Things I Found Out at the Anti-Gay Workshop

Last night, I attended a workshop about “homosexual activism in the public schools.” The meeting took place at a church and it was sponsored by the Illinois Family Institute, a conservative group. About 80 people were packed into a tiny room.

My observations:

  • I overheard one man sitting near me talking to a friend of his before the event started. He quoted the Edmund Burke line, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” He was referring to homosexual activists versus Christians.

    Funny. I was thinking the same line, but in a completely different way…

  • The speaker spoke about the myth that Christians “hate” homosexuals. We don’t hate homosexuals, she said, adding: “We’re not like Fred Phelps!”

    So at least we have that in common. We all think Phelps is one crazy mofo.

    They may not hate homosexuals, but they do hate homosexuality. (And apparently, they hate the word “gay.” Because it was barely uttered all evening. “Homosexual” must sound more evil and un-Christian.)

  • I learned it’s ok to say being gay is wrong. We can’t worry about hurting people’s feelings. If we did, that would make it impossible for us to say plagiarism and promiscuity are wrong because that would hurt the feelings of plagiarists and promiscuous people. Therefore, it’s ok to attack homosexuality.

    I’ll admit that’s the first time I’ve heard homosexuality compared to plagiarism.

  • The speaker told the crowd that speaking out against homosexuality was not hate speech. Her argument for this? “Homosexual supporters speak out against polygamy and pedophiles all the time. Is that considered hate speech? No. So neither is our anti-gay speech.”

    Not for the first time that evening, she compared gay people to pedophiles.

  • The speaker mentioned a local high school in which students “had to read” Tony Kushner‘s play “Angels in America.” She asked if everyone picked up the handout listing excerpts from the book (after warning us that it would be graphic).

    This was how she began a part of her talk against those homosexual activist English teachers. There was no mention of the facts that excerpts do not a book make. (You want to play the excerpt game? You want to take things out of context? Because the Bible is great fodder for that.) There was no mention that the book was for an Advanced Placement class for seniors, or that parents had to approve the book first before their children could read it (or opt for an alternative book instead, which would be ok), or that only a handful of students (and their parents) decided to take the alternative option. Most were fine with the book.

  • There were several jabs at homosexual teachers and superintendents and administrators (they named names) who were trying to push that awful, hideous belief that it was ok to be gay. (Can you believe their gall?!)
  • There was a lot of talk about the upcoming Day of Silence, during which gay students and straight allies choose not to speak for the day to bring attention to the silencing experienced by GLBT students. IFI wants parents to remove their children from the classroom for the day if students are taking part in this.

    The speaker’s arguments? Let me quote from her handout (PDF):

    Parents should call their children’s middle schools and high schools to ask whether the administration and/or teachers will be permitting students to remain silent during class on the Day of Silence. If students will be permitted to remain silent, parents can express their opposition most effectively by calling their children out of school on the Day of Silence and sending letters of explanation to their administrators, their children’s teachers, and all school board members. One reason this is effective is that most school districts lose money for each student absence.

    School administrators err when they allow the classroom to be disrupted and politicized by granting students permission to remain silent throughout an entire day. The DOS requires that teachers either create activities around the silence of some or many, or exempt silent students from any activity that involves speaking. Furthermore, DOS participants have a captive audience, many of whom disagree with and are made uncomfortable by the politicization of their classroom.

    I teach high school students. Some of them are silent every day. I don’t see Christian parents complaining about that. Also, the DOS doesn’t “require” anything. It’s sponsors don’t run my classroom and I’m not required to “do” anything. Personally, I think it’s irresponsible of teachers to be silent on that day because we still have a job to do (just like pharmacists shouldn’t be able to not sell people birth control or morning-after pills because of their own beliefs), but it’s fine if students want to be silent for one day — it won’t throw me off as a teacher. I can still do my job.

    I’m amazed these parents are willing to remove their kids from a day of instruction because other students are choosing to remain silent for a day. Are you kidding me?

  • The Day of Silence thing reminded me of a similar incident happening earlier this year. In fact, when you put these incidents together, the IFI sounds downright hypocritical.

    Earlier this year, I had students remaining silent because of the Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity. It was fine by me and I taught my lessons as planned. But how come I wasn’t hearing anything about that day?

    Would the speakers be in favor of pro-choice parents removing their students from the classroom?

    They never mentioned that.

    So I asked them about it.

    The conversation went something like this:

    Me: Isn’t the pro-life silence day the exact same idea as the Day of Silence?

    Them: Umm… yes. And we do not support the pro-life silence day.

    Me: Well, that’s good to hear. But I don’t remember getting any press releases from your organization asking parents to remove their children from school because some students were also going to remain silent for political reasons and personal beliefs.

    Them: Umm… yeah… we should really have sent one out about that.

    I’m not keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll mention it next year. A quick search on IFI’s website lists several results dealing with the Day of Silence. I can’t find a single result having to do with the Day of Solidarity.

  • When the speaker discussed how many schools were putting on the pro-homosexual play “The Laramie Project,” she tried to cite a dubious 20/20 segment in which it was asserted that Matthew Shepard was not killed in a hate crime, but rather that he was the victim of a drug-induced rage. That segment has been debunked, but we didn’t hear that side of the story.

    And really, going after Matthew Shepard and the play written about him? That was low.

  • During any mention of the word “transgender,” there was something of an eye roll from the speaker and people in the audience. It was obvious the speaker didn’t think transgendered people actually existed. “A man is not a woman,” she said, adding that her mother had cancer and had to get her uterus removed, but that didn’t make her any less of a woman.

    I failed to see any connection.

    The speaker said she knew one student who “claimed” to be transgendered. He said he was a woman trapped in a man’s body. I knew that boy well, she said. “He was troubled.”

  • The speaker mentioned the homosexual agenda. Not just as a general idea, though. She mentioned an actual, specific agenda written by Harvard-trained psychologists Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen. I’d never heard of them… am I the only one that doesn’t know who to take my orders from?
  • My favorite line of the night, referring to how Christians need to fight back against the gays:

    “There’s a great reluctance of churches in getting involved in the political arena.”

    They didn’t really say that, did they?! Yes. Yes they did.

  • It was pointed out that being anti-gay does not constitute prejudice. We are not pre-judging, they said. We are coming to our conclusions after careful consideration! Therefore, it is not technically prejudice.

    I guess they won the battle of semantics… so make sure you don’t call homophobic people prejudiced. They’re not prejudiced. They’re “Christians who love everybody.” Got it?

  • One bright side to all this: I found out we liberals are winning the Culture Wars! (Congratulations, you sodomites!)

The first 20 minutes of the talk, I wondered how much of my own rhetoric I’d be willing to say to their faces. I concluded I would probably tone it down a bit… try to engage them more. Maybe speak their language.

As the evening progressed, I became less eager to please them or to even talk to them. I wanted to point out all the flaws in their thinking, all the parts where they weren’t telling the whole story, all the times they were flat out lying to the audience.

I really wanted to know what the speaker would have said if there were openly gay people in the audience. The speaker made a point to say that there was a Facebook group against her formed by students at the school at which she used to work. A transgendered student wrote to the group that she was actually a nice lady.

As the student did this, the speaker didn’t even acknowledge the student’s sexual identity — couldn’t even fathom that there was a real issue there. I didn’t see that “nice lady” side of her, and the more she speak, the more I felt the desire to stoop to her level. It’s not a side of me I want to see come out.

Afterwards, I walked out of the church and away from that group of people. And good riddance.

I should point out one additional part to this story.

When I mentioned the other day that I was attending this event, I got an email from an acquaintance. She asked if I was going to this particular church (she gave me a name) for the event. That was the one I was going to. It turns out that’s her regular church. She wouldn’t be able to make it that night, but she wanted to let me know that the church did a lot of great things to support the local community and the people there were really nice and caring.

I really believe her. I believe that they mean well and they have the best of intentions.

But, as I told my friend, it’s hard for me to focus on that side when at the same time they are propagating these ridiculous notions. It’s also hard to believe I’m the only person there who felt that way.

I didn’t really say much at the event. I basically listened to them and observed other people. But I wonder if I was the only person there last night who held a contrary view to what was being said.

Where were the Christians who believe that it’s ok to be gay — that God loves gay people and straight people equally? Why weren’t they there to ask questions and challenge what was being said?

Is what I saw typical of what others have seen?

  • http://www.thoughtcounts.net thoughtcounts Z

    You’re so brave, Hemant! Thanks for the report.

    On “homosexual” vs. “gay” — remember when OneNewsNow turned out to be doing this too (accidentally replacing the last name Gay in their articles)? Gay does technically still mean happy too, and it doesn’t sound so bad. Homosexual sounds a bit grosser, more elaborate and medical, and it implies that the principle defining characteristic about them is their sexual habits. (Meaning, if you’re homosexual all you think about is how you can have sex with someone of the same gender. …Whereas, if you were a morally superior evangelical Christian, all you would think about is other people having sex with someone of the same gender.)

  • http://primesequence.blogspot.com/ PrimeNumbers

    Discrimination is discrimination no matter what you call it. These Christians are being hypocritical – they know the punishment for homosexuals is death by stoning, yet all they do is talk and protest. They’re obviously lacking the courage of their convictions.

    But they can’t have it both ways – either homosexuality is an abomination before God, and they’re mandated to do something about it, or they should be loving their neighbour homosexual, turning the other cheek and all that.

    Fact is, they don’t like gays. It churns their stomach and they campaign against it. They probably do think they’re evil. They probably do hate them.

  • BZ

    I actually thought homosexual was more politically correct than saying gay. Good to know it is not.

    As much as I think these people are wrong, I don’t think complaining about them not speaking out against the day of solidarity is really fair. Almost no organization has the resources to work or speak out against everything they disagree with. It also misses the point. They aren’t wrong because they didn’t protest something else, they’re wrong because being gay is okay and there is absolutely no reason to think otherwise.

  • JD

    I’d be interested in sitting in on one of these next time, just for the culture shock aspect. Anyone else in Chicago up for it?

  • Sock

    “School administrators err when they allow the classroom to be disrupted and politicized by granting students permission to remain silent throughout an entire day.”

    That’s right! Students should only be silent for a moment in the morning!

  • P

    I’ve got an old friend who is attending a christian university who, when engaged about the subject of homosexuality by me, responded with something like, “Being gay is something we struggle against. You can love the sinner but hate the sin, you know. Being gay is an affliction and something that must be dealt with as such.”
    Now, this person is a smart person; getting a nursing degree and majoring in biology (don’t even get me started on why they don’t accept evolution). But to hear those words, I was truly shocked.
    I want to know you can love the sin but hate the sinner. Pardon the vulgarity, but I think it helps to illustrate my point: “I hate faggotry but I love the faggot.”
    Really? This cognitive dissonance astounds me. I don’t really believe any of the people who claim that you can love the sinner but hate the sin. Poppycock!

    Maybe that was the wrong thing to shout…

  • http://atimetorend.wordpress.com atimetorend

    Thank you for going to an event like that and reporting so thoughtfully. That is a great example of getting involved, beyond my typical response of just thinking and complaining about something.

    I really believe her. I believe that they mean well and they have the best of intentions. But, as I told my friend, it’s hard for me to focus on that side when at the same time they are propagating these ridiculous notions.

    And that is tough for christians to see, that the character of the people holding those opinions does not justify the opinions and does not justify anyone from turning a blind eye to what is going on in the name of faith.

  • http://cranialhyperossification.blogspot.com GDad

    Mr. Mehta,

    Thanks for taking one for the team. I know I get so frustrated by the people who go on and on about hating the sin and such. This sort of thing needs more exposure so reasonable people can really see what kind of whackdoodlery is out there.

  • http://travelfork.blogspot.com/ Sabayon

    You know, you and your fellow math teachers really need to get on the sodomite activist band wagon. Sponsor a GSA or something, because it would be hilarious to see what they had to say about activist math teachers. “First they teach that some numbers aren’t even real, and you can see how that opens you up to all manner of moral relativism”.

  • Bart the Pirate

    Why must atheists be liberal?

    Why not libertarian?

    • To deprive one of his/her liberty to self-expression is anathema to libertarians. Most advocate gay rights.

    • To give gays access to our government schools to solicit support for hate-crime legislation (read, anti-free speech legislation) and special rights is also anathema.

    • To support gay marriage is to endorse government licensure. A license is more than acknowledgement. It is permission. That government would be granted the power to permit one to have a spouse is an over reach of its authority. Rather than support gay marriage, we should oppose the concept of licensing family units.

    I’m not opposed to gay rights. I’m opposed to giving government undue control.

  • grazatt

    Hemant, what did your acquaintance say when you told her about your experience at her church, and what you thought of the people?

  • llewelly

    Sabayon, did you know that math teachers say two numbers of the same sign can get together and multiply? That’s right! Math teachers not only support teh gay, they support gay marriage, and gays having children! Children should reject this devious promotion of the homosexual agenda by refusing to answer ‘exercises’ which require two positive numbers or two negative to get together and multiply. Multiplication of numbers of opposite sign is the only safe multiplication for our children!

  • Justin jm

    From Bart the Pirate:

    To give gays access to our government schools to solicit support for hate-crime legislation (read, anti-free speech legislation) and special rights is also anathema.

    Two things:

    1. Hate-crime legislation, (in the US anyway) usually doesn’t criminalize speech, but harmful actions that are already illegal.

    2. Gay people don’t want “special rights” but equal rights.

  • Scott

    I learned it’s ok to say being gay is wrong. We can’t worry about hurting people’s feelings. If we did, that would make it impossible for us to say plagiarism and promiscuity are wrong because that would hurt the feelings of plagiarists and promiscuous people. Therefore, it’s ok to attack homosexuality.
    I’ll admit that’s the first time I’ve heard homosexuality compared to plagiarism.

    The speaker told the crowd that speaking out against homosexuality was not hate speech. Her argument for this? “Homosexual supporters speak out against polygamy and pedophiles all the time. Is that considered hate speech? No. So neither is our anti-gay speech.”

    So they must agree that speaking out against christianity is neither bad nor prejudice. Afterall, we can’t worry about hurting their feelings.

    Oh, wait a second… We are supposed to respect their beliefs…

  • http://trainbiggermonkeys.com/blog Yuri Nalarm

    She wouldn’t be able to make it that night, but she wanted to let me know that the church did a lot of great things to support the local community and the people there were really nice and caring.

    Here’s a question then:

    If Hitler had founded the “Everyone Sponser a Puppy So That it Can Grow and Not Die Foundation”, would that have absolved him and made him a good person?

    You’re either a good person or not, prejudice in any area makes you not a good person.

  • Aj

    Two things:

    1. Hate-crime legislation, (in the US anyway) usually doesn’t criminalize speech, but harmful actions that are already illegal.

    2. Gay people don’t want “special rights” but equal rights.

    Criminalizing “harmful actions” that are already illegal. No, that doesn’t make sense. Hate-crime legislation in the US criminalizes thought not speech. Hate-speech legislation criminalizes speech in other countries, but that would be unconstitutional in the US.

    Governments write up lists of motives of crimes (“hate”, political sloganeering) that are more severe crimes with harsher sentencing. This is problematic in the context of law: a) it suggests that crimes motivated by hate are worse even with the same consequences, b) crimes motivated by hate of certain groups are worse than crimes motivated of hate of other groups because not all groups are protected, and c) a court must determine the thoughts of individual which unless expressed are impossible at present.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-4275-DC-Secularism-Examiner Paul Fidalgo

    I am fascinated about the Phelps invocation. It only know occurs to me that a guy like Phelps can serve as a buffer for near-Phelps-like hatred, making it acceptable. Phelps serves as a borderline, and if you’re inside that line, you don’t hate too much. He may actually be convenient to them!

    Thanks for doing this, this is a great post.

    Oh! And every high school student should read Angels in America. It’s fantastic literature, it’s compelling drama, it’s hilarious, and it’s a great lesson in recent history.

  • mark

    You posted:

    I overheard one man sitting near me talking to a friend of his before the event started. He quoted the Edmund Burke line, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” He was referring to homosexual activists versus Christians.

    I find it amazing that the ten commandments does not mention homosexuality. Also, when God himself came to earth in the form of a man, Jesus, and walked the earth for 33 years telling people how to get to heaven he never bothered to mention homosexuality. Now, most so-called Christians have seemed to toss away Jesus’ words and the Ten commandments and have chosen to put a considerable effort into stamping out homosexuality in the name of God. This tells me that there are very few, if any, real Christians around. What we see in the churches are cults and gangs of people who have either never read the Bible or they freely choose to ignore it in favor of their own rules created to their own liking.

  • http://40yearoldatheist.com 40 Year Old Atheist

    Toward the end of my belief in god, my family was church shopping. On the recommendation of very good friends, we visited their church.

    The beginning of the service was devoted to promoting their children’s camp. The director stood up and began talking about all the great things they were doing. Then, he went into a 10 minute diatribe about how they’d been challenged over their treatment of openly gay teens. This man was HORRIBLE.

    We never went back and, similar to your experience, my friends went on and on about how good their church was and how that one man was not representative of the views of most of the members. All I could think was, “Then why didn’t you STOP him? Why didn’t someone stand up and say he was wrong and being hateful?”.

    It was really the last straw for me in terms of seeking organized religion. It wasn’t long after that when I began questioning faith in general.

    Great job, Hemant.

  • Brooks

    Maybe it’s just me but I’d rather debate with the Phelps than these people because at least the Phelps are honest that they hate my guts. I frankly can’t stand this “hate the sin, love the sinner” cliche because nine times out of ten, they don’t actually follow it. I grew up in a fundie church and heard them say this cliche my whole life, that they didn’t hate gay people, just their godless lifestyle. But then in the same breath, they would turn around and say that AIDs is a punishment from God for their evil sins and cite the book of Romans for their “proof” and claim that gays should be tortured for all eternity in hell for the apparent sin of not hurting anyone. Didn’t Jesus say to love your neighbor as yourself?

    I fail to see how you can do that and then turn around and hate an entire group of people that only want to live in peace. What if these people said they didn’t hate black people, they just hated the color of their skin and claimed God was going to send blacks to hell for being born black? I think there may be some nice but misguided people out there who sincerely believe in loving the sinner, hating the sin, but wherever they are, they obviously aren’t speaking up against their supposed brothers and sisters in Christ.

  • Siamang

    I’ll have something to say about the actual post later, I’m sure.

    But quickly to Bart the Pirate:

    saying ‘you and I agree on gay rights, you should be a libertarian like me’ makes as much sense as me saying ‘you and I agree on gay rights, you should be a big-government liberal like me’.

    Let’s work together on the thing we agree on, gay rights. I’m not going to support you on broader libertarian goals just because you and I have found an area of agreement that happens to intersect.

    AJ, if Hate Crime legislation criminalizes thought, then why am I not in jail? I’ve thought ugly things from time to time about race.

    I get what you’re trying to say, I think. But to overly dramaticize it to be an orwellian “thought crime”, is too much.

    Hate crimes in the US do not criminalize thought. They criminalize speech that is coupled with destructive or violent acts. You may have really great arguments against that. I also think that in some cases it oversteps.

    But you do your argument no good by blowing it all out of proportion before you’ve even made your case.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    Hemant, what did your acquaintance say when you told her about your experience at her church, and what you thought of the people?

    I haven’t heard back from her yet.

    As much as I think these people are wrong, I don’t think complaining about them not speaking out against the day of solidarity is really fair. Almost no organization has the resources to work or speak out against everything they disagree with. It also misses the point. They aren’t wrong because they didn’t protest something else, they’re wrong because being gay is okay and there is absolutely no reason to think otherwise.

