Wings on a Pig

Once upon a time the evangelical Christian’s typical response to homosexuality was that gay people are just messed up straight people who need to become better Christians so that God can stop them from being gay.

The complete failure of the “pray away the gay” movement, however, in conjunction with endless evidence that people are simply born gay, has succeeded in finally tossing that hoary argument onto the ash heap of history. But has that stopped evangelicals from arguing against homosexuality? Of course not. They just needed a new argument, is all.

And they found one. Today the Christian argument against gay people is typically … well, this, taken from an email recently sent me:

Would you support a serial adulterer who leaves his wife, but is just attracted to other women, because that’s who he is and how he was born?  How about an alcoholic who just can’t help himself? Would you support him as he leaves his wife for alcohol? Would you support a glutton? A man of extreme pride? Why does homosexuality get a pass, and not any other sin?

A person with homosexual desires who resists temptation is exactly the same as a married man who resists temptation to carry on affairs with other women—which is to say, a human being battling the temptation to sin. The most compassionate thing that we could tell someone struggling with homosexuality (or any other sin for that matter) is to keep resisting temptation. Keep battling. Don’t give in. This is your badge as a Christian, that you fight temptation.

Now the argument is that a gay person struggling against the temptation to be who they really are is no different from anyone else struggling to resist a “sinful” temptation. Now, in other words, the refrain isn’t that gay people should stop being gay. Now it’s that they should stop acting gay.

Evangelicals are positively enamored of this new argument. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it ten thousand times. We all have. You whisper “gay” into the ear of a sleeping evangelical, and there’s an excellent chance that he or she will start murmuring in their sleep, “Just like any other sinful temptation. We’re all sinners. Must resist temptation.”

And putting your brain to sleep before you say that is the very best way to say it, too. Because it’s an argument that could only make sense to a brain-dead person. It’s just too lame for words.

But lemme try to find some words anyway.

Virtually all sins share a crucial, defining, common quality. Because that quality, which is present in every other imaginable sin, is utterly absent from being or acting gay, insisting upon putting homosexuality into the same category as every other sin—or in the category of sin at all—is like gluing wings on a pig, and insisting that the result belongs in the category of “bird.” It doesn’t. It can’t. It won’t. Ever.

Here is that Big Difference between homosexuality and all those other activities generally understood to be “sinful”: There is no sin I can commit that, by virtue of my having committed it, renders me incapable of loving or being loved. I can commit murder. I can steal. I can rob. I can rape. I can drink myself to death. I can do any terrible thing at all, and no one would ever claim that intrinsic to the condition that gave rise to my doing that terrible thing is that I am, by nature, unqualified for giving or receiving love.

No one tells the chronic drinker, glutton, adulterer, gambler, or any other kind of sinner that having committed their sin—that being the way they are—means they must stop experiencing love.

Yet living without love is exactly what anti-gay Christians insist upon for gay people.

When you tell a gay person to “resist” being gay, what you are really telling them—what you really mean—is for them to be celibate. It’s okay for them to be gay; they just can’t live out their gayness.

What you mean is that you want them to condemn themselves to a life absolutely devoid of the kind of the romantic, long-term, emotionally and physically intimate love that all people, Christians included, understand not only as their birthright, but as just about the greatest part of being human.

Be alone, you’re demanding. Live alone. Don’t hold anyone’s hand. Don’t snuggle on your couch with anyone. Don’t cuddle up with anyone at night before you fall asleep. Don’t have anyone at your table to chat with over coffee in the morning.

Don’t have or raise children.

Don’t get married. Live your whole life without knowing that joy, that sharing, that fulfillment.

Be alone. Live alone. Die alone.

The “sinful temptation” that Christians are forever urging LGBT people to resist is love. [Tweet that.]

Now isn’t that funny, given that love is the one thing that Jesus was most clear about wanting his followers to extend to others? It’s just so funny it makes you want to laugh till you cry.

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.

  • Freda

    WOW. You really know how to open a can of Worms Supreme.

    First, let me say I absolutely adore you and your frankness and willingness to call a pig a pig. ;o) And I agree with you 99% of the time.

    On this issue, I must admit that I have questions and don't claim to have all the answers.

    However: I also admit when I believe in (or practice something) that goes against what the Bible teaches. I cannot, in good conscience, say that the Bible is OK with homosexuality. It is most definitely NOT. But is GOD OK with it? That's another question. Because I struggle constantly with the concept of the inerrancy of scripture: How much is written by men, how much is dictation by God?

    Which is why I can't definitively say that God is opposed to people who are in a loving and loyal relationship but I CAN say the Bible is. (My Christian fundamentalist friends and family may read this and have a heart attack at this point).

    But I DO want to point out that wanting to have sex with ANYthing or ANYone when you're in a committed relationship is something that needs to be fought. So your article yesterday (married man w/ homosexual desires) wasn't so much about homosexuality as it was about entertaining infidelity.

    • http://www.visionapp.com Paul Ardoin

      I don't believe the Bible — well, not the New Testament — condemns homosexuality.

      1) Leviticus has 2 verses against homosexuality. But the Old Testament has laws against eating pork and shellfish, and wearing different fabrics together (among others). Can you explain why you choose to follow this OT rule, and not others? (Try not to spill your bacon-wrapped shrimp on your cotton-polyester blend shirt when you answer.)

      2) 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy: Paul used the Greek word “arsenokoites”, a compound word composed of "male adult," and "bed" (with a sexual connotation–we get the English word "coitus" from this Greek term). This word appears almost nowhere else in Greek literature. No one knows what Paul was referring to when he said "sex-bed-men." It's translated into 26 different words in different versions of English Bibles! It could be referring to male prostitutes, males who participated in other religions’ ritual sex acts, pederasts–there are a zillion possibilities that DO NOT include regular ol’ gay people.

      Both passages, by the way, very strictly only apply to men. If you think the Bible contains ANYTHING against lesbians, you're making stuff up.

      So — most people think the Bible is against homosexuality because of an randomly-followed Old Testament law and what is very probably a messed-up translation. Having studied these passages, I don't believe the New Testament is against homosexuality at all.

      Sorry for repeating myself from a couple days ago, but I can't be silent on what I believe to be a serious misinterpretation.

      • Kara

        Thank you for noting that the Bible doesn't mention lesbianism. I don't appreciate because I believe lesbianism is okay and male homosexuality isn't, but because it makes very clear the bias that is the true motivation for Christian oppression of gay people. It's not about the Bible. Maybe for a few individuals, but not for the anti-gay movement.

        • http://none Don Rappe

          The fact that the old testament says nothing about Lesbianism, and almost nothing in the new testament, shows that the Bible finds no fault with God's sexual gift of erotic attraction. In men or women. The verses applied to men always seem to be making some other point, usually about wasting the "seed" or some form of idolatry.

        • http://www.visionapp.com Paul Ardoin

          I suppose I could be wasting my time and my breath, but I bring that up so that hopefully a few Christians will start examining why they believe the things they believe. I don't think homosexuality is wrong, and I believed that way before I knew about arsenokoites. But there's NO foundation for Christians' anti-gay stance unless they believe they should follow every O.T. law in the Pentateuch. And 99.99% of Christians don't.

        • Towmanster

          weather ur talking homosexual or lesbian it is still the same thing, the bible may not exacly say “lesbian” but it does cover the subject, the term “homosexual” literaly means (taken from wikipedia)

          “Homosexuality is romantic and/or sexual attraction or behavior among members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality refers to “an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectional, or romantic attractions” primarily or exclusively to people of the same sex;”

          And those who say the bible doesn’t talk about it or that it is wrong, just remember that God is all powerful creator of the universe, he created humans to worship him, and only those who except that has he given the right to become children of God. Gods word is ERY clear on Gods possition on the subject.

          Gal. 5:19 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.(NIV)

          • GeekGoddess

            Yes, but as someone who can read the new testament in its original language (Greek), I can tell you that theNew Testametn does not use the word homosexuality (as there is no Greek word for it), lesbianism, man-man love, any of it. If you really want to know what the Bible says, learn the language and study it, not the (fallible) English tranlsations.

      • Max

        I have come to the belief that Leviticus 18:22 is right:

        It is in fact sinful for men to boff other men.

        IF one or both of them is straight.

        I think Leviticus condemns the kind of sex that straight men have in prisons, aboard pirate ships, in all-male environments. That kind of sex tends to be the kind of sex that's devoid of love. And I think that Christianists have been confusing it with the kind of sex to healthy gay men (and two healthy gay women) share ever since the gays started coming out of the closet.

        • Mindy

          That makes sense, Max. If what is being condemned is sex without the context of a loving, committed, monogamous relationship, that's just fine. Because that sets the same boundaries for ALL people. Whether you agree with it or not – and there are a lot of people who see consensual sex as a healthy recreational activity – it is a reasonable religious stance, a "rule" that a fair and loving God might well impose upon His people. Don't be promiscuous. Don't share your body with someone outside the context of love.

          That is so not the same as condemning gay people – and I hope your message about the differentiation between those two "brands" of gay sex is heard loud and clear.

          • http://malianta.wordpress.com jutta

            Interesting point, Max and Mindy.

            Actually this is something I have been wondering about – I can see that everybody here on this forum speaks of the kind of gay love that is really an expression of love and with the appropriate commitment to one person. But I kept thinking that there is this other kind of "gay love" that as you say is sex devoid of love. As far as I can see those who go to gay bars etc do not share your interest in a healthy, loving, long-term relationship. But I guess for most people this is actually the first thing that comes to mind. Including myself, before I started reading the posts in this forum. Not just out of the blue but because of personal stories I have read.

            So how can you make the difference? How can you distance yourself from that type of gay life style, that gives all others a bad reputation?

          • Mindy

            Well, how do you, as a straight young college student, say, distance yourself from the party-hardy, casual sex, friends-with-benefits crowd that hangs out in bars, goes clubbing, etc.?

            Just because a stereotype indicates that gay people go to gay bars for casual hook-ups doesn't make it true for everyone. If I were gay, I can imagine going to a gay bar to hang out, have a beer, listen to music and not have to worry about being judged for watching the girls walk by instead of the boys. Of course, I'll end up being judged by someone else for just having walked into the gay bar in the first place . . .

            Gay people do not owe anyone an explanation about their own personal lifestyles just because straight people make assumptions about them based on stereotypes and rumors. It is not their obligation to distance themselves from those who give others a bad reputation any more than it is your job to distance yourself from the party crowd that has a less-than-stellar reputation. Most gays and lesbians just live their lives, eating in the same restaurants and drinking in the same bars and attending the same movies, sporting events and activities as anyone else. You just don't notice that, because they're so . . . . normal.

            It is the job of straight people to NOT perpetuate stereotypes. If you don't know any gay people, you are in no position to comment on them one way or another. If you've (and I'm using the general you, not meaning you, personally, Jutta) made it to adulthood without learning not to base your perceptions of people on stereotypes, gay people probably aren't the only ones to fall victim to your bigotry.

          • http://malianta.wordpress.com jutta

            You've got a point. I am glad I met some of the "other" kind here and can learn from them.

          • A’isha

            Jutta, I’m wondering if you think going to straight bars is ok. Or are you talking about picking up strangers when you say gay bars? Just for the record, going to gay bars isn’t always about finding sex just like going to straight bars isn’t. Sometimes it’s about going out with friends or a partner and having a good time dancing and having drinks.

            I think the point that is being made isn’t so much about gay lifestyles vs. straight lifestyles; it’s really about healthy, loving, monogamous lifestyles vs. promiscuous lifestyles. Monogamous=good; promiscuous=bad no matter the sexuality of the participants.

          • Richarralston33

            Hi i’m richard i8′m a gay minister in oklahoma, I’m also an ex-con. beleive me when I say that there is a huge difference between mutual loving sex. and the type of influenced rape experienced in prison. Having come from a ‘lifestyle where One has a bad reputation on the street is simple to explain.I guess all hetero’s are celibate right into the wedding chamber. No certainly Not! . Sex is pervasive in all culture. except in the third world. Our lives are constantly bombarded with enticements of a sexual nature from soft drinks, to the entire gamut of consumerism. We as Gay people are usually used to keeping a pretty tight cap on ourselves until we reach critical mass. or” coming out”. then we endeavour to experience everything at once. i.e. starving person at a buffet. or we are the other type who is running to the Bars for release from whatever pressure family and society has put on us that day.the 3rd type of person usually at the bar scene,is just looking to get lucky. what they don’t realize is that there is the possibility of Love if they would slow down long enough to experience it. Eventually I believe there is a fundamental shift within us all. A realization that we don’t want to live our lives in a party till you drop conflagration. instead we begin to seek out permanence.Which comes in finding a relationship which could last. Personally, the easiest way to explain my past in the party /bar scene which was intense. It was for lack of a better word, Educational.I’m just sorry it took me so long to get my thesis finished.Pardon the pun. Arrival at the juncture for seeking permanence is varied for all people but, I believe we all get there eventually. We keep that distance by adjusting our values. Through realizing we are worthy, and just as capable as our Hetero- counterparts for committesd loving marriage and relationships. Activism in your community helps as well Be Blessed!

