Christian Teens and Gay Teens: It’s in the Cards

Yesterday I received an email from Dr. Warren Throckmorton, a fellow blogger on the Christian website Crosswalk.com. Last year Dr. Throckmorton founded an initiative called “The Golden Rule Pledge.”

This April 16th, students in middle schools through colleges across the country will be participating in the 14th annual Day of Silence, wherein they will not only stop talking for the day, but will also be handing out cards reading:

Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence (DOS), a national youth movement bringing attention to the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. My deliberate silence echoes that silence,  which is caused by anti-LGBT bullying, name-calling and harassment. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward building  awareness and making a commitment to address these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today.

Many conservative Christian parents will respond to the DOS by keeping their teens home from school.

Instead of staying home, Dr. Throckmorton would like Christian teens to attend school, and, when handed one of the DOS cards, hand back a card he has made, the “Golden Rule Pledge” card, upon which is printed this:

This is what I’m doing. The Golden Rule. I pledge to treat others the way I want to be treated. “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)

Dr. Throckmorton wrote me to ask if I would recommend to my readers his GRP card and initiative. In response I emailed him this:

Hi, Warren. I certainly appreciate you asking me about this, but I’m afraid that [handing out your GRP card] is just not something that I personally would recommend. The (too blunt, I’m afraid: forgive me!) truth is, if I were gay, that card would piss me off, insofar as I would understand it as both condescending and a lie. I would know that the Christian offering it to me does not, in fact, extend to me the same respect he certainly wants for himself (making it a lie), and that without question he feels that he is morally superior to me [making it condescending]. If I were gay, I would much rather have a Christian classmate of mine stay home than hand me one of those cards. I don’t think it’s possible for those cards to do anything but further divide gays and Christians. But … no offense to you personally! I certainly appreciate what you’re trying to do.”

I then sent him a follow-up email to say that, if he’d liked, I’d post our brief exchange here on my blog, as a means of presenting the matter to my four or five readers, and perhaps thereby discover their thoughts on it. (“I think a lot of them probably would like the idea,” I wrote.) If you have anything to say about the DOS, or his proposed response to it, Dr. Throckmorton is listening.

Print Friendly

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • http://dlkelley.wordpress.com dlkelley

    Hmm. I think the Golden Rule card has the potential to be a good idea…if it could overcome the very stigma that you stated as the reason it's not a good idea. In a way, I almost think it would be a better idea for the Christians to hand out both cards – "Because I believe in the Golden Rule, I'm keeping silent today – because the mistreatment of LGBTs is certainly not doing unto others as I would have them to unto me." But God forbid we encourage our children to think anything other than "gays are bad, avoid at all costs."

  • http://kenreads.wordpress.com wken

    I'm going to answer with a counter-story that, I think, tells a similar story.

    I'm part of a group in New Hampshire that's trying to revise our school-bullying laws to protect kids better.

    Christian groups have come out against us as a group hostile to Christianity (two of the four people at our last meeting, by the way, were Evangelical Christians) because any discussion of bullying leads, inevitably, to the fact that gay kids (or kids thought to be gay) are disproportionately targets of bullying.

    In order to live out what they think Jesus wants in their lives, these people are opposed to any attempt to make school less of a living hell for gay kids … and also every other bullying victim in the state.

    I don't see it as my job as a Christian to spend all of my time being anti-homosexuality. If they want to take a day to make their point … fine. If (and it's a big "If") I wanted to protest it somehow, I would send my kids to school and invite them to speak normally. They're not part of the demonstration, and so they're making their own point. There's no need to be, as you rightly call it, condescending and dishonest.

    Does anyone really believe that these cards will lead more people to Christ, or is this just another attempt to make sure that Christians get as much "in-your-face" time as everyone else.

    I'm not seeing this as fruitful for the Kingdom in any way.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    So. I DO have the sanest/most thoughtful/most compassionate readers in the blogosphere. I KNEW it!

    Dlkelly: I like your idea, very much.

    Ken: Your story is INCREDIBLE. That's just … unbelievable. I can't even believe you're telling the truth there—though I know you are. Man. Amazing.

    Kara: Beautiful. Thank you.

  • stephanie

    Yes to what Kara said!

    "If the Golden Rule means complete and unconditional love for people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, then join the Day of Silence. If it doesn’t mean that, then keep it to yourself or stay home in protest if you like."

  • http://www.goldenrulepledge.com Warren Throckmorton

    Thanks John for the post and chance to get this feedback. I also have made it (hopefully) more clear what we are advocating over at the Golden Rule Pledge website (http://goldenrulepledge.com/2010/02/golden-rule-pledge-2010).

    In practice over the past two years, I have not seen the kind of reactions many of you are concerned about. The places where this has taken place has led to bridges being built. On one campus, for instance, the leader of the GLBT group spoke at the Campus Crusade meeting and the Cru leader spoke at the GLBT group and both pledged mutual respect for each other. In some places, the GRPledgers have also remained silent and elsewhere not. This is an individual decision and one about which we do not take any position. The reaction from GLSEN's leadership has been wary but positive.

    The GRP is not a reaction to the Day of Silence but rather a reaction to religious conservatives' reactions to the DOS. Two years ago, I became aware that far right groups were planning a boycott and that just seemed completely wrong. I also don't like the Day of Truth. One, it is an in your face way of saying that Christians have a right to publicly say negative things about gays. Two, the materials used by the DOT people are not uniformly true and accurate. They misrepresent research and are clearly culture war material. So I was asked by my readers and others what i thought of those two events and my reaction was that Christians should show up and live out Christ's teachings. So in my mind, the GRP is a statement that we stand with you on safety and respect.

    On a practical point, the GLSEN speaking card which DOS participants use to explain their silence ends with a question: What are you going to do to end the Silence? The GRP card responds to that question with a personal pledge to follow the Golden Rule. The pledge is only as good as the pledger and I understand that. What we have seen is that for evangelical kids who are in evangelical youth groups, this has been one way to have them think about glbt people, as peers and equals, rather as opponents in a culture war.

    Thanks again for your comments and I welcome all constructive remarks.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Warren: So you do, after all, hold that a person's sexual orientation, in and of itself, has zero bearing on whether or not that person is or isn't allowed admittance into heaven. Amazing!

    Is it really your conviction that a Christian who is unrepentantly gay—who lives and loves as a homosexual—has exactly as good a chance of getting into heaven as a straight Christian does? You clearly affirming that would be extraordinary. It would mean you've changed, yes?

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    (Kara: The question isn't whether or not it's good for Christians to show respect for GBLT people. Of course it is. The question is whether or not it's good for them to show fake respect. The truth is that it's not at all likely that the Christians handing out the GRP cards do, in fact, hold the GLBT folk to be their moral peers and equals. And that's a big concern, because if they don't—if instead they feel that they are closer and more acceptable to God than those GBLT people to whom they're handing their cards—then by pretending to proffer their full respect they are at best confused and at worst lying. It simply cannot be both ways at once. You can't at once feel that you are morally superior to someone, AND that they're your moral equal. That's the problem here. Somebody's not being honest.)

