Can Progressive Christians Still Win Over the LGBT Community?

When it comes to how the Christian church has treated LGBT individuals, there are two ways to look at it.

You could say their overall intolerance has helped us as atheists. Teens just don’t want to be associated with the likes of James Dobson and Pat Robertson and any of those other bigots who have done everything possible to make life hell for the gay community. This issue — arguably moreso than any other — pushes young people away from the faith. (This is what Christianity teaches?)

At the same time, there are a lot of LGBT folks who happen to be Christian. They don’t see a conflict between their faith and their sexuality, but they’re constantly dealing with people who do. To be fair, I don’t know how they can reconcile the two… but it’s upsetting that they have to go through that on a regular basis.

Brian Kirk, a progressive Christian, wonders why more liberal Christians don’t speak up and seize the issue away from the conservatives:

How many progressive Christians love their GLBT brothers and sisters and yet keep it to themselves because they don’t believe in “cramming their beliefs down the throats of others like those conservatives do”? How many of our moderate and progressive mainline churches are completely welcoming of GLBT persons and yet offer no hint of this on their website or print material? “We are welcoming of all,” I’ve heard some say, “but does that mean we need to put a rainbow flag on our church sign?”

I think for the sake of children like Jamey Rodenmeyer, Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh, Raymond Chase, and other GLBT teens who have taken their lives in the last year the answer has to be “Yes.” It’s time for us to stop laying the blame for intolerance at the feet of conservative and fundamentalist Christians and take responsibility for our own complicity of silence when it comes to the oppression of GLBT persons.

It’s a nice sentiment… but as much as I’d love to see liberal Christians fight against the fundies, I think it’s a lost cause. Even the more liberal Christians say homosexual acts are inherently sinful (even though gay people deserve respect). They may not oppose gay marriage… but they’re rarely on the front lines fighting in favor of it.

I remember hearing popular pastor Rob Bell give a sermon during one of his tours. (Yep, I attended.) Someone asked a question about whether he felt homosexuality was a sin. The best response he could muster was that the Bible said very little about homosexuality and that Jesus didn’t address it at all. He basically avoided the actual issue.

Andrew Marin, a guy I’ve met and like very much, lives in the “gay neighborhood” in Chicago and his foundation works to get Christians to build bridges with the LGBT community… but even his website avoids answering the “controversial” questions (including a couple ridiculously easy ones).

Jim Wallis, the Christian the media goes to when they want a counterbalance to the anti-gay pastors, caused an uproar a few months ago when his group’s magazine rejected ads from an LGBT-friendly church group.

If this is the best progressive Christianity can offer, they’ve already lost the war. They can try to make up for the damage other Christians have done but it might be too little too late.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

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

    Well, the Progressives may win over the LGBT community because they are one of the few  local institutions that will have them (at least in red state areas). Of course, if there were more secular groups that met locally, then I’m guessing we could actually “win” that deemographic.

  • http://thomaswhitley.com Thomas Whitley

    “Even the more liberal Christians say homosexual acts are inherently sinful (even though gay people deserve respect). ”

    I understand the need for generalizations; I use them all the time when I’m writing blog posts, but there are “liberal Christians” that don’t think homosexual acts are inherently sinful, I know quite a few of them. And they do speak up, but they do so on a personal and local level. Since when do media-chosen spokespeople represent the complete views of a group they supposedly represent? 

    My experience (as subjective as it is) has been that while organizations can do good, they are often strapped by financial constraints and by that I mean they have to (or feel like they have to) walk a fine line to get money from various types of people, plenty of whom would not support them if they inched one way or the other off that line. Of course, then, our critique would be that they’re doing more harm than they are good and that if they fully came out in support of an issue they would likely get more support than they lost.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Sweet/1280927267 James Sweet

      Yep, I was going to make a similar comment to your first paragraph (though the second paragraph doesn’t engender muc’h sympathy in me — how much money does it cost to say, “We don’t think homosexuality is a sin” when asked the question directly?).  

      Listen, I mix it up even a bit with totally pro-LGBT liberal Christians sometimes over at the Prop8TrialTracker blog, because I think they are in denial about the full implications of still self-identifying as Christian, and I think the bar there for giving religion credit is set way too low (there have been comments over there that say, “See, this demonstrates the good side of religion!”, when all it is is a single member of a gay-hating religion saying they still love their gay son and think their church is wrong on the issue.  WTF?!?  That only demonstrates that the obvious bad side of religion doesn’t suck everyone in all the time, it doesn’t demonstrate a “good side”!)  
      I’m getting off topic, but my point is that I’m no apologist for liberal Christians, not in the slightest.  And yet that sentence that Thomas Witley quoted somewhat bothered me too.  It just needed to be qualified a little more, is all.  Too sweeping. 

      Progressive churches that are explicitly pro-LGBT are rare, but not nearly unheard of.  And IME, amongst individual Christians, those under 30 are quite likely to be explicitly pro-LGBT.  (At least where I live, i.e. upstate NY, i.e. nowhere near the Bible belt)   Of course, this is all in spite of their faith and what their holy book says… but it still gives lie to the quoted sentence.  Definitely need more qualification.

    • Pseudonym

      I’m glad someone other than a Liberal Christian said what’s in the first paragraph, thank you. I know Hemant wasn’t referring to me, but I have a habit of taking it personally when people tell me I don’t exist.

      Of the three “liberal Christians” Hemant mentioned, two (who are actually mainline-end Evangelicals, not liberals proper) didn’t want to get drawn into the discussion. When you understand their position (they are actually trying to convert the conservative end away from the harshest forms of Christianity) that even makes sense.

      I find it hard to believe that Hemant hasn’t heard of John Shelby Spong, Anita Hill or Mel White. He even did a piece about Candace Chelew-Hodge on this very blog. (Well, at the old site, at least.)

      There is also no shortage of high-profile LGBT Christians in the entertainment business these days, such as Lance Bass and Clay Aiken.

  • http://twitter.com/DangerousTalk Staks Rosch

    I often hear progressive Christians tell me that they are not like the fundamentalists on issues like homosexuality. They tell me that they love gay people… but when I push the issue they confirm that homosexuality is a sin, but that we are all sinners and that they aren’t allowed to judge.

    So sure, most “progressive” Christians are nicer about it, but at the end of the day they still seem to believe that being gay is a sin.

