I was still dismayed by his disdain for Gay Americans. I said to him, “It’s almost as though you’re incapable of making a moral and ethical distinction between a monogamous Gay couple and someone who is promiscuous.” His response? “One is bad and the other is worse.” Case closed.
As for Mike Huckabee, if he was simply defending the policies of his particular church, I wouldn’t care. But this is a guy who by all accounts has his eye on the Presidency, and as such he will have to defend the U.S. Constitution as it applies to ALL law-abiding, taxpaying American citizens, both Gay and Straight. What constitutional justification can he give for denying Gay citizens their exact same legal benefits, protections, and responsibilities that Straight citizens have always taken for granted?
My question for Mike Huckabee would be this: Why is it that it’s perfectly acceptable, even admirable, for Straight (i.e. heterosexual) couples to date, get engaged, get married, and build lives together in the context of monogamy and commitment, and that this is a GOOD thing … but for Gay couples to do exactly the same is somehow a BAD thing? To me this seems like a very poor value judgment.
The ONLY difference between a Gay and Straight couples is the gender of the two people in the relationship. And yet Huckabee seems perfectly comfortable with dismissing being Gay as no better than pedophilia, incest, and drug abuse. With younger people becoming increasingly accepting and supportive of their LGBT friends, family members, and co-workers, this antiquated attitude simply isn’t going to get votes anymore.
Perhaps the best thing for Mike Huckabee to do when it comes to his dealings with Gay individuals and couples is simply to obey The Golden Rule: Treat them as he himself would wish to be treated.



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Grumpy Old Person

posted April 14, 2010 at 12:53 pm


Re: Dobson’s/Huckabee’s (they’re apparently interchangable) ‘thoughts’ – “How about group marriage? Or marriage between daddies and little girls? Or marriage between a man and his donkey? Anything allegedly linked to civil rights will be doable, and the legal underpinnings for marriage will have been destroyed.”
Pure and utter poppycock (aka bullsh!t).
No one is advocating for group marriage – not even the Mormons. Gay citizens and their friends, families and allies are advocating for nothing more, less or other than equality before the law.
“[D]addies and [presumably their] little girls” don’t need to marry since they are already related. Marriage establishes kinship, which is why it is necessary before the law for two unrelated persons who wish to publicly formalize their committed relationship. Of course, the unspoken intent behind the inclusion of the phrase “and little girls” is the paedophilia meme – scaremongering at its most evil level – typical of the radical ‘religious’ extremists. Minors cannot give legal consent. The ‘religious’ right know this, but wilfully choose to ignore it so as to incite fear into the population.
“Marriage between a man and his donkey” – more irrelevant fear tactics. Animals likewise cannot give legal consent. But again, it does increase the cash flow in the fight to promote ignorance and fear of God’s gay and lesbian children.
As for “civil rights” (though there’s nothing “civil” about Huckadobson’s remarks), there is no such thing as the ‘right’ to marry – not even for betterosexuals – in the Constitution. There is a lot of talk in it, however, about liberties and freedoms and justice (not, apparently, “for ALL” as ‘promised’). People should be free to marry the person of their mutual choosing. Why the ‘religious’ get to (or would even WANT to) curtail other citizens’ freedoms escapes me.
As for “the legal underpinnings for marriage will have been destroyed”, sorry but the ‘religious’ ‘right’ hasn’t got too good a track record on this themselves (eg. the highest divorce rates in the nation). They willingly ignore Christ’s views on the topic of divorce. Why should they be believed on the issue of God’s gay and lesbian children wishing to make a public commitment (some of them even in their own churches and synagogues and temples!!!)?
Haters, the lot of them.
If they have to resort to bearing such heinous false witness, they’ve already lost the war, nevermind the battle.
I would give good money to have Huckledobson say these things to Dick Cheney’s face and see what kind of response he’d have for them. (‘Hey, that’s my daughter you’re talking [aka lying] about.’)



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Billy

posted April 14, 2010 at 12:59 pm


The only thing I have to say about this is that the Bible says in the Old and New Testament that Homosexuality is wrong. The Bible also says that adultery, jealousy, malicious thoughts, murder and stealing is wrong as well.
I grew up in a home with a porn addicted father in which I was soon looking at by the second grade. Some of you may not see the big deal, but the magnitude that I struggle (present tense) with lust and pornography are a big deal to me. Even though I still struggle, I will never say that there is nothing wrong with it because Jesus said to look at a woman with lust in your heart is the same thing as committing adultery with her. Accepting sin as a normalcy and not admitting it as a sin in wrong.
I don’t know why people are gay. I have a couple of gay friends, I might have more, but I don’t generally hang out in areas where the gay population flourishes. My friends tell me that they’re born that way. Could it be? I think that we are all born with a vice, mine is lust. We are born into sin, is it possible that people are born with this innate sin? Is it their plight to resist their vice like I believe it is mine to resist fulfilling my lustful desires? I don’t know, I really don’t, but in the meantime I love my homosexual friends, even though I don’t support the lifestyle they live. I accept them as humans and as my friend, but I can accept without agreeing.
Go ahead, blast away.



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Em

posted April 14, 2010 at 1:04 pm


What’s interesting to me is that the text they use to say that homosexuality is evil (the Old Testament) says that polygamy is A-OK. It’s funny how they talk about how the man shall “cleave to his wife”, but in the context of the OT that means he’ll also cleave to a couple more wives and maybe a couple of servants.
Literalists always forget this. It’s too complicated to realize that if the Bible is taken 100% literally, you’re following tribal laws, when women were still traded for cattle. Not exactly romantic, and OT law wasn’t really worried about the sanctity of marriage. It was more concerned with tribes having enough children so that they could fight and win wars, and so that they had enough workers to keep everyone fed. Procreation was the important thing, unlike today when we’re living in an overpopulated world.



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Em

posted April 14, 2010 at 1:08 pm


And Billy, as long as you voice your opinions respectfully, we don’t really “blast” here. I know we’re scary people, those of us that question the church, but we’re not really as mean and vicious as you hear :) Promise.



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Kellie

posted April 14, 2010 at 1:30 pm


Man, your theology is messed up. I’d advise you to recalibrate and renew your faith.



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Sarah

posted April 14, 2010 at 1:37 pm


Grumpy Old Person and Em: brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
And actually Billy has had reason to worry in the past. I’ve been mean to him before. For which I’m really sorry, Billy.
Kellie: Hard to respond to what is apparently only a rhetorical statement. A thoughtful faith is never a bad thing.



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MikeNYC

posted April 14, 2010 at 1:53 pm


What most good Christians know, is what Jesus knew. Loving one another is the most important thing after loving God. Waving around a few passages out of context from the Bible only serves to make the Bible less relevant to people. Most intelligent Christians know that the Bible is a great inspiration and rule of life for us, but following it letter for letter would be ridiculous. No one would consider killing a neighbor for working on the Sabbath. Taking one Levitical law out of context while purposefully ignoring all the rest is simply hypocritical and indicative of those who have a person hatred or aversion to homosexuals and merely want something other than their own ignorance to back it up. The Bible does NOT condemn homosexuality and Jesus certainly never mentioned it. However, Jesus was very explicit about divorce which is legal in all 50 states and, interestingly enough, practiced regularly by those who use the Bible against homosexuals. The picture is clear, anyone using the Bible against anyone or any group is simply hiding their own personal agenda behind it and should be ignored.



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Billy

posted April 14, 2010 at 2:22 pm


I don’t condemn anyone, when I do I’m reminded of my many shortcomings. A lady that volunteers at my church with the children department secretly told my wife that she had attempted suicide a few days earlier. She took some pills then immediately told her husband, a plea for attention obviously. She has many issues that needs to be dealt with that I felt made her unfit for her position. Funny thing is, as soon I began to criticize this woman to my wife I began to feel guilt for the sins in my life that I struggle with. What makes her worse than me?
I’m afraid you’re incorrect in the Bible referencing homosexuality, Romans 1 for starters. BUT, for every passage on homosexuality there are a plethora on gossip, cheating and adultery. So, I’m not pointing fingers, I’m just saying that it is there. Taking some scriptures from the Old Testament and applying them today is difficult considering the time and cultural gap. Notice that when men were taking many wives God never approved of it, but according to the Bible God remained silent on the issue. Stoning for adultery? This is just me, but I have personally understood that considering how God was trying to shape His nation and that the Hebrews old ways of living were no longer going to cut it and God meant business.
Jesus may have never spoke directly on Homosexuality, but when he healed, many times he would follow up the healing with the statement of “go in peace and sin no more.” Like I said before, I harbor no ill will towards homosexuals; actually I dig their fashion ;). Once again, according to the Bible it’s none of my business. The Church is supposed to concern itself with those who are within the church.
Politically, I don’t thing the Federal Government has a dog in this fight. I have always said that same sex marriage is a State issue. If Massachusetts wants to wed gays, that’s there business. Any president who tries to ban or legalize same sex marriage is far overreaching their boundaries. Just my 2 cents.



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Your Name

posted April 14, 2010 at 2:33 pm


Billy, you’re unfortunately showing a lot of ignorance about depression and suicide. Suicide is never a “plea for attention”, and I don’t see how she’d be unfit for her position unless her job is to counsel suicidal people. The church tends to run out anyone who’s not a “happyhappy” Christian, or at least someone who can’t pretend to be happy. I’ve had experiences with that myself. As someone who’s had suicidal thoughts, it’s a blessing she was able to go to her husband and say “help me”, especially in what is obviously such a stunted environment where she didn’t feel comfortable asking for help earlier.
But that’s neither here nor there, really. God never condemned multiple wives, just Solomon for having too many (I mean, hundreds) and mainly criticizing men for marrying GENTILE wives. Polygamy is not condemned in the Bible. Men were allowed to take as many devout Jewish wives as they wanted. Slavery is also not condemned in the Bible, though, so what can you do. This was just a part of their lives.
Homosexuality in the OT is listed as an abomination along with eating shellfish and wearing mixed fibers, so it kind of dulls the sentiment, don’t you think? I mean, it’s the same document that dictates that a woman has to marry her rapist, so we can say it’s a bit outdated to our modern sensibilities. As for the NT, Jesus never seemed very concerned with the petty sins of the people. He seemed much more concerned with the way that legalism was robbing the Hebrews of all of their love and compassion. I second Mike, love is most important, and Huckabee’s words were not loving. I don’t think that Jesus would be as concerned with what happened between two consenting adults as he was with the widespread corruption, suffering, and hate in our nation today. And the church has done little to help this hate, and in most cases has propagated it.



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me

posted April 14, 2010 at 2:34 pm


Billy, speaking on the issue of states’ rights…
If SSM truly is a civil right (as the state of MA has determined), where is the logic in applying it only in certain states. It doesn’t make sense to say that it’s a states’ rights issue since how is it constitutional for one state to grant the right and another state to deny the right. It would be like saying that racial segregation should be left up to the states. There needs to be a constitutional amendment which grants the right at the federal level.



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Em

posted April 14, 2010 at 2:36 pm


Damn. “Your Name” is me, BTW.
Also, I’m interested how you believe that gay marriage is not something that should be done by the federal government. Civil rights are a federal affair–and we don’t live in a theocracy, and I don’t think even you would want to, Billy. Thus, theology has no place in federal government and people should be able to marry who they want.
The biggest sin of the church right now, in my opinion, is political involvement. Jesus never wanted a “Christian nation” forcing beliefs on people. And someone else’s gay marriage doesn’t affect YOUR marriage, unless you’re really that obsessed with gay people.



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Chuck Anziulewicz

posted April 14, 2010 at 2:37 pm


Billy writes: “Politically, I don’t thing the Federal Government has a dog in this fight. I have always said that same sex marriage is a State issue.”
Sounds reasonable in principle, but unfortunately the federal government has complicated the issue by taking a vested interest in marriage. In fact there are a total of 1,138 legal benefits, protections, and responsibilities that the federal government automatically bestows on couples once they marry. Much of this has to do with tax law and Social Security, so it simply wouldn’t do for a Gay couple that is legally married in Iowa, for instance, to magically become UN-married once they move into Wisconsin.
The way things are now, any Straight couple in the United States can fly off to Las Vegas for a drunken weekend and get married by an Elvis impersonator, and that marriage will be automatically honored in all 50 states for all legal purposes. So don’t assume that marriage is just a state issue. The only solution is to have equal protection for both Gay and Straight couples at all levels of government … OR for the federal government to get rid of all of those 1,138 legal benefits I mentioned earlier. I wonder how many married Straight couples would feel about THAT?



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Billy

posted April 14, 2010 at 2:53 pm


Chuck- good point.
Em- How many times do I have to write that God never specifically condemned multiple wives, but the Bible never recorded God approving or encouraging it. Like I said about the lady, she obviously has issues that need to be dealt with. Any one that claims to have attempted has issues. But, the suicides that I’m familiar with, if you want to do it, you do it. No need to go any further, but like I said there are many other things that she needs to deal with. I, on the other hand, am not a “happy happy Christian.” Thankful, but quietly depressed more often than happy. Anyways, this is well on it’s way to splitting hairs.



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jestrfyl

posted April 14, 2010 at 2:56 pm


Neither Huckabee nor Dobson speak in any shape or form for me – an ordained pastor (middle aged) serving a middle sized, middle American congregation. Their heartless attempts to excite the fear of the unknown is poor ministry, poor theology, and poor humanity. These guys speak from isolation and pontificate pious platitudes that present poor preaching and puddly philosophy (as in “they are all wet”)
What galls me is their audacity to present their personal opinions as if they know something the rest of the world does not. They too will have to answer to God – for all of their venomous hate and arrogant attitude. It is my OPINION (as if God were to ask!) that they will simply join the other pseudo-religious smoke-eaters in some sulpherous brimstone corner of the afterlife.



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Justin

posted April 14, 2010 at 3:16 pm


“Jesus endorsed love and relationship. In particular, he endorsed showing unmerited favor (i.e., grace) to members of society whom the Pharisees deemed unsavory (i.e., tax collectors and prostitutes. Do homosexuals fall in this category?).”
While this is true, Jesus also told these members of society to “go and sin no more.” Homosexuality is sin. Deal with it. Jesus Christ came to not only forgive sin, but also to set us free from the bondage of sin. Homosexuals, just like ever other sinner in the world (this includes everyone), have to be loved and nurtured to health to a lifestyle that leads them away from their homosexual lifestyle and towards the plan that God has for their life.



