“I’m Sorry” Is Not Enough for the Gay Community

At the Pride Parade in Chicago this past weekend, a group of Christians from the Marin Foundation stood with signs reading, “I’m sorry”:

The signs read:

“I’m sorry for how the church has hurt you”

“I’m sorry for how the church has treated you!”

“I used to be a Bible-banging homophobe. Sorry.”

Tim Schraeder explains the significance of this:

While the ultimate message Jesus came to preach was one of love, grace and compassion, we’ve sadly misrepresented Him and alienated sons and daughters from their Father’s embrace… and I’m so excited to see how Nathan and his team took a different, humble approach and in the end, did something far more powerful than preaching or shouting… they showed love.

Nathan Albert was one of the sign-holders and he felt this was a rousing success:

What I loved most about the day is when people “got it.” I loved watching people’s faces as they saw our shirts, read the signs, and looked back at us. Responses were incredible. Some people blew us kisses, some hugged us, some screamed thank you. A couple ladies walked up and said we were the best thing they had seen all day. I wish I had counted how many people hugged me. One guy in particular softly said, “Well, I forgive you.”

Meh. I’m unimpressed.

It’s a nice start. I applaud their intentions. It’s better than what most Christians have done, which is to demonize homosexuality and treat it like some sort of disease.

But these signs have an implicit message: We’ve done a bad job of loving the sinner, but we still believe homosexuality is a sin.

If these Christians still believe that, do their apologies really hold much weight with the gay community?

I would take the Marin Foundation members much more seriously if they held signs that read like this:

I’m sorry that I ever believed homosexuality was immoral. I was wrong.

I’m sorry Christians are to blame for you not being allowed to legally marry. We were wrong.

I’m sorry I ever believed being gay was a choice. I was wrong.

They didn’t have that on their signs because they still believe that homosexuality is a sin, and that gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry, and that people choose their sexual orientation.

You can read it on their own website. They don’t want to outright say those things, so they simply avoid answering those questions altogether by saying a yes/no answer isn’t good enough. Frankly, I don’t believe that. There’s nothing wrong with homosexuality and it’s absurd that we don’t have marriage equality in this country. If the Marin Foundation agreed, they should have the courage to say so.

Is it a step up from what we’ve seen from most Christians? Sure.

Should we encourage Christians who want to apologize for the way they’ve treated gays and lesbians? Sure.

But even a kind Christian who still believes that homosexuality is immoral hasn’t really earned any forgiveness.

(Thanks to Autumn for the link)

***Update***: Lots of great comments here. A few thoughts:

It’s nice that these guys were apologizing to the GLBT crowd. But I care about apologies when they come from the person who committed the wrong (like the third sign). Don’t apologize on someone else’s behalf. (Then again, Christians also believe someone else died for my sins…)

Why are we so very impressed that they’re apologizing for the church? To paraphrase Chris Rock, “Whatchu want, a cookie? You’re the Christian Church. You’re supposed to be kind!” You don’t get to earn bonus points for doing what your own church says you’re supposed to be doing, anyway.

If I mischaracterized the Marin Foundation in any way, I’ll post a (separate) correction. I’ll be in contact with them soon.

  • Wendy

    Baby steps Hemant….Baby steps. It’ll come, I see this as a HUGE step in the process of realization for christians.

    /can I bitch a moment about how much I hate the fact that firefox, word etc want to always capitalize christian? Really annoying

  • http://arkonbey.blogspot.com arkonbey

    @wendy: my sentiments exactly (I was also going to say ‘baby steps’).

    Sure, it could be better, but it’s better than it was. You don’t get someone to improve by only responding to a solid effort with non-constructive criticism.

    Look at this: they allowed gay people to hug them and that shows more than a bit of progress. They might even TALK to a gay person and then…

  • http://www.bigmama247.com Alise

    I think the foundation refuses to answer because they don’t want to shut down the dialog. Andrew’s commitment is to opening up the discussion between the largely anti-gay evangelical community and the largely anti-evangelical LGBT community. They yes and no answers shut down the dialog, especially when people come to the table with pre-conceived notions. You can certainly disagree with that method, but to assign them beliefs based on it seems pretty unfair.

    Ultimately, their actions DID mean something to Tristan. And again, ignoring that response by just saying that it’s not enough for the gay community demeans what it meant to individuals within that community.

  • Brian

    I think you’re being a bit harsh. “I used to be a bible-thumping homophobe.” Is a tacit acknowledgement that their previous worldview was completely wrong-headed. That’s a big step for anyone.

    Also, in terms of your suggestions, I think in this debate the question of whether or not it is a choice to be gay is completely irrelevant and serves only as a distraction. Who cares if it is a choice? The point is that consenting adults should be able to enter into whatever relationships they wish.

    This is true whether or not being gay is a choice. By debating the question of choice, you legitimize the idea that the government may allow or deny your right to freely associate if they disapprove of your choice of associates.

  • http://www.nutzak.org/ hnutzak

    I second Hemant’s “Meh.” This is certainly an unexpected step in the right direction. But it is little more than “love the sinner, hate the sin” better executed. After reading that paragraph on their site, I wonder, what kinds of questions would they like to receive? As a bisexual male, I know firsthand how christians’ ideas about sexuality can leave deep emotional scars that never fully heal. When a group of christians purports to be more open-minded about such things, I want to know just how open-minded. You’re either disgusted by me, or you’re not. You either believe I’ll burn in hell for the way my brain is wired, or you don’t. You either see me as someone you’d like to take on as a pet project to “fix”, or you don’t. Why shouldn’t I know that up-front? Their refusal to give a direct answer IS a direct answer. Dismissing them and walking away is more than they deserve.

  • Apax

    Also, in terms of your suggestions, I think in this debate the question of whether or not it is a choice to be gay is completely irrelevant and serves only as a distraction. Who cares if it is a choice?

    The ‘choice’ argument is used to completely invalidate every single branch of the gay rights movement. It sounds like an honest enough disagreement on the surface, but whether a person believes that homosexuality is a choice or not speaks volumes about the mentality behind the rest of their opinions on the subject.

  • Jess

    It’s great that they are apologizing. You can’t really change their belief, even if it’s wrong. It’s a definitely a change for Christians. It’s the same position when you are with someone and you hate when they do a certain thing, but you care more about them then the acutal thing they do. In this case the Christians think the people are greater than the “sin” they have, and are becoming more open and accepting of them.

  • muggle

    Meh, it’s a start. I concur with the others that it’s the beginning of the right direction. I also agree with you that it’s enough but let’s encourage them to start down the right path.

    The fact that they’re not shutting down dialog (Alise’s excellent point above) leaves the path open for conversation. Let’s have it. Let’s get some Christian groups who at least recognize that change and tolerance is needed and that just because it’s against their religion doesn’t necessarily mean it should be against the law.

    Hopefully. But haven’t all civil rights gains started with that small hopefully?

    I think we can all agree those apologies were owed. So let’s not slap them down for giving them.

  • http://laughinginpurgatory.blogspot.com/ Andrew Hall

    If they were sooo sorry they would clean up their own lives by supporting Gay marriage.

  • Ed

    In related news

    http://www.queersighted.com/2010/06/29/catholic-pride-marchers-turn-the-tables-on-churchs-banner-ban/

    I suppose one could criticize St Francis church, asking them the same questions Hemant asked about the Marin foundation (not that we need to, we all know the Catholic position on homosexuality) but their actions, like the actions of the Marin Foundation, are courageous, welcome and ought to be celebrated. Is there room for growth? Of course, but that is exactly what these people are out there doing, growing. They are agitating in a public way, for change.

    Many times atheists wonder “Where are all the liberal Christians (Muslims etc) and why aren’t they speaking out against their more fundamentalist brethren?” Well here they are, doing the best they currently are capable of.

  • Guy G

    “I’m sorry for how the church has hurt you”
    “I’m sorry for how the church has treated you!”
    “I used to be a Bible-banging homophobe. Sorry.”


    But these signs have an implicit message: We’ve done a bad job of loving the sinner, but we still believe homosexuality is a sin.

    Am I the only one who’s confused about this? Where are you getting that implicit message from?

    As for the Marin Foundation, it appears from their website that they’re trying to promote LGBT rights to Christians who believe that homosexuality is sinful. Being diplomatic and treading a middle ground is certainly a justifiable approach. It almost reminds me of an atheist site I’ve come across with similar aims. “Amiable Atheist” or something, I think it was called ;)

  • Silent Service

    Wendy beat me to it. As a member of the LGBT community I’m stunned and astounded that a large christian organization has finally said, “Hey, I was wrong.” That doesn’t happen every day.

  • JT

    Talk is cheap. What do you actually intend to do? Are you going to pick up a dictionary and finally learn the meaning of the word “civil” that has always been in front of the marriages you constantly oppose? Will you take in gay teens off the street whose parents kicked them out of the house because of the same absurd mythology you prescribe to? How about getting anti-bullying programs into schools that include LGBT youths? Apologizing is one thing, legitimately attempting to right some wrongs is another.

    Personally, I don’t want a bridge built between Gay Town and Christiansville. Christiansville has a lot of unsavory elements that they need to deal with. If Christians want to come over to reach out to the gays in Gay Town they need to hop on the fairy ferry. (Which they really need to give a less insensitive name…)

  • JJR

    @ arkonbey above

    “You don’t get someone to improve by only responding to a solid effort with non-constructive criticism.”

    I think Hemant’s post here is the epitome of *constructive* criticism.

    You don’t need Jesus to be a love-everbody hippy type…just be a loving hippy type and forget about organized religion.

    Hemant is sort of throwing down the gauntlet…repudiate these offensive verses of the Bible unequivocally or else shut up, or best of all, just take the next logical step and repudiate the whole thing. At the very least come off the whole “sacred word of God” and acknowledge it was written by superstitious, bigoted, ignorant desert nomads and that modern Christians are striving to do better.

    In plain English, “put up or shut up.”

    They’re trying to rescue their baby Jesus from the biblical bathwater they’re trying to throw out, but I don’t think they can.
    Or even if they accomplish such a mental feat for themselves, good luck convincing other Xtians to go along and not condemn them all as dangerous heretics.

    Atheism and humanism are a lot simpler and easier than trying to torture the biblical text and your own mental interpretation into saying what you want it to say rather than what it does say.

  • Roxane

    The only sign that impressed me at all was the third one, which actually assumed accountability for something that that individual did. I don’t think it’s very impressive to say “I’m sorry for what a third party did to you” without acknowledging the fact that they support the third party.

  • http://yetanotheratheist.net Yet Another Atheist

    I teared up a little reading some of the reactions by the gay community (thankness, forgiveness, etc.). This is definitely a step in the right direction.

    I’m just grateful they weren’t holding up signs that were condescending as usual like “I’m sorry… that you chose this lifestyle and that God has rejected you.” or something equally inane.

    This is hopefully the beginning of much more eye-opening, realization, and enlightenment.

  • Erp

    A step, however, some of the liberal churches are well ahead (the Episcopal church in the US has just knowingly ordained its second bishop in a same-sex partnership) though not uniformly so. Then there are the Metropolitan Community Churches.

  • Valhar2000

    I do think they deserve more credit than Hemant gives them, even though they could indeed have gone further. They have, nonetheless, gone farther than most.

    I agree with Brian: homosexuality being a choice or not is irrelevant and distracting. If it is a choice it is still entirely within the rights of gay people to make it, so it doesn’t change anything. Engaging in this argument simply allows people to throw pseudo-science at you.

  • DemetriusOfPharos

    Here’s the thing though: they are free to believe whatever they want to. If they choose to believe that gays are going to hell, that I am going to hell for not believing as they do, that the celestial teapot and the FSM are ridiculous, thats entirely up to them and completely fine by me.

    Where I draw the line is when they act on their beliefs, I.E., murdering abortion doctors, beating up or murdering gay people (both of those are the extremes), or even simply legislating their beliefs.

  • Robert

    Valhar,

    I don’t want to get into an argument about choice or not, but your comment did raise a question.

    If being gay is a choice and since the Christian worldview is that such a choice is immoral and a sin, then what is wrong with the Christian perspective to love the person who has made that choice, but stick with their belief that the choice is immoral?

    As a Christian I applaud these signs. The overall message of the Christian faith should be love and forgiveness based upon grace. These signs are a good example of that.

  • http://zackfordblogs.com ZackFord

    Ugh, Hemant, you’re such a great ally. :-)

  • Alex

    Valhar,

    “If being gay is a choice and since the Christian worldview is that such a choice is immoral and a sin, then what is wrong with the Christian perspective to love the person who has made that choice, but stick with their belief that the choice is immoral?”

    Answer: because there is no good reason to think that such choice is immoral and a sin, and it is pernicious to do so. Someone brought up a great example in a previous thread (not quoting directly):
    If someone came up with a cheap and painless operation to change the color of one’s skin, because that would then be choice, do we have a right to discriminate based on skin color? Of course not!

  • plutosdad

    If being gay is a choice and since the Christian worldview is that such a choice is immoral and a sin, then what is wrong with the Christian perspective to love the person who has made that choice, but stick with their belief that the choice is immoral?

    Well they are free to and ethical and moral progress in society, as well as scientific and philosophical, requires us all to be able to speak our minds. But we can say their position is “wrong” because of several reasons:

    1. Gay people do not feel like it is a choice. It is like you telling me “being shy is a choice” for many people people believe that too. But no, not to shy people. It isn’t a choice to them, and they suffer discrimination in dating, job interviews, etc, due to their shyness. Maybe it’s a result of the way I was treated, and maybe the build up of many years of choices. Maybe I can overcome shyness and choose to act differently, but does that mean I won’t be shy?

    2. Their religion does not even command it. Christian scholars have never successfully argued the anti gay view is biblical. So many old testament rules are thrown out and ignored by theologians that we cannot say we should follow that rule just because it is there. Why follow that particular rule when modern christian moral authorities do not believe in following so much else of the old testament. To say nothing of the fact that it is not even mentioned at all in the New Testament except in the context of pagan temple prostitution. So the second reason can be summed up as: “it’s not christian’

    3. There is some evolutionary and anthropological evidence to show gay behavior is not only witnessed in nature but also punished. So there is reason to believe some of these anti gay feelings do not come from instincts. Sometimes we follow our instincts, but many morals are specifically about overcoming instincts. Why should we follow instincts when they result in pain to a neighbor who is doing nothing to harm us?