    Jim Wallis is the worst of this kind. I read his book “God’s Politics” and he made it clear in that book that homosexuality is a sin and that he opposes sex-gender marriage. Yet this is the guy Christians try to hold up to counterbalance the fundamentalist wackos. I really can’t see how any gay person or gay ally can possibly remain Christian. But I also can’t understand how any woman can possibly remain Christian. Come to think about it, no individual should continue to believe in such a ridiculous belief system.
    -Staks

    • Anonymous

      That was essentially what Andrew Marin turned out to be when he came here to answer questions. He had exactly the same opinions about gay rights as fundamentalists. But he was nice about it and it took some prodding to get him to admit it

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Wayne-Nicholson/571000185 Wayne Nicholson

      I hear what you’re saying, loud and clear. However… I would call myself a “progressive Christian.” I am a priest in the Episcopal Church. I am the rector (the “in-charge” guy — yeah, right…) of a medium size church in the middle of Michigan. I am married (in the eyes of the church) to my husband. And I’m a guy. The hypocrisy of modern Christians who say, “All are welcome here,” yet would deny my husband and me to be blessed by their congregation, makes me spit fire. And it damages young people who may be lured by the praise bands until… until they come out. Then, and I have cases to prove my point, they are no longer *quite* as welcome. Hopefully, some will find our church, where, truly, *all* are welcome, and love is celebrated.

      • http://twitter.com/DangerousTalk Staks Rosch

        Wayne, do you believe that gay sex is a sin? Do you believe that you are forgiven for that sin through Jesus? If not, how do you deal with the very clear biblical verses to that effect? If you do believe it is a sin, then I rest my case.

  • http://snigsfoot.blogspot.com/ Rob Crompton

    I suspect that progressives within the church are unlikely to make a great difference any time soon. One difficulty is that every time there is any sign of real progress it is met by a strong reaction from the traditionalist end of the spectrum. So in the end, the best the progressives in leadership can hope for is that they will be able to move people on a little way in their thinking in the hope that in due course further progress will lead to a greater shift.

    But a huge barrier to progress lies in attitudes to biblical authority. So the typical liberal position on homosexuality is to take those passages of scripture which condemn it and reinterpret them to yield a different conclusion. I’m quite sure, however, that this is motivated, not so much by a desire to understand attitudes and beliefs of the ancient world, but by a desire to preserve some  sense of believing in the authority of the bible.

    There are very few indeed who will say that yes, biblical passages do condemn homosexuality  but we, on the other hand, do not – we do not consider ourselves bound by the opinions of our ancestors.

    The reinterpret-to-find-a-liberal-meaning approach is about as daft as a modern chemist would be in attempting to reinterpret phlogiston theory to make it compatible with modern understanding of combustion. Regrettably, that is the approach of most liberal christians and it is doomed to failure.

    • Kevin S.

      That’s not really true though – anthropology has given us a better understanding of the cultural motivations behind Leviticus 20:13, Genesis 19 and Judges 19.  They were about prostitution, hospitality and rape.  I’m not justifying the Bible – it’s a vile product of a barbaric time – but there’s nothing improper about a gay-neutral interpretation of it.

  • http://oddboyout.blogspot.com/ oddboyout

    It’s really difficult to get gay folk to part from a cultural affiliation with christianity. If I come on too strong with atheism or non-belief they feel like they’re being antagonized and demonized by a member of a community they came to for acceptance. Many queers have been cut deeply by religion and they don’t want to be reminded of it. Unless their own experiences have brought them to agnosticism or non-belief already its best not to try and force it.

    Actually in group settings I’m usually the one ganged  up on if I push the issue because everyone else will come to the believer’s defense. I have to say though that it seems to me gay christians are the only ones who don’t try to proselytize to and convert everyone. Both of these points are probably tied up with the strong respect for personal liberty in the queer community.

  • Susoeffl

    one of my friends is a Lawyer and very involved in the UU church (he may be an atheist not sure.)  However, as a lawyer he has been involved in fighting prop 8 and preparing amicus (sp?) briefs from the faith community in support of gay marriage.  so there are vocal faith groups who are willing to make legal statements about allowing gay people to marry.  and there are churches in the local gayborhood and all that. 

    Being gay doesn’t make you go to hell, but they still believe not accepting Jesus will make you go to hell.  Still creepy in my book.

    • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

      Being gay doesn’t make you go to hell, but they still believe not accepting Jesus will make you go to hell.

      I was under the impression that most churches that have gotten to the point of fully accepting and embracing LGBT people aren’t that exclusive with their theology. I’m fairly certain that no UUs believe in hell, and a fair number of UCC and Quakers seem to have chucked it, or at least not made belief in Jesus a requirement to get into heaven.

  • Anonymous

    In order to acknowledge that LGBT relationships aren’t sinful or immoral, they would have to acknowledge that the Bible is a poor source of moral teaching. That’s a hard step for “Bible-believing” Christians to make.

    • Sulris Campbell

      thats not true. 
      the bible is a poor source of moral teaching but the christian texts don’t really say anything about homosexuality… the bible only says that someone can’t lie with a man like they do with a woman.  the rest are mistranslations where the word homosexual was more probably a mistranslation for a roman male prostitute that serviced female clients.

      this phrase if you look at it logically only prohibts bisexuality and only if you perform the same type of sex with both men and women (you can have anal sex with one gender but not both!  at least not from the same position….)  (if you translate “lie” as “have sex with” which is not a literal translation) in fact it could be telling all men and all women that they need to only have sex with women…, quite frankly i dont know what it means i can think of a alot of different sexual situations that easily follow the above rule….

      but if you interepret the bible literally it only means that you have to lie down in diffefrent ways like maybe with men you lie on your side when you sleep; and on your back when you sleeping with women.  but you can have sex with whoever you want as long as you stand….

      in other verses of the bible it explicitly says “sexual act” but not here so god probably wasn’t talking about sex he was talking about how to lie down on a couch and relax.

      (no more arbitrary than the fish and bread rules in leviticus…)

      my source: http://www.otkenyer.hu/truluck/six_bible_passages.html

      sodomy– sodomites were people from sodom not a reference to homosexual conduct (even if it was it is still pro-lesbian)
      leviticus – (see above)
      corinthian — homosexual as a word was invented about a hundred years ago and the term gets retrofitted into the bible where it doesnt belong

      so the christian bible isnt really anti homosexual.  christians are anti-homosexual and like always they interpret their book to say whatever they would have said if they were god…

      • Anonymous

        This is all just post hoc handwaving. The Leviticus statement is a clear condemnation of men having sex with men. The New Testament backs up the sentiment. It’s kind of like the people who say that the Genesis creation myth 1 doesn’t refer to “days” but could mean “eons,” or that when the Old Testament talks about the earth being flat with corners supported by pillars and a dome over top, it really means a sphere going around the sun in an elliptical orbit, or that Jephtha’s daughter wasn’t really sacrificed but devoted her life to God and never married.

        Get over it. The writers of the biblical texts didn’t like men having sex together (likely because that was something the pagans did, often in a religious context). There were lots of other things they condemned or mandated that Christians no longer pay attention to, however. Like unruly teenagers are no longer stoned, eating at Red Lobster is fine, and women don’t walk around with their unshorn hair covered up. But saying that the Bible doesn’t have opinions on these things would be a lie.

        • Guest

          Right. The relevant fact is that American christians of all stripes have no trouble letting go of the quirkier injunctions that the Bible offers, which reveals their insistence that they are powerless particularly against the Bible’s condemnation of gays as fraud covering for bigotry.