  • stephanie

    I do believe everyone has a right to express or demonstrate the way that best works for them. However, coming from a GLBT view, I question the motive or intent of the card you are passing to me. I would naturally ask myself, does this person really support me?

    So with that said. If your intent is to truly, honestly and sincerely support DOS and GLBT., then that's great and I commend you. I hope your efforts help and not hinder nor hurt the GLBT community that has already been deeply hurt.

  • Kara

    John- I agree. If it's fake, then it's wrong. I can't speak for all or most or even any of the teens handing these out, and don't claim to. If they think I'm morally inferior because I'm happily gay, then they're liars if they give me this card. But, not having read the materials of or spoken with Dr. Warren before today, he does not seem to feel this way. His intent seems genuine. I applaud that, even if those who hand out the cards might fail to live up to the purpose he intended.

  • Allen

    As a gay Christian, and former Christian gay teen, I think the idea of both actions is pretty cool and something I can't imagine happening back when I was in high school. The problem both movements have is when people are inclined to a knee-jerk reaction, which is I think what some folks are describing as "culture wars" mentality. If we assume we already know what someone's message is, we don't pay too much attention to the message. In a scenario where people are just dealing cards to each other, I think making it clear that the GRP card is a supportive response and not a rebuttal is a wonderful goal.

    I propose an addition to both efforts: when handing someone one DOS or GRP card, also give them four or five "call me on it when I'm not doing what I promised" cards with my name on them, to be used later — accountability strengthens any movement! And if it extends awareness beyond a single day, all the better.

  • Dawson Lewis

    "think about glbt people, as peers and equals, rather as opponents in a culture war." For me personally I think we have to see sinners as peers and equals in unworthieness. ALL have fallen short. Does this mean people get a free pass to heaven? No, of course not. We all have to go through the narrow gate. And that gate doesn't let bring through your bags. For some the bag they drop is homosexuality. For other unrestrained heterosexuality. For others greed, and so on. I don't know that these cards would be good, but they are lot better than the groud described by Ken. I think we need to treat all as peers and equals in their need of a touch of the Holy Spirit to translate them from the kingdom of darkness into the His kingdom. In humility I might have to say to someone "if you don't serve Jesus as Lord, then you will be excluded." But I'm equal in that if I don't serve Him, or turn my back on Him, my straighteness won't get me to heaven.

  • Sarah

    John, in light of the response you've received, how can you continue to place such a harsh judgement on the GRP folks? That seems like a serious double standard.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    I'm not being harsh at all. You'll not find a single value judgment in anything I've said. I'm exceptionally careful about that. You've made a category mistake.

  • Kara

    Dawson – I'm happily gay and live to serve Christ. Where do you think I fall? Am I morally inferior to you? Morally the same? I'm just curious.

  • Sarah

    I disagree. You have called their intentions "lies" and "fake". Those both seem to be very harsh to me.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Sigh. No, Sarah, I didn't call their intentions lies and/or fakes. Go back and read the whole sentence to which you're referring. Pay special attention to the phrase, "… because if they don’t, …." and then connect it to the word then. Saying "If that man hits that boy, then he is bad" is not the same thing as saying, "That man hit that boy." They're not even close.

      Exactly as you say, Kara. Thank you.

  • Kara

    In John's defense, he has consistently used "if" statements. "if instead they feel that they are closer and more acceptable to God than those GBLT people to whom they’re handing their cards—then by pretending to proffer their full respect they are at best confused and at worst lying. (Emphasis mine.)

  • Sarah

    This is not an "if" statement:

    "The question is whether or not it’s good for them to show fake respect. The truth is that it’s not at all likely that the Christians handing out the GRP cards do, in fact, hold the GLBT folk to be their moral peers and equals."

    And the only "if" in this statement was "if I were gay" rather than a moderation of the sort of believer one might encounter:

    "The (too blunt, I’m afraid: forgive me!) truth is, if I were gay, that card would piss me off, insofar as I would understand it as both condescending and a lie. I would know that the Christian offering it to me does not, in fact, extend to me the same respect he certainly wants for himself (making it a lie), and that without question he feels that he is morally superior to me [making it condescending]."

    I'm sorry, John–you haven't been careful enough. If I, as a teen, were faced with your criticism, I would feel as bullied as the GLBT teens.

  • Kara

    John, I had a response all written out, talking about violence against LGBT students, and about the concept of straight privilege, and about all the reasons why even if she was theoretically right about what you've said, it's not remotely the same… But your response is so much better.

  • http://www.goldenrulepledge.com Warren Throckmorton

    John – No I haven't changed that view. One's relationship with Christ is the consequential issue in questions of the afterlife, not which sins you do or whether you think this thing or that is a sin. Not sure why you thought I thought differently. Have I written something that made you think I believed gays have to jump a higher hoop than others? Or were you, ahem, assuming?

    On the lying and faking issue, no one is immune from being doubleminded in motives. So will some people get involved in this for less than pure motives? Sure, but I suspect there is a lot of that going around. I just hope to get Christians to think differently about these matters and make connection and real relationships the priority. GRP probably should not be promoted everywhere. But, as noted above, where this has been done, it has been a real step in a good direction.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    I'm sorry: that was just too … unclear for me to follow. I just can't parse my way through … well, for starters: "One’s relationship with Christ is the consequential issue in questions of the afterlife, not which sins you do or whether you think this thing or that is a sin." That's just … too thick a knot. I'm sure it's just me, though. Maybe I'll come back to your comment later, and see if I can't get my poor little brain to make any better sense of it than I've been able to in the last fifteen or so minutes.

    In the meanwhile, I do absolutely wish the best of luck to you in your efforts to get … well, I guess ….I guess I don't really exactly know what your ultimate goal is. To get Christians and gays to … sort of conditionally forget the terribly real reasons they have for harboring profound disrespect toward each other? Right? To just … forget that their deepest, most cherished convictions are so diametrically opposed to each other that … well, for one, the Holy Book of one side condemns to hell the other? To at least somehow be nice to each other about that?

    Anyway, please ignore me. I mean this with completely non-ironic sincerity: Good luck to you.

  • Kara

    Warren – I'm gay. Really, really gay. Flaming lesbian. Willingly, happily queer. I've always been gay, but I also chose to embrace that fact. I plan (hope) to someday fall in love and get married and have children. It'll be a big yay-gay party. I'm "unrepentant", to use the terminology many like so much.

    Is this a problem? Does God have a problem with me because of this? Is my salvation genuine; my relationship with Christ real? Am I "like an alcoholic," or "like a compulsive liar"? Am I living in willful and open rebellion against Christ? Can I have a full and fulfilling life of fellowship with God? Have I been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, or is my "lifestyle" proof that I haven't? (Not that I'm waiting on anyone's opinion on any of these for my own sense of peace, I know the reality of my spiritual life full-well.)