        • jes

          That's a very interesting (and sensible) interpretation which I had not seen before today, Max. Thank you for sharing it!

        • Steve Flower

          Max, I have been trying to tell str8 Christians this for years. If you’re straight, and you go off with another straight man, then yeah, both Lev 18:22 and Romans 1 also apply. But, as I keep trying to tell them, I cannot have “exchanged natural passions for unnatural ones” – because I have never had the supposed-natural passions.

          Ever.

          I have FAKED them; I have lied about them. But nope….never. So, I tell them, that dawg just won’t hunt on these grounds.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Amundsen/100001101098317 Scott Amundsen

          I’d say you hit the nail on the head with that one.  And in most of those scenarios you mention, it is usually called “rape.”

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Amundsen/100001101098317 Scott Amundsen

          I’d say you hit the nail on the head with that one.  And in most of those scenarios you mention, it is usually called “rape.”

    • Tim

      Hi Freda—

      The Bible makes no claims that it is anything akin to God's dictation. What it does say is, "All Scripture (OT and NT) is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;"

      It is certainly subject to interpretation and even with the help of the Holy Spirit that gave men the inspiration to impart Scripture, it is still a matter of us figuring out how to fit it into shaping our own personal relationship with God. There again, the Holy Spirit is essential. Just picking up a BIble and acting according to our own personal take is what I would qualify as knowing just enough to be dangerous. Owning a BIble and going to church doesn't make me a Christian any more than owning a Chevrolet Mechanic's Manuel and sleeping in the garage makes me a Corvette. If our relationship with God is in order, Jesus encourages us that all else falls effortlessly into place. All of the turmoil in the world and the church should attest that we still need to remove the beam from our own eye before we start effing around with the speck in someone else's

      • http://none Don Rappe

        While I agree with the spirit of this comment, it is worth noting that there was neither OT nor NT when the verse was written and its subject is more ambiguous than that.

        • Tim

          The Septuagint existed and though the Tanakh wasn't fully canonized until well after the time of Paul's 2nd epistle to Timothy, scribes had begun copying those texts (Scriptures) as early as 200BCE. So while the OT (as we have it today) didn't technically exist when Paul expressed the verse I referenced, it's well documented that the verses of the Tanakh and Septuagint did exist. No ambiguity as far as I can see.

      • Freda

        Tim, bless your heart – a kindly and well meant comment and thank you for it.

        BUT I do agree with Don. Our Bible is a composite of different writings/books that were compiled at the agreement of a certain group of men. It's not like Moses got the 10 Commandments AND a fully complete Bible to take to the masses.

        • Tim

          If the Bible has no authority, what does?

          I mean, if we suspect the process of verifying 66 books written by 40 inspired writers, spanning 1500 years as being conspiratorial, I'd like to know by what logic we could come to that conclusion. The Dead Sea Scrolls (dated to before the time of Christ) contain large portions of the Tanakh (with the exception of Ester). That discovery in the mid 1900's supports the claim that the Bible's contents were not altered by the councils of Laodicea or Carthage. While that does not prove that the Bible is "correct" or "true" is still left to faith.

          • Tim

            Sorry, I meant to say the "Hebrew Bible's contents were not altered"…If the OT was delivered intact, why should we have suspicions that the NT wasn't?

            I see continuity between the two. The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed. The New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. In my opinion, one verifies the other.

          • ManimalX

            Well done, Tim. I agree with your assessments. You've dug into the very root of this whole issue, the veracity and authority of Scripture.

            "If the Bible has no authority, what does?"

            Good question. The answers usually given around these parts are, "emotions and good feelings," "human reason," and, "culture/society."

  • http://www.bigmama247.com Alise

    Yes, yes, yes!!!!

    Thank you for saying this so eloquently. I am so sick of the "struggle" of homosexuality. Struggle against love? How does that work?

    Thanks for saying this so very well.

  • Ace

    Be alone. Live alone. Die alone.

    There are some people who choose to live solitarily, or just end up that way, gay or not gay, for a variety of reasons, some quite legitimate.

    BUT, that said, I really think it's nasty, nay EVIL, to demand that of anyone. If somebody chooses to lead a purely solitary life, that should be a personal choice, not the result of pressuring external influence, the result of gaping, leering bystanders shoving their noses into another's personal life where they don't belong.

    I think the "it's just another sin to resist" camp are more blindly thoughtless than anything else, not really understanding or caring about the broader implications of what they espouse, or at least that's the impression I get. But that sort of myopic, disinterested emotional violence is somehow even worse than deliberate cruelty, because it's a lot harder to fight against ignorance than pure meaness.

    • http://none Don Rappe

      Yes, blindly thoughtless.

  • Jeannie

    Excellent article, but I did have a question after reading it. How is this living alone different then the life that Christians ask of single heterosexual men and women? I was a devout fundementalist woman and as such was completely, shall we say, inexperienced until my wedding at the age of 36.

    Indeed I was expected to "Live alone. Don’t hold anyone’s hand. Don’t snuggle on your couch with anyone. Don’t cuddle up with anyone at night before you fall asleep. Don’t have anyone to chat with over coffee in the morning". The church I married in even asked me to save my first kiss for the wedding alter. So, it doesn't surprise me that many churches ask this of their gay members as well.

    Too bad my perfect Christian marriage didn't work out – but that's another story…

    • Freda

      BEAUTIFUL! 100% agreement from me on this.

      • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

        So a gay man discovers he is gay at the age of 4. He can't *change*, despite all of his efforts to. He longs to be in a relationship with a man.

        You are suggesting that a loving God who died for our sins so we could experience fellowship with Him and with one another would condemn him to a life of being absolutely alone because of an orientation that is woven into his very being? That's what you agree with so whole heartedly?

        • Freda

          DR, first – you completely (willfully?) misunderstood Jeannie, apparently. What she is saying is that Christian fundamentalists are VERY restrictive when it comes to sexual mores (pronounced "morays").

          Secondly – a quibble: Why are gays the only people allowed to "discover" their sexuality? Do we say that heteros "discover" their sexuality, too? And how do you "discover" it at age 4?

          • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

            I'm going to ignore the whole willful thing so we can stay on topic. But I will remind you that you chose to be a part of this discussion and remind you that you are more than likely going to get some very aggressive counters from those of us who are currently dealing with gay and lesbians who've been quite ravaged by your particular mindset. So please bear that in mind.

            I'm aware of the strict moral code re: Fundamentalists. Once they are married, they are free to be as sexual as they desire with one another. So while I'm aware of the realities that Jeanine faces, those are more than often, temporary restrictions until a straight person marries. Which is a different reality for a homosexual, they according to some Christians are to *never* experience intimacy – sexual intimacy included – with another person.

            To your second point, as one who was in child education for a number of years, kids both gay and straight do start discovering the sexual/romantic side of their being between ages of 7. Kids start masturbating at that age, etc. That's when everything starts to turn on, there's just no framework to understand it yet. That's fairly well-documented.

          • Freda

            My "particular mindset"? Wow – you are STILL willfully misunderstanding.

            And no, a child's sexual identity at that early age is still very much in question. If you really had been in child education, you certainly don't have a degree in child psychology.

          • Kara

            Many kids don't know by then. Others do. Diversity of experience; go figure.

          • Freda

            Kara, I will agree to that. ;o)

          • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

            Freda, if you don't like my answer about gay men and women having a strong sense of their orientation when younger, that's fine. All I really need is for them to confirm that, and you'll see that many do. I've no real need to debate them on that at all, data notwithstanding.

            The topic that Jeanine put on the table was the celibacy that heterosexual men and women who are christian are also subject to celibacy – no sex, no intimacy, no cuddling. The question was posed as to how this was different than what gay people experienced. The question was answered. If there's something else you want to add along the lines of the actual topic instead of talking about me? Please do. If not, I hope that answered the question.

            Gay people cannot get married, according to Christians. Therefore, they are condemned (by christians) to a lifetime

          • Freda

            DR, I see nothing I disagree with in your comment.

            But be careful about subjective vs. objective observations/knowledge. Simply because you know people who claim they knew a certain thing at age 4 doesn't make it so, unless there's documentation they can provide to back up the assertion (this applies to everyone, not gays). And also know that we can often look back on something to justify our present position – I have done it myself.

            Please Note: I try to be very honest and literal, and present both sides of an argument, which often makes me seem to be "the Devil's Advocate".

          • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

            Um…OK. You've already dismissed the possibility that the data I let you know I had some prior experience with and knowledge about was still in question (without even asking about the specifics). You made some crack about me not having a child psychology degree. And now you're calling into question the direct experience of gays and lesbians themselves.

            I'm not really sure where you're going here or what your agenda is, but you're a bit all over the place. It's a little confusing.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            @Mickymse

            Why don't I go ahead and make that latter suggestion right now? If 1) you cannot watch a gay couple strolling hand-n-hand stop to share a kiss without losing it, and/or 2) you think Darwin was evil, insane, and/or demon-possessed, then you should not be allowed to adopt or teach children!

          • Mindy

            Matthew, I don't know how to say this, but not only does this make perfect sense to me, I completely agree with you.

            :)

          • Mickymse

            I would actually say that, YES, heterosexuals “discover” their sexuality also. Anyone working with tweens should be well-versed in seeing the changes that happen with normal, healthy children entering puberty.

            And, as for your question about restrictions on fundamentalist Christians, I would point out that there is not a national movement to deny marriage to those fC’s who fall short of the mark, and no one suggests that they should not be allowed to adopt or teach children because they fell short either.

          • Mindy

            Freda, we all "discover" our sexuality, at some point, during our childhood. Some don't realize it, of course. Some don't discover it until later in childhood. And when your sexuality fits the cultural norm, you just don't notice it. Your Barbie loves her Ken, and all is right with your world. But if you think Barbie and Midge should get married instead, people will tell you you're wrong – and so it begins.

            Some kids know, in second grade, when Susie decides she "likes" Johnny and everyone giggles about it, that this burgeoning concept of opposite-sex crush feels completely foreign to them. They don't know why, and for some, it is simply that they haven't reached the developmental stage at which any kind of "crush" makes sense. My youngest daughter was going to marry me for a long time. Eventually she figured out that wasn't going to work, so she decided she was never going to marry.

            Even now, at 12.5, she is not "into" boys – she wants nothing more than friendship – but she knows that when she's ready to date, it will be boys, not girls. She just knows. If she were gay, she'd "just know" it would be girls – but she would also hear and see the cultural messages that this is different. I make sure she hears that it would be OK, but of course she hears the opposite as well.

            She knows that one of her teen-aged sister's best friends is gay and will date boys when he dates, and she knows that another of her sister's friends is a girl in a long-time, committed relationship with another girl. And it is NO. BIG. DEAL. But she knows that to some people, for whatever reason, it IS a big deal. And she also knows that judgmental attitude is wrong.

            These kids don't have any choice as to who they are, and they no more deserve to be deprived of the joy of loving relationships than you or I do. It's not about sex. It's about falling in love, being allowed to have a crush – and not feel ashamed. Any church that really expects human beings not to hold hands or kiss until they are married is ridiculous – sorry, only my opinion, but that's nuts – because it's pointless. We are designed to show affection. No sex until marriage – that's fine if that's your choice – but no displays of affection at all?? That's just – - – well, dumb.

            I am an admitted non-scholar of the Bible, but I've read enough about conflicting translations in the New Testament to know that there are questions about what was called a sin and what wasn't. I know that because only males are discussed in the context of homosexuality, the patriarchal culture of the time in which it was written *did* matter – and that it quite likely had as much or more to do with procreation and the "wasteful" spilling of the seed, so to speak, as anything. I know that God could not have created human beings as we are and not expected us to learn and mature as a people – he'd not have given us the brains we've got if that were the case. So following Jesus' orders to put love above all else and disregard the rest is easy.