    4. Let’s call a spade a spade here. How many people can love the sin but hate the sinner? I’ve never known any. It’s not about sin, it’s an excuse to say they don’t like someone. Heck many people who support gay rights still are uncomfortable around gay people or witnessing two people of the same sex kissing. We can recognize our negative instincts that cause us to judge or dislike others, even when we have no moral or ethical reason to do so.

    The issue of whether we should have discrimination laws at all is a higher level argument that applies to many other issues that has nothing to do with the fact that, if we do have anti discrimination laws, then sexual orientation should be a protected class.

  • Kate

    Honestly, I don’t think it matters whether or not you think that homosexuality is right or not, as long as you are not taking away their rights to live the way they choose. I don’t agree with most religions but I don’t want to make it wrong for you to be part of a religion of your choice just because I don’t agree with it.

    So, all in all, I think this was a good step for those Christians who came out to Pride.

  • Richard Wade

    I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’ve seen this before. It gives a new meaning for the term “Christian apologetics,” and if that’s as far as it goes, it’s just as empty and pointless as Christian apologetics.

    Like others are saying, it’s a start, but talk is cheap. The question that always follows “I’m sorry” is “Okay, what are you going to do about it?” Making amends means “making a mend.” Mending it. Fixing it. If the whole thing begins and ends with “I’m sorry,” then I’d rather not have heard it at all.

    We are what we do, and so is the church.

  • Andrew

    Valhar,

    I’d like to answer your question as Alex did, but just to be more precise: The issue is not that Christians find it immoral, but that it’s discriminated against, culturally and legally. Gays can’t legally marry in most places, and most don’t want to come out of the closet for fear of social ostracization. Pornography is immoral, but it’s still legal, and nobody is ostracized for looking at it. Why can’t homosexuality be seen the same way?

    Of course, homosexuality is not really a choice, which is why we see such discrimination to be so heinous.

    Hemant, I have to agree with some of commenters here who say your words may have been a bit harsh. But I do agree that only the third sign is a real apology. The first two are indeed just baby steps.

  • Samiimas

    There is no “yes” or “no” in The Marin Foundation’s vocabulary

    Bullshit.

    Is being gay wrong, sinful or immoral? Yes or no.

    Should gay marriage be illegal? Yes or no.

    If you answered yes to either of these you hate gay people and/or want to deny them equal rights. This post is a rather excellent summary of whats always pissed me off about the two-facedness of the ‘accepting’ churches. They almost always still say it’s a sin. “Oh we let liars and drunks in church to.” doesn’t change the fact that you’re still saying I’m a sinner for being LBGT. You’re saying I’m a bad person because I’m not straight.

    That is not accepting. That is hateful. I know this because if I ever said someone was a bad person for being Christian everyone within earshot would tell me it’s hateful.

  • plutosdad

    In part 3 I meant they MAY come partially from instinct, not “not” come from it. sigh.

  • http://www.theficklehobbyist.com Autumn

    I think the part that bothered me so much was after all was said and done, the author asked readers to pray for a conversion of Tristan. To me that just goes to show that the politeness was just an ‘in’ so that they can still try to ‘fix’ them.

  • Rich Wilson

    On the whole choice issue… I used to make the same arguments. “When did you choose to be heterosexual?” But I’ve come to feel that it’s irrelevant. WTF cares if it’s a choice or not? If you could take a pill to change your skin color, would that make it ok to discriminate based on skin color?

  • http://www.thatpinkmouse.com/bloggy Jenny Bliss

    never underestimate the power of an apology ^^ it takes quite a lot for people to say somthing so simple for it to have a big effect on people, its somthing we as adults actualy find quite hard somtimes lol i mean im comparrison to children :D so its a start at least ^_^

    @wendy – hehe i think its assuming you mean the name rather than the religion :P

  • http://www.hillsideslide.blogspot.com Tina C

    i recognize it as a step forward. it moved me. it’s moved my friends (who are Christian and gay-affirming)

    it’s one thing to have Xians march in Pride parades (which they’ve done for years). its a whole new thing to say: I apologize for hurting you.

    progress isn’t made instantaneously. its a process. dialogue is crucial.

    stats show christians & those who don’t know GLBTs more likely to vote against gay rights than non-christians or those who know gays. when you bring GLBTs and Xians together for dialogue, it’s gonna work out in the GLBT community’s favor. walls & stereotypes (keystons of bigotry & prejudice) are broken down.

    meanwhile, there is great diversity within the Xian community on attitudes towards GLBTs. there are Christians who believe it’s a sin & those who do not. how individuals choose to act on those beliefs is yet another matter.

    i know many Christians who have changed their beliefs, or are in the process of changing.

    how does discounting them help move us along the path toward forward toward equality, understanding & a healthy community?

    somewhere in the march of progress toward genuine community, some christian(s) will have to be the 1st to apologize. how do you respond? when they reach out and offer their hand, do you slap it away or grasp it?

  • cathy

    @plutosdad, these are problematic arguments,

    1) there are people who believe they chose to be queer (queerbychoice.com might be an interesting read here) and there has always been a huge gap between queer women and queer men regarding the issue of choice, especially amoung older people. Those second wave feminists who chose to be lesbian for political reasons in the sixties and seventies, many of them still consider themselves lesbians.

    2)The bible has a lot of anti-gay nasty, just like it has a lot of anti-woman nasty. All that gets from me is a nod to the fact that the bible is nasty. I hate debating theology though, I usually go the ‘I am not a member of your religious sect and you have no right to force your religious beliefs on me personally or via public policy’ route.

    3) The punishment part is false, actually, though rape as punishment (including male on male rape) has been found in chimps. Still, the ‘animals do it’ arugment sucks, because I have never seen anyone suggest that killing and eating your enemy group’s infants is morally acceptable because in has been observed in chimps.

    4) I’m pretty much on board with you here on the ‘love the sin hate the sinner’ bull, but I don’t buy the hate by instinct line.

    I’m with Brian on the fact that it is a distration. It is also downright offensive to me when someone suggests that being queer is such an awful way to be that no one would ever choose it. I would choose it. I don’t know if I did (and don’t particularly care), but if I had a matrix like red pill blue pill choice, I would choose be queer. The whole ‘don’t blame us, we didn’t choose it’ spiel refuses to assert that we aren’t blameworthy or inferior.

  • David

    from Samiimas: “You’re saying I’m a bad person because I’m not straight.”

    What would you have those of us who follow the teachings of scripture to do? In fact, we do not say you’re a bad person because (insert whatever action scripture calls sin). Scripture teaches it.

    Either we believe it, or we don’t. Scripture teaches that ALL people are “bad” – that the very human heart is exceedingly wicked. We don’t have to even debate that. Who ever taught a child to say “no” or “mine”? It doesn’t have to be taught. It IS OUR NATURE. And that nature manifests itself in any number of “sinful” ways.

    We can choose to give in to our nature, or we can choose a different path – one of seeking to throw off that very nature and allowing God to replace it with HIS perfect nature. That is the choice we all have.

  • http://secularshawshank.wordpress.com Andy

    But these signs have an implicit message: We’ve done a bad job of loving the sinner, but we still believe homosexuality is a sin.

    If the group’s website didn’t confirm this, I’d say Hemant was being a tad unfair. But these people (apparently) still believe that being gay is non-ideal. They believe this for inane, superstitious reasons. They are not “allies” of the glbtq community. An ally, first and foremost, accepts the humanity of glbtq persons as equal to the humanity of “straight” people (got that? Equal).

    So, no. No baby steps. I mean, baby steps toward what, exactly? Baby steps toward a church that says “We still think you are non-ideal, but we’re willing to apologize [on a t-shirt!] for all the homophobia and discrimination that’s been institutionalized and taught to children in our name”? Reread Hemant’s suggestions for what better signs would have been. Then ask yourself why they didn’t word their signs that way. Hint: because they still think there’s something wrong with being gay; they just don’t like being mean about it.

    Notice how their website parses the question “Is being gay a sin?” [i.e., is it wrong?]

    …The Marin Foundation will never give anyone the answer they want to hear. There is no “yes” or “no” in The Marin Foundation’s vocabulary, and a specific part of our training and classes and programs deal directly with these issues and responses. Bridge building is all about dialogue and understanding, not polarization and debates. Opinions cause dissention, bridge building brings life.

    Really? Well I say it IS about debates—and those who claim, directly or indirectly, that gay people are non-ideal because a bronze-age text says so, have lost the debate.They are not willing to validate gay people as equal. They are unwilling to say in plain English and without equivocation that there’s absolutely, positively NOTHING wrong with being gay.

    Let’s not have any illusions about these people.

  • katie O

    I am not a member of the gay community, but I believe that everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect. My beliefs are simple and uncomplicated – I choose to be around people based on their character, nothing else.

    I was directed to this site through The Marin Foundation website. I don’t know what it’s like to be persecuted because of my sexuality. I also don’t understand “The Church’s” stance on the gay community; love is love as far as I’m concerned. But I do know Andy Marin. I have known him since before The Marin Foundation existed and I implore you to continue this conversation with him – directly.

    He is not just wearing a t-shirt and standing in a crowd. He has become a part of the gay community of Chicago and across the country. He reaches out to those kids in Boystown who have been kicked out of their homes because of their sexuality and cares deeply about each and every person he encounters. He is an awesome person. I think you’ll be impressed by the conversation if you choose to engage him.

    For the record, I am impressed with everything I have read on this site. For all my beliefs about equality and acceptance, I am doing nothing to spread the word about those beliefs other than teaching my daughter that everyone is created equal and deserves her respect. I admire every single one of you who is making a difference in the world.

  • Leah

    In general, I’m fine with your criticism. I take issue with a few key elements, though.

    1. Forgiveness is not earned. It’s simply given. Restitution is not forgiveness, it is subjugation until the offended party “feels better”. Forgiveness is given even when people are still hurting because they realize it’s the only way to move the hell on.

    2. You should read “Love is an Orientation” by Andrew Marin, or better yet, go hear him speak. I’ve done so several times, now, and he is not afraid of open, honest dialogue. He also always sticks around for questions and dialogue. If you’re really invested in this article, I’d encourage you to go tell him what you think to his face. Not because I feel like this article was an attack, but because I am not convinced you have a thorough understanding of the Foundation and that you would better appreciate what these people are trying to do if you did.

    3. One of the key things I’ve picked up from Andrew Marin and the Marin Foundation is that “love the sinner, hate the sin” has failed spectacularly. That’s not what they are trying to do. It’s demeaning and it’s not actually what Jesus did.

    4. I think we all have to be willing to live in the gray zone. Some people will not change their minds, either way, ever. How do we still live with mutual respect and love? How do we still build a community without borders? It’s stupid to wait for “the other side” to open up first, regardless or who’s right and who’s wrong in whose opinion. Change only comes when each of us, as individuals, extend a hand across a line without an agenda. Give it a shot.

    I am a straight white female Christian who loves her numerous gay friends and will continue to defend their constitutional rights that are currently being denied by participating in protests and supporting marriages where they are allowed. I don’t know what I think about being gay. I don’t know what God thinks, either. I don’t think that’s the point.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    FWIW, whatever Andrew’s religious beliefs are, he’s never struck me as being anti-marriage equality. He and his wife attended my wedding when my husband and I legalized our marriage this past January here in Iowa City. I know that it wasn’t the first such wedding that he’s attended.

    The Marin Foundation’s purpose seems to be offering the opportunity for GLBT to seek a Christian community if they’re looking for it, but mainly to get the Christian community to reduce the rhetoric with their culture war crap.

    Frankly, I’ll take Marin’s message at Pride when his “I’m Sorry” message is contrasted to the group that protested Iowa City’s Pride event with “Got AIDS Yet?” signs.

  • http://jmsmith.org James-Michael Smith

    “As for the Marin Foundation, it appears from their website that they’re trying to promote LGBT rights to Christians who believe that homosexuality is sinful. Being diplomatic and treading a middle ground is certainly a justifiable approach. It almost reminds me of an atheist site I’ve come across with similar aims. “Amiable Atheist” or something, I think it was called ;)”

    Well said!

    Hemant, where do you get that they believe homosexuality is a choice? I can’t find that on their website and having read Marin’s book he never proposes that it is.

    And are you saying you’ll only be impressed when someone you disagree with changes their position to the one you hold?

  • Robert

    Plutosdad,

    I would agree that discrimination is wrong. I think most Christians true to their beliefs would say the same thing. I don’t think that it was a coincidence that the civil rights movement in this country was strongly influenced and championed by the churches in the south. However that begs the question.

    The premise of my question was assuming that being gay was a choice (without arguing one way or the other), then why should Christians be forced to accept that choice as equally moral as heterosexual relationships? What they are being asked to do is accept another person’s belief that it is equally moral.

    As for being able to love the sinner and not the sin, that is far more common in the christian community that those that spew hate may reflect. Just as an example, there are multiple prison ministries that preach to prisoners who have made bad choices and they do so out of love for the person who made those choices. (don’t think that I am saying choosing to be gay is a crime, because I am not, I am just using that as as an example)

  • Greg

    Like some other posters here, I think Hemant is probably being a bit harsh, but also think that the third sign was the only one that demonstrably acknowledged guilt and gave an admission of culpability.

    Therefore, kudos to the third sign writer.

    However, as Hemant implied, talk is cheap. It’s actions that really matter, and if they do feel guilty, then I would think the best way to assuage that guilt is to do their best to support the GLBT community as best they can.

  • The Pint

    Here’s the thing though: they are free to believe whatever they want to. If they choose to believe that gays are going to hell, that I am going to hell for not believing as they do, that the celestial teapot and the FSM are ridiculous, thats entirely up to them and completely fine by me.

    Where I draw the line is when they act on their beliefs, I.E., murdering abortion doctors, beating up or murdering gay people (both of those are the extremes), or even simply legislating their beliefs.

    This. What so many Christians can’t seem to grasp is that this kind of respect and consideration must work BOTH WAYS. It’s perfectly within the rights of Christians to personally consider homosexuality immoral, but it is not within their rights to enforce that opinion by turning homosexuals into second class citizens and denying them the rights to marry, adopt children and enjoy the same societal benefits and protections as heterosexuals.