    I think it’s fair to point out the hypocrisy here. According to them, the Day of silence is wrong NOT because students are standing up for gay rights, but because the school is allowing (supporting, they say) students to remain silent. And thus, this hampers all students’ education.

    If they’re against silence, why not put out a press release saying another similar day of silence is just as bad?

    The same goes for the moments of silence, but I felt the Day of Solidarity was more in line with the Day of Silence in terms of action.

  • Michael Phillips

    Hemant,

    Excellent post but nonetheless disturbing. How would students being silent for a day disrupt the class exactly? I think I said a total of 8 words in school between 9th and 11th grade. By their logic I was practically a terrorist. I could understand their objection if the movement encouraged kids to scream as loud as they could all day in support of gay rights, but to sit silently…this is disruptive?!? I found this sentiment incredible: “School administrators err when they allow the classroom to be disrupted and politicized by granting students permission to remain silent throughout an entire day.” Even people under arrest still have the right to remain silent!

    Do these parents expect these kids to shout “I love Jesus” all day long or be immediately suspect? How does the “moment of silence” many Christians want every morning in school for prayer fit into this?

    Hemant, seriously: I love that you went to this meeting with calm, sincere curiosity and that you communicated thoughtfully and respectfully with them. But how do you communicate with people who feel reaffirmed in their own beliefs by having their own hypocrisy pointed out to them?

    And “love the sinner, hate the sin.” That’s for people who love to feel hatred but don’t like the icky feelings of guilt that come with it.

    Good job for going and exposing them to a more reasonable pov. You never know when you will reach someone who still has an open mind.

  • Aj

    AJ, if Hate Crime legislation criminalizes thought, then why am I not in jail? I’ve thought ugly things from time to time about race.

    It’s more like armed robbery but with thoughts not weapons. Of course, thoughts can’t shoot bullets, they can only stop them… in the Matrix.

    I get what you’re trying to say, I think. But to overly dramaticize it to be an orwellian “thought crime”, is too much.

    That’s a nice strawman, I didn’t reference Orwell or any of his works. I don’t know how to express it any other way, the “hate” in hate-crime refers to thoughts. I’m not saying that hate-crime legislation is akin to 1984.

    Hate crimes in the US do not criminalize thought. They criminalize speech that is coupled with destructive or violent acts.

    That’s the opposite of what the Supreme Court said. Criminalizing free speech would be against the constitution. They said considering motive in sentencing is not protected, which makes it clear what is being criminalized.

  • http://sanguinity.livejournal.com Sanguinity

    Homosexual is a medical term; that’s why they like it. It signifies that someone has a disease, that they are a deviation from normal/healthy/good.

    They also like it because it’s act-focused, and not identity-focused. You can only say “love the sinner and hate the sin” if the sin is something you do as opposed to something that you are.

  • Polly

    Siamang,

    I get what you’re trying to say, I think. But to overly dramaticize it to be an orwellian “thought crime”, is too much.

    I don’t think this is overly dramatic as much as it’s just accurate. Differentiating the sentence for criminal acts based solely on motive or thoughts, to me, indicates that certain thoughts are to be punished. If standard sentences are for the action itself, then it stands to reason that the excess portion of the sentence is for thinking bad thoughts.

    If the words associated with the crime are the evidence then words are also being punished. What’s wrong with just punishing actions? You can still label and track hate crimes for statistical and prevention purposes without changing sentencing.

    The only argument I think that could justify adding on to a sentence would be if hate-criminals showed a higher rate of recidivism. Then, you might be justified in keeping them in jail longer or seeking additional rehabilitation programs. But, I haven’t heard of a study even claiming to look into this.

    There was a man who commited a crime a short while ago who, during the commission of the crime, said something about their being no god. Imagine if that were turned into a hate crime against the religious and his godlessness were the basis of extra punishment. We’d quite rightly say that he was being punished, in part, for being an atheist.

  • http://gaytheistagenda.lavenderliberal.com/ Buffy

    Thank you for your comprehensive report. I’ll reply in detail later. Right now I’m watching the Prop 8 hearing so I’m rather distracted.

  • Akheloios

    Nice piece of investigative journalism, it really helps to have the opposition view described properly so we can counter it’s rhetoric and inaccuracy.

  • Siamang

    Criminalizing free speech would be against the constitution.

    No it’s not. There’s protected speech and unprotected speech.

    For example, yelling “fire” (when there is none) in a crowded theater is not protected free speech. Inciting violence is not protected free speech.

    There are hate crimes that are an incitement to violence or carry an implicit threat.

    You are free to burn a cross on your own lawn.

    But burning a cross on someone else’s lawn is not just arson, it’s a threat and an incitement.

    Burning it on YOUR OWN LAWN is still a threat, it may be an incitement. But it shouldn’t be prosecuted as a hate crime.

    Again, I might AGREE with you about certain aspects of hate crimes overstepping. But your point is not served by misstating facts about what speech is protected and what isn’t.

    Polly wrote:

    Differentiating the sentence for criminal acts based solely on motive or thoughts, to me, indicates that certain thoughts are to be punished.

    But we do this all the time in areas not covered by hate crimes. Shooting the man in bed with your wife doesn’t carry the same penalty as shooting a man while you’re robbing a bank.

    Motive enters into sentencing. It always has in American jurisprudence. Now if you want to argue that it shouldn’t when talking about bigotry, then make that point. I don’t agree, and it’s because crimes motivated by bigotry can be used as a threat to minority populations that they shouldn’t get so uppity.

    It is violence tied to a political purpose and a threat. There’s a difference between breaking a window and Krystalnacht.

  • http://zackfordblogs.wordpress.com ZackFord

    Thanks for your amazing commentary on your evening. I have been at events like those where people made jokes about gay activists dying of AIDS, and rows of people laughing as if to say, “they got theirs.”

    Today I’m sitting in my office by myself watching the Prop 8 hearings. Life as a gay atheist is pretty tough, even in 2009… that’s why I blog.

    I’m glad to know there are so many allies out there!

  • http://redheadedskeptic.com Laura

    “They may not hate homosexuals, but they do hate homosexuality. (And apparently, they hate the word “gay.” Because it was barely uttered all evening. “Homosexual” must sound more evil and un-Christian.)”

    You know what? Even though I have been out of conservative world for a year and a half, I STILL have trouble saying “gay” sometimes. I have no idea why. It sounds less respectful to me, somehow, though that is probably because I just always heard it as “homosexual.” “Gay” is slang, and I have a hard time with it. I never really thought about it before, though. Interesting!

  • Polly

    Siamang,

    Shooting the man in bed with your wife doesn’t carry the same penalty as shooting a man while you’re robbing a bank.

    Sure, and accidentally killing someone is different from doing it on purpose.
    But, when you intend to commit a crime, the punishment should always be the same whether the reason is economic or bigotry.

    Also, crimes of “passion” or temporary insanity tend to create extenuating circumstances that reduce sentences, not increase them, or they result in alternatives to prison.

    If we want to fight bigotry (and I do) we should do it at the appropriate venue – by speaking out against it in the marketplace of ideas and maybe even through public broadcasting – which could be justified as crime prevention.

  • another Mike

    Bart the P is right. Marriage is none of the government’s goddamn business, & the religionists’ are a bunch of little narrow-minded officious intermeddlers.

  • http://redheadedskeptic.com Laura

    None of what you said surprises me. As for where the pro-gay Christians are, I know I wouldn’t have been caught dead at one of those meetings when I was a liberal Christian. I would have had no desire to sit there and listen to them gay bash. Saying something would have yielded nothing whatsoever: Liberal women have NO voice in a conservative church. They are simply dismissed as rebellious, controlling, godless women who need to go home and bake something. :)

  • http://canoeinthemist.blogspot.com fw

    “…and the more she speak, the more I felt the desire to stoop to her level. It’s not a side of me I want to see come out.

    Afterwards, I walked out of the church and away from that group of people. And good riddance.”

    I wonder how much of this side of yourself you’ll feel and see coming out during your upcoming “summer of Christianity.” If I were to wager, I would say you’ll feel it and see it a lot.

  • Courtney

    Criminalizing “harmful actions” that are already illegal. No, that doesn’t make sense. Hate-crime legislation in the US criminalizes thought not speech. Hate-speech legislation criminalizes speech in other countries, but that would be unconstitutional in the US.

    The point of “hate crime” (a better term would be “bias crime”) legislation is that these crimes are targeted at more than just the immediate victim. In addition to harming the direct victim of the crime, a bias crime also sends a message to everyone else in the target group that they could be next. I’ve read that back before the civil rights movement, there were plenty of instances where one black person in a town would be lynched, and the next day every single black person in that town would have left — the message of “get out or we’ll kill you to” came across loud and clear. David Neiwert has talked about this at length on his blog.

  • AxeGrrl

    P said:

    I don’t really believe any of the people who claim that you can love the sinner but hate the sin. Poppycock!

    Like “love the Christian but hate the Christianity“? :)

  • Siamang

    Also, crimes of “passion” or temporary insanity tend to create extenuating circumstances that reduce sentences, not increase them, or they result in alternatives to prison.

    One sentence is greater and one is lesser. You cannot say that one is correct and the other is reduced any more than you can say one is greater and the other is correct.

    There is no “correct” sentence for killing. They give you more jail time for killing premeditated than in passion.

    Motive enters into sentencing. You can argue that it SHOULDN’T, but you cannot argue that it doesn’t currently. And you cannot argue that it only reduces a sentence unless you arbitrarily assume all killing to be Murder One until reduced due to circumstance.

  • Polly

    The whole thing is really silly.
    We have two wars, we’re teetering on the brink of a 3rd and possibly 4th, and an economy in the tank. Homosexuality is the focus of the conservative Xian. To put it politely this is a big non-sequitor. To be more blunt, these people have their heads stuck up their asses.

    The speaker told the crowd that speaking out against homosexuality was not hate speech.

    Saying you think something is wrong, ISN’T hate speech. It might be misguided and delusional but it’s not hate speech. If a Jew or Muslim were to proclaim the wrongness of eating bacon and that everyone eating bacon was going to Hell, would that be hate-speech? Would it even matter?

  • Aj

    No it’s not. There’s protected speech and unprotected speech.

    For example, yelling “fire” (when there is none) in a crowded theater is not protected free speech. Inciting violence is not protected free speech.

    There are hate crimes that are an incitement to violence or carry an implicit threat.

    Hate-crime is not about inciting violence, that was already against the law. There is a clear difference between hate-crime and telling someone to commit a crime, or encouraging harm to persons, damage to property, through false information. There is clearly a difference in relationship between the “hate” referred to in hate-crime, and the unprotected speech involved in crime.

    The “shouting fire in a crowded theatre” argument is ridiculous and I have only ever seen it used to stifle free expression of ideas and dissent.

  • Siamang

    I’ve read that back before the civil rights movement, there were plenty of instances where one black person in a town would be lynched, and the next day every single black person in that town would have left — the message of “get out or we’ll kill you to” came across loud and clear.

    Agreed. I’d like the anti-hate-crime people posting here to address this point, rather than dancing around it.

    I asserted that a broken window isn’t the same thing as Krystalnacht. Destruction of property isn’t the same thing as a pogrom.

  • Drew

    I don’t see why Christianity is so cocky and acts like they are the only possible religion ever. They were not the first, they are not the last, and they are not the majority. But yet everyone who says otherwise is a heathen, going to hell, and is immoral. Yet doesn’t the bible say god is all loving. Why would he send people to hell for expressing the free will he supposedly gave them? Religions really piss me off. People are responsible for themselves and all their actions, not a higher power. No one if forcing you to hurt or hate others. They do it because that is what they actually think themselves. Not because the bible told them so. In fact it’s the other way around; the bible says it’s wrong because the people who wrote it thought that. The people who wrote it where primitive shallow minded people.
    People who think the bible is morally good book to live by are fucking idiots. There is so much slavery and punishment over so much bull shit, like working on Sunday. There is so much hatred for anyone different. Eternal damnation threats all over the fucking place.
    Yeah so fucking moral

  • Polly

    Siamang,

    Motive enters into sentencing. You can argue that it SHOULDN’T, but you cannot argue that it doesn’t currently. And you cannot argue that it only reduces a sentence unless you arbitrarily assume all killing to be Murder One until reduced due to circumstance.

    But, implementing a principle that consideration of “bad” thoughts will always lead to a harsher sentence regardless of the specifics of the case or the opinion of the judge is selective punishment of thought written into the law. I just don’t see how that fits with freedom of conscience.

    Just because there are variances in sentences caused by all kinds of things including what state you happen to kill in, doesn’t mean we should have a free hand to start demanding certain thoughts get punished because it’s all arbitrary anyway. The discretion of the judge and the facts of the case are NOT the same as changing the law of the state in order to enforce a particular point of view.

  • Siamang

    The “shouting fire in a crowded theatre” argument is ridiculous and I have only ever seen it used to stifle free expression of ideas and dissent.

    It is not ridiculous. It’s actual evidence that the criminalizing free speech is NOT against the constitution, as you claimed. It is evidence that there is protected speech and there is unprotected speech. Say it’s ridiculous all you like, but it is true.

    And you’re arguing against a radical free-speech advocate here.

    There is clearly a difference in relationship between the “hate” referred to in hate-crime, and the unprotected speech involved in crime.

    Okay… what is that difference?

  • Siamang

    Polly,

    So have you withdrawn your claim that motive only decreases penalties except in hate crime cases?

    But, implementing a principle that consideration of “bad” thoughts will always lead to a harsher sentence regardless of the specifics of the case or the opinion of the judge is selective punishment of thought written into the law.

    “Bad thoughts” in this case are treated as motive, and motive is always considered in sentencing.

    Now, if we’re going to separately talk about hate crimes, then IMO, that should be solely related to actions that can be construed as “speech”. IE, violence with an intended audience, to model behavior, incite others to do likewise or threaten future possible victims.

    Where hate crimes OVERSTEP this principle, I cease to support them.

  • Polly

    Siamang, it appears we are cross-posting.

    I’ve read that back before the civil rights movement, there were plenty of instances where one black person in a town would be lynched, and the next day every single black person in that town would have left — the message of “get out or we’ll kill you to” came across loud and clear.

    Agreed. I’d like the anti-hate-crime people posting here to address this point, rather than dancing around it.

    I asserted that a broken window isn’t the same thing as Krystalnacht. Destruction of property isn’t the same thing as a pogrom.

    We have anti-racketeering laws to stope crime syndicates. No law would have prevented the effects of Krystalnacht. In fact, I doubt anyone would have even been charged with vandalism. The comaprison is “overly dramatic.”

    If the people who lynched that single black man were found guilty and sentenced to die, that would have kept the rest of the community from having to flee. THe problem was that blacks couldn’t rely on the justice system to protect them in the first place!

    Please, Siamang, I’m trying to have a reasonable dicussion. These comparisons are ridiculous. We are talking about a FUNCTIONAL JUDICIAL AND LAW ENFORCEMENT SYSTEM. Why is it the only examples you can bring are those where the system doesn’t even work? Hate-crime laws would have been doubly ineffective in those instances anyway. So your point still is not made.

  • Paul Gray

    Why does everyone think it’s impossible to “hate the sin but love the sinner?”

    Forgetting about gays, What if the person you were married to for 10 years had a problem with stealing things? (now i am in no way comparing gays to thieves… I am just trying to prove the fact that you can, in fact, hate the sin but love the sinner)

    Would you love them and the fact that they steal?
    Would you hate the fact that they steal and therefore, hate them?
    or would you hate the fact that they steal, and still love them?

    I personally hate the fact that homosexuality is rapidly becoming seen as something being, “ok” and “not harmful,” but I will not let that stop me from helping a gay person when they need it.
    Why? because I hate the fact that they are gay, but I love them as a person. If Christ were alive today, that’s exactly the attitude he would have.

    disagree? let me know at: pfgray@liberty.edu

    -Paul

  • Polly

    Siamang,

    So have you withdrawn your claim that motive only decreases penalties except in hate crime cases?

    No. Actually, you hit it nearly on the head with your comment about muder being murder One.

  • Siamang

    If the people who lynched that single black man were found guilty and sentenced to die, that would have kept the rest of the community from having to flee.

    Really? Somehow I don’t think that would be enough, anymore than sentencing one murderer to death protects all of us from being murdered.

    THe problem was that blacks couldn’t rely on the justice system to protect them in the first place!

    I’d say that was a big part of the problem. The other part was that lynching did more than just kill one person. It killed black people’s SECURITY to stay in town and stand up and speak and vote and fight for a BETTER justice system.

    It’s not the same thing as a murder…. it’s speech masquerading as violence.

  • Siamang

    “No. Actually, you hit it nearly on the head with your comment about muder being murder One.”

    Well, if all murder is default capital murder one, you can’t very well INCREASE the penalty by adding anything to that! All a hate crime could do then is reduce the amount of reduction! Right?

  • Polly

    Well, if all murder is default capital murder one, you can’t very well INCREASE the penalty by adding anything to that! All a hate crime could do then is reduce the amount of reduction! Right?

    Sure you can. Unless all murder is punishable by the death penalty which it clearly isn’t. And we’re not only talking about murder, but vandalism, B&E, street brawls, etc.

    I don’t see the lynching scenario the way you do, at all. I think the complete failure of the legal system viz-a-viz blacks in the south has nothing to do with the hate-crime issue. Such hate-crime laws would still have been ignored. The example along with the Krystalnacht, IMO, are totally irrelevant to the discussion.

  • Siamang

    Such hate-crime laws would still have been ignored.

    But we’re not talking about then. We’re talking about now. And so the question (to my mind is) how do we deal with racially motivated violence today within a (mostly) functioning justice system. Yes, hate crime laws wouldn’t work in a justice system circa 1923. But how do we keep 2009 violent or destructive anti-semitism (for example) in check?

    Well, in my opinion, the way to do it is to throw the book at the little skinhead punks spraypainting the synogogue. And make sure it’s a harder book than you’d throw if they painted an overpass sign with the words “I am awesome.” It’s because one is a threat, and the other is just destruction of property.

  • Aj

    Okay… what is that difference?

    Speech as used in crime is not the same as expression of information or ideas. With hate-speech there is no action related, no relation to a crime. With existing unprotected speech it’s not about the speech, it’s about what the actions were intended.

    Hate-crime in the US is not about speech, it’s about thought. Speech is protected under the constitution, there are no hate-speech laws.

  • Miko

    Where were the Christians who believe that it’s ok to be gay — that God loves gay people and straight people equally? Why weren’t they there to ask questions and challenge what was being said?

    I’d imagine they were somewhere else. Similarly, you wouldn’t find many tolerant people at a KKK rally. Groups like this are immune to reason, so a quarantine is the best option available.

    Siamang:

    If the people who lynched that single black man were found guilty and sentenced to die, that would have kept the rest of the community from having to flee.

    Really? Somehow I don’t think that would be enough, anymore than sentencing one murderer to death protects all of us from being murdered.

    Earlier, you said “I’d like the anti-hate-crime people posting here to address this point, rather than dancing around it” in reference to (essentially) this issue. So let’s turn the question around: if even executing the criminal isn’t enough, what possible reason could you have to think that adding a separate “hate-crime” charge would fix things? Are we going to execute the person twice? Are you seriously asserting that someone would say to themselves, “you know, I think I’ll go commit murder… oh wait, I just remembered: there are anti-’hate crime’ laws, and since that’s so much more serious than murder, I’d better reconsider.”?

    So, I’d say there are two classes of “hate crimes.” The first is in relation to things which are really crimes, such as the above. In this case, the additional charge of a “hate crime” would seem to be superfluous as in the above scenario.

