Christians’ Secret Weapon Against Same-Sex Marriage

Whining about same-sex marriage is always in season in some circles. In three posts, I’d like to review three articles that I recently came across. Article 1 (this post) proposes a secret weapon for Christians to use against same-sex marriage. Article 2 runs down the secular reasons (that are mostly Christian reasons) why same-sex marriage gives society a one-way trip to bedlam. And article 3 provided me with new insights into how the various categories of homosexuality were viewed in the Ancient Near East, which provides new insights into what the Bible actually says about homosexuality.

The secret weapon in undercutting same-sex marriage

Article 1 is “The Importance of Your Gag Reflex When Discussing Homosexuality and ‘Gay Marriage’,” written in 2013 but still relevant, I’m guessing.

The author begins by acknowledging that Christians will be branded as hateful, first simply for being Christian and second for their desire to “speak the truth in love.”

Poor baby. Must be tough being Christian in America today.

The secret weapon against same-sex marriage is first to strip away euphemisms like gay or homosexual, he says:

We’ve actually stopped talking about the things that lie at the heart of the issue—sexual promiscuity of an abominable sort. I say “abominable” because that’s how God describes it in His word.

I don’t think that word means what you think it means. God describes eating shellfish as abominable. These are ritual abominations, not ones that actually cause any harm.

The Jewish ritual burdens (kosher food laws, circumcision, and other requirements made of Jews) were not put on the new gentile converts to Christianity. Prohibitions against homosexual activity in Leviticus 18 and 20 are mixed with other rules that Christians have abandoned. These rules come as a package, and Christians can’t now go back for a few old favorites that they’d like to revive.

Next he moves on to a somewhat explicit description of homosexual sex acts with the admitted goal of provoking a reaction of disgust. He concludes:

That sense of moral outrage you’re now likely feeling—either at the descriptions above or at me for writing them—that gut-wrenching, jaw-clenching, hand-over-your-mouth, “I feel dirty” moral outrage is the gag reflex. It’s what you quietly felt when you read “two men deep kissing” in the second paragraph. Your moral sensibilities have been provoked—and rightly so. That reflex triggered by an accurate description of homosexual behavior will be the beginning of the recovery of moral sense and sensibility when it comes to the so-called “gay marriage” debate.

If you’re disgusted at two men kissing, then don’t do it. If you were gay, you’d have a different response.

So two men kissing is offensive but a man and a woman aren’t? How about a male and female coworker kissing in the corner during a business meeting—would that be offensive or at least extremely inappropriate?

And if, in the right situation, you’d enjoy watching a man and a woman kissing, let’s change it up. Now the woman is much heavier. Or much older. Or much uglier. How about now—is it just as enjoyable? (I’m seeing this from a straight male perspective because the author of this article was male.)

The author thinks that dropping our pretense of politeness and describing behavior accurately “will be the beginning of the recovery of moral sense and sensibility when it comes to the so-called ‘gay marriage’ debate.”

I see several problems here. First, the author thinks that he’s found in the gag reflex a reliable shortcut to God’s morality. He says, “Deep down we all—Christian and non-Christian, heterosexual and homosexual—know it’s wrong.” But do we? Different people have different turn-ons. If a man loves his wife and finds her sexy but you find her unattractive, so what? By extension, if a man loves another man, what concern is that of yours? The gag reflex is relative, and it makes no sense to say, “Well that grosses me out, so it must be immoral in an absolute way!”

Second, whatever sex act you don’t approve of, there are more straights doing it than homosexuals, simply because there are far more of them. If it pleases them, where’s the problem?

Third, it’s not homosexual sex that’s disgusting but sex itself. Imagine teaching a seven-year-old about how homosexual sex works. They’d be disgusted. Now imagine teaching how heterosexual sex works. They’d be disgusted. Sex is the issue, not homosexual sex.

Or, imagine meeting someone at a cocktail party and having them describe their last straight sexual encounter. It’s not that one kind of sex is pure and beautiful while the other is hurtful and filthy, it’s that sex has its place, and a public setting isn’t it.

(In the interest of openness, the author responded to feedback to this article. I didn’t find much worth responding to, but here it is, FYI. My focus in this post is the argument, not the author.)

I support Christians’ right to speak about their views on same-sex marriage, but they won’t stand up to scrutiny if they’re as weak as this.

Continue with “9 Arguments Christians Give Against Same-Sex Marriage” here.

If the Bible got the easiest moral question
that humanity has ever faced [slavery] wrong,
what are the odds that the Bible got something
as complicated as human sexuality wrong?
— Dan Savage

Image credit: Frederic halley2008, flickr, CC

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  • Tony D’Arcy

    Show me just one human pleasurable activity that at least some Christians, Jews and Muslims, over the years, haven’t condemned as “sinful” ? Music, art, eating, drinking, literature, dancing, etc. etc, and of course anything to do with (sssh) sex.

    • epicurus

      And look up Utube clips of 1950s preachers condeming Rock and Roll, only to later have Christian rock and heavy metal bands.

      • Michael Neville

        Those preachers were condemning good rock ‘n roll. Christian rock doesn’t fall under that category.

      • Joe

        The blues and soul music used to be looked upon as ‘the Devil’s music’. People of that time were only supposed to sing gospel music.

        Just watch the biopic Ray about the life of Ray Charles.

        • epicurus

          Racism was probably at the core of the issue

        • Joe

          No, this was among fellow African-Americans.

        • epicurus

          Really? Very interesting, I’ll have to check it out.

        • Joe

          The movie is great anyway. Well worth seeing.

        • TheNuszAbides

          institutionalized racism isn’t as external-to-the-oppressed as your “No” seems to imply. i.e. pressure among African-Americans to sing only gospel does not therefore mean that [institutionalized/internalized] racism was not at the core of the issue.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The author of the article I critiqued here said that he is black, and when he began to speak, he imagined that they thought he’d be liberal on same-sex marriage.