    As an atheist and an American citizen, I consider myself morally and ethically obligated to fight for the rights of those who may hold opinions I find repugnant because that’s a founding principle of this country: we’re all entitled to equal treatment and consideration under the law. The ideal of course, is if Christians would do the same – and if they actually did that, I wouldn’t care if in the privacy of their own lives they were still muttering about how they think homosexuality is “icky and wrong”.

    Which is why ultimately I’m skeptical about the overall effectiveness of the signs asking for forgiveness at the Pride Parade. I’ll admit to getting the warm fuzzies after reading the blog entry one of the sign wavers wrote about the experience – their gestures were very much outside the norm for sign-waving Christians who typically show up at the parade, their remorse for how badly Christians have treated LGBT people seemed genuine, and I’m sure those pleas for forgiveness did mean a lot to the parade participants who came up to thank the sign wavers for being there – but reading the comments in the blog entry was a dose of cold water. For all the comments expressing support for the sentiment of Christians owing the gay community a big ass apology, there were still some “but we still hate the sin, so how can we really support their right to engage in sinful behavior?” comments. The blog writer really didn’t have an answer for those comments other than “I still struggle with that question constantly and look to God for answers.” (link to the entry: http://naytinalbert.blogspot.com/2010/06/i-hugged-man-in-his-underwear-and-i-am.html)

    So until we start seeing Christians like those at the parade actually joining the fight for equal rights for the LGBT community, those signs were just another variation of “We’ll be nice to the sinners but still won’t support their right to engage in what we consider sin.” It’s the equivalent of fence-sitting: an action that, while not actively hurting the LGBT community, is actively not helping either. I’d like to believe that the Christian community is capable of being better than that.

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

    I agree with Hemant that this is a nice start but they are not fully arrived yet.

    I would suggest that folks look at the “Riddle Homophobia Scale” developed by Dr. Dorothy Riddle (psychologist from Tucson AZ):

    Riddle Homophobia Scale
    http://allies.tamu.edu/resources/riddle.htm

    Here’s the full description of this scale that ranges from #1 (most homophobic) to #8 (most affirming):

    Homophobic Levels of Attitude
    1. Repulsion — Homosexuality is seen as a crime against nature. Gays/lesbians are sick, crazy, immoral, sinful, wicked, etc. Anything is justified to change them: prison, hospitalization, negative behavior therapy, violence, etc.

    2. Pity — Heterosexual chauvinism. Heterosexuality is more mature and certainly to be preferred. Any possibility of becoming “straight” should be reinforced, and those who seem to be born that way should be pitied.

    3. Tolerance — Homosexuality is just a phase of adolescent development that many people go through and most people grow out of. Thus, gays/lesbians are less mature than heterosexuals and should be treated with the protectiveness and indulgence one uses with a child. Gays and lesbians should not be given positions of authority because they are still working through their adolescent behavior.

    4. Acceptance — Still implies there is something to accept. Characterized by such statements as “you’re not a lesbian, you’re a person” or “what you do is your own business” or “it’s fine with me, just don’t flaunt it.”

    Positive Levels of Attitude
    5. Support — Work to safeguard the rights of lesbians and gays. People at this level may be uncomfortable themselves but they are aware of the homophobic climate and irrational unfairness.

    6. Admiration — Acknowledges that being gay/lesbian in our society takes strength. People at this level are willing to truly examine their homophobic attitudes, values, and behaviors.

    7. Appreciation — Value the diversity of people and see gays/lesbians as a valid part of that diversity. These people are willing to combat homophobia in themselves and others.

    8. Nurturance — Assumes that gay/lesbian people are indispensable in our society. They view gays/lesbians with genuine affection and delight, and are willing to be allies and advocates.

    If the Marin Foundation hasn’t made it to stage #5 on the Riddle Scale, then I think it’s fair to say they’re still got some negative homophbia issues to work on.

    Even gay-supportive church denominations (e.g. United Church of Christ, Reform Judaism, Unitarian Universalist Association, etc) still have work to do.

    Being at #8 on the Riddle Scale isn’t that common even in liberal religious circles.

  • http://onestdv.blogspot.com OneSTDV

    How can anyone legitimately believe homosexuality is a choice:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGK09HK8_uw

  • Andrew

    It seems to me that you need to do a lot of reading between the lines (I’d go so far as to say “making it up”) to work out the Marin foundation’s ideal end-game. I don’t get from their web site a real sense of what they think “should” happen – or their real views on that “choice” thing.

    I do note that they are all about dialog and not closing things off. Sure, they could just join the ranks of the gay-affirming churches (if they want to; dunno if they do). But if they’re going to try to improve the conversation – and calm down the fundamentalists – they need to avoid closing doors. So they’ve got to avoid that ‘yes/no’ dichotomy.

    A bit like the old “give a man a fish” thing: if a few people stop shouting at gay folks, well, that’s nice. But if they can begin to persuade the wider throng of evangelicals to do the same, well then you might actually get some much bigger, more profound movement, in the long term.

  • Rebecca

    Different people say “I’m sorry” in different ways, and we each hear a genuine apology in our own manner. There are distinct languages of apology, and for some, the words I’m sorry are not enough; they want other words. For some these words are plenty.

    I cannot leap to the conclusion that those apologizing still hold the belief of “love the sinner hate the sin” without talking with them first. Reconciliation is a slow and tender process. I think what the Christian folks chose to do at Pride in Chicago is amazing, and I thank them.

  • http://www.kevin-mccoy.com Kevin McCoy

    When you say that it’s not a choice to be homosexual, it carries an implication that if it WERE a choice, then discrimination would be at least somewhat more acceptable, because then those people are choosing a lifestyle that they know will result in discrimination. Well, it’s much, much easier to argue that being an atheist is a choice. We atheists are choosing not to believe in a god, so we’re choosing the discrimination that it brings upon us. Where does that leave us?

  • Greg

    Re: Steve Caldwell

    I find that scale rather odd, because I could replace anything referring to homosexuality with something referring to heterosexuality, and I certainly wouldn’t get anywhere approaching 8 with either (as written at least). I’m not sure I’d want people to, either. Scratch that – I know I wouldn’t. I’ll appreciate people for the people they are, not just because they are homo-/hetero-/bi-sexual, thank you very much. Indeed, I could even say some of the #4 phrases truthfully, and with equal validity to anybody, no matter their orientation. For instance:

    With all my heart I believe that someone is not gay, but instead is a person. Equally, I believe that someone is not straight, but rather is a person. I’m not going to go around calling someone my ‘gay friend’ unless I go around calling people ‘my straight friend’. The point is that someone’s orientation has nothing to do with whether or not they deserve basic rights or how we treat and refer to them.

    Also, as far as I am concerned what anyone does is their own business as long as it is between two consenting adults. What gay people do is their own business, just like whatever straight people do is their own business. There are definitely some heterosexual practices that make me go ‘eww!’, does saying that I accept their rights to do that sort of thing make me heterophobic?!

    #6… well, this vastly depends upon the society you are in – I guess I’ve been lucky enough to be in a very ‘tolerant’ society, have known lesbians, gays, and bisexuals, and no-one raised an eyebrow. I also know some people who have had a horrible time in a different societal circle, some truly disgusting things were done to them, and I’m incredibly – well – envious of how they have managed to not only cope but also grow, because I don’t think I could. To be honest, however, I find the painting of all society as one monolithic homophobic entity as being rather prejudicial. It isn’t – there are some places where LGBTs have it really bad, but there are also places where they don’t. Just like I have more admiration for atheists coming out in the Bible Belt in the US than when they come out here in the UK, I’m not going to believe people are strong merely for coming out about being gay.

    It’s positive discrimination, which is just as bad in my eyes: and worse, likely to reinforce the negative discriminatory views held by people because now they actually have a reason to feel wronged.

    I’ll stop myself from continuing – honestly, not a fan of the scale, but you might have guessed that! :)

  • cathy

    OneSTDV, I find it really interesting that you picked a femme guy of undeclared orientation as your example and then posted a pretty irrelevant link. I think we can all agree that gender variant people (or people who defy gender roles) experience discrimination, which is often linked to homophobia, but this would be discrimination based on his PERCIEVED sexuality, because we have no idea what his sexuality actually is, or about his gender presentation, because the fact that he is femme-y alone might have done it even without the suspicions of him being gay.

  • http://www.twitter.com/jalyth Tizzle

    Thanks for this discussion. I was bemused by his (possible) fear in touching a guy in his underwear, but even some of us gays are loathe to hug nearly naked men who’ve been sweating in the sunshine and dancing. I wasn’t sure if it was patronizing, and couldn’t decide what I thought on reading his one blog post, with comments.

    Not to be too cynical, but this is one of those things that can be read positive or negative, by both sides, depending on one’s previous disposition. I haven’t been hurt by any christians in years, so my first thought was ‘oh, nice’, although not nice enough to re-post on facebook.

  • Jen

    I wouldn’t even say this is an original idea. I saw it in the movie Lord, Save Us From Your Followers, and there was that billboard campaign that apologized post-Prop 8.

    Here’s the thing. If it made Tristan, the dancer in his underwear, feel better, and it made other people feel better, it was a success. But I will say, as the red-headed step child here, that by and large the atheists have always loved the gays (note: I am young, but I hope the older atheists here always agreed, too) but for some reason, our loving banquet is somehow dwarfed by the crumbs thrown from religion’s table. They get adoration for these tiny, little things, and we get ignored. It seems unfair.

  • Dav_JJ

    @Cathy
    This is from Johnny Weir’s Wikipedia page:

    Off the ice, he has appeared in a fashion spread in BlackBook magazine[15] (including a shot of him in a wrap-around mini skirt[16]), taught Kathy Griffin how to skate in the season two finale of Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List

    And

    When asked about his sexuality, Weir has stated, “…it’s not part of my sport and it’s private. I can sleep with whomever I choose and it doesn’t affect what I’m doing on the ice.”

    Yes, yes, of course. That’s his right. The next sentence is

    He has two pet chihuahuas named Bon-Bon and Vanya…he has an interest in fashion design and, in addition to designing some of his own skating costumes, has designed ice dancing costumes for Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov[22] and show costumes for Oksana Baiul.[23]

    As a gay person—and an activist for GLBT issues—I find nothing wrong with having a little (good-natured) fun with gay-male stereotypes. If he doesn’t want to comment as to whether he’s gay, that’s fine. But there’s no question that Johnny is fabulous. Whether he’s gay, straight, or chooses not to disclose, he’d fit right in at my yearly Oscar party, that’s for sure. Nothing wrong with having a little chuckle about that.

  • fritzy

    While I am tempted to say–”way to…start to catch up to the rest of us…but not really” I think we do have to realize that this really is a big step for people like this. While it’s easy for me to be critical of homophobic xtians who make cursory attempts towards appologizing for their past barbaric attitudes, I have to realize that many of these people were raised with these attitudes and it is so interwoven into their being that any step in the right direction is a big deal. Hell, when I was a believer, I thought being gay was sinful and disgusting–I had to slowly work my way towards acceptance (total acceptance wasn’t made until I dropped the bronze age mythology altogether.)

    Yeah, another example of how religion poisons everything, if you chose to look at it as such but we can’t expect the world to do a 180 over-night.

  • jcm
  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com miller

    @Robert

    As a Christian I applaud these signs. The overall message of the Christian faith should be love and forgiveness based upon grace. These signs are a good example of that.

    Christians forgive me for being gay? No. Just, no. I have way higher standards for who I consider to be an ally.

    I have little sympathy for Christians who talk about homophobic beliefs as if they had little choice about them. As if homophobia were a necessary evil of following god, and the best they can do is apologize for it. Some gay people grow up with the exact same beliefs, and it hurts them infinitely more. Eventually, they get over it and you should too.

  • catherine

    Well, for what it’s worth, I’m gay and I see nothing wrong with their signs.

    And given that most Christians would see themselves as a part of the church, I wouldn’t call it just an apology on the behalf of others, since presumably it would include the sign holder as well.

  • other catherine

    just agreeing with the comment right above: indeed, all christians are part of “the church” (though they’d define that differently, depending on the christian.) So apologizing on behalf of the church includes apologizing on behalf of the sign-holder. To analogize, it’s like a bunch of Americans going to El Salvador with signs saying “Sorry the United States funded a torturing, abusive, murdering government in your country for years.” The American holding the sign wouldn’t necessarily have chosen to have his country fund the government–but he’d acknowledge that he’s a member of a larger institution, paid taxes, etc, and therefore has responsibility for what it does.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Sharmin

    The only good part I can see in this is that it seems like at least some of the people who were prejudiced are apologizing. Too often, people who were already accepting apologize for the actions of others, which is a nice gesture, but it’s more of an improvement if someone who was actually prejudiced before changes their mind and apologizes. If the people apologizing actually changed their minds, that’s a good thing.

    That being said, this is just words and doesn’t do much if not accompanied by actions and support for equal rights. This middle-ground, love-the-sinner, hate-the-sin attitude would have been a step in the right direction if this was, say, 50 years ago. At this point, in 2010, with many Christians and even some entire denominations fully accepting LGBT people, this attitude isn’t good enough. Instead of a step forward, it actually shows how far behind they are compared to many other Christians, in terms of accepting LGBT people.

    The page you linked to seems to give intentionally vague answers to avoid offending either group.

    The topic right above the one you linked to, “The Marin Foudation and Christian Theology” contains this paragraph (bold is mine):

    The Marin Foundation believes that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, God breathed by the Holy Spirit through human authorship (2 Ti 3:16). Our organization does not attempt to rewrite scripture so as to either affirm, or declare judgment on the GLBT community. The Marin Foundation, however, is dedicated to living out the Great Commission (Mt 28:16-20) by using the Bible as a tool not for separation, but rather as a productive tool full of principled and timeless lessons from God. It is our conviction that these principled and timeless lessons will assist the GLBT community in fully knowing and discovering what it means to have a one-on-one relationship with God as well as shift the Christian community’s mind-frame regarding homosexuality.

    It seems they are more concerned with getting LGBT people to convert to Christianity and not as concerned about the discrimination.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Sharmin

    I just wanted to add that Dan Savage wrote two blog posts about this.

    At first, he was optimistic (http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2010/06/30/christians-protesting-at-pride).