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stephanie drury

posted April 14, 2010 at 3:34 pm


Justin, you must also believe divorce for reasons other than adultery ought to be outlawed because it leads them away from the plan God has for their life.
Outlawing gay marriage doesn’t lead gay people away from a lifestyle and towards a plan God has for their life. Laws don’t make people “go and sin no more.”



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Sarah

posted April 14, 2010 at 4:05 pm


“Homosexuality is a sin. Deal with it.”
It never ceases to amaze me how people claiming to follow Jesus can pride themselves in standing for what they think of as “the truth” (or rather, what some authority figure told them is the truth — because whatever the Bible says, it is interpreted by human beings) at the expense of love and respect — something Jesus never did. Justin, you dress the rest of your comment in vocabulary that pays lip service to love, but is actually extremely unloving.
I also hear a lot of self-proclaimed Christians insisting that homosexuality is a sin “like all other sins,” but their insistence that homosexuality is a sin, period, is so vehement as to negate their idea of its equality to all other sins. In other words, they doth protest too much. I don’t hear people lobbying for laws against gossip, greed or envy. Clearly they DON’T see homosexuality as a “sin like all other sins.” They see it as THE sin. The worst sin. The one to outlaw forever and protect themselves and their children from. And they can’t tell you why. All they can do is parrot the verses that someone gave them as “proof” from the Bible that homosexuality is wrong.
What is so wrong with people being gay? What is the big threat? I don’t get it.



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Em

posted April 14, 2010 at 4:15 pm


Sarah: Exactly! I don’t have a problem with people thinking homosexuality is a sin–even though I’d tend to disagree–but I do have a problem with the hate and fear I see directed toward homosexuals that I don’t see directed toward cohabitators (most of the time, haha, I’ve been one of those), or liars, or theives, or any other sin even Paul equates with homosexuality.
They all say, “Oh, I have gay friends”, and “I love gay people, just not their sin,” but it’s all words. I’ve rarely seen someone who thinks that way actually practice it that way. Mostly they have one or two token gay acquaintances they’ve acquired for the purpose of telling them about God and telling other people what awesome evangelists they are. Those of us who truly know and love our homosexual friends usually want to see them given equal rights as citizens and the right to marry–I know I do.



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Rollo Tomassi

posted April 14, 2010 at 4:51 pm


Sin is sin regardless of whether you just stole a butterfingers from the liquor store or you gunned a guy down in cold blood. Jeffery Daumer is in heaven right now assuming his conversion to Christianity was sincere before his death. Those are integral tenets of our religion. That may not seem like the justice we would want, but God is either faithful to his promise of salvation or he’s not. Yes homosexuality is a sin, so is avarice, pride, gluttony, greed, vanity and the list goes on. In fact you cannot even entertain the thought of sin without being guilty of it. Basically we’re screwed – all have fallen short of the grace of God. Why else would we need a plan for salvation?
We were made to be imperfect, you know why? Because perfect is BORING. If God wanted perfect he’d never have made us with a capacity for freewill. God wants to see what you will do with your life and how you’ll deal with those imperfections (with His help) on a daily basis until he calls you home.



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isaac

posted April 14, 2010 at 5:15 pm


Jesus endorsed REPENTANCE.and when grace given He said “sin no more”. Making gay “marriage” legal has nothing to do with grace.



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Frank

posted April 14, 2010 at 5:58 pm


Justin,
Gay and lesbian people are what they are. That’s an innate quality which was recognized as such before Jesus was ever born (see Plato’s Symposium, the myth of the Androgyne) and, therefore, at least the same protection than religion, which is undeniably a choice. Christendom’s treatment of gay people is nothing less than Satanic through out most of the history of Christianity.
Nothing was unthinkable for Christians when it came to persecuting gays. For example, the case of Giovanni di Giovanni (c. 1350 – May 7, 1365?) a fifteen-year-old boy who was convicted of being sodomized by older men. He was sentenced by a Papal court to public castration and anal rape with a red hot poker. The sentence was carried out.
Today Christians in Jamaica are burning gays to death in the streets and in their homes.
Deal with it.



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Flah the Heretic Methodist

posted April 14, 2010 at 10:15 pm


Steph, dearest, I’m sorry, but as soon as I see the name James Dobson a vessel breaks in my head and my vision blurs, so I couldn’t finish this post. It’s a failing of mine.



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Joel

posted April 15, 2010 at 12:43 am


Isn’t this just a rehash of #54 on your list?



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amy ansel

posted April 15, 2010 at 12:53 am


i am SO GLAD you wrote this piece Steph. no doubt i’ll post deeper thoughts later – for now, I have 1 strong suggestion for all the CHRISTIANS in the house: net flix the documentary “For the bible tells me so”.



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Joel

posted April 15, 2010 at 1:16 am


While I’m here (and respond away, I probably won’t be back to read any responses as this is just a late-night posting meant to distract me from a project I’m working on)…
“The Bible also condemns those who eat shell fish!”
Pointing to the Levitical law does little to help either side on the issue of homosexuality. Those who turn to Leviticus are appealing to a specific law meant for a certain time and place – we must NEVER forget that God’s handling of Israel was not optimal. That is to say, God met the culture where they were and worked with them in their stance, but never unlaying a complete ethical transformation on them. In short, the law was incomplete ethically.
At the same time, the prohibition against homosexual acts isn’t just found in the Old Testament. So it’s a bit of a fallacy to immediately go, “Well do you eat crab? You do?! Oh, you’re a sinner. PWN!” There are other passages that speak out against homosexual acts and it’s not taking them out of context to say they speak out against homosexual acts; either homosexual acts are wrong in the eyes of God or those passages of Scripture are wrong. Either way, it’s disingenuous to say, “Oh, those are out of context.” They aren’t.
“God doesn’t forbid polygamy in the Bible…so this somehow translates into an argument for homosexuality!”
God never once forbids polygamy and actually gave David his multiple wives. However, turning to my previous thesis, we see that God often acts in a less than optimal way in our fallen world; He works with what He has. We’re not morally perfect beings, therefore His ultimate plan relied on us doing what was perfectly good in all situations, nothing would ever get done.
With the above in mind, one should understand that the Bible is quite clear that marriage is to occur between one man and one woman. In our fallen actions, however, we have tended away from this. God, being God, works within our fallen actions and sometimes allows us to go against His will in one area if it accomplishes His will in another area (c.f. the genealogy of Jesus). So the question we should be asking is, “Is there a specific reason that God chose one man and one woman to constitute the head of a family, or was this meant for a specific time?” If we see this as being universal and understand why God did it, then it makes it quite hard to embrace homosexuality as a legitimate action. If it’s meant for a specific time, then we must ask what parameters God DID place on marriage that are universal (i.e. should polygamy be allowed, should incest be allowed, should pedophilia be allowed, should adultery be allowed, etc). I’m not comparing homosexuality to any of those actions; I’m simply asking a logical question. If Scripture is wrong in forbidding homosexual activities or no longer applies to today, then why should other sexual parameters still apply?
None of this means I hate homosexuals or anything of the sort. I happen to believe that some homosexuals are attracted to the same sex by virtue of their biology. I don’t, however, believe this to be a legitimate reason to engage in homosexual activities. For instance, due to my biological structure I am attracted to women. This doesn’t give me full reign to just go have sex with any woman I please. Even with my biological structuring, there are limits as to what I can and cannot do. Likewise, I can choose to act out against my biological structure in certain instances or at least restrain certain desires. It is not unfathomable to think that though one is born with an attraction to the same sex, one could remain celibate; it’s not as if celibacy is a bad thing after all.
In closing, as a more general comment, the foundation of Christian ethics is that we should love God first and love humanity second. God is a person and is not abstract, thus part of loving Him is ACTING a certain way, not just ascribing to certain beliefs. When we act in a way that might show our love toward humanity, but contradicts His desires, we are not loving Him (and therefore, in a twist of irony, not loving humanity). If homosexual actions displease God, then in supporting such actions we are not loving God, which is our first call as Christians. Just something to think about. Simply saying, “God is love, man, so love everyone” doesn’t cut it. There are parameters.
P.S. I understand that people can be hurt by the conservative evangelical church, but being bitter about it and lambasting all their theology doesn’t really make you any better than them. Anyone who has been to a conservative church for more than a year has, in some way, been hurt. I’m no exception and neither are some of my friends. A homosexual (celibate) friend of mine has taken quite a hit from the conservative church he was in. But he’s not bitter about it and doesn’t go around mocking them. In all reality, when you mock James Dobson or those like that, you become them, only with different beliefs. It does the world little good for Christians to finally escape the clutches of the Religious Right to only maintain the same spirit, but with different beliefs.



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Elissa Parrish

posted April 15, 2010 at 2:07 am


Although I disagree with several points you made here Joel I commend you for taking such a strong stance on a site that will most likely be read by people that violently disagree with you. I thought your P.S. comment was insightful and poignant.
Elissa



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Roger

posted April 15, 2010 at 2:23 am


Joel – So you’re requiring gays to be celibate (and more than likely lonely and unhappy) their entire life, but you can wait until marriage since you’re straight. Pretty unfair if you ask me.
What exactly is wrong with two consenting adults building a life together, being devoted, and yes, expressing their love? What harm is there? Other than belief that there is from a few verses out of an ancient book.
You may think the Bible is so clear about one man and one woman – but that is hardly what Jesus said. He said, to those who it applies to – not everyone. Why does everyone have to be put in the same box? How utterly boring. Other perimeters apply when there are victims aka: incest, adultery, pedophilia.
I could go thru all 6 passages about homosexuality and show how they mean little to today’s sexual orientation and committed partners. But I say google gay christians and do some research.



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Nathan

posted April 15, 2010 at 3:50 am


“ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
sad irony that the community that produced that has now been reduced to what it was originally criticizing.
I’m a gay, preacher’s kid. my parents work for a christian ministry that publishes books on how to raise kids and have healthy marriages. I promise you, if there’s a major evangelical organization that talks about homosexuality, my family either works for it directly or is close with someone who does. I was raised in a poster-family for these values, and I’m living proof their assumptions are wrong. I was never raped, aside from the sacrifices my parents made to do full time ministry work, I had a normal middle class childhood, but I am who I am.
I could argue semantics. I’ve memorized enough of the words in dead languages to make a damn good case, but God isn’t in those words. they’re dead, just our creations. idols.
I’m sick of having my inner heart dragged into public and fought over by people who treat the living God like a powerless object that has to be spoken for. the Allmighty does not need political power, does not need money, does not need help communicating with perfect clarity to *anyone*.
The watchmen who went about the city found me.
They struck me, they wounded me;
The keepers of the walls
Took my veil away from me.
I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
If you find my beloved,
That you tell him I am lovesick!



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mishi

posted April 15, 2010 at 4:12 am


@Joel I’m sorry, but faith-mocker though I may be, I am not “like James Dobson, only with different beliefs.”
I do not oppose the right of evangelical Christians to marry, adopt, join the Army, or be protected by civil rights legislation. I do not condemn them simply for who they are. I, as a gay atheist, do not belong to a tradition that has spent the last 2000 years persecuting, castrating, burning, excommunicating, and/or condemning to eternal torture even the most fatuous, idiotic Christians. I wish that Christians could say the same about gays.
To assume attitude is all and we should all be nicey-nicey ignores the very real dimensions of politics, power, history, and harm. Are black people who despise racists “the same as the KKK, only with different beliefs?” Um, I don’t think so.
When it comes to GLBT people, Christians – a whole lot of them, not just the Dobsonites – have much to apologize for. Aside from our not buying the party line when it comes to sexuality, Christians have suffered zero harm from gay-folks-acting-as-gay-folks, aside from maybe foisting bad disco and Liberace records on you.



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Ellie Dee

posted April 15, 2010 at 8:42 am


Amen Joel.. Somehow I dont believe the Christ would sanction gay marriage. Not because He doesnt love us all, but for the reasons you stated.
He knew some people would be better unmarried (including heterosexuals who are unable to remain faithful). Thats stated in the Bible. Christ’s purpose was to bring the message of Love to all mankind.
I also believe He told Mary Mag. “to go sin no more”.(hence the argument of Him hanging out with prostitutes, as if He sanctioned what they did.
He sanctions who we are..in our spirit,and our soul. His purpose wasnt in sanctioning the bodys pleasure, but instead, for us to look higher to what pleases God and our Immortal Soul. So this argument will always be one of apples and oranges. Homosexuality is a civil rights issue, leaving it more to Government than to Heavens purpose.
He also called His disciples to follow Him, which for most of them, meant leaving their families and their corporal needs behind.



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Still Breathing

posted April 15, 2010 at 8:51 am


I’ve just read through this lot without any new light being shed EXCEPT the very first comment. Read it, pray about it and work out where God’s love is being shown.



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toujoursdan

posted April 15, 2010 at 9:16 am


What I don’t get about Joel’s question (or Huckabee’s) is the logical fallacy, slippery slope relationship between supporting a couple in a committed gay relationship and approving of polygamy, incest, paedophilia and adultery, etc. It’s just beyond ridiculous.
We don’t approve of paedophilia and adultery because they HARM people and the central message of the Gospel is “Do no harm to others” (Romans 13:8-10, etc.). Adultery betrays a trust and a covenant made before God and others. It can only be sustained by lying to a spouse and the community. That causes harm. It ruins relationships and fractures the community. Paedophilia is the rape of a child who isn’t emotionally developed enough to give consent and be an equal player in a relationship. That also causes harm. It also fractures the community.
Polygamy and incest are completely voluntary social arrangements. They are no innate sexual orientation to a sibling. People are attracted to men and women based on a set of visual and non-visual cues. Siblings don’t have a set of unique cues to be attracted to. Human sexuality doesn’t work that way. And a prohibition on incest doesn’t force anyone into involuntary lifetime celibacy. So this is obviously an apples to oranges comparison.
Polygamy was clearly sanctioned by scripture. In 2 Samuel 12:8 God Himself says He gave David his additional wives and concubines. A perfectly moral entity isn’t going to give a weaker party something (s)he disapproves of. I don’t think polygamy is appropriate for this society, but you can’t make much case that God doesn’t approve of it. Besides, go to Africa and you see Christians of all denominations looking the other way when polygamist families show up to church. They may not think it’s ideal but they aren’t telling those families to break up.
It’s like logically challenged, slippery slope thinking that drives me nuts. It’s facile and seems to be based more on “OMG the boundaries have changed and I can’t cope!!!!” than deep thought and reflection.
We all agree that Scripture has culturally defined laws and laws that are universal and timeless. But the prohibition on homosexuality is clearly a purity code. Gay relationships do no harm to others and they greatly improve the quality of life for innately gay people who seek them out. Forcing gay people to be celibate DOES do harm to those who are gay (and their friends and family who have to cope with the resulting depression and isolation.) The sin lies in the continued enforcement of this purity code, the scapegoating of those who are gay and the marginalization that has occurred. This is something that Christians need to repent of.
And anyone who thinks that being in a gay relationship is merely about satisfying a bodys [sic] pleasure hasn’t actually been around anyone in a gay relationship. It’s this superficial, judgmental attitude that is driving people away from the faith.