          It didn’t surprise me when he came out against SSM since black Americans are usually Christian on SSM.

      • Doubting Thomas

        If you ever get stuck in a car on a road trip with someone who listens to nothing but Christian rock, you’ll realize that those preachers were right and that music is, indeed, “of the devil.”

        • epicurus

          Haha, true

  • Bob Jase

    Anal sex is just so evil yet its about the biggest catagorey of hetero porn and Christians are the greaqtest consumers of that porn.

    Why is that?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Because it’s OK to watch it, just not to do it?

      • TheNuszAbides

        disgust training! y’know, like y’do.

  • Michael Neville

    “That grosses me out” does not mean an act is immoral. Seeing someone eating with their mouth open grosses me out but I don’t consider it immoral. One, two or more people performing consensual acts which don’t affect other people are not immoral, no matter how much bigots are grossed out .

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      The only problem with the likely future where homosexuality is pretty much unimportant in the West is that Christians won’t believe that their predecessors were on the wrong side of the issue.

  • Abby

    Oh my moral sensibilities are very provoked right now. Self righteous, hateful, harmful bigots will do that

  • Brad Feaker

    First, the author thinks that he’s found in the gag reflex a reliable shortcut to God’s morality.

    If that were true God would surely be gagging over his so-called “followers” :) And what does it mean that bigoted Christian doctrine and it’s followers make me gag?

    • TheNuszAbides

      so that’s the sensus divinitatis!

  • Doubting Thomas

    “That sense of moral outrage you’re now likely feeling—either at the descriptions above or at me for writing them—that gut-wrenching, jaw-clenching, hand-over-your-mouth, “I feel dirty” moral outrage is the gag reflex. It’s what you quietly felt when you read the Old Testament. Your moral sensibilities have been provoked—and rightly so.”

    Fixed it.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Brilliant!

    • epicurus

      Quote of the day! Week!

  • quinsha

    Describing something in different words can make people have different reactions?

    I agree.

    I remember reading a Heinlein story where talking about eating was taboo in an extraterrestrial civilization, because eating was seen as a gross necessary function that was best done alone in the privacy of your own room. And then the author went on to describe what the act of eating looked like to the extraterrestrial.

    The way it was described put me off of food for a week.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      The Red Dwarf “Backwards” episode shows the boys visiting a world where time goes backwards. Watching someone “eat” food or drink beer backwards is pretty gross.

    • TheNuszAbides

      reminded of a description of flower-gathering/gifting at a similarly grotesque angle: [heavily paraphrased] person A severs dozens of sexual organs from dozens of organisms, sells a bundle of them to person B, who hands the bundle to person C, who sticks their nose in the dead sexual organs.

  • RichardSRussell

    The “gay lifestyle” is so terribly radical and dangerous that we need to fret about it day and night. But what IS it, exactly? Wonder no more. Here’s their complete plan, in hours per week:

    56 – sleep
    40 – work or school
    20 – family, friends
    10 – eat
    10 – recreation, hobbies
    9 – bathroom
    8 – travel
    7 – reading, news
    5 – shopping
    2 – puttering
    1 – sex

    • guerillasurgeon

      That is a hell of a lot of time to spend on sex. You sure it’s not an addiction? I might also say the same about puttering. Puttering is disgusting and dangerous. Stop it immediately.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Hmmm, *homeopathic* time?

      • https://www.facebook.com/psiphiorg David Henderson

        Eight minutes of sex a day is a lot?

        • RichardSRussell

          “Having sex is like playing bridge. If you don’t have a good partner, you’d better have a good hand.”

          —Woody Allen, American filmmaker

      • Michael Neville

        It was nine hours in the bathroom that seemed excessive to me. I doubt I spend more than 30 minutes a day in the bathroom and that includes my morning shower.

        • RichardSRussell

          Constipation has its upside.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Separate topic: Note the “report ad” button (bottom-right) in the new ads that are interspersed in the Disqus comments. Click on a misbehaving ad, and it vanishes.

        • TheNuszAbides

          not the way the vast majority of toilets are designed.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Oh, dear Lord … that’s me!

      I must be gay!

      • TheNuszAbides

        conflict of interest!

        also, something tells me that the “bisexual lifestyle” has startlingly similar numbers. so don’t fret, you’ve got options!

  • epicurus

    The smell of someone smoking pot makes me physically want to gag, but it doesn’t make me say it should be illegal or wrong. I just wish there was a way to make it less invasive, and that users would show more consideration.

    • starmom

      I’m sorry :( I’ll try. :)

    • Kevin K

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who has this problem. I was in San Francisco last year for a convention, and my morning walk took me past an area where the locals would have a pre-work toke. I had to hold my breath to get past it. It’s been like that since I was first introduced to the smell (in college). Can’t even think about trying it.

      Last time I was in Denver, I thought of buying an edible something or other … but there really wasn’t a lot of free time and I didn’t want to be stoned in an important meeting. And, of course, I’m sure that the gendarmes are well attuned to people just coincidentally getting a gummy bear obsession while on a trip to Denver, so taking it home was not on the slate, either.

      One of these days … for science, of course.

      • epicurus

        Yea, eating it is an alternative, but I don’t think most people will consume it that way, unfortunately.

        I have a beer with friends once in a while, so since I’m not anti alcohol -despite all the damage alcohol has done to societies and relationships and families, and people’s health through excess and abuse – there is no way I can condemn pot.

        But, that it is almost always smoked, is the problem. Someone drinking can go unnoticed, but smoke fills rooms and hallways and clothes and other peoples lungs, and the fact that it makes me nauseous is, I guess, a problem. It’s supposed to become legal where I live next year, so guess Ill find out how much I’m assaulted by the smell. I dont think think a lot of pot smokers realize how much they and their clothes reek, but more likely they don’t care. That I can tolerate, the actual smoke making me nauseous, I can’t.