    These are the questions I would ask of you, as a LGBT student, upon learning about your ministry. I'm genuinely curious as to where you stand. Just how equal do you think I am?

  • Kara

    I think… It’s certainly better than the “Day of Truth” materials I’ve seen advocated in the past, I guess. Taken most optimistically, the GRP could be seen as a pledge to work against the bullying and harassment of LGBT students, because no one wants to be bullied or harassed. Taken most pessimistically, it’s another way for anti-gay Christians to co-opt a wonderful student movement by, as John said, handing out cards that are basically a lie.

    If it is the first case, and the intent really is to show genuine and fully unconditional love to LGBT students, why not just take part in the Day of Silence? If you really want to show that you’re against anti-gay bullying because of your faith, wear a Christian t-shirt. Heck, you can make one with the Golden Rule written on it. Doing that while backing the DOS would mean more to me as a gay student than the GRP card, by orders of magnitude.

    I guess the thing that bothers me about the GRP is that it seems like it’s saying “We’ll do what we think is best, but we can’t promise that means fighting bullying and harassment against you, so we’re doing this instead of the Day of Silence.” If the Golden Rule means complete and unconditional love for people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, then join the Day of Silence. If it doesn’t mean that, then keep it to yourself or stay home in protest if you like. But I can’t see how this would do anything other than disrupt a great event.

  • http://dlkelley.wordpress.com dlkelley

    Thanks, Kara – that’s exactly what I was trying to say (but you said it much more clearly!).

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    My very point! Because (Christian conservative), if you don't grant the gay Christian full and absolute equality with yourself, then, in fact, you are not extending the same degree of respect that you want for yourself. Which would then make your "I see you the way I want to be seen" overture manifestly, obviously, clearly, completely, undeniably, fully bogus.

    You cannot, cannot, cannot simultaneously reject and embrace parity. You either see GLBT people as your moral equal, or you don't. And you don't, because your understanding of the Bible will not let you.

    This is logic so clear, and so simple, that it's amazing anyone would even try to argue it. It's like arguing that getting thrown into a pool of water doesn't really make you wet. It does. It always has. It always will. It can't be changed.

    You want full respect. You can't give it.

    Done.

    As Christians, the least we can do is have enough respect for the truth to not dissemble about it.

  • Sarah

    I do think the original intent of the card is sincere. It’s the earnestness with which I grew up and, as a teen, I would have found it to say exactly what I felt–that I would not participate in bullying others because I did not want to be bullied myself.

    It is so very very very sad that the beautiful sentiment of the Golden Rule has become so desperately twisted by this in-fighting within our own faith community, as much as by the fighting between the loudest “christians” and their detractors. So I am a little bit naive still at 40. When I first saw it, my response was, “That’s gorgeous!” John (et al) had to remind me that our world has twisted the words of Jesus into something that is both condescending and…how did you put it? A lie. Excuse me for a moment as I sit here and cry.

    Because I cry for everyone who ends up being silenced by this.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Warren: You said, “This is one way to have [evangelical youth] think about glbt people, as peers and equals.” Admirable goal! I would have thought that, as the conservative Christian I believed you to be, you would not, in fact, hold Christians and GBLT folk to be peers and equals at all. I would have guessed that you firmly believe that God doesn’t think GBLT people are anywhere near the moral equivalent of Christians—that, in fact, as punishment for the severity of their moral shortcomings—as a measurement, in other words, of just how immoral they are—all unrepentant homosexuals are condemned by God to spend eternity in hell. But I guess I was wrong about that? I guess instead you believe that GBLT people hold the same moral status as Christians—that they really are the moral peers and equals of Christians?

  • http://www.goldenrulepledge.com Warren Throckmorton

    John – Heterosexuality is not one of the keys to the Kingdom.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    I didn’t say anything like I thought it is. I said nothing beyond basically repeating your assertion that GLBT people and Christians are morally equal. You said you wanted evangelical Christians to consider GLBT people as “peers and equals.” I only remarked that I’m surprised you feel that way, since conservative Christians usually feel that God doesn’t see it that way at all, and so of course can’t see it that way themselves.

  • http://mymenandme.wordpress.com Janelle

    Does it really have to be so complicated? I just want to teach my kids to be respectful. Treating others with respect is the essence of true Christianity, I think. And respect must be the essential starting point, middle point, and ending point of any meaningful conversation, no matter how inflammatory the subject matter.

  • http://www.goldenrulepledge.com Warren Throckmorton

    John – I was agreeing with you. :)

  • Kara

    Warren-

    I thoroughly admire and support the goals of GRP, as you’ve just explained them. Please understand that my skepticism is only because of the extreme negative reaction that the DOS has faced from evangelicals in the past.

    Bridge building is always wonderful, and I’m truly saddened to realize that the current cultural atmosphere has made me question the motivation of something as simple as handing out a card with the Golden Rule on it. It’s a sign of how much bridge building still remains to be done, I suppose.

    Thank you for being willing to reach out and make an organized effort to show LGBT students that not all who profess faith in Christ view them as the enemy. As an LGBT Christian, it’s not something I saw much in my local Christian community. So for taking a stand against those who oppose anti-bullying efforts, I salute you.

  • Kara

    John-

    Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your provision of the forum for this discussion. Sorry if it gets stressful for you; please know that I pray for you regularly. In essence, you da man.

    Janelle-

    Does it really have to be so complicated? I just want to teach my kids to be respectful. Treating others with respect is the essence of true Christianity, I think. And respect must be the essential starting point, middle point, and ending point of any meaningful conversation, no matter how inflammatory the subject matter.

    I wish it didn't have to be. I like to hope that someday it won't be. But the very issue that the DOS is addressing is part of why it is and will be complicated. Gay kids get beaten up, mocked, threatened, and generally tormented because of who they are. People still get to vote on our legal, secular, civil rights. Pastors (and beauty queens) still say that God wants us to die. That the world would be better if we were dead. Or they don't say that directly, but say we're rapists, child molesters, without conscience, etc. And just because most readers here don't think those things doesn't mean anyone gets to deny that that's the reality LGBT people live with. It'll be uncomplicated when everyone recognizes us as true equals, but not before.

    : Is it not possible to view something a different way than someone else, or even to live a different way than someone else, and yet treat that person decently and respectfully? ”

    Yes. This is how I'm still able to have a relationship with every single one of my relatives except for my brother.

    However, it's a two-way street. Part of "treating me decently and respectfully" involves treating me like a grown-up, and not harping on how wrong they think I'm living my life. They support gay rights, even though they don't agree with my interpretation of scripture. They don't question my salvation, or the health of my relationship with God. They don't treat me like a project to be fixed. They don't disrespect me by implying that being happily gay is the same as lying, stealing, cheating, or drunkenness, because they know that I'd never want to do anything that doesn't respect or show love for another person.