    • Guest

      Really? Most Christians I know seem to think nothing of eating shellfish, or of wearing mixed-fabric clothing. Jesus said that rich people are as likely to get into Heaven as a camel to fit through the eye of a needle, but most churches seem willing to bet on the camel. I’m sure there are a hundred other examples by which churches regularly acknowledge, by your logic, that the Bible is a poor source of moral teaching. I’m not sure why gay people are uniquely unpalatable to them, other than that they don’t want to be called bigots but aren’t willing to let go of their bigotry.

      • Anonymous

        Christians have always ignored the what they consider to be ritual laws of Judaism.  As for the moral advice, some of it is ignored, other bits are interpreted as parables.  What you never hear is someone saying  “The Bible gives really lousy moral advice,” or “Paul or Jesus is completely wrong there”.  It’s always deferential in some way to the text.  The nice thing about being an atheist is that I can read the Bible’s statements about homosexuality and say “Those are completely immoral teachings that bring needless suffering to millions of people.” 

        • Anonymous

          If you want to see an example of the tortuous logic that people go through to “save the text”, see Sulris Campbell’s painfully contrived interpretation below.

  • Erp

    In my local area I know progressive Christian (and Jewish and of course UU) ministers and congregants who were out protesting in the streets against prop. 8.   A local Methodist church flies the rainbow flag.  Another church has performed commitment ceremonies between people of the same sex since the early 90s (and marriages for the short time they were legal).    And then there are the Metropolitian Community Churches (MCC).   There are progressive Christians who are fully accepting (note they also tend to think the Bible is not the Be All and End All). 

    BTW to @Susoeffl the second U in UU is universalist and universalism is the belief that God will not send anyone to Hell permanently.  UU’s tend either not to believe in an afterlife or believe that if there is one, no one is going to be permanently punished. 

    • Anonymous

      I am a UU.  but United church of christ and some of the progressive methodist and lutheran churches do not have universalist Ideals.  My intent was to say, that I don’t feel comfortable around non-universalists. 

      • Pseudonym

        I’m a progressive Methodist, and I totally get where you’re coming from. If it helps, we tend to divide into two camps of roughly equal size, neither of whom believe in a literal Hell. One group is the conditionalists, and the other (and this is where I am) are apathetes who think speculation about afterlives is pointless and distracting. Neither position is technically “universalism”, but I hope we could get along nonetheless.

    • Anonymous

      I am a UU.  but United church of christ and some of the progressive methodist and lutheran churches do not have universalist Ideals.  My intent was to say, that I don’t feel comfortable around non-universalists. 

  • Anonymous

    It’s fairly simple to find out if a so-called “accepting Christian” is really accepting:

    “According to your beliefs is there any substantive difference between a relationship of two people of opposite genders and one with to people of the same gender?”

    If they cannot offer a simple “no” as an answer, or at the most a “they’re different, but they have the same value”, then they’re not accepting, they’re unaccepting but don’t want to be “mean” about it.

    If they avoid the question, try to tell you that the point is “Gods love of everyone”, say that we’re all sinners after all, you can discount them at once. It’s not a difficult question. They wouldn’t parse or hem and haw if they were asked about mono-racial vs. bi-racial couples. If they do for gay couples, then obviously they have a problem with them.

    However if they’re actually really accepting, like the UCC (which ordained they’re first openly gay minister in 1972 and has supported marriage equality since 2005), then that’s great. I still don’t buy the supernatural claims, but I’ll take them over the Mormons and Catholics any day, of course.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FDGYHBEWVNGUG763L5X4TON3JQ Nazani14

    When this topic comes up, I sometimes put the Christian I’m talking with on the spot by asking if they are a follower of Jesus, or a Jew.  I’f they’re a follower of Christ, then homosexuality isn’t an issue.  If they’re a follower of Leviticus, then they must be Jewish.  All Christian groups need to sort out what the basic, cross-denominational definition of “Christian” actually is.
    Of course, the New Testament tries to have it both ways-  there are a variety of passages where Jesus seems to make a clean break with the past- except for those Old Testament passages that allegedly predict his coming.

    • http://twitter.com/Mystery_Donut Mystery Donut

      There are also a number of passages that have him stating that he accepts Old Testament law (I have come not to destroy [the old laws] but to fulfill).  By that definition, Christians should accept the OT as Jesus did and thus accept that being a homosexual is a sin punishable by death. 

    • Nick Andrew

      “All Christian groups need to sort out what the basic, cross-denominational definition of “Christian” actually is.”

      You expect them to use logic and reason to agree on a correct answer? If they could do that, there wouldn’t be thousands of xtian sects around today. They can’t even all agree whether they worship one god or three.

    • Nick Andrew

      “All Christian groups need to sort out what the basic, cross-denominational definition of “Christian” actually is.”

      You expect them to use logic and reason to agree on a correct answer? If they could do that, there wouldn’t be thousands of xtian sects around today. They can’t even all agree whether they worship one god or three.

    • Pseudonym

      All Christian groups need to sort out what the basic, cross-denominational definition of “Christian” actually is.

      The hell they do. I’m a liberal Christian, so I leave the disputes over who’s “in” and who’s “out” to the fundamentalists. To me, it’s a pointless and stupid exercise.

  • http://twitter.com/latinone_usa The LatiNone

    This is why the American religious landscape is polarizing. Liberal Christianity is disappearing in two ways: those who think it should have a stronger stance against changing social mores are joining more conservative churches, while those who have no problems are just abandoning churches altogether, they realize they can be good without god, or at least don’t need to listen to some silly sermon. 

  • Anonymous

    Marin is a scam artist ( http://news.change.org/stories/an-apology-that-lgbt-people-shouldnt-accept ), not sure why you like the guy…

    Anyway, there are denominations that don’t view homosexuality as being wrong or sinful. In fact, a (slight) majority of Americans doesn’t view homosexuality as morally wrong anymore. And that number obviously is made up of mostly Christians.

    But it’s certainly true that the liberal Christians are not as vocal as they could be, and it’s also true that many that claim to be ‘liberal Christians’ like Marin and Wallis really aren’t.

  • Siamang

    I read an article yesterday about a majority of Catholics in certain American cities being pro gay-marriage.  And then it went on about how under Catholic teaching, being gay was a sin, etc.

    It made me think the instituionalized bigotry wasn’t going to change any time soon.  

    I was amazed at the disconnect from the CLEAR bigotry of the stance, versus the insistence that this stance was indeed the moral one.

    On that topic, isn’t it about time the Boy Scouts’ clear bigotry was the subject of public shame?  When are they going to face the heat?

  • Anonymous

    It always kills me how fundies spend more time thinking about gay sex than gays themselves. It’s true, the bible has very little to say about homosexuality. In fact it spends more time condemning sex with angels than gay sex.

  • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Tom Lawson

    Since the Council of Laodicea voted to streamline the Bible and reduce the importance of observing the commandments in CE 363, Christianity has been doing what it can to keep the butts in the seats, so to speak, and to accommodate modernity and progress. This is no different. The modern Catholic Church and Evangelical superchurches aren’t desperate enough to do a 180 yet, right? What happened to purgatory for infants that weren’t baptized? What about condoms? Evil all the time? Sounds like crumbling to me.

    Those that change look like the hypocrites they are. Those that stick to their guns appear to be void of compassion. It’s a lose-lose. In business, a company will improve their ethical standards to maintain customers. Religion is no different.

    • SJH

      There are more then the two options you suggest. Why is it not possible to disagree with the actions of others and still have respect and compassion for them. Do you disagree with anything anyone else does? Do you still respect them if you disagree?

      • Anonymous

        Again with the false equivalency. There aren’t two sides to every issue. Some opinions aren’t valid or deserve consideration.

        And homosexuality isn’t actions or behavior. It’s nothing to disagree with. There is no way to respect people while simultaneously telling them that an essential part of their self is wrong or needs to be denied, and refusing to treat them equally under the law.

        • SJH

          An essential part of my being tells me that as a man I need to sleep with as many women as possible and have as many children as possible but I choose to deny my nature so as not to hurt my wife or society. If I follow my instincts I am just as sinful as a homosexual who follows his/hers.

          Also this all assumes that homosexuality is natural which, to my understanding, has not been proven. If it has please point to the evidence.

          • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Tom Lawson

            It depends on what you’d call natural. In nature? In your understanding, surely you’ve missed that hundreds of animals perform homosexual acts. Dolphins, for one, the only non-human animal that has sex for pleasure and procreation.

            Click here for gay animals:

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

            • SJH

              Natural was probably an inaccurate term to use. Some actions may be natural to me because I was born a certain way but it does not make it healthy. If I were born with a super-abundance of testosterone which made me prone to violence, it would not be healthy for me to act out on that tendency and hurt people. This would be considered unnatural to the species because it is counter to the common physiology of human beings.

              It is my understanding that the medical community prior to the 70′s saw homosexuality as a disorder. This was changed to the current understanding, not through scientific analysis, but through lobbying by the homosexual community.

              • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Tom Lawson

                Who’s to say that an overabundance of testosterone wouldn’t get you hired as a UFC fighter? You’d be heralded and applauded and sell out arenas.

                Would you call Martin Luther King Jr.’s marches and protests “lobbying” by the black community? Racism has been scientifically denounced by anthropologist Jared Diamond, yet people continue to be racist. Proof that homosexuality is natural and harmless for humans would be ignored just the same.

                And with that, I am done.

        • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Tom Lawson

          I could have said that, Stev84, but I’m a writer. Can you tell?

      • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Tom Lawson

        I like to speak in parables, like the J-bird. Here goes:

        I hate raw tomatoes. I hate the texture. If I get one on my burger, I gag.  I have been trying to like raw tomatoes for 30 years. It’s just not happening. Should people respect my hatred for raw tomatoes and agree that raw tomatoes should be banned? After all, people get E. coli from raw tomatoes. Liking raw tomatoes is a choice. A bad choice. A dangerous choice.

        You see? My disagreeing with raw tomato-eaters is based on my personal ick-factor. I have evidence that tomatoes can kill with E. coli, but I like ketchup and could still easily die from E. Coli. I have no evidence that a family that eats raw tomatoes is statistically worse off than one that doesn’t. My hatred of raw tomatoes is my own personal opinion. Lots of other people share my opinion and can be swayed to vote against raw tomatoes, but our argument is still void of facts.

        But I have this cookbook. This cookbook says that raw tomatoes are an abomination. There, that settles it. And you have to respect that. Unless you’re one of those people that believes people can cook without using a cookbook. Well, the writer of my cookbook has a special oven for you.

        • SJH

          Your raw tomatoes analogy is not a good one when compared to homosexuality. You don’t disagree with tomato eaters you simply have a different opinion about tomatoes. You can however disagree about the ramifications of eating tomatoes and if the tomatoes harmed humanity enough then there would be an argument for suggesting that people do not eat them. If a high percentage of tomatoes contained E. Coli,. then there would be a recall of those tomatoes and people would be told not to eat them until they are cleared to do so.

          • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Tom Lawson

            Exactly. IF there was a problem, there would require a solution. But we have no problems with homosexuality, so a solution is not required. Thank you for proving my point.

            • SJH

              You are making the assumption that there are no problems. I cannot reference anything off the top of my head but it seems that there are quite a few problems regarding homosexual behavior.

              Some examples are as follows. Please correct me if I am in error:

              1. Homosexuals are more likely to contract STD’s because both semen and blood are involved in homosexual intercourse.

              2. Due to the higher rate of promiscuity, which has been studied and shown to be true, they are also more likely to contract STD’s.

              3. Due to the higher rate of promiscuity, homosexuals are less likely to be in lasting relationships. It has been shown that lasting relationships lead to healthier, happier communities. An absence of lasting relationships leads to higher rates of crime and dysfunction.

              I am sure there are others but I think that this is a good start.

              • mkb

                I take it then that you think women should be in lesbian relationships instead of heterosexual ones to reduce the chance of STDs?

              • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

                I’ll leave it to someone else to counter this ridiculousness.

                But I will just say that my parents are lesbians and have been together for over 30 years. Even if your statistics were true (and I’ll let someone else refute them), they certainly do not apply to lesbians, who, needless to say, make up half the homosexual population.

                Perhaps lesbians are morally superior to heterosexual women? After all, they have a much lower STD rate and lower “promiscuity,” not to mention no unintended pregnancies and much fewer reasons to seek abortion. It seems like social conservatives ought to be singing the praises of lesbian couples, but of course, they attack them just as fiercely as they do gay men.

                Their opposition isn’t based on perceived societal harm at all. It has to do with clinging to what their religious book says. They believe their god thinks homosexuality is wrong. Inventing secular “reasons” to be anti-gay is simply rationalization after the fact. They’ve already made up their minds, and no amount of actual, reputable statistics could convince them otherwise.

                • SJH

                  Your parents sound like a loving couple and I am happy that they have provided a stable family life for you.

                  I do not think that I fall under the category of Christians you are describing. Please review my other posts.Regarding lesbians, I think this is a more complicated issue.  I would argue that as lesbian relationships become a norm, a society will likely see the same behavior in men and will likely take the same road as I described previously.Another point I would make is that man and woman are different and compliment each other. Without the other gender, the couple is likely (emphasize likely) to be incomplete in that it lacks diversity. Potentially, this in turn leads to a species which is devolved from its previous form. Of course I am talking long term not from one generation to the next.I am sorry if this sounds cold but I am trying to use reason rather than emotion or theology to communicate my point.

                • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

                  Your arguments are classic fundamentalist talking points. I have heard them all before,  repeatedly. To say that they are based on reason is misleading. If you were honest, you would admit that your objection to homosexuality is theological.

