Bigoted Theologian Explains People Like Me

I always love it when people offer trite explanations for why other people they don’t even know really believe what they believe. Presbyterian theologian Robert Gagnon has figured out why straight people like me support gay rights. It’s because we feel guilty.

When the AFA’s Ed Vitagliano asked Gagnon “how in the world our culture has moved so rapidly” on acceptance of homosexuality, Gagnon responded that there were “lots of factors,” including a “full-court press” from elites and “natural concerns” about gay people wanting to form life-long unions.

Another factor, he asserted, is “heterosexual guilt.”

“A lot of heterosexuals have, you know, we’ve not done all that well in some areas of sexual ethics,” he said. “That includes issues of divorce, remarriage, that includes premarital sex, includes abortion. And if you can give a pass on the issue of homosexual practice, in effect it’s a way of exempting our own guilt, and it’s accommodating in a way that’s self-serving.”

Nice try, bigot, but dead wrong. I have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about in my sex life and I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it. You know what would make me feel guilty? Supported discrimination, oppression and mistreatment of people just because they’re gay.

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  • Al Dente

    Gagnon obviously doesn’t acknowledge the concept of giving a damn about people who aren’t him. One would think a Christian theologian would have heard of Matthew 22:39 (echoed in Mark 12:31): “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Or Gagnon thinks his neighbor is someone just like himself: straight, white, male, Christian douchebag.

  • doublereed

    Well, obviously. The answer to any question about sex is guilt. They don’t even understand the concept of sex without guilt.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    “A lot of heterosexuals have, you know, we’ve not done all that well in some areas of sexual ethics,” he said. “That includes issues of divorce, remarriage, that includes premarital sex, includes abortion.”

    It’s a good thing the Christian Right doesn’t do all those things at statistically similar (or greater) levels as us heterosexual secular liberals.

  • parasiteboy

    “how in the world our culture has moved so rapidly” on acceptance of homosexuality

    IMO, unlike other prejudices, homosexuality is found in every demographic group. When people started coming out it personalized the issue and a lot of people now know someone who is openly gay. These are people in their “in group” and before they knew that they were gay they thought they were good people and realized being gay doesn’t change that. Other prejudices will take longer to go away due to the separation between groups.

  • Trebuchet

    Interestingly, the Presbyterian Church USA has just approved gay marriage. So he’s out of touch with his own denomination, if he indeed a Presbyterian. HIs college does seem to be affiliated with PCUSA.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    “That includes issues of divorce, remarriage, that includes premarital sex, includes abortion.”

    Not to mention … the unmentionable – touching yourself, down there! You had to try reeeallly hard to hide that from Mommy and Daddy, didn’t you, Robert Gagnon?

  • Pierce R. Butler

    parasiteboy @ # 4: … unlike other prejudices, homosexuality is found in every demographic group.

    So why does prejudice persist against atheists?

  • Uncle Ebeneezer

    I feel guilty about LBGT people having less rights and being treated differently than others.

  • caseloweraz

    I wonder if Dr. Robert Gagnon is related to Bruce Gagnon, formerly of the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice. (He’s now in Maine.) Led by Gagnon, the FCPJ sought to prevent the launch of the Galileo spacecraft because it contained that evil plutonium.

  • John Pieret

    a “full-court press” from elites

    Damn! Is it too late for me to get them in my NCAA brackets?

  • parasiteboy

    Pierce R. Butler@7

    In part, I don’t think enough of us are out (my immediate family knows, but not a lot of other people) and we have not reached that critical mass yet for rapid change. The rapid change on gay rights had been building for decades before the shift. But again it’s just my opinion.

  • theguy

    “That includes issues of divorce, remarriage, that includes premarital sex, includes abortion.”

    I notice this bastard didn’t mention rape or adultery. Does he not care about those things? The things he actually mentioned can be justified in (at least some, often many) cases.

    “And if you can give a pass on the issue of homosexual practice, in effect it’s a way of exempting our own guilt, and it’s accommodating in a way that’s self-serving.”

    Loads of bullshit. I don’t feel any guilt over my (admittedly fairly nonexistent) history. I support gay rights because I care about gay people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/den.wilson d.c.wilson

    “A lot of heterosexuals have, you know, we’ve not done all that well in some areas of sexual ethics,” he said. “That includes issues of divorce, remarriage, that includes premarital sex, includes abortion. And if you can give a pass on the issue of homosexual practice, in effect it’s a way of exempting our own guilt, and it’s accomandating.”

    That’s why Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich are huge supporters of gay marriage, right?

  • Al Dente

    Pierce R. Butler @7

    Because we ask rude and embarrassing questions like “Got any evidence for that?” and “How does that make any sense?”