    The second class is why I insist on the quotation marks: cases where the “hate crime” is not in fact a crime. It may be that you feel that “Where hate crimes OVERSTEP this principle, I cease to support them.” However, you aren’t the final arbiter on what types of thought are criminalized. We have a recent UN resolution that calls on member states to criminalize saying mean things about religion. Would you support that? I’d hope not. But ask how we got to this: it may be that we don’t live in an Orwellian world today, but the people of 1984 didn’t just wake up one day to discover that they’d gone from a liberal paradise to a police state either. Instead, there would have to be a series of well-meaning reforms to combat the evils of things like “hate crimes” naturally evolving into its logical conclusion, “thought crime.”

    The problem is that while you may have chosen an arbitrary point at which to draw a line in the sand, your view essentially asserts that everyone else has an equal right to draw a line in the sand at any other point and be as equally right as you. And if 51% of them happen to draw the line further down the beach, you have no grounds to complain when they criminalize things you wouldn’t support criminalizing. The anti-hate-crime group on the other hand, is not setting a double standard: we believe in criminalizing crimes and not criminalizing thought.

    Moreover, your positions are, simply put, completely ineffective. Take your example of Krystalnacht: would that have happened unless the Nazi government had been actively agitating for it and, indeed, participating in it? Obviously not. So how would having a piece of paper in the law books to the contrary have helped?

    One of the big things that pushed me from big-government liberalism to classical liberalism (i.e., libertarianism) was the annoying tendency of BG liberals to think that all problems in society could be fixed if we could only pass the ‘correct’ law, after the passage of which they promptly forget the issue and move on to the next big thing. Incidentally, this same false belief is popular among conservatives: how is “if only we could pass laws requiring abstinence-only sex ed, teen sex will end” any different than “if only we pass laws outlaw hatred, hatred will end?” Hatred, racism, sexism, nationalism, etc. are all huge problems facing our society. And social problems require social solutions, like persuasion, education, or the creation of alternate institutions. The notion that governments can fix societal problems is just naive.

  • nick aweasomeson

    Kill them. Ignorance should not be tolerated.

  • M. Oldfield

    Nice read.

  • Siamang

    “Speech as used in crime is not the same as expression of information or ideas. With hate-speech there is no action related, no relation to a crime. With existing unprotected speech it’s not about the speech, it’s about what the actions were intended.”

    Why isn’t hate-related violence a “call to arms”?

    Hate-crime in the US is not about speech, it’s about thought. Speech is protected under the constitution, there are no hate-speech laws.

    Yes there are, if they are calls-to-arms.

  • Siamang

    if even executing the criminal isn’t enough, what possible reason could you have to think that adding a separate “hate-crime” charge would fix things? Are we going to execute the person twice?

    Obviously in a capital murder case we’ve reached the ceiling of punishment.

    But I could see motive (to make a statement inciting future violence) making the difference between life in prison and the death penalty.

    But ask how we got to this: it may be that we don’t live in an Orwellian world today, but the people of 1984 didn’t just wake up one day to discover that they’d gone from a liberal paradise to a police state either. Instead, there would have to be a series of well-meaning reforms to combat the evils of things like “hate crimes” naturally evolving into its logical conclusion, “thought crime.”

    Slippery slope fallacy.

    The problem is that while you may have chosen an arbitrary point at which to draw a line in the sand, your view essentially asserts that everyone else has an equal right to draw a line in the sand at any other point and be as equally right as you.

    Welcome to a world where answers aren’t black or white. I have no problem with that.

    And if 51% of them happen to draw the line further down the beach, you have no grounds to complain when they criminalize things you wouldn’t support criminalizing.

    In what country do we have “no grounds to complain” when we don’t like what the government does? Isn’t that what Libertarians already do 24/7?

    Yes, I support democracy. Yes, assuming protection for essential rights and free speech, I also support the majority deciding the laws. If people make a law I don’t like, I don’t suck it up going “oh gee… I was pro democracy, I guess that means I must shut up now and bow to the will of the majority…”

    I support a deliberative process where we work on laws to make them better. Okay, congress passes a law I don’t like, so now I try to change people’s minds. Let’s bring it to the courts. I don’t like what the courts say? Okay, let’s change some more minds and get some better judges appointed. Can’t get that? Okay, let’s work on getting some better people elected…. etc.

    The anti-hate-crime group on the other hand, is not setting a double standard: we believe in criminalizing crimes and not criminalizing thought.

    So do I. But I allow a third thing that you do not: I am in favor of criminalizing speech that is tied to violence or property destruction that is used as a threat or incitement. I further feel that this falls under the long-standing judicial custom of recognizing MOTIVE when deciding punishment.

    And social problems require social solutions, like persuasion, education, or the creation of alternate institutions. The notion that governments can fix societal problems is just naive.

    But they can help fix some societal problems. I mean, what IS government if not an attempt by the people to fix some of the problems in society?

    Sorry, I think government can do some but not all. If you think it can do none, then pleased to meet you, I’m not an absolutist nor a libertarian.

  • Jen

    When I was in high school, in a suburb probably not far from where ever Hemant went for this meeting, we had a Day of Silence. Several teachers- none I had- demanded students talk because they hated the DOS. Two days later, some students held the “Day of Screams”- a day to wear “Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Steve” shirts. The woodshop teacher agreed to sponsor a straight club to counterbalence the GSA that struggled to exist.

    Here we were, a blue suburb surrounded by mostly blue suburbs- but one of the most church-dense areas of the country- and we couldn’t handle the handfull of non-straight kids that were willing to go up against the disgusting, ugly behavior that led to many forced closetings.

    When I look back on this, I cry. I can’t believe I could ever stand by and not take a stand.

    Which is not to say I think Hemant should have tried to argue with these jerks. Some people are not to be reasoned with. A girl I knew in high school still brags about that shirt she wore to the Day of Screams. I debate defriending her on facebook. I am not sure if we would get along in person at all these days.

  • Siamang

    Sorry, Jen, that was an on-topic post. This is a thread about libertarianism now.

    Kidding!

    Man, that sounds terrible. I like how the wood shop teacher hosted a straight-kids club. That’s redundant right there!

    “Day of Screams.” What a name!

  • absent sway

    About the whole “love the sinner, hate the sin” thing: Christians who are loving use this just as often to justify loving (mostly to other Christians) as Christians who are hateful use it to justify their hatred. When you believe contradictory things and you’re trying to work them out, you acknowledge your religion’s disapproval of something and also its command to love. People inclined to respond to other people’s sex lives in opposite ways end up saying the same thing but you can judge them by their actions. I’m not saying the group you visited was particularly loving but that you might hear the same problematic phrase from someone who does not think gay students are in any way a threat and sympathizes with them. A Christian who doesn’t have a problem with gays but who strongly identifies with his faith (at least if it is of the evangelical variety) will often feel obligated to support the teachings of the Bible above all else and twist himself into a pretzel in an attempt accommodate his conflicting values. If such a person caves on the authority of scripture (as many pretzel-people eventually feel the need to do) then he will become a more liberal variety of Christian or an unbeliever, with no guilt-ridden obligation to reconcile scripture with reality.

  • mark

    Paul Gray said:

    I hate the fact that they are gay, but I love them as a person. If Christ were alive today, that’s exactly the attitude he would have.

    Paul, who are you to speak for Jesus? The raw simple fact is that Jesus never said homosexuality is a sin. In fact he never bothered to mention the topic at all during his walk on this Earth. Homosexuality is not even one of the Ten Commandments but lying is. Why are you lying by saying that Jesus hates homosexuality when he NEVER said any such thing?

    Christians who lie are one of the best reasons that atheists have to believe that there is no god.

  • Polly

    Siamang,

    Sorry, Jen, that was an on-topic post. This is a thread about libertarianism now.

    HA! I’m going to bow out of the conversation, now. Thanks for the discussion. I tried to answer whatever points you brought up. And, while I think I understand better now where you’re coming from, I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree.
    Just FYI – I, myself, am not a Libertarian. I don’t think there’s a label for what I am…although I hear clinical psychologists are working on it.

  • Siamang

    Lol, polly.

    I agree that I’ve also expressed my view as clearly as I can at this point, so more back and forth isn’t required.

    Agreeing to disagree is fine.

  • Anonymous

    Religion is for people too scared to live their own lives.

  • http://micketymoc.mchronicles.net/ micketymoc

    NOOOO! This is the Internet! You just can’t agree to disagree. We want a full-scale atomic flamewar! GRRARRRGGHH!

    Oh, wait, this is the Friendly Atheist? Sorry, wrong blog. Never mind.

  • Siamang

    Lol!

  • http://www.myspace.com/mcthfg Christopher Wing

    To answer an earlier question – libertarianism is anarchy for rich people.

    Are you really that well off that you can hire people to do all the things that the government currently does? School your kids, pave your roads, make sure your water is clean?

    Please think through anything that ends with “ism” before you advocate it.

  • mnelson

    I wish people would be intellectually honest and stop trying to make the Bible & Jesus conform to their own self-centered lifestyle choices. As far as “hating sin & loving the sinner”, people do that all the time. If my child “lies” to me, can I not “hate the act of lying”, and still have love for my child? or If I have a friend that is an “addict” can I not hate the compulsive behavior, the injection of chemicals or lifestyle of drinking and still have love & concern for the individual?
    I believe in God, and am a follower of Jesus. And I believe that we are called to love one another. If I believe that one is involved in a “self-destructive” life-style, love demands that I speak out, especially when I feel that there are those who would mask or hide the consequences of the lifestyle to make it appear as if the consequences do not exist. For example: how many times have you seen a movie where a person was crying in the days following their “fling of passion” because they had contracted some form of incurable disease from their intimate hetro-sexual encounter. According to Hollywood, it never happens! It this real life?? I don’t believe so. I believe there is a reason why God instructs against all forms of sexual immorality, and it is not to “spoil our fun”, after all I believe sexual pleasure was God’s plan in the first place. Those who “hi-jack” the plan and want to fly it their own way ultimately end up crashing.
    I can love a person who has adopted a homo-sexual lifestyle, and still not agree that it is a good choice. I do believe it is a choice based upon complex factors. I do have a problem with anyone who would prey on others in order to achieve their own sexual gratification, or conceal and pervert truth in order to promote their own agenda.

  • Dave2

    There’s an enormous difference between the legal categories ‘hate crime’ and ‘hate speech’.

    With speech, I think libertarians and free speech absolutists have little to complain about in the US. Vicious hate speech cannot be prohibited simply for being vicious hate speech. Holocaust denial is protected speech, neo-Nazi parades through Jewish towns can be protected speech, and there are even significant protections for crossburning: anti-crossburning laws have been struck down as unconstitutional content discrimination and viewpoint discrimination due to the statute’s focus on “race, color, creed, religion or gender” (R. A. V. v. St. Paul, 1992). And since crossburning sometimes symbolizes “shared group identity and ideology”, states are now required to prove intent to intimidate (Virginia v. Black, 2003).

    With hate crimes, there is more room for controversy, but I believe hate crime laws are still narrowly confined by the courts in the name of the First Amendment. As I understand it, punishment cannot be enhanced simply because the state disapproves of the ugly ideology motivating the crime. That would constitute viewpoint discrimination, I believe. Instead, it is only because “bias-motivated crimes are [seen by the state as] more likely to provoke retaliatory crimes, inflict distinct emotional harms on their victims, and incite community unrest” that penalty enhancements are constitutionally permissible (Wisconsin v. Mitchell, 1993). My half-educated guess is that if a hate crime law were drafted not because of such consequences, but simply because the state wanted to express its disapproval of certain ideologies, that law would be struck down as unconstitutional.

    In any case, I don’t think the homophobic Christians have anything to worry about!

  • Dave2

    mnelson,

    Your claim about God’s plan (“there is a reason why God instructs against all forms of sexual immorality”) is hard to take seriously.

    Admittedly, mindless promiscuity can lead to bad consequences, but that’s not a matter of God’s law, that’s a matter of basic common sense. So consider two monogamous couples: one is married and the other unmarried. They are exactly alike when it comes to risk of bad consequences, but “God’s plan” would condemn the unmarried couple as immoral for no reason at all. Or compare a lesbian couple with a heterosexual couple. Again, the lesbian couple is condemned as immoral for no reason at all. You end up with an absurd moral system, which condemns perfectly healthy relationships as immoral simply because a marriage ceremony was forgone or simply because the two partners are of the same sex.

    As for hating the sin and loving the sinner, I agree that one can have a good deal of love and concern for someone you consider to be a sinner. However, I think this misses an important point: viz., if someone is a repeated and unrepentant wrongdoer, it is impossible to avoid thinking of them as a bad person. This is true for Christians and atheists alike—we all agree that a repeated and unrepentant liar or cheat is a bad person.

    But since you think that homosexual acts are sinful, it follows that you must think of any happy lesbian couple as bad people. Which is absolutely morally crazy. That’s the problem.

  • Siamang

    For example: how many times have you seen a movie where a person was crying in the days following their “fling of passion” because they had contracted some form of incurable disease from their intimate hetro-sexual encounter. According to Hollywood, it never happens!

    Whoo… you want some lame movies, don’t you?!? When I go to the movies, I want to see iron man, not crying VD man!

    (People also get incurable diseases from eating unwashed carrots… but I don’t want to see a movie about that either!)

    I believe there is a reason why God instructs against all forms of sexual immorality,

    I’m pretty sure He doesn’t specifically forbid the reverse cowgirl.

    *flips pages of bible furiously*… not that I can find!

    and it is not to “spoil our fun”, after all I believe sexual pleasure was God’s plan in the first place.

    Why did Jesus say that cutting off your balls was a blessing, then?

    Those who “hi-jack” the plan and want to fly it their own way ultimately end up crashing.

    Huuuh-huuh. You said Hi-Jack.

  • http://www.themilitantagnostic.com jen brister

    Great post. I live in the deep south and have to put up with this sort of thing on a daily basis.

    Where I live, it is automatically assumed that you think like everyone else. Christianity is assumed for all. People are shocked when they hear that I don’t believe they way that they do or that I have a ton of gay friends.

    They honestly didn’t know there were that many gay people in this town. Their church bubble keeps them ignorant. And they like it that way.

  • http://liberalfaith.blogspot.com/ Steve Caldwell

    Aj wrote:

    Criminalizing “harmful actions” that are already illegal. No, that doesn’t make sense. Hate-crime legislation in the US criminalizes thought not speech.

    You do know that we do criminalize “thought” in our laws already. For example, homicide is treated less harshly in some cases (involuntary manslaughter) than it is in other cases (premeditated murder).

    Both are homicide — the only difference is the thoughts of the defendant when it comes to sentencing.

  • Paul Gray

    Mark said:

    The raw simple fact is that Jesus never said homosexuality is a sin.

    Mark,
    While I agree Jesus never explicitly talked about the subject of homosexuality, your reasoning is flawed. If His silence on the subject indicates that it is ok, then we could use this reasoning to prove just about anything is ok. Follow me here:

    If you’ve ever read the New Testament, you’d know that Jesus never said it was wrong to rape someone. So, by using your logic, I can conclude that rape is ok.

    But wait, Jesus did command us to care and show compassion to others. do you think if I raped someone, then I would be showing them care and compassion? obviously not. So, indirectly, Jesus did say it was wrong to rape.

    The same applies to homosexuality. While Jesus never condemned it explicitly, he did condemn adultery, or “sex outside of marriage.” So, indirectly, Jesus did condemn homosexuality as a sin.

    -Paul

  • Indigo

    Paul -
    So gay sex is okay in Canada (where same-sex couples can get married) but not in most parts of the US? How does that work?

  • Eliza

    Paul,

    Right, and slaves should serve their masters without complaint, and women shouldn’t teach men, and it’s OK to send someone else’s herd of pigs over the edge of a cliff. Oh, and a fig tree is to be berated if it fails to produce fruit out of season. (Did I miss anything?)

  • Shan.

    I did DOS last year, on April 25th.
    I hated how more than half the teachers were disrespectful, and purposely called on the silent kids.

  • Aj

    You do know that we do criminalize “thought” in our laws already. For example, homicide is treated less harshly in some cases (involuntary manslaughter) than it is in other cases (premeditated murder).

    Establishing culpability is important, if you could give me an example of an accidental hate-crime that would be nice.

  • Nicole

    Mark,

    We can argue that all of scripture was not spoken directly from God’s lips, but let’s not forget 2Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness…”.

  • Eliza

    Nicole, just to clarify, are you citing this to support the claim that “All scripture is God-breathed..”? (That’s going to be a hard sell, to a bunch of atheists.)

    One of my favorite lines from the “Pauline” epistles which were probably written by someone else is this:

    Titus 1:2 a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time

    - How do we know that God does not lie?
    - It says so in scripture from God.
    - Hmm…but it’s like those logic puzzles; this does not rule out God being a liar, because both a liar and a truth-teller would say they don’t lie.

    (I also like the promise which was made before the beginning of time…back when there was noone to hear said promise)

  • Eliza

    And, back on topic, this quote from Robert Ingersoll’s essay “Some Mistakes of Moses” (~1879) seems appropriate:

    Christians tell me that they love their enemies, and yet all I ask is – not that they love their enemies, not that they love their friends even, but that they treat those who differ from them, with simple fairness.

  • Dave2

    Aj,

    I hope the following helps illuminate the Court’s reasoning on hate crimes and the relevance of motives.

    Racial hatred, the Court has found, is an acceptable factor for a judge to take into consideration when sentencing, but not simply because the judge dislikes racial hatred or finds it morally offensive. Here is an example that the Court itself cited in the important case Wisconsin v. Mitchell (1993).

    In the case Barclay v. Florida (1983), a deranged black man wanted to start a race war and began by murdering a white hitchhiker. The judge conducted a review of various potential aggravating and mitigating circumstances, and decided to sentence the man to death. Among the aggravating circumstances was the man’s racial hatred. The Court found that it was okay for the judge to take this into consideration: “The United States Constitution does not prohibit a trial judge from taking into account the elements of racial hatred in this murder. The judge in this case found Barclay’s desire to start a race war relevant to several statutory aggravating factors”.

    Notice that it’s not simply the racial hatred that matters. Instead, it’s the fact that the racial hatred is (seen by the judge as) indicative of other dangers: “The trial judge discussed this point in the course of finding the ‘great risk of death to many persons,’ ‘disrupt or hinder the lawful exercise of any governmental function or the enforcement of the laws,’ and ‘especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel’ statutory aggravating circumstances”.

    So it’s not like the judge went for the death penalty simply because the murderer subscribed to an abhorrent racist ideology. It’s because his racial hatred makes him a particularly dangerous customer (by the lights of the aggravating circumstances listed in Florida death penalty statutes).

    Accordingly, hate crime legislation, I gather, is deemed constitutionally permissible so long as it reflects the state’s judgment that crimes motivated by certain kinds of bigoted hatred are especially indicative of genuine danger to society.

  • Dave2

    Eliza,

    Here’s my best guess at Nicole’s reasoning.

    She’s not intending to show us atheists the authority of Scripture. She’s just saying that Christians take all Scripture to be authoritative, not just the words of Jesus. (Of course, if she were trying to show this by citing non-Jesus Scripture, she’d have a circular argument on her hands! So hopefully she’s just reminding us of the fact, rather than trying to prove it.)

    One point worth noting: the passage Nicole cites (2 Timothy 3:16) does not refer to the entire Christian Bible. After all, the Christian Bible didn’t even exist yet! Rather, it refers to the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, which was the most authoritative text for the early Christian movement.

  • Paul Gray

    Indigo Says:

    So gay sex is okay in Canada (where same-sex couples can get married) but not in most parts of the US? How does that work?

    Indigo,
    That’s a great question, and I’m glad you asked. Unfortunately, I am not informed on the homosexual laws in Canada (whether they are or aren’t allowed to marry), but I will take your word that they are.