          • Freda

            Well said, and a thoughtful reply. Thanks!

          • Argy-bargy

            Mindy, as usual for you, wonderfully put….

          • Ace

            "My youngest daughter was going to marry me for a long time"

            LOL that's so cute. Heheh.

          • Mindy

            Thanks, Ace – yes, it was. That same child is so scrumptious, so perfect that I often have to pinch myself to believe mothering her is truly mine to do.

            My girls are miracles in every sense of the word.

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

      The difference, Jeannie (and I guess Freda) is that no one thought you were supposed to live alone forever. There was always the expectation that you would end up in a loving relationship. Gays are supposed to live alone until they die. Hardly comparable.

      • Freda

        John, true.

        • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

          So what do we do with that as Christians? What should our response be, do you think?

          • Freda

            Oh DR – you WOULD ask me that.

            Well… the jury's still out on this subject as far as I'm concerned. HOWEVER, I am intellectual enough to know that our modern concept of marriage is far from historical (there's a great book called "Marriage and Family in the Middle Ages" by Geiss that I highly recommend).

            SO: Is "marriage" only real if it's government sanctioned? Do we need a seal of approval from the government to say what's in our hearts and minds?

            And in Florida (where I live) divorce is as easy as marriage, which makes marriage valueless, IMHO. I know that's common in many parts of the country.

            So is living together in a committed relationship considered marriage? Possibly so, or some states wouldn't have the law of "common law marriage".

            HOWEVER, if you look at John 4:17-18, Jesus makes a distinction between living together and marriage. Yet that might have been due to the culture at the time, which DID require a formal ceremony to be "married". And there are many gay couples today who have formal ceremonies that are not government sanctioned. So, are they married?

            Finally, I have gay friends who don't want marriage legalized because they truly don't want to marry their partner and this will put pressure on them to do so. So – not all gay people want marriage as an option. Just a side note, there.

          • Mindy

            Freda, gay people need the right to be married in the eyes of the government, simply because of the civil and financial rights that such a relationship affords. They need to be able to get divorced, just like we can. There should be no difference.

            If a particular church chooses not to marry gay couples, that is its choice, and its membership will change accordingly.

            As for your gay friends who don't want it legalized so they don't feel pressured into marriage, well, that's just selfish. I know a lot of straight friends who have felt pressured in the same way, and that is simply a personal issue they'll have to deal with.

          • DR

            So no answer, Freda, just more hostility and talking around the issue and throwing up a few gay friends who "don't want to get married".

            Conservative christians, pay attention. These kinds of non-answers aren't good enough anymore. And people aren't assholes for asking you to actually come up with an answer to the problems you are creating. It's quite simple and people aren't going to let you get away with the kind of evasion tactics that Freda used, here.

          • AMA

            Freda, I know this is off topic but I will comment anyway. I am a divorced Christian. I am glad that it was easy to get a divorce. It didn't devalue my marriage at all. My husband did that! I fought tooth and nail, as they say, to stay married. It was the most humiliating and devastating thing I had to go through. I have never recovered all the way from it. I considered myself lucky to not have to go through anymore public humiliation in the courts. Years later, I watched as my father lay dying and anguished over losing him. Yet that wasn't as painful as having someone throw me away. My father loved me up until the end. (And still does!) One of my first concerns as a person approaching the unwanted divorce was how I could fit into my church. I am so glad my government didn't make us both go through anything else. Thank God for His unconditional love! Without it, I don't know what would have happened to me.

      • Jeannie

        But that was my point. The church we were in expected all relationships to be completely platonic until marriage. In fact, we were rebuked by leadership if we showed anyone of the opposite sex that we have "feelings" for them. Courtships rituals were strictly overseen by the leadership and there was very little wiggle room outside of those courtships. They also knew that many of us would never marry. I have many friends still from that church that are well into mid life now and have never married. It was part of the "cross we bore" to live alone in sexual purity forever. I don't know – kind of like a laity of nuns and priest I guess.

        My point I am trying to make is – if it was supposed to be okay for me and so many others, then I am not surprised that it is expected of gay people as well. Good for the goose, good for the gander.

        Now, was it healthy? I don't think so. But I do not find this attitude surprising. And it is probably one of the many reasons why I break into a cold sweat whenever I have to go inside a church today.

        • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

          Jeannine, I do think you're on to something here. Which is probably why it is so difficult for those who are gay to hear they can't ever get married.

          I experienced that too in my high school years, part of a youth group that didn't even allow kids to hold hands. The ideas I got about sex were that it was bad and shameful. Ugh. So I know what you mean.

          • Freda

            Agreed.

          • Mickymse

            “Good for the goose, good for the gander.”

            Not quite… I’d be perfectly happy with expecting gays and lesbians to be celibate until religious marriage. But then you have to provide that as an option.

        • Matthew Tweedell

          I am so sorry for what you experienced! You referred to this above as "the life that Christians ask", but those are NOT Christian teachings, and only but a miniscule fraction of the people in the world who call themselves "Christians" have such extreme views. And that sort of personal-life control that that church exercises is cultic.

          As for what true Christians—most all Christians—believe: that's not in their creeds; that's not in their scripture; not a hint of anything close.

        • Diana A.

          What your church taught sounds suspiciously like the fundamentalist Christian cult I got involved in when I was 19–specifically, the Boston Movement of the Church of Christ (not to be confused with the mainline Church of Christ.)- -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Churches_of_Christ. Am I on target here or was your church not a part of this?

          • Jeannie

            No. But a lot of fundementalist Bible based cults have similarities I have discovered. You know, any group that is headed up by people with control issues can be painful.

            An abusive church leader and a rapid alpha mom heading up the local PTA can both make me cringe.

          • Tammy F

            Diana…I was in the Boston Movement in the ’80s and interestingly enough dealing with my brother coming out of the closet. Needless to say that was very rough. By the grace of God I got out and my brother and I are very close now. It took me alot of years to get to where I am now and that is… my job as a Christian is to love God and love people…period! That includes all colors, races, sexes etc. And Jeannie I too am very put off by “rabid alpha moms” :)

      • Tim

        Call me a fool, but I don't believe that anyone except God has the right to determine what ANYONE is supposed to be or do until they die.

        My sister is gay, and she was horribly betrayed by the girl she thought she was going to be with until she died. Seems now that my sister was taken advantage of by a person who wanted a child, but didn't want to be pregnant. It evidently didn't compliment the "Young Latino Boy" look that she obviously worked real hard at cultivating. If I sound bitter, I am. Not because she is gay, but because she's a calculating _______! As soon as my sister signed and gave her the legal papers allowing her "spouse" to adopt my niece, this person immediately left my sister and sued for full custody in family court. Of course no judge in his right mind would give that to her, but my sister is forced to hand over her daughter to this …person… 2 days every week. I have no idea what my little niece thinks as she grows older, and more aware of the subtle facts about who this person is and why she has to go with her every weekend. I realize she knows this person and probably has a certain amount of attachment and affection for her. But it would seem that once she's old enough to put it all together and realize that her second mama is not blood related, or her mama. My niece will be caught in the middle with someone who legally tricked her REAL mama and betrayed her in a horrible way.

        Another friend, a guy, was celibate for 15 years. He grew up Christian and believed that God would change his orientation. He quoted Proverbs. Hope deferred makes the soul sick. None of his Christian peers blamed him when he came out. But the ten years since, haven't proven to him that this was how God wanted him to be either. He's had one or two gay relationships, but it's not what he wanted. He wanted a wife and kids. He wanted a family like he grew up in.

        Dang it, John…we are all both fearfully and wonderfully made, yet we are still sinful and wayward muts bent on wrongdoing. If you believe that Jesus is Savior, you have to admit that He came for more than shits and giggles. We've got to see at some point that we need to be saved from ourselves and each other. The only love that can save us eternally is God's. I'm thankful for all of the love I've gotten and given to my parents, my siblings, my wife (ex-wife), my kids, and any other hurting soul that the good Lord gave me the inclination to love. I just don't think that the stuff we qualify as love is really the same stuff Jesus was talking about. I could be wrong, but it's God that will have to show me.

        You and Cat have a great weekend.

        All love and blessing, bro.

        • Mindy

          Careful, Tim – when an adoptive momma like me reads stuff like this: "But it would seem that once she’s old enough to put it all together and realize that her second mama is not blood related, or her mama. My niece will be caught in the middle with someone who legally tricked her REAL mama and betrayed her in a horrible way" – it makes my heart hurt. Obviously, your sister was hurt by this woman and you are angry on her behalf – and it is absolutely none of my business what kind of relationship your niece has with her.

          BUT – blood-related does not a momma make, and I'm far more REAL a momma to my girls than the women who gave birth to them can ever be. Those women will always be important, always hold a place in our hearts – but can never create the bonds of love and family that come from a life lived together.

    • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

      Because you have the option of marrying. Single men and women have the option to marry, to have sex, to be intimate. You have the *option* to be loved and love.

      Gay people – according to what some Christians say God believes about them at their core – do not.

    • Beth Williams

      Single people have the possibility of marriage, and the choice to get married in the future. Maybe if I find the right someone is lot easier to live with than I will never be married. Hope is a key ingredient in happiness.

    • Jutta

      John, as much as I like your stance in most issues, in this post something does not rhyme for me.

      "What you are truly and actually saying is that you want them to condemn themselves to a life devoid of love.

      Be alone, you’re demanding. Live alone. Don’t hold anyone’s hand. Don’t snuggle on your couch with anyone. Don’t cuddle up with anyone at night before you fall asleep. Don’t have anyone to chat with over coffee in the morning."

      I am single, I presently live alone, at other times I have shared an apartment or a house with other singles. OK, I do not cuddle up with somebody before falling asleep, but apart from this my life is definitely not 'devoid of love.' I do have people over for coffee, for meals, for movies, for long talks, I hold hands and hug other people (same sex and other sex). I have deep meaningful relationships. In my view love does not depend on living out my sexual orientation, whatever it is. To say that such a live is devoid of love sounds to me as misguided as some married colleagues who sometimes gave me the feeling, that I can't be happy unless I am married. Maybe that is a cultural thing – they were Americans, and I am not.

      Maybe there is also an overreaction in society because of the whole discussion, that even people who live together in a non-sexual 'loving relationship' get frowned upon and possibly more.

      I agree that the problem starts when we "demand' things of other people and judge them for what they do in areas that are really a decision between them and God.

      I would see that along similar lines as divorce: God did not want marriages to be broken up. So you could call divorce a 'sin' because it is not how God originally meant it to be. But life is not perfect and people can be very imperfect and eventually come to a dead end despite their best intentions. So if a person decides to divorce then this is between him/her and God, and it is not my job to judge them but to help them along the path.

      I don't think calling something a 'sin' is the real problem, but the legalistic and judgmental attitude that often goes with it. I have observed it in other areas and have seen the devastating effects, and it makes me sad, because this is not how Jesus would deal with it. Especially saying that a person will go to hell because of one specific sin is such nonsense and makes me wonder if this person has really understood the Gospel of grace.

      • Ace

        It's not uncommon for people who've been married for most of their life to take this stance with regard to people who are single by choice, Jutta. I get it all the time, people going "oh poor you" or assuming something is mentally wrong with me, or that I must just be absolutely miserable.

        But we live in a society where romantic relationships and sex both get put up on a pedastal as the only legitimate form of love between adults. I think that's sad, and devaluing a lot of other forms of love, friendship and affection that are equally profound.

        "Especially saying that a person will go to hell because of one specific sin is such nonsense and makes me wonder if this person has really understood the Gospel of grace."

        That is so true.

      • J.Random

        Jutta –

        Speaking as a Christian gay man, I hope I can illuminate a bit of what the difference is to me.

        You wrote: "I do have people over for coffee, for meals, for movies, for long talks, I hold hands and hug other people (same sex and other sex). I have deep meaningful relationships."

        …when I was trying to live as "ex-gay", I could NOT do these things freely. I had to constantly be on guard. Because if at some point I were to have a male friend over for coffee, for meals, for a movie, and I should begin to have feelings for him, then I would be duty-bound to *deny* those feelings. If, God forbid, he should *reciprocate* those feelings, if he and I should start to fall in *love* — I would have to shut everything down, flee him, kick him out of my life.

        That's not true for you (assuming you're straight). If you discover one day that you and a male friend are falling in love, you can welcome that relationship, embrace that love.

        Christians are telling gays that they must never fall in love.

        • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

          That we have gay men and women who are willing to contribute to this conversation with such insight is a blessing. It really is. If I were you, I'd have washed my hands of even dealing with Christians a very long time ago.

          The patience and grace that we as Christians receive from the gay community who is still willing to even try to educate us is pretty amazing (though if you don't, who will? We've certainly not done terribly well in educating ourselves, John Shore being an exception to the rule).

        • http://malianta.wordpress.com jutta

          From J(utta) to J(random) ;-)

          Thank you for your willingness to share so openly. Yes, I can see that this is not easy. And this is were I think, you need to talk it over with your Lord and have peace over it.

          On the other hand, I hope you realize that being straight does not mean I never have to deny my feelings. For example, if my visitor was married, I too would have to deny my feelings. Or if it was not appropriate for any other reason. I have been very gifted in falling in love with the wrong people in the past. :-S So, I know that it is not easy to deny your feelings.

          BTW, I think I would prefer to call it “not act on my feelings” instead of “denying” them. Feelings happen and we cannot control that, but whether we act on our feelings is a choice. At least that is how I see it for myself and how I try to live. I say try because I know it does not always work. I just got angry on the phone with somebody, even though I had the best intention of not reacting that way … :-(

          As I said above, I can emphasize that it is difficult if there is no hope. I still have hope for myself. ;-) But until then, I will not live ‘devoid of love’ just because I don’t have any sexual relationships. Or be afraid of having people over that might trigger my feelings.

          After re-reading your post, I am wondering if you think that not acting on one’s feelings is more difficult for gay people? It sounds as if it actually kept you from having people over and you found it hard to relax, as if you could not trust yourself to control your actions. Why? Or did I misread your post?

          • lauren

            I'm guessing J Random could answer this a lot more eloquently. That being said, as to the question of whether or not acting on one's feelings is more difficult than gay people:

            If you're straight, there are certain rules (whether imposed by society or religion) one is expected to follow. If you should develope feelings for someone's spouse, you're not supposed to act one them. However, what's being expected of gays is somewhat similar to asking someone not to eat. Diets don't work because the more you deny yourself something you truly want, say cake for example, the more you want cake. Ever done the Atkins diet? I did. I went to sleep dreaming of mashed potatoes and woke up ready to murder someone for a slice of bread.

            No we're not any less capable of acting on our desires. Everyone, gay or straight, has had unwanted sexual thoughts about someone who's "off-limits" so to speak. But to expect someone to not just abstain from sex but not even think about sex not just with someone who's off-limits but with anyone they are and ever will be attracted to….well it doesn't work.. It becomes as quickly intolerable as my lusting for a pile of mashed potatoes. Now I'm hungry.

          • J.Random

            Jutta –

            I agree it would be difficult to deny (or “not act on”) your feelings in the case of falling in love with a married man. But that would be just one potential partner in one circumstance. Christians require us gays to avoid falling in love with all potential partners, under all circumstances. We must take a knife to our hearts, carve out that possibility, and cast it away. Moreover, we’re told to do this pre-emptively, before we ever fall in love with anyone, since for us falling in love is nothing more than temptation to sin.

            I don’t think there’s any blanket statement to be made about how difficult it is not to act on one’s feelings as a gay person. In my personal experience, it was hard to relax. I’d go to Bible study only to see Kevin there; and he’s gorgeous; and that’s a sinful thought and it’s lustful to even look in his direction now; so I won’t even *talk* to him, because we might become friends; and it’d be wrong for me to be his friend because I’m so attracted to him; so I’ll keep my distance and I won’t get to know him because I’m not allowed to feel this way about anyone goddamnit.

            I’m not allowed to feel this way. I’m not allowed to feel this way.

            I’m not allowed to feel.

            It’s a lot easier to not act on your feelings if you cut yourself off from feeling.

            …that’s pretty much how it went, for me.

            Thank God I broke free.

            I also am not in any sexual relationships right now. And I’m not living devoid of love either. I have lots of great friends and family and a loving church who embraces me.

            But what I want to express is how much more bright and open and hopeful my life has been since I opened myself to the *hope* of love. It’s the difference between black-and-white and Technicolor. It’s the difference between a dry crust of bread and a feast.

          • http://malianta.wordpress.com jutta

            Yes, I have experienced similar situations. Except that I did not tell myself "you are not allowed to feel this way" but "you are not allowed to show your feelings" for a variety of reasons – either because the person was off-limits for me, or because I realized that just because the other person is gorgeous and triggers all kinds of reactions in my body, sexual attraction alone is not enough to make a good relationship. I prefer to be realistic about that and not like a friend who discovered after her marriage, that she wanted to discuss philosophy and he only wanted to read comic strips. Or because it is already clear that the person is not interested in me, showing my feelings would only be embarrassing.

            You are right, hope can make all the difference. So maybe this is already the answer to my next question:

            In which way would / did the situation change with 'Kevin' after you broke free, assuming that he was not gay? Wouldn't you still have the feelings and not be able to act on them? Or does it boil to accepting your feelings as ok, because you know God accepts you the way you are?

          • J.Random

            Jutta -

            Buried on page 2 of the comments. I wonder if you'll see this. :)

            "In which way would / did the situation change with ‘Kevin’ after you broke free, assuming that he was not gay? Wouldn’t you still have the feelings and not be able to act on them? Or does it boil to accepting your feelings as ok, because you know God accepts you the way you are?"

            It does boil down to accepting those feelings. Having broken free, I still have to not act on those feelings when they arise — but more importantly, I can laugh at them rather than hide them. I can even joke about my feelings with Kevin (assuming he's a friend) — which is really the best way to deal with unrealizable attractions, I find.

            The point isn't that I want to realize my every attraction. Nobody gets that. The point is not having to demonize every attraction. The point is that sooner or later, one of those attractions may just be returned; and whereas once that was the worst-case scenario of which I lived in fear, now it is the best-case scenario for which I live in hope.

          • http://malianta.wordpress.com jutta

            JR,

            Thank you so much for your reply!

            I am so glad for you – that sounds beautiful.

            Basically, this is what I would call true Christian freedom, no matter if this applies to same-sex attraction or other feelings, no matter if they are sin or not. We all need to come to this point of acceptance – self acceptance and knowing we are loved and accepted by the Lord no matter what.

            And if we haven't truly experienced that, then we have problems accepting others in such unconditional ways.

          • jes

            "The point isn’t that I want to realize my every attraction. Nobody gets that. The point is not having to demonize every attraction. The point is that sooner or later, one of those attractions may just be returned; and whereas once that was the worst-case scenario of which I lived in fear, now it is the best-case scenario for which I live in hope."

            Well stated, sir!

    • Mindy

      Oh, and Jeanine, my evangelical niece and nephew both had relationships in high school – chaste, innocent ones with fellow church members, but they definitely held hands, etc. If either of them were gay, they'd not have been "allowed" that most joyful rite of passage, so to speak. Why not?

      • Jeannie

        I am glad your niece and nephew had a healthier church experience. As with many things, evangelical churches vary widely on their stances on what is and what is not acceptable for single people.

        For the record I am pro gay marriage. I am pro people – period.

        Blessings to you,

        Jeannie

        • Mindy

          "pro-people, period." I like that!! And I apologize for getting your name wrong – Jeannie, not Jeanine. Will pay better attention in the future. :)

        • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

          Jeannie, I'm a jerk. I got you confused with another Jeanine who was anti-gay marriage and I think you may have caught some of my lingering – let's be honest – hostility toward her. Which I really do need to curb (baby steps). Regardless, I'm sorry!

          • Mindy

            I'm the same kind of jerk. I was being terse and certainly not welcoming – and, admittedly, for the very same reason.

          • Diana A.

            I got confused too. I'm so glad I came to this conversation late and thus saw this before I engaged in too much of my own form of mouthing-off.

          • Jeannie

            Very understandable. After all, there is only one letter difference in our names. I have caught most of Jeannine’s posts and can understand where everybody is coming from.

            Again – blessings to all

    • http://none Don Rappe

      It may have been better to have held someone's hand.

    • jes

      “How is this living alone different then the life that Christians ask of single heterosexual men and women?”

      The difference is the duration. The idea of not having sex outside of a loving relationship when you have the option at any time of entering such a relationship is entirely different than telling someone they can’t have sex outside a relationship and that they can never have a relationship with someone they love.

      “You should be celibate until marriage” is only a fair condition if marriage is a reasonable option.

      • jes

        In re-reading this and other comments, I think I should clarify. Love has many meanings, and by "a relationship with someone they love," I actually meant "a relationship with someone they have fallen in love with."

        Obviously, I love my mother and have a relationship with her, but that relationship is not of the same sort as the relationship I have with my boyfriend. None of my comments should be taken to mean that non-romantic love is valueless, just that it is different than romantic love.

    • myfanwe

      Jeannie, the problem is that when heterosexual people are asked to abstain if they're not married, they're not being condemned to live their entire life that way, they're being asked to *wait* until they are married.

      Gay people are not permitted to marry someone of the same sex, and most gay people, if we're honest have no desire to marry someone of the opposite sex, so gay people are asked to be alone forever. That's where the difference lies, and that's not only unreasonable, it is cruel.

      Even Christ, when he was asked "Would it not have been better for this man's parents never to marry than for him to be born a cripple?" He replied along the lines that not everyone has the strength to remain celibate (eunuchs) for life. Christ didn't expect people to remain celibate, and neither did Paul, who said it is better to marry than to burn with lust.

      Yet gay and lesbian people are told every day "You can resist acting on your gay desires. Remain celibate, or marry an opposite sex partner." because, of course! It's better to live a lie and cheat your spouse out of a true, loving, committed and mutually nurturing relationship than to be GAY!!

      Can you see the problem?

  • http://practicinghuman.wordpress.com practicinghuman

    I think part of the problem is that virtually every aspect of married heterosexuality gets a free pass. If you're not married, then don't have sex. If you are married, then you can have whatever sort of sex you want. I've purposefully left the statements slightly crude because unfortunately when people hear the word "gay" all they think about is sex. Only in the case of homosexuality do we see any reaction about sexual morality (namely gay persons should not display any uniquely marital aspects of sexuality).

    Really, the question of love demands a consideration of how we love. Additionally, I think we have an invitation to think more critically about the people who live sexually abstinent lives for any reason. How is love moving in, through, and for them?

    I do not think being gay involves a compulsive drive towards genital contact with a person of the same gender. But I also think that people need to extend greater charity in understanding that all humans display a range of intimate behaviors with an array of people. Just because a gay person hugs another person of the same gender does not mean it is motivated by a desire for genital contact.

    • Mindy

      Excellent point. Being gay is NOT just about sex, and I believe many, many do not understand that. Celibacy is a personal choice, and if someone chooses to be celibate, for whatever reason, that is their private choice and of course should be respected. But no one should ever feel forced, by their religion, into celibacy on the basis of who they are. That is nothing short of cruel. Sexuality is part of our humanity and no one has the right to deprive another of theirs.

      • Diana A.

        To me, it isn't just that gays are told that they have to be celibate in order to be good Christians. It's that they're told that their whole sexual orientation is wrong. "Don't feel that way," they're told. But they do feel that way. They can deny it. They can fight it. They can try to redirect it. But the bottom line is, they're still gay. And anti-gay people (religiously motivated and otherwise) stand on the outside and pass judgment on the feelings of another. This, to me, is the problem.

        • Mindy

          Exactly. I am soooo impressed with the breadth and depth of the responses here – I want to print them out and make every fundamental Christian sit down, with a gay person, eye-to-eye, and have this all read aloud. And I want every hate-filled fundie to then try to contradict it all, never breaking eye contact with the gay or lesbian person in front of them.

          How many do you think could do it? Alone, without their "posses" of hate-filled sign wavers?

      • Yeek

        Exactly. The number one objection I get if I mention my partner is “I don’t think it’s appropriate for you to bring up your sex life.” But of course, if I used the word ‘wife’ instead nobody would ever think to accuse me of flaunting my sex life, because everyone knows that a husband-and-wife couple connect on multiple emotional levels that aren’t even related to sex at all.

        That assumption isn’t applied to gay men and women. I once heard someone put it this way: homophobic people can imagine gay sex, and it disgusts them. But what they can’t imagine at all is love between gay people – that image just doesn’t exist in their minds, and so the idea of a gay relationship having any decent human feeling is truly unthinkable to them. Since their mind only has one place to go, whenever they see a gay couple buying a car, holding hands in a movie theater, etc. etc. all they can think of is how perverse gay sex is.