    Then, he later wrote about Marin being insincere (http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2010/07/01/re-christians-protesting-at-pride).

    The second blog post has links to two different articles (from 2006) about Marin, the contents of which suggest that he’s trying to maintain a love-the-sinner, hate-the-sin position. The article from the ChicagoReader especially seems to suggest that he cares more about converting LGBT people to Christianity than about them having equal rights.

    (Also, on a different topic, I’d recommend reading the article from TheHastingsCenter Bioethics forum that Savage linked to.)

  • Jill

    I don’t have a problem with white straight men apologizing to gay men for the evils of the christian church– to be specific, evangelical churches. Good for them. I didn’t see any signs with the word “lesbian” written on it! So I assume it’s more male centric fundraising in the “gay” community.

    I’d like to see a bunch of straight white men get out there and apologize for the toxic womanhating and woman degrading rhetoric in churches today, and I’d like to see them apologize for sexism and male supremacy in the church. Go to the Marin site, and it’s all “god the father” and “he” and sexism in addition to its complete lack of connection to lesbians who have been long time christian pastors and activists. The very absense of long time gay and lesbian christian leaders from this site makes me very suspicious. I think they are trying to drain money away from the LGBT community to enhance their own agenda, which appears to be the glorification of its leader– no surprise there, another white straight man.

  • http://notesfromasmallplace.wordpress.com Jake Meador

    Hemant – As Leah noted above, you really should read Marin’s Love is an Orientation before making such judgments. Marin’s refusal to give a straight yes or no answer to that question is not because he lacks courage but because he cares about promoting discussion. His biggest concern – and if you read his book this becomes quite clear – is elevating the conversation between Christians and the gay community. So his ultimate concern isn’t really with that question, but with promoting healthier relationships amongst different groups as we wrestle with those sorts of questions.

    peace

  • http://eshtoart.blogspot.com Eshto

    Not only do I find this unimpressive, I think it’s condescending as all hell.

    Also, incredibly arrogant, self-serving and totally clueless. These days most Pride parades and festivals are attended by pro-gay churches. And those DO affirm gay rights.

    Too little too late, fellas.

  • jamie

    I agree this isn’t some huge conclusive turning point. For the people involved though, the Nathen types out there, it is encouraging to see unmistakable authenticity. One can undermine it but that might be an occum’s razor fail. More disturbing is the vernacular that consistently treats Christians in a monolithic manner. Perhaps an old saw but generalizing a group that way is prejudicial. All homophobes are homophobic. Not all people who self-identify as Christians are responsible for horrors like Prop 8. Let’s find more precise labels if the dialog demands it?

  • Nordog

    I know nothing about the Marian Foundation, but I suspect they are Roman Catholic.

    FTR, the Roman Catholic Church does not teach that homosexuality is a choice, nor does it teach that homosexuality is a sin.

  • http://www.hillsideslide.blogspot.com Tina C

    One point about “is it a choice?”

    Mitchell Gold’s foundation, “Faith in America,” works to combat religious bigotry on behalf of GLBTs.

    He’s had countless conversations with clergy & ppl of faith.

    His observation- when you get to the bottom of what bothers people about “the gays,” it is the fear that, if GLBT is normalized in culture, their kid will choose to be gay.

    Therefore, he points out, it’s important that they understand that Gay Is Not A Choice.

    Normalizing “the gay lifestyle” (whatever that is) will not cause their kid to be gay.

    Knowing that should, foreseeably, lead to a de-escalation of the Freak-Out Factor.

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

    Greg writes;

    I find that scale rather odd, because I could replace anything referring to homosexuality with something referring to heterosexuality, and I certainly wouldn’t get anywhere approaching 8 with either (as written at least).

    Greg,

    I’m thinking that you’re overlooking the point of the scale. It’s very common for there to be differences in unearned power and privilege for heterosexuals and homosexuals in our society.

    As a society, we are at an “8″ on this scale for heterosexuality. For example, we do celebrate heterosexuality by announcing engagements and weddings for male-female couples (a phenomenon that happens in nearly every town with a newspaper).

    Then Greg writes:

    I’ll appreciate people for the people they are, not just because they are homo-/hetero-/bi-sexual, thank you very much. Indeed, I could even say some of the #4 phrases truthfully, and with equal validity to anybody, no matter their orientation. For instance:

    With all my heart I believe that someone is not gay, but instead is a person. Equally, I believe that someone is not straight, but rather is a person. I’m not going to go around calling someone my ‘gay friend’ unless I go around calling people ‘my straight friend’. The point is that someone’s orientation has nothing to do with whether or not they deserve basic rights or how we treat and refer to them.

    This sounds suspiciously like Stephen Colbert’s claim on his TV show that he doesn’t see race. The only difference he’s being satirical and you’re appear to be serious.

    Saying that one ignores or doesn’t see these differences may be an example of privilege that isn’t available to all.

    Regarding the suggestion that it take courage to be “out” as a gay person, perhaps the analogy with atheism would work here? The reality is that it’s generally harder to be an “out” atheist in North American society. It’s also harder to be an “out” gay person as well.

    For example, the number of “out” atheists and “out” gay people in the US Congress is very small.

  • Dani

    I do believe this is something more positive than it is negative. From what I know, there truly is not much knowledge concerning the good of homosexuality in Christianity. Nathan himself admits (somewhere down the comments) that he hasn’t enough grasp on scripture to actually have concrete Christian arguments for homosexuality. It’s a little playing safe but I think it’s necessary.

    Still, yours is an interesting view as well, and quite true at that.

  • Rae

    I am a Christian and I agree that a lot of Christians have gotten it wrong. They have given church, Christians in general, and Jesus a bad name. It makes me sick to my stomach every time I see or hear about someone saying that “God hates fags”. No, God hates sin. Here’s the problem that I think is occurring though. The definition of “sin” is not being accurately depicted in anything I’ve read on here and I believe it is part of what causes so much misunderstanding. Sin is ANYTHING that separates us from God. So my porn addiction, sleeping with more men than I care to count, gossiping about people behind their backs, being selfish, yelling at my brother when he makes me angry, having road rage, using google on an open book online test rather than reading the material…all this stuff is a sin. Why? Because it’s not of God. Some of it I have overcome through God’s grace and mercy and some of it I still struggle with. I’m sure some people will think some of what I listed as a sin is ridiculous, but God doesn’t do that stuff. He created everything to be perfect. Is Homosexuality a choice? I struggle with that answer on a regular basis. I have a large number of gay and lesbian friends who I love dearly and who are good people. The reality of it is, is that it doesn’t matter whether it’s a choice or not. It separates them from God, therefore it is a sin. The best way I can think of to describe it is alcoholism. It is proven that alcoholism is a disease. It is something that people are predisposed to have. Alcoholics have to make a choice whether they want to keep hurting themselves and those around them or to continue on because they are born that way and it’s just the way they are. It’s clear to see that alcoholism is destructive, yet that does not make it right and it definitely doesn’t make it of God. Yes, God created us, but since Adam and Eve ate that stupid apple everything has been tainted by the Devil. God has ALWAYS wanted us to choose Him. He wanted Adam & Eve to leave the apple alone and choose Him, but they didn’t. Everything I do that is not of God is a sin. Once I accepted Jesus and understood what a relationship with Him is really like, I had to take a step back and look at my life. Things that I had considered “normal” had to stop if I wanted to get closer to God. Yes, He forgives me, but that doesn’t mean it is ok for me to continue sinning. Is it hard to stop? Heck yeah! It sucks most of the time, because we like doing things we’ve always done. We like what feels good. What I found though was that when I stopped doing what I wanted and started following Him, I found a joy that I had never felt before. And even though much of it is still a struggle, it is one that is worth it. When people stop thinking that God is mean and just wants to keep us from all of the “fun” stuff and start realizing that He has our best interest in mind, then they’d (and I mean everyone here) realize that everything not of Him hurts us. I know how difficult it was and continues to be to turn from my sin, so I cannot imagine how much more so it would be for someone who is gay or lesbian. The REAL choice is whether or not you love God. If you love God and you believe in Jesus, then whether or not you have a natural tendency toward anything, God asks us to trust Him that His way is better and to stop. My sin of using google on an open book test is no greater and no less than any other sin. God hates it all equally. So if “God hates fags”, then He hates me too and I know that’s not true.

  • Ray G

    I’m a Christian. I do not think homosexuality is a sin. I am glad that gays and lesbians can be pastors in my denomination. I’m sorry it took so long. I’m sorry we aren’t doing enough to end discrimination against homosexuals in the US and the world.

    I am very sorry for all the sh!t that homosexuals, women, Africa and Africans, African Americans, Muslims, Jews, scientists, atheists and pretty much anyone who “didn’t fall in line” have gone through in the name of Christianity.

    I know this doesn’t make up for scars that have been left and pain that has been caused. I hope that action will be taken and that I can help it along to show you that I’m sorry.

  • TreeHugger03

    How many of you have actually read Andrew Marin’s “Love is an Orientation”? I’m looking for hands, here. Anyone?

    As a gay 25-year-old Christian, I must say that no other book has inspired me more to embrace my entire self. It is a powerful text about unconditional love and asking open-ended questions. To Marin, sex is not a standard by which to judge a life. Rather, he celebrates “God’s acceptance, validation, affirmation, and unconditional love in meeting people as they are, where they are.”

    Remember that Andrew Marin is dealing with matters of faith and religion — not politics. So when you cast him aside for not being a vocal Christian advocate for gay marriage, remember that he’s trying to bridge the conversational gap between Christians and many in the LGBT community. One can’t be a bridge and stand on one (political) side, and his mission is to pose more questions than to give answers. The more that Christians are brought to individually question their assumptions about gays and lesbians, the more they are moved — internally — to change their thinking. One cannot achieve this by telling them what to believe.

    To those of you who think his book might take a “love the sinner, hate the sin” mentality, get ready to be blown away.

  • Taylor

    “You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.”
    Romans 2:1

    This passage from the Bible says exactly what I wish more Christians would see. All sins are equal. Adultry, murder, stealing, lying, greed.. And yes, I agree that homosexuality is a sin. But you know, what isn’t? All of us are sinning in some way or another. So what if Christians such as myself do believe it’s a sin? Do I think you’re going to hell? I personally don’t believe the sin alone will send you to hell. Having no relationship with Jesus is what hurts people in the long run. No sin is good, but that doesn’t stop ANYONE from sinning. Even the most religious people sin. It is life. Just because we believe homosexuality is a sin, doesn’t mean we are disgusted with homosexuals. It doesn’t make us horrible people. It may be a sin, but I still accept everyone for what God made them to be. It is hurtful to some of us as well when some homosexuals consider “Christians” to be bad people. We aren’t all that way.

    So I agree with those signs. I am sorry. Sorry for the way some of my fellow Christians treat you. Sorry that things some Christians have done or said have hurt you. But mostly, I’m sorry that the actions of some Christians have carried you farther away from God. Think it over.

    God bless EVERYONE.

    Love,
    Taylor

  • Dan W

    It’s nice to know that they appear to be trying to be more LGBT-friendly, but what’s up with their bit about yes or no questions? I think when it comes to things like views on homosexuality, creationist views versus accepting evolution as fact, and how people and organizations feel about secularism in the U.S. (and the world), yes or no questions are the best types. Do you (or your organization) believe homosexuality is a sin or not? Do you/your organization believe in creationism or not? Do you think the U.S. is a “Christian Nation(TM)” or not? Yes or no? What’s wrong with answering the damn question? It would certainly help me figure out what this group is all about.

  • Dan W

    …And I just read the links Sharmin posted. So I guess this Andrew Marin guy, and his foundation, are not as friendly to homosexuals as they claim. He thinks homosexuality is a sin, and a choice, and he doesn’t want people to know that. Sounds like he’s doing this to become more well-known… which would explain why his organization doesn’t want to answer yes or no questions. He wants both liberals and conservatives to like him, so he tries to hide his true beliefs on homosexuality.

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  • Pseudonym

    For what it’s worth, I agree that it’s a good first step, and that more steps need to be taken. But I don’t have a problem with this. It’s way past “hate the sin, love the sinner”, because it also recognises that hate is a bad emotion.

    Yes, probably many of these people holding signs believe that homosexual behaviour is sinful. But you know what? They believe that we’re all sinners. Moreover, many Christians sincerely believe that Jews aren’t “saved” and yet apologies for anti-Semitism are always well-received.

    Something I’m curious about: The title of this thread suggests that it’s the “Gay Community” that is indignant about this, but I’ve skimmed the thread, and I haven’t yet seen a “meh” from someone has also self-identified as being GLBT. Am I right in thinking that everyone who is upset about this is straight?

  • ASD

    It’s a start. Give it time. This is, in comparison to the last 50 years or so, a massive step. But this sort of thing happens very, very slowly. Think about the other times when governments or other groups have apologised to such large communities. It takes a long time and a lot of activism.

    With that being said, this is either going to split Christianity in half again, or it’s going to inspire the rest to actually admit what they know – that for all they’re different, homosexual people are still humans, and deserve to be treated as such.

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  • Samiimas

    If you think homosexuality is a sin you are a bigot. Let’s not pretend people wouldn’t be calling me a bigot if I claimed all non-athiests are bad people *’sinful’ people if you wanna use the euphemism*

  • Greg

    I’m thinking that you’re overlooking the point of the scale. It’s very common for there to be differences in unearned power and privilege for heterosexuals and homosexuals in our society.

    So you are saying the scale is there solely to describe societies rather than describe individuals? My problems with it still stand, if so – just my problem with #6 now extends to the whole thing. I still happen to think, for example, that it is a bad thing for either heterosexuals or homosexuals to be treated as a #8 on the scale by society. Surely the fact that I said I didn’t want anyone to be treated that way rather implied it? I’m not sure what your clarification was meant to achieve?

    I don’t agree with your claim that ‘our’ society gives heterosexuals unearned power and privilege, either. Some societies may, but certainly not all. Don’t tar us all with the same brush!

    Also, I’m not quite sure how you get from:

    For example, we do celebrate heterosexuality by announcing engagements and weddings for male-female couples (a phenomenon that happens in nearly every town with a newspaper)

    (Which also applies to gay couples in some places – again, different societies…)

    to:

    8. Nurturance — Assumes that heterosexual people are indispensable in our society. They view heterosexuals with genuine affection and delight, and are willing to be allies and advocates.

