Tennessee Church Kicks Out Longtime Members for Their Quiet Support of Gay Daughter’s Civil Rights

Police detective Kat Cooper (photo, right) became sort-of-famous in Tennessee earlier this month when she petitioned the city of Collegedale, a suburb of Chattanooga, to extend partner benefits to her wife, Krista (on left), whom she’d married in Maryland in May of this year.

“It should be of no importance to my employer if my lifelong commitment is made to a man or a woman — both are equal,” Cooper said [addressing the city commissioners]. “Small ripples can precipitate huge waves. In this case, a great opportunity lies in your hands.”

The commissioners voted on the matter on August 5, and the outcome, 4 votes to 1, was yes, fair’s fair, let’s do it. Case closed, right?

Kat Cooper (right) with wife Krista (via Chattanooga Times Free Press)

From the city’s perspective, yes. But for Ken Willis, the minister at Cooper’s family’s church, not so much.

Leaders at Ridgedale Church of Christ met in private with Kat Cooper’s mother, aunt and uncle on Sunday after the regular worship service. They were given an ultimatum: They could repent for their sins and ask forgiveness in front of the congregation. Or leave the church.

Willis argued to the Times Free Press that “the family’s support of Kat Cooper was as good as an endorsement of homosexuality.” It shouldn’t matter (but it’s worth pointing out) that the Cooper family’s support of Kat had been quiet and resigned. They didn’t distribute fiery flyers or stage demonstrations, and overall, they were careful not to burn bridges. To no avail.

My mother was up here and she sat beside me. That’s it,” said Kat Cooper. “Literally, they’re exiling members for unconditionally loving their children — and even extended family members.”

Of course, they could just find another church. But it’s not that easy for the Coopers. For one thing, their support for Kat makes them outcasts in much of the local community of so-called Christians. Matt Nevels, the presiding officer of Tennessee’s PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), points out that “Most of the churches in this area are homophobic.”

And then there’s this:

[Kat's mother] Linda Cooper’s parents were practically founding members of the Dodds Avenue congregation, [father] Hunt Cooper said. [Linda's] father was a church elder and his picture still hangs on the wall there. Kat Cooper grew up helping her grandfather clean the pews and helped her grandmother hang bulletin boards for Sunday school.

Hunt Cooper said his wife can’t comment; she is too distraught.

“She is just so traumatized and so upset,” he said. “It has been days and she’s still crying. It’s almost like losing a family member.”

 

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

  • Sven2547

    When you are forced to choose between a church and basic human decency, that church is pretty lousy to begin with.

  • Bitter Lizard

    Atheists: because we won’t publically shame you for loving your kids.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

      I posted what you wrote on their facebook page.

  • http://www.processdiary.com Paul Caggegi

    My gay brother is here, helps when I need help, and is generally around to show he loves me. Jesus on the other hand…

  • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

    Are we really surprised by this? After all, their own book says it all:

    “Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” — Matthew 10:34-37

    • Birdie1986

      Where do I sign up to worship that guy?!

      • allein

        Go back a couple posts and you can sign up and get a cookie!

        • Miss_Beara

          Cookies go down so much better with a big glass of hate.

  • A3Kr0n

    Of course they could find another church, alcoholics do that, too. Switching from booze to beer, or drinking wine only. The only way the get better though is to STOP!

  • Tobias2772

    I love my mother and father dearly, but if they made an ultimatum to choose between my kids and them, I would immediately tell them to go fuck themselves and I would never look back. So if a church did this . . .

    • Ingersollman

      Spot on. I have the very same picture of Albert in my office!

      • Wren

        For just a second, I thought you meant a picture of Kat’s grandfather!

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    This is a good example of how Christianity in the U.S. is slitting its own arteries along their length and bleeding itself out. If you love the people we hate, and you don’t hate the people we hate, you can’t be part of the Heavenly Hate Club. If you’re just quiet and tolerant of the people whom we hate, you’re still not worthy of being in the Heavenly Hate Club. Even if you leave the Heavenly Hate Club, we will still hound and harass you with our hate, because, after all, hating is what we do. You must either endure our daily doses of Heavenly Hate, (which we would prefer) or you must move far away. In that case, we’ll have to focus on other targets for our Heavenly Hate, and there are always plenty of those.

    • baal

      “If you love the people we hate, and you don’t hate the people we hate, you can’t be part of the Heavenly Hate Club”

      To be fair, other groups do this acid test approach as well to identify group members and discourage defectors.

      • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

        This is true, however Christianity has given itself a unique disadvantage by claiming that its god is love, and claiming to follow a savior who admonished his followers to love everyone, in particular the least in society. They have to pretzel-think in much more contorted ways to rationalize their hateful practices, and that steadily drives away those people who can think clearly enough to see and smell the hypocrisy. That leaves only the foggiest thinkers and the most obsessed hate addicts. Not a very attractive group for new young adult members.