        • Mickymse

          To add to that, I occasionally find people surprised when I say I "came out" long before I ever actually kissed a man, much less had sex with him.

          Labeling oneself as "gay" or "lesbian" does not require sex.

          I realize many of the commenters here seem to get that, but that's kind of a core part of the issue here. It's not don't engage in homosexuality and just find a good opposite sex partner; it's conservative religious folks saying don't express the sexuality that G-d gave to you.

    • http://whatsleftinthechurch.blogspot.com Geoffrey

      BRAVO! This aspect of the whole thing was brought home to me by one of those who advance the argument John summarizes in his email. For some reason, the word "sex" in "homosexual" – which refers to gender, not the act – got under my interlocutor's skin. For the life of me, I couldn't get him to understand that we are talking about people who love – just love different than he does. The focus on "sex" to the exclusion of "love"and all the wonderful stuff that John outlines – holding hands, snuggling, sharing intimacy in ways that don't need words – makes of gay and lesbian folk something less than human.

      As I said in response to an earlier thread, I believe, with the author of the first letter of St. John, that anyone who loves is of God. Not just the whole, tired, "agape no eros" argument. Love. Period. When you love, you are showing that you have opened your life to God, and that God is filling it, even if you don't know it.

      All the other stuff, Bible verses and history, don't hold a candle to this. The central message of Scripture is the overflowing love of God for all creation and the participation in the prodigal love in which we partake. It comes out in all sorts of ways – my love for my wife and daughters; my friend's love for her partner of nearly 19 years and their shared life together; a gay couple I know who adopted a couple children and raised them to be outstanding students and athletes and now community leaders. This is all evidence that GOD IS THERE IN THE MIDST OF ALL THESE LIVES.

      Anything else is treacle and nonsense.

      • Diana A.

        Love this!

      • http://practicinghuman.wordpress.com practicinghuman

        It's particularly interesting to read reflections on divine eros — namely God's passionate and articulate love for us. "Wounded by Love" by Elder Porphyrios contains a rich treasury of reflections around this exact topic.

        We lose the meaning of eros when we attach it wholly and exclusively to romantic and sexual intimacy. Most Christians would be absolutely scandalized to hear that God loves us erotically. Yet, in Christ, we find an absolute union-without-confusion of the human and the divine. What other than the passionate drive for oneness could compel Him to join Himself so fully to our human existence?

        We become one with another in so many different ways. Yet, so often, people can not even envision this oneness apart from conceptions of sex. It intrigues me that for all of the weddings that I have been to, I have never heard direct mention of sexual intimacy. The closest we come to the concept regards the begetting of children, perhaps an oblique reference to the marriage bed, and occasionally in the chosen readings of the couple. For the most part, the public celebration of a marriage is declaring the couple's intention to accompany one another on the road to holiness. Some even use Ruth's absolutely beautiful declaration to Naomi to declare their commitment to journey together.

        Yet heterosexual persons are often afforded the grace to explore how they understand intimacy in relationships, knowing that their ideas of sexual intimacy will morph and change over their life course. We make decisions all of the time about how to honor one another in relationships. However, we so often declare to homosexual persons, "The road to intimacy is closed to you because we know that you are absolutely, positively, without exception going to make decisions that are wholly unforgivable." I find this declaration towards homosexual persons to be abhorrent as it denies a simple human need for relationships of all kinds.

  • http://nirakia.blogspot.com/ Karin

    Oh John. "Christian Fix-a-Gay and Homo No’ Mo! programs" – that was THE funniest. Excellent excellent excellent!

  • http://defyinggravity1992.wordpress.com defyinggravity1992

    One of the first things I reassured my parents after I came out to them was of my constant commitment to purity. I was afraid they would think that suddenly, since I was dating a girl, sex wouldn't matter as much because I couldn't get pregnant, and I'd lose my virginity.

    I told them I didn't want sex; I wanted love. Like every human being, I seek out people I like to be around, to talk to and listen to music with and discuss the latest Harry Potter fiasco–err, movie–with. I want a boyfriend OR girlfriend who's just as crazy as I am and loves to dance. But it's also important that he/she respect my decision to remain chaste until marriage. That's between God and me.

    John, your posts are so inspirational. I was reminded, at the end of this one, of the TobyMac song, "I was made to love, and be loved by You." Doesn't that TOTALLY sound like God intended us to scourge ourselves clean of any desire to love and be loved by others? >.>

    ~Chelsea

  • Verne

    There are those who like to say that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality. Various verses are cited (out of context) and the verses that people use to show that homosexuality is wrong are explained away. The world wants to change God's words and meanings into something more suitable to its sinful desires. Nevertheless, the truth stands: The Bible condemns homosexuality as a sin. Let's look at what it says.

    Lev. 18:22, "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination."1

    Lev. 20:13, "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltness is upon them"

    1 Cor. 6:9-10, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

    Rom. 1:26-28, "For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper."

    Homosexuality is clearly condemned by the Bible. It goes against the created order of God. He created Adam and then made a woman. This is what God has ordained and it is what is right. Unlike other sins, homosexuality has a severe judgment administered by God Himself. This judgment is simple: They are given over to their passions. That means that their hearts are allowed to be hardened by their sins (Romans 1:18ff). As a result, they can no longer see the error of what they are doing. Without an awareness of their sinfulness, there will be no repentance and trusting in Jesus. Without Jesus, they will have no forgiveness. Without forgiveness, there is no salvation.

    What should be the Christian's Response to the Homosexual?

    Just because someone is a homosexual does not mean that we cannot love him (or her) or pray for him (her). Homosexuality is a sin and like any other sin, it needs to be dealt with in the only way possible. It needs to be laid at the cross, repented of, and never done again.

    As a Christian, you should pray for the salvation of the homosexual the same as you would for any other person in sin. The homosexual is still made in the image of God — even though he is in grave sin. Therefore, you should show him the same dignity as anyone else with whom you come in contact. However, this does not mean that you are to approve of their sin. Don't compromise your witness for a socially-acceptable opinion that is void of godliness.

    *Written by Matt Slick…and I have to say I Totally agree with this….!

    • http://www.bigmama247.com Alise

      Can someone please explain to me why, if these verses apply to homosexuality, the "put to death" part no longer applies? I hear about "loving" LGBT people. But if we're going to be "biblical" why are we not calling for execution of homosexuals?

      • Argy-bargy

        @Alise:

        We had the same discussion the other day on this blog. The response I got (not sure from who, so I won't ascribe the comment in case I'm wrong) was to, in my mind, completely side-step the issue.

        For many fundamentalists, the only answer is typically: Jesus replaced all of those condemnations with his atonement for our sins, for taking on those sins. The condemnation still exists, but we no longer have to kill gays because Jesus died for our (their) sins. However, if gays don't accept Jesus, they're going to hell.

        *sigh*

        • http://www.bigmama247.com Alise

          sigh indeed.

          I just take comfort in knowing that this attitude is dying and that my (hopeful) grandkids will find this kind of discussion absurd.

        • Argy-bargy

          Oh, and I should add that this particular explanation from fundamentalists is not explicitly provided for in the Bible. It is the typical rationalization they trot out to explain away why we can eat pigs, not have to wear hairshirts, or celebrate the Lord's day on Sunday instead of Saturday.

        • Ace

          I got into a debate with my dad over this the other day. We somehow wandered onto the topic of tattoos and while I agreed I don't want one because I don't like them (I personally think they look tacky but that's just an opinion of aesthetics, not a moral judgement) he said they are against the Bible and that he "blamed the pastors for not teach the old testament" and that "God hates tattoos".

          We discussed this while we were eating breakfast over a plate BACON, which I pointed out as pork, which is forbidden as well. He said the food restrictions no longer apply because of Paul's dream.

          I then asked him why the heck he was wearing cotton-polyester blend clothing then, since that is not a food restriction but wearing garments of mixed fibers is part of the laws in Leviticus also, just like no tattoos and no gay sexin'.

          I never did quite get an answer out of him about that one.

          Of course Leviticus also allows you to sell your daughter to the highest bidder and I'll say right here if he'd ever tried it, I would have socked both him and whatever idiot was stupid enough to try to buy me like a piece of furniture.

          As for Paul, well I'm not touching that with a 10-ft clown pole. I'll read his letters and writings as letters and writings, but I'm not about to put them on the same level as the teachings of Christ or consider them divinely inspired.

          Jesus is the son of God, not Paul.

          I'm sure that stance makes me some kind of terrible heretic but there you have it.

          • Mindy

            LOL – Ace, if your dad decides to sell you to the highest bidder, let me know and I'll do some fundraising to buy them out. I'll then benevolently grant you your freedom afterward, which will just me make feel all good about myself – so it'll be win-win.

            ;->

          • Ace

            Aww, wouldn't you rather keep me? I'm a very good pet, I never eat from the garbage can or dig up the garden!

            Just remember you have to FEED ME. ;P

          • Mindy

            I'll only keep you if you CHOOSE to stay. The emphasis in on benevolence here. It's the only way I'll get to feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

          • Ace

            (But you'll have to argue over the purchase price with Rose, my feline overlord. She may not be willing to sell)

          • Mindy

            Well. That changes everything. You didn't tell me you had a feline overlord. I have two. Their decision is nearly always final. Especially regarding the canine court jester. Should the time come, we'll likely have to convene a feline caucus to hammer out the terms.

          • Argy-bargy

            Haha, Ace. I'll join your church of the heretics, then. :-)

          • Kara

            Sign me up for your heretical church as well.

          • Argy-bargy

            John, do you mind if you use your living room for our services? ;-)

          • Ace

            …and can we bring electric guitars? :P

          • http://defyinggravity1992.wordpress.com defyinggravity1992

            LOL– I'll have to remember that if my dad throws Leviticus at me for being bisexual; I can just be like, "What, are you going to sell me to the hobo on the street corner for a case of beer now? Because check your Leviticus; you can do it! Oh yeah, but be sure to take off that blended-fiber shirt before you get struck by lightning." <3

          • Freda

            I agree – and the topic of Paul has always been a sore spot for me. Who is to say that it's equivalent to everything else? And how much of Scripture is truly God-breathed and how much is not? Just because some church fathers declared it to be sacrosanct doesn't make it so in my book.

          • Ace

            There's still a lot of debate over the exact authorship of some of the letters traditionally attributed to Paul. He also dictated them to a secretary, not writing them down himself, so what we have written down may not have even been what he actually said, there's no way to tell.

            The fact that it's still not even been confirmed that the man we refer to as Paul of Tarsus even wrote all of them is enough to make me take them with a grain of salt.

            I'd be rather curious what Paul would say about what's been done with his personal correspondance over the centuries, if we could wake him from the dead long enough to ask, to be frank.

          • Diana A.

            1) I think your dad meant Peter's dream: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%

            2) The one thing that might (technically) be supportive of the Old Testament sexual limitations while overruling some of the other Old Testament laws is Acts 15:20–"Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood."–to see it in context- -http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%2015&version=NIV. But to me, it's still not my place to judge other people, so it's one thing for me to say to myself "Okay, I'm going to try to abide by all the sexual restrictions in the Old Testament," and another thing for me to say "YOU must abide by the sexual restrictions in the Old Testament." One is me following my own principles, the other is imposing my principles on someone else, which I consider to be wrong.

          • Ace

            Sorry, I got the two mixed up. Hard to keep all those P's apart.

            "sexual immorality" is such a vague term, anyway.

          • Jutta

            Ace, did your dad actually mention a biblical reference about tattoos, or does he just assume that God hates everything that he does not like? I would also be interested in reading the reference about selling your daughters. Or do you mean a so-called “bride price” ? which is a bad translation for a culture practice that we don’t have in the West.

          • Ace

            He didn't quote me a verse and chapter, if that's what you mean. But I'm assuming he was referring to this:

            Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.

            Leviticus 19:28

            As for selling your daughter into slavery, I suppose I was mistaken.

            …as that's in Exodus, not Leviticus:

            "When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are"

            Exodus 21:7

            (which rather directly implies that selling your daughter as a slave is A-OK by God, at least under some circumstances)

          • Mickymse

            "Various verses are cited (out of context) "

            I want to laugh any time someone quotes the Bible in English as some defining authority. The Bible wasn't written in English. So the word homosexuality doesn't appear anywhere; that's how someone decided to translate it.

            Aside from the number of other "abominations" listed in that section that folks have pointed out are so easily ignored, there's a further oddity that is ignored.