                  To me, this is really quite sad. Children aren’t born homophobic. Under different circumstances, you wouldn’t feel compelled to go through a secular charade to attack homosexuality because there would be no religious reason for you to do so. On the contrary, you would be free to accept LGBT people for who they are and evaluate their relationships the same as you would anyone else’s.

                  I’m sure you honestly believe what you are saying, but to me it’s just another example of religious indoctrination. And I  find that sad. You may try to frame your objection to homosexuality as “nothing personal,” but as long as people who believe as you do stigmatize homosexuality, your behavior leads to inequality and discrimination and (sadly), in more extreme cases, bullying, hate crimes, and suicide.

                • SJH

                  Sorry but I am not a fundamentalist. I do believe in God but that is beside the point. Is it not possible for two scientists to disagree on the issue of homosexual sex and the question of its health?

                • Guest

                  No one in modern America likes to admit that they’re a fundamentalist.

                  “Is it not possible for two scientists to disagree on the issue of homosexual sex and the question of its health?”

                  Sure, it’s possible, but when they do, one of them is wrong. Science isn’t a matter of taste. Here, you’re the one who’s wrong — and a bigot besides.

              • Anonymous

                Your medical knowledge is lacking. Unprotected anal sex has a higher rate of STD transmission because pathogens are absorbed very easily through the colon. But that applies to straight people too – 40-50% of whom have anal sex.

                If you actually wanted gay people to have committed relationships, you’d be in favor of equality and same-same marriage

                • SJH

                  Thanks for the clarification. You are, however, saying that homosexual sex has a higher rate of contracting STD’s. Anal sex does not become healthy just because the participants are heterosexual so anal sex should probably be avoided in both cases.

                  Regarding paragraph 2, I guess it is somewhat of a catch 22. You are saying committed relationships will come after they are accepted but they are not accepted because of their lack of committed relationships. I am not sure how to resolve this. Unfortunately I do not think that I am up for taking the risk on this experiment. I think it is to much of a risk to our society. I think I would like to see evidence that your statement is true first.

                • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

                  SJH, this thread is getting too narrow. Please see my reply to you at the bottom of the page. 

      • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

        (Moving this up because the box was getting too narrow.)

        Sorry but I am not a fundamentalist. I do believe in God but that is beside the point. Is it not possible for two scientists to disagree on the issue of homosexual sex and the question of its health?

        I did not say that you were a fundamentalist. I said that your arguments were classic fundamentalist talking points. They are used when fundamentalists (or other religious people) wish to dress up their opposition to homosexuality in secular terms. They make those assertions because they know that “my god thinks it’s bad” doesn’t cut it as a valid argument when they’re talking with people outside their religious group. 

        And, no, it is not possible for scientists to “disagree” about homosexual sex. There is nothing unhealthy about two men or two women making love. As I mentioned, lesbians have a much lower STD rate than heterosexual women. And a gay man who is STD-free is not going to give his partner a disease. If your problem is with unsafe sex, then tackle that. Unprotected heterosexual sex spreads STDs and creates unwanted pregnancies to boot.

        If your opposition is to anal sex, then all the millions of straight people who engage in it would be stigmatized. But they are not. Similarly, gay men who do not engage in anal sex would be accepted. But they are not. People who object to homosexuality aren’t upset about anal sex at all. In fact, a fair number of them probably engage in it themselves. This is about religion. Religious people believe their god said homosexuality is wrong. That’s what they base their objection on.

    • SJH

      Can you please clarify how the council reduced the importance of observing commandments? Do you have an example?

      Also, if things were modified it was not necessarily to gain customers as you have put it. If there have been changes, perhaps it was because they realized they were in error before. Or perhaps they are not necessarily changing their beliefs but clarifying them for those that begin to be confused as to what the church’s beliefs are.

      • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Tom Lawson

        Sorry for the delay…

        Taken from http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3806.htm

        CANON 29:

        Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ.

        They found that, like today, someone might like to go buy a loaf of bread on Sunday, rather than starving to death. The U.S. actually had Sabbath laws that weren’t abolished nationally until the 20th-century. And here in Canada, most stores don’t open until 11am on Sundays. I think there are lots of places in England that still remain closed on Sundays.

        • SJH

          Actually, I think this is referring to the teaching that as Christians we do not have to honor the “Sabbath” as taught by the Jews, being Saturday, but must now honor the “Lord’s Day” which is Sunday. It is believed that Jesus and his resurrection fulfilled the purpose of the Sabbath and therefor as Christians we should now honor the day of resurrection being Sunday.

          It is still taught that we should still refrain from work and that it should be a day of rest, prayer and worship. Jesus however also taught that the Sabbath should be put aside for the sake of love. Basically we should perform the more loving action. If the choice is between allowing someone to starve to death or refraining from work then obviously we choose the more loving action which is to feed that individual. This is communicated multiple times in Jesus’ teachings.

    • Pseudonym

      Actually, the process started when Peter and Paul argued over whether or not gentiles should be circumcised. Change in Christianity isn’t hypocrisy. It’s built into the religion from the very beginning.

  • SJH

    We all seem to be dancing around the issue. A sin is simply an action that causes harm to a person, persons or relationships. We need to get out of this misunderstanding that things are sins because God says so. God defined sins for us, not for the sake of creating rules, but so that we can live peaceful lives with each other. There needs to be an honest dialogue about homosexuality and whether or not it is sinful (does it cause harm to individuals or a society?). If so it should be avoided, if not then there is nothing wrong with it and the Bible is wrong.

    • Anonymous

      That’s wrong by every definition. A sin is a violation of divine law. There are tons and tons of actions that are sins that harm absolutely no one.

      God didn’t define any sins. Sins are the invention of a power hungry priest caste with the sole intention to control people. And controlling their sex live is a sure way to do it, since they knew that people would just keep sinning

      • SJH

        Regarding your first paragraph, divine law is defined because God (assuming for a second that there is one) understands our nature better than we do and has chosen to communicate a set of guidelines to us, which, if followed will lead to a more peaceful life.

        Regarding your second paragraph, this sound incredibly judgmental and prejudiced. Please point to actual evidence that suggests that the priests which communicated these laws are power hungry and want to control people. Perhaps they simply care about people and hope to communicate something they believe to be true just as you are doing.

    • Parse

      If I eat a bacon cheeseburger in a restaurant, it doesn’t prevent me from living peacefully with my Jewish friends.  Calling things a sin is a religion’s way of ensuring repeat business.

      • SJH

        It doesn’t because it is not a sin but eating to much bacon would cause ill effects on your life which in turn would cause ill effects on the lives of those around you and therefor is a sin. You can still love your Jewish and homosexual neighbor but they will be saddened by your ill health because they love you back.

        • Anonymous

          Yet another nonsensical post hoc rationalization. Yet another example of the sick, inhuman concept of “Christian love”

          • Parse

            It’s a hilarious example of free-thought association, though I am left wondering if SJH is a poe, or if he actually expects to convince us with that argument. 