    The very most you could take that to on the scale would be 7, and at a stretch I’d have thought! I mean, ‘view heterosexuals with genuine affection and delight’? Seriously? Maybe we have different standards for ‘delight’ and ‘genuine affection’.

    This sounds suspiciously like Stephen Colbert’s claim on his TV show that he doesn’t see race. The only difference he’s being satirical and you’re appear to be serious.

    Not really knowing anything about Stephen Colbert, being British, it’s hard for me to comment, I take it he is a comedian. Just trying to imagine how such a skit might go feels like it is more backing up my point of view. I imagine the implication was that some people try to ignore that we are all different, rather than accepting that we are all different? But I don’t want to make my own skit up here, so I’ll not continue down this avenue!!! :)

    Saying that one ignores or doesn’t see these differences may be an example of privilege that isn’t available to all.

    I’m not sure what you mean by privilege in this instance, so apologies if I don’t answer what you were saying. Anyway, I don’t ignore, or not see; I accept. There is a huge difference.

    Comparing race and sexuality in this instance strikes me as a bit odd. You can’t tell someone is gay merely by looking at them. I know both effeminate straight people, and macho gay people – just like parts of the scale you gave, I actually find the implication that you can tell someone is gay by looking at them a little, well, not homophobic exactly, but at the very least prejudicial.

    I realise that may just be one of the vagueries of the English language kicking in, and I took it the wrong way, so regardless, it’s not that I don’t know that they are gay or not, it’s that I quite simply don’t care. I don’t know, maybe I’m actually bisexual myself because I don’t rear back and go ‘ewww’ whenever gay sex (or straight sex) is mentioned, but I truly don’t give a monkey’s whether or not someone is gay. And even if I did, I would not act upon it, just like I don’t act upon the people who do heterosexual activities that I am squeamish about.

    And in doing so – according to the scale you gave – I am both heterophobic and homophobic. Apparently I have an irrational fear of anyone with a sexual orientation(!) (Actually, I would imagine any group could be substituted, not just those with a sexual orientation!) – which quite honestly seems not only wrong to me, but backwards, and so I don’t think the scale is a particularly good one. That’s basically all I am saying on that particular point.

    As for the comparison with atheism – that was basically my point I think? Maybe I missed something, but I felt like I was reading the same kind of thing I wrote! :)

    I have more respect for people who come out in societies where it is difficult to come out in. Like I said, with the atheist example, I don’t think I deserve respect for coming out as an atheist in my society, whilst I would have a lot more respect for someone coming out in certain parts of the US. My respect is proportionate to the difficult in coming out. It is not a problem – again, depending on the society – for some gay people to come out, and I will not automatically give these people tonnes of respect for doing so. Sorry but just because they have taken the same action as someone, say, outing themselves from a hugely religious family does not mean they are entitled to the same respect for doing so.

  • http://www.thatpinkmouse.com/bloggy Jenny Bliss

    @ASD

    this is where we go see the anglican church here in the UK for ones being split in 2 over this issue :P lol

  • Greg

    Steve Caldwell – just had a thought actually which makes the thing a little clearer in my mind.

    I think my biggest problem with the scale is perhaps that it implicitly assumes that heterosexuals are viewed as #8 on the scale.

    Unless you grant that assumption, would you agree it is rather worthless? (And as you know, it is not an assumption I am willing to grant – I don’t actually think the way heterosexuals are viewed has a corresponding # on the scale.)

  • http://www.nutzak.org/ hnutzak

    @Pseudonym who said “Something I’m curious about: The title of this thread suggests that it’s the “Gay Community” that is indignant about this, but I’ve skimmed the thread, and I haven’t yet seen a “meh” from someone has also self-identified as being GLBT. Am I right in thinking that everyone who is upset about this is straight?”

    I guess you missed the 5th comment, mine, in which I identify myself as bisexual, and also give a literal “meh.” These Merin folks fall far short of the christian denominations who not only welcome GLBT people into their fold, but will ordain them as ministers and do not believe homosexuality to be a sin.

    These Merin folks still see GLBT people as different, because they are stuck in their bronze age texts. And as long as they classify GLBT people as different from them, they are bigots. The fact that they have switched to decaffeinated bigotry is wholly unimpressive. So here again is a bisexual male saying “MEH” to the Merin Foundation’s gesture, however unexpected it may have been.

  • Grendel72

    Just for the record, I’m a big old homo and I find this far worse than meh.

    Dan Savage and Michelangelo Signorile, both also gay, have more information on why we shouldn’t trust these guys here: http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2010/07/01/re-christians-protesting-at-pride

    There are already churches that don’t push the hateful and harmful idea that love is wrong. This is not a step forward, these guys are pushing a message that is DANGEROUS for gays.

  • Steve

    @Rae
    “It separates them from God”

    No, it doesn’t. Homosexuality and Christianity are not necessarily incompatible. There are churches that are open and accepting.

    “The best way I can think of to describe it is alcoholism.

    Horrible, horrible comparison. It’s something people are born with, but it’s not a disease or a birth defect. The first implies that it’s something that can be cured. It can’t be.

    Comparing to alcoholism implies that the solution is to abstain and be celibate. That’s just absurd.
    You say alcoholism is destructive. Homosexuality isn’t. It only becomes destructive when people grow up or live in intolerant, homophobic environments. Thanks mostly to religion.

  • teach2

    Great explaination Treehugger. Once you gather all the information you can make an informative decision on what to or not to believe. Better yet, look at the person’s life, not through blogs and inaccurate articles, but through commitment, dedication, and love. Believe me, if Andrew was just in it for fame and money, he would have given this up a long time ago. All the judgement, heartache and grief would not be worth any amount of $$ in the world.

  • Rae

    @Steve
    “No, it doesn’t. Homosexuality and Christianity are not necessarily incompatible. There are churches that are open and accepting.”

    Anything that is a sin is incompatible with Christianity. You seem to think I’m pinpointing homosexuality and I’m not. I’m saying EVERYTHING that is not as God created it per the Bible (which only means something to you if you believe it, which I’m assuming you do not) is incompatible with Christianity. The amazing and awesome thing about God is that He still loves us anyway. I’m not saying there are not churches who are open and accepting. There should be! My point is that if churches do not accept gays and lesbians then they shouldn’t be accepting me either…or themselves. “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23. We are all sinners and one sin is not greater than the other. A church should be a place where you can go to get love and support. It is a place where people spend time together in fellowship. And as a body of believers we encourage one another in the faith and that means helping each other overcome the sin we are struggling with, whatever it may be. I don’t like it when someone points out my sin for what it is. It feels like a personal attack. But it’s not. It’s love. It may not feel like such at the time, but anything that helps us to be more like God is a blessing. I could try to explain that until I’m blue in the face, but I know from personal experience that it will not matter a bit to you until you experience it for yourself. Until then you’ll just assume that I’m a bigot and that I’m trying to push something on you. And that’s fine…keep thinking that. Hopefully one day you’ll realize that it’s out of love. When you’re in love with someone you want to tell everyone. You want to shout it to the world. And when that person genuinely wants the very best for you and there are absolutely no selfish motives (which we are completely incapable of accomplishing in our human minds) other than desiring your complete love and attention, then you kinda want other people to have the same thing.

    “Horrible, horrible comparison. It’s something people are born with, but it’s not a disease or a birth defect. The first implies that it’s something that can be cured. It can’t be.”

    “Comparing to alcoholism implies that the solution is to abstain and be celibate. That’s just absurd.
    You say alcoholism is destructive. Homosexuality isn’t. It only becomes destructive when people grow up or live in intolerant, homophobic environments. Thanks mostly to religion.”

    Actually it is a disease. Look it up. And there is no cure, other than abstaining. Yes, I am presenting the solution to the problem as abstaining and being celibate if the feelings for someone of the opposite sex never arise. It’s not absurd, it’s just difficult. I used to sleep with whoever I wanted, whenever I wanted. It wasn’t until I started following God that I began to realize how destructive that was. That meant I had to abstain. Let me tell you how much that sucked…but I did it and it totally paid off. I was able to form a relationship with a man without sex skewing our emotions. I was able to find out if he really loved me for me and not because of what I could give him. And now that man is my husband. It took me 32 years to get to this place where I am finally with a man who loves me for me and he loves me in a way that is far greater than I ever could have imagined. This culture that we live in says it is ok to have sex with whomever you want and whenever you want. It is damaging to our souls to give away that part of ourselves to anyone that strikes our fancy at the moment. I don’t give a crap what your sexual orientation is, it is destructive. If at some point you start to associate anything that is not of God as a sin, you will see that ALL of it hurts us and is destructive. I’m not isolating any sin here. God is not gay, nor was his original intentions for us as a people to be, and if you read the Bible (the whole thing and not just the parts that seem to fit what you want them to say) supports what I am saying. God also wouldn’t cheat on tests. By cheating on my tests I am being destructive because I’m not learning what I’m supposed to learn and could potentially help me later. I’m taking the easy way out, because I’m being lazy (also a sin). Whether it is tangible in that I end up with a bad grade, or intangible that I feel stupid later because someone asks me a question that I should know the answer to, but do not since I never studied – it still hurts me in some way. The difference between you and I is Jesus. That’s it. If you accept Jesus and want to genuinely follow Him, then that means accepting the Bible in it’s entirety as well. They are not mutually exclusive of one another.

  • Grendel72

    “I don’t like it when someone points out my sin for what it is. It feels like a personal attack. But it’s not. It’s love.”

    You know what love is? Love is what gay couples feel for each other. Love is not a bad thing. Love is a wonderful thing, and anyone who would choose to worship an imaginary creature who calls LOVE a “sin”, comparably to lying, stealing, or killing someone? Well that person has absolutely no idea what love is.

    I’ve certainly done things that are wrong. Falling in love is not one of those things, and it is truly disgusting to suggest it is. People like you drive gay teenagers to suicide, you have blood on your hands.

  • Tina

    As a lesbian who grew up in a minister’s home I have been through the transformation from 1 to 8 on the Riddle homophobia scale. I’ve been kicked out of church and I’ve had friends disown me. I believe that homophobia leads to depression, self-harm, and suicide especially among young people.

    Which is why I totally support the Marin Foundation.

    Their aim is to build bridges between both the lgbt and church community. They can’t build bridges by taking sides or alienating people. Reconciliation takes understanding and compromise. In fact I even gave my Dad a copy of Love is an Orientation before I came out to him. It was a sign that we are going to disagree on this but let’s do it well.

    Personally I would love to see Christians at a Pride parade both supporting and apologising. It would mean a lot to me.

  • Jim

    If you want to apologize for being a bigot it helps to stop being a bigot first.
    I suppose saying “I’m sorry the Bible makes me a bigot” is better than saying “I’m a bigot and proud of it”.

  • Rae

    @Grendel72

    Wow dude you’re completely reading what I’m saying and only extracting an attack, which is not at all what I’m doing. I don’t target a specific group of people and tell them what they do is wrong. I have many gay friends who feel very loved by me. The Bible does say that judging people is wrong, but what most people fail to realize is that there is accountability amongst fellow Christians. There is a difference. If you do not claim to be a Bible believing, Jesus following, lover of the Lord then I have absolutely no right to judge you. My obligation is to love you, whether I like you as a person or not. I don’t like my step dad, but I love him as a person. He’s a royal jerk, but he is still one of God’s children. I pray for him in the hopes that God will help him change and be a nicer person…to not do things that are destructive to himself and those around him who love him. I can’t confront him about his sin though, because he doesn’t even begin to claim to follow Christ. Now if one of my friends who is a Christ follower started acting like he does and doing the things he does, then I would say to them as a brother or sister – you have a problem. How can I help you overcome this problem? This is accountability. James 5:19-20 says, “My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” Notice that he is talking to “brothers”. This means fellow believers. He’s not talking to people who aren’t Christians, but he does make it clear that those of us who are Christians, are to help each other with our sin.

    I have only explained what a “sin” is in the context of the Bible. If you don’t believe in the Bible then you clearly do not believe in the concept of sin and this should mean nothing to you. All of this discussion is within the context of the Bible and nothing else. If you don’t believe the Bible then don’t worry about what I’m saying, because it doesn’t apply to you. What I’m telling you, is that I want God’s best for you. To have that, you must acknowledge your sin and repent. If you don’t think what I’m telling you about is God’s best, then you do not believe the Bible. It’s really as simple as that. Like I said in my post before, it’s not a matter of whether or not people “choose” to be gay. It’s a matter of whether or not people choose to follow God.

    I’ve had five serious relationships and was engaged twice before I got saved. I loved those men, but the context in which our relationships occurred was a sin and now that I have experienced true love through the Father, I realize that what I felt before was a mere imitation of what love really is.

  • Steve

    Or more likely, you are just bisexual and constructed a value system where you brought yourself to only form romantic attachments with women. That’s fine. Just drop the disgusting, inhumane, religious hyperbole. It makes it impossible to take you seriously.

    And that explanation is certainly preferable to what other so-called “Christians” do. Either deceive themselves or others into pretending to be straight, suppressing their natural feelings and enter into opposite-sex relationships that are based on a lie and make both sides miserable.

    And attitudes like yours are indeed what causes so much harm to gay youths. You are part of the problem.

  • AxeGrrl

    Rae wrote:

    Actually it is a disease. Look it up. And there is no cure, other than abstaining.

    Good lord….how old are the psychology books you’re getting that tripe from?

  • Rae

    @AxeGrrl

    I’d love to hear what other forms of treatment you’ve heard about that work other than abstaining. I know plenty of alcoholics who would love a quick fix or treatment that didn’t require them to actually work at the resolution.

  • AxeGrrl

    Grendel72 wrote:

    You know what love is? Love is what gay couples feel for each other. Love is not a bad thing. Love is a wonderful thing, and anyone who would choose to worship an imaginary creature who calls LOVE a “sin”, comparably to lying, stealing, or killing someone? Well that person has absolutely no idea what love is.

    I’ve certainly done things that are wrong. Falling in love is not one of those things, and it is truly disgusting to suggest it is. People like you drive gay teenagers to suicide, you have blood on your hands.

    Great post :) It hits on an incredibly important point…..

    Anti-gay bigots are speaking out against love. Not murder, torture, rape; they are advocating that ‘certain’ love can be a bad thing….which is utterly and completely insane.