    I don't care what anybody thinks about the Greek meaning of Romans 1:26-27, or about the cultural context of Levitical law. Not really. As long as they recognize my equality. That's basic respect.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Kara: No, no stress: but thanks for concern/love. But … no. I mean, I do this, like, ALL the time, for years now. I didn’t say anything today that I haven’t said a trillion times before. My whole book “I’m OK” is about this EXACT topic. So, for me, it’s …. natural, I guess. But, again, thanks for regards.

      Nice comment!

  • Kara

    Glad to hear it, John. I'm the kind of person who gets mega-stressed by saying stuff I've said a trillion times before, myself, but for our sakes and yours, I'm certainly glad you aren't. (Still pray for you, though. "I'm OK" changed my spiritual world, and y'know, you wrote it, so lifting you up seems like the least I can do.)

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Kara: Wow. That's … extremely touching of you to say. Thank you!

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Wow. So … logic just isn’t your thing.

    I give up on this little … tangent.

  • Kara

    You lost me at "John Piper", but the basic misunderstanding of the First Amendment still managed to stand out. Just saying. (Also, the Day of Silence isn't publicly funded.)

  • onemansbeliefs

    John: Would your responses above be the same if gay Christian in this discussion was replaced with lying Christian?

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    I’m sorry; I’m afraid I’m not quite grasping the question? Do I … equate lying Christians with gay Christians, you mean?

  • onemansbeliefs

    No sir, I am not asking if you equate lying Christians with gay Christians. Suppose the title of this post was “Christian Teens and Lying Teens: It’s in the Cards”… Would your responses be in the same vein?

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    I’m sorry, but I have the feeling I’m not going to be able to suss out a helpful response to this. I’d have to go back and, every time I see that I or anyone else has written or implied the word “gay,” in my mind insert the word “lying”—and then compare how that makes me feel with how I felt about the original statement.

    And you’re saying that you’re not asking me to equate “gay” with “lying”? Because … that seems to be kind of exactly what you’re asking?

    Is there any chance that you could boil down what you’re meaning to ask into something more … direct, if you see what I mean? Do you know what it is that you’re … sort of meaning to ask me?

  • onemansbeliefs

    Thought it was boiled down all the way. My apologies. In the immortal words of Miss Emily Litella…. “Nevermind”

  • http://mymenandme.wordpress.com Janelle

    Between all of the acronyms and the attempts to explain points of view, I am probably not understanding everyone totally correctly. My only thoughts are: Is it not possible to view something a different way than someone else, or even to live a different way than someone else, and yet treat that person decently and respectfully? Am I lying if I say that I will commit to treating someone respectfully (which is how I want to be treated) even if I don’t agree with them in certain areas?

  • http://ramblingsofaspiritualidiot.wordpress.com ~Julia~

    John: “You either see GLBT people as your moral equal, or you don’t. And you don’t, because your understanding of the Bible will not let you.”

    This was my point the other regarding your post respecting another’s non-Christian faith; one cannot respect another’s non-Christian faith (or sexual orientation in this case) while simultaneously looking down one’s nose at them.

    Janelle: “My only thoughts are: Is it not possible to view something a different way than someone else, or even to live a different way than someone else, and yet treat that person decently and respectfully? ”

    That too is my querry.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Janelle: But there’s such a massive difference between “I don’t agree with you in certain areas,” and “it’s in the Holy Book of my religion that my God will condemn you to hell forever for the way you live and the things you think.” That’s not a disagreement about “certain areas.” That’s the most profound disagreement with every area.

    If you’re gay, you understand that conservative Christians don’t disagree with you a little. They think you’re so very, very wrong, about so very, very much, that as punishment for just how wrong you are, they’re convinced you’re going to spend eternity and hell. They know that conservative Christians think they’re about as wrong as wrong gets. You aren’t constantly being compared to a child molester, and/or the most craven kind of sinner, and not pretty clearly get that message.

  • http://ramblingsofaspiritualidiot.wordpress.com ~Julia~

    John: “If you’re gay, you understand that conservative Christians don’t disagree with you a little. They think you’re so very, very wrong, about so very, very much, that as punishment for just how wrong you are, they’re convinced you’re going to spend eternity and hell. They know that conservative Christians think they’re about as wrong as wrong gets. You aren’t constantly being compared to a child molester, and/or the most craven kind of sinner, and not pretty clearly get that message.”

    Indeed.

    Even though I applaud Dr Throckmorton’s idea with the DOS and bridge building between Gays and conservative Christians, I think the conservative Christians are just going to errect more baricades to the bridge.

  • onemansbeliefs

    John: I know, I’m living on the edge…

    You’ve stated in comments on this post and others that conservative Christians believe that gays will spend eternity in hell. Where do you get this belief? Is it from the words and attitudes of conservative Christians? Is it from Scriptural references provided to you by conservative Christians?

    I ask, because I would possibly fall in the realm of conservative Christian (okay, I’m a fundy and believe the Bible is the literal Word of God) and I find no biblical basis requiring hellfire for any sin. The rejection of Jesus as Lord (and sacrifice for sin) is the only reason for eternal damnation.

    I do not ask to engender strife, I just wish to understand…

    Keep in mind, you are my favorite living author…

    Should you die, you drop a couple notches :)

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Janelle: I don’t think it’s complicated at ALL; it’s actually hard for me to imagine anything much simpler.

    Oneman’s: Well, that’s awfully kind of you to say. As to where I got my understanding of the way conservative Christians view homosexuality … I’m not actually sure of the question. I think everyone knows that conservative Christians believe that the unrepentant homosexual is destined to spend eternity … away from God, or in Someplace Bad, or however any individual conservative Christian might put it. But, you know: homosexuality is BAD. Conservative Christians believe that homosexuality is extremely wrong, and in blatant violation of the Bible and its edicts and prescriptions, and something that the homosexual, through the power of accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and savior, should CHANGE about him or her self, but pronto, before he or she dies and then has to suffer the consequences of their sinful “lifestyle” throughout all eternity.

    Anyway, ya’ll this has been fun. But enough; I’ve certainly done my share of writing on this subject, and no doubt will write more. But not anymore. Not here, in this way. But carry on, of course. I’ll be reading, and monitoring. Just not responding. Love.

  • http://www.illinoisfamily.org Laurie Higgins

    I haven’t had the time to read all of the blog posts here, but I am the person who started the boycott of high schools that allow students to refuse to speak in class on the Day of Silence.

    I guess I am also a member of what Warren Throckmorton refers to as the “far right.” If he’s referring to my religious convictions regarding the ontology and morality of homosexuality, I hold the same orthodox views as Hadley Arkes, Francis Beckwith, Henri Blocher, Joseph Bottum, Michael L. Brown, Don Browning, D.A. Carson, Charles Chaput, Mark Dever, Anthony Esolen, Douglas Farrow, John S. Feinberg, David F. Forte, John Frame, Robert Gagnon, Robert George, Arthur Goldberg, Wayne Grudem, John Finnis, Harold James, Stanton Jones, Walter Kaiser, Meredith Kline, Peter Kreeft, Daniel Lapin, Al Mohler, Douglas Moo, Russell Moore, Jennifer Roback Morse, Mark Noll, David Novak, J.I. Packer, John Piper, Patrick Henry Reardon, Leland Ryken, Thomas Schreiner, Roger Scruton, Janet E. Smith, Katherine Shaw Spaht, John Stott, Seanna Sugrue, Bruce Ware, Thomas Weinandy, W. Bradford Wilcox, Christopher Wolfe, N.T. Wright, and Ravi Zacharias.