        • smrnda

          They also claim to be a beacon of true, authentic unconditional love in a world where you can’t really rely on anyone else, but it’s clear their love is totally conditional in the end, perhaps even more so than average.

  • Anna

    “She is just so traumatized and so upset,” he said. “It has been days and she’s still crying. It’s almost like losing a family member.”

    It’s strange to me that so many religious people don’t seem to realize that their churches are not full of unconditional love and acceptance. Being accepted as a member of the group is conditional and depends on the person expressing agreement with certain beliefs. If members decide not to support those beliefs, many churches will unceremoniously kick them to the curb. There’s no allegiance once someone fails to uphold the belief system. These people have been taught that their primary loyalty should be to their deity, not to their friends or even to their family members.

    • eric

      It’s strange to me that so many religious people don’t seem to realize that their churches are not full of unconditional love and acceptance

      I expect that the parents here were fully cognizant that individual parishoners would be homophobic. Heck, they probably knew the pastor was too. I expect they might have even tolerated it if the church had told the daughter she wasn’t welcome. But obviously they didn’t think the organization that they helped found would turn on them for the simple act of doing nothing – for not repudiating their daughter.

      • Anna

        Probably not, but they shouldn’t have been surprised. I’m sure they’ve witnessed similar behavior over the years when other members of the church have gotten out of line.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Many people recognize intellectually that their abusive partner or parent is not full of unconditional love and acceptance, but still yearn for what love they can get.

      • Gus

        Exactly. Many churches turn out to be very similar to abusive parents.

        • Anna

          That’s probably also why the most controlling and authoritarian churches tend to promote controlling and authoritarian parenting styles. I’m sure they think it makes people more compliant, ie: less likely to question, disobey, or refuse to submit to authority.

    • skinnercitycyclist

      The phenomenon you describe is analogous enough to me of the ideological disputes within state communism (Stalinists, Trotskyites, Maoists) that I have no problem describing those beliefs as religious in nature. Substitute “exalted leader” or whatever for “deity” and you have got it.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        I prefer the term ‘ideological’ to ‘religious’ for that sort of thing. Religion has a bunch of criteria, and state communism is lacking one of the biggest ones; that is, belief in a supreme being or other supernatural stuff.

        Ideological beliefs can be just as powerful and just as wrong and just as harmful as religious beliefs for sure. I don’t mean to downplay that. But accuracy of terminology is very important, and people consistently confuse what is and is not religious (which can get fuzzy around the edges already). Lets not add to that confusion.

        • Bitter Lizard

          I agree with limiting the term “religion” to things with supernatural aspects. This would mean that some forms of Buddhism are better described as “philosophies” while others are “religions”, for example, but generally it’s a good rule of thumb.

          Stalinism and Maoism were modeled on religion (with their respective figureheads filling the roles of deities) but generally, adults who followed them did not necessarily literally see Stalin and Mao as supernatural beings (although there were cases where children were encouraged to “pray” to Stalin for presents). I do, however, think the Kim worship in North Korea can adequately be called a theistic religion because of the supernatural attributes they ascribe to their “Heavenly Leader”.

          Of course, acknowledging that non-theistic ideologies can be terrible is no more a defense for theism than the crimes of non-Stalinist ideologies are a defense of Stalinism. Non-Stalinists have killed a lot more people throughout the centuries than non-theists have, after all.

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            Agreed on all points. I certainly am not trying to defend theism (says the person who grew up Jewish in Texas and is now an atheist in the same state!). I just like my terms to be well-defined and precise if at all possible. It’s a pet peeve of mine- language has no meaning we don’t give it, so we should damned well use it to accurately convey what we mean!

            • Bitter Lizard

              I’m certainly not trying to defend theism, either. I understand why atheists like to emphasize the religion-like nature of some non-theistic ideologies as a counterpoint to the ubiquitous theist refrain of “atheist ideologies have done bad things too!”, but it’s really unnecessary. The real problem of that argument is the one I emphasized in my last paragraph above: by the same “reasoning” you could make an even better case for Stalinism or Maoism. Comparing the consequences of one “ism” to everyone who does not subscribe to said “ism” leads to all sorts of absurdity.

              • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                Yeap.

    • Anna

      Musing on this topic some more, it might be good to point this out to people who like to tout the emotional and social benefits of belonging to a church. Sure, everything is great as long as you are willing to go along with the group, but it can be quite traumatizing to find yourself in this family’s position. They may very well have gotten benefits from the church, but those are now overshadowed by the realization that the loyalty and camaraderie they experienced were based solely on their agreement with the organization’s principles.

    • katiehippie

      Most haven’t run up against it. They might all have unapproved skeletons in their closets but as long as they don’t talk about them, everything is cool. I left so I wouldn’t be kicked to the curb. I’m sure my parents just tell people I’m going through a rough time. But they don’t know I don’t believe at all anymore.

  • Ewan

    So all this time supporting a viciously bigoted club of bullies and now they’re sorry because it’s been turned on them, rather than on someone else?