            With that in mind, here’s the definitive reason why two gay men shouldn’t get married:
             - When two guys get married, chances are neither will buy a wedding dress. 
             - Consequentially, places that sell wedding dresses won’t make as many sales per wedding in the area.
             - Obviously, this lowered sales ratio will cause the dress shops to close, which will in turn force wedding dress designers to close up shop, as they’ll have nobody to sell their product to.
             - In turn, the lack of product demand from the wedding dress producers will cause fabric mills to go bankrupt, and leave regular clothing designers with no place to source fabric from. 
             - From here, I assume you can connect the dots on your own: No fabric leads to no clothes being made; no new clothes leads to no clothes being worn; going naked in northern states during winter leads to getting sick; getting sick leads to dying horribly.
            You don’t want everybody from New York to Washington getting sick and dying, do you?  Then you must be against gay marraige!

            (What’s that?  Oh, I’ll be back later.   I just need to find a cookie for this mouse…)

          • SJH

            Please point out how the analogies are inconsistent.

            • Anonymous

              “Bacon is bad for you”. Utter nonsense. No one thought that way back then. The whole pig as an animal was considered an unclean animal back then – and still is in Judaism and Islam. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the fat content of its meat

        • Pseudonym

          As Stephen Fry (who is, coincidentally, Jewish and homosexual) famously pointed out: Of course too much is bad for you. That’s what “too much” means.

    • Parse

      If I eat a bacon cheeseburger in a restaurant, it doesn’t prevent me from living peacefully with my Jewish friends.  Calling things a sin is a religion’s way of ensuring repeat business.

    • ACN

      We are not dancing around the issue. We don’t care what you think ‘sins’ are because we don’t believe in your sky-fairy, and we especially don’t believe that your non-existent sky-fairy’s moral pronouncements are worth the vellum that they were printed on.

      Stop using ‘sin’ as though we all agree that such things exist.

  • mkb

    The pastor of our local UCC church is gay and the UCC has tried to run national advertising welcoming LGBT people: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/03/28/MNGL4HUVV31.DTL

  • Drew M.

    Many Christians do speak up and out. I’m a big fan of these guys:

    http://www.believeoutloud.com/

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

    As others have mentioned, there’s a difference between progressive Christianity and what passes for “progressive” in the evangelical community. I think Christian churches with actual liberal theology and progressive stances on social issues already do a good job of reaching out to the LGBT community. It’s just that their numbers are so much smaller. In order to counter overtly the anti-gay evangelicals, other influential mainline Protestants need to change their position on these issues.

  • TMJ

    While I am no longer a christian, I was raised in a liberal lutheran church.  I am happy to say that the church I grew up in belongs to an organization that invites the LGBT community to worship. 

    Not all Christian churches are anti-gay.  The Reconciling in Christ program of Lutherans Concerned North America specifically welcomes members of the LGBT community and encourages churches to join them.  See http://www.lcna.org/ric.

  • Anonymous

    Jay Bakker is another who is doing a lot of good work in this area.  (Yes, as in “the son of Jim”.) 

    • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

      There was a really interesting documentary called One Punk Under God that followed Jay Bakker as he moved to New York and founded a more inclusive evangelical church.

      http://www.amazon.com/One-Punk-Under-God-Prodigal/dp/B000O76ZP8

      • Anonymous

        Actually, in the final stages before my deconversion I listened to a few of the podcasts from his church. He’s a very eclectic speaker so it can be hard to follow sometimes, but overall his heart is in the right place.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    SJH, in partial reply to Stev84, you said this:

    Regarding paragraph 2, I guess it is somewhat of a catch 22. You are
    saying committed relationships will come after they are accepted but
    they are not accepted because of their lack of committed relationships. I
    am not sure how to resolve this. Unfortunately I do not think that I am
    up for taking the risk on this experiment. I think it is to much of a
    risk to our society. I think I would like to see evidence that your
    statement is true first.

    No need to worry about the “risk to our society” as you so vaguely but ominously put it. If you mean the kind of catastrophes that have been forewarned by preachers posing as  sociologists, including everything from the collapse of civilization to the humanity’s complete inability to reproduce and eventual extinction, the experiment has been performed in several places, and here is the evidence you seek.  The following countries and states have made same sex marriage legal:
     @font-face {
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    Netherlands 2001

    Belgium 2003

    Spain 2005

    Canada 2005

    South Africa 2006

    Norway 2008

    Sweden 2009

    Portugal 2010

    Iceland 2010

    Argentina 2010

    Nepal 2010

     

    Massachusetts 2004

    Connecticut 2008

    California 2008 (18,000 performed, further marriages on
    hold)

    Iowa 2009

    Vermont 2009

    New Hampshire 2010

    The District of Columbia 2010

    New York 2011

     

    After as much as ten years, none of these countries or
    states is showing any signs of devolving into subhuman “Mad Max” anarchy. Civilization is
    not crumbling; they’re having babies, they’re doing fine. How long must we wait before the homophobes admit that their
    dire predictions of “mass hysteria, dogs and cats living together” are demagogic, fear-mongering
    bullshit?

    • Anonymous

      Saying that people are waiting for “evidence” is just a flat out lie. When you present evidence, they’ll just dismiss it, demand more or jump on something else. When you point to other countries, they’ll either say that the US is somehow different, that Europe of proof that things are going wrong (because it isn’t a socially backwards quasi-theocracy) or say that the sky is going to fall any day.

      Ultimately, we’re dealing with purely religious objections – even when they are disingenuously hidden in sciency speak – and those are immune to evidence

      • SJH

        Understandably, you believe that “ultimately, we’re dealing with purely religious objections”. Ultimately, at some point, the argument does come down to origins and whether or not God exists, however I do not think that this discussion is at that place. If something is unhealthy then it is to be avoided otherwise the law of entropy takes effect. The law of entropy exists separate from the argument about God’s existence and it exists in all realms of science including sociology.

        Perhaps I am wrong about homosexual sex being unhealthy but I have provided evidence that it is and no adequate evidence (especially premature, questionable evidence when discussing cultures which are developed over centuries) has been provided otherwise.

        We are talking science here and I expect that conclusions should be drawn from adequate analysis not from emotion and what someone thinks sounds good. Sure I would love to say that we are all free to have sex with whomever we choose and that the resulting families are happy and healthy but just because I want that to be true does not make it true.

        • ACN

          If something is unhealthy then it is to be avoided otherwise the law of entropy takes effect.

          I’m a physicist, and to be very clear, I think I see what you’re getting at. Whatever your point, entropy is a well-defined physical term. It has NOTHING to do with moral imperatives.

          • SJH

            This is exactly what I am talking about. The question is:

            To what extent are certain actions (homosexual sex) unhealthy to a society and contribute to entropy in that society? If it is not unhealthy then the conversation is over. If it is unhealthy then to what extent do we counteract the effects of entropy in our species in order to enhance rather than degrade it?