  • Georgia Sam

    How ironic. Growing up fundamentalist Protestant, I heard many times that the first step toward salvation was, in the language of that time & place, “getting convicted of sin.” You must believe that you are a wretched sinner & can never be anything else without God’s help. Then one day I saw Jerry Falwell on TV, being interviewed by some reporter, who asked him something about making people feel guilty. In that smarmy, condescending tone that was his trademark, Falwell replied that oh, no, the church wasn’t in the business of making people feel guilty at all. On the contrary, it offered them relief from their guilty feelings. That infuriated me, probably more than anything else Falwell ever did (& that’s saying a lot). What an appalling, transparent lie! Where does the guilt come from in the first place? To create a market for what they’re selling, the church first has to instill guilt in its potential customers. I think that’s why religion began to lose its grip on me at an early age: I just didn’t feel guilty about the “sins” that preachers talked about. (I mean, seriously, how many real sins does the typical young child commit, anyway?) I’ve always felt very guilty when I hurt another person, but I only felt that I needed forgiveness from the person I had harmed. I never really bought into the idea that I needed the forgiveness of an invisible spirit being. And it doesn’t alleviate my guilt in the slightest to give somebody else a “pass” on something they’ve done — especially if (a) they haven’t done anything wrong & (b) it’s none of my damn business, anyway.

  • doublereed

    @parasiteboy

    Women also appear in every demographic group and unlike homosexuals, they appear in most families as well. However, there is still prejudice against women.

  • Akira MacKenzie

    The only “guilt” I feel about my sex life is how much of it I squandered trying to remain “abstinent” during my misspent, right-wing, Christian youth. Now I’m going to have the pleasure of dying a virgin.

    Thanks Jesus. Fuck you.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Actually, I support gay rights as a side-effect of moral nihilism.

    My inability to defend any moral prinicples as being anything more than my opinion made me realize that everyone’s beliefs are just their opinions, too.

  • raven

    How ironic. Growing up fundamentalist Protestant, I heard many times that the first step toward salvation was, in the language of that time & place, “getting convicted of sin.”

    Fundies also say something similar. You have to be a sinner!!!

    If not, then jesus spent an afternoon on a cross for no reason!!!

    (This is a joke. Although the fundies certainly act like they are justifying jesus’s supposed human sacrifice for us.)

  • zmidponk

    Modusoperandi:

    It’s a good thing the Christian Right doesn’t do all those things at statistically similar (or greater) levels as us heterosexual secular liberals.

    *cough* Modus, that should be THOSE heterosexual secular liberals. You’re supposed to be one of the Christian Right, remember? *cough*

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    zmidponk, you’re thinking of my brother, of the same name.

  • opposablethumbs

    doublereed

    Women also appear in every demographic group and unlike homosexuals, they appear in most families as well. However, there is still prejudice against women.

    One difference could be that for many men, women were never in their “in group” in the first place. There could be men who were in the in-group, who came out as gay and made people who already thought of them in a positive light re-think their prejudices, but that could never happen in the case of women who were out-group by definition.

  • parasiteboy

    doublereed@16

    I would have said something very similar to opposablethumbs@22. People are still stuck in their gender roles. What baffles me about it is that if you care about your mother (or possible significant other, sister(s), or daughter(s)), as a man why would you not want them to have all the opportunities that you have.

  • Dave Maier

    Modus: “It’s a good thing the Christian Right doesn’t do all those things at statistically similar (or greater) levels as us heterosexual secular liberals.”

    No, it’s not that — it’s just that they have the moral courage not to feel guilty about their own sins. Guilt is for wussies.

  • felidae

    By the way, what does AFA stand for? Association of Fatuous Assholes is my guess

  • ZugTheMegasaurus

    @#7: I think I have some insight on this since I’m both an atheist and a lesbian. I “came out” as an atheist when I was 14 but not as gay for another 14 years (and even then, only with family). Yet I’m still far more likely to mention the latter in conversations with people, or argue back about it.

    The impression I get is that people have learned that it’s horribly inappropriate and insulting to question someone else’s sexual orientation. I think the message of “we’re just like you” has been heard loud and clear.

    I’m not confident that atheism can use a similar message. Even though I think that “Good without God” is an awesome slogan, it (perhaps necessarily) puts the differences front and center.

    The thing you have to realize about the extraordinarily rapid change in acceptance of gays and lesbians is that it’s not a matter of people suddenly realizing their bigotry was wrong. It was brilliant marketing. There were very low levels of support during the 80s and 90a when the pride movement was in full swing (think parades and flamboyance).

    Then, the message almost flipped. But it wasn’t going back in the closet; it was being gay AND normal. The message was, “Look, we’re the same, you and me. We just want a home and a family and a good life.” And that’s made all the difference.

  • Akira MacKenzie

    felidae @ 25

    Close. It stands for “American Family Association.”

  • dingojack

    It’s interesting that Gagnon (and Fundies more generally) feel they can lecture others in morality when they have such poorly developed moral frameworks themselves (See Paiget, Kohlberg etc).

    Dingo

    ———

    Akira MacKenzie (#17) – “Now I’m going to have the pleasure of dying a virgin”.

    Then you’ll be well-and-truly fucked! :)

    [Seriously, that you’ll die a virgin is not a given, you never know what’s around the corner].

    Modusoperandi (#21) – all your family members are called ‘Modusoperandi’? Must make for interesting Christmas parties. 😉

  • frankgturner

    @ Zug #26

    Not only good marketing (though I am certain that is part of it), but association. It seems to me (more from personal experience than anything else) that many religious types either need an illusion of absolute certainty (which their idea of God provides for them) or an illusion of objective morality. LGBT rights (for many of them) does not take that illusion away, their idea of atheism (which is a straw man in most cases) does take that away.

    .

    Anyway that’s just my take on it.