    It must suck, but it’s hard to see that as anything other than a self inflicted injury.

  • Matto the Hun

    “For one thing, their support for Kat makes them outcasts in much of the local community of so-called Christians.”

    Actually, not “so-called”. The Bible is clear that one is to put God above family. It’s also clear that God doesn’t like gay people. This is precisely how one should expect Christians to act. If anything the Coopers and progressive Christians are the so-called-Christians.

    Progressive Christians who have put their own morality over their hate mongering dictates of their God are either ignoring this fact or they’ve convinced themselves that it means something different or doesn’t count. It’s a shame because they are good and beautiful people but they’ve let their faith make fools out of themselves when they ignore/deny the hateful reality of their religion.

    Anyhow… that line caught in my head so I thought I’d mention that. I see Bear Millots was able to pull out a passage speaking to this as well. (high five buddy)

    • Guest

      n/t

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    Matthew 10:35-39 34“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn
    “ ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

    “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

    I guess family values don’t actually value families.

    • newavocation

      It bad for business if churches aren’t the first in line for your money and labor.

  • Gus

    I feel very sorry for them being ostracized from a community that meant something to them, and very proud of them for supporting their daughter in spite of that ostracism. On the bright side: while it must be traumatic for them now, they have the opportunity to take a good hard look at religion now, and hopefully come out free of it on the other side.

    • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

      Same here. The mom especially. I just want to give her a hug and tell her she’s such a great mom for standing by her daughter. And tell her she’s a better person than those from the church; more Christ-like than the whole congregation rolled together, no doubt. I hope they find a new community that welcomes them and they feel happy in.

  • busterggi

    Hail Hydra!

    They don’t care what your sexual orientation is.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      They don’t really care what your species is either …

    • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

      Well, they *do* promote a sibilant lifestyle….

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Whyyyyyyyy

        • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

          It’ssssssss becuasssssssse it’sssssss the only way to sssssssubjugate the sssssstupid ssssssuckersssssss.

  • baal

    “They could repent for their sins and ask forgiveness in front of the congregation. Or leave the church.”
    I agree, there is something just plain wrongful in public shaming, using ‘or else’ and having to keep to someone else’s avowed purity standards.

    • The Other Weirdo

      Well, back in the good old days, they would just BBQ them in the public square. Fun for the whole family, bring the kids. These days, however, the wider society frowns on that sort of thing, so they are limited to just throwing people out of their communities.

  • SeekerLancer

    Just keep driving people away, churches. That’ll help you stay relevant.

  • b33bl3br0x

    I would have told the preacher we accepted the terms and gotten up in front of the church and publicly told the pastor to go f**k himself.

    • Spuddie

      And gotten the picture of my father/grandfather back from the church’s wall.

  • Carpinions

    The LGBTQ issue may very well be one of those points in history that marked the point at which religion’s decline began apace. I just do not see how at least the conservative ones can persist in this kind of activity without bending to reality. These instances of scorched earth bigotry seem to become more obvious and affecting of greater numbers of people every day. A church CANNOT claim that it’s about love and be all touchy feely about Jesus, and then when it turns the corner and runs into reality, cut its nose off to spite its face. There won’t be a body left to maim if they keep this up.

    But by all means. I hope religion throws itself off a cliff. It will allow us to get on with life that much sooner.

    • TheG

      In 20 years, when the dust settles and churches have a quarter of their attendance, the Christians will not only conveniently start ignoring those parts of the Bible, but will actively tout how Christians were the ones that brought equality to all sexual preferences.

      • Oswald Carnes

        Same as it ever was.

  • smrnda

    Many Christians in the US don’t have any concept of neutrality – you can’t even just *get along with your gay kids* and remain an Xtian in good standing. As they deal out more ultimatums like this, more and more people will choose their gay kids, friends and family over churches, so churches will become ever-smaller and increasingly nasty towards their appointed untouchables. It will definitely lead to their weakening if not total demise.

  • Stev84

    Check out their Facebook page:
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ridgedale-Church-of-Christ/113401812026832

    It has been hacked with hilarious results

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Was it hacked? Or created by someone else in the first place? Or probably auto-created by FB, but the church never took ownership.

      • Stev84

        Mhhh, now that you mention it, although it says “joined April 24, 2010″ it doesn’t have any “legitimate” posts. Still funny :)

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          Sometimes the best hacks are the simplest :-)

  • Cattleya1

    It is all about the in-group getting to gloat about the ‘bad’ people. If you do something so seemingly innocuous as loving your child, they can twist it around into something they can call horrible. It is odious… And every religion has the out-group(s) they despise. Isn’t their god supposed to be the ultimate judge of everyone? Why even do this? Just because they can. Didn’t Jesus call all of them to love their neighbors? It is nothing but a mean, sociopathic ego trip for that preacher and his loyal congregants. Christopher Hitchens was right – religion ruins everything.