  • Jill

    We’ve had lesbian and gay affirming churches at gay pride parades for a long time now. The issue is really with christian conservatives and their right wing agenda which is anti-gay, anti-feminist, and anti-secularism.

    We need as a lesbian and gay community to honor the christians who really supported lesbians and gays historically, just as we need to honor churches that have ordained women. This “I’m sorry” stuff smacks of a publicity stunt, and a desire to get more donations. It seems smug and condescending.
    And there is something about all the “humility”– that really seems shallow to me.

  • AxeGrrl

    Rae wrote:

    I’d love to hear what other forms of treatment you’ve heard about that work other than abstaining. I know plenty of alcoholics who would love a quick fix or treatment that didn’t require them to actually work at the resolution.

    It’s too bad you can’t go back and edit your original post ~ because as it stands, it reads as though you were talking about homosexuality with that comment (especially given the sentence immediately following it)

    Thanks for the clarification :)

  • Rae

    Look I’m not trying to be mean or hurt anyone. I will never do anything or say anything to one of my gay friends about my feelings on it unless they ask me, but that conversation is one that I take very seriously and handle very carefully. I never want them to feel like I don’t love them, because I do. I don’t like my own sin either, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love myself. The entire reason I posted was to clarify what sin is according to the Bible, because it is so rarely accurately described. I can see that most people did not get what I was saying and took it personally as an attack on their sexual orientation. I’d be saying the exact same thing to heterosexuals as well…in fact, I do. The message is universal and unfortunately it has gotten twisted by people who call themselves Christians into being just about one thing, which it is not. I wish you all the best and hope that you find all the things you are looking for and maybe some you didn’t know you wanted or needed.

  • Grendel72

    There is disagreement on the issue among Christians. There are churches that don’t preach that loving someone is a sin. For the sake of their mental health I hope any gay people looking for religion find those churches rather than the bigoted, love denying churches. That is why I think the Marin Foundation is dangerous, and their grandstanding is worse than “meh.”

    Bridge building is one thing, but we need to make sure that “common ground” is actually acceptable, rather than poorly disguised hate.

  • Anne

    “Is homosexuality a sin?”

    No. I’m a Christian (though not religious) and I say no. It is not. As to how that reconciles with the Old Testament, all I can tell you is: a lot of stuff in the OT is wrong and silly and superfluous and applied only to the minds of the people living in those times. We do not live in those times, and the Bible is wrong about homosexuality.

    This is probably why the churches most hostile to GLBTQ folks are the sects who pledge to the “infallibility” of the entire bible. Avoid those, if you can.

    As for the article, I’m confused. It seems what you’re saying here is that understanding, acceptance, and peaceful co-existence is not enough for you. It almost sounds like you want to control the freedom of thought of others (ie: they are willing to make the gestures but some may have reservations of thought or conscience when pressed for details), which… no. I don’t believe you believe that. Freedom of thought is a sovereign human liberty that you’ve claimed for yourself. How can you deny that to others? Simply believing that you are right and another person or set of persons wrong is not enough to say that what a person thinks – despite good actions to the contrary – condemns them.

    You can’t condemn people for what they think, only for what they do.

  • Rae

    Grendel please stop twisting my words. I never said that love is a sin. I said the context in which the relationships occur (including my own) is the sin. Love is absolutely not a sin. Try for a second to stop making this about homosexuality and perceiving me as a bigot then read what I’m really saying. It makes me sad that you can’t see someone who is attempting to show you love as a person and keep putting them down to make yourself feel better. If you don’t agree with the Bible (which not all people who claim to be Christians actually follow) then the issue is moot. Whether anything you do is a sin or not according to something you do not believe in makes all of this really irrelevant in your life. So please just accept what I’m saying as an explanation for the sake of clarity and realize that I’m not ostracizing you or telling you that you’re a bad person.

  • plutosdad

    Look I’m not trying to be mean or hurt anyone

    No you are just wallowing in ignorance of christian theology and the bible is all. You have no biblical basis to believe what you do. But this is not the forum for that argument, that forum would be on a pro gay christian site where you can get educated. Please do so, and stop trying to enforce your culturally based beliefs that have no biblical basis on everyone else.

  • Grendel72

    You know what else the parts of the bible that condemn homosexuality say? They command believers to murder gays. How is that not hate? How is that not a twisted, evil moral value system? That’s what you want to cling to.

    Plenty of Christians think the stuff actually attributed to Jesus is the important part of their religion, not the tribal codes of bronze age savages.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    @Anne —

    This is probably why the churches most hostile to GLBTQ folks are the sects who pledge to the “infallibility” of the entire bible. Avoid those, if you can.

    The Marin Foundation says they believe “that the Bible is the inerrant word of God.”

    As for the article, I’m confused. It seems what you’re saying here is that understanding, acceptance, and peaceful co-existence is not enough for you. It almost sounds like you want to control the freedom of thought of others

    I’m all for peaceful coexistence, but I think it’s dishonest to apologize for how the church treats gay people, while at the same time believing that homosexuality is a sin or that gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry. And if you don’t actively, vocally support equal rights for gay people, then to me, that’s the same as defending the alternative.

    Based on what I’ve seen, the Foundation refuses to take a strong stance in support of equality for gay people. It’s not as bad as what other Christians do, but I’m not about to praise them for simply not being jerks.

    I want a clarification on their beliefs. If they don’t offer support for GLBT equality, why are gay people acting like this is a wonderful thing the group did?

  • Rae

    Have any of you actually read the entire Bible? Have you studied it and done a Biblical exegesis to understand the context of what is written and why things are said? I believe the WHOLE Bible and until you have fully read and understand the Old Testament in context with the New Testament, then you do not grasp what it is saying. In the Old Testament there was nothing to protect people from God’s wrath. When they sinned and turned from God they were subject to whatever punishment He gave them, despite the MANY times He had mercy on them anyway. In the New Testament, those who believe in Jesus are not subject to God’s wrath, because Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice. He paid the price for all of it and so, no, I don’t believe in murdering anyone. There is no punishment for sin anymore unless you do not accept Jesus as your savior (and that is up to God and not man). If you want to bash Christians and call us all sorts of names at least take some time to properly educate yourself and truly understand what the Bible says. I’m sorry, but the one with the culturally based beliefs is you, plutosdad. If you want to have a Biblical discussion about this I’d be more than happy to do so. Otherwise stop making ignorant statements that demonstrate your lack of Biblical knowledge.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com miller

    @rae
    You think gay behavior is a sin–I’m not twisting your words here, am I? And though you downplay the gravity of sin, you still think that, all other things being equal, I would be better off not going around doing gay things.

    The reason I seek same-sex relationships has nothing to do with how hard it would be to stop. Listen, I’m sort of borderline gay anyway, and I could easily live permanently single if I wanted to. In fact, maybe I will. But it sure won’t be because I think same-sex relationships are categorically bad or sinful.

    It’s like if I really liked green and wore green shirts all the time. And then you told me that wearing green is a sin. But you reassure me that you love and forgive me anyway, regardless of my preference of wardrobe. And, since you’re honest, you proceed to genuinely love me despite what you perceive as flaws. Okay, so you’re tolerable. But let’s make this clear, your attitude is something to tolerate, not to celebrate.

  • plutosdad

    rae most of us were christians. You think we know not of what we speak.

    Take me for instance, I was in a christian band, had a record contract with Frontline records, and went around church to church ministering.

    I’ve studied apologetics, biblical archaeology, philosophy, theology, and I am hardly unique here on this board. You’ll find many people who were active in the church, and read a lot more about how the bible was written and the time and the context, often more than the average christian because it’s usually the first step many of us took on our way to abandoning faith.

    In my ministry I saw firsthand christians confuse their culture for god’s will. One church says something is a sin that the church across the street thinks is fine. Both point to the bible. Some pastors even told me our music was Satanic. Yet you think you are so right and you know. I’m not the one telling you your interpretation is wrong, quite a few churches are.

    Start studying greek, start learning history, start actually learning what the bible says. many people who have done this disagree with you on god’s view of homosexuality. People much more learned that any of us here. And by that I don’t mean people with MDivs from a seminary, which is next to useless. It will also help you understand the religion you think you follow.

  • Rae

    Yes, Miller, you have at least understood that correctly. What you are missing though is that I’m not focusing in on it. I’m not saying it’s worse than any other sin. I’m not saying you’re a bad person or that God hates you. I’m saying that ALL of us sin and God hates ALL sin, because it is not the way He created things to be. Does it mean that He hates us – no. I believe ALL of us would be better off not doing anything that separates us from God in any way. Myself included. I’m not pointing fingers here. I’m just as guilty of sinning as the next person.

    Wearing a green shirt doesn’t separate you from God, so that’s not a fair analogy. What you did describe though is a relationship. Do you think I always agree with my husband’s taste in clothes? Uh, no. But I do love him even though what he wears sometimes borderline embarrasses me. That embarrassment is my own problem and has nothing to do with him. Do I wish he wouldn’t keep doing it anyway though? Yeah, but I still keep on loving him because his choice in clothes has nothing to do with who he is as a person. If anyone is going to have a successful relationship then you have to overlook the flaws of those you love.

    I’m not asking you to celebrate anything. I’m not asking anyone to believe what I believe. Which is why I’m done trying to provide clarity. It continues to be misunderstood and just as the entire of the context of the Bible is not taken into consideration, my entire posts are not being taken into consideration. You read what you want to read and ignore the rest.

  • Rae

    @plutosdad

    I don’t follow a religion, I follow Christ. I don’t go based off of what churches tell me. I go based off of what the Bible tells me. I have done and continue to do all of the things you are saying. I take studying the Bible and understanding the True meaning of it very seriously. My husband is proficient in both Biblical Greek and Hebrew, so we study together quite often. I hear of so many people who were raised in the church and never understood God until far later in life. Going to church and even being in ministry doesn’t mean people understand anything. Most “Christians” are content with allowing all of their knowledge to come from the pastor on Sunday, but who says he is preaching from the Word? I’m sorry someone hurt you and caused you to turn from your faith. If you can find something in the Bible to support that EVERYTHING that separates you from God is not a sin then I’d love to see it. Please give me a Biblical explanation of how I’m wrong.

    I wish that I could give you a clear cut answer as to why churches believe different things, but I can’t. Sometimes it is for lack of studying. Sometimes it is interpretation, but what I’ve found is that if you actually do an exegesis on a passage, there is generally little room for different interpretations. I’ve been to plenty of churches where I’ve listened the pastors preach a message that I knew was not Biblical, but I always do my research and make sure before I just assume what a man says is correct.

  • IT

    @Rae: Homosexuality is viewed by all mainline medical authorities as a normal human variation, not a disease disorder or defect.

    There is substantial theological justification for accepting homosexuality as we now know it (and as it was certainly not known 2000 years ago, and thus certainly NOT written about). There’s an excellent theology text called “Reasonable and Holy” by a scholar named Tobias Haller.

    GLBT people should be called to the same standards as straight people–once they can marry, that is.

    And boys dancing in their underwear at a pride parade are a thin, thin slice of GLBT life in this country, not the whole pie. In real life we’re out here raising kids, mowing the lawn, paying our taxes, and trying to get respect.

    But you Biblical literalists aren’t generally willing to admit that other people’s interpretations are equally valid. Of course I assume this means you agitate to eliminate divorce and left handedness too.

    @Nordog (9.13pm) The Marin foundation is named for Andrew Marin, it is not Roman Catholic. The RC’s are not at all gay friendly. They RC’s teach that while homosexuality may be “natural”, it is an “instrinsic moral evil”, an “objective disorder” which is why they attack GLBT rights mercilessly. (This is sadly funny given the proportion of gay RC priests). This is why a substantial fraction of gay Roman Catholics are now Episcopalian.

  • J

    I honestly think that the real reason that so many Christians have been touched by this expression is that MANY of us believe this is the way we should be, in our best forms.

    IF homosexuality is a sin in the Bible, which is a BIG if as there are a million passages that say one thing and a million that say the opposite. But if we assume that the Bible considers it a sin, how is that ANY different than stealing (ie. spending time at work on Facebook), lying (ie. telling your kids there is a Santa Claus), adultery (living with your gf/bf before marriage) or placing other things in your life before God (gf/bf, alcohol, shopping, Xbox, kids, etc…). I mean seriously, who doesn’t do those things?

    That doesn’t mean people who do those things are bad people any more than LGBT are. That’s the big key. I think it’s ridiculous that Christians tend to spew hatred at a potential sin because it’s something they can use to give them a reason to be homophobic without feeling bad — which is ridiculous.

    But please please please know that not all of us Christians think that way and that often we also get some serious nastiness when we stand up for our LGBT friends and disagree with the way things are handled.

    Finally, I would like to add that I personally am sorry. When I was younger I listened more to what some had to say and followed it. I believed that homosexuality was wrong and that was that. While I never personally judged anyone in person, I did in my heart and for that I am truly sorry. I intend on trying to live more like I feel like Jesus would and personally will be supporting all legislation for LGBT equal rights.

  • Anna

    I think this is a positive step. I believe the Marin Foundation aim to be neutral and to build bridges between the LGBT community and the church.

    They are not trying to tell their Christian friends that they must believe gay marriage is acceptable and that no one chooses to be gay, because as abhorrent as the beliefs of those who oppose these statements are, those Christians who hold them are entitled to them.

    That’s just my understanding anyway

    They are trying to tell Christians they may have the right to think whatever they like, but they should not treat gay people so badly because of those beliefs. In other words, that while they may not want to fly the rainbow flag, they should at least live and let live.

    Also they are apologising for the way they and some Christians treat gay people. Also I understand that many of those in the Marin Foundation are actually themselves in favour of gay marriage and so on, it’s only the organisation, which is neutral.

  • Katie

    As a Christian, I have several thoughts.

    1) Some here have criticized the Marin organization (which I didn’t even know existed until I read this post) and churches for focusing on converting LGBT and not being active in campaigning for equal rights. Well, yeah. The point of a decent Christian church SHOULD be helping people know God. If it can help people in other ways, great, but it’s focus should be on the relationship between people and God.

    2) I voted against my state’s version of Prop 8 (ie, I voted that same sex marriage should NOT be illegal). I think that marriage between two consenting adults should be legal. But I have other causes that I work for. NO ONE can work for every cause they believe in. I’m sorry, but that’s the truth.