    Unfortunately, Laws do not always coincide with what’s moral. The Bible (which is where I find truth) clearly states that marriage is an institution between 1 male and 1 female. Just because a law permits it, does not automatically mean it is acceptable and moral.

    A nice analogy to use would be the subject of adultery. Are there any laws in the US preventing it? No. Does that make it acceptable and moral? Definitely not.

    Eliza Says:

    Right, and slaves should serve their masters without complaint, and women shouldn’t teach men, and it’s OK to send someone else’s herd of pigs over the edge of a cliff. Oh, and it’s OK to send someone else’s herd of pigs over the edge of a cliff. fig tree is to be berated if it fails to produce fruit out of season. (Did I miss anything?)

    Eliza,
    The points you are making are not really on-topic. I’d rather if we stayed on topic here on this board.

    if you wish to discuss these topics, I would love to do so, so send me an e-mail:
    pfgray@liberty.edu

  • beijingrrl

    The reason that you can’t love a gay person and hate homosexuality is because their sexuality is an inherent part of that person’s nature not just a behavior they engage in. When will you people get it that it’s not a choice?

    If you hate homosexuality, you hate gays because that is who they are and not what they do.

    Okay, I’ll give up on gay people since you probably don’t believe in science.

    What does your god say about the sexuality of the hermaphrodites he created? Should they have sex with men or women? Or is sex for them just evil no matter what?

  • Autumnal Harvest

    Establishing culpability is important, if you could give me an example of an accidental hate-crime that would be nice.

    I have no idea what you think you mean here. Yes, establishing culpability is important in any crime, whether it’s a hate crime or not. Not relevant to anything discussed here, but true. And why do you want an example of an “accidental hate-crime”?

    Look, this isn’t that complicated. It’s ridiculous that people keep repeating that having hate crime legislation is “thought crime legislation,” or “criminalizing though,” or making other equally nonsensical claims. Hate crime legislation increases the penalties for certain actions, based on the motivations of those actions. As numerous posters have pointed out, basing penalties on motivations is not some weird “thought crime,” unique to hate crime legislation. It’s a pretty commonplace aspect of criminal law. There are differing penalties depending on my motivations for killing, or whether I’m carrying drugs for personal use or with intent to sell, or whether my actions are intended to further a criminal conspiracy, etc. . I could give more examples, but (1) above posters have already given plenty of other examples, and (2) I’m not sure why it’s even necessary to explain that our criminal justice system looks at the motivations and intent of the accused in sentencing. Furthermore, you’ll find that the courts often look at things the accused said in trying to figure out their motivations and intent, and no one claims that this is somehow punishing them for their speech. It’s constitutionally protected speech to say that Bob could use a good beating, but if you’re being tried for beating Bob, the court may use that speech to determine your state of mind.

    Although I have mixed feelings, I’m generally not in favor of hate crime legislation, because I haven’t been convinced that it’s useful to distinguish between killing someone because they’re black, and killing someone because they’re poor, and killing someone because one enjoys killing. While Siamang makes some good arguments for the utility of such distinctions, I don’t ultimately find them convincing. But whether hate crime legislation is useful is a different question from whether it’s “thought crime legislation.” Claiming the latter is nonsense.

  • Paul Gray

    Eliza,
    to comment on your quote from Ingersoll,

    He says,

    “all I ask is – not that they love their enemies… but that they treat those who differ from them, with simple fairness.

    wouldn’t loving your enemies entail treating them with simple fairness?
    that’s exactly how christians should treat gays; in fact, to quote myself from an earlier post on this blog,
    Paul said:

    I personally hate the fact that homosexuality is rapidly becoming seen as something being, “ok” and “not harmful,” but I will not let that stop me from helping a gay person when they need it.

    I really believe that’s how Christians should act. Honestly, I do not agree with many of the tactics of the people on the board that the blog is about (lest we forget about what we originally started debating :) myself included) and I’m sorry that I did not make that point earlier.
    I don’t think what those people on the board showed is love, but the point that I’m trying to make is that homosexuality is harmful (both physically and mentally) to those who partake in it. And I want to show those people that they do not have to live like that, that they have a much better life waiting for them if they just followed the guidelines Christ has laid out for them.

  • Aj

    It’s nonsense to mentioned intention as the same as motivation. My point was an accidental hate-crime is illogical, so comparing hate-crime to manslaughter is equivocation.

    I’m not a fan of increased penalty for motivation, and I will concede that this would also involve penalizing thought. A brutal assault is a brutal assault, I may actually feel worse if I heard that the person loved me or was indifferent. For the record, just because something is done, for however long, doesn’t make it right by tradition.

    It is different from establishing a new category of crime with thought as in the definition, as with armed robbery (accept thoughts don’t kill people like guns can). Making a new category of crime with thought right there in the title and certainly in the definition, means thought crime.

  • sc0tt

    Paul Gray Says:
    A nice analogy to use would be the subject of adultery. Are there any laws in the US preventing it? No. Does that make it acceptable and moral? Definitely not.

    Are there any laws that say slavery, rape, and thievery are allowable? Definitely not. Are there Christian scriptures that permit these things? Absolutely! Therefore secular law is more moral than God’s law.

  • Autumnal Harvest

    Eliza:

    Right, and slaves should serve their masters without complaint, and women shouldn’t teach men. . .

    Paul Gray:

    The points you are making are not really on-topic. . .

    They are on-topic. The topic is how you read the Bible, and whether you read it in a consistent way for all topics.

    As others have pointed out, Jesus says nothing about homosexuality. You claim that the Bible clearly state that marriage is between a man and a woman, but in fact I know of no place where it states that marriage should not be between two men, or between two women. The Jewish and Roman societies that were around when the books of the Bible were written only had heterosexual marriage, and the writers of the books of the Bible accept that, and do nothing to challenge it, but they nowhere state that it would be wrong to change the institution of marriage to allow same-sex marriage. (On the other hand, they do explicitly state that the institution of marriage should not be “changed” to allow Jews to marry non-Jews.)

    Similarly, the Jewish and Roman societies that were around when the books of the Bible were written had slavery, and the writers of the books of the Bible, accept that, and do nothing to challenge it. In fact, they make statements much stronger in favor of slavery than in favor of restriction of marriage to heterosexuals.

    I see three possible routes for Christians to deal with these issues:

    (1) Claim that if the authors of the books of the Bible accepted certain institutions, in certain forms, they were setting forth timeless truths about how those institutions should exist forever. We should have slavery, and forbid marriage between Jews and non-Jews, and marriage between two persons of the same sex.

    (2) Accept that while the Bible is divinely inspired, many of the cultural institutions described in it are products of their time, and even if the authors of the Bible accept them, they don’t apply to our times. It might be OK to end slavery, and it might be OK to allow marriage between Jews and non-Jews, or marriage between two women.

    (3) When the Bible confirms what they believe, say that it sets forth timeless truths. When it’s clearly repulsive by modern standards, read it in an entirely different way.

    Routes 1 and 2 are both logically possible, but route 3 seems to be the one taken by a majority of American Christians, and makes the claim that fundamentalists are just reading the Bible seem insincere. So, Paul, I think Eliza’s comments are quite on-topic.

  • Awesomesauce

    … the point that I’m trying to make is that homosexuality is harmful (both physically and mentally) to those who partake in it. And I want to show those people that they do not have to live like that, that they have a much better life waiting for them if they just followed the guidelines Christ has laid out for them.

    What is harmful about homosexuality? Are we speaking about real measurable harm (like may cause cancer), or spiritual/religious harm (sends souls to hell)?

  • Dave2

    Aj,

    I’m starting to think your objection is a symbolic one. That is, I think you simply dislike the idea of a “new category of crime”.

    So let me ask: would it be okay, in your view, for judges to take into account certain sorts of bigoted hatred when sentencing criminals, as a potential indicator of social danger? If so, then I believe you agree with the essence of hate crimes legislation.

  • Eliza

    Dave2: Ah, yes, I’d forgotten it would only refer to already-existing scripture. Thanks for that & for interpreting Nicole’s comment – makes sense.

    Paul:

    The Bible (which is where I find truth) clearly states that marriage is an institution between 1 male and 1 female.

    Where does the Bible “clearly state” this, in a way which overcomes the examples I give below?

    1) How does God’s apparent endorsement of polygamous marriage and of using one’s slave/handmaiden to conceive an heir in the OT fit with the model of 1M1F marriage?

    2) How about David & Solomon, each of whom had many wives as well as concubines, yet were (mostly) in God’s good graces?

    3) How about Jesus’ parable of the widow who marries each of her 7 brothers-in-law, sequentially – wouldn’t at least some of those have been polygamous marriages?

    4) How about 1 Timothy 3:2 & 3:12, and Titus 1:6, each of which say that a church leader must be “the husband of but one wife” (NIV), implying that other arrangements were possible?

    And, again to Paul: Do you see any conflict between the 4 statements below, each of which you endorsed?

    1) “treating them with simple fairness”
    2) “helping a gay person when they need it”
    3) “homosexuality is harmful (both physically and mentally) to those who partake in it” [I echo Awesomesauce's question: how so? proof/evidence please]
    4) “I want to show those people that they do not have to live like that, that they have a much better life waiting for them if they just followed the guidelines Christ has laid out for them”

    May I ask, do you find yourself using your own (or your church’s) definitions of “simple fairness” and “helping people”? Or, do you use definitions which the people you might aim to help & to treat with simple fairness, would themselves use?

    As an example, working toward marriage equality (gay marriage) could easily be seen as “helping gay people when they need it” by many people, including many/most gays. Yet I’m not sure that you would see it that way.

    The Golden Rule is, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But the Platinum Rule trumps that (IMO): Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.

  • AxeGrrl

    Paul Gray said:

    the point that I’m trying to make is that homosexuality is harmful (both physically and mentally) to those who partake in it.

    what real world ‘harm’ is caused by consenting adults engaging in a loving relationship?

    (and if your answer involves referring to sodomy at all, it’s completely specious because plenty of heteros engage in the same behaviour)

  • i am a dodt

    This is an interesting parody of anti-gay propaganda, called “The Heterosexual Agenda”:

    http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/Articles/000,015.pdf

    The author uses the same methods anti-gay propaganda does (i.e. cherry-picking) to support the claim that heterosexuals are destroying our society, polluting our children, etc.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com hoverFrog

    The speaker spoke about the myth that Christians “hate” homosexuals. We don’t hate homosexuals, she said, adding: “We’re not like Fred Phelps!”

    Fred is a Christian and he hates The Gay and promotes the idea that God hates them too. Therefore some Christians do hate homosexuals.

    I learned it’s ok to say being gay is wrong. We can’t worry about hurting people’s feelings.

    I agree. It is OK to say this and it is OK to not worry about hurting people’s feelings. It’s also OK to say that these Christians are bigoted idiots who act out of ignorance and superstitious fear and that they are wrong in so many ways about what they think of as “sin”.

    The speaker told the crowd that speaking out against homosexuality was not hate speech.

    Speaking out against brown people (or Jews, or women) isn’t hate speech in exactly the same way.

    Would it be possible for you to lead a counter discussion at the same venue for the same people? Perhaps other speakers could support you. This ignorance and hate mongering needs to be stopped. It’s insidious because it has no opposition in the lives of those who sit there and listen to it. Someone needs to sit with them and tell them why they are wrong not just that they are.

  • http://www.unindoctrinated.com/ EvilGod

    Well done. You are a way more tolerant man than I. I would not have been able to listen to that much drivel without wanting to re-educate these brainwashed bigots with a baseball bat. Yes, I know that would make things worse but I ran out of tolerance for these misguided fools long ago.

    Thank you for going and reporting it for us. We do need to be kept updated on the nefarious activities of the deluded right.

    You should have asked if you could rent the church for a “christian activism in the public schools” workshop.

  • valhar2000

    Reminds of the time I went to a Dianetics seminar.

  • Brooks

    wouldn’t loving your enemies entail treating them with simple fairness?

    If you believe in treating your enemies with equal fairness, then why don’t you treat all sinners with equal fairness? Fundamentalists want to ban gay rights because they believe homosexuality to be a sin, but isn’t all sin equal in God’s eyes? According to Christianity, telling lies is also a sin, so why don’t you amend the law so that telling lies is a crime and that people who tell lies don’t deserve equal rights? Have you ever told a lie in your life? If you admit you do, by your logic, then you don’t deserve any equal rights because lying is sin, too. And unlike homosexuality, lying actually hurts other people.

    It’s funny though how fundies only want to force their religion on people when it’s convenient for them. What about divorce? Jesus also said divorce was a sin but I don’t see Christians trying to get divorce banned. In fact, Christians have higher divorce rates than non-Christians do. And again, unlike homosexuality which hurts nobody, divorce actually hurts families. Oh wait, I forgot. The bible just exists for everyone else to follow, but Christians don’t have to do what the bible says, right? Because if a Christian sins, all they have to do is to tell Jesus they’re sorry, but gays who are minding their own business don’t deserve any rights.

    I don’t think what those people on the board showed is love, but the point that I’m trying to make is that homosexuality is harmful (both physically and mentally) to those who partake in it. And I want to show those people that they do not have to live like that, that they have a much better life waiting for them if they just followed the guidelines Christ has laid out for them.

    If you don’t believe what those people on the board showed love, what tactics would you use to show love? Threats of eternal torture? And how does homosexuality hurt people? Muslims believe Christians go to hell for believing in the Trinity. Should Muslims be allowed to ban you from having any rights if you believe in the Trinity?

  • Eliza

    I ran some of these phrases through Babelfish, translating from “Christian” to “plain English”.

    “Showing love” means trying to show people the error of their ways and convert them to Christianity.

    “Treating [people] fairly” means telling them they’re going to go to hell unless they convert to Christianity.

    “Helping [someone] when they need it” means telling them about Jesus and praying that they will accept* him.

    [*Accept used here in the "Christian" meaning]

    Common thread being, if you’re sure you know The Truth, it’s your duty to Spread It. Which does beg the question, IMO, of why the god you believe in would make his followers do this make-work for him, rather than doing it himself.

  • Ghost|BOFH

    First of all, the terms “gay” “queer” “fag” etc are slang, and as such are not considered proper in politically correct circles. So those who wish to be PC, say the technical term, “Homosexual” which is considered acceptable as the proper term.

    When addressing a homosexual however, it’s best to describe them how it is they prefer…much like when dealing with a Native American, most of them prefer to be called by their tribe names – “He’s Apache.” “She’s Hopi.” etc.

    Secondly, I’m pagan, myself. I feel very sorry for Christians who follow this blind intolerance because of a few passages in their Bible (Which is all in Leviticus, if you want to read up on it) but it annoys me to no end that they pick and choose their laws.

    In that same book, it says that shellfish are an abomination to god…so no Christian who’s against homos should ever eat them (Hey! Organize an anti-queer rally/clam bake! Really mess with their heads!) As are pedophiles, adulterers, those who practice incest, etc.

    It also says they should be shunned from their community, basically…don’t deal with them. But a mere 2 chapters later, and god wants them put to death…(The old codger can’t make up his mind, you understand…or maybe it was all just written by Man, I’m bettin’ it’s one of those)

    Seriously, if you want some ammo against the Christians over homosexuality, read that book in the Bible. Write down the list of violations, and make sure that Christians who are fighting against queers are also bashing those bastards who have ever cursed their parents, as an example…and check to be sure they’re burning their fatted calves on the alter for god, as according to the laws therein.

    I’m sure you’ll be told “Oh, now you’re just being stupid.”

    LoL.

    Cheers,
    Ghost|BOFH

  • absent sway

    “As for hating the sin and loving the sinner, I agree that one can have a good deal of love and concern for someone you consider to be a sinner. However, I think this misses an important point: viz., if someone is a repeated and unrepentant wrongdoer, it is impossible to avoid thinking of them as a bad person. This is true for Christians and atheists alike—we all agree that a repeated and unrepentant liar or cheat is a bad person.

    But since you think that homosexual acts are sinful, it follows that you must think of any happy lesbian couple as bad people. Which is absolutely morally crazy. That’s the problem.”

    Touche. That’s the best answer to “love the sinner, hate the sin” I’ve seen. I don’t think most people have thought of this all the way through as you have described but it’s an important point that would likely make someone think twice when confronted with it.

  • withheld

    I’m still waiting for the clear statements from the Bible that marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman. Most of what I’ve read on the subject say it is between 1 man and as many wives/servants as he can purchase from their fathers.

  • Nancy Allen

    This just proves once again the saying that spiritual people enlighten me…religious people frighten me!

  • Amber Bauer

    Yeah, I quit my religion (Roman Catholic) after hearing the monseigneur rant about the evils of homosexuality. As a lesbian, I knew that they were telling lies, but since my mom was sitting beside me, staring at me, just waiting for me to do something… I bit my tongue and waited. Only a few minutes after finishing his rant about the “homosexual agenda” and how we want to recruit children, and rape them… (seriously… I think I missed this memo too…) they decided to pray that prejudice will be abolished. I ended up laughing, and received a lot of confused looks in the process.

    So, I have come to the conclusion that these fundies are intercepting our mail… so we don’t get updates on the latest Gay stuff. Hmmm… that may explain why I didn’t get my coming out package.

  • Giligilitelj

    Being gay is the same thing as sticking private parts in vacuum cleaner. Not natural, but somehow being gay is all right in public, and other deviant behaviors are wrong.

  • http://www.cybersteamstudios.deviantart.com Schuyler Howland

    We live in truly sad times.

    We don’t always see it. But we do.

    We live in a world where a book has more weight than the emotions and feelings of our fellow human beings.

    We will allow ourselves to be influenced, to discriminate, judge, and belittle people. And what’s worse, is that we use this book, this inanimate, illegitimate, object to justify out actions.

    We are flawed beings, carrying out flawed actions, justified by a flawed and outdated set of living guidelines, coming from a flawed book.

    Even through all of this, It makes me happy to see that there are those who see reason. There are those who allow themselves to think freely and realize that even when you may have “the best intentions”… Hate is still hate. You can find these loopholes in your moral judgment, you can lie to yourself to justify your actions but in the end, it is still hate.

    It makes me happy that there are people who, in face of all this conflict, allow themselves to be who they are. They live life, not guided by a book, but by their own Conciseness. Their own experiences have shaped their understandings…not the words from a book.

    No matter who you are, what you are, what your beliefs are, what gender you are, what gender you want to be, what your sexuality is, remember:

    We have one life, just one. One single spark in the time line of the world. There is no guarantee of a paradise after death.

    Make this life your paradise. Be who you want to be. Be what you want to be. And don’t ever let anybody tell you that you are wrong for seeking happiness.

  • Jonathan Sherlock

    Hemant, that sounds like a really horrible evening. I admire your courage and strength of convictions in wanting to engage these people. But unfortunately, they sound like complete bigots who are caucusing to ensure that they remain bigots promoting their bigotry. If I’d been there I’d have been unable to restrain my temper. I think that they are right, though: conservatives have been losing the culture wars for a long time. While the mass media and government spew out homophobic, christian fundo rubbish, in fact most people have moved on. The vote for Obama is, in part, the official establishment starting to reflect a little with where people are really at. So I suppose in a way I pity them: they were being held up on a crutch of the mass media and seemingly official backing, but it was fleeting and now they feel alone. But in many other ways I do not. Their stinking putrid beliefs mean friends of mine get the living daylights beaten out of them by gangs of males ‘proving’ themselves. So shame on them. Good on you for standing up.

  • Elliot

    Personally, I think the huge kerfuffle over homosexuality is quite absurd. What we should really be campaigning against is-

    Shellfish. That’s right, shellfish.