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Flah the Heretic Methodist

posted April 15, 2010 at 9:40 am


@Joel: “when you mock James Dobson or those like that, you become them, only with different beliefs.”
Not even close. I don’t actively condemn people for their biological sexuality. I don’t actively campaign to have their rights curtailed. I will, however, continue to mock the Holier Than Thou Evangelical leaders in this country who time after time have their clay feet revealed (Ted Haggard is Completely Heterosexual…..yeah), and continue to vote my conscience so that we don’t become just another screwed up religion based state.



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stephy

posted April 15, 2010 at 11:00 am


Hi Joel,
I hope it’s clear I’m not mocking James Dobson, but quoting him and asking questions. For what it’s worth, I’m friends with his son Ryan and have been on his radio show, and Ryan likes my blog…or at least he says he does.



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Joel

posted April 15, 2010 at 11:11 am


Elissa, thank you for your kind comments. This is, unfortunately, always a polarizing issue. Often times when I say that homosexuality is a sin, people automatically assume that I somehow hate homosexuals or are uncomfortable around them. The truth is that I’ve put a lot of thought and study into this issue because I have homosexual friends. They know my stance, but they also know that I don’t hate them. So it’s nice to see someone who, though you disagree, you understand where I’m coming from on the issue.
Roger, you’re making quite a few assumptions. For one, being celibate doesn’t mean you’ll be alone your entire life. There are deep friendships that people can engage in. Likewise, being heterosexual doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll get married or SHOULD get married. Those who are biologically attracted to the opposite sex should sometimes abstain from marriage for a multitude of reasons. The problem is our culture has elevated sex and romantic relationships to a status that neither should have. Though important to some, a person can live a completely happy life without either.
Secondly, you’re using the wrong ethic in approaching this issue. You’re approaching it through a hedonistic ethic; so long as my happiness doesn’t bring harm, who cares? But this is a problematic ethic. For instance, what do we mean by harm? Should all ethics be based on this principle? Is my happiness of supreme importance? The Christian ethic is selfless while the hedonistic ethic is self-centered. Under the Christian ethic, what always makes me happy – even if it doesn’t harm someone – doesn’t mean it’s always right. Playing video games as a majority of my time may not harm anyone, but it doesn’t mean such an action is right.
Likewise, if engaging in a romantic relationship with someone of the same sex makes me happy, it doesn’t follow that my happiness makes the relationship right.
As for the passages on homosexuality, I have studied them. I’ve looked at the alternative arguments and, quite honestly, they’re extremely weak. It’s easier to simply say that they aren’t inspired than to say, “Oh, but you have to understand the cultural context!” I do understand the cultural context, I understand that homosexual actions were quite acceptable in Roman culture, so for Paul to speak out against them says quite a bit. I understand that the ancients, including Christians, didn’t have an understanding of biological “wiring” in terms of one’s sexuality, but I also see that this has no bearing on the debate of whether or not homosexuality is a sin. So how is “googling” this issue something that will somehow enlighten me when I’ve read articles and books (from both perspectives) on the issue?
Mishi, yes, you are like Dobson. And yes, black people who hate racists are just like the KKK. It’s the same SPIRIT; though the spirit of hatred might manifest differently among different groups, it is still hatred. When you mock Dobson and hate people like him, you become like him in the spirit of hatred. You may not act on it, but others who learn from you might very well act on it.
And being an atheist doesn’t somehow mean you come from a clean tradition. The tradition of torture and persecution is found even among atheists (especially among atheists). It is an incredible philosophy, having killed and enslaved more people in the last three centuries than “Christianity” did in the past 2,000 years. Bringing up the history of Christianity does little in talking about what it is to be a Christian, just like bringing up the history of atheism does little in talking about what it means to be an atheist.
Stephy, it doesn’t come across that you’re mocking James Dobson, but rather all conservative Christians in general. I understand and I get the temptation to do the same thing quite a bit, and I succumb to that temptation too. I’m VERY critical of conservative evangelical Christianity. It’s easy for me to mock these churches that will spend $5,000,000 on a sanctuary, but struggle to get a can of food to the poor. I see the American Church wrapping itself in the American flag, caring more what Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck says about the world than what Christ would say about the world. I understand that your blog is meant to be humorous, but reading through it made me sad. The reason is I see a lot of bitterness in what is being said and in that bitterness, a rejection of theology.
I am still considered a “conservative Christian,” but I’m someone who rejects the conservative culture of Christians. I do this partly out of the absurdity of the culture and how much of it contradicts the Bible, but also because I see a giant disconnect between conservative theology and conservative actions.
In either case, mocking them does little to help the problem. It provides an avenue to blow off steam, but it’s not really constructive. It doesn’t accomplish anything except to further the divide between Christians.



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stephy

posted April 15, 2010 at 11:17 am


Hi Joel,
I agree with you that my blog furthers the divide between Christians, because it angers Christians who are more invested in Christian culture than they are Jesus. Christians who don’t hold the culture so dear as they do Jesus and people who are not Christians feel safe here because there is space to ask questions, and we have found community among others who have been harmed by religion. This indeed widens the divide between those who feel my questions are an affront and those who feel that questioning and wrestling honors the person of Christ.
I blog under the premise that I have done all of the things I talk about. I used to be a very conservative Christian and anti-gay marriage. Now I question that. This is where I talk about it and invite others to talk about it too. So to that end, I believe this forum accomplishes a great deal of good.



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Joel

posted April 15, 2010 at 11:30 am


But the way you question it can make a world of difference. You and I disagree on quite a bit of things I’m assuming, but this doesn’t mean I’m opposed to you questioning the faith or questioning certain things that result from the faith. What I do object to is the tone and attitude you take in doing it. It’s completely unnecessary.
Certainly such anger is warranted and justified, but how you handle yourself in that anger (i.e. mocking those you’re angry at) isn’t the proper way to handle it. In fact, it’s the wrong way to handle it because you become no better than the ones you mock. You hold no moral high ground when you do that and subsequently, those who might be more open-minded to listen to your objections are turned off when they feel that all you have to offer is to mock them.
Misguided though they may be, keep in mind that those trapped in conservative Christian culture are still people and desire to be treated as such. Though this doesn’t mean we can’t tell them they are wrong or can’t get angry or anything of that nature, it does mean we need to be careful in how we approach them.



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stephy

posted April 15, 2010 at 11:42 am


It’s affirming that you are saying all this to me because it’s stuff I have said to others before. You just got comment of the day on the facebook page!



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nowanatheist

posted April 15, 2010 at 12:05 pm


All I can say, being the mother of a gay son, is that when I read most of the comments on any gay subject it is such a relief to be an atheist. I was anti-gay marriage and a born again evangelical christian. Until you have a child that is gay you just can’t even begin to understand someone who is gay. You have no idea that the people who are the biggest anti-gay people are just handing you a line of BS and untruths. Being the friend of someone who is gay means absolutely nothing.
I know how my son was raised and I know who he is. After he told me he was gay I read all kinds of christian books – imagine my surprise that if I had followed Dr. Dobson’s “recipe” for “gay-proofing” my son maybe he wouldn’t have been gay. Yeah – in your dreams bud. And you can also imagine my horror by the likes of Franklin Graham/Pat Robertson & other various pastors saying that Katrina was caused due to gays. Add in the ever popular Fred Phelps and I see people who claim to love Christ and are the most horrible people that I have ever seen.
IF there is a heaven & IF there is a God I will stand proudly before him and tell him why I am for gay marriage and why I became an atheist. The only problem I see with not believing is that I will possibly face eternity in hell with the very people who proclaim to love him so much & those that promote hatred & fear in his name. To me that would be hell.
Personally, if there is a God he did a crappy job of letting us know what is good and what is not OR which rules apply and which ones don’t. It would not be open to interpretation.



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Valerie

posted April 15, 2010 at 12:15 pm


Joel,
I’m curious. Can you point to the part of the current post that you believe has a mocking, disrespectful tone?



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toujoursdan

posted April 15, 2010 at 12:16 pm


And I think the anti-gay interpretation of the clobber passages is extremely weak.
None of them address couples in committed gay relationships at all. They talk about Roman temple prostitution and [Greek] paedophilia. The Greeks and Romans may have been tolerant of homosexuality but it was considered something people did on the side. There was still an expectation that people of any sexual orientation were meant get married and have kids. These weren’t committed monogamous relationships. That’s a key difference.
I think lack of an understanding of sexual orientation has HUGE bearing on whether it is a sin or not. The writers of the Bible were inspired by God, but they wrote out of their cultural and scientific perspective. For them, the world was still flat and had four corners, heaven was above the clouds and hell below.
It comes back to harm. Where is the objective harm in being in a committed gay relationship? There isn’t any.
And yes, SOME people can live celibate lives happily. St Paul considered it a calling, and a superior calling at that. But for most of us, that isn’t the case. It’s absurd to confuse a spiritual calling with a lifetime involuntary imposition of celibacy. That is what causes loneliness, self hatred and often suicide. That can’t be of God.



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Joel

posted April 15, 2010 at 12:20 pm


Nowanatheist,
You’re right, your experience in having a gay son gives you far more understanding about what homosexuals deal with than I do having gay friends. But to say that I can’t understand someone who is gay…that’s a bit of a stretch. Certainly I can understand a gay person without being that gay person’s parent.
What your son has endured at the hands of many evangelicals is also tragic. Blaming Katrina on homosexuality, bashing homosexuals, treating them as though they’re abnormal, dehumanizing them, etc…it’s all wrong. Certainly I view the act of homosexuality as a sin, but this doesn’t mean I treat homosexuals any differently than I treat other people. I’d ask that you look to that; look past the Fred Phelps’ of the world (who, by the way, is despised by even the most outspoken critics of homosexual unions) and realize there are those of us in Christianity who are conservative, who view homosexual actions as a sin, but we don’t let the sin define the person.
For instance, I think gossip is a sin. I think some people dedicate their lives to the gossip of others. But when I see a gossip, it’s not going to change how I act toward them, other than the fact that I probably won’t share certain things with them. Likewise, I see homosexuality as a sin, but it doesn’t change how I treat homosexuals. Just because I view something as a sin doesn’t mean I look down on the person engaging in the sin.
As for the ethical dilemma you put forth, though God could have certainly just given us a list of “do’s and don’t’s,” this simply wouldn’t fit within the person of God. A list doesn’t allow for human freedom, nor does it allow for the development of a relationship. A parent will give a list of rules for a child to follow, but ideally the parent will help the child think for himself and learn what is right and wrong, without having the child rely on the list of rules. God is the same way, so it’s easy for ethics to become muddled. Likewise, when we cease to believe in God, the ethical question becomes even more problematic (specifically on the meta-ethical level)…but that’s for another discussion.



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toujoursdan

posted April 15, 2010 at 12:26 pm


You’re approaching it through a hedonistic ethic; so long as my happiness doesn’t bring harm, who cares? But this is a problematic ethic. For instance, what do we mean by harm? Should all ethics be based on this principle? Is my happiness of supreme importance? The Christian ethic is selfless while the hedonistic ethic is self-centered. Under the Christian ethic, what always makes me happy – even if it doesn’t harm someone – doesn’t mean it’s always right. Playing video games as a majority of my time may not harm anyone, but it doesn’t mean such an action is right.
No I am not.
First of all, take it up with St. Paul who wrote in Romans:
8Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Secondly, I don’t know how to address the idea that relationships are haedonistic. It’s quite bizarre. Relationships are a mixture of give and take. It doesn’t matter whether they are same sex or opposite sex. Being in a committed relationship isn’t haedonistic in the least. It isn’t. They are demanding; they are challenging; they take work and force us outside of ourselves.
My relationship forces me to give and give and give. Video games do not. Romance and sexual intimacy is one part of that relationship, whether you’re married or gay, but anyone who is married knows that you’re not in it just for the sex. It’s no different for gay people.



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toujoursdan

posted April 15, 2010 at 12:29 pm


For instance, I think gossip is a sin. I think some people dedicate their lives to the gossip of others. But when I see a gossip, it’s not going to change how I act toward them, other than the fact that I probably won’t share certain things with them. Likewise, I see homosexuality as a sin, but it doesn’t change how I treat homosexuals. Just because I view something as a sin doesn’t mean I look down on the person engaging in the sin.
Gossipping is a sin because it hurts people and fractures the community. You might make a bit more sense if you compare homosexuality with something that doesn’t cause objective harm yet are obviously wrong.
These comparisons just seem silly.



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Joel

posted April 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm


Valerie, it may have been the overall feel of the site that caused me to read into this current post. Thus, I could be reading the intention completely wrong on this specific post.
Tou, none of the Biblical passages about bestiality deal with an animal and a human in a committed relationship either. Now, before you shout out “SLIPPERY SLOPE,” keep in mind that I have Peter Singer and other extreme ethicists in mind when I say that, who support committed relationships between humanity and animals. My point being – the argument doesn’t work when applied to other passages that put parameters on sexual activity. Just because it doesn’t go into detail doesn’t mean it somehow allows caveats. Likewise, the abuse of the Greek in those passages and a misunderstanding of Greek culture (there were many adult male couples who were monogamous and this wasn’t looked down upon) is what I believe makes such interpretations weak…that and the Church has always held that these passages spoke against the act of homosexuality, no matter the context.
Secondly, you keep trying to bring up hedonism. I’m not buying that standard. I think it’s a faulty standard and I gave good reasons why it’s a faulty standard. If you say you’re a Christian, then at the very least you need to consider the ethical standard I put forth, which is selfless and not selfish (as your standard is selfish). Saying, “There’s no harm” means nothing to me, because I don’t accept hedonism.
Even your misinterpretation of Paul doesn’t help your case. Paul says that love doesn’t harm, but this is apophatic, not cataphatic. It’s saying that love will not harm, but it’s not saying that if an action doesn’t harm that it’s automatically loving. Again, playing video games the majority of my day doesn’t harm anyone, but this doesn’t mean it’s loving either.
Basically, your argument fails on two levels. First, it fails to meet its own standard. You say homosexual relationships don’t harm anyone, but if they do somehow go against the nature of God (and we have reason to indicate that they do if we look at His ideal structure of marriage) then He is harmed. God is a person and is harmed, thus homosexual actions fail your own standard. Secondly, and more importantly, it fails because “harm” isn’t a way to test an ethic. Worshiping Allah or any other god is ethically wrong, but it doesn’t harm anyone. Thus, there is no harm done to humans in the worship of false gods, but it is still ethically wrong.
Am I not being clear on this?