  • the moother

    Can you spell “christian love,” Mr. Rogers? Can you? Can you?

  • Erp

    There seem to be at least 7 gay affirming churches in Chattanooga though I’m not sure which is the closest in worship style to their old church. There may be others that are edging that way but certainly wouldn’t kick a family out for not condemning their son or daughter.

    I do think it is promising that at least some of her family (including her parents) stood by her). And that the town extended benefits to her spouse (she is legally married just not in Tennessee).

  • viaten

    I wonder how many of the congregation have “quietly” expressed their support for the parents. I’d like to think a few secretly told them, “We can’t say publicly, but we’re on your side.”

    • The Other Weirdo

      Reminds me of the scene in “Blazing Saddles” where, after he had saved the town from an unstoppable monster, the old lady goes to the Sheriff’s Office to apologize to their shiny new black sheriff for having called him ‘nigger’ earlier in the movie and hands him a cake she had just baked for him. Then she says, “I trust you will have the discretion to not repeat our conversation to anyone.” Or words to that effect.

    • katiehippie

      In my view that’s even worse. “Chickenshits” is the word I would use.

      • viaten

        It might be worse if they weren’t sincere about it or there was an ulterior motive. But people don’t make big swings in such matters all at once. There could be all kinds of valid considerations and it’s the best that can be done for the time being.

  • Dave G.

    That’s OK. I had a friend who was pastor of a progressive church that openly supported gay rights. He also went to bat in our community on behalf of gays. His church was one of the main centers for the local gay rights community, and hosted many events and sponsored others (as far back in the 90s when it was far less acceptable). One day, he mentioned that, while not back peddling in any way, he had to admit that one could read the Bible as being against homosexuality, and furthermore, not all who oppose homosexuality are necessarily bad people. With that, the entire group of active gay rights supporters got up and left and never came back. He was gobsmacked. He couldn’t believe it. So I would say passions run pretty high on both sides, and both sides draw pretty think lines of intolerance toward the other side, with both sides feeling quite justified for doing so.

    • Taz

      Nice false equivalence, but walking out and getting kicked out are not the same thing.

      • Guest

        What happened to my response? It was here last time I looked.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          You mean:

          What LGBT people want is a demand for conformity that would shame a Spanish Inquisitor

          It’s still there. Just reload the page.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          So when faced with refutations, you just went for more homophobic libel. Classy.

    • smrnda

      The false equivalence is that opposition to homosexuality is more or less deciding that homosexuals should be second class citizens.

      Also, oppressed groups are entitled to reject ‘allies’ who don’t really seem like very good allies. Way to many patronizing ‘allies’ want GLBT people to just roll around in spasms of gratitude for anything looking like support, as if a group of people doesn’t have a right to decide that allies can’t sit on the fence and ‘see both sides’ and still be allies.

      • http://springygoddess.blogspot.com/ Astreja

        The whole purpose of an ally is to fight for you, not for your enemy. Better to fight alone than alongside someone you can’t trust.

        • smrnda

          Definitely. I find the whole ‘I can be friends with homophobes’ crowd to be worse than the overt homophobes, since they tend to be enablers, and they promote the fallacy that the discussion is between two sides with equal merit and equal social power.

      • Guest

        What LGBT people want is a demand for conformity that would shame a Spanish Inquisitor. The guy in this story is obviously for gay rights, but that’s not enough for the modern McCarthys. No. Nothing screams modern liberalism more than insisting for nothing less than 100% conformity. 99.99% won’t do. 100% of you’re no good. Is there anything in human history more of a joke than the laughably stunning hypocrisy and self righteousness of the post-modern liberal LGBT movement? How does it feel to have a level of moral superiority and ethical righteousness that would shame a tent revivalist?

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          Because saying that people who see you as subhuman “aren’t bad people” is totally ally behavior …

          • ZenDruid

            Yeah, the pastor was definitely kicked out. Bad slip on his part actually, but that’s the way life runs.

          • UWIR

            He never said that, liar.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Huh? I quote the original poster: “[the pastor] mentioned that .. not all who oppose homosexuality are necessarily bad people”. If you oppose homosexuality for religious reasons, you see gay people as less-than or inferior to heterosexual people, ie, subhuman. For someone to say that to a group of LGBT activists and expect any sort of positive or even neutral response is, well, the kindest interpretation I can put on it is extremely naive. That sort of statement is not the behavior of an ally of the LGBT community.