    But perhaps Warren is describing me as “far right” because of my unease with and opposition to the Day of Silence which brings social and political action into the classroom.

    Unlike Warren, until August 2008, I worked full-time for a decade in a public high school. I object to the Day of Silence first because it asks students to remain silent during instructional time.

    Public schools have an academic mission. Their mission is to teach history, economics, foreign languages, science, literature, writing, mathematics, art, music, and P.E . Students should be free to attend class without being confronted by divisive issues–even issues which I staunchly support, like the life issue.

    We need to think more carefully about what the proper purview of government schools is and what the implications of allowing political action in the classroom are. What if an anti-war group wants to remain silent during class to draw attention to the voices of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan; and what if another group wants to remain silent during class to draw attention to the silenced voices of women in Muslim countries; and another wants to remain silent during class to draw attention to the plight of persecuted Christians around the world; and an animal rights group wants to remain silent during class to draw attention to animals killed during medical research.

    But my objection to the Day of Silence is not merely to its means of exploiting instructional time to promote GLSEN’s unproven, non-factual, a-historical views of the ontology and morality of homosexuality.

    I have other objections to the Day of Silence that I don’t we don’t have, for example, to the Pro-life Day Of Silent Solidarity–which, by the way, I do not think should intrude into instructional time.

    First, the Day of Silence is entrenched in thousands of schools, including middle schools, whereas, to my knowledge, the Day of Silent Solidarity takes place in very few schools.

    In addition, and more importantly, the Day of Silence is problematic not merely because of its intrusion into the classroom but also for its ultimate goal which is the normalization of homosexuality. With the Day of Silence, I object to the means, the message, and the goals.

    I am deeply troubled by the use of public funds and government schools to promote unproven ontological and moral views of homosexuality. Censorship in curricula of resources that affirm conservative views is pervasive and absolute. The Day of Silence is just one more effort on top of countless others within public education to affirm “progressive” views of homosexuality and Gender Identity Disorder.

    While students read plays, novels, essays, editorials; hear speakers; watch films; and are exposed to homosexuality-affirming “anti-bullying” resources, they are never exposed to even a single essay by a conservative scholar. What schools should be doing is requiring that equal time be spent on both sides of any controversial issue, and that equivalent resources be presented to students.

    It’s fascinating to me that those who claim to value diversity, to honor all voices, and to foster critical thinking, censor with carefree and absolute abandon the voices of all scholars who articulate conservative views on homosexuality.

    What I find both fascinating and hypocritical is that civil libertarians don’t rise up in righteous indignation over this pervasive censorship.

    I know from working full-time in a public high school that many parents, students, and teachers–both liberal and conservative–intensely dislike the Day of Silence. Teachers don’t like the controversy that the day generates, and they don’t like having to create lesson plans around student silence. Students don’t like having to deal with the controversy in every class. And parents don’t send their children to school to have political action intrude into the math, science, foreign language, social studies, and English classes of their children. GLSEN and its student disciples have no right to impose their moral views on public school classes.

    When GLSEN asserts that the Day of Silence is centrally about ending bullying–a goal that all decent humans share–they deliberately omit a description of the means by which they seek to end bullying: they seek to end bullying by normalizing homosexuality and demonizing as hateful bigotry all conservative moral propositions about the nature and morality of homosexuality. Equally troubling is that they seek to use public funds and public schools to undermine the beliefs of other people’s children.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Laurie: Just to help us understand, when you say, "I am the person who started the boycott of high schools that allow students to refuse to speak in class on the Day of Silence," what do you mean by "the boycott." What form does the boycott of which you are a proponent take? Is the idea that you want kids on that day to stay home from school?

    • Greg

      Laurie: I’m sorry, but you lost me at your very first line, “I haven’t had the time to read all of the blog posts here, but…”

      The problem with this is, it’s clear you believe YOUR post to be, by definition, more important than anyone else’s. You might not have taken the time to read the thoughts of everyone else, but you certainly took plenty of time to formulate your own, well-thought out and lengthy reply. Unfortuantely, this is, I think, at the very crux of what is wrong with us all — the idea that, because it’s mine, my belief system is inherently more correct and more important than yours.

      Kinda hard to preach the Golden Rule, if you don’t really believe it.

  • http://mymenandme.wordpress.com Janelle

    Kara: Thank you for your thoughts. I appreciate the tone you have taken and I am not trying to minimize the struggle you face. I have family members and friends who are gay and their struggles are definitely real and, well, complicated as you say. And, of course, they are passionate about the struggle because it is theirs. I cannot truthfully say that I am as passionate as they or you are, just as you would not be as passionate about the things that deeply touch my heart. What I am trying to say is that I am one mother, in one family, trying to raise compassionate, caring, serving children. And, no matter the peoples or issues they will face in their lives, I pray they will face them with compassion and respect. Because I don't see it as a "two way street". That's my point. The only weapon I have to fight the negativity and the hate, no matter which side of the issue it comes from, is my goal of respectfulness. It is how I sanely deal with the drug-addicted parents of my foster children, the anti-gay people in my church, my atheist friends, the grumpy store clerk… (Not always perfectly, of course!) Anyway, thanks for the conversation. God bless you.

    John: I get what you are saying. Thanks for saying it.

  • Kara

    High-five to you, Janelle, and major kudos on raising your kids to respect other people. Language is so problematic in this kind of debate, and so is the toneless, faceless, gestureless medium of internet communication.

    Two-way street was exactly the wrong phrase for me to use, and I'm not really sure why I chose it. I guess what I meant to say was that genuine respect takes more than just saying you respect someone else. My parents, whom I disagree with on this theological issue, still show me genuine respect through both their actions and their words.

    I really appreciate your kind response. For bridge-building efforts to succeed, the world needs more people willing to go beyond the negativity and treat everyone on all sides with full human dignity. Thanks again.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    I'll have to come back to read all these comments… probably not today (the way today is going).

    I'm glad Dr. Throckmorton calls upon your insights here, John.

    I think GRP cards have the potential to be seen as not only an insult to gay students but also as an insult to the conservative Christian student being handed a stack to hand out. As in, "What? Are you implying I'm not already doing this?"

    I think the issue with the GRP cards and Christians more conservative than me (CMCTM) is that many believe vocal opposition to homosexuality IS living the golden rule. As in: "If I'm sinning, I WANT someone to correct me — to rebuke me and to help me, with love, to be restored to a right relationship with God."

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Ric: Nice. Thanks. (And I'm totally stealing CMCTM. Love it.)