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Grumpy Old Person

posted April 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm


@Billy
April 14, 2010 12:59 PM
“The only thing I have to say about this is that the Bible says in the Old and New Testament that Homosexuality is wrong.”
Demonstrably incorrect. The Bible does not refer to loving, committed, same-sex relationships (except for David’s love for Jonathan – “surpassing the love of women”) at all. The condemnations you refer to are of homosexual rape, homosexual lust, and homosexual temple/cult prostitution. They are not related whatsoever to the topic at hand.
P.S. The Bible ALSO says we should put disobedient children and rape victims to death, deny communion to the disabled and that eating lobster or shrimp is “an abomination”, and that women should not preach or teach.
Enough with selective Bibliolatry.
“The Bible also says that adultery, jealousy, malicious thoughts, murder and stealing is wrong as well.”
How charitable of you (NOT!) to compare loving, committed same-sex relationships with murder, stealing and cheating on one’s spouse.
Typical of selective fundaMENTALists, though.



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Grumpy Old Person

posted April 15, 2010 at 12:47 pm


@Billy
April 14, 2010 2:22 PM
“I don’t condemn anyone”
Sure you do. You do that when you lump loving, committed same-sex relationships in with murder, theft and adultery – ALL of which cause harm. You do it when you call our lives and our loves and our relationships mere “lifestyles”.
And then you contradict yourself [that you “don’t condem anyone”] when you admit: “when I do”. Which is it – you “don’t” or when you “do”?
Um, those gay, er, “friends” of yours – do you tell them to their faces that you think they’re no better than murderers, thieves and cheaters? You’re some “friend” if you do that.



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Sarah

posted April 15, 2010 at 12:51 pm


Joel, you’re being plenty clear. Way to be sanctimonious in your insistence on what’s right. Evidently, having done your research and come to your own honest conclusions, in your mind those conclusions therefore serve as the template for everyone’s. But isn’t that against the spirit of Christianity? Doesn’t the love of others come with cultivating an openness to being, despite your best efforts and intentions, wrong?
What strikes me more than my disagreement with your history, your premise, your argument and your conclusions is your approach to both the subject of homosexuality itself (leaving out altogether what is part of the point of this post, which is to question whether we should conflate our politics and our religion) and the subject of the bitterness you perceive on this forum. And your approach greatly lacks compassion. From what I can gather from your comments, you assert, in part, that because you have successfully resisted (a dubiously paralleled) temptation, everyone should do what you do, and because that you have been hurt by the church and aren’t bitter, no one else should be either. You’re setting yourself as the standard for good behavior. And this is not humble.
Asking questions with undercurrents of sarcasm is something that even Jesus did (that little verse about specks and planks is highly, mockingly sarcastic, just for one off-the-top-of-my-head example) in addressing the Pharisees – those religious people who used the letter of the law against its spirit. Many, many Christians, whether belonging to evangelical culture or not – and I do not exclude myself from this – take pride in our own rightness without pausing to consider that our feelings and our ideas and our conclusions might come from nowhere but our own desires and our own heads. I respect that you have done a lot of research, but the fact that there is a lot of research to do means necessarily that, particularly in this area, there is a lot of room for doubt, and a lot of room for error, and a lot of room for interpretation. You’re taking a calculated gamble that your conclusions are correct. So are the rest of us. We could all be wrong, and what matters in covering up unintentional wrongdoing is graciousness, compassion and humility, which always dignify, and never devalue, other human beings.
You’re also assuming that your idea about the bitterness with which a good number of us here at this form regard the evangelical church is the correct idea (i.e. that we shouldn’t be bitter, or at least that we should disguise our bitterness). That’s a big assumption. Particularly if you use Jesus’ life as a model. He wasn’t a “nice” player to the religious hypocrites who made people’s lives unnecessarily burdensome and miserable.
I have no idea what hurt you experienced at the hands of the church, and perhaps you’re one of those lucky people off whose back hurt rolls like water and to whom forgiveness comes easily; or maybe you’re good at repressing and sublimating; but I will say that anger and bitterness are part of the process toward healing and peace, and should be accepted and worked with and through, not denied. I have found that the worse the wounds, the longer the phases of healing. Sometimes bitterness can last a long time. Sometimes it needs to. I fully accept that I’m bitter toward an ideology that has caused me and so many people I love tremendous amounts of pain — an ideology that readily sacrifices love to “truth” — something that Jesus never did and never sanctioned. I also recognize that that bitterness can get in the way of my interacting lovingly with people who hold the evangelical perspective, which inhibits working together to further Jesus’ calling of his disciples to grace and compassion. Moving through, and eventually past, the bitterness into peace is a work in progress, an exercise, and this forum is in part a place to do just that. This forum does exactly what it needs to do.
A lot of us here, I would hazard to guess, will readily admit to being bitter. I look at it this way: The bathtub was so huge and the water so foul that we had to dump the tub altogether, and now amidst the sewage-sodden ground of the dumpsite we’re looking for the baby. If we b!tch about how disgusting the waste is as we’re up to our elbows sifting through it, that’s part of the search process.
And frankly, my dear Scarlett, I don’t give a damn that this blog, and our questions, and our tone, anger the self-righteous. Maybe a lot of these easily offended people are genuinely trying to do the right thing by their God – I know plenty who are – but for my own part, when I bulldoze people’s integrity and humanity under my own broad assumptions of how I think the world should work, I want to know so that I can stop. In saying you know the right way to do things, be that how homosexual people should live their lives, or how damaged people should heal, you’ve just reduced and dehumanized (David Dark would say you “perverted”) most of the contributors to this thread to suit your idea of the way things ought to be. Does that have any impact, any meaning? If the unlove we perpetrate on others fails to move us, culturally and individually (this is why I’m glad we have angry ex-evangelicals on this blog – anger at the injustice done to others is usually the first step toward necessary revolution, for example, the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage and civil rights), we’ve lost the listening spirit Jesus appealed to whenever he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear,” and have become inured to love, redemption and grace.



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Your Name

posted April 15, 2010 at 12:53 pm


@Billy,
“I’m afraid you’re incorrect in the Bible referencing homosexuality, Romans 1 for starters.”
Well first of all, Romans is also the place where women are told by Paul that they should not be permitted to teach or to preach. It is also the same Book wherein slaves are told to “obey your masters”.
That is why so many of us discount Paul’s opinion of what you perceive to be gay relationships. First of all it’s a selective pull-quote. Secondly, Paul speaks of lust, not love.
Frankly, I’d rather live my life according to what Jesus said on the topic – which was not one single recorded word. Maybe you should follow His example and not Paul’s opinions so much. (Or are you in favor of slavery and silencing women?)



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Your Name

posted April 15, 2010 at 12:56 pm


Billy,
“Like I said before, I harbor no ill will towards homosexuals”
Hmm, you certainly APPEAR to harbor ill will towards them, what with the slanderous (also hateful, imo) comparisons to murderers, thieves and adulterers.
Those are not GOODwill references; they’re slurs. They serve no other puprose than to diminish God’s gay and lesbian children in the eyes of others.



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toujoursdan

posted April 15, 2010 at 12:58 pm


For instance, I think gossip is a sin. I think some people dedicate their lives to the gossip of others. But when I see a gossip, it’s not going to change how I act toward them, other than the fact that I probably won’t share certain things with them. Likewise, I see homosexuality as a sin, but it doesn’t change how I treat homosexuals. Just because I view something as a sin doesn’t mean I look down on the person engaging in the sin.
Gossipping is a sin because it hurts people and fractures the community. You might make a bit more sense if you compare homosexuality with something that doesn’t cause objective harm yet are obviously wrong.
These comparisons just seem silly.



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Grumpy Old Person

posted April 15, 2010 at 1:01 pm


Speaking of “States’ rights”, there’s that little problem with the “Full Faith & Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution”, by which a contract that is legal in one State must be considered legal in all States. Marriage is a contract. Please explain why that particular part of the Constitution should only be applied to heterosexuals.



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Grumpy Old Person

posted April 15, 2010 at 1:08 pm


@ Justin,
“Homosexuality is sin. Deal with it.”
We would ‘deal with it’ – if it were true.
We’ve had it explained to us that Jesus relieves Christians of any obligation to follow the OT laws – so that discounts Leviticus (along with the other condemnations found in Leviticus that you no longer abide by – shrimp, lobster, stoning disobedient children and rape victims, and denying communion to the disabled).
And Paul’s opinions on (what you continue to misperceive as) homosexuality are likewise discounted if you exculde what he had to say about women and slaves.
Your opinion (for that is what your belief amounts to) is hereby DIS-MISSED!, as the kids say nowadays.
Besides, since not every citizen is a Christian, why should they be required to believe what you believe? Answer me that, please.



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nowanatheist

posted April 15, 2010 at 1:15 pm


“Worshiping Allah or any other god is ethically wrong, but it doesn’t harm anyone. Thus, there is no harm done to humans in the worship of false gods, but it is still ethically wrong.”
Hmmmmmmmmmmm – Perhaps not to those who also feel they are worshiping the way that was intended.



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Joel

posted April 15, 2010 at 1:19 pm


Sarah,
I think you may be grasping as straws to defend bitterness, which isn’t a good thing. I’m not using myself as a standard, nor have I attempted to position myself as a standard. In fact, I pointed out that I often succumb to my temptation to mock evangelical Christianity, but I also realize that such an action is not right.
Granted that sometimes anger is sometimes a part of healing, bitterness never is. Bitterness forces one to become a slave to another person because you let that person’s actions control who you are and how you react. Ridding one’s self of bitterness is when the healing begins, but bitterness need not be a part of healing.
Yes, church sucks and you’re right, though I’ve been hurt by the church I am not bitter (and that hurt is more than feelings; it’s actually greatly affected my financial situation in life and career choices…but we won’t get into that). But you’re wrong if you think I’m setting myself up as a standard. I was bitter, but it was looking outside of myself that ultimately got me over my bitterness. Don’t follow my example because I am imperfect; but do follow the example of God. All sin that is committed is ultimately committed against Him. The hurt you and I feel when sinned against is also felt by God. Yet, He forgives and does not become bitter. Certainly we are not God and therefore we will become bitter at times, but that doesn’t make it right or healthy.
You say look to the life of Christ and I agree. For one, He didn’t hate the Pharisees, nor was He bitter toward them. He was sometimes harsh in His assessment of them, but in other interactions He wasn’t. Furthermore, who are you to label someone a Pharisee? Isn’t that the exact spirit that Jesus was attacking, the, “Thank God I’m not like that person” attitude? In labeling someone a Pharisee, or drawing the equivalent, aren’t you in a way becoming a Pharisee?
I understand there are times to be harsh and short with people. I agree that sometimes sarcasm has its place (look at Elijah). But when it defines our interaction with a actions we disagree with, we have a problem. That’s not just an interpretation, that is Biblical. You can’t love someone if you harbor bitterness toward them and act out in bitterness towards that person or people group.
And keep in mind that you’re telling me the right way to deal with people…so does this mean you’re dehumanizing me? Always, when making an ethical statement on the “should,” apply it to your situation and see if you’re committing the ethical error that you seek to remove. The fact is, the relativistic approach you’re taking isn’t sustainable because it violates itself.
In the end, just because I recognize that people can become bitter and I understand that bitterness doesn’t mean I agree with it. Having compassion on someone who has suffered and subsequently become bitter doesn’t mean that I just sit by while the person continues in bitterness, which is only harmful to himself. After all, how is that loving or ultimately compassionate?



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Joel

posted April 15, 2010 at 1:21 pm


Nowanatheist,
Our feelings have no bearing on what is ultimately right or wrong though. So one may not feel it is unethical to worship this or that god, but that feeling doesn’t really matter since ethics are external to human experience (that is, ethics do not find their justification in human experience).
Truth is independent of human experience. I may feel that 2+2=9,049, but the fact that 2+2=4 is independent of my feelings.



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Grumpy Old Person

posted April 15, 2010 at 1:33 pm


@ Joel,
“Those who turn to Leviticus are appealing to a specific law meant for a certain time and place”
Yet here are all these many ‘Christians’ who continue to pull-quote from Leviticus to condemn God’s gay and lesbian children. Hmmm.
“At the same time, the prohibition against homosexual acts isn’t just found in the Old Testament.”
Agreed. See above comments regarding Paul’s opinion on homosexual acts v. his opinion of women and of slavery. Which is why we discount his opinions on the topic. To do otherwise would be to have a very selective view of the Bible’s teachings on the topic.
Are there other places in The Bible that support your anti-gay opinion?
“it’s not taking them out of context to say they speak out against homosexual acts; either homosexual acts are wrong in the eyes of God or those passages of Scripture are wrong. Either way, it’s disingenuous to say, “Oh, those are out of context.” They aren’t.”
Um, yes they are. The passages to which you refer deal with homosexual rape, homosexual lust, and homosexual temple/cult prostitution, and NOT with consenting, adult, committed loving relationships. It is the rape, lust and prostitution aspect of the acts that is being condemned, and rightfully so, imo.
But these passages do not deal with what we speak of today when we refer to same-sex couples wishing to marry. They deal with heterosexuals turning from what is “natural” [for them] to somehting that is “unnatural” [for them]. It is not natural for a heterosexual to have sex with someone of the same gender. Likewise, it is not natural for a homosexual to have sex with someone of the opposite gender.
The rest of your long post is as mis-informed and as convoluted in its logic and twisting of Scriptures for your own purposes. (eg.: “Is there a specific reason that God chose one man and one woman to constitute the head of a family” Boy did you misread THAT one. The Bible says that the MAN is the “head of the household”.
If you’re going to pull-quote selective Scriptures (and then interpret them at will) for your own nefarious purposes, well, we know what the Bible does say about who it is that does that.
“should polygamy be allowed, should incest be allowed, should pedophilia be allowed, should adultery be allowed, etc). I’m not comparing homosexuality to any of those actions”
That is PRECISELY what you are doing, Joel. It is readily discernible. Else why did you bring them up?
And to answer your questions:
Polygamy is an inherently injustice institution for the multiple partners. Even we ‘sinful’ gays can see and understand that. (Not that anyone, gay or str8 here is actually arguing FOR polygamy; it’s just another scare-mongering tactic of the ‘religious’ ‘right’.
Re incest: siblings, parents and their children etc. are already kin so they have no need of marriage. Marriage establishes kinship where none previously existed. Yet another scare tactic of religious extremists.
Adultery is, of course, the antithesis of what WE are discussing – namely making a commitment to another (as in ONE other) person. Besides, adultery, whether “allowed” or not, exists – even (or especially) among heterosexually married folk.
Thanx 4 asking, but you’ll have to bring much better ‘arguments’ to the table.