              • UWIR

                Quote where he said what you said he said, not where he said something you are twisting into that with utter disregard for basic decency, liar. I guess in your world, everyone is either perfect or completely evil. Christians can’t believe that some people are doing something wrong, without believing that those people are “subhuman”, and no one can have a position you don’t like without them being completely irredeemable. So, what, anyone who thinks that premarital sex is wrong thinks that people who have engaged in it are “subhuman”? You obviously think that voting for Prop 8 was wrong. Do you think that everyone who voted for it is “subhuman”? Do you think I am “subhuman”, given that I am disagreeing with you? If I say that littering is wrong, does it follow that I think that litterers are subhuman? If the Olympics awards a gold medal to one athlete, and a silver to another, they’re saying that the former is better than the latter. So by your logic, they are saying that the latter is “subhuman”. This is utter bullshit equivocation, playing word games to get to an idiotic conclusion, and anyone who isn’t a moron knows that. It follows that either you are a moron, or you’re just trolling.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Whoa, calm down. And yes, I say that with full knowledge and intent with the condescension full behind it.

                  Context matters. When speaking to LGBT activists, in a space they considered safe and as a person they considered an ally, telling them that their bitterest opponents and the people who work to deny them equal rights “aren’t necessarily bad people” is grossly inappropriate. The activists are quite aware of the Biblical injunctions against homosexuality, thank you; they don’t need to be told those verses exist. To hear the person you thought was an ally not only fail to condemn, but actually rationalize, such bigotry would be a greater betrayal and hurt all the more by coming from such an unexpected corner.

                  People who oppose homosexuality are literally saying that gay people can’t love, can’t form families, can’t form the emotional bonds that are part of what make us human. They are saying that gay people are less-than-fully-human, whether they realize it or not. And that is something no good person says.

                • UWIR

                  I see you’re not even bothering to respond to my points, just moving on to more bullshit.

                  “telling them that their bitterest opponents and the people who work to deny them equal rights”

                  More misrepresentations. The pastor said that not all people who oppose homosexuality are bad people. Not that the bitterest opponents of homosexuality aren’t bad people.

                  “The activists are quite aware of the Biblical injunctions against homosexuality, thank you; they don’t need to be told those verses exist.”
                  Without knowing the context, we can’t know whether there was a reason to say it.

                  “To hear the person you thought was an allynot only fail to condemn, but actually rationalize, such bigotry”
                  It’s not rationalizing bigotry.

                  “People who oppose homosexuality are literally saying that gay people can’t love, can’t form families, can’t form the emotional bonds that are part of what make us human.”

                  “Literally” doesn’t mean “stuff I’ve made up”.

                  “They are saying that gay people are less-than-fully-human, whether they realize it or not.”
                  Repeating something doesn’t make it true.

                • Spuddie

                  “Not that the bitterest opponents of homosexuality aren’t bad people.”

                  They are calling people sinners deserving of ostracism, hellfire and stripping of all human considerations (jobs, housing, family, personal relationships). They try to work with the legal system to give their bigotry the color of law. People whose aims and acts are abhorent are bad people.

                • UWIR

                  I don’t what point you think this post is supposed to have.

                • Spuddie

                  I know.

                • UWIR

                  So, you are posting things, knowing that people are not going to understand your point? So, you admit that you’re a troll.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  So do you plan to actually rebut my points, or just say “NUH-UH” a lot? Because we can just call this over if all you want to do is stuff your fingers in your ears and go LALALALA a lot.

                • UWIR

                  Pot, kettle. Do you plan on actually presenting a coherent argument, or just argument by assertion and juvenile word games? You’ve said that to think that someone is doing something wrong is to consider them subhuman. That is so monumentally inane that it is simply beyond the realm of rational discussion.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Have you ever heard someone talk about homosexuality as a sin? I have never, ever heard anyone say so without expressions of disgust and additional doubts about the ability of gay people to form family ties or nurture children. Saying someone is doing something wrong doesn’t inherently mean someone considers a person inferior, but in this specific case? It pretty much actually does.

                • UWIR

                  And the parade of dishonesty of fallacies continues. This is like some horrible mutant version of No True Scotsman.

                  “All Scotsmen rape children.”
                  “No they don’t. Some Scotsmen are quite decent people.”
                  “Oh my God! You’re saying that people who rape children are decent people!”

                  If, by “If you oppose homosexuality for religious reasons, you see gay people as less-than or inferior to heterosexual people, ie, subhuman.” you meant “In my experience, everyone who opposes homosexuality for religious reasons sees gay people as less-than or inferior to heterosexual people, ie, subhuman.” then you should have said “In my experience, everyone who opposes homosexuality for religious reasons sees gay people as less-than or inferior to heterosexual people, ie, subhuman.” The plain meaning of what you wrote is that if someone opposes homosexuality on religious grounds, then it logically follows that that person sees gay people as subhuman. Not that it is empirically the case that everyone who opposes homosexuality on religious grounds sees gay people as subhuman, but that it is impossible, even in theory, to oppose homosexuality on religious grounds without seeing gay people as subhuman. Furthermore, besides not being the consistent with the normal meaning of English sentences, the empirical interpretation makes no sense as a defense to my claim you were lying.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Because in this case, it does mean exactly that! It does mean they see gay people as inferior! It does mean they (probably) want to deny full human rights to gay people! I bet you think misogynists don’t also think women are subhuman too … because many of them don’t say so in so many words.