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Janelle and Kara: All right, you two—get a room.

    No, DON'T!! That would be wrong.

    Okay, do.

    No don't.

    Okay, do—but don't answer the knock at your door. It'll be Ric, trying to pretend like he wants to borrow some ice, or something.

  • Kara

    After reading her post, I did a quick google search on Laurie Higgins and found some quotes that I think provide a little context and background to her comment.

    "What is alarming about the account of the German Evangelical Church's reprehensible failure [in combating Hitler] is its similarity to the ongoing disheartening story of the contemporary American church's failure to respond appropriately to the spread of radical, heretical, destructive views of homosexuality."

    (I cannot help myself: I call Godwin's Law.)

    "Dr. Throckmorton misapplies the "Golden Rule" in his efforts to promote heretical views of the nature and morality of homosexuality."

    "Dr. Throckmorton believes that "Christian students should be leading the way to make schools safe and build bridges to those who often equate 'Christian' with condemnation." In this statement, Dr. Throckmorton glaringly omits the truth that Christians must condemn volitional homosexual conduct. And to those who view homosexuality as moral, this necessary Christian condemnation of homosexual behavior renders homosexual students unsafe."

    I found these quotes illuminating, so I thought I'd share them.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    haha. borrowing ice!

    Like I would actually bring it back!

    I'll actually be handing out GPRs to CMCTMs.

  • Sharon

    Hmm…I guess I see the GRP card as Christian groups stealing someone else's thunder, horning in on another group's statement. You know, like, leave us alone, stop preaching AT us, butt out and get your own Day of the Golden Rule already.

    Also, we all know how a lot of Christians feel about gay people, and we all know what the Bible says about the way we should treat each other, and if there hadn't been such a huge disconnect between what Christians claim they believe and what they actually do, no one would need a Day Of Anything, so the GRP card only emphasizes the hypocrisy gay people have had to live with for eons.

  • http://ramblingsofaspiritualidiot.wordpress.com ~Julia~

    "Also, we all know how a lot of Christians feel about gay people, and we all know what the Bible says about the way we should treat each other, and if there hadn’t been such a huge disconnect between what Christians claim they believe and what they actually do, no one would need a Day Of Anything, so the GRP card only emphasizes the hypocrisy gay people have had to live with for eons."

    Well said, Sharon.

    Kara, thanks for the info. Very enlightening, and disturbing.

  • http://ramblingsofaspiritualidiot.wordpress.com ~Julia~

    "I think the issue with the GRP cards and Christians more conservative than me (CMCTM) is that many believe vocal opposition to homosexuality IS living the golden rule. As in: “If I’m sinning, I WANT someone to correct me — to rebuke me and to help me, with love, to be restored to a right relationship with God.”"

    The problem is, like Sharon said above, is the gapping chasm in the different messages Chrisianity and Christians send; 'Jesus loves you, but God hates everything else about you, especially your gayness.'

    I dont think that is the message Jesus was trying to send.

    Then again….

  • http://www.goldenrulepledge.com Warren Throckmorton

    Julia said: The problem is, like Sharon said above, is the gapping chasm in the different messages Chrisianity and Christians send; ‘Jesus loves you, but God hates everything else about you, especially your gayness.’

    I am aware that some interpret the Golden Rule as a backhanded way of justifying condemnation. However, we completely reject that kind of thinking. The GRP intends to send a much different and very simple message. I pledge to respect and honor you.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    But "that kind of thinking" isn't yours to reject, Warren. It's a fact. It already exists. It's got a long, deeply-entrenched, new-every-day history. Jesus/God may or may not utterly reject and condemn gays, but CHRISTIANS do, everywhere, all the time, in overwhelming numbers, with astounding constancy. And Christians DO use the Bible as their moral justification for actively and vociferously condemning LGBT people.. And all LGBT people know it–and have lived with it, and have been insulted and maligned and hurt by it, all of their lives.

    The intention of you or anyone handing out the Golden Rule cards is completely, absolutely irrelevant. A Christian—much less a conservative Christian, who are the people you most directly target as potential users of the GR card—handing a LGBT person a card with a Bible quote on it as a means of communicating how much they see that person as their "peer and equal" is manifestly absurd. The Christians who'll be handing out those cards don't "respect and honor" the LGBT person. Saying they do is a lie. You're telling young people to go out and purposefully, consciously, methodically, smugly lie. I really, really don't like that.

    Spray painting dog mess pink doesn't make it candy.

  • http://www.goldenrulepledge.com Warren Throckmorton

    I am really thinking about how to apply the Golden Rule in this situation. I feel it is not constructive for you to say I am asking people to lie when I am clearly not doing that. I believe it is constructive to disagree with a viewpoint and say so. However, saying that Christians who hand out those cards don't respect and honot LGBT persons is just not accurate. Maybe some don't, but you cannot know the hearts of all those who do and have done this the last two years.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    If you really wanted to apply the GR to gays, you'd be telling Christians to reject the idea that there's anything intrinsically wrong with being LGBT, to actually restructure their conception of their theology so that it grants full and absolute okayness with anyone being gay. THAT'S respect. If you really wanted to show full respect to gays, and to fully "honor" them, you'd be advocating those kids hand out cards that say, "I reject the idea that God has any problem whatsoever with homosexuality."

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    Perhaps the next generation will attempt to live out the GR more if they are enlisted into this card campaign. Perhaps, by reading the card and handing it out, the words will start to sink into the minds and hearts of the young people hand them out. I don't think this is the intent but it may become a side effect.

    By asking youth to hand out this GRP card, we are challenging them to live out the GRP. This will cause them to think and, no doubt, rethink how the world and the church treat gays, because kids KNOW they do not want that same treatment for themselves.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Obviously, I profoundly disagree with you: I say the Christians who hand out those cards DON’T fully (and that’s really the key) respect and honor LGBT people, because with every fiber of their being they feel morally superior to them. It’s exactly that simple.

    But I certainly appreciate your forbearance with me on this, Warren. You’ve been great.

  • Kara

    Here's what I think John is saying, although I obviously don't speak for him:

    All other things being equal, the vast majority of Christians think that a monogamous-for-life straight person is morally superior to a monogamous-for-life gay person. So it's not about saying "you can't respect me unless you agree with me," it's about saying "you can't respect me while you still think a world would be morally superior if there were no gays in it".

    I never did, and still never have, met a straight Christian teenager who fully respected any gay people. The nicest of them viewed gay people as projects, or as objects of pity. The rest reserved "faggot" as their most cutting insult. My experience may not be universal, but I know it's not worse than average, at least among the experiences of my gay friends.

    Christian teens are usually worse, is the reality. What they could be is really a moot point, in a lot of ways. We can talk about whether or not they could respect me while believing that my day-to-day life is an abomination to God. But the real point is that it's extremely unlikely that they will fully respect me while they can continue use their theology as an excuse not to.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Yeah, baby.