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Your Name

posted April 15, 2010 at 1:38 pm


Joel,
Re: “due to my biological structure I am attracted to women. This doesn’t give me full reign to just go have sex with any woman I please.”
Not that that’s relevant to the discussion of wanting to make a public commitment to the one person you have chosen to love and to live with do homosexuals, but gay couples seeking marriage equality aren’t looking to have the “full reign to just go have sex with any [person they] please”.
WE are discussing committed relatinships, not being promiscuous sluts. DO try to stay on topic.



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toujoursdan

posted April 15, 2010 at 1:43 pm


Tou, none of the Biblical passages about bestiality deal with an animal and a human in a committed relationship either. Now, before you shout out “SLIPPERY SLOPE,” keep in mind that I have Peter Singer and other extreme ethicists in mind when I say that, who support committed relationships between humanity and animals.
Oh dear. Where to even start.
First of all Peter Singer doesn’t advocate that human beings form monogamous sexual relationships with animals. If you have read his book you’d know he’d be quite set against it since he’d consider that a violation of their autonomy.
Ummm… Animals don’t want to form monogamous committed relationships with human beings. Their instinct is to mate with members of their own species. They can’t sign legal documents (for reasons that seem obvious to me but maybe not to you.) They can’t give informed consent. They cannot communicate abstractly or share their innermost thoughts. They cannot maintain a household. They cannot buy or sell property.
So there is harm here. It’s the harm of a human being asserting his/her will on an animal. The animal may cooperate because it is given food and shelter (in exchange for not allowing an animal to get these things naturally). It may be symbiotic, but this is not an equal balanced relationship. It’s not emotionally and physically monogamous (unless, again, the animal is restrained against its will).
My point being – the argument doesn’t work when applied to other passages that put parameters on sexual activity. Just because it doesn’t go into detail doesn’t mean it somehow allows caveats.
You’re example doesn’t work at all. Try thinking this stuff through first, okay?
Likewise, the abuse of the Greek in those passages and a misunderstanding of Greek culture (there were many adult male couples who were monogamous and this wasn’t looked down upon) is what I believe makes such interpretations weak…that and the Church has always held that these passages spoke against the act of homosexuality, no matter the context.
Sorry but I can’t erase verse 23 and 25 in Romans nor the linking words to 26-27. I can’t take 1 Corinthians out of the Greek church he was writing to.
Secondly, I’m not sure what you’ve read about Greek culture but there were not examples of monogamous adult couples in that culture. The economics didn’t support it. In Greek society men took boys on in a mentor role in exchange for sexual favours. The boys would grow up, marry and do the same thing. Greek culture looked down on men continuing this relationship into adulthood.
Secondly, you keep trying to bring up hedonism. I’m not buying that standard. I think it’s a faulty standard and I gave good reasons why it’s a faulty standard.
You haven’t given any good reason. You have given the bestiality example, which I just destroyed, and made several comparisons between homosexuality and things that hurt people. No good reasons there.
If you say you’re a Christian, then at the very least you need to consider the ethical standard I put forth, which is selfless and not selfish (as your standard is selfish). Saying, “There’s no harm” means nothing to me, because I don’t accept hedonism.
And if you are a Christian you have to show why being in a heterosexual marriage is “loving” and being in a gay marriage isn’t.
Even your misinterpretation of Paul doesn’t help your case. Paul says that love doesn’t harm, but this is apophatic, not cataphatic. It’s saying that love will not harm, but it’s not saying that if an action doesn’t harm that it’s automatically loving.
You’re misusing those words, but anyway I agree that doing no harm isn’t always loving. You keep missing my point. But you have failed to show how being in a gay relationship ISN’T loving, or how something that isn’t harmful can still be sinful.
Again, playing video games the majority of my day doesn’t harm anyone, but this doesn’t mean it’s loving either.
This also makes no sense. I gather that the problem here is playing video games to such an extent that you aren’t being responsible in other areas of your life or maintaining friendships etc. I don’t happen to think that this is sinful unless you are breaking agreements or hurting others, but the individual is missing out on a stimulating life. I’m not sure how this applies to being in a monogamous relationship though. It isn’t an obsessive compulsive matter.
Basically, your argument fails on two levels. First, it fails to meet its own standard. You say homosexual relationships don’t harm anyone, but if they do somehow go against the nature of God (and we have reason to indicate that they do if we look at His ideal structure of marriage) then He is harmed.
This is circular reasoning. We haven’t established that it goes against the nature of God.
God is a person and is harmed, thus homosexual actions fail your own standard.
No. God isn’t a person. God is more than that. And there isn’t much New Testament basis to support the idea that God is harmed by the violation of purity codes.
Secondly, and more importantly, it fails because “harm” isn’t a way to test an ethic. Worshiping Allah or any other god is ethically wrong, but it doesn’t harm anyone. Thus, there is no harm done to humans in the worship of false gods, but it is still ethically wrong.
No. It’s not ethically wrong to worship the wrong God. This isn’t a matter ethics or morality. It a matter of theology.
Am I not being clear on this?
No. You’re twisting in the wind.



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Chrissy

posted April 15, 2010 at 1:44 pm


Homosexuality is such a fascinating, though frustrating topic for me. It once again proves that christians are obsessed with the sex lives of others. I think it’s interesting that homosexuals are not preoccupied with the sex lives of others. I don’t understand how christians decided they should not mind their own business. They insist that God has invited them into the business of others, even though the individual would never consider inviting a hateful person in. It is disrespectful to intrude on someone’s business who has not invited you in. They’re like vampires. No one wants them there, but they wait eagerly for the invite so they can suck the gay out of people. Many homosexuals prudently choose not to invite such succubi in.
They hide so easily behind the phrase “loving the sinner, hating the sin.” Honestly, I don’t have the energy to expend on “hating the sin.” And what about “love covers a multitude of wrongs”? To me, that says not to waste energy on hating the sins another person commits. To “cover” is an action focused on not shaming others, no matter what the sin. People who love me cover my sins. They do not shame me. It would be wrong not to treat others with the same respect.
I’ve been thinking about what it means to truly love others because the word “love” has become so wrought with emotion that it is difficult to clarify what it means in a practical sense. I’ve taken to replacing the word “love” with the word “respect.” “Respect your neighbor as yourself.” “Respect is patient. Respect is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self seeking…” This has changed the dynamic of what it means to love in my mind. If someone is suffering, I can respect that. If it is a stranger, I cannot conjure the emotions of love I have for a friend, but I can respect their human experience and do something practical and kind to relieve their suffering. This is how Christ loved. The fact that he had a reputation for hanging out with homosexuals tells me that he respects their human experience. I do not believe he spent time with sinners in order to change them. Surely he told many to “go and sin no more” but it’s interesting that the Bible does not tell us whether or not sinners succeeded in this. We do not know if Zachaeus followed though with the promises he made to Jesus. We do not know if the woman caught in adultery, whom the Pharisees could not stone, continued in adultery or not. All we know is that Christ did not condemn them. To me, this highlights the forgiveness of Christ, not the many sins man commits. Christ had a reputation for befriending sinners, but you know who he did not befriend? Pharisees. Most of his time was spent uprooting the toxic religion that they clung to. He showed compassion toward everyone who knew they fell short of keeping the law.
christians constantly remind homosexuals of how short they fall from from fulfilling the law (aka: God’s plan for their lives). If that is the job of the christian, then I am not one. I prefer to be numbered among the sinners because Christ only condemned those who believed they were righteous. If my own righteousness thwarts me from connecting to my fellow man, then I do not wish to be counted as righteous. “Abraham believed and it was counted to him as righteousness.” “Go. Your faith has healed you.” In whom do the self righteous place their faith? In themselves. That is the one thing that kept me farthest from God, and farthest from respecting my fellow man. All my other sins are minor details in comparison.



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Chrissy

posted April 15, 2010 at 1:51 pm


Also, If I were gay, I’d have a crush on Sarah and Em and Stephy, and a side with Monica. Hell, I’m straight, and I kinda do.



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nowanatheist

posted April 15, 2010 at 2:13 pm


Joel, I have no idea if you have children nor do I know how old you are, but you have NOT walked in my shoes. Am I bitter? I am sure you think I am & I will admit that it is almost impossible not to be. There is not one day that goes by without hearing about the problems that “the gays” are causing our society. There are many times that I just turn the channel, click a button, etc. to avoid listening to it.
Bitterness is a poison to your health and that is one good reason not to be bitter. But to tell someone that it is bad to be bitter or not a necessary healing process is wrong. You & I could both have led the same lives, had the same parents, etc. but would still go through different healing processes. One way is not better than the other. All healing takes time.
I have to come to the point where I just roll my eyes and ignore the bull but there will always be bitterness to some extent. I can’t help it. I love my son. I know him and I know that he certainly did not have any choice in whom he is attracted to or not attracted to. I wouldn’t change him for anything. He is who he is and he has every right to marry someone of the same sex if he chooses to.
I am also PROUD that he chooses to accept himself the way he is. It is certainly not easy. He is super intelligent, thoughtful, caring, and an outstanding young man. He got scholarships for both academics & community service. He got into one of the best schools in our country and is now overseas in one of the best universities as well. He pays taxes just like everyone else & deserves the same freedoms that everyone else has.



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Valerie

posted April 15, 2010 at 2:13 pm


Sarah, beautiful comment @12:51.
Your cyber friend, Valerie



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Joel

posted April 15, 2010 at 2:31 pm


Tou, I’m very familiar with Singer and I will admit that I may have put words in his mouth. However, he does argue in his article “Heavy Petting” that not all sexual interactions between humans and animals need be harmful. That is, so long as the interaction doesn’t hurt the human or the animal, then it’s not wrong. While the contractual issues may be difficult to impossible for animals, thus negating what we define as marriage, Singer does not say that a type of sexual relationship cannot occur. So what you’re saying is not something that Singer would agree with (or others who support bestiality).
My point is quite simple – the Bible never goes into detail and says, “Bestiality is wrong if it harms the animal, but okay if…” It simply gives a general ethic that can then be spread out. Just because Paul fails to go into detail on what type of homosexual activities he is referring to doesn’t mean we can automatically assume he means prostitution, pedophilia, rape, and that’s it. That’s reading into the text.
As for my understanding of Greek culture, I would have to question your own understanding. Alexander the Great was known for his intimate relationship with his boyhood friend. You also have the relationship between Pausanius and Agathon, which was recognized by Plato (who also argued that true love can only exist between two men). Even Achilles, a hero to the ancient Greeks, had a male lover with whom he was exclusive. Likewise, you can find many vases where two beardless boys are courting or two grown men are having sex (most from the 5th century BC in Athens), indicating that the practice was not as uncommon as we once thought. The idea that Greek sex was somehow mostly composed of pederasty and prostitution is an academic myth. The more we discover about Greece, the more we realize that homosexuality was far more common than even in our own day. The lone exception would be marriage, but to the Greeks to marry someone was a ay of acquiring property. A man married a woman to procreate and have workers on the farm, likewise the woman became his property. Since men were (1) equal and (2) unable to bear children together, marriages between men wouldn’t have taken place; but this doesn’t mean the relationships back then would be any different than today.
So we have this history where homosexual actions were acceptable to a certain culture, yet the Bible speaks out against them. Were Paul to mean just the abusive acts, then he would have labeled them as such, rather than speaking out against homosexuality on the whole.
As for your ethical standard, again, why should I accept it? The video game analogy does work, especially if you assume that I can go to work, I can spend enough time with loved ones, but all my free time is dedicated to video games. Again, no harm is done, but it is still unethical. Or the example of worshiping gods other than God; no harm is done, but it is still unethical. You say that it’s a matter of theology, but it’s not. If God created us and calls us to be in a relationship with him, then we have an ethical obligation to do so as he is superior to us in all ways. If we neglect this obligation, then we are acting in an unethical way. Just as a child has the ethical obligation to obey his parents, we have the ethical obligation to obey God. When we fail to do so, though no harm is done to others, we are still being unethical. You’re still using hedonism as your ethic, but this goes against the central Christian ethic.
As for God not being a person, what do you base that on? He feels, he communicates, he thinks, he is rational…he shows all the signs of being a person. Likewise, he set up a specific order for this world to follow. If marriage was instituted by him (and I have yet to see why we shouldn’t believe this), then we have to ask if homosexuality fits within that order. I would argue that it doesn’t, but this becomes quite a long and drawn out argument.



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Joel

posted April 15, 2010 at 2:37 pm


Nowanatheist,
Your son sounds like a great man and like a role model to his peers. That is a good thing and not once have I brought into question your son or how good he is. I’m also not part of that crowd saying the gays are destroying our society; I think that’s an absurd claim.
As for bitterness, it’s never a part of healing. How can it be? How can one forgive and yet be bitter? It’s not a matter of “my walk” vs “your walk;” it’s a simple truth that bitterness is the antithesis of forgiveness.



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nowanatheist

posted April 15, 2010 at 3:04 pm


Joel, I am just saying that bitterness can be one process (or stage if you will) that someone can go through on their way to being healed. It doesn’t mean anyone did it right or wrong which you are seeming to imply.
Forgiveness is the END product (if successful). I have no idea how I can completely get rid of the bitterness (which can be extremely mild to the other end of the spectrum) on any given day. This is something I have to face every single day. Would I be so bitter if it wasn’t in front of me every single day? I doubt it.
I was molested (age 12) by a male relative. I know people who are traumatized forever and there are other people who can mostly get over it. I have been able to forgive the person but he is dead now so I don’t have to face him every day. I have friends that were molested by their still alive fathers/relative and they have a daily reminder of those events. I would imagine it would be much harder to deal with that (and that is an understatement if I ever heard one).
We all deal with stuff differently. I am sure that many events in my life have been a result of the abuse (not being terribly trustful). I was extremely lucky because I never acted out like some abused people do. Does it make me a better person? Absolutely not.
Believe me if there is a God he grieves for these people who have been harmed whether it was sexual, physical or emotional abuse. If he can’t understand why then I don’t even know what to say. All I know is that anyone who harms children deserves a special place in heck whether I forgive them or not.