                  You can try to weasel out of it all you like, but you are wrong. The actions of the LGBT activists were not disproportionate and the pastor fucked up and hurt people. People who think, based on the Bible, that homosexuality is a sin are (I’ll say this to save your tender sensibilities the necessity of figuring out minor hyperbole and clear personal experience), in my experience, not good people.

                • UWIR

                  “Because in this case, it does mean exactly that!”

                  Pronoun One Without Antecedent does mean exactly Pronoun Two Without Antecedent. How very informative. You’re the one engaging in weaseling, as shown by your bare declaration “you are wrong”, without presenting any statement of mine that you are asserting is incorrect. Having someone say something you don’t like is not being “hurt”, and you’re engaging in apologia for censorship for saying otherwise. I have little tolerance for people who equivocate between disagreement and physical assault. The implication is that disagreeing with you violates your rights, which is a sentiment that is no less abhorrent coming from the Left as from the Right. Once people start saying “These are the Correct Facts, and anyone who says anything that conflicts with these Correct Facts is an awful person”, we’re on the road to tyranny.

                  “People who think, based on the Bible, that homosexuality is a sin are (I’ll say this to save your tender sensibilities the necessity of figuring out minor hyperbole and clear personal experience), in my experience, not good people.”

                  And not only do you think that, you think that disagreeing with you on this point constitutes an injury. Anyone who isn’t in ideological lockstep with you is not an “ally”, and should be shunned. And in fact, in a bit of rhetorical gymnastics, anyone who says “Not everyone who opposes homosexuality thinks that homosexuals are subhuman” is somehow saying “People who think homosexuals are subhuman are not bad people”.

                  Maybe the reason that, in your experience, these people are all bad people, is that you flip out whenever anyone tries to present any challenge to your beliefs, and your “experience” is limited to only that which supports your prejudices. The gay people in this story clearly don’t voluntarily expose themselves to anyone who disagrees them, and you’ve given every indication that you are the same way. If you don’t voluntarily associate yourself with anyone who disagrees with you, then the only “experience” with people you disagree with are going to be with people who you can’t avoid, who by definition are going to be primarily assholes who impose their beliefs on others.

                  Maybe you don’t notice people who merely think that homosexuality is wrong, and don’t go around picketing gay funerals, because the former simply aren’t as conspicuous as the latter. It seems like a large percentage, if not the majority, of the people I’ve seen on the news who have been identified as Muslim have been terrorists. Is that because most Muslims are terrorists, or is it because “Muslim spends day not killing anyone” is not generally considered an exciting news story?

                • RobMcCune

                  You’ve said that to think that someone is doing something wrong is to consider them subhuman.

                  Feminerd never said that, liar.

                  That is so monumentally inane that it is simply beyond the realm of rational discussion.

                  I know, yet somehow you keep denying the existence of pervasive homophobic bigotry.

                • UWIR

                  “Feminerd never said that, liar.”

                  Yes, she did. I realize that you’re imitating me calling Feminerd a liar, but the difference is that she actually did lie, and I didn’t. So you’re just being an asshole. Femninerd said “If you oppose homosexuality for religious reasons, you see gay people as less-than or inferior to heterosexual people, ie, subhuman.” She clearly said that opposing homosexuality (that is, thinking that it is wrong) for religious reasons means that you think that everyone who engages in homosexuality is subhuman. I don’t see any reason to suppose that homosexuality and religion are in any way special in this regard, so it follows that she thinks that thinking that something is wrong is the same as thinking that everyone who engages in it is subhuman. This is an entirely legitimate conclusion from her words, as opposed to her batshit crazy misrepresentations.

                  I gave a good-faith summary of her position, a summary that she has had ample opportunity to address. In my post http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/08/22/tennessee-church-kicks-out-longtime-members-for-their-quiet-support-of-gay-daughters-civil-rights/#comment-1015776957 , I posted point after point that she never addressed. Had she felt that I was misunderstanding her, she could have said so. Instead, she simply moved on to more nonsense.

                  “I know, yet somehow you keep denying the existence of pervasive homophobic bigotry.”

                  I have done no such thing, liar. That is utter scurrilousness . I will repeat once again Richard’s words: “If you love the people we hate, and you don’t hate the people we hate, you can’t be part of the Heavenly Hate Club.” That is exactly how you people are acting: anyone who doesn’t hate who you hate, you hate. You have no interest in honest discussion, just spewing mindless vitriol.

                  So much for atheists being a bastion of reasonableness. I really am disappointed in Mehta in allowing his blog to cater to such incivility.

        • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

          Yes, it’s too bad that requiring someone who is an ally of LGBT people to treat LGBT people as humans deserving of rights is so hypocritical and self-righteous.

          Wait, no, that’s not right. Hypocrisy requires a “do as I say, not as I do” type situation. How is requiring an ally to treat you as a human deserving of rights hypocritical?