    (Btw, a fun read, http://humanistsofutah.org/2002/WhyCantIOwnACanadian_10-02.html)

    In Leviticus 11:10 it is stated that the eating of shellfish is an abomination. And, seeing as how homosexuality is added to the list of abominations later(Leviticus 18:22), then I see shellfish as the worse offender of holy sanctification of Christian wing nuts.

    There, I said it. I would also like to point out that the relevance of the Old Testament was actually made void by Christ himself, as the New Testament works on a wholly different system called “grace.” Look it up, it’ll make your head spin.

    My point? You want me to think Christ actually wants you to attack homosexuality and abortion and all of those things you really don’t have power over? Then you’re going to show me where he said it. When you can do that, then you’re getting somewhere.

    Of course, even if you do, I’ll just point out that during the time it took you to research and find that verse… Several hundred thousand children were born. And of those? Somewhere around a thousand or so will be outright gay, and many, many more will have experimented. You already lost.

  • Paul Gray

    Sorry I haven’t responded in the past day, I’ve been a little tied up with things.

    Brooks said:

    According to Christianity, telling lies is also a sin, so why don’t you amend the law so that telling lies is a crime and that people who tell lies don’t deserve equal rights?

    This is a pretty good point by brooks. The Bible does say it’s wrong to lie, so why don’t we make laws against it? I think the reason is because It’s something that would never be feasible. I mean, how would we make laws against it? how would those laws work? what would be the punishment?

    I think we can all agree that if there was no lying in America, It would be a much safer & nicer place to live. So, wouldn’t laws that are made against lying be laws that are progressing us to a safer & nicer place to live?

    Same goes for any morally wrong behavior, but some behaviors would be hard to impose laws upon. i.e. lying, adultery, and homosexuality. Other morally wrong behaviors are easy to impose laws upon. i.e. murder, theft, and lying under oath, which is exactly why they have laws against them.

    absent sway said:

    if someone is a repeated and unrepentant wrongdoer, it is impossible to avoid thinking of them as a bad person. This is true for Christians and atheists alike—we all agree that a repeated and unrepentant liar or cheat is a bad person. But since you think that homosexual acts are sinful, it follows that you must think of any happy lesbian couple as bad people. Which is absolutely morally crazy. That’s the problem

    I do think that homosexual acts are sinful. I also think looking at pornography is sinful. I think that any one who commits either of these is equally bad.
    Guess what? I used to be addicted to pornography. I’m not proud of it, but it still reminds me I’m human, and that I make mistakes just like any other human.
    Getting to the point, I consider myself equally as “sinful” as any homosexual person. I don’t consider them as being any “badder” than myself.

    I apologize if some of you have raised points that I have not addressed, but I promise you I will try and get to them. I have to go get ready for my hockey game right now…

    -Paul

  • http://zlovers.blogspot.com Zabimaru

    Since I’m tired, I’ll be horrible enough to write a comment about a comment without reading through all the comments. I hope that the points that I’m going to make haven’t already been made.

    Bart the Pirate says:

    To support gay marriage is to endorse government licensure. A license is more than acknowledgement. It is permission. That government would be granted the power to permit one to have a spouse is an over reach of its authority. Rather than support gay marriage, we should oppose the concept of licensing family units.

    I’m not opposed to gay rights. I’m opposed to giving government undue control.

    This is an argument that I see often, from (probably) well-meaning people. And I have to strongly disagree, much because it sounds sensible while discouraging people from fighting for certain gay rights.

    The whole argument about “the government shouldn’t have the power to say if they are allowed to marry or not” falls on the fact that at present the government does say that some people are allowed to marry while some aren’t.

    In most places of the world it doesn’t matter if gay people want to get married and it doesn’t matter if a priest wants to marry gay people in his church; they aren’t allowed. This is very clearly a case of the government stepping in and saying that people aren’t allowed to do a certain thing.

    But when some people, especially libertarians, argue, they make it sound as if gay people suddenly were allowed to marry, this would mean that we’ve somehow given the government more power. But most people must agree that if the government relaxes the restrictions imposed on who is allowed to marry, it is a step in the right direction; they have less power if they aren’t allowed to say no to some.

    But even when they agree with this, libertarians and others often say that “Sure, it would be better, but it wouldn’t be perfect. The perfect thing is if government isn’t involved at all. We shouldn’t have any marriage laws.”

    Even if that is true (and I’m uncertain if it is), it feels like such a stupid argument. It is basically just giving up, saying “Hey, gay marriage might be good, but if we try to get it things aren’t going to get perfect, they’re just going to get good, so let’s forget the whole thing.”

    Because, honestly, we all know that government being totally disengaged from marital contracts isn’t going to happen. At least not anytime soon. There will be restrictions on marriage. Trying to ease the discrimination against some people by easing these restrictions is always a step in the right direction, regardless of if you dislike government involvement or not.

    I hope I made some sort of sense. As I said I’m tired. In short, what I’m trying to say is that to support gay marriage is not to “endorse government licensure.” It is about not supporting the current “government licensure” in its current form.

  • Eliza

    Paul G:

    Good luck on the hockey game.

    When you’re back, could you please cite where the Bible clearly endorses 1M1F marriage as you said it did (& denounces any other kind, including polygamy & use of slaves or concubines for sex & procreation, which otherwise seem to be held up in the Bible as a reasonable options).

    Also, why don’t we see Christians trying to get laws forbidding divorce? Divorce is clearly labeled sinful in the Bible – much more so than homosexuality.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Dan Baum

    If I remember correctly from my Sunday School days, sinning was an act of “free will”, a choice. I am a male heterosexual, I’ve known that girls (women) had something I wanted since I was about 4 years old. I don’t remember choosing to be heterosexual or even being aware there was something else to choose. I wonder if these folks that are so sure that homosexuality is a sin (choice) had the oppertunity to make a choice themselves?

  • Calliope

    Well, I read your report and decided to throw in my two cents. Hell, I even read most of the comments so that I could justify doing my own!
    So here’s the thing:
    I loved the idea of someone not against gays going to an anti-gay workshop. I live in a super liberal town in North Carolina, so I don’t have anything like that. I myself am a Christian, lesbian teenager. I know. CRAZY. And I go to a church were being gay isn’t a problem. In fact, our church did the same amount of commitment ceremonies as weddings (this is actually a fair amount of people, about 12 weddings and 10 or 11 commitment ceremonies, which is a lot in a year). They actually had a bunch of workshops about what the bible says about homosexuality. They summed it up by saying that really, nothing is really said about it. The quotes that people use are mostly misused and taken out of context. Plus, all this shit about “Hating the sin and loving the sinner” is dismissed. If you want the church that says that the most, check out the Catholics. According to them, it’s not even homosexuality that’s the sin, it’s sodomy. Which is completely different. I’m accepted within my family, my community, and my church. And it’s not like I’ve been exactly quiet about who I am. I’ve gone to every Gay Pride parade in the past four years(the group Dykes on Bikes was a hit), participated in all the gay-rights marches in the same amount of time (even the one that happened in the freezing, pouring rain), went to prom with my girlfriend last year and plan to do the same this spring, gone out in public holding hands *gasp* with said girl, am the vice president of my high school’s GSA, and all the way have had nothing but support from the people around me.
    Maybe I’m just lucky. Hell, I know I’m lucky. But recently, when he was forced to pass on a bill that would the Prop-8 of North Carolina, my congressman gave that bill over to a committee that hasn’t met since 2001 and probably won’t meet again for some time. A neighboring high school did the play The Laramie Project last spring, even performing it with the house lights half on so that the actors and audience members could see each other clearly, and there wasn’t a single group that came to protest it. At the last march against Prop-8 and bills of its kind, no came to fight against it. On the Day of Silence (oh yes, we did it too), nearly half the students and even some of the faculty participated. I know these things are small, but they are real and they are tangible and they give me hope.
    So my dear atheist friend, has this crazy, liberal, gay, Christian chick given you any hope?

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  • Paul Gray

    Eliza,
    Sorry it took so long to answer this question, but I wanted to make sure I produced a sound and clear answer.

    First off, I’d like to discuss the first marriage in the Bible. Adam and Eve. When God made the first ever relationship, he provided one man with one woman. Notice how he full well could have provided Adam with plenty of wives, but he didn’t.
    In the second chapter of Genesis we can find the story of how God made woman. After he makes the woman for Adam, Adam accepts her, and then in verse 24 it says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Notice the language of this text: a man [singular] united to his wife [singular].

    A more recent update (and by recent, I mean New Testament recent) can be found in the first of Paul’s (the apostle, not me :) ) letters to the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians if you wish to look it up on biblegateway). Paul seems to be answering a certain question that this church had about marriage. It would be really good to read chapter 7 in its entirety, just to get a good glimpse of what marriage should be, but I would like to pick out a particular verse: 7:2 “But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.”
    This verse, I would say, pretty clearly defines marriage as 1 man, 1 woman.

  • anon

    In response to Yuri’s comment:

    “If Hitler had founded the “Everyone Sponser a Puppy So That it Can Grow and Not Die Foundation”, would that have absolved him and made him a good person?

    You’re either a good person or not, prejudice in any area makes you not a good person.”

    I just wonder how you could ever compare christian values to Hitlers Ideals? its almost as If you suggest that christians would condone the mass execution of gays, to correlate to hitler being prejudiced to Judaism and killing Jews. A bit rediculous. but whatever.

    And then I have to ask Atheists, what makes you a good person? You seem to want to be good people. So does being good not entail good morals? Im sure most of you would not kill, would not steal, cheat on your spouse? Things like these im sure you must have heard of and maybe do live by. And where did you hear of them if not in the Bible? Probably the Bible. So thats just something to think about, maybe you have i dont know.

    Another question. If the gay movement does one day succeed and being gay was globally or at least nationally considered to be “ok”…Is that what is going to make people untimately happy? will everything be fine after that? will everyone be more fulfilled knowing that all the gay people can endulge in all their sexual desires?? Well whats next? beastiality? what if people come out in the future, and say that they really feel attraction to animals and they feel that it is their right to be able to have sex with an animal. Is this going to become ok?? Why are we lowering our standards??

    Now, I myself am a christian and what some people would call gay. I think that being a person with homosexual desires is fine and pretty much a natural phoenomenon, I think that most christians would agree with that, although it is how you act on those desires that becomes an issue. I myself find myself to be attracted to men yet I have made a concious decision to stray from sin and I will never pursue homosexuality. I think that homosexual behavior can be compared to any promiscuity, you can have sexual desires but if you act on them in excess, its technically considered sin. i think the difference with homsexuality is that it is not productive, you cant pro-create. A man and a man will never have a baby. Not naturally at least(who knows where future science will take us). So i just don’t think anything good will come out of this pro-gay thing. And please don’t take what im saying out of context because I do think that gay people are good people, but when it becomes ok to commit homosexual acts, i think things will start to go downhill.

    And another thing. You atheists arent so different than us christians. You say you don’t worship a god? Well you seem to spend alot of time talking about this guy darwin…

  • Noam Samuel

    Where were the Christians who believe that it’s ok to be gay?

    They all couldn’t make it that night, for various reasons.

  • http://www.amerika.org/ Vijay Prozak

    If it’s OK to be gay, it’s also OK to not want to be gay.

    Just like you don’t want homophobes in your community, some people don’t want homosexuals in their communities.

    Big deal.

  • Autumnal Harvest

    This verse, I would say, pretty clearly defines marriage as 1 man, 1 woman.

    Paul, your examples completely miss the point of all the criticisms Eliza and I made. As a side not, I would first point out that 1 Cor 7:2 does not clearly define marriage as 1 man, 1 woman. You seem to be reading “each man should have his own wife” as saying that, without exception, every man should be married to precisely one woman—that is, no man should fail to be married to one woman, or married to multiple woman, or to one man. That’s a possible reading of that verse in isolation, but it’s clear that Paul doesn’t actually mean it that way, for he clearly also approves of an alternative: some men should not be married to anyone, if they can handle it.

    But how to read 1 Cor 7 is a minor point. The main point that both Eliza and I made was that you can find other verses where other forms of marriage are also approved of, or where slavery is approved of. There are multiple righteous patriarchs in the Hebrew Bible who take multiple wives or concubines, and God never disapproves. In fact, it’s often clearly presented as a reward from God. For example, for David: “I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom,. . . and if that had been too little, I would have added as much more.” (2 Sam 12:8, NRSV). How can polygamy be wrong if God rewards David with multiple wives? And how can it be a sin, when we know that “David did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.” (1 Kings 15:5, NRSV)? You can say that 1 Corinthians 7 approves of marriage between one man and one woman, but you can’t say that the Bible defines it as the exclusive form of marriage, unless you can explain away God’s repeated approval of another form of marriage (one man, multple women).

    And, as I (and Eliza) said before, there are other verses that clearly accept other institutions that you surely reject. For example, there are multple verses in the Old and New Testaments that approve of slavery. For example:

    Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ, not only while being watched, and in order to please them, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. Render service with enthusiasm. . .(Eph 6:5-7, NRSV).

    If you think 1 Cor 7 is a “clear” statement of marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman, you must think that this is an even clearer statement approving of slavery. And you surely know that I can back up the “pro-slavery” position, both with similar verses in the New Testament, with stories in the Hebrew Bible of patriarchs being rewarded with many slaves, and with detailed legal codes that implicitly approve of slavery by setting out the rules for slavery.

    The question isn’t whether you can cherry-pick a verse that approves of marriage between one man and one woman, and interpret it to mean that that form of marriage must be exclusive. The Bible is large enough that cherry-picking verses to support what you already believe is not a particularly difficult task. I repeat my earlier question: do you actually believe that all the institutions set forth in the Bible are timeless truths about how to structure a society, or only if they match up with what you want to believe anyway?

  • Autumnal Harvest

    Vijay Prozak:

    If it’s OK to be gay, it’s also OK to not want to be gay.

    Just like you don’t want homophobes in your community, some people don’t want homosexuals in their communities.

    Big deal.

    Let’s try this argument in a different context, and see if it makes sense:

    If it’s OK to be black, it’s also OK to not want to be black (and to not give blacks equal rights).

    Just like you don’t want racists in your community, some people don’t want blacks in their communities.

    Big deal.

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  • Paul Gray

    Autumnal Harvest said:

    every man should be married to precisely one woman—that is, no man should fail to be married to one woman, or married to multiple woman, or to one man.

    I don’t think anyone else would interpret 1 Corinthians 7 the way that you did.
    “each man should have his own wife” Last time I checked, wife[singular], did not mean (or imply) wives[plural] or a man? which is what you says this passage implies.

    but moving on to your verse where God “rewarded David with multiple wives.”
    I don’t think the verse is clear that David received his master’s wives has his own wives. In fact, I think Nathan is using conventional language to say that the Lord had placed David on Saul’s throne (taken his place).

    you must think that this is an even clearer statement approving of slavery.

    This may come as a shock to you, but: I’d say there’s nothing inherently wrong with slavery, If (and only if) it is done within the guidelines laid out by God.
    The main picture of slavery that Americans get is the one of our nation’s past, and it is truly a sorry one. Men, women, and children; being kidnapped and sold? This is clearly not in the guidelines God has laid out. Also the treatment here in America of slaves. A lot of it was absolutely terrible! Also, clearly not in the guidelines God has laid out. Outlawing slavery was one of the best things this country has done. Because it freed innocent people, who had been kidnapped and shipped here.

    Also I’d like to point out you missing the first part of verse 2. it says “But since their is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.” Here, Paul gives 2 alternatives to immoral behavior. Either get married to one wife, or stay single and pure. That’s because any other sex, is immoral.

    -Paul

  • Paul Gray

    Autumnal Harvest said:

    Let’s try this argument in a different context, and see if it makes sense:

    If it’s OK to be black, it’s also OK to not want to be black (and to not give blacks equal rights).

    Just like you don’t want racists in your community, some people don’t want blacks in their communities.

    Big deal.

    There is a big difference between African Americans and homosexuals. African Americans can’t control their situation, while homosexuals can.

  • Autumnal Harvest

    I don’t think the verse is clear that David received his master’s wives has his own wives.

    Are you seriously claiming that the authors of the Hebrew Bible don’t approve of polygamy? Are you claiming that David (who never sinned, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite) didn’t have multiple wives? I’m not sure how such a reading of the historical books is even remotely tenable.

    This may come as a shock to you, but: I’d say there’s nothing inherently wrong with slavery, If (and only if) it is done within the guidelines laid out by God.

    Well, yes, it does come as a shock to me that you see nothing wrong with one human being owning another human being. It also strikes me as insane. Yes, the American form of slavery was a particularly brutal form of slavery, but Christ man, you’re still talking a human being being treated as property. You’re saying that you’re happy with this as a modern institution?:

    If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property. (Ex 21:20-21, NIV)

    You’re saying that you’re fine with one human being owning another, and being free to beat them as much as they want, so long as they’re not permitted to beat them to death?

  • ash

    Anon;

    Godwin’s Law; check.
    Historical Fail; check.
    Bad Grammar + Spelling; check.
    Questioning Atheist Morality; check.
    Lack of Basic Logic; check.
    Faulty Analogies; check.
    Martyr Complex; check.
    Laughable Projection; check.

    Please continue, I have nearly filled my bingo card ;)

  • Eliza

    Exodus 21:7 (ESV)

    7 When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do.

    8 If she does not please her master, who has designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has broken faith with her.

    9 If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her as with a daughter.

    10 If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights.

    11 And if he does not do these three things for her, she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.

    Biblical standard of family values & marriage:
    1) A man can sell his daughter into slavery

    2) Her master can claim the girl/woman for himself (for sex, apparently within marriage, perhaps common-law marriage)

    3) Her master can take another wife besides her, yet keep the slave-girl as a wife also

    4) Her master can also kick her out without any compensation after “using” her in “marriage”. No punishment for him, apparently.

    Exodus 21:1-6 is also illustrative regarding “family values” in the Bible (as are so many other sections).

  • Brooks

    This is a pretty good point by brooks. The Bible does say it’s wrong to lie, so why don’t we make laws against it? I think the reason is because It’s something that would never be feasible. I mean, how would we make laws against it? how would those laws work? what would be the punishment?

    Are you actually suggesting lying should be banned? You realize that’s a violation of the constitution and our freedom of speech, right? I thought Christians were all for free will and stuff? But this presents yet another contradiction in Christianity. That despite their claims that all sins are equal, even most Christians hopefully know that all sins cannot be punished equally. Yet if all sins are the same, why treat homosexuality worse than people lie? Are you going to suggest all other religions besides Christianity should be banned? You should try reading 1984 sometime to understand the absurdities of your beliefs. And if all sins are equal, what if you were hiding Jews from Hitler? Would you lie to keep them safe or tell the truth and let Anne Frank be tortured by Hitler?

    I don’t consider them as being any “badder” than myself.

    And yet yourself admit in your same post that some sins cannot be treated as equal as other sins, so you most certainly do think of them as being badder than you, even though they aren’t doing anything that’s hurting anyone besides your God’s petty immature feelings.

    A more recent update (and by recent, I mean New Testament recent) can be found in the first of Paul’s (the apostle, not me :) ) letters to the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians if you wish to look it up on biblegateway). Paul seems to be answering a certain question that this church had about marriage. It would be really good to read chapter 7 in its entirety, just to get a good glimpse of what marriage should be, but I would like to pick out a particular verse: 7:2 “But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.”
    This verse, I would say, pretty clearly defines marriage as 1 man, 1 woman.

    I think you should try reading it in your entireity as Paul himself says in this chapter that his verses about sex are his opinion, not a commandment from God, so if Paul himself says it’s just his opinion, then it’s a moot question anyway 1 Cor 7:6

    But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment.