      • dala

        Please do not try edibles if you do not already smoke. They are the ‘advanced’ class. It takes a solid hour for them to kick in (meaning people take more because they’re not working), and if you take too much you’re at risk of panic attacks. Every 4:20 there are dozens of people who end up in emergency rooms due to edibles, even some experienced smokers.

        • Kevin K

          I’m aware of the pharmacokinetics, but perhaps you’re right. I mean, why would the mere smell of the stuff give me the heaves if I was meant to consume it at all? Probably best left to the kiddos.

        • TheNuszAbides

          depends whether by “the mere smell of the stuff” you mean the smoke or the cured flowers. there’s nothing particularly telling about revulsion to smoke.

    • dala

      Polite people use vaporizers, and don’t smoke in the street like misbehaving children.

      • epicurus

        We need more of those polite people!

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    The guy who’s anti-gay has another problem: ‘disgust’ isn’t always innate.

    Something as simple as eating whole-belly clams, raw oysters, mussels, etc., is something that I just can’t do comfortably, because of my acculturation. The idea of eating them revolts me. A friend who grew up eating them loves them.

    So much for disgust being innate.

    • wtfwjtd

      Good point. Eating insects kinda triggers my gag reflex, as does watching someone on TV eating worms or other slimy critters. But both of these things are widely accepted and practiced in many cultures, and my aversion to these things is viewed as “abnormal” by a large segment of the earth’s population.
      So who is right? Personally, I don’t think anyone is “right”, it seems to be more a matter of personal preference and maybe a convenience thing rather than some pressing moral concern, lol. And that’s OK by me.

      • TheNuszAbides

        well, it’s certainly a moral judgement call for Jains and some vegans, but of course there continues to be no evidence of a Threat To Society at play, let alone an Objective Universal Absolute. (And on a practical, calcium/iron/protein/et al. level, it’s a damn sight more efficient in terms of resource-space than beef/dairy ranching …)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Natto (fermented soybeans) is a Japanese breakfast food. Trying it for the first time as an adult, I found it OK, but lots of Westerners find it disgusting (see image).

      Vegemite or Marmite is similar–tasty on toast if you grew up eating it but often disgusting otherwise.

      https://static1.squarespace.com/static/54e0ac47e4b0541797890fbd/54f65affe4b034a7acc838a3/54f65b00e4b095ecd49f6f9e/1425431297547/natto-1.jpg?format=500w

      • TheNuszAbides

        that looks far less unappetizing than various descriptions have ‘sounded’.

  • Mr. A

    Oh this ought to be good. Sure, let’s here the supposed reason why homosexuality is bad.

    And why (presumably) being bisexual is A-OK!

  • JustAnotherAtheist2

    Don’t homosexual people feel the same “disgust” at the thought of heterosexual contact as others do in reverse? So who’s gag reflex is right?

    • Etranger

      Probably not. I can’t think of any gay people in my circle (I’m gay as well) who find heterosexual kissing “disgusting”. Or even other intimate portrayals – like in film and such. Maybe because of overexposure growing up? I don’t know. I actually don’t know many heterosexual people who feel disgust at seeing gay intimacy either. But I tend to hang around less uptight folks.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        FWIW, I put disgust in quotes because I don’t find that to be the proper term, I just wanted to be consistent with the prior usage.

        Perhaps a better way to formulate the question is…. do hetero and homo individuals have similar feelings if compelling to have sex with a non-preferred partner?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Tangent: one of the difficult things here is that some “gay” people are actually bisexual, so they might move around on the spectrum. A Christian bigot can find one of them and say, “Look at this guy! Living the degenerate gay lifestyle, then finds Jesus, and now he has a lovely girlfriend! There you go–homosexuality isn’t part of your makeup.”

          To untangle this is easy, but they usually don’t want to listen, in my experience.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I thought about adding an addendum to explicitly exclude bisexuals, but I figured this crowd would understand the distinction I was going for. ☺

      • Todd Heath

        Many gay people I know are disgusted by heterosexual sex, including myself. The though of a guy going down on a female is super disgusting. I’ve been with two women in my and I’m still disgusted by the thought of having sex with a woman.

        Both of our post are anecdotal. I would love to see a empirical and double blind study on this subject.

        • Etranger

          Yes, anecdotal – just like your post and the Christian’s post and this article. Plus, no one talked about oral sex anywhere. The article said there was a disgust at two men kissing. You get nauseous seeing a man and a woman kissing? Seriously? Time to check out a psychologist! Go f*ck yourself.

        • Todd Heath

          Yes, I do get disgusted by the sight of anyone kissing in public. The article also talked about the “yuck” factor Christians used to argue against gay sex. If you read my comment I specifically talked about my disgust over the thought of a man having sex with a woman because of the yuck factor. I don’t see why that requires a psychologist to figure out.

          Edit: My comment was also on topic in this particular thread if you go re-read the original post. No need to be snarky, it’s just a conversation.

        • Etranger

          The article had nothing to do with going down on a woman. Or oral sex at all. Finding affection between people disgusting seems troubling. But I guess even gay men can sometimes be as stupid and uptight as conservative Christians!!

        • Todd Heath

          Wow, you need to read the article again. It specifically talked about the yuck factor of gay sex, which includes oral sex. Does it make you feel good to be a pompous and self righteous asshole like most conservatives Christians?

        • Etranger

          Oh brother,get over yourself.

    • Kevin K

      Not according to my gay friends with whom I’ve had discussions of sex. In fact, one friend says he prefers straight porn (large erect penises, doncha know?).