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Joel

posted April 15, 2010 at 3:15 pm


Nowanatheist,
When I say “bitter,” I am referring to hatred. It’s more than being hurt or having many issues to deal with, but to hatred; wishing the person was dead, treating the person with no respect simply because of who they are or who they represent, mocking the person at every chance you get, etc.
I actually haven’t picked up on that from you. Instead, I pick up quite a bit of hurt over how your son has been treated. Now I pick up hurt over how you were treated. To be quite honest, I don’t know how you or anyone else can get over sexual abuse. To me, that seems like one of the most heinous crimes committed on human beings.
In such cases, as I stated, I understand the bitterness. I understand bitterness can exist and can sometimes come before forgiveness. All I was saying is that such bitterness is not right. It may be a reality, but that doesn’t mean it’s good or healthy. For me, bitterness was something I went through, but that doesn’t mean that such bitterness was good, helpful, or necessary.
For instance, you’ve never acted out over your abuse, which is good. Some others, especially men, do act it out by becoming violent and/or sexually abusing others. Though we understand the cause of such actions and those actions might be something they’re going through in order to get to forgiveness, those actions aren’t good. They aren’t healthy.
Does that help explain what I’m saying?



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stephy

posted April 15, 2010 at 3:26 pm


Joel says that being bitter doesn’t have to be a part of healing, but I’m not so sure. Healing isn’t always pretty. It’s messy, relationship is messy, faith is messy, truly living is messy and quite ugly in parts. It sounds as if Joel thinks that people who are bitter are sinning in their anger, and he likens it to hatred. Joel, don’t you think Jesus seemed bitter when he was smashing stuff in the temple?



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Joel

posted April 15, 2010 at 3:33 pm


Stephy, no, I don’t see him as bitter in his actions in the temple.
Yes, I do think staying in bitterness (like you are doing) is sinning in your anger. Bitterness is the antithesis of forgiveness, so how can bitterness be a good thing? It is indicative of one who has failed to forgive. Jesus’ actions in the temple show anger, but they don’t show a lack of forgiveness.



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stephy

posted April 15, 2010 at 3:40 pm


I asked a leading question. Of course you don’t think Jesus was bitter when he was breaking stuff in temple. Now I’m curious, can you tell me why you don’t think he was bitter? And why you think I am bitter? You realize it’s a judgment call to say I am bitter. I just wonder what makes you think I am. Because I’m calling out stuff that people do in Jesus’ name that has nothing to do with Jesus? It seems to me that is what he wanted us to do.
I wonder if you think I still go to church. I am just curious. Do you think a person who is bitter towards church would stop going to church? Or is it possible they would continue to go, to a conservative reformed congretation, and enjoy it? I’m just wondering if you think that’s possible.



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Em

posted April 15, 2010 at 3:44 pm


@ Chrissy: I love how most of the girls on this forum are in this internet lovefest. It makes me smile in the middle of my work day :)
@Joel: Bitter does not necessarily mean hatred. In fact, most of these people who are questioning you and others are questioning the hatred and fear so often launched at homosexuals, particularly. So that would make us pretty staunchly anti-hatred. Also, criticizing a philosophy and thinking that that particular philosophy is hurtful is not hatred. Saying things like, “Homosexuality is a sin, deal with it” is hatred. Comparing homosexuals to animals and pedophiles and rapist–THAT is hatred. I believe in the gospel of love. Not the gospel of “you’re going to hell, nyah nyah nyah.”
And I’m curious as to where the Bible outlines the ideal marriage. Again, you can’t count the OT because most of those people referred to were polygamous. Song of Solomon? Hello, Solomon had a bajillion wives!
And the ideal marriage relationship outlined in the NT? Let me tell you, not ideal for me. I was miserable for years, I was in the church most of the time and should have been dating the guys there, but I knew better. I knew that they were taught to pursue a relationship where they were in control, where the man was the head and the decider. I knew nothing could make me MORE miserable. I am an independent person, an independent thinker, and stubborn as hell. I am a leader and I am LOUD. I never wanted that relationship Paul talks about, never. I never wanted a relationship where my husband made all the choices for me. I never wanted a relationship where someone would try. What do you say to me? Do I need to be celibate too, because I can’t be a “Godly wife”/doormat? I was told I needed to submit to a man, told I was an evil feminist and a bad, unnatural woman. I was told if I walked closer to God, I would change. that life made me miserable and I am so happy to be free. I’ve realized that God created me to be a leader, to be opinionated, to submit to no one.
I’ve found someone who wanted a teammate. I’ve found someone who wanted a partner. And I’m finally happy, because he makes me comfortable with myself and doesn’t ever expect to control me or me to submit to him. Is there something wrong with our relationship, Joel?



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Your Name

posted April 15, 2010 at 3:50 pm


Where to start again.
I don’t care what Singer said. The instinct of animals is procreate with their own species, not with people. To the degree that we’re forcing them to do so with us, we are causing harm. It’s that simple.
Secondly, it doesn’t matter whether Paul went into detail about prostitution, paedophilia, rape etc., They still cause obvious and objective harm. You keep dancing around how gay relationships do the same.
Thirdly, I have to wonder where you are getting your information on Greek culture. First of us, you confuse Greek attitudes about male love and companionship with sex.
Alexander the Great had three wives: Roxane, Statiera, and Parysatis and two named sons, one with a concubine named Barsine. He did keep a lifelong companion, Hephaestion, but ancient literature doesn’t talk about whether that was a sexual relationship or not.
Ancient literature doesn’t say what the nature of Agathon’s relationship was.
Achilles had a son Neoptolemus, with princess Deidamia so he couldn’t have had an exclusive relationship with a male.
You are taking Greek literature that talks about lifelong companionship and love between men and assuming sex. If you can do that with the Greeks, I can do that with the Hebrews. David and Jonathan’s love surpassed that of women. Therefore they were a gay couple, right?
From the book “Greek Homosexuality” by Ken Dover:
Given the importance in Greek society of cultivating the masculinity of the adult male and the perceived feminizing effect of being the passive partner, relations between adult men of comparable social status were considered highly problematic, and usually associated with social stigma. This stigma, however, was reserved for only the passive partner in the relationship. Greeks who engaged in passive homosexuality past the age at which they were the passive members of pederastic relationships “made a woman” of themselves; there is ample evidence in the theater of Aristophanes that derides these passive homosexuals and gives a glimpse of the type of biting social opprobrium heaped upon them by their society.
They didn’t have adult male sexual relationships in ancient Greek because it “feminized” the passive man and made him an object of ridicule. But they did believe that love between adult men was the highest form of love. They aren’t the same thing. Nothing you posted proves your case because the ancient literature isn’t that specific.
I don’t know where to start on the other stuff. You in no way argued that video games and human relationships are anything alike. In fact, you proved my point where I said that the attention on video games is the cause of the problem. And where you get the idea that God is a person is beyond me. The Trinity is made up of three persons. Jesus Christ is the Second person of the Trinity. God can feel and empathize but God isn’t a person. If the violation of purity codes hurt God, Jesus must not have gotten the message.



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toujoursdan

posted April 15, 2010 at 3:51 pm


Sorry, that last post is mine.



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Sarah

posted April 15, 2010 at 4:01 pm


Joel,
I can’t believe that the gross, weepy, scabby, itchy, angry part of the healing process is affrontive to God (Madeleine L’Engle wrote gorgeously, “God can handle your anger”; the psalmist wrote, “For he knows how we are formed; he remembers that we are dust” in the context of God’s great love for us as we are — human). I think it’s kind of silly for you to assume that any of us are saying that bitterness is right. I’m just saying that bitterness IS, and it’s part of what it is to be human, and to heal; part of my own healing (and, just as I don’t know what you’ve been through, you have no idea what I’ve been through) has been accepting the bitterness as part of a context, and facing it. Years of denying it almost cost me my life. Acknowledging it and giving it its space has allowed me to come a huge part of the way through it. Part of what it means to love my neighbor as myself is to allow others, and myself, the space to be bitter if that’s what they need to be. If it’s unforgiving, well, God loves even the unforgiving (as well as the errant, the earnest and the intractable), and so can I, whether I encounter it in myself or in the Other. I’d prefer to give the quiet acceptance I like to receive, rather than preach or (as Chrissy excellently put it) shame people.
Interestingly, working out some of my bitterness on this forum has helped me interact on a much less bitter level with my evangelical parents. All things in their place and time, bitterness included. And it is part of the healing process, my friend; you said that you yourself have been through it. I don’t know anyone who has overcome harm and reached forgiveness without undergoing bitterness in the process; it’s part of the rocky uphill path. You seem to be conflating bitterness, anger and hatred. They can definitely all merge at times; but each state of being by itself is not equivalent to either of the others.
And I believe I applied my statements very much to myself. I simply said that when I’m being an asshole, I want to be called on it by the people I hurt so I can revise my position and reorient myself in the love exemplified by Jesus. You do not appear to be listening to the people who are speaking to you here; you seem to prefer to prove how you’re right and we’re wrong, which is not a listening, mutual, redemptive conversation. And you didn’t answer my question as to whether it means anything to you that you’ve dehumanized and devalued people on this forum through your unhearing method of argument. Does it mean anything? Based on your excellent comment to nowanatheist, I think it might. Think what other hurts exist among us here that you don’t know about.
And Joel: Seriously. Back off Stephy. “(like you are doing)”? What kind of love is that? You don’t know her, you don’t know where she’s been or what she’s gone through, you don’t know what she is like in proximity and you don’t know the redemptive, salvific effect her blog has had on many of the people who comment here. This blog has given me more grace in six months than any other kind of Christianity ever did in my nearly thirty years. Your easy judgment of her is exactly what I’m talking about when I say you’re being dehumanizing and perverse. Jesus never, never did what you just did to Stephy.
If I dehumanized you, I’m sorry. How did I hurt you or make you feel less human? (Or were you just trying to prove a point, holding a mirror up to a mirror?) I was attempting to invite you to see the humanity of the people you’re interacting with, yourself and myself included.
But this is why I dislike debate. It subjugates the humanity of the people involved for the sake of proving a point. Dialogue is different — dialogue is about relationship, not rightness. It seems, largely, that you prefer debate. And that’s fine; debate has its place too. It’s just not a place I enjoy.
Chrissy, Amen and Amen. Number me among the sinners; let me only mind my own business and work to be kind (even when I fail). And ditto about the straight crush. :) I love you, Valerie, Em, Stephy and Monica, and so many of the people who comment here.
Em, lol! It makes me smile too.



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Joel

posted April 15, 2010 at 4:07 pm


Stephy, I don’t think His actions were done out of bitterness because it wasn’t something He was holding onto. He performs His action, He is angry, and He forgives. To be bitter is to withhold forgiveness, to withhold forgiveness is to sin. If we accept that Christ was without sin, then He couldn’t have been bitter.
What makes me think that you’re bitter is just how the site comes across. It comes across as mocking conservative Christian culture. Again, I’m no fan of the culture, but it does come across as a mockery. Maybe I’m misreading it. Would you say you’re not attempting to mock it?
Would you agree that to be bitter is to withhold sin? If not, why not? Maybe we’re differing on what it means to be bitter.
I have no idea on if you go to church and if you do, what type of church it is. I think it is possible for someone who is bitter against the church to attend it and still enjoy it (I did that for years). Humanity is composed of contradictory emotions.
Em,
The ideal is found in different parts of the Bible. The Genesis narrative indicates that marriage is to occur between a man and a woman. In the ancient Law, the Israelites were told that were they ever to acquire a king, he wasn’t supposed to have multiple wives. We see that having multiple wives goes against the ideal and that though God will work in un-idealistic world.
Likewise, your assessment of the New Testament model of marriage is an attack against an interpretation, not against the model actually put forth. The Biblical model has both the husband and wife submitting and sacrificing in different ways; if the wife is a ‘doormat,’ then that has exceeded the Biblical model.
And if you think God has called you to submit to no one, then yes, you are wrong. Absolutely 100% wrong. Single, married, male, or female; you’re called to submit first to God and secondly to humanity.



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Em

posted April 15, 2010 at 4:15 pm


Joel: you have surpassed yourself with snark, WHILE you’re criticizing Stephy. Congratulations! I wasn’t addressing God in the title of “no one,” but thanks for assuming I don’t know my Bible. I don’t believe God has called me to submit to other PEOPLE. I don’t consider caring for other people and helping other people to be submitting so much as serving, and I submit to God as best I can. Do you assume that none of us questioning the Church know the Bible or our own faith? I know the Bible quite well. I don’t need someone patronizing me, but thanks for the offer.
And the Biblical model DOES have the woman as subordinate to her husband. I could quote you a bunch of passages, but I’m not going to assume you’re an ignoramus even though you just did the same to me. I am getting married this year and that is not the model we are following, not even a little bit. We have an egalitarian relationship. You didn’t answer my question. Is that somehow ungodly?



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nowanatheist

posted April 15, 2010 at 4:16 pm


Okay, I think we are back to the women are from Venus & men are from Mars problem. Women & men are completely different in how they deal with things. For instance, women like to talk about things (sometimes over & over) while they work through something. We don’t want an immediate solution just because we vocalize something once. Men for the most part don’t do that. They say 2+2=4 and go on about their business. However, there are many ways to get to 4. Maybe the way we all arrive to 4 isn’t the same or isn’t even necessarily right.
Life is a messy business. All I know is that I try really really hard not to judge people because I don’t know what has gone on in their lives to make them the way they are. I know that for Christians this is hard because of the “original sin” belief. Men in particular seem to think that it is easy to pick yourself up by the bootstraps & get your act together. I quit smoking (drinking, etc) so everyone should be able to do it!
At any rate, if Christians believe what they say then they know that they are responsible for their OWN actions. The thing that amazes me is that we all live here. No one is going to agree. The Catholics believe they belong to the true church, evangelicals are saved thru Christ, etc. etc. etc. Is there a common ground? Yes, & it should have nothing to do with God or religion. I won’t expect you to teach my children Christianity at a public school & I think the Muslims would be good with that as well. Just because one group is the majority doesn’t mean we should be ruled by their thinking.