          • SJH

            This is exactly what I am talking about. The question is:

            To what extent are certain actions (homosexual sex) unhealthy to a society and contribute to entropy in that society? If it is not unhealthy then the conversation is over. If it is unhealthy then to what extent do we counteract the effects of entropy in our species in order to enhance rather than degrade it?

            • Anonymous

              It’s not unhealthy in of itself. Period. Your STD discussion is purely sidetracking and despite your protestations it’s rooted in homophobia and “gay sex = icky”. As usual Whatever negative effects you may imagine can be managed. Africa is also the perfect example that straight people (combined with poor education and religion) are the far greater danger.

              Your whole argumentation is ultimately pure nonsense. If we waited until we had certain scientific proof that things are completely harmless, society would never change and remain static. You clearly don’t apply the same rigor to any other issue.

              The science talk coming from you simply isn’t convincing. Your objections are religious in nature. Everything else are just very transparent rationalizations

              • SJH

                You make a good point. We cannot wait on having certain proof on something like this but I think that it is not unreasonable to look at an issue and ask for some evidence.

              • SJH

                You make a good point. We cannot wait on having certain proof on something like this but I think that it is not unreasonable to look at an issue and ask for some evidence.

        • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

          Perhaps I am wrong about homosexual sex being unhealthy but I have provided evidence that it is and no adequate evidence (especially premature, questionable evidence when discussing cultures which are developed over centuries) has been provided otherwise.

          I’ve looked over your comments on this page, and your “evidence” is nothing more than your own opinions and assertions about homosexuality being “unsafe” medically and socially. You state or imply that you have “science” to back up your claims, but you give no citations. You’re the one making the claims that a common human behavior is “unsafe.” Citations please.

          Oh and PLEASE don’t insult us or embarrass yourself with anything from the fraud, quack and hypocrite George Reckers and his bogus National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality.  Just spare everyone that nausea. 

          You said,

          It is my understanding that the medical community prior to the 70′s saw homosexuality as a disorder. This was changed to the current understanding, not through scientific analysis, but through lobbying by the homosexual community.

          That’s quite a powerful claim to make. It would be a major scandal in the world of science. Citations please. If you have convincing evidence that the medical community in general, and the American Psychiatric Association in particular, (not a group that’s famous for making rash, impulsive decisions) made this important change without careful scientific analysis, I’m eager to see it.

          Yes, perhaps you’re wrong. So far, you have offered no actual evidence indicating that you are right. You assert that these things are unsafe and unhealthy, medically and/or socially, but you want someone else to take the burden of proving your claim to be false. You seem to support laws that would actively prevent homosexuals from expressing their love and fully participating in society as bonded pairs of equal status with heterosexual couples, and you want those restrictions to remain in place indefinitely until your so-far unsubstantiated fears are proven wrong by somebody else. If you can’t see the absurdity of that position, I don’t know if I have the skill or patience to explain it to you.

          SJH, is Steph84 correct about you? If one after another, all your arguments were debunked and dismantled convincingly even to you, would you just retreat to your last refuge of “Well, God said it, I believe it, and that settles it”? Is all this argumentation just a pointless, futile charade, since you would not actually be willing to be swayed by the very same logic and reason you’re trying to use to sway us?  If so, please just be honest and stop wasting your and everyone else’s time.

          If you ever manage to grow beyond your childhood social indoctrination, if you are ever willing to see emptiness of your arguments and finally repudiate your prejudice, I promise that I will never rub your face in it or say “I told you so.” I’ll only say “Thank you.”

          • SJH

            Regarding evidence: You are correct, without offering citations I should not call it evidence but assertions. I apologize for not having the time to look up the citations and provide them to you. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the internet I do not always have the information immediately available but that does not mean that it is a waste of time to discuss them casually in an informal atmosphere such as this.

            Regarding the medical community: I went to look this up again since it has been a while and I found a reference to an article titled “How the Gay-Rights Movement Won” by Norman Podhoretz. I am inclined to research this a little more however since, due to this conversation, I realize that this is a secondhand citation and I have not actually read this article and I should find out what he cites for this claim. I am inclined to do so. Thank you.Regarding burden of proof: If a person is going to make a claim then they should offer evidence or even an informal assertion. I made a claim and have discussed my assertions and due to this discussion I am inclined to research the topic some more. Others have made claims and assertions and we have discussed those. This is not a lab or a court room. It is a web site. We gather here to discuss various topics and sometimes we disagree. Hopefully I have provided a perspective that some would not have envisioned and hopefully those people will be inclined to research it a little more. If their mind is not changed then that is fine but at least we have collectively contributed to the search for truth.Regarding law: At this point it is an open question for me regarding marriage for homosexuals. I do not believe that government should stick its nose into our personal lives but unfortunately we are in an unsettling position since the government already has invaded our lives to the degree that it has. Though this discussion has nothing to do with the government.Regarding God: I would not retreat to that position because it is illogical to believe that God would create rules for the sake of creating rules. By definition, God must have a purpose for everything he does. If he does not have a purpose then he is random and therefor not God.

            Regarding my personal growth: I will continue to be open to all possibilities as I was taught to do by my parents.  This includes the possibility of Christianity and Atheism. I will try to keep an open mind with the understanding that it is impossible for me to fully understand the universe. I hope you will do the same.

      • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

        Gay people are going to have long term relationships and children no matter the legal recognition. That’s also why the “family values” crowd is deeply hypocritical. If they really cared about families, they would be in favor of gay rights.

        Exactly. The professional anti-gay groups know this, of course, but they’re still stuck in the same mindset that they were 20 years ago. In the end it all comes down to punishing “sinners.” They know they can’t actually prevent LGBT people from having relationships and forming families, so they want to make their lives as difficult as possible. They want to make homosexuality so stigmatized that no one would “choose” it for themselves. Of course, this doesn’t stop anyone from being gay. It just leaves LGBT people and their families unprotected and in a hostile environment. I think that’s precisely what they want. If they can’t stop them, they want to punish them for existing contrary to “God’s law.”

    • SJH

      I don’t think I am foretelling a Mad max society. A society is much more complex then to have one issue force a society into such chaos. It is the accumulation of unhealthy behavior that causes societies to diminish.
      Regarding your examples I specifically stated before somewhere on this page that such changes would not occur within a generation. What I am speaking of are long term trends (perhaps multiple decades or even hundreds of years).

      A society is built upon many factors. Perhaps there are other factors in any given society which counterbalance unhealthy behavior and cause a net zero effect. However, I am not one to believe that we can engineer a society and decide which behaviors will effectively negate others in such a complex system as a large community. The best bet is to simply avoid unhealthy behavior.

      • Anonymous

        Religion is an unhealthy behavior that causes millions of people unspeakable physical and mental harm. How about we start avoiding that?

        • SJH

          Yes, a good analysis would show that many religions should be avoided. the question of which ones would be an even longer discussion than this one.

          Even some religions at times were healthy and other times were not. We are merely people and we don’t always make wise decisions regarding how we relate to each other or ourselves.