        • Bitter Lizard

          Worthless, homophobic pieces of shit–you and Dave both. This weird-assed tendency to make the oppressors out to be the victims of the oppressed is no different than the ramblings of a serial killer who thinks his own victims “made him do it”. I am so glad you scumbags are being pulled under by the tide of history. One day, none of your hopes, or your dreams, or your off-base self-conceptions will remain. You will be rightfully regarded as part of one collective shit stain on society’s conscience, and nothing more.

          I want to make sure you understand: that will be all that’s left of you. Your grandchildren will prefer to pretend you were never even born. And that’s the correct legacy for you that you’ve earned.

        • Goape

          “Is there anything in human history more of a joke than the laughably stunning hypocrisy and self righteousness of the post-modern liberal LGBT movement?”

          Ok, here’s a good one: throughout history millions of people believed in organised religions that are now extinct, right? And they based their lives on these religions, right—and had all kinds of ceremonies and what not. Alright, wait for the punchline… People still believe in new forms of the same delusional stories! Get it? They can’t understand— I mean they don’t even see— Oh man, that shit is funny.

          However, when people can’t be accepted by society because they love someone with a similar set of gonads, that’s just shitty.

        • Spuddie

          “What LGBT people want is a demand for conformity basic human dignity that would shame a Spanish Inquisitor.”

          There, fixed that for you

          • The Other Weirdo

            strike not strikethrough.

            • Spuddie

              D’oh!

              Corrected. HTML is a harsh mistress.

              • The Other Weirdo

                She’s a bitch, but we keep crawling back to her, the whip firmly held between our teeth.

                Wait… Did I say that out loud?

        • smrnda

          There are some issues where you can’t sit on the fence or ‘see things both ways.; You can’t have some friends who are abolitionists, some who are former or current slaves, and others who own slaves without your ‘support’ being just some meaningless performance meant to make you seem so high-minded and above such petty things as believing that on human rights issues, you actually *have to pick a side.*

          • UWIR

            Was Jefferson evil? Is failing to say he is evil, without any qualifications whatsoever, mean that you’re a bigot?

      • UWIR

        What if America had said to Britain “Those Germans sure are a big threat, and we agree that they need to be stopped, but not all Germans are evil”, and Britain had said “Well fuck you!”?

        Richard Wade wrote “If you love the people we hate, and you don’t hate the people we hate, you can’t be part of the Heavenly Hate Club.”

        That is EXACTLY what you people are saying. “If you don’t hate the people we hate, then fuck you. It’s not enough to just oppose them, you have to hate them.” So I guess it’s okay to say “I hate everyone who doesn’t hate everyone whom I hate”, as long as you’re on the right side. It is possible to see both sides, and still think one side is the right one. If you insist that no one even consider what reasons the other side has for their position, then you’re just as much a fanatical cult as they are.

    • Bitter Lizard

      Worthless, homophobic pieces of shit–you and Dave both. (EDIT: moved this to a reply to “Guest”, which is where it was supposed to go in the first place. But as the first sentence infers, it applies to both of them.)

      • UWIR

        Way to prove his point. And to misuse “infer”.

    • Bitter Lizard

      A group of people decides they no longer want to submit to a self-styled authority who lends credibility and support to those who victimize them.

      A family is given an ultimatum to denounce their child in a humiliating fashion for loving and supporting said child.

      To Dave, these two things are the same.

      Dave is a horrible person.

      • smrnda

        Thanks, your posts are great. These two sides are in no way equivalent, and GLBT people don’t need ‘support’ from people who are just as happy to rub shoulders with people who want to deny them basic human rights.

        • UWIR

          There’s absolutely no honest way to read Dave’s post as saying that.

      • UWIR

        “A group of people decides they no longer want to submit to a self-styled authority who lends credibility and support to those who victimize them.”
        That’s a complete strawman.

    • Spuddie

      A close analogue to your allegedly progressive minister,
      “I think you Civil Rights organizers are a nice bunch of people and not bad people at all, but the Bible says that races should not mix and black people are subhuman”.

      • The Other Weirdo

        I still don’t know where in the Bible it says that black people are subhuman.

        • Spuddie

          Yet it was a common reading in the Deep South from slavery until the mid 60′s to justify treating black people badly.

          Look under “the curse of Ham”, Genesis 9:20-27

          http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/religious-racism-texas-church-argues-theres-biblical-precedent-strict-racial

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curse_of_Ham

          Hey, I didn’t make this stuff up. This is what the racist dickweeds were using for generations to justify their behavior.

          • The Other Weirdo

            I know those verses, I’ve read them several times, but all I get from them is that Noah, the best man in the world, got drunk as a lord, passed out naked in his tent and then cursed the son who tried to save his modesty. Sounds like an abusive father to me, but then again, that’s humanity’s entire relationship with the god of the bible in a nutshell.

            • Spuddie

              That is because you are rational and without an agenda which involved using human beings as chattel property.