      But then, I don’t know everybody, and I haven’t had discussions about sex with a majority of my gay friends.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        Thanks. I’ve learned something in this thread. :)

    • Priya Lynn

      Yes, some do feel that way. I’ve heard a number of gay men say so. My impression is that they are a minority amongst gay men though.

    • TheNuszAbides

      i’ve heard several gay men react with disgust to the thought of vaginal contact, several admire female breasts, and zero comment on hetero-kissing (either public or on-screen). i doubt any of those are universal or even predominant, and it’s not like my entire social circle is gay men, but i wouldn’t be surprised if some magazine has done a poll somewhere around the topic.
      i’ve probably spent slightly more time socializing with lesbians, and have never heard one complain about displays of affection on any level — but I’ve also spent the vast majority of my life around cultures that don’t make a big fuss about PDA. i’ve definitely heard women of all ‘persuasions’ complain about standards/tropes in porn, though (and, obvz, spent time around [sub]cultures that, uh, actually discuss porn).

      short version: yes, the “i would never do THAT” reaction may be found to some degree in every orientation, but isn’t universal to any of them. and assuming your question is rhetorical, it’s well taken.

  • RichardSRussell

    For no discernible reason, bananas make me want to puke. I can’t even stand the smell of them. No idea why. But I don’t think they’re evil. Good source of potassium and Vitamins B6 and C, I’m told. I sure wouldn’t want to ban them, just not have anyone breathe on me shortly after having eaten them.

    It wasn’t always this way. My mother assured me that back when I was an infant, during the waning days of WW2, when the American banana supply was interdicted by the Japanese navy (before the rise of the Chiquita cartel in Central America), bananas were hard to find (and expensive if you could) but I loved them, so she sacrificed to get them. It wasn’t until after they became plentiful and cheap that my aversion manifested itself. I think my mom never did forgive me for being so contrary, but, hey, I was just a wee child at the time! The *ahem* gag wasn’t on her!

    • Sheila Warner

      Asparagus disgusts me. I can’t even be inside the house if my husband cooks it, because the smell makes me gag.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        When my wife was pregnant, she was super-sensitive to smells. Here again, this gives us no objective evidence for any moral anything.

        • TheNuszAbides

          seems like an intensified defense mechanism — if smell and taste evolved to keep us wary of [‘obvious’] toxins, carrying that Bonus Life is a fair excuse to ramp up the alertness.

      • TheNuszAbides

        i suspect this is often a genetic thing, similar to how some folks can’t abide ginger [“it tastes like soap!”], or cilantro [“it tastes like metal!”].

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      A friend of mine is like that about cheese. He imagines the microbes eating it and changing it–that grosses him out.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      You know why humans are radioactive? It’s mostly the K-40 in natural potassium. And where does the dietary potassium come from? Bananas!

      I think your God-given disgust has steered you right, my brother.

  • Sastra

    From the rebuttal of the criticisms:

    Here’s what I need to say regarding the conscience’s reactions now. First, reactions of conscience are not equivalent to taste preferences as some contended. Reactions of conscience involve moral reasoning while matters of taste may be little more than amoral preferences or signals from taste buds. Second, reactions of conscience may vary, just as some correctly pointed out. There is repulsion, but there is also guilt, shame, and approval among others. This is why I completely agree that these reactions cannot themselves establish morality. But they do, if we’re sensitive to conscience, call us to investigate moral questions, which was my basic point

    I notice he’s ignoring the slide he’s making from “reaction of disgust ” to “reaction of conscience” by simply pointing out they’re two different things. Yes, they are. That’s what we’re saying. He hasn’t established that there’s a moral question just because there may or may not be a visceral reaction. Morality involves causing harm.

    Bottom line, by starting the defense with a big song and dance about a fallen, wicked world the apologist has set up his real defense: if you’re not bothered, then you’re blinded by sin. As if he thinks there can or should be a “conversation ” with the damned.

  • Duane Locsin

    If you are LGBT and Christian have you seriously considered dropping the Religion and/or at the least tried Bhudism or Humanism?

    you can try and ‘Change Christianity from the inside’ but really it is a waste of your energy, love and life.

    Bhudism (from what I can tell) is not perpetually trying to make your life hell by judging, condemning and blindly condescending towards you, and Humanism can provide the social, emotional and community structure and support.

    Christianity.
    You don’t need it.

  • Foxglove

    That sense of moral outrage you’re now likely feeling—either at the
    descriptions above or at me for writing them—that gut-wrenching,
    jaw-clenching, hand-over-your-mouth, “I feel dirty” moral outrage is the
    gag reflex.

    This is, in a nutshell, the opposition to LGBT people. The gag reflex. They find gayness and transgenderism yucky. Everything after that is an attempt to justify their feeling yucky. And why is it in the Bible? Because several thousand years ago people felt yucky when they saw gay or transgender people. Nothing’s changed. The “yuck factor” is still there. And people are still trying to justify their desire to kick the hell out of people that make them feel yucky.

    • Matt G

      You would only experience that “gag reflex” if you were raised that way. We see the depth of religious morality here.

      Funny, though. I experience the gag reflex when I encounter sanctimonious religious egomaniacs. Maybe I should listen to it.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        200 years ago, there were big families and small houses for them to stay in. If Mom and Dad were going to do it, they had to do it in bed with the kids in it. And then they were around livestock all the time. Modern life has insulated us from reality.

    • Mojohand

      I would agree with one big caveat….

      They claim it makes them feel yucky but they sure love talking about in detail ad nauseum. Methinks they better be sure to clear their search histories and have secure passwords on their photo albums….

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      The third article that I’ll review (next Wed, I think) does an excellent scholarly job of showing that Leviticus doesn’t mean what most of us think it means.

      • Foxglove

        I’ve read all kinds of stuff and seen debates in various places about what Leviticus means. For me the whole issue is academic. What it really means and what lots of people think it means can of course be two different things. But those who are acting on what they merely think it means can still cause all sorts of trouble.