    And in verse 25

    Now concerning virgins: I have no commandment from the Lord

    So even Paul himself says that not everything he commands comes from God, but what he says about sex is just his opinion, not a commandment.

  • http://bluegrassfool.blogspot.com/ Scott

    Out of curiosity, how many of these “christians” speaking and agreeing were overweight?

    Maybe people should start harassing and picketing churches, telling them to “get off their fat asses, because gluttony is an even bigger sin than homosexuality, according to their own book. It’s a DEADLY sin, and we just want to “fix” them.”

  • Laurie Higgins

    Dear Mr. Mehta,

    In your account of my presentation, you said that you had the following conversation with “them.”:

    Me: Isn’t the pro-life silence day the exact same idea as the Day of Silence?

    Them: Umm… yes. And we do not support the pro-life silence day.

    Me: Well, that’s good to hear. But I don’t remember getting any press releases from your organization asking parents to remove their children from school because some students were also going to remain silent for political reasons and personal beliefs.

    Them: Umm… yeah… we should really have sent one out about that.

    First, I was the only presenter, and you and I had no such conversation. I did explain that I am opposed to all political action in the classroom including the “Day of Silent Solidarity.” The rest of your quoted dialogue was completely manufactured.

    Second, your analysis of my reference to plagiarism is incorrect. I did not suggest that “plagiarism” is analogous to homosexuality. I used it as an illustration of my larger point that society makes moral judgments regarding behavior all the time without being accused of hatred toward or inciting violence against people.

    Nor did I compare homosexuals to pedophiles or polyamorists. Again, I used the fact that liberals make public moral judgments about pedophilia and polyamory without being accused of inciting violence against or expressing hatred toward pedophiles and polyamorists. I was trying to make the case that your side is inconsistent in their application of the principle that making public moral claims constitutes incitement to violence and hatred.

    You said:

    I wanted to point out all the flaws in their thinking, all the parts where they weren’t telling the whole story, all the times they were flat out lying to the audience.

    I would be more than willing to hear where you found my thinking flawed, or what part of the story I omitted, or what flat-out lies I told. I try very hard to tell the truth, and if I’ve lied, I want to be held accountable. I hope you feel similarly.

    Finally, I would have said nothing different even if I had known with certainty that there were homosexuals or atheists in attendance. Anytime I speak, I am fully aware that there may be people in the audience who hold views diametrically opposed to mine and who likely hate me because of my views.

  • alix

    paul,

    the fact is, gayness is not just an act. for instance: i’m gay. however, i’m also celibate. since i’m not having any gay sex, i’m apparently not sinning. but my gayness is not diminished by the fact that i’m not having gay sex, or in fact, any sex at all. i’m still gay.

    i don’t know if homosexuality is biological or not — but i do know that it’s not something i woke up one day i chose. it’s not something i could change — look at huge number of gay people who have wanted so badly to be straight but were still, at the end of the day, gay. it’s not something you turn on and off.

    so here’s the question: am i sinful? i’m openly gay, i’m an activist, but since the sin is apparently sex outside of marriage, or sex period, and i’m not having any, then i’m not sinning. if homosexuality is an act that has nothing intrinsic about it, then i’m all good and not sinning at all. if, however, you feel there’s something sinful about being gay but not sexually active, then you kinda have to admit that being gay is not about the act but is a characteristic of a person.

    so which is it?

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    Ms. Higgins — The conversation you refer to is one I had with the president of IFI, who was in attendance. I am rehashing that conversation from memory, but that was essentially what was said.

    I would be more than willing to hear where you found my thinking flawed, or what part of the story I omitted, or what flat-out lies I told. I try very hard to tell the truth, and if I’ve lied, I want to be held accountable. I hope you feel similarly.

    I will send you an email later tonight about this (can’t right now). Thanks for being willing to hear me out.

    Finally, I would have said nothing different even if I had known with certainty that there were homosexuals or atheists in attendance. Anytime I speak, I am fully aware that there may be people in the audience who hold views diametrically opposed to mine and who likely hate me because of my views.

    There’s no hate from my end. There’s just frustration that people could hold views such as yours, and frustration that (I think) people from your side so often get the story and facts wrong.

  • Lisa

    Brooks-
    I wanted to respond to you, however when I went to post this last night by Internet stopped working. So this is a little late. Anyway, I hope you don’t mind if I share a bit of my opinion on some of the issues you brought up, I thought they were such good points, I couldn’t help but put in my two cents! :)
    You start out by asking the question should lying be banned? Well.. honestly yes, If we could ban lying why not? Wouldn’t that make things a lot better? The only reason you would need to lie is cover something up that possibly you should have never done in the first place.. right? So yes, I vote we ban it. However, logically this is not possible, if it were a perfect world than I would say go for it. But really… how would you reinforce this. But, just because the law does not ban lying does not make it right. If I allowed the government to decide what I thought was moral … then I could start have sex with as many people as I wanted starting at the age of 16. At the age of 18 I could smoke 25 packs of cigarettes a day! And 21, I could be in a bar all night long, sleep all day and collect unemployment checks! Right? I mean I don’t remember the law saying any of those are illegal. I think all of us can agree that the law misses out on some pretty important moral issues.
    Let’s move on to all sins being equal. They are all equal in the fact that they all go under the category of being “sin,” just like every crime goes under the category of being “illegal.” However , there are of course different consequences to each sin. I think we can all agree that the consequences for murder should be a little more serious than that of someone who got a speeding ticket. But they are all considered a “crime.” Just like God hates all sin, the Government hates all crime. Not by any means that I am trying to say that the Government is God, but I am trying to make is as understandable as possible. Anyway, but all sin does eventually lead to the same result. But because of the Grace of God through sending his Son to die for our sins, we are sparred, of course if we choose so. Brook, everything you say makes great since. I completely see where you are coming from, but If I could ask you one question, it would be this.. Why are you here? (And of course there are little sub questions to follow) When you die, do you just disappear? What happens after you leave this earth? Do you come back as something else to just do it again? Is there no end? Is there no possible way that there is something bigger? And if there is.. wouldn’t you want to be a part of it? What if you’re not apart of it.. what are you risking? And is it really worth it?

  • miller

    I liked reading what you wrote. People are so crazy with their prejudices.
    I came upon your website through stumblleupon.
    teh website is VERY difficult to read-too too small, too gray. Really.

  • http://bluegrassfool.blogspot.com/ Scott

    “I used the fact that liberals make public moral judgments about pedophilia and polyamory without being accused of inciting violence against or expressing hatred toward pedophiles and polyamorists”

    Last time I checked, public condemnation of pedophiles and polygamists is almost NOTHING – from EITHER side of the fence.

    Any “God hates Pedophiles” signs? Nope. Any ridiculous spending or “christian” amendments to protect children from pedophiles? Nope. Any silly “ex-pedophile” therapy? No way – no time for that!

    If “christians” picketed and condemned pedophiles and child-marrying polygamists as much as they do gay people, we wouldn’t have much need for stuff like ‘To Catch A Predator’.

    But, I guess to condemn pedophiles is to condemn several members of their own church. And that’s not a good thing!

  • Brooks

    You start out by asking the question should lying be banned? Well.. honestly yes, If we could ban lying why not? Wouldn’t that make things a lot better? The only reason you would need to lie is cover something up that possibly you should have never done in the first place.. right? So yes, I vote we ban it.

    This is absurd. No, banning lying would not make society better. As I already stated, that would be a violation of our freedom of speech and be against everything our forefather’s stood for when they founded the U.S. It would also be a violation of freedom of religion. Most Christians claim they know the “truth” and all other Christians are lying, then if lying was banned, then according to you, the Christian denominations lying would have to be banned. But since all the denominations claim the other one is lying, unless they have proof of their claims, we can only presume that no Christians know the truth and all of them are lying to a degree, thus all versions of Christianity should be illegal since none of you have proof, according to your “logic.”

    So, what’s it going to be? If you believe homosexuality is a sin, then either some minor sins like lying and gay marriage are going to have to be allowed to preserve our freedoms. Or if you believe all sins should be made illegal, including minor ones, then Christianity would inevitably end up being banned since all Christian denominations claim the others are lying. Furthermore, as I already stated, not all instances of lying lead to negative consequences. Going by your “logic”, the people who hid Jews during WWII should have been arrested for lying to the Nazis about hiding and Anne Frank should go to hell. Haven’t these people been tortured enough in this life as it is? Are you really so heartless?

    Anyway, but all sin does eventually lead to the same result. But because of the Grace of God through sending his Son to die for our sins, we are sparred, of course if we choose so.

    So, when Rehab the prostitute lied to save the Israelites, why did God save her for committing the sin of lying instead of sending her to hell if all sins lead to the same result?

  • Adrian

    This is quite amazing. I would have been feeling and analyzing the same exact way as you were if I were there. So many problems!

  • Therese

    It irritates me that there are people in this world today who dare to call themselves Christian. What happened to “Love one another as I have loved you” “Love your neighbour as thy self” This includes anyone who is gay. Every human being is made in the image of God. People do not choose to be gay, I mean who the hell chooses a life where they will be persecuted and bullied. Some people are born straight, some are gay and some bi. Some are even born the trans gender. Christians should get on with their own lifes, let gay people live their lives and always remember that he who is without sin can cast the first stone. (By the way, I don’t think being Gay is a sin) People should be able to fall in love and to behave as God has made them, they should not to have to pretend to be straight in order to please some non-Christian acting Christian. Being Gay is about love and relationships, not purely about sex.

  • Karen

    I grew up in a church when I was younger, and the main reason that I do not go anymore, is the same hypocritical BS that you are writing about now. Now there are things that I believe in, but I am not above admitting I am wrong (hard though it may be… :P ) if some one can show me a side or a point or a fact that I did not think of.

  • Teri

    Therese,

    You say, being gay is about love and relationships. I don’t think that makes sense. Ask yourself: If you subtract sex from homosexual relationships what have you got?

    A friendship.

    Get on with our own lives? We’d love to.

    But I’m afraid that’s not an option. When govt. steps in to protect sin it puts its foot right in the middle of the Church. Homosexual activists are seeking to silence people who believe in traditional homosexuality. They have punishment planned for those who won’t be silent or validate this behavior. Between hate crimes, ENDA, same-sex marriage, corporate diversity policies, and pro-gay education in the public schools I don’t see where we have much choice. We dare not be silent. The table is being set for our persecution.

    A gain for the homosexual rights movement is a loss of freedom–mostly for Christians. Ask Chai Feldblum, Georgetown professor and lesbian activist. She is one of the few homosexual activists willing to be honest about it.

    http://www.becketfund.org/files/92708.pdf

  • Twin-Skies

    @Teri

    How is this a “loss” for Christians exactly? As far as I have seen, homosexuals are simply asking for equal civil rights as much as the next guy – nothing more, nothing less.

    Quit playing the persecution card, your slippery slope argument, and this “homosexual agenda” conspiracy you’ve obviously pulled out of your nether regions.

    Just stop – we are very tired of your ilk’s fearmongering and bigotry.

    Given this a first post, I may as well introduce some details on myself. I’m a deist, and while I’m not gay, I do have riends who are, and I do believe they deserve to be free from any senseless persecutuion.

    I happened upon this blog via Pharyngula.

  • Pingback: On the Topic of Homosexuality « According to Dan…

  • Paul Gray

    I know some of you have addressed issues about the bible and I would love to answer those challenges any time. All i ask is that you e-mail them to me! pfgray@liberty.edu trust me honestly I would love to hear from you, and I will always treat you with respect and take your arguments seriously. I want to keep the discussion here related to homosexuality, though.

    How is this a “loss” for Christians exactly?

    Any government that allows gays to marry says it’s okay to be gay. Any society that says being gay is okay is paving the way for the next generation to be sexually promiscuous.

    IMO you can’t have homosexuality without promiscuity. I know there may be some who have significant others who are not promiscuous, but that is mostly the exception, not the norm.

  • GullWatcher

    @Paul Gray

    IMO you can’t have homosexuality without promiscuity. I know there may be some who have significant others who are not promiscuous, but that is mostly the exception, not the norm.

    So much ugliness here, hard to know where to start… So, in your OPINION, homosexuals are promiscuous. In what way, shape, or form, is your opinion of any worth? Where’s your evidence, your well constructed studies, anything at all that says that rampant homosexual promiscuity exists anywhere outside your imagination, and presents a problem for others?

    Any society that says being gay is okay is paving the way for the next generation to be sexually promiscuous.

    Even if your hypothesis were true, how does it rub off on straight people? Where’s your evidence for this? And most important of all, what if the next generation does want to be promiscuous? What the hell business is it of yours, now or ever, how other people run their sex lives?

    You are so blinded by your prejudice you don’t even see that this whole problem is in your narrow mind, and not a real problem at all, until you try to make it everyone else’s problem. Your idea of ‘loving the sinner’ looks so much like hate that it isn’t even amusing any more.

    And the biggest idiocy of all, why should your bible, which I completely reject as an arbiter of morals, have any bearing whatsoever on the secular laws of my country? If you want to live by that appalling book, go ahead, but stop trying to shove it down other people’s throats.

  • ikaris

    Its not surprising that christians are this offensive, they’ve been doing it the span of their entire history.

    That being said, I can’t believe how many of them there still are….. how can the common man be so ignorant and intolerant?

  • Brooks

    Any government that allows gays to marry says it’s okay to be gay. Any society that says being gay is okay is paving the way for the next generation to be sexually promiscuous.

    IMO you can’t have homosexuality without promiscuity. I know there may be some who have significant others who are not promiscuous, but that is mostly the exception, not the norm.

    You’re not making sense again. I can use the same “logic” towards your religion. The bible approves of murder in the name of God. The government has legalized Christianity. Therefore, the government is saying that it’s ok for Christians to murder in the name of God. If you believe in the bible, that must obviously mean you approve of murder. Since murder is immoral, then Christianity should be illegal since you can’t have Christians without murder. Now do you see the illogical flaws of your argument?

  • Paul Gray

    @GullWatcher

    In what way, shape, or form, is your opinion of any worth?

    In the same way, shape, AND form, as yours :) .

    anything at all that says that rampant homosexual promiscuity exists anywhere outside your imagination

    do me a favor and type “gay pride parade” into a google image search. Here, I’ll even put it into a link: gay pride parade You look at those pictures and tell me that the Gay community is not about promiscuity. Would you want to show those pictures to a class of kindergardners?

    what if the next generation does want to be promiscuous? What …business is it of yours, now or ever, how other people run their sex lives?

    A promiscuous society is definitely not a safe, or healthy society. I want America to be a safe environment for my kids, and also a healthy one.

    Your idea of ‘loving the sinner’ looks so much like hate that it isn’t even amusing any more.

    How in the world have I shown hate? As far as I can see, I’ve only posted an argument against your opinion. Is that hate?

    And the biggest idiocy of all, why should your bible, which I completely reject as an arbiter of morals, have any bearing whatsoever on the secular laws of my country?

    Because this is as much my country as it is yours. welcome to America.
    Also I’d like to pose a question to you… a little off topic but i’d like to ask anyway. What do you use as your arbiter of morals?

  • Amanda

    JD, I would also be very interested in sitting in on one of these events in Chicago. I would like to see HOW they make some of the connections they do…they make absolutely no sense.

  • Eliza

    Also I’d like to pose a question to you… a little off topic but i’d like to ask anyway. What do you use as your arbiter of morals?

    Good question. What do you use? Because it’s not just the Bible. Otherwise, how coud you possibly decide which sections of Biblical morality you follow as “moral” and which are outdated & defunct?

    Leviticus 11 (NIV):

    1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat: 3 You may eat any animal that has a split hoof completely divided and that chews the cud.

    4 ” ‘There are some that only chew the cud or only have a split hoof, but you must not eat them. The camel, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is ceremonially unclean for you. 5 The coney, [rock badger] though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is unclean for you. 6 The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is unclean for you. 7 And the pig, though it has a split hoof completely divided, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. 8 You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.

    9 ” ‘Of all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the streams, you may eat any that have fins and scales. 10 But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales—whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water—you are to detest. 11 And since you are to detest them, you must not eat their meat and you must detest their carcasses. 12 Anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales is to be detestable to you.

    20 ” ‘All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be detestable to you. 21 There are, however, some winged creatures that walk on all fours that you may eat: those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground. 22 Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper. 23 But all other winged creatures that have four legs you are to detest.

    24 ” ‘You will make yourselves unclean by these; whoever touches their carcasses will be unclean till evening. 25 Whoever picks up one of their carcasses must wash his clothes, and he will be unclean till evening.

    Matthew 19:21, similar teaching in Mark 10:21:

    …go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.

    Christians seem so resistant to this teaching. “Oh, Jesus didn’t mean that literally” or “Oh, that was only for his disciples“. Sounds like, “Oh, that’s too hard, we can’t possibly do that.”

  • Autumnal Harvest

    I know some of you have addressed issues about the bible and I would love to answer those challenges any time. . . I want to keep the discussion here related to homosexuality, though.

    With all due respect, this is a cop-out. You’re the one saying that you’re opposed to homosexuals because the Bible tells you that you that it’s wrong, and that the Bible tells you that marriage is between one man and one woman. If you’re going to argue that, you have to be prepared to answer (1) how you can make that claim about a book that repeatedly endorses polygamy and (2) whether you actually believe all the rules and social institutions described in the Bible are moral timeless truths about how to structure society, or if you’re just cherry-picking verses that support what you wanted to conclude anyway, and ignoring the rest. You can’t claim that the Bible is the source of your bigotry, and then declare questions about whether you’ve actually used the Bible in a rational and consistent manner off-topic. Well, OK, you can, but it’s unreasonable.

  • Paul Gray

    ELiza,
    The verses in Leviticus you posted are included in the “holiness code” as laid out for us throughout the Book of Leviticus and parts of Deuteronomy. The Israelites were to follow these laws until the Messiah came and a new covenant was created. This of course happened with the arrival of Christ who established a new covenant, which was founded upon “better promises”

    (ironically, I got this from a pro-gay website^)

    Fortunately, however, that doesn’t mean these verses are “outdated & defunct,” as you stated. We can still learn from the principles that these verses teach such as:
    Respect
    -The Levitical Law directed the Israelites to treat others with respect and honor. That included providing food and shelter for strangers traveling through their land.
    Family
    -Many of the Levitical Laws stressed the importance of family and procreation.
    Health
    -The Levitical Laws stressed personnel hygiene, proper eating habits and the need to stay away from temple prostitutes and never having sex outside of marriage.
    (I also got this from a pro-gay website^)

    The last verse you mentioned is included in one of Jesus’ parables. They are not taken to be literate truth, although the principles from the story are: Trust in God no matter what, even if he tells you to “sell all your possesions and give to the poor.”

    To Autumn Harvest; honestly, I’m not trying to cop out of anything.
    I have already typed a response to your (1) statement, but I did not post it because I want the discussion here to stay related to homosexuality. The only reason I started talking about the Bible is because someone said, “Jesus never talked about homosexuality,” so I showed him, in the Bible, how Jesus condemned it.

    If you look at my last two posts, I didn’t even mention the Bible in my reasoning!

    I would love to answer anything you want on the bible, but could you please e-mail your arguments to me?
    pfgray@liberty.edu

  • Brooks

    do me a favor and type “gay pride parade” into a google image search. Here, I’ll even put it into a link: gay pride parade You look at those pictures and tell me that the Gay community is not about promiscuity. Would you want to show those pictures to a class of kindergardners?

    Do me a favor. Type in “Salem witch trials” in Google and tell me that wasn’t about Christianity. Would you want to show pictures of Christians murdering women to a class of kindergartners? Obviously, this must mean all Christians are murderers and Christianity should be banned.