    3) I don’t believe homosexuality is a sin, but I understand I could be wrong. I believe the Bible to be true, but open to interpretation.

    4) Calling my religion “bronze-age savages” (or anything of the sort) will win you NO supporters in the Christian community. I may disagree with you on matters of religion, but I would NEVER insult you (or Muslim, or Jews, or Buddhists, etc) in such a manner.

  • LaurieL

    Somehow, the smiling faces and the t-shirt sales and the publicity kind of make me ill.
    Certain segments of the right wing christian community have committed so many attrocities against gays and lesbians, and have been so hateful for so long. There have been so many gays and lesbians incredibly damaged by this spiritual abuse, that it is unconscionable.

    Selling T-shirt to raise money with the “I’M Sorry” “champaign is just too much. They need to just keep saying they’re sorry, and stop with the hokum. It’s truly offensive marketing anything about “I’m sorry.” “I’m sorry” is about really meaning it, no profiting off of it in any way. Shameful!

  • ihedenius

    About ‘choice’. Why it would be astronomically improbable for gays to not exist.

    Males and females carry almost all the same genetic information. Only the Y chromosome (partially) is male specific and occurs only in males (except thats not neccesarily true either, shit happens). Essentially every individual carries most of the genetic information to create a male or female version of themselves. Here I will link to Marias story (http://www.aissg.org/articles/MARIA.HTM). It’s the story of Spanish hurdler Maria Patino. For my purposes it provides:

    a) A simple and accessible description of the mechanism of gender differentation.
    b) It details one specific kind of gender variation: CAIS.

    Assuming ‘Marias story’ has been read and understood. Here is my point: The gender variations which can be seen and measured (of which Maria Patino represent one variation) are very many and as well documented as anything else in medicine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersex). Making the not very bold assumption that ‘orientation’ is as biologic in nature as everything else in gender development I cannot see how it cannot be subject to the same ‘rules of chaos’ as all other gender development is. As indeed the entire universe is. Even if ‘magically’ the ‘orientation’ would always develop ‘right’ that doesn’t stop the gender development surrounding it to potentially develop ‘wrong’. And thats why it would be astronomically improbable for gays to not exist. It would require supernatural intervention to constantly ‘fix it’ every time ‘chaos’ happens.

    I would like to add how much it helps to see how easily, and in how many ways, things can go ‘wrong’ if one reads up on the basics of what the DNA molecule looks like and about MEIOSIS (especially recombination). I will not pretend to know much more than that because I don’t.
    For instance, for big changes to take place, no new big complicated gene need to mutate out of nothing. All that needs to happen is for a gene (big and complicated or not) to have a single base-pair damaged (by a cosmic ray maybe) to render it nonfunctional. CAIS have nonfunctional androgen receptors.

    I have a question for christians. But I need to set it up before I can pose it.

    Seven years ago a christian homophobic rant set me off to read up on gender differentation. I read a good part of the http://www.aissg.org/ website (where the very informative ‘Marias Story’ is hosted). I found the *reason* for why the support group started interesting. Essentially the driving force was anger with established hospital policy of lying, withholding the truth from patients with the CAIS/AIS condition. This is covered under the “Raising Awareness” headline. Patients noticed they were being lied to and didn’t enjoy it. One got so angered she didn’t see a doctor again for 26 years. Others went into medical libraries and found photos of themselves. One imagined she had a disease so terrible it didn’t even have a name. They were in short, pissed of. The doctors lied because they thought it psychologically better for the patients not to know. The medical establishment was (and may still be) almost monolithically against changing the policy. When I read it I didn’t get the impression that a great change in attitudes had occurred. I have no idea if things are different today. Point is there were, and may still be, a significant number of CAIS persons who are unaware of what they are.

    This all allows me to set up a fun hypothetical question:

    Assume pious sulphur and brimstone “gays are abominations” pastor is about to marry a blushing bride. She looks like a photo-model (as CAIS due to genetic coincidences has a better than average chance to resemble (beyond hyperfeminine development also hair, skin, thinness, tallness). What he doesn’t know because not even she herself knows, is that she has a male XY genotype, a pair of undeveloped testes inside and is raging full of male hormones (which has absolutely squat effect on her).

    Is this still an “abomination unto the lord” if he doesn’t know ?

    For a bonus question, if it’s the full symmetry, the pastor himself is an XX-male (*1) and doesn’t know it (I did research this and found a good reference that this can and does happen) will this make for a double abomination or will the abominations cancel each other out (because of the symmetry) ?

    *1 Up top I mention “shit happens”. For at least one kind of XX-male, ‘shit’ has happened (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XX_male_syndrome). Meaning the SRY gene has gone walkabout and attached itself to an X or somatic chromosome (both has been observed) despite not being supposed to as it is incompatible for recombination with either the X or the somatic chromosomes. But since it’s there, it does it’s ‘thing’, it starts the male-development path on the XX-karyotype.

  • Steve

    @Katie

    No one called Christians “bronze age savages”. That was in reference to where the Old Testament comes from. Not to modern Christians.

    But dating them to the bronze age is wrong. The height of the bronze age was around 3000-1000 BCE. If anything many of the books of the OT were written at the tail end of that period. Even calling all them “savages” isn’t fair, as there were some highly developed civilizations during that time.

    However, it is important to understand that the origins of Christians beliefs – especially the Old Testament, but also other laws – are in ancient cultures that have completely different legal systems, moral values and religions from modern humans. A lot of what the Bible talks about is about ancient Judaism and other religions.

    Applying any of that to the modern world is absurd. During the spread of Christianity, it was important to determine what to throw away and what to apply so that Christianity could be grafted onto societies that already had systems in place. Today the question is moot.

    In addition, there are very good arguments to be made that the blanket condemnation of homosexuality in the Bible is a more recent phenomenon, deliberately introduced through misinterpretations and mistranslations. At the time those texts were originally written, homosexuality was seen very differently. There are some ancient authors who mention people having genuine same-sex affections (Plato for example, though he was vehemently against the pederasty aspect), but mostly it was just about sex. And for the most part it was acceptable as long as someone was in the top position. The stigma back then was taking on a “female role”.

  • CJ

    Wound take time to heal. It’s apparently by reading many of these posts that many individuals here have felt the sting and pain of how Christians have treated them. For those who are willing to extend a hand immediately, that’s amazing. For those who are skeptical and remain angry, I understand. I have lived on both sides of this fence, having grown up in the church.

    I do believe that Marin is not only speaking to the LGBT community, but to the Christian community. In other words, he wants to encourage Christians to examine their hearts, lives, choices and prejudices. He’s not speaking to the converted. He’s not speaking to the “liberal” and gay-affirming churches. He’s speaking to those who have lived under the “hate the sin and love the sinner” banner. He’s wanting to see change with them. That’s admirable. And, he’s just beginning. It won’t be an easy road.

    As I mentioned earlier, I understand the LGBT community’s hesitance to immediately extend a hand of friendship to Marin and others who are seeking forgiveness and who are extending a hand this direction. I myself have a VERY difficult time forgiving those in the church for their unloving, uncaring and judging behavior and attitudes. But, I realize that I need to take a step forward. Building bridges means that wounds need to heal and that hands need to be extended from both sides. Marin has extended his hand AND I’m very excited about this.

    One step at a time.

    One final thought, I happen to believe that the LGBT community will suffer if we don’t start forgiving and understanding Christians. Sure, I’ll be ridiculed and criticized for saying that. But, to hold onto the past, to continue in bitterness, will only divide and promote further hatred. Hatred from Christians AND from the LGBT community, needs to be pushed aside and replaced with understand, respect, forgiveness and love.

    One step at a time.

  • Pseudonym

    @hnutzak: Yes, I did miss that comment, thanks.

    It still strikes me as odd that in the same breath that Hemant says that you can’t apologise on behalf of someone else, he thinks it’s okay to reject that apology on behalf of someone else.

    Hemant did not quote anyone who might be considered a representative of or spokesperson for any part of “the gay community”. As such, the thrust of this post, and especially the title, is misleading at best, and disingenuous at worst.

    No, I never thought I’d use the word “disingenuous” to refer to something Hemant wrote either. It’s a shock to me, too.

    Disclaimer: I know nothing about the Marin Foundation at all.

  • LaurieL

    I’m glad people are apologizing to gay people. Good first step.

  • Marisa

    First, I’d like to say I am a ‘fundamentalist’. I do believe the bible in the unerring Word of God. Let’s get that out of the way… and yes, I am more than willing to go into detail and answer specific questions.

    That said… and if you’re still with me, the whole argument about ‘sin’ has no place being discussed (thrown around like a weapon) in these conversations. Why? Because, as a Christian, I have no right and certainly no responsibility to tell anyone what to believe. Too many people on both sides (but yes, especially Christians) are forgetting the message of Jesus was love. Not conditional love. Simply, LOVE. THAT is my responsibility and until I get a good handle on that, I have no business telling anyone else how to live. Everything beyond love is extraneous stuff that only applies to those who choose to believe it.

    It makes me crazy when other ‘bible believers’ throw scripture at people who do not believe the same. Just as harping on those same scriptures by others irritates me. From my perspective, unless you’ve read the bible entirely, you have no business arguing its contents. As most Christians haven’t, too many people on both sides are arguing something about which they have little real knowledge.

    That probably sounded more snarky than it was intended.

    Reading the comments on this entry has brought me to tears. My husband and I have felt much alone for many years because our beliefs are so different from the ‘majority’ on all sides. There is such hope in these comments that people are finally reaching a point where they are willing to discuss and to listen and put the hate speech aside.

    I think it’s a giant leap and it is about time.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    Thanks, Marisa. I think those comments make a lot of sense. Where I’m coming from is that even if you (and other Christians) treat gay people kindly, I still don’t think it’s right to deny them the right to marry or adopt. I don’t care if it due to religious beliefs. And even the “kind” Christians in the posting aren’t saying they would vote yes to gay marriage… so what good is it that they’re not being outward jerks when they’re being inwardly discriminatory (in my view)?

  • http://www.socialconservatives.ca Ted Hewlett

    “But even a kind Christian who still believes that homosexuality is immoral hasn’t really earned any forgiveness.”
    The “Friendly Atheist” does not seem very friendly to me. “Believe as I do or you are beneath contempt”–that is what you seem to be saying. There are undoubtedly atheists who have a more open mind, but–judging from this comment–you seem to be the kind who would outlaw those who think differently from you.

  • Hitch

    Ted, I’m sorry but you cannot have your cake and eat it too.

    This is not contempt for beliefs. It’s opposition to people obstructing civil rights.

    “I love gays, I just cannot allow them to be gay, to marry, to adopt.”

    Is an attempt at wanting to appear nice, but not treating others nice.

    I cannot help but think it is exaclty the same as the nice slave owner, who thought that treating his slaves well is all that is required, giving freedom and equal rights, not so much. Same with the kind husband, who would still not support women suffrage. He cared for her, but didn’t consider it sensible to give her the same rights as citizens.

    It’s the “I am nice” but don’t act nice problem.

    This is not contempt for belief. It’s opposition to speaking nice but not acting nice.

    And yes I think we should outlaw discriminatory prohibitions in all of civil law. Because we don’t all share your views and we should be free to live after our world view not yours.

    Reality is that currently you guys outlaw other people’s world view. But clearly you have no perspective of it.

  • Marisa

    Would I vote for gay rights? Yes. EVERYONE should have the same rights. Period. No spouse/partner should ever be denied benefits or the chance to be with a loved one because they happen to be the same sex.

    Besides, I’m not a big fan of sex outside of marriage and it would be terribly hypocritical of me to say only heteros get that fun. Our 18 year old is soon to give birth to our first grandchild. She is not married. Would I have preferred she wait? Yes. Do I love her any less or even differently because she didn’t? Not a chance. If anything, I love her more for her courage and determination. I feel the same about my gay loved ones who are able to live their lives as they are.

    My happy fundie family is enjoying the great pleasure of having my best friend come to visit. When we picked him up at the airport he was wearing his “2QT2BSTR8″ shirt. Pictures of our first face-to-face meeting (after 7 years friendship) have been posted online where even my less understanding fundie friends and church family can see. I am not ashamed of him and will happily answer a challenge from anyone… church folk or not.

    This afternoon, he asked if I’d be okay with him ditching us (his words) for the evening to meet someone who had just contacted him through a dating site. My husband’s words to him were “If you’re going to be out all night, call and let us know.”

    To be frank, I was more concerned about the possible dangers of meeting someone he’d only just met online than I was about the possibility he might hook up. He’s a big boy in big boy pants (I’m pretty sure anyway) and can make that decision on his own… and I get to worry because I’m wired that way.

    Our love is not bullshit or an attempt at manipulation. It simply is and that’s the way it is supposed to be, whether or not one happens to believe in Jesus.

    I know there may not seem to be many of us, but if my family has felt alone in where we stand, I’m confident there are far more who have not yet found the strength to come out of the closet. Give us time.

  • Marisa

    If you don’t mind, I’d like to share this: http://sweetgestalt.blogspot.com/2009/05/unchristian.html blog post. It addresses the battle some of us are willing to fight when it comes to changing attitudes within the church.

  • YoungDemocrat

    The church has taken a cold outlook on the gay community and should apologize. I personally would vote for gay marriage although I do not believe it is moral. However I see them commuting no harm to others with the act of being homosexual therefore there is no legal platform to outlaw it. The bible does plainly say though that homosexuals shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.

  • sfguyin415

    So if I’m being held down on the ground while some bible-thumping homophobe is on top of me bashing my head in with a brick and screaming “I’M SORRY”, then I’m supposed to feel good about the fact that he feels a twinge of remorse? Not only no, but HELL no.

  • Alan

    I do not understand those comments that praise these signs as ‘baby-steps.’

    Unless they no longer believe homosexuality is a ‘sin’ that opposes ‘God’s law’ (Whatever the hell that could be) the signs merely come down to “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” To which I respond even Jerry Falwell could of said that.

    “Love the sinner, hate the sin” may sound good if you are referring to adultery, non-consensual sex, theft etc, but not when talking about homosexuality.

    My homosexuality is not something I do, it is something I am. It defines all my relationships (family, friends, colleagues) – especially my most meaningful relationship of 17 years.