        If people believe the Bible condemns gayness/transgenderism, they’ll act on that belief. And you can try to explain to them that the Bible doesn’t really say such-and-such. They don’t care. They’ll go with their own interpretation of it. In any case, lots of people don’t actually read the Bible. They just go with what the preacher tells them because he’s telling them what they want to hear.

        • Kevin K

          Of course, that’s the problem with all of the holy books and the bible in particular, isn’t it? The “faithful” cherry pick what is important to them and leave the rest alone.

        • TheNuszAbides

          What it really means and what lots of people think it means can of course be two different things.

          even bone-dry scientific treatises require some sort of interpretation — any recorded media does — but it’s ~exegesis~ that shoehorns in the special pleading and definitions-of-convenience.

    • TheNuszAbides

      Because several thousand years ago people felt yucky when they saw gay or transgender people.

      and we don’t even know how prevalent that was before the [Self-]Important Wise Guys started putting it down in ~Scripture~.

      • Foxglove

        Yeah.

  • Illithid

    Apparently my gag reflex involves my pants getting tighter.

    • TheNuszAbides

      world would be mighty boring if we were all built the same.

  • Jack Baynes

    So the word “abominable” is supposed to be a big weapon against same sex marriage?

    Sorry, I still think of the “abominable snowman” when I here the word “abominable” It provokes no great disgust or fear in me.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/de0c1826165f7275ceeb969e924a954a8a5edcffcf7d1afd5a0628f38261a14a.jpg

  • Sheila Warner

    Yea, so the passage in Romans 1 does not condemn lesbian sexuality. I hope your future posts addresses this lie.

    • Ficino

      Agreed. I think it perhaps addresses female-male non-procreative sex. Not at all clear female-female is in view.

      • Sheila Warner

        That’s also how I read it.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Because of [mankind’s sinful desires], God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. (Rom. 1:26–7)

      Since most straight guys find lesbian sex hot, you’d think that God would have a loophole for this one.

      I’m not sure what “their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones” means. But even if you imagine women with women and men with men, they’re talking about abandoning natural sexual relations. That means to me that you have straight men and women doing homosexual acts. That is indeed pretty unnatural, but it says nothing about homosexual sex.

      If you have more arguing that this can’t mean lesbian sex, let me know.

      • Sheila Warner

        It depends on the English translation to see it better. Women exchanged their natural use, I think, is the one I’m thinking of. Women were allowing themselves to be used for non-procreative sex. Women are spoken of being used by men when it comes to sex all over the Bible. Not so with men. There’s also the culture in which men used rape against other men to denigrate them. Being the penetrated male was seen as shameful. I hope to find an article I read a few years ago when I researched this issue. Notice that Romans 1 does not say that women had lust for other women.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Here’s the (short) article I found (to be summarized and discussed next Wed). It defeats the notion that Leviticus was talking about gay sex as we understand it.

          https://www.westarinstitute.org/resources/the-fourth-r/when-a-man-lies-with-a-man-as-with-a-woman/

        • Sheila Warner

          I read a couple of similar articles. Notice this is still man-man sex. I don’t believe lesbians are addressed in the Bible. Since “abomination” implies some sort of ritual purity, the article you cited makes perfect sense. Most evangelicals don’t bother to seek deeper contexts for the Bible.

        • Greg G.

          The following passage is not explicit but is probably about lesbians.

          Romans 1:26-27
          26 For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

          I think this passage shows that Paul was reading a work from the Apochrypha:

          Wisdom 14:12
          12 For the idea of making idols was the beginning of fornication,
          and the invention of them was the corruption of life;

          Wisdom 14:24-27
          24 they no longer keep either their lives or their marriages pure,
          but they either treacherously kill one another, or grieve one another by adultery,
          25 and all is a raging riot of blood and murder, theft and deceit, corruption, faithlessness, tumult, perjury,
          26 confusion over what is good, forgetfulness of favors,
          defiling of souls, sexual perversion,
          disorder in marriages, adultery, and debauchery.
          27 For the worship of idols not to be named
          is the beginning and cause and end of every evil.

          The closest I have found in the Old Testament is:

          Psalm 81:12 (NRSV)
          12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
                to follow their own counsels.

        • Sheila Warner

          1) I’m an Ex-Christian. I don’t believe the Bible. 2) I have ignored you for at least 3 or 4 comments. Since you insist on trolling me, congrats! You are about to become the very first person in years on Disqus to be blocked.

        • epeeist

          Since you insist on trolling me, congrats!

          He isn’t trolling you, he is addressing this sentence in your post “I don’t believe lesbians are addressed in the Bible”.

          Oh, and Greg G. doesn’t believe in the bible either, though he knows it pretty well.

        • Sheila Warner

          Dud you read what he wrote? What did I miss?

        • Sheila Warner

          OMG!!!!! I mixed up Greg G with Greg Lopez! This is why I hesitate to block. Grrrrr. Thx, epeeist!

        • Sheila Warner

          Well, Greg G is unblocked.

          MEA CULPA!

        • Greg G.

          Sorry. I didn’t read upthread and I was not even considering the article. I was responding to one claim you made. I haven’t responded to you recently so you may be going back a long time.

          You seem quite knowledgeable but sometimes I don’t agree. In this passage, Paul mentions what he calls, or the translators call, “natural sex” being given up by women and immediately “in the same way” and going into men being attracted to each other. I do not see how he is not saying the women were attracted to one another.

          I am an ex-Christian, too. I am not interested in Paul’s beliefs as anything than an academic question and how he arrived at those beliefs. All of his beliefs about Jesus appear to come from the OT but this passage seems to be related to Apocrypha.

        • Sheila Warner

          So sorry, Greg. I got you mixed up with George Lopez, who did troll me.