    The verses in Leviticus you posted are included in the “holiness code” as laid out for us throughout the Book of Leviticus and parts of Deuteronomy. The Israelites were to follow these laws until the Messiah came and a new covenant was created. This of course happened with the arrival of Christ who established a new covenant, which was founded upon “better promises”

    This argument makes no sense to me. How does Jesus’ sacrifice suddenly make God’s actions in the OT excusable? That’s like saying since slavery is now illegal in the U.S., that means the KKK is suddenly excused for their actions. Whether or not Christians are still required to follow OT law is besides the point. The point is that the bible claims at one point in time God commanded stoning people for eating shellfish of all things. If even ordinary human beings know that it’s immoral to stone people for eating shellfish, whether or not people still have to do it today doesn’t change the fact it was still immoral for God to command that, nor does it change the fact that the God of the OT is an evil and immoral dictator. Your argument is nothing more than a red herring that’s avoiding the real issue at hand here.

  • GullWatcher

    @Paul Gray

    In the same way, shape, AND form, as yours :) .

    Not at all – when I make a pronouncement like that, I make sure I can back it up with sources. That makes my opinions informed, and therefore more valuable than an opinion based on nothing but prejudice.

    do me a favor and type “gay pride parade” into a google image search.

    A google search is hardly authoritative support for your position. Where’s some real evidence for your assertions?

    A promiscuous society is definitely not a safe, or healthy society. I want America to be a safe environment for my kids, and also a healthy one.

    Again, a mere opinion with no backing. You also didn’t demonstrate how or why social acceptance of gays would lead to that. Have you nothing of any substance to offer?

    How in the world have I shown hate?

    Categorizing homosexuals as being routinely promiscuous and threating society, and categorizing homosexuality as being inherently harmful, with no evidence whatsoever that any of that is true, that’s hateful. Sorry, dude, admit it or not, you are hating. Big time.

    Because this is as much my country as it is yours. welcome to America.

    Yes, our SECULAR country, founded as such, which means you need to keep your nasty little religion and its bigotry off our laws.

    What do you use as your arbiter of morals?

    Many things, rather than a single source, but especially not a single internally inconsistent outdated useless mishmash of primitive crap masquerading as ‘wisdom’.

  • Paul Gray

    Where’s some real evidence for your assertions?

    This is a brief overview of a recent study:
    “Obituaries spanning 13 years, from U.S. homosexual journals and conventional newspapers, were examined. For the homosexual and lesbian deaths, much lower median death ages than U.S. averages were recorded (whether or not AIDS was involved), with higher rates of accidental death, suicide, and murder. This pattern of early death calls the healthfulness of homosexuality into question.”

    Sources:
    The Longevity of Homosexuals: Before and after the AIDS epidemic, Paul Cameron, Ph.D.; William L. Playfair, M.D.; and Stephen Wellum, B.A. The Journal of Death and Dying, 1994.

    Many things, rather than a single source, but especially not a single internally inconsistent outdated useless mishmash of primitive crap masquerading as ‘wisdom’.

    Could you please be more specific than “many things?”

  • GullWatcher

    @Paul Gray – That study was done by the Family Research Institute, a group dedicated to (among other things) proving homosexuality is bad and harmful, and is considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Is it any surprise that their ‘study’ has the results they wanted?

    Aside from its source, the study is flawed and has been discredited due to poor methodology.

    Even your ‘evidence’ is hate-based.

  • james

    Gay means happy, not homosexual. Taking a word and hijacking it to fit ones socio-political agenda does not endear you to others. In the example you provided, they did not compare homosexuals to pedophiles, they compared the speech against pedophiles (by homosexuals) to the speech against homosexuals. At that point, you showed that you are a closed minded, ignorant person twisting other peoples words to fit your agenda.

    It’s a waste of time to continue, you are showing the same ignorance and hatred you pretend to fight.

    As for my stance, let same sex marriage happen, leave people alone with regards to sexual orientation. All this hate against homosexuals is pointless, they are just people, trying to be themselves. And the hate from homosexuals is even more pathetic.

  • Lisa

    Brooks
    I am sorry it has taken so long for me to respond, life is very busy right now. I hope you don’t mind me responding to you now. Now, when talking about lying you do realize that there is a law banning lying in court, it’s called perjury. Do you believe that that goes against our freedom of speech?

    As I already stated, that would be a violation of our freedom of speech and be against everything our forefather’s stood for when they founded the U.S.

    Is perjury against my freedom of speech? Not being allowed to yell “Fire” in a crowded movie theater against my freedom of speech? Not being allowed to make a threatening phone call to the president, would you consider this against my freedom of speech?
    Do you really believe that our forefathers, Christian men, would really be pro-gay marriage?

    …then Christianity would inevitably end up being banned since all Christian denominations claim the others are lying.

    There is a difference in lying and being deceived.
    The Bible is such a complex book there is no way that every person is going to agree on the exact same thing. It’s the core- issues that are important. However, is it really possible to find two people anywhere that believe everything the exact same way.

    So, when Rehab the prostitute lied to save the Israelites, why did God save her for committing the sin of lying instead of sending her to hell if all sins lead to the same result?

    What verse says that God saved her FOR committing the sin of lying?
    All sins if not covered by Jesus lead to the same eternity because, if He doesn’t take our sins for us than we have to pay the price for them, eternally.
    Either way, clearly lying is just the surface issue, you are looking for a reason to believe that the bible is credible, which is great, and you should be seeking that…
    To your other post, which was much more recent… you asked said this…

    whether or not people still have to do it today doesn’t change the fact it was still immoral for God to command that, nor does it change the fact that the God of the OT is an evil and immoral dictator.

    Who decides what is moral?
    God is a dictator, well… when I was a kid so were my parent, that’s what I needed.

  • Paul Gray

    Is it any surprise that their ’study’ has the results they wanted?

    Does the fact that their findings match what they are trying to prove change their findings? no.

    Even your ‘evidence’ is hate-based.

    I still don’t know how I’m showing hate. This is getting to be a little ridiculous! By simply stating, my opinion (fueled by observations in my life; not just the Bible) that the Homosexual community is one plagued with promiscuity, I am being labeled as one that hates???

    Getting back to the Google image search which you deemed, “hardly authoritative support.”
    This is my point: The people in the gay community have a chance to show others what they are all about… with a parade! so what do they determine to show off? men, lots of men, scantily clad men, men dressed as women… my point is, that almost everywhere you look, at the gay pride parade is sex, sex sex! would you agree? so why then, if homosexuals aren’t promiscuous, is sex plastered all over their parade!?

  • GullWatcher

    @Paul Gray

    Does the fact that their findings match what they are trying to prove change their findings? no.

    What really condemned it as an invalid study, proving nothing, is its flawed methodology, which I pointed out before and you ignored.

    Although to answer your question, to a certain extent, yes, it can. That’s not how you do science. With science, you start with the evidence, and see where it goes. They started with the conclusion, and manufactured evidence to match it. That’s really a side issue, though. The really damning thing is that it was a poorly designed study that drew ill-founded conclusions.

    Getting back to the Google image search which you deemed, “hardly authoritative support.”
    This is my point: The people in the gay community have a chance to show others what they are all about… with a parade! so what do they determine to show off? men, lots of men, scantily clad men, men dressed as women… my point is, that almost everywhere you look, at the gay pride parade is sex, sex sex! would you agree? so why then, if homosexuals aren’t promiscuous, is sex plastered all over their parade!?

    Oh, I see – it’s fair to judge a whole group by its most extreme members and how they behave a few days a year. By that logic, I can assume all Christians are like Fred Phelps (you know him, the guy with the ‘god hates fags’ signs at the military funerals?). So, no, a google search proves nothing except that you can’t make any better case for your opinions.

    If you still don’t understand why anyone would think you are showing hate, go check out Fred Phelps. Your views may not be as extreme, but they are founded on the same basic bigotry.

  • Paul Gray

    Oh, I see – it’s fair to judge a whole group by its most extreme members

    For goodness’ sake that’s their dang parade! and it’s found ALL over it!

    I’ve talked to (and heard from) many formerly gay men, and they’ve all said that their lives were constantly filled with promiscuity.
    OK, here’s your turn. I want to see your evidence that most homosexuals are not promiscuous.

    Also, I checked out Fred Phelps; he’s disgusting. He claims that God hates homosexuals, when that could not be further from the truth. I can see clearly how you would label that as hate, but I can’t see how my opinion labels me a hater. If you claimed that all christians were dumb, I wouldn’t call you a hater; that’s your opinion and I would try and persuade you otherwise.

  • http://micketymoc.mchronicles.net/ micketymoc

    I’ll add to Paul’s datapoint; many of the gay men I know are quite free in their choice of partners, and I think I would be justified in my opinion that many gay guys are indeed “promiscuous”. That’s not a judgment, that’s just an opinion. Paul never claimed that his opinion was anything but.

    So is that opinion “hate-based”, Gullwatcher? Remember, I’m an atheist too, and I support gay marriage as much as the next liberal. But I do believe gay guys seem far more casual in their choice of sex partners than straight guys, even if it’s nunna my beeswax.

    My point is that labeling anything “hate-based” is lazy reasoning, designed to help you demonize a viewpoint to the extent that you don’t have to deal with it anymore. Let’s not fall into that trap.

  • Brooks

    Is perjury against my freedom of speech? Not being allowed to yell “Fire” in a crowded movie theater against my freedom of speech? Not being allowed to make a threatening phone call to the president, would you consider this against my freedom of speech?
    Do you really believe that our forefathers, Christian men, would really be pro-gay marriage?

    I guess going by your logic, you should be thrown into jail for lying then since our forefathers were not Christian. George Washington was a deist, Thomas Jefferson was a deist, John Adams was a deist, Thomas Paine was a deist, Abraham Lincoln I believe was agnostic. Yeah, let’s make them make lying illegal. Then all you fundies will be out of our hair since you tell nothing but lies (note I’m being sarcastic by suggesting they should).

    What verse says that God saved her FOR committing the sin of lying?

    Hebrews 11:31

    By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.

    And then in Joshua 2:14-19

    So the men answered her, “Our lives for yours, if none of you tell this business of ours. And it shall be, when the LORD has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you.”
    15 Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall; she dwelt on the wall. 16 And she said to them, “Get to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you. Hide there three days, until the pursuers have returned. Afterward you may go your way.”
    17 So the men said to her: “We will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear, 18 unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household to your own home. 19 So it shall be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we will be guiltless. And whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him.

    And should those people who hid Anne Frank from the Nazis go to hell for lying about hiding Jews?

    So is that opinion “hate-based”, Gullwatcher? Remember, I’m an atheist too, and I support gay marriage as much as the next liberal. But I do believe gay guys seem far more casual in their choice of sex partners than straight guys, even if it’s nunna my beeswax.

    And don’t Christians have higher divorce rates than non-Christians? So does that mean Christians are promiscuous? What about the bloodthirsty history of Christianity? Does this mean all Christians are murders?

    My point is that labeling anything “hate-based” is lazy reasoning, designed to help you demonize a viewpoint to the extent that you don’t have to deal with it anymore. Let’s not fall into that trap.

    That’s like saying that blacks were using lazy reasoning for calling a spade a spade when they “demonized” slavery. What else do you call somebody who believes you should be tortured for all eternity for minding your own business other than “hate-based?”

  • Paul Gray

    What else do you call somebody who believes you should be tortured for all eternity for minding your own business other than “hate-based?”

    I believe everyone should be tortured for all eternity for even the tiniest of sins; starting with myself! You see, the penalty of committing sin is eternal suffering! But a certain someone by the name of Jesus Christ died on the cross, so anyone; homosexual, porn addict(was me), liar(me too), and thief(yep me) alike doesn’t have to suffer eternally!

    The truth is that He has such a better life planned for every single person in this world:
    one that is free from the perversion of pornography,
    one that is free from the ensnarement of lies,
    one that is free from the emptiness of material value,
    one that is free from the emotional turmoil of homosexuality!

  • Tim

    What do you use as your arbiter of morals?

    ever read Kant?

  • Tim

    But because of the Grace of God through sending his Son to die for our sins, we are sparred, of course if we choose so. … Why are you here? (And of course there are little sub questions to follow) When you die, do you just disappear? What happens after you leave this earth? Do you come back as something else to just do it again? Is there no end? Is there no possible way that there is something bigger? And if there is.. wouldn’t you want to be a part of it? What if you’re not apart of it.. what are you risking? And is it really worth it?

    if islam’s right, sounds like you’re up a creek, hah. i’ll stick with agnosticism (i find atheism to be a bit arrogant) and being a good person (based on reason).

  • Eliza

    Paul Gray wrote:

    I would love to answer anything you want on the bible, but could you please e-mail your arguments to me?
    pfgray@liberty.edu

    Thanks for your (repeated) offer, but I prefer to hold my conversations with Christians in public. Both sides are held more accountable, and I learn more (especially when others chime in with any/all comments). Mainly, though, in a public conversation I don’t end up feeling like I spent a bunch of time in a “conversation” which was only an attempt to convert me (even if that’s your purpose here).

    This is a brief overview of a recent study:
    “Obituaries spanning 13 years, from U.S. homosexual journals and conventional newspapers, were examined. For the homosexual and lesbian deaths, much lower median death ages than U.S. averages were recorded (whether or not AIDS was involved), with higher rates of accidental death, suicide, and murder. This pattern of early death calls the healthfulness of homosexuality into question.”

    No, this pattern of early death (if true, which it could well be), calls into question the “healthfulness” of society treating certain groups of people like they’re subhuman. Did this study control for depression and/or alcohol or substance abuse, stemming from years of having to hide your identity, and/or of being discriminated against, and/or of having been beaten up repeatedly in high school & afterwards &/or having left or been kicked out of your home at an early age, all because of your sexual orientation, which you never chose? (Nope. I’d bet a bunch of money that this study didn’t control for those factors.)

  • GullWatcher

    @Paul Gray

    For goodness’ sake that’s their dang parade! and it’s found ALL over it!

    And Mardi Gras is the Catholic’s parade – should I judge all of them by some people’s extreme behavior on a single day? Actually, that’s more legitimate than what you are doing – unlike Catholics, gays do not have a central authority that determines policies, including such things as, say, what is and isn’t appropriate for a parade. That is decided by individuals, and not necessarily representative ones.

    I have no idea why you are so focused, maybe even obsessed, by people whose occasional behaviour you find so objectionable, even though it has absolutely nothing to do with you. Please, just leave them alone – they are fine, you are the one with the problem.

    OK, here’s your turn. I want to see your evidence that most homosexuals are not promiscuous.

    It’s not hard to find, here’s some to start with and I can always find more. But even if I couldn’t find any, even if all I could find are studies that show they are all promiscuous, that wouldn’t prove that they were promiscuous because they were gay. A statistical relationship does NOT demonstrate cause and effect. Even if they were all promiscuous, it could be caused not by being gay, but by the outside pressures and discrimination they suffer for being gay, or because they are denied the right to open long term relationships (ie marriage). And the fix for that would be for society to change, not them.

    And even that is begging the real question – so what if they were promiscuous? What business is that of yours?

    FYI – most of the gay people I know are in long term committed relationships, and by long term, I mean not just years but sometimes decades.

    I’ve talked to (and heard from) many formerly gay men, and they’ve all said that their lives were constantly filled with promiscuity.

    No, you haven’t, because there’s no such thing. Gay or straight is something people are born with and it doesn’t change (and if you want evidence for that, I can find tons). The people you have talked to are guilt-ridden self-hating gays and bisexuals who have been bullied and brainwashed into believing there’s something wrong with them and they needed to be ‘fixed’ or have been ‘cured’. I’m guessing that you met these unfortunate people through your religious activities, since such emotionally damaged people often fall victim to religion.

    I believe everyone should be tortured for all eternity for even the tiniest of sins; starting with myself!

    You appear to have some serious psychological issues – anyone who says something like that obviously does. But there is a better life out there for you, free of lies and emptiness – just renounce your religion and come to your senses. Seems only fair – if you get to tell gay people how they need to live their lives, why shouldn’t I get to tell you how to live?

  • Eliza

    Paul Gray wrote:

    I believe everyone should be tortured for all eternity for even the tiniest of sins; starting with myself!

    I hope that someday you can look back at this and see that this set of beliefs is amazingly insulting and destructive, even though it seems normal and even wonderful to you now.

  • Paul Gray

    Eliza,
    Could you tell me how that set of beliefs is insulting and destructive?

  • Brooks

    I believe everyone should be tortured for all eternity for even the tiniest of sins; starting with myself! You see, the penalty of committing sin is eternal suffering!

    You’ve just discredited anything you’ve said with this absurdity. I see no reason to believe your nonsense over any other religion that threatens people with eternal torture.

    But a certain someone by the name of Jesus Christ died on the cross, so anyone; homosexual, porn addict(was me), liar(me too), and thief(yep me) alike doesn’t have to suffer eternally!

    Didn’t Jesus also say to judge not lest ye be judged and that only those without sin can throw the first stone? So, what makes you think that you can decide which people deserve to be tortured? What, do you think you’re God or something?

    one that is free from the perversion of pornography,

    Why do Christians buy more porn than non-Christians then? http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16680-porn-in-the-usa-conservatives-are-biggest-consumers.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=online-news

    one that is free from the ensnarement of lies

    Do you think that people who lied to hide Jews from Nazis should be arrested for saving Jews? Why do people keep ignoring this question?

    one that is free from the emptiness of material value

    Why don’t you sell your computer then instead of harassing gay people on the Internet? Didn’t Jesus say that you were supposed to sell all your possessions if you wanted to be his follower? Some Christian you are.

    one that is free from the emotional turmoil of homosexuality!

    You mean like Ted Haggard?

  • AxeGrrl

    Paul Gray said:

    I believe everyone should be tortured for all eternity for even the tiniest of sins

    for the tiniest of sins? really?

    why do you feel that’s morally justifiable?

    would you think your child deserved to be locked in the basement and tortured forever for skipping a class or something? *trying to think of a ‘tiniest’ sin*

    so, you’re not advocating a ‘loving God’ then.

    I can’t imagine what a life fueled by such extreme fear and lacking in love and compassion would be like :(

  • Autumnal Harvest

    To Autumn Harvest; honestly, I’m not trying to cop out of anything. . . I want the discussion here to stay related to homosexuality. . . If you look at my last two posts, I didn’t even mention the Bible in my reasoning! I would love to answer anything you want on the bible, but could you please e-mail your arguments to me?

    Thanks, but no thanks. If you don’t have any coherent answer to why you use the Bible to be an anti-homosexual bigot, but not to advocate for polygamy or the rights of slave-owners to beat their slaves, that’s fine, you can just keep ignoring the questions. But there’s no reason to act like arguments that you yourself made are suddenly off-topic because you decided to drop them and not mention them for two posts. And if you look at Hemant’s post, this isn’t about homosexuality: it’s about Christians who are bigoted against homosexuals.

    Also I’d like to pose a question to you. . . a little off topic but i’d like to ask anyway. What do you use as your arbiter of morals?

    This is a complex question, because it seems to assume that I base my moral beliefs on one simple and straightforward set of rules. But, of course, no one does that, although some Christians for some reason find it attractive to pretend that they do. I have several principles, like the principle that pain and suffering is bad, and that it’s good to alleviate the pain and suffering of other humans as much as possible, or that humans should be free to decide on their own the way for them to live their lives that will make them happiest, so long as they don’t harm others. The way in which my principles interact is complicated, but they make certain things obvious. Some examples: (1) It is wrong to own other humans (2) It’s even more wrong to own another human and feel free to beat them whenever you want (3) It’s incredibly, repulsively wrong to sell your daughter to be owned and raped by another human (4) It’s insanely, incredibly, repulsively wrong for anyone (human or deity) to torture a small boy for all eternity because he lied about eating a cookie (5) It’s wrong to discriminate against consenting adults who love each other, and want to spend the rest of their lives together, based on weird ideas about what sort of pairings of races, genders, or social classes are acceptable. You apparently disagree with not just (5), but all of (1-5), and for virtually identical reasons, which is why it doesn’t make much sense to act like (1-3) are off-topic.