            Pork and mixed fibers and the like are very clearly stated: Don't do X, it's an abomination. Only this one line varies to don't do X, like (as you would with) Y, it's an abomination.

            If you believe in the power of every Word, and that each one is there for a reason, then this is an important oddity. Why not just say don't be gay or men shall not know men?

          • http://malianta.wordpress.com jutta

            thanks – I must have always skipped these verses – LOL

          • Ace

            (And frankly things like bride-prices and dowries still reduce women to mere chattel and the physical property of their fathers first, then their husbands, and I don't really care that it's a "cultural" practice, in the past or in the present in some areas still. It's dehumanizing, however you justify it.)

          • Matthew Tweedell

            How is a dowry dehumanizing?

          • Jeannie

            Matthew, I believe a dowry is dehumanizing by implication. Historically speaking, a dowry was a way of providing a woman with a portion of her family’s wealth, The use of a dowry was combined with a bride price that the groom would pay to the bride’s family in order for her to marry him.

            The dowry became the property of the husband, but the woman would inherit the dowry should she become a widow. If the woman died, the dowry, less the cost of the bride price, would be inherited by her children.

            Traditional or not, it's buying and selling of a human being. Not a very good feeling for us ladies.

          • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

            Dowry stems from times when women weren't allowed to own property. The dowry wasn't given as a gift for the married couple, it only belonged to the husband and it was provided to the groom as a thank you gift for taking the responsibility of caring for the bride. A dowry assumes that the bride before marriage was the property of the father, and after marriage the property of the husband.

            A dowry is not the same as a woman entering into a marriage owning her own things.

          • Ace

            What Jennie & Barnmaven said.

            A traditional dowry is nothing at all like the "hope chest" parents may give to a daughter these days, which may be the image in your mind of a "dowry".

            A modern hope chest is basically a wedding present, whereas a traditional dowry is kind of like throwing in the bridle and saddle when selling a horse. Items or money to be used to set up the household, they do not belong to the woman, they belong to the husband, as does the bride, in a very material sense.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            I disagree. They do not belong to the husband; they belong to the newly contracted partnership of familial corporation. And while a bride-price is a rather clear case of purchasing, no purchase need be taking place in connection with traditional dowry.

          • Ace

            Yes, a "familial corporation" of which the ownership and head is the husband.

            Believe whatever you want, but most "traditional" marriages are nothing at all like equal partnerships. Just head to places like rural India or Saudi Arabia to see what "traditional" marriages look like.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Ownership and head is the husband my pretty white patootie: I clearly indicated joint venture.

            And, obviously, what you're pointing to is traditional *given LOCAL cultural tradition*.

          • http://malianta.wordpress.com jutta

            I know that it is difficult to understand and see it through the eyes of people in other cultures. That's why I said 'bride-price' is a bad translation. In many cases people do not really see it as a 'price' (like for a merchandise) but as the seal of an agreement between two families. Sometimes it is a way of allowing another member of the family to get married. Sometimes it is seen as 'reimbursing' the parents for all their investment. Sometimes it is a matter of allowing the family to replace the loss of 'labor.'

            We are living in such an highly individualistic context, that it is hard for us to comprehend the thinking of people in group-oriented cultures. Women who grew up with this do not feel 'dehumanized' but appreciated. To us it might look like women are treated as property but they see it more as giving them the honor and protection they deserve.

            There is more than one way to look at these things. I admit that I am often torn how to interpret them in my research.

          • Mindy

            I so agree, Jutta. Very good point – it is nearly impossible for someone who has grown up in the US to understand the concept of willingly making sacrifices for the good of the group – be it community or nation. I've heard sooo many people lam-bast the one-child-per-family policy put in place by the Chinese government in the late '80s, because they have no concept of sacrificing personal desires in order to help keep your entire nation from starving to death. There is a whole lot about China I don't agree with and I can't imagine having government impose family-planning rules, but after spending time there, I understand that for them, going along with what was best for the most is just a way of life. We really don't get that.

          • Ace

            Mindy, my problem isn't when people sacrifice for their family or community, it's when one group or class of people is mandated to "sacrifice" (if you can even call it that when it is no choice at all) above and beyond that of other members of the same society, and to take a much larger burden than another class or group.

            I don't like the male-only military draft either (or military draft at all), before someone brings that up accusing me of just being anti-male.

            China's one-child policy is one of those things that sounds pragmatic and useful on the surface, but the Chinese government's manner of enforcing it – forced abortions & sterilizations, huge fines for more than one child, etc – are rather less excusable.

            That policy is coming back to bite them in the ass lately also, as enough female fetuses and newborns were preferentially killed to skew a generation's gender ratio now that generation is coming into adulthood and many young Chinese men have a low chance of finding a wife if they want to marry, in some areas of that country. This has led to a rise in kidnapping and human trafficking as well, which Chinese authorities have only recently begun clamping down on.

            The growing number of senior/retired people compared to the shrinking work force is a familiar problem to most industrialized nations, but China is seeing this problem much sooner in their relative economic development compared to Japan or the USA.

            Honestly I don't think it's a very good example of sacrificing for the good of the community at all, because 1. it's not a true sacrifice if you are forced to do it, it's simply coercion, and 2. it's actual benefit to Chinese society is questionable at best.

          • Mindy

            Ace, you're absolutely correct in everything you write. I wasn't clear – I didn't mean to hold it up as an example of sacrifice for the greater good. Sacrifice implies voluntary willingness, as you say. My point was only that when China implemented that law, because their culture is one of putting the good of the group before that of an individual, the general population gave a general shrug and went along with it. It was not met by outrage and protests, etc., as such a thing would have generated in the West.

            As I said, I am not in any way defending the Chinese government – I've been over there several times and am familiar with the widespread corruption, the inconsistent enforcement of laws – including the one-child policy – the many human rights violations, etc. But I've also talked to many Chinese people who can't understand why we, as Americans, feel outrage on their behalf over something like the one-child policy. And they look at some of our assumptions about the protection of our own individual rights, and can't imagine why we'd be so selfish.

            The overarching mindsets of group vs. individual that are ingrained in our collective cultural consciousnesses put us viewing the world from diametrically opposed perspectives.

          • http://malianta.wordpress.com jutta

            (i don't know why but there is no 'reply' button under your post, so I have to reply to my own.)

            Mindy, I completely understand that you do not mean to endorse the whole Chinese system. It is helpful to have lived in other countries to understand at least in part, that people can look at things very differently. And that there is validity to many other approaches to life. There are always pro and cons to different approaches but usually they make sense, but only from the inside (called emic view) not when you look at it from the outside with a completely different set of assumptions (often called world view).

          • Mindy

            Oh – the reason there is no reply button is that wordpress only allows posts to nest 6 deep. After that, you have to keep replying to the 5th one, and the replies just land in order. Or you start a new post altogether and just note what you are referencing. :) HTH.

        • John

          Since I'm quite sure that most of them have taken out a mortgage or a car loan, used a credit card, or in some other way borrowed or lent money/goods at interest, i.e. practiced usury, I'll be sure to save them a seat. :)

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Usary is committed by the party that earns interest.

            The party that pays interest is blameless.

          • John

            Perhaps I've been a lapsed Catholic for too long because I cannot recall what the sin is called where one is essentially an accessory. If the taking of interest or usury is a sin than so is contributing to the committance of this sin. There are very few instances in this economy where one MUST pay with a credit card, MUST take out a mortgage or car loan, etc. Most things can be done with cash, even if that takes longer to do so or isn't convenient. Mind you, I'm not advocating such an approach because I have no problems with how the concept of usury has developed over the centuries. Yet I find this mentality of "the Bible says X is a sin and that will never change!" to be completely ignorant of how much Christianity and Judaism have developed and changed over the centuries – including how we interpret the Bible!

          • Matthew Tweedell

            The victim should not to be considered accessory to an offense.

      • http://defyinggravity1992.wordpress.com defyinggravity1992

        What is your problem? Please TELL me that was sarcastic. If you honestly believe gay people deserve to be executed, you need serious mental counseling.

        • http://www.bigmama247.com Alise

          Yes, it was ABSOLUTELY sarcastic. I don't believe gay is sinful at all. I believe that rape, abuse, idolatry, exploitation are sinful, but a loving gay relationship? No chance.

          I just don't understand how anyone who throws those "clobber verses" around can possibly do that and then turn around and talk about loving gay people. One says very specifically that they shall be put to death. It seems to me that if the verse still applies, the punishment should still apply. No one has ever been able to explain to me how that works.

          • Mindy

            Alise, there is not one shred of rational explanation available to those who fall back on Leviticus to "love" someone who is "in grave sin."

            As DR said, thank God that Verne and his ilk are the minority, and that reasonable Christians are slowly but surely eradicating his views. There has certainly been an uptick in their volume recently, but I do believe their numbers continue to dwindle, and I am grateful for that every single day.

        • Kara

          She's pointing out the irrationality of the other commenter's position.

        • Argy-bargy

          Uh, I interpreted it as she's pointing out "If you're following one biblical command, then why aren't you following the other?" So, yes sarcastic, but more importantly, pointing out the sheer insanity of (a) the passages in question, and (b) the selective use of scripture to justify repugnant beliefs and actions.

          • http://defyinggravity1992.wordpress.com defyinggravity1992

            I wouldn't call any part of Scripture "sheer insanity", but I think it's important to take it into context. The people for whom Leviticus was written were struggling with a lot of external influences telling them how to have sex, whether religiously or socially, outside of marriage. God was telling His people that this was wrong, that He had created them to love one person for all their lives. (Let's not get into the fact that Jacob and other biblical men had more than one wife; personally, I hate thinking about that. Ugh.) He didn't want His people to fall victim to the lie that casual sex was okay, so, like a caring Father, He put up some boundaries. I don't believe He intended to cast out any person for loving another, regardless of gender. I think He said what He said out of love.

    • DR

      Thank God this kind of mentality is being eradicated through the people who are on this forum hat represent the millions of sane, educated Christians. Sooner rather than later, this will a minuscule part of the discussion instead of woven into the macro of our culture. That just cannot come soon enough.

      • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric Booth

        Christian leaders once argued over the sinfulness/rightness of the slave trade here in the states. We look back on that debate now and shake our heads in collective disbelief that slavery and Christianity could co-exist. Hopefully, the next generation will look at us with the same baffled disbelief.

        • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

          Ric Booth is my favorite.

    • Mindy

      @Verne – You have much to learn. So very much to learn. I will pray for you.

      • Verne

        Um pray for me…okay thank you …I’ll pray for you as well ….

        God Bless !

        • Mindy

          Never mind. I've read your other responses, and frankly, you aren't worth my prayer effort because you will never open the tightly-closed sphincter that leads to your mind.

          You may cross me off your prayer list as well – that, I really, REALLY don't need.

        • Matthew Tweedell

          Yeah, I'm pretty sure his prayers for anyone else are pointless, Mindy

          Verne, you do know you have to pray in Christ's name—right?—and not that of whatever antichrist you think rules the world.

          I’m truly glad to have you here though, Verne. It’s people like you who make this blog exciting and help people to wake up to the gravity of this problem within the Church and to incite them to action.

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

      Exhibit B.

      • Mindy

        ::::snicker::::

      • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric Booth

        You're like a Verne magnet, John.

    • Todd

      And what about divorce. Condemned in the bible, yet it happens quite frequently.

      • Jeannie

        Divorced people are also mistreated in many fundementalist churches. They are looked upon as second class citizens who failed in their responsibility and in many cases are denied positions of leadership. It happens, but it is not acceptable in many circles.

        • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

          I concur. I was treated with contempt and outright disgust when my first husband and I divorced, because I wasn't being "biblical." Its the primary reason I stopped attending church many years ago.

          I don't think I was in any way treated as badly as I think many churches and Christians treat LGBT people, nonetheless it was a painful experience.

    • Matthew Tweedell

      There are those who like to say that the Bible condemns homosexuality. Various verses are cited (out of context), and the verses that people use to show that homosexuality is wrong are indefensible against rational explanation. The world wants to change God's words and meanings into something more suitable to its sinful pride and desire for simple, easy, unequivocal certainties that put others in their "place". Nevertheless, the truth stands: The Bible does not condemn homosexuality as a sin.