          It’s the way the grammar is written, from what I understand from some of my research. Women are “used” by men, not the other way around. I should have saved a really good article on it, but I read it when I was looking into the issue on my own. I have “God & the Gay Christian” by Matthew Vines. I can’t remember if it has similar concepts, so I’ll have to take a look.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Notice that Romans 1 does not say that women had lust for other women.

          I haven’t done any research yet, and off the top of my head can only recall a few [named!] women in the bible (Sara, Haggai, Leah, Rachel, Delilah, Jezebel, Esther, Ruth, mama Mary, Mary M. — much less what any of them say or are said to have thought), but I have wondered if any nook or cranny of scripture says much about a woman’s feelings about anything, much less honoring those feelings in any way. Even if there are notable surprises on that score, I’m already pretty confident that NO translation passes the Bechdel test …

      • Sheila Warner

        I hope the link works. If not, see the September 18 2015 entry on Patheos’ “Roll To Disbelieve”.

        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rolltodisbelieve/2015/09/18/heres-why-the-christian-right-is-totally-wrong-about-this-clobber-verse/

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Yes, the link worked fine. I’ll take a look.

      • Kevin K

        Dildos? Donkeys?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          There’s this bit from Ezekiel: “There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.”

          Is that what you’re thinking of?

      • Lerk!

        What people don’t seem to realize is that the Law of Moses does not condemn lesbian sex. It condemns men with men, men with animals, and women with animals, but not women with women. I speculate that this was because of harems. By the time of the NT it wasn’t common to have multiple wives, so women with women was no longer seen as natural. (That’s just speculation, of course.)

        Oddly, I’ve never heard this mentioned in church.

  • eric

    Your moral sensibilities have been provoked—and rightly so.

    So what? “I feel it is immoral” /= “I provide a credible reason for making it illegal“. Unless we want to make everything from picking your nose to saying “yes you look great in that dress” illegal, too.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    I’ll bet the majority of these guys who think gay sex (guy/guy) is horrible just love them some hot girl/girl action.

    • TheNuszAbides

      they wouldn’t be properly idiotic false-dichotomy fanboys without at least one or two double-standards!

  • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

    I feel disgust at the actions of God as described in the Bible. Ordering genocides, enacting original sin, the idea most will go to hell… Yet it’s doubtful the author would take my disgust as evidence of anything except sinful rebellion. So why feel that his own disgust has more validity?

    • Dangitbobby

      My disgust is better than your disgust. So nah nah nah nah 😛

      • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

        Our appeals to emotion cancel one another out perhaps.

      • Taneli Huuskonen

        But your disgust disgusts me, so you lose!

        • Michael Neville

          I’m disgusted by the “digusteder than thou” attitude,

        • Taneli Huuskonen

          We can keep this going ad nauseam… oh, wait… we already did.

        • Ann

          I just knew this thread would degenerate into word play.
          I KNEW it!

        • TheNuszAbides

          I KNEW it!

          biblically?

        • Ann

          Hahaha!

          I’m slow but I finally got it!

        • TheNuszAbides

          oooh, the meta-disgust card. strong finish!

    • Otto

      He has objective disgust!

      • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

        Right…

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      You know how there’s relative and objective morality? He accesses objective morality while you can’t because of your reprobate mind. Similarly, there’s relative and objective disgust. Your disgust is only relative, while good Christians’ disgust is objectively true.

      Hopefully that cleared things up for you?

      • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

        Yes, of course. How silly of me.

  • Dangitbobby

    The thought of my mom and dad…you know…YUCK.

    I guess that yuck sensation is my moral outrage. We should probably ban all moms and dads from being romantic with each other. :/

    • Kevin K

      Your little brother called to say “FUCK YOU!”

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Great point. This is probably more universal than disgust at gay sex.

      • TheNuszAbides

        at least among those of us who don’t have enduringly hot parents.

    • TheNuszAbides

      I was over in Australia and I was asked, “Are you proud to be an American,” and I was like, “I don’t know. I didn’t have a lot to do with it. My parents fucked there, that’s about all.” … I hate patriotism. I can’t stand it man, it makes me fucking sick! It’s a round world the last time I checked, okay? Y’know what I mean? In fact, that’s how we can stop patriotism, I think. Instead of putting stars and stripes on our flags we should put pictures of our parents fucking! Gather people around that flag and see your dad hunched over your mom’s big 4×4 butt, see if any boot ‘n rally mentality can circle around that little fuckin’ image. “God… damn! I’m out of here. Fuck it.”

      –Bill Hicks

  • Kevin K

    It’s all about the anal, isn’t it? I wonder what their response would be to find out that gay men engage in anal sex at about the same rate as heterosexual couples do? Or that Christian teens who have taken a “purity” pledge are more likely to engage in anal than others of the same age (insert “The Loophole” by Garfunkel and Oates here).

    Surely, it can’t be about the blow jobs? Who could possibly turn down a blow job? I don’t know the numbers, but I would think … again … the rate is probably pretty similar.

    Mutual masturbation, maybe? They object to hand jobs? When I was a kid, this was “third base”, FFS. It didn’t even count as sex.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      It’s all about the anal with another guy. Otherwise, it’s part of God’s kinky plan.

    • Otto

      Re: Anal

      I read someone explain it is men submitting themselves as women. After all women were just a step above cattle in the Bible and therefore it is completely beneath a man to degrade himself in such a way.

      • Kevin K

        I do find it fascinating to consider that about the same time in history, Greek men were pretty much obligated to take a young boy “under their wing” as it were. Not saying that was a good thing … but the stark difference in cultural norms is fascinating.

        • Pofarmer

          I think a lot of the stuff you see in the writings of Paul and the early church is actually his outrage at the stuff going on in Greek society of the time.

        • Kevin K

          All that democracy and shit. What were they thinking?