  • http://youtube.com/plunk52o Clarence Dember

    Xenophobic political pressure groups are truly ignorant and belligerent, like the KKK or the Nazis. I can’t expect much from people who cloud their thoughts with fear and hostility. They are in exactly the wrong frame of mind for personal growth.

  • Eliza

    Eliza,
    Could you tell me how that set of beliefs is insulting and destructive?

    I can try to tell you. I’m not sure you can understand, though, at this point in your life.

    I believe everyone should be tortured for all eternity for even the tiniest of sins

    This statement (which you made) apparently doesn’t shock you. I’m guessing that’s because you are convinced you & your buddies have the cure, so then the “disease” becomes something you can talk about because deep down you really think it’ll happen to other people, but not you.

    Does deconstructing it help at all?

    You’ve said that you think that people – all people, but it’s just about as bad to think this about a few people – should have SEVERE PAIN INFLICTED upon them; they should be BRUTALIZED, HURT, HARMED, MAIMED, TORTURED, & TORMENTED; they should be in AGONY. In many characterizations of hell, their FLESH SIZZLES AND BURNS and they SCREAM IN AGONY. Can you put your “caring human” hat on and see that this is sick, sick, sick?

    (I’ve never heard of rape being used as torture in hell, but it’s used as such in war zones on earth, so *hey* why not in hell? )

    You think this torture should be inflicted on people FOREVER, for ETERNITY, for MILLIONS AND BILLIONS AND TRILLIONS UPON TRILLIONS OF YEARS and TRILLIONS OF LIGHT-YEARS and even longer than that. Without EVER ending. Can you put your “caring human” hat on and see that this is sick, sick, sick?

    You think this should be done for the tiniest of infractions (defined by you, or the leaders of your church, probably to mean many normal human activities & inclinations). But even if you reserved this for the major infractions, it’d still be a sick, sick, sick vision of how you believe people should be treated.

    I suspect that for you the Jesus-saves part should never be separated from the torture-for-sins part, because that’s the main message – bask in his love and all will be forgiven. But here’s how it reads: “God so loved the world” that he sacrificed part of himself to himself so that he would forgive some of his creation for the flaws he created in all of them, but he’ll only forgive the ones who believe the thing about the sacrifice, & the rest he will torture for eternity. (NOT)

  • Konraden

    Dude,

    Just stumbled on this, read it through, and the first thing I have to say is “speak out!” I’m an ally as well, and if there is one thing that people do (and psychology studies backs this up) is that people are less likely to conform to a norm (in this case, anti-gay speach) if someone else is willing to speak out as well. Soloman Asch’s Line studies more or less show this.

    You very well might have not been the only person there, but because of the effects of conformity, nobody wanted to speak out either. If you would have openly questioned the church’s position (or the speakers position), other people very well may have said something, so, next time, SPEAK OUT!

    ~K

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    You very well might have not been the only person there, but because of the effects of conformity, nobody wanted to speak out either. If you would have openly questioned the church’s position (or the speakers position), other people very well may have said something, so, next time, SPEAK OUT!

    For what it’s worth, I did want to comment on a couple things I heard and I had my hand up in the air during the Q&A, but they never called on me.

    I didn’t desire to cause a scene there. I think I got more out of being an observer…

  • Lisa

    Brooks- you’re probably wondering why I always respond to you, but honestly, I really like your questions!

    You’ve just discredited anything you’ve said with this absurdity. I see no reason to believe your nonsense over any other religion that threatens people with eternal torture.

    Christianity does not offer eternal damnation it offers eternal salvation. There is a choice. Because of Jesus we have that choice. If we go to hell it is by our own doing. Jesus did everything for us, all we have to do is accept it.

    Didn’t Jesus also say to judge not lest ye be judged and that only those without sin can throw the first stone? So, what makes you think that you can decide which people deserve to be tortured? What, do you think you’re God or something?

    There is a difference in judging someone and holding someone accountable for their actions. I really don’t see where Paul said that he decided who went to hell, he did say that he agreed with it, but if I had to guess I would say his source is the Bible, which states who deserves to be tortured…right? There for the one who cast the first stone would be God, who is sinless. Make since?

    Why do Christians buy more porn than non-Christians then?

    Just because we strive for perfection doesn’t mean that we are perfect…and just because we aren’t perfect doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t strive for it.
    And maybe the statistics say that more Christians buy porn because they are more likely to admit it because they feel guilty? :)

    Do you think that people who lied to hide Jews from Nazis should be arrested for saving Jews? Why do people keep ignoring this question?

    Well.. I’m not going to lie :) I really didn’t know how to answer this… Honestly you ask great questions! However I am going to answer it to the best of my ability.
    Let me start out by saying, no, it is never ok to lie. While this sounds harsh and heartless before you cast my opinion off hear me out. If I, as a Christian, were to say it was ok to lie in certain circumstances, It would be like me saying that even though God laid down specific rules and created the heavens and the earth, that from time to time, the creation (me) knows better than the creator (Him). If this were the case than what kind of God would I be serving? One that only sometimes knows what’s best? No. The God I serve is perfect and all knowing, there for He always knows what is best.
    I can only assume that we all understand that none of us is God, with this being said I think we can all agree that our own knowledge is limited, whereas, God’s isn’t. Unlike us, He knows what is going to happen next. The Bible has never given me a reason to believe that God would need me to sin against him for the greater good, however in stating this… He is completely capable of taking our sins (that we did by our own accord) and bringing good out of it, but he never relies on us to sin. We are called to be obedient and faithful, the rest is up to Him. There is always a greater way than what we realize…Anyway, I hope this answered your question.
    -Lisa

  • Eliza

    If we go to hell it is by our own doing.

    This is called “blaming the victim.” (Doesn’t matter whether the victim is someone else, or includes yourself.)

    Jesus did everything for us, all we have to do is accept it.

    The common claim is, “Jesus died for our sins.”

    But (assuming for the sake of argument that Jesus existed/exists & is who you say he is):
    Jesus didn’t die.

    The human body which he appeared in on earth did, temporarily, but then was resurrected & ascended to Heaven. (Where it’s probably forgotten in the back of a closet by now.)

    If Jesus was and is part of the triune God, then presumably the God manifestation of him – his main identity for all of eternity – couldn’t and didn’t die, even if the temporary human manifestation of him could.

    The saying should be: “Jesus had a bad day for your sins.” He suffered & died in a much shorter time frame than many humans have had to experience, & soon thereafter he was resurrected & ascended to his rightful place in Heaven with the other 2/3 of the trinity, task reportedly accomplished.

    What’s amazing is that so many people have been taught to see this as a sacrifice so incredible that it’s almost unfathomable, that allows for the forgiveness of all human sins (but only if the person acknowledges the temporary “sacrifice” of and by 1/3 of the triune God to another 1/3 of the triune God).

  • Lisa

    This is called “blaming the victim.” (Doesn’t matter whether the victim is someone else, or includes yourself.)

    How am I or anyone else a victim if we have the option?
    You mean because I don’t get to live the lifestyle I want without consequences? If I go out and party and dont study for an exam and then get an F on it, does that make me a victim? You are not a victim if you are warned of the consequences.

  • http://none ioncemauledadragon

    hmm,… well, it IS frigthening to see how some christian people preach intolerance towards homosexuality,…

    and well; as a (surprise!: Conservative!!) christian myself i can say that i feel embarrased that some people preach so violently against it!
    i mean; i know quite a few homosexuals (phew. please don’t flame me with “stop your selfrigtheousness”-stuff”).. but, there is no reason to start “bible-bashing” them!
    i mean.. well, one of the basic principles of christianity is that we ought to be nice and friendly towards each other, right? just a sorry shame that there are some (actually quite a few..) who misunderstands this..

    and on a sidenote; if you are not a christian, why did you go to a arrangement DONE by christians, ABoUT homosexuality?

  • 3waystonothing

    uhm.. Eliza.

    “hell” is not necesscaryly (wahtever. :D ) a place of “eternal fires melting your flesh”

    “Hell” is simply where god is not.

    Think about it; it does NOT equal your impression of what “hell” is. (although it is a sad place nevertheless)

  • Brooks

    Christianity does not offer eternal damnation it offers eternal salvation. There is a choice. Because of Jesus we have that choice. If we go to hell it is by our own doing. Jesus did everything for us, all we have to do is accept it.

    We don’t “choose” to go to hell. Saying that going to hell is a choice you make is like a kidnapper who puts a gun up to your head and threatens you to do what he says or else he’ll blow your head off, but then tries to rationalize his actions by claiming it’s the victim’s fault for not listening to him. Now replace the kidnapper with God and the gun with hell and how is this a choice? Are you sure you’re not a spouse beater? You sound like one of those wife beaters who beats their wives when they don’t do what they say, then blames the wife and says it’s her fault for choosing to disobey him. Saying that we choose to go to your fictional hell is like saying you chose to go to Islamic hell for believing in the trinity, so if you get tortured in hell by Allah, then it’s your fault for not having enough faith in Muhammed. Besides, how do you feel pain in hell if you’re already dead anyway? I frankly find the idea to be utter ludicrous.

    There for the one who cast the first stone would be God, who is sinless. Make since?

    Speak English please, not Christianeze.

    And maybe the statistics say that more Christians buy porn because they are more likely to admit it because they feel guilty?

    You mean like how Ted Haggard’s church was more likely to admit all those scandals he’s been involved in for feeling guilty? Please, fundies are the most dishonest people on Earth. Do you honestly expect us to take that as a serious answer? Why don’t you fundies pluck the shards out of your own eye and fix your religion first before you try to fix everyone else?

    Let me start out by saying, no, it is never ok to lie. While this sounds harsh and heartless before you cast my opinion off hear me out.

    But why did God praise Rahab the prostitute for lying to save the Isrealites? Are you saying God committed a sin?

  • The Mighty Stazquatch

    I really believe that until evolution seeds out the religions so firmly in root in each society of the world, that there is no hope we will move forward as one and progress as a species. I am aware of several religions which are not at all in your face and oppressive but christianity, islam, scientology etc are so continuously frustrating and I think this makes me dismiss others.

    I do believe that there is something out there, but I don’t believe we know very much about it.

    And I feel sorry for Paul, who is so tied up in his belief system that he cannot stand aside and observe what he is saying rationally and see the holes in his reasoning.

  • Luke Garbutt

    Great article, there are many of those types teaching at the school I am currently studying at, and I must say… it is extremely difficult to form a collection of words powerful enough to express my rage at their infected hate ridden speech. I find it astounding that these views are still present in the world, but there you go.

  • Paul Gray

    Please, fundies are the most dishonest people on Earth.

    Brooks, If by “fundies” you mean Christians, then I can agree with you to a point. I’ve seen plenty of fundies who are dishonest; including myself at times (something I wish weren’t true! But does the fact that they are dishonest negate the values of their religion? no. Christ still told us to uphold honesty, and if we don’t, there will be earthly consequences; even for “fundies.” And if you catch them in a lie, you can tell them in a caring way, “Christ will bless you if you are honest.”

    Onto your Rahab point. You have certainly been patient enough, and I apologize that I have not answered you yet. This might sound a little weird, but if you are not sure of the terminology (it might sound like christianeze) you can just ask me to clarify.

    God blessed Rahab because she held God’s will above man’s God blessed Rahab because she held God’s will above man’s law. You see God’s will was for those men to spy out the land for Joshua. Rahab recognized that God’s will was for the Israelites to take the land, and took the spies in and hid them, even when it wasn’t the right thing according to her country’s law.law. You see God’s will was for those men to spy out the land for Joshua. Rahab recognized that God’s will was for the Israelites to take the land, and took the spies in and hid them, even when it wasn’t the right thing according to her country’s law.

  • Eliza

    3waystonothing wrote:

    uhm.. Eliza.

    “hell” is not necesscaryly (wahtever. :D ) a place of “eternal fires melting your flesh”

    “Hell” is simply where god is not.

    Think about it; it does NOT equal your impression of what “hell” is. (although it is a sad place nevertheless)

    *Shrug* Well, hell is whatever you believe it is. How could it be anything else? (Sartre’s “l’enfer, c’est les autres” being one of the more famous literary examples of this. And, now that I think about it, probably the writings of the Marquis de Sade, though I haven’t read them.)

    I was responding, with feeling, to Paul’s statement that people should be tortured. Since I speak English rather than Christianeze ;-) I naturally assumed the dictionary definition of torture.

    I have heard the “not-with-god” definition of hell before. My understanding is that it’s a relatively new one, in the history of Christianity. (More sanitary, goes over better in mixed company.)

    Did anyone run that interpretation of hell past the big guy, the head honcho? ‘Cuz he is quoted as saying something a bit different. As a bit of a reminder:

    Jesus, in Matthew 5:22 (with a “hot” tip)

    But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

    Jesus in Mark 9:43-45 (with a “handy” piece of advice)

    If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.

    Jesus in Luke 16:22-24 (excerpted here)

    …The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham. …he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

  • Twin-Skies

    @Luke Garbutt

    From my experience, nothing gets the message across better than a clenched fist.

    Or two.

  • AxeGrrl

    Twin-Skies said:

    From my experience, nothing gets the message across better than a clenched fist.

    actually, a well-placed fist can make people forget about their angry ‘messages’ :)

  • Brooks

    You see God’s will was for those men to spy out the land for Joshua. Rahab recognized that God’s will was for the Israelites to take the land, and took the spies in and hid them, even when it wasn’t the right thing according to her country’s law.

    So, you’re basically saying it’s ok to lie as long as you’re lying for Jesus? Didn’t you just say earlier that lying was always unacceptable? So, why is it ok to do it if you’re lying for Jesus? What a load of crap. Do you even think before you speak or do you just spout out whatever pops into your head? Why can’t you get it through your thick head that you cannot force other people to conform to to your religion because that would be a violation of the U.S. constitution? Where in the U.S. constitution does it say that America is a Christian nation and that Christians should be allowed to force their delusions on others? And if God’s law is above man’s law, why don’t you just ignore man’s law and start murdering us evil atheists right now? If you can’t do that, you really aren’t following God’s law and you’re a hypocrite.

    And yes, the immoral actions of Christians most certainly does negate the value of religion, especially when it’s God himself who advocates your immoral behavior. The bible itself says you will know who the true Christians are by their fruits and you and your fundie friends have produced nothing but rotten fruit. Seriously, do you hear yourself talking? You’re advocating throwing people in jail for lying. FOR LYING. And you want me to believe you’re producing good fruit? Why don’t you go pluck the shard out of your own eye before you pluck the shard out of ours?

  • Jay

    Why must atheists be liberal?

    Why not libertarian?

    Why must eyes be brown? Why not blue?

    The reason this atheist isn’t a libertarian is that libertarianism is based on fallacies, falsehoods, and lack of empathy.

    • To deprive one of his/her liberty to self-expression is anathema to libertarians. Most advocate gay rights.

    Not including yourself, apparently:

    • To give gays access to our government schools to solicit support for hate-crime legislation (read, anti-free speech legislation) and special rights is also anathema.

    So you wish to deny gays access to our government schools that other people have — either that or you are incapable of constructing a meaningful sentence. If you believe in freedom of speech, then why is any sort of solicitation “anathema”? Apparently only solicitation that you agree with is ok. And what are these “special rights” you speak of? Other than homophobic code language, that is. If you’re not a homophobe who wishes to restrict gay rights, why do you sound exactly like one?

    And, of course, hate crime legislation has nothing to do with restrictions of free speech. Rather, it applies to crimes directed against people because of their group characteristics. Legislatures rightly see this as particularly dangerous to society. And the claims of libertarians that criminal penalties shouldn’t depend on motivation is, like so much of libertarianism, simply quasi-religious dogma that is repeated robotically but has no logical basis.

    • To support gay marriage is to endorse government licensure. A license is more than acknowledgement. It is permission. That government would be granted the power to permit one to have a spouse is an over reach of its authority. Rather than support gay marriage, we should oppose the concept of licensing family units.

    This is a false dichotomy even more foolish and disingenuous than that one about liberal vs. libertarian atheists. As long as marriage licenses exist, support of gay marriage is simply support of equal treatment under the law. One can, at the same time as supporting equal treatment, oppose “government licensing of family units” — which is really a form of discrimination against unmarried persons.

    Again, the reason I am not a libertarian is because I’m neither a fool, an ignoramus, nor intellectually dishonest.

  • Jay

    Christianity does not offer eternal damnation it offers eternal salvation. There is a choice.

    Your second statement establishes that your first statement was a lie.

    Christianity says that, if we don’t stroke its neurotic god’s massive ego, we’ll suffer forever. Some “choice” that is. Fortunately, there’s another choice, the correct one: your sick notions are completely fictional.

  • Jay

    And maybe the statistics say that more Christians buy porn because they are more likely to admit it because they feel guilty?

    Maybe denial is just a river in Egypt.

  • Jay

    You are not a victim if you are warned of the consequences.

    So if a robber says “give me all your money or I’ll kill you” and you resist and the robber kills you, you aren’t a victim?

    Here’s the thing about Christians, at least Christians like you: they are horrible people.

  • Jay

    I believe everyone should be tortured for all eternity for even the tiniest of sins; starting with myself!

    Then you’re insane.

    You see, the penalty of committing sin is eternal suffering!

    No, only an insane person would “see” that.

    But a certain someone by the name of Jesus Christ died on the cross, so anyone; homosexual, porn addict(was me), liar(me too), and thief(yep me) alike doesn’t have to suffer eternally!

    There’s a more straightforward reason why we don’t have to suffer eternally: because your insane fantasies aren’t real.

  • Jay

    do me a favor and type “gay pride parade” into a google image search. Here, I’ll even put it into a link: gay pride parade You look at those pictures and tell me that the Gay community is not about promiscuity.

    First, the vast majority of gays never march in gay pride parades. Second, you either have no idea what the word “promiscuous” means or you’re pretending not to — and, given how many lies you pack into every paragraph, I’ll go with the latter.

    If you’re really interested in promiscuity, google “spring break” or “college dorm”.

  • Jay

    This pattern of early death calls the healthfulness of homosexuality into question.”This pattern of early death calls the healthfulness of homosexuality into question.”

    Now compare it to the pattern for your so-called “former” homosexuals.

  • http://bluegrassfool.blogspot.com/ Scott

    “You’re advocating throwing people in jail for lying. FOR LYING”

    If that was the case, most people who call themselves “christians” would be sent straight to jail.

    It’s no secret that “christian” organizations hire pathological liars to spread lies about gays, among other groups of people. And then when their followers repeat the lies – well that’s more than a busload of nutjobs going straight to hell right there.

    “Christians” spit on the bible every time they knowingly lie about a particular group of people.

  • johnny erb

    Hemant, nicely done. I’m a father of 3 in SOUTH ALABAMA and I appreciate this post. I don’t want to hear about any more adolescent suicides in the news because there’s this culture of ignorance. It remains an issue and i feel sad for humanity now, thanks. er uh thanks.

  • Liz

    Just wanted to chime in with this:

    There is hope. I went to a private, catholic high school. My senior year, several students participated in the day of silence. How much backlash was there? None. No complaints from teachers, students, or the administration. Not every religious community is close-minded and bigoted. I think that’s one of the only reasons I survived 13 years of catholic schooling as an atheist. I got lucky.