      Unlike other sins, bigotry has a severe judgment administered by God Himself. This judgment is simple: The one who makes others miserable is a miserable person himself. Their hearts are allowed to be hardened by their sins. As a result, they can no longer see the error of what they are doing. Without an awareness of their sinfulness, there will be no repentance and trusting in Jesus. Without Jesus, they will have no forgiveness. Without forgiveness, there is no salvation.

      What should be the Christian’s Response to the A-hole?

      As a Christian, you should pray for the salvation of the a-hole the same as you would for any other person in sin. The a-hole is still made in the image of God — even though his particular part in that image happens to be somewhere down and center on God's backside. Therefore, you should show him the same dignity as anyone else with whom you come in contact. However, this does not mean that you are to approve of their sin. Don’t compromise your witness for a socially unacceptable opinion that is void of godliness—just as the a-hole as a part of the body is not so much of the substance of one’s being as just as its name implies: a void.

      • Argy-bargy

        Matthew:

        "What should be the Christian’s Response to the A-hole?"

        Bloody brilliant….

      • Ace

        I'm just slightly in love with you now Matthew.

        Oops, maybe that's a sin. :O

      • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

        Thank you for making me laugh. That's somewhat of a salve on the feelings that @Verne's response has engendered.

      • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric Booth

        Brilliant. LOL.

      • Matthew Tweedell

        Wow, thanks, everybody, for the warm response!

        But just what are you doing with your mouth there, Ace! “:O” :?:

    • Argy-bargy

      @ Verne:

      "Don’t compromise your witness for a socially-acceptable opinion that is void of godliness."

      I'm so sorry that you place your faith in a book, not God.

      I believe that He has spoken to my heart on this as in many things, and opened my mind to what His love for us is. So, I haven't compromised my witness…God has sustained it….

      And why I've concluded is so different than what you are holding out as the "Truth" that it makes me think sometimes we don't live in the same Universe.

      But we do, and I can only hope that you'll let God in your heart long enough to clean it out of this hatefulness. It isn't love. Why? Because you clearly are putting the hate part ahead of the love part.

      • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

        This is the best response to the Verne's of the world:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZdnTMkTrvo&NR

      • Verne

        I don't hate homosexuals….it's their lives and their holes …God bless them whoever you are posing to be cristians ! who are u to judge my relationship with God and how do u know I put all my trust in a book….I've read the bible have you! If God wanted 2 men together he would've created them together….I find it disgusting sorry …I'm entitled to my own opinion as are you! There is no hate in my heart ..I have a gay friend and he has been my friend for over 8 years I pray for him when he needs it and l love and respect him but I don't approve of his lifestyle…but it's his life and I am no one to judge him do I think he can be saved yeah why not. God loves everybody but hates the sin and being gay is a sin….like stealing is like killing …etc…I pray to God that he rips the blindfolds from you eyes.

        • Matthew Tweedell

          "If God wanted 2 men together he would've created them together"

          you… probably wouldn't understand this… but He did.

          "I find it disgusting sorry"

          Funny you should mention what you find disgusting…

          (I won't in the interests so as not “to judge” you.)

          I'm truly sorry though that two men or women in love disgusts you.

          "I’m entitled to my own opinion as are you!"

          Yes, but the funny thing is, you try to pass it off as a matter of fact, regarding what someone else is actually thinking—namely God, that is.

          "There is no hate in my heart"

          Well, there's an awful lot in your tongue
          :P

          "being gay is a sin"

          Wrong: a sin is never "being" something; it is always *doing* something.

          "I pray to God that he rips the blindfolds from you eyes."

          What a coincidence! I was just about to pray the same darn thing!

          • Ace

            If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say "Verne" is somewhere between the ages of 14 and 17 at best (at least taking into account the grammar, spelling and primitive non-logic displayed in that reply he gave you)

          • Mindy

            Maybe it's Mel, typing with her other hand?

            OK, that was mean. Sorry. I am curious about ol' Verne though – based on the name, I'm envisioning someone in his 50s or 60s who hasn't had a computer all that long, hence the many misspellings, etc. Not keyboard-savvy, shall we say. And the primitive logic is that of someone who has been completely indoctrinated and is completely non-curious – about anything.

            What's your demographic, Verne? Care to share?

        • http://dianer.blogspot.com DR

          You are vile.

          • Mindy

            Aw, c'mon, DR, how do you really feel?

            ;->

            I'm working on a word stronger than vile. I'll let ya know –

  • http://twitter.com/williamgcook William

    John, I love pretty much everything you write, though this is my first time commenting.

    I whole heartedly agree with what you're saying here! I have several gay friends, men and women, all of them rigorously, and I mean with all they have, pursuing a relationship with Christ. Unfortunately, there are times when a few of them nearly give up on the faith because of this 'solution' their mentors offer them! Practicinghuman sees things the way that I wish more Christians would. There are levels of love and intimacy, we should respect them. Although married couples can have a guilty free sex romp, sodomy is still against biblical teachings, and I feel this is the underlying core of the anti-homosexual agenda, though isn't something preached to married couples for one reason or another.

    Once I finish my degree, I really hope I can help change people's views on this through film

    /rant

  • Argy-bargy

    John:

    I don't know you, but I love you, for this blog and this post particularly.

    It's a bromance*, natch, but dude you rock!

    *Not that there's anyting wrong with that! :-D

    • http://defyinggravity1992.wordpress.com defyinggravity1992

      *likes the idea of said bromance* I totally have a bromance with my girlfriend's best friend. Approval!

  • Kara

    I, for one, would love to see the current batch of commenters give their opinions on a question I believe you raised some months ago, John.

    If a gay couple isn't having sex, are they still sinning? Living together, loving each other, holding hands, watching movies on the couch, sharing bills, cooking dinner, going on dates, but not having sex?

    Are they committing an abomination?

    What if they start a family? Are they an abomination then?

    Since it's so clear that traditionalists think they get to draw the lines regarding my life and its morality, I'd like some clarification. How much love and companionship, exactly, am I allowed to have?

    Can I talk to girls? Go to dinner with them? Touch them? Hold the door for them? Please, bearers of infallible knowledge on what is and isn't sin for other people, enlighten me.

    • Argy-bargy

      "Please, bearers of infallible knowledge on what is and isn’t sin for other people, enlighten me."

      Haha! Awesome!

    • Diana A.

      Matthew 5:27-28: "27"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'[e] 28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Thus, if I believed that homosexuality was a sin, I would believe that the homosexual desires, whether acted upon or not, are a sin–just as heterosexual lust is also a sin. However, there is enough question as to the true meaning of the "clobber verses" that I think it's best to go with the understanding that any verse which seems to imply that homosexuality is wrong is probably based in a misunderstanding of scripture.

      • Kara

        Okay, but I didn't say anything about that. I'm talking about love, not lust. I'm talking about romance, not sex. Is hand-holding always sexual? Kissing? What if I can kiss someone without lusting after them? Can I kiss a girl then?

        • http://none Don Rappe

          Yes.

      • Matthew Tweedell

        If people *are* go with such a rigid and exacting understanding of scripture, it only makes it adulterous for you females to harbor homosexual lusts.

        • Matthew Tweedell

          * …*are* ^going to^ go…

      • http://malianta.wordpress.com jutta

        hmmm – Are homosexual desires always lust? Just wondering why you use these words as synonyms. I think I would make a difference between the two.

        • Matthew Tweedell

          Me too. Sexual desire is normal and healthy; being subject to temptation is not the same as giving in to it. What lust is, however, is a fixation upon what isn't rightly yours. That can, at worst, lead to serious problems, and at best it's totally *not* loving one’s neighbor like Jesus told us we should be doing—it's not being an active servant to the will of God.

      • Mindy

        And that whole “lusting in your heart” thing?? Good lord, talk about a random rule aimed at inducing completely unnecessary guilt!!

        As I tell my kids – your feelings are your feelings are your feelings. They are not good or bad, they just ARE. Everybody feels – insert emotion here – sometimes. What matters is what you *do* with those feelings. You can’t smack your sister because she made you mad. You can’t go into her room and take or damage her stuff. You CAN go to your own room and punch a pillow. You can write down all the reasons you’re mad at your sister, then tear it up and throw it away. You can count to 100, then TELL your sister why you are mad – no yelling, no name-calling. But there is nothing wrong with FEELING really, really mad at your sister.

        My oldest daughter had some serious anger and heartache over being adopted when she was younger. Once, my mother was visiting, and said daughter was just being a royal pill – talking back, refusing to cooperate, really generally obnoxious. She was about 8 at the time. I finally told her to leave the dinner table and go wait for me in my room – I would be there as soon as I was finished.

        When I went upstairs, she was sobbing big, angry sobs. I just sat with her, and hugged her, and waited until she caught her breath enough to tell me what was wrong. And her little 8-yr.-old self gulped out, “IT’S NOT FAIR!!” You get to look at Granny and see ‘xactly where you come from, and I’ll NEVER get to do that, ever!!” And with her words, her crying began to subside. I just held for her awhile and acknowledged that, yep, she’d gotten a raw deal in this department. I told her that her anger and sadness were perfectly normal, which in and of itself was a huge relief for her – part of the problem was that she felt terrible guilt for feeling angry.

        Then we talked for a long time about how even though the *feelings* were completely reasonable, treating everyone else in the house badly because of them was not. It was not OK to be rude to her Granny, it was not OK to be obnoxious to her dad and me. It was not OK to be mean to her little sister. Nor was it OK to suffer in silence and simply be miserable, either. We talked about what *would* be an appropriate way to deal with those overwhelming feelings. She agreed that she could talk about them with me or my best friend, who an adult adoptee who understands those feelings well.

        We talked about how sometimes, all of the energy generated by anger can be channeled into something good. So I had her think about why it was that she could not know her birthparents. While we don’t know her details, we do know that because of China’s one-child policy, birthparents gave up their babies in secret, so no information is available. I told her that one of the founders of our adoption agency was working, in China, on plans to eventually start a DNA registry there, so people who did leave their babies could one day register, and all the Chinese adoptees around the world could also, if they wanted to. Maybe when she was a grown-up, she could work on this. She could use her anger at a flawed system to help facilitate connections. And as we talked, she relaxed. She told me she was sorry she’d been so mean. And my little 8-yr.-old beamed and said she was DEFINITELY going to work on that DNA project, because even if she never found her own birthparents, if even one of her China sisters did, it would be SO COOL.

        Then it was my turn to cry. Here was this little girl, heartbroken over a loss she didn’t even remember, and all it took was a little time and understanding, and she was ready to throw her energy behind a cause that might not help her, but would help someone who felt like she did. She simply needed tools understanding what to do with feelings that make her uncomfortable. She needed to know that she was OK for feeling them.

        I apologize for going on for so long, but every time I read anything about “feelings” being bad or sinful or whatever all by themselves, I think of this. How could any God have shamed her for feeling those things? Her guilt was completely self-imposed, because she didn’t *want* to hurt anyone, but being so overwhelmed, she didn’t yet know how to control them. She had to learn.

        If I had, instead of talking with her, told her that she was a brat for feeling that way, that she should be damned grateful she had a home instead of whining about what she *doesn’t* have – - – how much damage would I have done to her little soul? How much self-flagellation would she have had to endure? As her parent, it was my job to help her learn to improve her behavior, of course. But how can you tell anyone, especially a child, that their feelings – which they can no more help than they can help growing hair – are wrong?

        To me, helping children develop the sense of self it takes to know which feelings are OK to act upon and which feelings need to be corralled and managed differently is THE most important job of parenting. Helping them learn to trust their own instincts means validating the instincts, the senses, the emotions that they each have inside. When acting upon a feeling is harmful to someone else, to things or to yourself, you have to find another way to handle it. But having the feeling in the first place, whatever it is, is simply part of being alive.

        And I would think that God would be far more impressed with an adult, say, who feels healthy lust and CHOOSES not to act upon it but to go home and love his wife to pieces than someone who pretends he never, ever lusts after any human being but his wife.

        I guess my point is that while you are, no doubt, correct about how fundamentalists might interpret that, I not only agree with your point, but believe with my whole heart that any part of the Bible that indicates FEELINGS are bad has either been completely misinterpreted, or we have used the brains God gave us to completely outgrow such nonsense.

        • http://malianta.wordpress.com jutta

          I love your story! Thank you for sharing it!

          • Mindy

            Thanks, Jutta – I felt bad for rambling so long off topic, but it is a point near and dear to my heart, that allowing feelings thing.

            Someone in another comment re-defined lust, however, and it made more sense, as it likened lust not just to sexual attraction but more like an obsession with something/someone you cannot have. That's different than what I was speaking of, so if that is the what the Bible means, it makes more sense.