    We celebrate heterosexual relationships but expect gay people to ‘keep it quiet.’ We contribute to a (heterosexual) wedding present, or to a silver anniversary one, for a work colleague, and take such requests as normal. We travel halfway round the country, (or the world in my case) to attend a heterosexual family member’s wedding, or to celebrate a golden wedding anniversary – all things I enjoy doing.

    However, too often gays are expected to keep quiet about our most meaningful relationships, too often some idiot will accuse one of being ‘militant,’ or of ‘rubbing their nose in it,’ simply because a gay person keeps a picture of their partner on their desk.

    The Marin foundation claims that there are no ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers to the question “Do homosexuals go to hell?” Frankly I could not care one fig if their answer to that is ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or as their refusal to answer seems to imply ‘We don’t know” or a possible “May be.”

    A more pertinent question for Marin to answer would be “Do you support gay civil unions/marriages?”

    If Marin would care to answer that question, which should carry none of their theological uncertainties, then I may feel different.

    Frankly, I find a sign from a Christian reading “I use to be a Bible-bang homophobe” and yet still belongs to an organization that says on its website: “The Marin Foundation believes that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, God breathed by the Holy Spirit through human authorship (2 Ti 3:16),” rather meaningless.

    Sorry, but I do not accept an apology from someone who still believes the Bible is the inspired word of God, and is deliberately ambiguous on questions such as “Is homosexuality a sin,” Is it a disease that can be cured” i.e., is my most meaningful relationship something that they condemn (Even if they speak nonsense such as, well we do mot “condemn love.”)

    It is the same old, same old, nonsense, and until these people say they support gay people and their relationships – I see nothing at all to compliment them for.

    If I had been there I would not have whispered quietly to that young man “I forgive you,” instead I would have asked will you support my fight for the law to grant me the same rights, benefits, responsibilities and protections as heterosexual people?

    Now if he answered that question with a “Yes,” I would gladly hug him, even if he was uncertain on whether homosexuals are going to hell.

    As a gay man I do not seek the theological approval of Christians, but I do demand that they support my struggle to be granted the same rights, benefits, responsibilities and protections as heterosexual people.

    I deeply suspect the Marin Foundation’s is more about a Christian PR exercise then any change in their position. It appears to be nothing more than a group of well meaning Christians who do not like being called out on their bigotry.

    My responce to the people holding those signs would be “Bigotry with kindness is still bigotry.”

  • Alan

    Well, just listened to Andrew Marin in an interview with http://www.gospel1390.com and sorry, but the man is a bigot.
    http://themarinfoundation.org/media.htm

    I do not want to be ‘loved into the kingdom of God,’ I do not want to hear that my homosexuality is like alchololism or adultary, and that I can be a Christian and struggle with the ‘sin’ of homosexuality just as a person struggles with the ‘sin’ of alcoholism.

    Sorry, but this is bigotry, and as always bigory comes attached with its siamese twin – ignorance.

    The Miran foundation is no friend of gay rights. It seems it wants to befried the gay community so that it can win gays for ‘the kingdom,’ and wants the church to be ‘kinder’ is its approach in the hope that gays more likely to listen to its message.

    But that message says my relationship with my partner of 17 years is something ‘wrong’ and ‘immoral’ and is no different to being addicted to alcohol.

    Such a view is so insulting (and ignorant) that it deserves contempt.

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  • Rick Sorensen

    I think one of the fundamental problems with many Christians right now is picking out certain lists of “sins” and making bigger deals out them. Even whilst they continue with their own sins (even though it may not be one of THEIR BIG 10) Just like the Pharisees…they say “thank God I don’t have THAT one!” That way they can point self righteous fingers at others.

    True Christians would recognize the log in their own eyes (The “issues” they have that they tend to ignore) before worrying so much about things that others are doing. Then realize that the Bible says it doesn’t MATTER WHAT THE SUPPOSED “sin” is. It isn’t about supposed “specific” lists of sins!!!!! Jesus never pointed out ANY SPECIFIC sin to people and rebuked them for it. (except the religious leaders!) He NEVER said, “Hey all my followers! make sure you “go after” all the people not paying their taxes” and “make sure they don’t come to your gatherings”. True Christianity says we ALL need Christ just as we are PERIOD…irregardless of what supposed behaviors we do or don’t do.

    When we start with the “lists” no matter what it is we get away from the TRUTH!

  • Alan

    Rick Sorensen writes
    “True Christians would recognize the log in their own eyes (The “issues” they have that they tend to ignore) before worrying so much about things that others are doing. Then realize that the Bible says it doesn’t MATTER WHAT THE SUPPOSED “sin” is. It isn’t about supposed “specific” lists of sins!!!!! ”

    I guess you just do not get it Rick, homosexuality is not a ‘sin.’

    Tell me Rick, are you saying my seventeen year long relationship with my partner is based on ‘sin,’ and acquaiting it with you being jealous, stealing, being a hypocrit.

    It is insulting to say my relationship is a sin just like adultary is a sin etc!

    To me you may as well say “Being Black is just a sin like any other sin.” Your speaking white noise and utter bigoted nonsense.

    Homosexuality is not something I do, it is something I am. It defines my relationships, especially with the significant other in my life.

    Either stop calling homosexuality a ‘sin’ or stop asking the gay community to be grateful that your bigotry is not as hate-filled as others.

    Bigotry may have different degrees of ignorance, fear and hatred.

    You congratulate yourself that your ignorance, fear and hatred is not as great as those ‘pharisee’ christians you know, big deal – don’t expect me to be thankful for that.

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  • Total Bull

    I know it’s already been said multiple times, but the posted “apologies” are not apologies. These disingenuous people deserve neither our congratulations or our patient indulgence. They intend to seduce us with the appearance of kindness in order to convert us to a guilt-ridden, neurotic, and bigoted Christianity. I do not applaud these intentions.

    At best these Bible-centered navel-gazers are simply out for cheap warm fuzzies. It’s the latest feel-good “mission” fad among young evangelical Christians. I’ve seen college students trotting around with t-shirts proclaiming apologies on behalf of Christianity for the Crusades, too. You know, t-shirts saying, “I apologize. Ask me why.” This is just a loyalty test for young Christians: “What are _you_ willing to do for Christ? Are you willing to spend your money to buy and wear a stupid looking t-shirt in public? Are you willing to put your self on the line and ‘come out’ as a Christian? Even if you get made fun of?” Well, it’s the most comfortable cilice ever, folks. These people are just playing a game to feed their own egos — they are not truly starting an honest and authentic faith dialogue as Marin claims. Marin’s just making money hand-over-fist selling books and t-shirts to a bunch of shallow, self-absorbed emotion-junkies. Worse, he’s promoting a mockery of true Christian reconciliation. But like I said, that’s all the rage right now. He’s not the only one.

    And finally, @Marisa: People like you make me laugh. You’re fighting for the equality of all sinfulness? Really? Who the heck cares if your pastor now includes liars, adulterers, thieves, witches, murderers, violators of the Sabbath, worshippers of other gods, and covetous people along with gays in his list of people who are going down? Quit kidding yourself. You’re quibbling over theological semantics, not leading a fight for civil rights.

  • Tina

    I think they were trying to show what Christians are SUPPOSED to be like. Christians have such a bad name because of the idiots who protest saying that God hates gays. Christians believe homosexuality is a sin because the bible says it is, but they also believe that every sin is equally “bad” in God’s eyes. And if no one is perfect (not even Christians), then it shouldn’t be a huge insult to say someone who is gay is a sinner. I mean, according to the Bible, everyone is a sinner. I understand it can get quite annoying with it constantly being shoved in your face, but that wasn’t the goal of these people in particular. Christians aren’t supposed to become enraged because of someone else’s choices, they’re supposed to show God’s love. Christians are supposed to be like Jesus (Christ-ian. ian = like. Christ-like). What is normally seen is the opposite, and I honestly believe that these people were trying to show God’s love, what REAL Christians are supposed to do.

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  • http://friendlyAtheist Patsy

    Talk is cheap, what are these Christians prepared to actually DO to advance equal rights in the modern world?

  • BD

    Not to beat a dead thread but… If you still believe homosexuality is a sin-even if only a sin, just like other sins, no worse than other sins, like adultery, alcoholism, or jealousy-apology not accepted. It is not genuine remorse. It is remorseful; i.e. you’re saddened and ashamed of the actions you and your church have taken. But, you still believe homosexuality is a sin, of which we need to repent, find Jesus, and then live in sin no more. You have not changed your faith or your morality. You have treated the symptom, but not the cause.

    Sin is defined by a religious moral code. To sin, there must be a free and conscious choice to violate that code. If there is no choice to violate the religious moral code, there is no sin.

    Adultery is a chosen action. The desire for love or sex with someone other than your spouse is an emotional state of mind. You can and may chose to act on it-and violate your moral code-or not. You can chose to quit adultery, or to even never be an adulterer. Therefore, it is a sin, according to most religious moral codes.

    Homosexuality is not a state of mind that can be chosen or rejected.

    Alcoholism is an addiction. Alcoholism is a physiological disease. It is a biological reaction to mood-altering chemicals, whatever the source or form, which results in the biological necessity to have that chemical to function. There are as many treatments for addictions as there are addictions. However, as it is not chosen behavior, an intentional violation of a moral code, it should not be regarded as a sin. Because many addictive behaviors violate social norms and religious moral codes, addictions and alcoholism in particular are regarded as sins and sinful.

    Homosexuality is not a biological response to a mood-altering chemical. Homosexuality is not a disease. While it may violate some social norms and some religious moral codes of some societies in certain times, it has never been universally regarded as a social or moral violation.

    My life, my love, my existence, being neither a chosen violation of a moral code, nor a physiological disease, is not a sin.

    Until you can accept that my life is not a sin, and that I am not diseased and in need of a cure, then your apology, while it may give both of us warm fuzzies, is not complete. If you wish to mistranslate and misinterpret your scriptures to believe it is a sin, then no longer beating or killing us is not enough. Being remorseful that your community has done so, and continues to do so is not enough.

    When you can look at your scriptures, accurately interpret accurate translations, and read them for the time they were written, or realize that homosexuality doesn’t meet your definition of sin, as explained above, and you apologize because you have changed your faith, then it will be genuine remorse and a complete apology.

    However, I will say that I’m glad that you’re sad your community has done it’s best to extinguish my life. I will say that I am glad you no longer chose to do so.

    Thanks for not beating me, burning me, or killing me.

    Now, could you abide by our nation’s Constitution, and allow me, as a natural-born citizen of our country, all the civil liberties and rights guaranteed by our constitution? My partner and I could really use the 1000 or so federal and state benefits that come with being legally married. Personally, I’d like to have the same kind of citizenship that all you all take for granted.

    When you do that, I will say “apology accepted.”

  • Rebecca

    BD,

    I am Catholic. Despite misconceptions, my church is in a constant state of change. I personally believe that homosexuality is not a sin – it is something you are born with. As you stated above, texts from the Bible I read can be interpreted to agree and disagree with this point. I pray daily for the Catholic Church as well as all Christianity to re-evaluate their positions – I am not alone in both praying for this to happen and having this conversation with fellow Christians. As far as I’m concerned, the “apology” we’re talking about is wonderful because it brings attention to the issue and can provoke change.

    On behalf of all Christians, I would like to apologize to You personally. I am Sorry that we have been a major player in preventing you from having all that you deserve. I am Sorry that we are judgmental, and not yet open to accepting and loving ALL Gods children, however they were created. I realize my apology will not make up for the fact that change has not yet occurred in our world. However, maybe it can give you a glimmer of hope…

    I pray for you!

    God Bless,
    Rebecca

  • Kickwiz

    I really wanted to start my own “I’m sorry” group at my church for the gay pride parade is next week- but after reading your post I think I will let Westboro Baptist Church continue in showing Christs love.     

    • Kickwiz

       no matter what light is shined it just shows that you can’t please everyone-  way to be a negative sad person!

  • Justin Werner

    I’ve heard religious crap over being gay for a lifetime.  “Sorry” doesn’t cut it.  Doesn’t even begin to cut it.   Truly sorry?  *Do something* about it!  Actions speak far, far louder than mediocre words.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=570716197 Ida Raine
  • Kayra yeahz <3

    Such a disgraceful generalisation and negative opinion on Christians and the church. First of all you have no idea whether those individuals agreed with idea of homosexuality or not. Second of all even if they didn’t that is their opinion and not for you to judge, at least they are understanding the idea of it or not judging those who do. What I understand from what you have said is that you go by a very fanatic point of view with no perspective at all. And on the other point of views what else can they do but be truly sorry for what they stand for has done to them and homosexuals. 

  • Escarlata

    “Sorry” has been the only word that has had to be enough to many countries, communities and races all around the world after terrible stuff. If they were able to get pass the horrible events, I am sure gay people will too, what won’t help is people writing about being sorry not being enough, because most of the time it NEVER is, we all know that is not rocket science. But we are seeing progress from a lot of narrow minded people and we are seeing people that got hurt able to forgive their agressors. Maybe there is some faith in humanity after all.

  • Blair

    So basically you’re saying that Christians don’t have the right to believe in their scriptures. You’re as bad as the homophobes. Yes, there should be legal union equality for couples, but there is also the fact that people have faith and briefs in what they WANT to believe in! Not to mention you blamed modern day Christians for a law that has been in place for hundreds of years. Shame. On. You. They were brought u a certain way and some people are tuning away from what they were taught and apologized for what THEY did! Isn’t that enough?! You can’t judge a whole group of people for their teachings, just like you don’t want OTHERS to judge you.
    This world may have its good things, but many people, like you, have yet to lean compassion .
    I personally love and accept the LGBT community, and I am a Christian. Are you going to say I also don’t deserve forgiveness?
    Whatever. I hope that you can one day accept others, just as you want to be accepted.

    • Blair

      Beliefs*
      Up*
      Learn*

      Sorry about those typos

  • Mohammed Ali

    The United States government should apologize for calling saying your breasts is beautiful a “crime”. Lucifers lie is calling compliments, hassling which it’s not, and other lies like that its “unwanted”. Another lie from the Devil is calling whistling “street” “hassling” something women should apologize for. I’m sorry for calling your compliment hassling. I’m sorry for calling your whistling hassling which it’s not.


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