          • ACN

            Yes, a good analysis would show that many religions should be avoided. 

            Except, presumably, for SJH’s religion. His religion is the revealed wisdom of the deity. Everyone else’s is man made tripe.

            • SJH

              I would say that all religions have element of truth but some have more then others. None are man-made tripe not even atheism. We all have something to offer. The skepticism of most atheists is very healthy and should be encouraged. I do of course believe that my religion contains the most truth obviously but that doe not diminish my respect for others that have different beliefs.

              • ACN

                How can you say that all religions have elements of truth when their supernatural claims are mutually incoherent?

                Can you seriously claim that there is some truth to hindu reincarnation but simultaneously some truth to christian eternal punishment/reward? Is there “some” truth to norse and egyptian polytheism, but also “some” truth to the (modern) monotheism of christians, jews, muslims, and zoroastrians?

                The fact of the matter is that there is just no evidence that ANY religion’s supernatural claims are true. In that sense, there is no truth in ANY religion. 

      • Anonymous

        “What I am speaking of are long term trends (perhaps multiple decades or even hundreds of years).”

        So we should deny people equal rights in the here and now because of some vague, unfounded notion about what may happen over hundreds of years?   

        Talk about glib armchair theories pulled out of one’s ass.  And isn’t it awfully convenient how “simply avoiding unhealthy behavior” never seems to affect the civil rights of those who propose such advise.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=501162343 Jason Paul Bachand

    I have written on the subject of ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’ Christianity and find it’s a misnomer – the ideals of liberalism and the dogmatic surety of faith are incompatible. The real criticism of ‘progressive’ faith is that it’s still based on demonstrable fictions – hardly a solid foundation for a rigorous ethics.

    “There’s No Such Thing as a Progressive Christian” – http://a-bright-blog.blogspot.com/2011/09/theres-no-such-thing-as-liberal.html.

    • Pseudonym

      That’s precisely why a “liberal” or “progressive” Christian is usually a non-dogmatic Christian, who uses the term “God” to refer to mystery and uncertainty rather than dogma and certainty. There are plenty of churches which shun creeds and declarations of faith. Most of them descend from British nonconformist traditions, most notably Baptist churches. (By which I mean actual Baptists, not the Southern Baptist Convention, which isn’t really Baptist any more.)

      You sometimes still hear the historic term “Free Christian” (a term with a similar history to “free thought”), though today that term is usually only used in Unitarian Universalism. We would probably bring it back into general use, were it not for the risk of having “with any burger purchase” added to the end.

  • Tniel

    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

    Pitifully, in the case of all the churches and LGBT people that is too often the case.

  • Regan

    The Bible has all kinds of stories, opinions, metaphors and parables in it. Our society, nation and individuals ignore RELIGIOUS sins all the time. It’s conflating religious sins, as opposed to MORAL sins, then selectively dictating that a single minority of people has to be punished by it is what I can’t abide or accept.
     I see certain people of faith being inevitably hypocritical on that issue and I’m sick of it and tired of the arrogance so many of them display in gay people’s faces.

        Religious sins are such as using contraception or having contraceptive sex. But using contraception is a freedom decided by the individual, NOT a religion they don’t belong to, nor choose. Faith communities are no longer forcing the government to deny contraception, and they aren’t complaining that their own rights and freedoms are taken away because they don’t have that power over others.
     I see the same here with gay people. Gays and lesbians have been subject to all manner of indignities, harm, threat and violence. Not because they ARE harmful or threatening, people are just told to BELIEVE it.
       Children are taught it too, and torment other children literally to death over the stereotypes they’ve learned about gay people.
      The cowardice before me that religious people can’t stand up for gay people in a much more articulate and stronger way is evident here.
    We’ve ALWAYS been a better nation, society and individuals for the expansion of civil and human rights. No country has EVER suffered because of it.
    Homosexuality is a part of human sexuality always and since human life began. Without exceptions. How religions have organized themselves over time has mostly been about keeping artificial and strict social hierarchies, especially where women or any question of gender is.

    We don’t accept slavery, human sacrifice or the subjugation of women according to the Bible because we know those things are cruel, devastating and unnecessary. The same holds true for accepting gay people as simply people with a difference, not an evil attribute.
    No more excuses. No more.
    Being Christian shouldn’t be synonymous with gutless and with supremacist values.

     

  • Mace6887

    I like the idea about just loving everyone. I do believe when the time is right, the holy spirit will convict individuals. OUR mission as Christians is suppose to be about spreading Gods love and his message to the world. Who are we to judge a certain matter. Yes we need to build a bridge to that community as well as any community that is in the wrong. At least you will get an understanding of what these individuals are going through and you can help. God made man and woman to be together. I believe that 100% how do you think Jesus handled this? Do you think he judged them and pushed them away? Did he come for the rightious or did he come for the sinners. How did he treat the sinners? God and his love can change people. I do believe on telling the truth. I dint believe in judging and confronting. If I were to be asked if homosexuality is okay, my response is going to be no. But I will reassure that I will not think of them any different or treat them any different.

    • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

      I’m sorry, but this is not love. You say you are not judging, but your comments are hurtful and judgmental. I don’t know how you can say that you “will not think of them any different” while still proclaiming that they are “in the wrong.”

      You say you will not “treat them any different.” Do you really mean that? Do you actually support equal legal rights for LGBT people? Or do you just mean that you won’t be mean face-to-face while still badmouthing homosexuality behind their backs and voting against their rights?

    • Anonymous

      And this is exactly why as a gay man I’d rather deal with an outwardly hostile fundamentalist any day over a two-faced, “nuanced” middle of the road Christian who says he “loves you” out of one side of his mouth while voting against you with his fingers crossed behind his back.  At least I know where to stand with the fundamentalist.   I’m encouraged there are some Christians who support equal rights for gay people but I’m always going to be hesitant to trust any Christian to truly have my back due to attitudes like the one shown above.

  • T.W.

    As a characterization of ECUSA or UCC or even ECLA now, this is off. These major historical denominations are full-throated in their support for equality, not reluctant or qualified.

    • Erp

      Full-throated?   I think there are still many clergy not to mention laity in ECUSA and ELCA who are less than thrilled at considering gays and lesbians equal (think diocese of South Carolina in the ECUSA or that the ELCA passed an affirming measure in 2009 which only just passed (2/3 required)).  UCC seems to be much further on.  Officially affirming I will grant.

  • Anonymous

    I’m perfectly happy with an ambivalent attitude from liberal churches.  The worst thing that could happen would be the full incorporation of gay people into Christianity.  Over and over, throughout history you can find “the church” loosening its restrictions on homosexuality and then, when political or cultural needs present themselves, they turn on us with a vengeance.  No need to hand them the authority to change their minds again…

  • Anonymous

    I am a conservative, Evangelical Christian and a very strong and outspoken ally of the LGBT community. I blog at http://www.canyonwalkerconnections.com Slowly we are getting it and we  are speaking up. 


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