        • Otto

          I took a sexual anthropology class in college that talked about that and other cultures that do similar things.

          Some cultures have/had multiple genders, I think up to 5 genders or more. It was a long time ago but it really showed western ethnocentrism concerning sex.

        • TheNuszAbides

          this whole thread reminded me of a ‘domestic cycle’ that was presented to me [verbally and uncited, decades ago] as a societal scheme that Aristotle supposedly came up with, though I’ve yet to find it via online search and can’t remember at all who told it to me. It’s nevertheless somewhat fascinating (at least in a hive-society-fantasy sense), seemingly impractical outside of a ‘start-from-scratch’ civilization, de facto heteronormative and monogamous (though it doesn’t necessarily imply rejection of other relationships) and entirely off-topic. But here it is (what i really should probably be doing is putting it up on Quora and asking who else has heard of it):

          – children are raised by their parents to the age of 17.
          – each 17-year-old pairs up with a 34-year-old and raises a child with them, then as a 34yo pairs up with a 17yo. (i.e. each man and woman raises offspring with an older partner ‘showing them the ropes’, then more offspring with a younger partner whom they ‘show the ropes’)
          – 51-year-olds pair up with each other, to live out their final days with equally-experienced partners.

          while recognizing the absurdity of actually instituting this as a social norm, I do appreciate the facial ‘equality of opportunity’ [not counting childfree individuals, obviously] and the symmetry the whole scheme imposes on childrearing — whether or not it’s apocryphal, further contemplation of it suggests that parent-pairs be from complementary households (i.e. matching one raised by [young mother + old father] with a mate raised by [young father + old mother]).

        • Otto

          It’s an interesting concept.

  • Bravo Sierra

    After hearing it described in nauseating detail in an anatomy class, I avoided sex for several weeks, and it made me slightly queasy to think about my heart beating. Our bodies are weird and wonderful. Did you know that you probably have mites living in your eyebrows, mites that cannot defecate because they don’t have anuses?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      It’s almost like we live in a Rube Goldberg world, where things are complicated and jury rigged but have natural explanations. It’s almost like God isn’t needed to explain anything interesting.

      • Chuck Johnson

        Yes.
        If you decide to view nature and humanity as Rube Goldberg contraptions, then countless contraptions can be discovered.
        ———————————————————————————-
        “What is Fate?” Nasrudin was asked by a Scholar.
        “An endless succession of intertwined events, each influencing the other.”
        “That is hardly a satisfactory answer. I believe in cause and effect.”
        “Very well,” said the Mulla, “look at that.” He pointed to a procession passing in the street.”
        “That man is being taken to be hanged. Is that because someone gave him a silver piece and enabled him to buy the knife with which he committed the murder; or because someone saw him do it; or because nobody stopped him?”

      • Ann

        Why, Bob ~
        Now that you mention it, it IS a little like that.
        How strange …

    • Michael Neville

      So how do mites get rid of solid waste?

      • Bravo Sierra

        Apparently, they simply don’t.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        They don’t. They only live days, so they die before there’s a problem. I wonder if other insects do the same.

    • Ann

      I heard that they crawl out of your eyelash pores at night and fornicate ON YOUR CHEEKS!!!

      But they do it heterosexually, of course, so now it’s not creepy — NOT!

      • Bravo Sierra

        Re: “But they do it heterosexually, of course, so now it’s not creepy — NOT!”
        Maybe that’s why God wished their little anuses into the corn field.

        • Ann

          Hahaha!

          Well, like so many of God’s solutions, it didn’t work.

  • RichardSRussell

    When I first started out in college, back in 1962, the Student Handbook (written by college administrators) explicitly said that nobody likes to see PDA (public displays of affection), so cut it out on campus. That provision was widely ridiculed by the students themselves, who engaged in PDA all the time. Just goes to show that what one generation considers yucky and inappropriate may seem perfectly normal to the next one coming up the pipeline.

    • Kevin K

      I’ll admit that as I’ve grown older, my tolerance (aka, squickiness ceiling) for PDA has gone down somewhat. Don’t know why, but it just gives me an overall feeling of un-ease. When I was younger, I didn’t give a shit (probably used it as an excuse to check out the girl being PDAd).

  • BeaverTales

    When I die and my consciousness gets uploaded into the quantum computer architecture of the Universe, I look forward to a future as a hologram that can find compatible algorithms based on mutual logic, respect and an emotional attachment….not solely based on the ability to have babies and conform to gender stereotypes

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Then I hope you don’t get uploaded into a Christian computer.

      • Greg G.

        I hope I don’t get uploaded to a Windows platform.

  • Mark Dowd

    You put way more effort into this than it deserves. I would have started with “Grow up you whiny little shit!” and got stuck after that.

    • Ann

      Hahaha!

  • Sophia Sadek

    The man believes that the bible was written by the material Creator of the flat and immobile Earth. So silly.

    • Mississippi Truth

      So do we Nirvanist Buddhists! We believe that there is a flat immobile planet out there: We call it hell! We think the Christian God created it! We think YUCK! Is this the gag reflex the author wants?

  • Michael Murray

    “Yuck” is not moral outrage. “Yuck” is just “yuck”. I don’t like seafood. Oysters for me are definitely “yuck”. But I wouldn’t pretend that was moral outrage.

    • Adam King

      I like oysters okay, but I can’t stand eating non-shrimp arthropods. Giant spiders–yuck. (I have to put up with a lot of cognitive dissonance even to eat shrimp. I can also enjoy crab cakes sometimes if I don’t think about what’s in them.) To each his own.

  • Chuck Johnson

    The “Christian’ secret weapon” is just one more “argument from an abundance of evidence”.
    This is also “cherry picking” and “confirmation bias”.

    There is so much evidence available that sheds light on the ways that people use their sexuality, that any kind of sexuality can be approved of or despised using scenarios that are concocted for political purposes.