  • http://www.goldenrulepledge.com Warren Throckmorton

    ric booth wrote:

    Perhaps the next generation will attempt to live out the GR more if they are enlisted into this card campaign. Perhaps, by reading the card and handing it out, the words will start to sink into the minds and hearts of the young people hand them out. I don’t think this is the intent but it may become a side effect.

    By asking youth to hand out this GRP card, we are challenging them to live out the GRP. This will cause them to think and, no doubt, rethink how the world and the church treat gays, because kids KNOW they do not want that same treatment for themselves.

    Ric – Why do you think your hope is not part of the intent? It certainly is.

    John – Sounds like you are saying that people who believe certain sexuals behavior are sin have no ability to follow the Golden Rule when it comes to people who believe those sexual behaviors are not sin. Is that right?

  • http://rebeccaluellamiller.wordpress.com/ Rebecca LuElla Miller

    If you really wanted to show full respect to gays, and to fully “honor” them, you’d be advocating those kids hand out cards that say, “I reject the idea that God has any problem whatsoever with homosexuality.”

    By saying this, John, you’re saying the only way you can fully respect a person is to agree with them. I’m sorry. I respect you, but I don’t agree with you on this point.

    Becky

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    No….actually, I’m not saying that.

    Anyway, I’m done with this. Again. But, of course, anyone who cares to carry on is more than welcome to.

  • http://ramblingsofaspiritualidiot.wordpress.com ~Julia~

    Beautiful post, Kara.

    You said: ” But the real point is that it’s extremely unlikely that they will fully respect me while they can continue use their theology as an excuse not to.”

    And that is why the bridge will never have a chance.

    And not just between Christians and gays, but between Christians and all non-Christians.

    I just dont see it happening. Christians will simp;y refuse to respect, refuse to accept, refuse to honor anyone who is not like them. If they did, then it would no longer be Christianity.

    And thus the chasm remains….

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      I really reject that blanket pessimism, Julia. You clearly don’t know the same kinds of Christians I do.

      • Ana

        Well; somethings up then. I know some sweet, good natured Christians. But I know ALOT of sour and mean ones. The sour and mean ones I have met are VERY cruel to people who do not believe their points of views, they have tried to force them onto my brother, and when he didn’t accept it, and told them to leave him be, they basically called him a satanist and was band from their church for being too different from the rest of them. ( He only went because he loved a girl there, and because we had a cousin going who he was close to. )

        What I’m saying is, while there are good Christians, there are many that will never accept someone different from them who do not live as they do. This might sound rude on my behalf, but it is the truth, I think Christians just.. can’t see anymore, how cruel they can be, because they believe they are the only ones right, and those who say other wise, are not.

        Though, all religion is like this, so I think that’s why I refuse to follow any.

  • Kara

    I dunno if I’d be willing to extrapolate from the specific to the more general, in this case. I’m a pessimist about Christian teenagers respecting gay people while still believing homosexuality is an affront to God. I’m less pessimistic about the prospect of Christians in general being able to respect non-Christians in general. Because I like to think that I do, anyways. I don’t think I’m better than them in any way, shape, form, etc. I don’t think that they’re ignorant or crazy or illogical for not believing the spiritual things I do. I know non-Christians who are so much better at living how I wish I lived that it’s not even funny.

    I’d have faith in Christian teens’ ability to respect me if they didn’t think of my gayness as a deficiency to be glossed over or worked around. I don’t view people of other faiths as having a deficiency to be glossed over or worked around.

    The bridge has a chance to reach both gays and non-Christians. It’s just a matter of whether or not Christians are willing to come to a place where we truly believe that we are not superior to them; whether we’re willing to reexamine how much of what we do is of God, and how much is tradition created by flawed human beings.

  • http://www.goldenrulepledge.com Warren Throckmorton

    Julia: I get you. Given the way that respect is defined by Kara and John, I would be pessimistic as well.

    Kara said:

    But the real point is that it’s extremely unlikely that they will fully respect me while they can continue use their theology as an excuse not to.

    Theology is not “used” as “an excuse” for me. It is an expression of what I believe the Bible teaches me. I wish I could see it differently but if I am intellectually honest about it, I can’t. Your characterization of those who disagree with you about what the Bible teaches on sexuality seems to me as off the mark as those who say that gays use their interpretation of the Bible to excuse their behavior. You seem to regard my beliefs as something I could just change if I were more accepting of you.

    You then said:

    I don’t think I’m better than them in any way, shape, form, etc. I don’t think that they’re ignorant or crazy or illogical for not believing the spiritual things I do.

    But apparently you do think my theology is used as an excuse for failure to respect you. And you think that with the only evidence that I think believe something different than you do. I can say that I don’t think that I am better than you but you don’t believe me because of the theology which you say I am using as an excuse. At least this is what I am getting out of what you have written.

  • http://ramblingsofaspiritualidiot.wordpress.com ~Julia~

    John:”I really reject that blanket pessimism, Julia. You clearly don’t know the same kinds of Christians I do. ”

    I’m afraid I dont. I dont see the Christians you know, John. I dont see them, I dont hear them. Where all y’all? Why are you so few?

    Kara, I wish I could believe the bridge has a chance. I really do. I see little hopeful steps now and again. But then you see the baricade builders scream at any attempt at a bridge and throw more bricks to secure the divide. I want to belive the chasm can be bridged, but I just dont see it happening. And now that I have a gay step daughter entering into college this year, I fear the bricks that may be flung at her. She has enough scars, I dont want any Christians causing more.

    Christianity at is core is about they having God while the rest of us dont. That is one massive difference and a gigantic disconnect when it comes to bridge buliding. It flavors everything when Christianity views the non-Christian. Christians cant help it, it is what they believe. I’m afraid Christianty would emplod before it would change how it views non-Christians and gays.

    Dont get me wrong. I applaud any Christian willing to try and build that bridge.

    I just wish there were more of them.

    Alas, they seem to be a vastly outnumbered minority.

  • Kara

    Theology is not “used” as “an excuse” for me. It is an expression of what I believe the Bible teaches me. I wish I could see it differently but if I am intellectually honest about it, I can’t. Your characterization of those who disagree with you about what the Bible teaches on sexuality seems to me as off the mark as those who say that gays use their interpretation of the Bible to excuse their behavior. You seem to regard my beliefs as something I could just change if I were more accepting of you.

    Didn’t say it was, and don’t think it is. And I never said nor implied that someone couldn’t respect me while believing being gay was sinful. I implied that I could not fathom a universe where under the current social setup – where gays are already stigmatized and easy targets without a theological disagreement – straight Christian teenagers, as a group, would respect me.

    This is largely anecdotal. It’s largely based off my experiences with Christian teenagers both as a teen myself and since then. I never said it wasn’t possible. I said it wasn’t likely. I’ll stand by that. But I didn’t make value judgments about you, or about the possibility of respect from any individual. Just the likelihood of respect from a certain group.

    But apparently you do think my theology is used as an excuse for failure to respect you. And you think that with the only evidence that I think believe something different than you do. I can say that I don’t think that I am better than you but you don’t believe me because of the theology which you say I am using as an excuse. At least this is what I am getting out of what you have written.