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Joel

posted April 15, 2010 at 4:19 pm


This is becoming too long, so let me summarize my responses:
Tou, relying on a book that is over 30 years old doesn’t help your case. The view of Greek sexual acts has changed drastically since 1968 – look it up. Likewise, read up more on your Greek because the relationships I mentioned were all considered sexual (and are by the majority of historians as well, so it’s not my own conjecture). My information on and about Plato comes from my first-hand reading of Plato.
As for Singer, my point still stands. Just because the Bible doesn’t spell out everything in ethics doesn’t mean certain things are correct.
As for contending that God is a person (as a unity, but also three persons in distinction)….that comes from the past 2,000 years of Christian tradition…



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Sarah

posted April 15, 2010 at 4:25 pm


Joel, it looks like you’re using the same argument to deny the misogynist passages of the Bible that you claim is invalid in denying the homophobic passages of the Bible.



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Joel

posted April 15, 2010 at 4:28 pm


Em, how did I belittle you or tell you that you don’t know your Bible? Don’t cry “foul” so quickly.
I asserted that you were wrong in your assessment of the Biblical model of marriage, so yeah, I think you’re wrong. Does that mean I’m taking your knowledge into question? Should you really take offense at that? You think I’m wrong on the issue of homosexuality. Should I take offense to that?
And like it or not, you are called to submit to humanity (Second Greatest Commandment) and to other Christians (Ephesians 5).
As for the Biblical model, I will contend that in the ideal, the wife submits to the husband, but the husband is to submit to the needs of the wife and family. Just because the ideal wasn’t recognized in your relationship doesn’t mean the ideal is automatically wrong.



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Em

posted April 15, 2010 at 4:37 pm


Joel, I was referring to you’re “hurr hurr you have to submit to God” smart-assery. And it was smart-assery, or patronization. One or the other, you pick!
By calling something an “ideal” you assume it is the best case scenario, when in fact it only works for a very limited facet of the population. You can’t argue that the ideal isn’t compulsory AND argue that the ideal dictates that a relationship = one man + one woman. These are contradictory arguments. That was why I was pointing it out–if the Biblical model is something that doesn’t work for 95% of people, then you can’t say it’s why homosexual relationships are wrong. You can only cite an ideal if it is just that–an ideal, instead of a cultural and social necessity in the time that Paul was writing.
And Sarah has a point. You’re entering double-standard territory–the ideal isn’t invalidated by the existence of more egalitarian and feminist unions, and those unions are okay, but homosexual relationships are wrong because they don’t follow the pattern of the ideal?



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Joel

posted April 15, 2010 at 4:42 pm


Is it that the Biblical model doesn’t work for 95% of the people, or the people fail to properly follow the Biblical model?
Read Chesterton’s “What’s Wrong With the World;” it helps explain where I’m coming from.



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toujoursdan

posted April 15, 2010 at 4:42 pm


Joel:
I have read a lot about this too. The literature hasn’t changed that much. Another good resource is “The Construction of Homosexuality” by David Greenberg.
But to be as get as current as possible, I even did a Googlesearch. They are still saying the same thing: http://www.google.com/search?q=adult+homosexuality+in+ancient+greece&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a
Plato doesn’t go into the level of detail you think it does. I don’t know what you’re getting out of Plato’s plays but it isn’t what you think it is.
(And a growing number of scholars believe that David and Jonathan’s relationship was sexual too. See “Jonathan Loved David: Homosexuality in Biblical Times” by Thomas Horner, amongst others: http://www.amazon.com/Jonathan-Loved-David-Homosexuality-Biblical/dp/0664241859 )
Your point about monogamous sexual relationships with animals is just as ridiculous as it was before. You aren’t even debating the point about whether an animal actually wants this kind of relationship with a person, and how a being that isn’t giving informed consent isn’t harmed by not doing so. You’re just reasserting your claim over and over again.
You have utterly failed to show how committed gay relationships, which do no objective harm, are not loving and STILL sinful.
And God is not a person in any way that is like us. We are made in his image, but He’s not made in ours. Your claim doesn’t come from any tradition.
If you want to think homosexuality is a sin have at it. You’re just a guy on the internet and so am I so it doesn’t matter to me. I have my own relationship with God to work on and can only go by what He tells me. But let’s not pretend that it’s grounded in anything but a personal prejudice dressed up in religious clothing to make it look better. Because that’s all it is.



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Sarah

posted April 15, 2010 at 4:46 pm


What biblical model? There are lots of biblical models of marriage in the Bible, about which the Bible says nothing one way or the other, and which changed significantly over time. The best we can do is extrapolate and trust grace to cover our failings in getting it as close to “right” as our place and time will allow.
And frankly I’d rather hear YOU explain where you’re coming from.



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Em

posted April 15, 2010 at 4:48 pm


Sorry Joel, but I refuse to believe that God made me who I was so I could supress that person. Sure, I have my vices, but my personality has strengths, too, and I love who I am. That’s what God wants–He doesn’t want me to hate the person He created. I stopped my own cycle of self-loathing and decided to love that person.
I also refuse to believe that a model that doesn’t work with 95% of people is that 95%’s fault. Let’s be honest–it’s based on strict gender stereotypes, and those of us that don’t fall into it (outspoken women, men who don’t want to lead the relationship all the time) are treated like we’re doing something wrong. I think God’s priority in a relationship would more be that it was loving and mutually beneficial–not that it followed a model based on a very patriarchal society where women weren’t considered worth a damn except for the offspring they produced. I don’t think God’s that petty, but that’s just me! And I think if all women or all men were “supposed” to be a certain way, then maybe He would’ve made us that way.
Those gender norms are equally (and often disasterously) imposed on homosexuals who, let’s face it, just weren’t born into those stereotypes. If 95% of us don’t fit the “manly man” and “wilting flower” stereotypes, is that really a problem with US, or a problem with how Christian culture interprets God’s will?



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Em

posted April 15, 2010 at 4:57 pm


Then again, you referenced a book that says that one of the things wrong with the world is women working outside the home, so I can see that perhaps you are just an old soul missing the good ol’ days…or maybe you’re just such a slave to those stereotypes that you’re willing to toss out the majority of people who don’t fill them. To most people that would make it a false stereotype, so I have to applaud your commitment to the idea.



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Josh

posted April 15, 2010 at 5:16 pm


Aaaaall right. I think it’s pretty obvious that there are two completely different arguments going on here. A few people are still arguing over whether or not gay marriage should be legal, but most of us are discussing whether or not homosexuality can exist within Christianity.
To be honest, when it comes to the latter I don’t really care. I haven’t been a Christian for about three years now, and I checked out of all the theological arguments about then. I always just assumed that part of Christianity was about not being gay and left it at that.
Where I take issue is the first question: whether or not homosexuals should be allowed to marry. Now, can you think of any reason why they SHOULDN’T? I realize that there have been many, MANY comments that you think have given these reasons, but try and filter them. First, ignore all arguments based on Christianity. America has a seperation of church and state. End of story. The theology doesn’t MATTER when it comes down to what is legally, in effect, a matter of tax and property law. Second, ignore all arguments using references to bestiality or incest. We aren’t trying to legalize those. We’re JUST talking about homosexuality. Two ADULT HUMANS. Two adults that love each other. That’s it. NOW can you think of any reason why the government should try and prevent them from getting married?
If you can’t think of something really impressive, I say let them go for it. The divorce rate in America is about fifty percent, (although it varies based on age), so I don’t think it’s somehow going to “pervert” marriage. Marriage is already in a pretty poor state. I don’t think an influx of loving couples is really going to hurt it. I live in Canada, where gay marriage IS legal, and believe me, there hasn’t been any fire or brimstone to speak of, and nobodys marrying cows or twenty women (well, there are a few of those, but they are getting some very stern words from the police).



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cd

posted April 15, 2010 at 7:23 pm


I’ve read the clobber passages and…just don’t “get” them. I really can’t find a moral warrant for them within them, let alone any revealed nature, and I doubt anyone else really does either. It’s frankly Paul saying “I’m not gay even if you suspect me the permanent bachelor with lots of male companions of it- I consider all that stuff revolting!”
My lesbian next door neighbor is raising three children (she had twins two weeks ago) with her partner and they’re simply not going away. They’re an adorable family. Oh, and the historical definition of marriage is: the merger of two extended families. Which you see manifested as their relatives drop by. Reality has outrun theological speculation.
Around 2018 the country will have a majority that supports legalization of gay marriage. At which point orthodox American Christians will have to face the reality (yet again) that on grounds of moral conscience the country isn’t going to respect yet another line they’ve drawn in the sand based on dubious exegeses.



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ME

posted April 15, 2010 at 8:21 pm


Some interesting background on Joel gleaned from a cursory googling of “Joel Borofsky” (see the facebook conversation).
http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2006/07/dembskis_research_assistant_ex_1.php
Seems Joel is out all over the internets being a good little culture warrior.



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ME

posted April 15, 2010 at 8:27 pm


Drum roll….here is Joel’s own website, where he is “Reshaping the world through rational and relational Christianity.” Here’s an article where he’s praising Glenn Beck for his “civil manner” in discussing illegal immigration.
http://thechristianwatershed.com/2008/05/29/glenn-beck-on-illegal-immigration/



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shadow_man

posted April 15, 2010 at 8:48 pm


To those of you using the Bible as a weapon against homosexuality, you are wrong. Homosexuality is not a sin. The Bible is constantly being taken out of context to support anti-gay views. Scholars who have studied the Bible in context of the times and in relation to other passages have shown those passages (Leviticus, Corinthians, Romans, etc) have nothing to do with homosexuality. These passages often cherry-picked while ignoring the rest of the Bible. The sins theses passages are referring to are idolatry, Greek temple sex worship, prostitution, pederasty with teen boys, and rape, not homosexuality or two loving consenting adults.
http://www.soulfoodministry.org/docs/English/NotASin.htm
http://www.jesus21.com/content/sex/bible_homosexuality_print.html
http://www.christchapel.com/reclaiming.html
http://www.stjohnsmcc.org/new/BibleAbuse/BiblicalReferences.php
http://www.gaychristian101.com/
Thats why Jesus never mentions it as well. There is nothing immoral, wrong, or sinful about being gay. Jesus, however, clearly states he HATES hypocrites. If you preach goodness, then promote hate and twist the words of the Bible, you are a hypocrite, and will be judged and sent to hell. Homosexuals will not go to hell, hypocrites will.
This is very similar to the religious bigots of the past, where they took Bible passages to condone slavery, keep women down, and used Bible passages to claim blacks as curses who should be enslaved by the white man. People used God to claim that blacks marrying whites was unnatural, and not of God’s will.



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stephy

posted April 15, 2010 at 9:36 pm


It seems Joel has a commenting policy on his blog that he doesn’t observe on this blog (critiquing a person without offering rational arguments). :)
“4) If a thread deals with deeper issues, critiquing a person without offering rational or evidentiary arguments will leave your posts subject to deletion.”



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Spinning

posted April 16, 2010 at 1:58 am


oohkee… I decided to be late to the party here, since i figured it would be a tough one.
and I don’t think I’m gonna say much… but here goes
@ stephy, Sarah, Chrissy, Em et. al.: I’m straight but have a mutual girlcrush on all of you sistas! You’re amazing; i love love love reading your posts – and all of you are helping me work through some stuff from those evangelical daze. [misspelling entirely intentional there!]
@ Nathan: superb comment; maybe the best one here. I wonder why nobody else has remarked on that? (The quote from The Song of Songs seems especially apt.)
Y’know, for years I took a “love the sinner, hate the sin” and anti-gay marriage line, partly as protective coloring, partly because I felt it *must* be right, somehow, even if it just didn’t jive with a lot of things I felt on a gut level. And then there was the feeling of having to turn my back on gay friends from college and earlier (I was an art major, so you can bet I *did* have gay friends, classmates, profs and acquaintances)… By the grace of God, I am in a different place about all of this now – but that change took time, and a *lot* of listening to other people. (Very much including many dedicated Christian men and women who are LGBTQ.)
Knowing people – really hearing their stories and letting them into your lives (and vice versa) changes things immensely, as does having a gay sibling or child or… well. i could go on but won’t; the points have already been made.
As for anyone who would in *any* way advocate some sort of sexual relationship between animals and humans, I just… that is abuse, because they are not the same species as us, and they cannot EVER consent to such a thing. We’re supposed to care for them, not *use* them in such a vile way – and I honestly think those who do so are pretty much in the same boat as child molesters, torturers, et. al. But that’s a completely different subject, and has absolutely nothing to do with committed, loving relationships between adult humans of either the same gender or of what used to be called “the opposite sex.”
And yeah – I know some LGBTQ couples whose love and dedication put a *lot* of straight couples to shame.
To Huckabee, Dobson, et. al., all I can say is “Physician, heal thyself.” Because they need that desperately, and they’re the only ones who can make the choice to start looking beyond the blinders they’re obviously wearing. (“Obvious” to many of us, but not to them…)



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Chrissy

posted April 16, 2010 at 3:23 am


Aw snap, “ME” and Stephy! Joel just got served!



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Your Name

posted April 16, 2010 at 11:06 am


“relying on a book that is over 30 years old doesn’t help your case”
Jeez Louise is THAT rich, coming from the same person who relies on a book that is 2,000 years old!
And how old is that Chesterton book you referenced, oel?
Irony and self-delusion are not dead apparently.



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Sarah

posted April 16, 2010 at 12:19 pm


@ ME’s links: Hm…That puts all his “research” into perspective: It seems that he’s reading a lot but with the goal of fitting what he reads into the way he already sees the world. (I’m still slowly learning not to do this — it’s safer to approach everything inductively than be open to everything you think you know being wrong.)
I guess (and this is only a guess) if your mission is to “transform the world” by and into one presupposed and rigid version of Christianity, any possibility of being transformed yourself into anything apart from that version threatens the mission — because if your perspective undergoes any kind of change, the mission must also change, and is therefore lost. So he can’t listen, even though the mission seems graceless at best and maybe would be better off lost. But then he would lose his purpose, not just his perspective, and that’s a scary thing for any of us to face. Very sad.