    These bigoted Christians are telling us more about their own ideas, emotions and prejudices than they can ever tell us about the world of human sexuality.

    • Ann

      That’s right, Chuck.

      I keep thinking, “Dear Christian, what’s it to you? You keep on acting like it’s something to you. What is your legitimate interest in this?”

      It is the hallmark of tyranny to convert what is rightfully private into something public and to convert what is rightfully personal into something political.

      I have observed that an unwarranted busy-body-ness about other people’s business is a signal that they are not sufficiently concentrating on their own business, which is getting away from them.
      They need to go mind their own business.

      • Chuck Johnson

        Yes, just a political tool.
        During the series of legal actions which led up to the Supreme Court decision, the Christians’ legal council would argue for the protection of traditional marriages, and the various Federal judges kept on answering that their arguments were just requests for legalized bigotry.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        You’ve heard of Jonathan Haight’s different spectrums of morality? This weirdness (from a liberal point of view) is explainable by conservatives having dimensions of morality that we don’t have. In this case, the relevant dimension is cleanness/purity. “That’s disgusting” = “that’s impure and therefore bad.”

        • MR

          I don’t think he claims that we don’t have those dimensions. It’s that we…, my words…, weigh the various dimensions differently. We don’t place as much emphasis or importance on the moral dimension of cleanness/purity. A liberal mind tends to put more emphasis on care/harm and fairness/cheating dimensions than on the sanctity/degradation (cleanness/purity) dimension. All five dimensions being:

          Care/Harm
          Fairness/Cheating
          Loyalty/Betrayal
          Authority/Subversion
          Sanctity/Degradation

          Liberals and Conservatives both consider the first two important. The remaining become less important the more liberal a person is.

          In this era of Trump, I think it’s pretty fascinating how he wields those last three.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b9415515bdde0ee19a39d09de4ea4c1139bc44f9ed95cbed0a0c44eead5e924a.jpg

          Chart from this website (which I have not yet read).

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Yes, that’s as I understand it.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i appreciate that Haidt, coming from a political-bridge-building angle, spins it as “a more complex moral palette” [closely paraphrased], but I still have trouble seeing it as much more than “a wider range of buttons for shitty leadership to push”.

        • eric

          I think it also stems from authoritarianism. After all, there are many things I find disgusting that I don’t want to legally criminalize. You have to be somewhat authoritarian to want to impose your moral precepts on others when it isn’t a question of heath, safety, harm, etc. We probably all have that tendency somewhat, but the folks who want to ban gay marriage have more of it than most of us.

          So there’s two irrational leaps required here. The first, as you say, is “personally disgusting” -> “morally bad.” The second is “morally bad” -> “make it illegal.”

        • Adam King

          I don’t find Haight’s work convincing. I’d like to see better definitions and a much more careful study, not to mention much less grandiose conclusions.

        • TheNuszAbides

          he and his proteges have added a sixth dimension (liberty/…oppression?) since that edition, and continue to collect data at yourmorals.org
          what do you find ‘grandiose’ about his conclusions?

        • Adam King

          His hypotheses aren’t explicit enough to be disconfirmed, and “he and his proteges” only look for confirming evidence. Where’s the independent team examining his “research”? The breathless publicity he seeks is what I find grandiose. He’s more interested in impressing the press with his wonderful theory than he is in the theory itself. IMHO.

  • puptentacle

    Fundys seem to think premarital sex was invented around the time the Beatles stopped touring and there were no gay people before “Y.M.C.A.” hit the charts. If their Gawd hates it so much why did he invent it in the first place? Wouldn’t have been difficult for Jeehoover to have simply made it impossible for a man to get an erection with anyone that wasn’t his one true female life partner, now would it? They’ve lost the argument, time to give up.

    And as far as the gag reflex goes, lacking it is a positive BOON when it comes to sex…

  • DakotaMark

    If religious people don’t like GBLTQs, why do they have so many GBLTQ kids?

    • TheNuszAbides

      well it just can’t be that they got steered wrong about how to raise ’em, since they always keep a copy of The Super-Deep Wisdom Manual at hand just like Pastor Publisher advised, so … must be Satan!

  • james warren

    Having sex often involves a bit of “losing control,” being “consumed by lust” or just “pure pleasure.”
    I think Christians are afraid of sex. And probably embarrassed by it as well. They are obsessed with other people’s private intimacy.

    I’ve always been interested in the curious relationship between David and Jonathan in the Bible. It sure sounds like a gay thing is definitely going on there.

    And also those “same-sex pairings” that were sanctioned in churches during the Middle Ages:

    http://www.nytimes.com/1994/06/11/us/beliefs-study-medieval-rituals-same-sex-unions-raises-question-what-were-they.html?mcubz=1

    And, of course, I’ve got to add this quote from Jesus from Matthew 4:19:
    “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

  • http://skepticseeker.blogspot.co.uk/ Skeptic Seeker

    Eating blue cheese makes me gag, therefore eating blue cheese is immoral.

    Sexuality and gender, though joined at the hip (pun half intended), are not the same thing. Marriage is a legal union between two people. How two people conduct their relationship is between them. The ability to marry does not actually prevent such relationships. (I did read one woman claim that “the only thing keeping men from going gay was gay marriage was illegal.” Huh?!?!?) Marriage grants certain legal rights, it doesn’t have anything to do with the nature of the relationship. If anything it levels the playing field, granting the same legal rights to homosexuals in a relationship that heterosexuals enjoy. Before I married my wife, I could not get medical coverage for her, only for our daughter. Had I been with some dude (before same-gender marriage was legalized), I could cover him under my medical, even though we could not enter into a legal relationship. One could argue that it was a privilege afforded two non-married homosexual people and discriminated against non-married heterosexual couples that were not married.