      • UWIR

        A close analog Spuiddie et al:
        “I’m a lying asshole who heaps verbal abuse on anyone who says anything I don’t like.”
        There’s absolutely nothing “analogous” between “The Bible can be read as being against homosexuality, but I don’t agree with that”, and “I’m not going to support civil right because the Bible says black people are subhuman”.

        • Spuddie

          Heaping insults is a poor form of reply. Nothing I said was untrue. I heap verbal abuse on people who warrant it. I can be an asshole that way. But not a lying one.

          What the minister says is that he supports the people but he has no respect for them “for religious reasons”. He will just hold his nose when around them.

          Why would anyone put their trust in someone who actually sympathizes with those oppressing them? They wouldn’t.

  • Mick

    What they’ve got is exactly what they had previously expected their church to deliver – promises of heaven to the truly faithful and harsh condemnation to any and all outsiders.

    - They agree with Psalm 14:1 that atheists are incapable of doing good
    - And with Mark 16:16 that unbelievers are condemned to damnation
    - And with Matthew 18:6 where Jesus recommends that outsiders should be drowned in the ocean.

    Now it turns around and bites them on the bum and they don’t like it.

    The sad thing is that even as they see the unfairness of their treatment by the church leaders, they will remain unable to see the unfairness of the religion itself..

    • Guest

      If atheists are incapable of doing good, you’d never know it from listening to atheists, who as the comments here point out, are simply the intellectual apex of cognitive evolution and the moral and ethical hub of indisputable perfection around which the entire universe revolves. Just read the comments in that light, and it’s hard to imagine how atheists could be anything less than perfect.

      • Taz

        We should all be as humble as theists, who believe they belong to the one true sect – the favored group of people who know the mind of god and have the right to enforce his edicts on everyone else.

  • Esquilax

    Needless, petty retaliation because someone has the audacity to live their private life differently from the edicts of the church: it’s what Jesus would do!

    • Guest

      I have a feeling you haven’t clue one what Jesus would do, and probably don’t give a damn in any event.

      • http://bearlyatheist.wordpress.com/ Bear Millotts

        Well, Jesus *did* damn a fig tree for having the audacity to not produce fruit outside it’s regular growing season.

        That level of pique is pretty common for both Jesus and the old testament god. It’s a good thing that Jesus didn’t flood the Earth in retaliation.

        That fig tree could have been responsible for the second great flood!

      • Esquilax

        Hmm… I thought my sarcasm was clear enough. I suppose I shall have to drape my contempt and deadpan acid even more prominently over my comments in future.

        • katiehippie

          I need to start making contempt cloaks to sell. Sarcasm stoles? Deadpan acid dungarees?

  • Pofarmer

    I heard the new mackelmore song “same love” today. It hits all the right notes. It will be interesting to see how it does. I wonder if acceptance of things like that song won’t be a turning pont.

    • Robster

      That was a number one in Australia at the end of 2012. Top of the ol’ chart for 6 weeks if I remember correctly.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

    Someone created this facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ridgedale-Church-of-Christ/113401812026832?filter=2

    Some people think their real facebook page was hacked, which is amusing.

  • guest

    Southern death cult banishes member for loving someone of the same sex.
    In other news, the sun still rises in the east and sets in the west.

  • chesky_division

    I hope this woman’s family knows that they don’t need to be a part of a church to believe. Even Jesus was against the churches and the synagogs. There is no reason why this family can’t start a fellowship of their own with like minded ppl.

    • The Other Weirdo

      You mean your advise to them is to start a cult?

      • chesky_division

        I feel everyone has the right to worship or not as they wish. Since I don’t see this family giving up its faith they can at least form a group of like minded ppl that have gay family members or are sympathetic to the situation. I don’t have to share their belief to feel they have the right to have it.

  • kaydenpat

    Sad story. Hope they can find a more welcoming church to attend.

  • fry

    screw the church. Just put human civility and decency ahead of superstition and you’ll quickly realize you just don’t need to hang out with these catastrophically misguided bigots.

  • MIGator

    I haven’t read all the comments, but based on those I have read I want to say one thing – PLEASE don’t lump all Christians in with fundamentalist groups such as this one. There are some churches, notably UCC and MCC, that have welcomed all sexual orientations for decades. Others, including the Episcopal church which I am active in, have finally been seeing the light officially and on a national level in recent years. We are currently part of an Episcopal parish in rural northern Michigan that is known not only for welcoming *people*, not sexual orientations, but also for happily hosting the multi-county PFLAG group. Some Christian churches have realized it’s not about WHO you love but about how truly loving your behavior is.

  • YourBaloneyDontGotNoSecondName

    That is some Scientologist level BS the COC is imposing on the family of this person. The COC is one of the most punitive, legalistic, hope destroying organizations out there.

  • melissia

    The most Christian thing a parent can do is love their child unconditionally.

    The least Christian thing a church can do is kick someone out for being Christ-like…


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