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Your Name

posted April 16, 2010 at 2:15 pm


@Spinning: yay! girlcrushes all around! This has been a great forum for me to heal, as well, and it may shock some people, but every time I read Stephy’s posts or the comments section, it’s really edifying.
I used to be like that too, towing the line of “well just because I think it’s a sin doesn’t mean I have to hate anyone.” It’s a) easier said than done, and b) easy to do when you don’t have any GLBTQ people you’re close to. The more you listen to peoples’ experiences and stories the more your mind opens, I guess, and you start to change your stances on things. I think this is a good thing, but my old youth group leader would call me a “college statistic”. I guess it’s all perspective! :)
@Sarah: after reading some posts on his site, I can see that he clings to outmoded ideas because they’re comfortable. He doesn’t have to quantify them, instead he just says they’re “biblical” and thus they’re facts–i.e. male/female traditional gender roles, homosexuality being “unnatural” and leading to only misery, etc. So now I feel like I understand him, because I know scores of people like that. He’s an educated version of the trolls going “OMG you guyz are so stupid just read the bible gays are evil.”



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Em

posted April 16, 2010 at 2:18 pm


^^^ Love, me.



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Clearly Crazy Mike

posted April 16, 2010 at 5:32 pm


I wonder what would happen if all of Christian Culture suddenly decided to stop trying to control people’s behavior through legislation. What if they were just like, “We’re done with this. Decide what you want. Do what you want. But if you want to know what true love is, look us up.”
Hard to even conceptualize, isn’t it?



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Still Breathing

posted April 16, 2010 at 7:15 pm


I want to tell you a sad story. A few years a go an openly gay man, living with his partner, applied to be a member of the Baptist church I attend. Now this was contentious but it wasn’t swept under the carpet and a church meeting was called to discuss and vote on his application. We had some guidance from my sister-in-law who had just become a Baptist minister but when it came to the actual church meeting there wasn’t one reference to Biblical teaching – it was all about what people felt was socially right. I voted against the motion but it was carried and he became a church member. I would have left the church at that time but for my son being settled in the church youth group.
Since then I have looked at the Bible teaching and, like others who approach this with an open mind, have come to the conclusion that we are not bound by an Old Testament Law that is based on women being property and that the New Testament references are about temple prostitution.
Now we come to the sad bit. The man in question now only ever comes near the church when his son (I’m not sure of the exact relationship) comes as a cub/scout to church parade. Even sadder I’m one of the very few who speak to him when he is in church – most of those who were so keen for him to be a member ignore him.



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Karen

posted April 17, 2010 at 2:38 pm


I came of age in Dade County, Florida, at the time that Anita Bryant was on her anti-gay crusade. The argument that had the most resonance for me at the time: the ordinance would mean single-sex bathrooms — the horror! Fast forward 30+ years. My daughter (16) has grown up in Europe. Calling a toilet a single-sex bathroom would make no sense to her — it’s just a toilet. She’s plenty glad when it’s not a hole in the floor. Who uses it is of no interest to her. My point is that the Christianists use wild-eyed scare tactics — now it’s sex with donkeys! — because the reality is just too tame. The idea of gay people in stable, committed relationships is clearly not scary enough — even for them. The resort to donkey sex should tell you something . . .



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Grumpy Old Person

posted April 18, 2010 at 1:48 pm


“My point is that the Christianists use wild-eyed scare tactics — now it’s sex with donkeys! — because the reality is just too tame. The idea of gay people in stable, committed relationships is clearly not scary enough — even for them. The resort to donkey sex should tell you something . . .”
It tells us plenty, Karen.
Firstly, it tells us/me that they simply fail to acknowledge that God’s gay and lesbian children actually DO have relationships (as opposed to the nebulous “gay lifestyle”) AND that they believe those relationships are never comparable to the heterosexual lifestyle (oops, I mean heterosexual relationships, but rather to sex with animals, sex with minors, sex with multitudes.
It tells us/me that they are simply incapable of recognizing our very humanity – that gay people are the equivalent of murderers and thieves, etc.
It tells us/me that they are incapable of fulfilling the ‘treat others as you would like to be treated’ commandment – which is, btw, “the sum of the laws and the prophets” – aka the Golden Rule.
It exposes their lies about gay people as the hateful, false witness, wifull mis-information about us that it is.
IOW, it tells us that they are not Christians at all, but reject Christ’s commandment to love one another.



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Jeremiah

posted April 18, 2010 at 3:42 pm


Stephy said – But Jesus did not endorse morals or politics. Jesus endorsed love and relationship
This is largely true. Too bad it was Paul, not Jesus, who invented Christianity.



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Aaran

posted April 18, 2010 at 9:44 pm


I have been disappointed reading the comments of this blog. I think there are two issues mish mashed together
1) Is homosexuality a sin?
2) How should Christians relate to those living in sin, specifically homosexuals.
The first point has to do with, what is the supreme standard of what is good and right and true? Is it God’s decree or human reason?
The second is about equal rights, loving your neighbour, loving your enemies and social action.
I think Joel is has a good point on the first one “Ethics are external to human experience (that is, ethics do not find their justification in human experience).” Yet much of the debate was on proving why it is harmful in order for it to be sinful. You can’t expect christians to abandon foundational truths because of pragmatic arguments.
I think a lot of Christians have their ‘knickers in a knot’ defending the first point and they tend to have a poor application of the second. I think the post was directed at the second point and I would have liked to see some sensible debate on the issue.



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Barb

posted April 19, 2010 at 8:18 am


I take the bible literally as a Christian….it is my truth….God calls homosexuality an abomination…God loves the sinner, not the sin and as Christians we should do the same…anything that gets in the way of a relationship with God is sin…you either accept God’s Word as truth or not…either live by it or not…in the end we will all answer to Him and give an account of our life….He will be the final judge….as His followers we are to love our fellow man as He loves us….



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Karen

posted April 19, 2010 at 8:40 am


Grumpy Old Person, I agree with you 100%, which is why I termed them “Christianists.” I’m thankful my daughter has grown up knowing committed gay couples which allows her to see the scare tactics for what they are.



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stephanie drury

posted April 19, 2010 at 10:54 am


It’s probably just as well, Disappointed Aaran. You know what they say about debating on the internet. http://toothpastefordinner.com/030806/internet-fantasy.gif



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Still Breathing

posted April 19, 2010 at 5:39 pm


Barb, If you take the Bible literally you are applying the methods of thinking that arose in the enlightenment i.e. man made. Reading the Bible literally is a modern idea that would have horrified the church fathers. Besides if you want to read the Bible literally you would need to have the original texts in the authors hand. The fact that we don’t have them suggests God doesn’t want us to read it that way.



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Grumpy Old Person

posted April 20, 2010 at 4:22 pm


@ Barb
April 19, 2010 8:18 AM
“I take the bible literally as a Christian”.
Pardon me, but I doubt that. Sincerely.
Or,
Do YOU believe disobedient children should be put to death?
Do YOU believe that rape victims should be put to death?
Do YOU believe that eatinng shrimp is “an abomination”?
Do YOU believe that snakes and donkeys can talk?
Do YOU believe that a man can live 3 days in the belly of a great fish?
Do YOU believe that gay people should “surely be put to death?
Do YOU believe that women should be silent and not permitted to teach or preach in the Church?
If you can’t answer a resounding YES to ALL of the above, you’re just another selective fundaMENTAList, and the world’s already too full of them.
Go back and read some more of the Bible you purport to “take literally” – and then at least have the courtesy to capitalize the Bible when you type it. Such ‘reverence’ you have for it – NOT!



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Angry Young Lady

posted April 21, 2010 at 4:31 am


I understand what you are saying Grumpy Old Person, but you might be missing something unfortunately. People can and some really do take the Bible literally. Even if they are not legally allowed to stone people in the streets, they probably still believe that those sinners are going to burn forever in hell. They are only held back from executions, outlawing other religions and completely throwing out areas of science by our secular laws. Lets not start the Dark Ages over again by being a literalist there Barb… but I’d sooner save the trouble and just get a new book of more modern morals to go by. Starting with: Don’t be a judgmental dick.



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Grumpy Old Person

posted April 21, 2010 at 10:08 am


Dear Angry Young Lady,
“you might be missing something unfortunately. People can and some really do take the Bible literally”
Sorry, but I disagree. They take certain parts of it literally (as delineated above) – only the ones that happen to suit themselves personally.
Barb hasn’t bothered with any self-examination at all (at least that is evident in her condemnatory posting). I’d bet dollars to donuts that she enjoys a good plate of shrimp at the local Red Lobster, despite the fact that the Bible says it is (and I quote) “an abomination” – in the exact same Book of the Bible that calls (what she seems to perceive as) homosexuality an abomination.
Barb is quite welcome to her belief that “those sinners are going to burn forever in hell”. It’s no skin off my nose, since I’ve listed several other ‘beliefs’ that she wilfully ignores.
I asked her (and many others) if she “believe[s] that gay people should “surely be put to death? since (her version of) the Bible does call for it and she neglects to answer. But of course, the same Bible says that only the one amongst us who is without sin gets to cast the first stone, so who will be left to stone us “sinners”? Will Barb be the one to step up to the plate? Is Barb in charge of the stone-throwers? (She certainnly seems to be putting herself in that position.) Will Barb give us her address so we can all mail the stones to her?
After all, “you either accept God’s Word as truth or not…either live by it or not”.
Either it’s ALL or nothing. Barb doesn’t get special passes to ignore some of what ‘the Bible sez’ (TM). It was she who claimed to “take the bible literally”. I merely proved that she does not. Nor does anyone. It’s all selective fundamentalism.
Sorry, AYL, but I really don’t think I’m “missing something” at all. I think I can see ALL the hate, the lies and the poison Barb intended in her post – all the way over the Internet.



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Grumpy Old Person

posted April 21, 2010 at 10:14 am


There’s also another false assumption in Barb’s post.
She typed “anything that gets in the way of a relationship with God is sin” which tells me that she either believes gay people don’t even have a relationship with God, or that our God-given sexuality (and acting on it in a loving, committed, adult, human relationship) somehow “gets in the way of [our] relationsihp with God”.
She is sadly mistaken in that belief, but she is by no means alone in that false assumption. But no way in Hades am I going to let her get off scott-free in spreading her false witness about God’s gay and lesbian children.



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Angry Young Lady

posted April 21, 2010 at 11:40 am


I totally agree Grumpy Old Person. What I said was more of a warning against the idea that literalism was a good idea. I was trying to say, though poorly, that without our modern secular values those literalist could run wild as they have in the past and really harm people. All those “literal” ideas like no shellfish and stoning people comes from a backwards time in human history and it is tragic that people would still even play at taking it literally. Also, I like how you pointed out the often missed inconsistency of “stone everyone who looks at you funny” and “let he without sin cast the first stone.” Jesus never mentioned homosexuals either as I remember.
Sorry, I didn’t mean that you didn’t understand something about her post, you obviously did and your point is valid.
I’m not the best at typing late at night.



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Chrissy

posted April 21, 2010 at 12:21 pm


The Bible never says “Love the sinner hate the sin” either. Did Jesus tell his homo friends “You’re an abomination to me, but I love and respect you anyway.” If he did, he’s not “a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” He’s a friend who loves conditionally. And if he’s a friend who loves conditionally then he’s no better than the Pharisees. Truly that is a greater abomination. Good thing Christ DIDN’T teach “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” Cuz then he’d be a crappy friend. And so would I.



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John

posted April 21, 2010 at 10:17 pm


If Jesus can turn to a thief, hanging on the cross, and tell him he is going to paradise, without any reserve, why are we so judgemental and angry towards our fellow man?
I am very concerned about those who are so critical and absolute about the bible. Their very souls could be in danger, and they ironically believe they are defending their faith!
Or maybe Jesus will forgive those who have taught themselves to hate, just like he did that thief on the cross, or any gay man that enters the gates of heaven.



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NotJustAnyone

posted April 22, 2010 at 3:07 pm


Chrissy and Jon, its people like you that make me feel hopeful again. I hope more religious people will be able to see the truth the way you do.



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Valerie

posted April 25, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Still Breathing

posted April 26, 2010 at 10:15 am


Valerie, I thought that might happen but I don’t think he noticed he was hurting other people.



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Em

posted April 26, 2010 at 2:54 pm


Valerie: I thought I’d check and see if this happened! Aw, he linked to us and everything. That’s probably good because then people reading his post can see how hurtful and judgemental he was being, himself. Respect is a two-way street, dude.



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Em

posted April 26, 2010 at 2:59 pm


BTW: I think I was involved in this one, too, seeing as I was thinking “those words seem familiar…oh, because he’s quoting *me*.” Though I do resent being called a hedonistic pragmatist, but I guess it’s okay for him to pigeonhole people, just not us “libbers”.
http://thechristianwatershed.com/2010/04/26/hedonistic-america-and-marriage/



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Sarah

posted April 27, 2010 at 1:53 pm


Wow, that comment identifying his mission and his apparent need to frame everything accordingly really didn’t sit well, did it? And it was reductivist of me to speak of him as ONLY a man with a rigid and narrow mission; it was my clumsy attempt to find ways to sympathize. I used to to try to find ways to love people while condemning them myself. It’s a really tough position to be in, and I don’t envy him.
At the same time, he comes across to us “Liberal Leftists” (I’ve never been lumped into that category before, this is a novel experience for me) as equally reductivist, and frankly insufferable. For a man who lauds civility and respect, he didn’t display much of it here, and he certainly didn’t look for ways to find common ground. Which is also sad, because people don’t need to agree to work together. For instance, in his post he says that people who think homosexuality is a sin don’t need to be opposed to same sex marriage. Why didn’t he bring that up in this thread? That’s a point a lot of us could perhaps have appreciated.
Way to get quoted, Em! :)



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Shawn

posted April 30, 2010 at 5:35 pm


It’s sad how limited and simplistic is the conservative vision of marriage. Some say it’s just about procreation and promoting children. Others don’t seem to understand that it takes two people who are capable of entering into a contract and a commitment that will stand up to legal rigor. And you almost never hear conservatives talk about all the other relationships that marriage strengthens, in-law relations, aunts/uncles, nieces/nephews, etc. Each person in a marriage adds to the capacity of the family they marry into. Of course, this would apply regardless of the gender of the married parties, so conservatives don’t talk about them. As a result, they misrepresent and devalue the very thing the accuse others of threatening. So, it seems the would rather that Solomon cut the baby in half than let someone else have it.



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What Men Love

posted February 10, 2011 at 6:18 am


I’m not saying that I’m totally against gay marriage. We’re only humans. At the end of the day, we are still under God’s discretion.



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