    I think your theology is used that way in many cases, yes. That doesn’t mean I think you do that. If you did use it as an excuse to disrespect me, then I wouldn’t believe you. But it would be because you proved yourself false, not specifically because of your theology.

    I don’t think believing gayness is sin is morally wrong. I think it leads a ton of people to do morally wrong things. But I never said or meant to say anything about you, Dr. Warren. I like you. I really like what you’re trying to do. I’m just dubious about how well it will work on Christian teens in today’s environment. That’s all.

    Julia- I have to go to church now (I’m already running late) but I really want to reply to you when I get home. I’m not ignoring your comment.

  • http://ramblingsofaspiritualidiot.wordpress.com ~Julia~

    No prob, Kara.

  • http://Www.sisterfriends-together.org Anita

    Leave it to me to come late to the party…

    Julia said, "Kara, I wish I could believe the bridge has a chance. I really do. I see little hopeful steps now and again. But then you see the baricade builders scream at any attempt at a bridge and throw more bricks to secure the divide. I want to belive the chasm can be bridged, but I just dont see it happening. And now that I have a gay step daughter entering into college this year, I fear the bricks that may be flung at her. She has enough scars, I dont want any Christians causing more."

    Julia, so there goes the saying that NOTHING is impossible with God and so therewithin lies my hope as a Christian in faith and an ever-so gay in sexual orientation. If Gid could build a bridge in MY life in my own journey of reconciliation then building a bridge that will bring us all together in mutual love and respect seems a cakewalk. Like others I'm committed to that being accomplished. The bridge HAS been built…..the only question is whether everyone will choose to crossover. On that I would say, probably not.

  • Kara

    Kara, I wish I could believe the bridge has a chance. I really do. I see little hopeful steps now and again. But then you see the baricade builders scream at any attempt at a bridge and throw more bricks to secure the divide. I want to belive the chasm can be bridged, but I just dont see it happening. And now that I have a gay step daughter entering into college this year, I fear the bricks that may be flung at her. She has enough scars, I dont want any Christians causing more.

    I understand so much it isn’t even funny.

    My life’s dream is to join the Air Force. But I’m gay, so I don’t know if that will even be an option for me when I graduate. They’re debating my equality in the Senate. Barricade builders are screaming for them to say I’m not good enough to serve, just because I’m gay. I know the hurt and the hopelessness.

    But I also believe minds are changing. I believe that because I’ve seen it in my life. I honestly believe that people like Laurie Higgins and her “family institute” are fast headed toward political irrelevance. I honestly believe that those who want to deny us civil equality are headed to the same historical resting place with those who wanted to deny equality based on race and gender. Mainstream Christianity was on the wrong side of those debates too.

    Christianity at is core is about they having God while the rest of us dont. That is one massive difference and a gigantic disconnect when it comes to bridge buliding. It flavors everything when Christianity views the non-Christian. Christians cant help it, it is what they believe. I’m afraid Christianty would emplod before it would change how it views non-Christians and gays.

    For some, that may be what it’s about. For me, it’s about having found the spiritual path that fulfills me. I hope everyone finds the spiritual path that fulfills them.

    But then again, I am quite an outlier on this issue. You’re right, with regard to the average mainstream Christian. And I know firsthand that it’s miserable to be a target of their disdain. But it’ll still probably sound trite when I say that time can change things. The church has opened on gender and race. They’ve softened on issues of internal debate. They’re slowly starting to move toward respecting gays. I really believe that in time, movements in support of what John talks about in I’m Okay, You’re Not will take root in the Church. I really believe that someday we will be more concerned about loving our neighbor as ourselves than trying to convert them.

    I’m an optimist, I guess.

  • http://Www.sisterfriends-together.org Anita

    Oh and need I even add that where my previous post said Gid it was suppose to be God? just fat fingers on an iPhone and not another name for the Almighty.

  • http://ramblingsofaspiritualidiot.wordpress.com ~Julia~

    Kara, dont give up on your dream.

    My step daughter for many years dreamed of entering the military, but too many physical limitations (she has Turner Syndrome) prevents a career there. But it has not stopped her determination to be all she can be. She applied every ounce of herself all through high school, absolutely refusing any grade below an A. She is in the top three in her class and has earned the Dean’s Scholarship to one of the more prestigious colleges in this area with a shot at the President’s Scholarship, which will give her a free ride. She will be studying law. Not only am I proud of her I have no doubt she will be blazing a trail over that bridge.

    For I see, Kara, Anita, I believe the bridge as under construction. Do I think some inroads have been made? Oh yes, I do. Yet, I see this as a long and uphill battle. There is way too much archiac beliefs, ignorance and paranoia that must be addresssed and healed. Many will vehemently resist any change and will do their damndest to reinforce the baricades. Christianity as a whole is going to have to change dramatically. That is one big battle as just the comments on this thread have demonstrated.

    I see hope in the life of my daughter and in folks like you, Kara and Anita. My daughter has one epic battle out there to face. I am proud of her and I fear for her. There is way too much paranoid prejuduces that she will be the target of. Yet I know she will be strong and will take care of herself.

    She, as is all our children are and will be the bridge builders. I fear for them, I support them, yet I am proud of them. The world they will build will be magnificent.

    We ARE getting there. One child at a time.

    I just wish the battles and the bridges were already well behind us and not have to be fought by our children.

    And I hope I am still alive when our children do bring in that glorious world.

    Thanks for listening.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Group hug!

  • http://www.aelc.edu.au/the-naked-ape-blog/index.html Nathan

    John, as an ex-fundamentalist Christian (any intellectual option not orientation), I think Warren’s endeavour has the opportunity to make conservative Christians less intolerant and less hypocritical. Therefore it should be encouraged.

    The magnitude of ‘less’ will depend on the how honest the said conservative Christians are in rebuking and standing up to homophobic insults in the future. In all probability, less will be substantially equivalent to nothing and, added to the insult implicit in the cards themelves, will be worse than nothing.

    Part of the problem is that people in the ‘in group’ (the one with the greatest social standing) do not recognise the bigotry they are perpetuating or its significance. However, people in minorities are very much aware of it – feel it and recognise it for what it is. (http://www.aelc.edu.au/article/the-internal-racist-part-4.html) As a consequence, the majority group do not feel the same acute bigotry as the minority. In fact, they can completely fail to recognise it at all while it creates a toxic environment for the minority.

  • http://paulp187.wordpress.com paulp187

    Thank you for putting this up. I also have something to recommend to you and it is perfect for Christian teens. I have read it just a few days ago and loved it. Try to pick up "The Young Reader’s Guide to Understanding the Bible" at http://tinyurl.com/tyrgtutb . It is perfect for those who are on their way to better understanding the Bible

  • John Okoronkwo

    Love the gays but despise their act of homosexuality, hate no one God is love http://www.everydaydevotional.com/


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X