            Somehow, though, when I think of Jimmy Carter confessing that he lusted in his heart, I don't think of him as grappling with some enormous obsession. Who knows . . .

          • Matthew Tweedell

            What Jutta said!

  • Kim

    I am a Christian who LOVES God and pursues Christ as much as possible! I strive to keep an open relationship and dialogue with God. Not all "Christians" can realistically say this…some if not most of them are too concerned with image and following the letter of the law and taking the Bible "literally". They're actually called Pharisees and Jesus hated their hipocrisy.

    This is what I know for sure — the Bible is the infallible word of God, but people — if we're to take it literally, then we should own slaves, beat our children with rods, take an eye for an eye, smear blood over our doors, and have women keep our hair long and covered…oh, and also stay in the house because we're "unclean" once a month.

    Homosexuality a sin? Honestly, I struggle with homosexuality — I'm going to be real. My struggle is with my own emotions. Something doesn't quite "jive" when I see two women or two men acting affectionately. I'd chalk that up to lack of exposure, and my own misconceptions. But a sin? No. The ten commandments were given by God to Moses because God knew that the Hebrews couldn't and wouldn't govern themselves successfully. He gave them guidelines so they wouldn't fight with each other, kill each other, and decimate their chances of reaching the Promised Land. He didn't give them these laws to prevent them from loving or having companionship. God hates promiscuity, of any orientation. He hates abuse. He hates rape, murder, adultery, lying, cheating, etc. Homosexuality is about who one loves. If you're attracted to someone of the same gender, and you know you're absolutely not attracted to someone of the opposite gender, then you're gay — it's pretty simple.

    Being homosexual does NOT translate into sin. God was condemning lust and lack of self control that we humans sink into. Because let's face it — once we succumb to lust, chaos, abusive desires – we're acting against God and not being loving, supportive, caring, or glorifying to Him.

    • Mindy

      Kim, let this non-Christian just say that you are yet another beautiful example of why there is hope for Christianity yet. Thanks for speaking up!

  • Argy-bargy

    @ John:

    I'm sad….I just realized that Leviticus wouldn't allow us to eat your flying pig…. :-(

    • Kim

      LOL! We could if we called it a bird!!!

      • Ace

        As long as it's not an eagle!

        • http://none Don Rappe

          There are so many reasons not to eat a flying pig!

        • John

          Ah yes, eagle: the other white meat! :)

  • AndyM

    Excellent post. It's good to see Christian allies on this issue.

  • Mark

    The Bible doesn't address homosexuality.

    The word (and concept it describes) wasn't even coined until the 1800's.

    There are various passages of scriptures that address same-sex erotic behavior. The context of those verses is critical. Audience, situation, issue, objective … all are important to take into consideration.

    In my mind, that's what's missing from the knee-jerk response that attempts to apply "plain meaning of scripture" to situations where the meaning is not so clear once context is taken into account. And that's where wings meet pigs with glue.

    • Mickymse

      Exactly… and it requires an understanding of history and culture and Hebrew and Greek and a whole lot more than "my (King James) Bible clearly says…"

  • Jaxxi Hax

    Thank you for being a voice of reason and reminding me that not all Christians are thoughtless and cruel. I love that you spoke out – because so many other Christians won't speak out and let the nutty ones be the public voice of the entire faith.

    Love your message – xo

  • Lauren

    Hi, thanks sooo much for this. Sometimes, amid all the hateful messages that I see broadcast all over the country and the world, I forget how caring and kind many Christians actually are. This is what Christians everywhere need to do–spread a message not just of tolerance but of genuine acceptance. There are (I believe) 613 commandments in the OT. Very, very few people follow all of them, so why pick one at random (assuming the translation we use is even the most accurate) and make it the exalted commandment, almost on a par with the big 10? Your message is beautiful and loving, and I thank you so much for it.

  • Colin

    Wow, thank you sincerely for the well thought out, rational and reasonable argument. You may be one of the lone voices rising among Christians to say "This is wrong. Being gay is not a sin and we owe our LGBT sisters and brothers love and respect" but yours is a powerful voice with a powerful message. Thank you for your kindness, intelligence and courage in making your voice be heard.

  • jessica

    Thank you for this dose of sanity in a mostly insane, intellectually dishonest debate.

  • http://farfromthisshore.wordpress.com Don Whitt

    @Verne,

    I learned on TV last night (Fringe) that there are 52 sphincters in the human body. Now I've learned that there is at least one on this blog. I pray for the those in your path.

    • http://farfromthisshore.wordpress.com Don Whitt

      My apologies for the snarkiness. I just couldn't believe my eyes…

      • Argy-bargy

        Well, at least you were trying to be factual. ;-)

    • Mindy

      DON!!! Now *that* was funny . . . . . !

      Some of the best humor is that which you least expect . . .

    • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

      Don Whitt is my favorite.

      • http://farfromthisshore.wordpress.com Don Whitt

        Mindy and DR, you're too kind.

        Well, okay, you're both just right.

        • Mindy

          We both just have really good taste. ;->

  • Elizabeth

    Wow! I am ashamed to have once believed that stupid argument myself (in my teenage years). No longer, of course.

    I do confront people on their hypocrisy now and am a huge proponent of equal rights for everybody. I know it doesn't make up for the damages I did to my best friend in high school (by believing that stupid crap) who I later found out was gay.

    I am very glad to see you blogging about this and standing up for everyone's rights!! Thank you thank you thank you!!

  • http://nametagsandhairnets.blogspot.com stephanie

    I just want to say that following this past week has been pretty eye-opening for me. I don't get involved much in the comments b/c quite frankly some of these conversations just plain frighten me. That being said, I have never in my life as a straight Christian had a problem with homosexuality. I've never taken a stance of judgment and have always been angered by those that do. But what I will own up to is the thought that there is no place for homosexuals in the Christian community. While I would have wholeheartedly supported their right to marry, I probably wouldn't have invited them a church service b/c I thought their way of life didn't necessarily fit inside the context of living a Christian life (and yes, I was probably concerned they'd be met with a ton of prejudice or someone trying to scare them straight). And the reaction should be then that "don't I believe that God wants EVERYONE in a good, loving relationship with him and by excluding them from Christianity, I'm implying they do not deserve that either?" When it came to the answer of what God thinks about that, honestly I probably just chose to not go down that rabbit hole. Ultimately I believe that God works to cultivate a relationship with individuals on His own accord whether that be in a church or not. But you guys have forced me to jump down that rabbit hole and think hard about what I think in regards to this. I honestly had never thought about what it would be like for a person to be gay AND christian. Thank you, John (and fellow commenters), for opening my eyes to this and breaking down pre-conceived ideas I didn't even realize I had.

    • Mindy

      And thank YOU for being open about sharing this. Nothing means more than knowing that words you've written have expanded someone's understanding of the world. John's words are amazing, as are those of so many commentors, and I love reading that someone has been touched and changed by what someone here has written!

  • Pamela

    John, I found your words compassionate and inspiring. Shouldn't we, as Americans, as humans, extend the same protection of rights, freedom from bigotry, and wishes for loving relationships, to eachother? I can't think of any reason we would not want that for every person in our society. And shouldn't Christians, in particular perhaps because they claim the peaceful and loving teachings of Jesus, be at the forefront of compassionate reevaluation of old-fashioned ideas to result in inclusion of all people, regardless of sexual orientation? I can't imagine why not. Thank you for continuing the discussion in the right direction, forward.

  • Kara

    Found the link to the post I was talking about earlier.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2009/04/17/christians-minus-

  • Shona Dudley

    THANK YOU for a well-written, thoughtful, compassionate blog post. I'm not Christian, in large part because of my "choice" to be lesbian, happy and loved. I made this "choice" when I was 19, after several years of struggling/suffering and praying, trying to be straight and being so miserable I considered suicide. I am now 44, and in a long-term, loving relationship. Our families accept us and are happy for us, and my heart breaks for the gays & lesbians I know whose "Christian" families and friends continue to preach hate to and about them.

  • Brooklyn Reader

    As a "discerned" Quaker of 3 years or so standing, I cry for the bulk of so-called Christianity. The Quakers I worship with simply believe that there is that of God in EVERY person. That in HIS eyes, we are all equal and that it's not up to us to quibble with his handiwork. Further, that God's gift to Man is the ability to love, and that He'd like us to use it.

    I don't know what motivates these bitter, condemnatory people who have the audacity to try to claim Christianity for themselves. They must have missed some of the important stuff in the Bible. You know, the stuff about being meek, leaving judgement to God, not being haughty and arrogant. I mean, if you're going to play fundamentalist and go word-by-word on weak interpretations of poor translations how can you ignore those words? Those are some of the clearest ones in the Bible.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric Booth

    Thank you, John, for putting this out here so succinctly. Demanding that someone live hopelessly alone is a cruel demand, to say the least. Those choose to remain alone is one thing. Demanding it of an entire group of people is cruel.

  • Jason Moore

    I am Gay, I believe in God, I am a Christian, I just question the ethics of fellow Christians. I do not question God, since he made me the way I am.

    Any questions, you homophobic, judgeMENTAL piece of excrement?

  • Mindy

    Jason, to whom was your question directed?

    • Kara

      I'm going to assume it's Verne.

      • Mindy

        That's what I'm hoping – the placement was just odd . . .

  • Grace

    *cheering and clapping*

    Jeannie mentioned the fundamentalist requirement that singles be celibate to the point of lacking casual affection. I think that is an excellent point, and my answer to it is that those rules, too, are cruel, and should be thrown out. They used to have social and medical functions, but now, given that women are not chattel, that we can prevent pregnancy, that we can prevent venereal diseases, and that we can cure some venereal diseases, the old "no touching" rules mainly cause pointless suffering. They drive people to undertake marriages for bad reasons, such as being desperate to get laid. They cause people to find out too late that they are incompatible in ways that only show up after you start living together. Such situations make people unhappy for no good reason, can help create abusive relationships, and can permanently scar children unfortunate enough to be exposed to them. If there really is a loving God who wants us to be happy and healthy above all, then God must think we are crazy for still following the old "no touching" rules.

    If I ever have kids, whether their first necking session is at 12 or 16 or 28 doesn't really matter. What DOES matter is that they are comfortable with their bodies, their desires, their partners, and are respectful of all those. What does matter is that nobody gets abused, sick, pregnant, or pushed into having any kind of sex they don't want. What does matter is that what they're doing (kinky or not) is safe, sane, and consensual. What does matter is that they are getting the love, affection, and sex they DO want. What does matter is that they and their partners (be it one or many!) are making each other more happy and healthy, not less.

    • Mindy

      Cheering and clapping for YOU, Grace! Thanks for that. In addition to the nuttiness over orientation, we also have SUCH a horrible track record with promoting healthy body image in this culture. Having two daughters with drastically different body types has made that a huge issue to be continually addressed in this family. We focus on HEALTHY – not fat or thin, but man, does mass media, etc. make that difficult.

      Sorry, got off track – but you have a very healthy perspective, Grace.

  • http://vampyre-nmp.blogspot.com/ Tristan Alexander

    I have been very angry over the latest scuicides and the fact that Christianity is mostly to blame for them. I was a christian for 50 years and studied for the ministry as well as compleating a 4 year in depth Bible and Church history course recently.

    I have been gay all my life (I did not realise it till I was in my 20's but looking back on my life, I was clearly this way all along). After learning the truth about the Bible, the church and Christianity in general, I am no longer a Christian. DO NOT say you are sorry or will pray for me! I am free now, after spending most of my life hating myself and trying to be what "God" supposedly wanted me to be, I am now truely set free by the trueth! And prayer is a farce, sin, heaven and hell are ALL taken from the GreekoRoman mythos and are NOT from Jewish tradition…anyway, sorry I get angre and preachy. I am sorry..

    You write a good article and make great points (though many who reply to you seem to be set in their pridful, hate filled ways!)

    My husband (not leagal of course because in this Christian controled country I have no rights!) and I have been together 26 years! We have help raise a child and we have a normal, boring life! He still goes to church, sings in the choir, is on the vestry and in general is VERY active there. I am a stay at home artist and I do freelance work. We have NEVER been in an orgy, we don't party, we don't drink, we don't do drugs! I don't even cuss!! (he does but mosly only when driving). We live quiet normal lives and yet we have no righst as a couple! I had cancer and he could have been denied access to me or if I had dies he could have lost anything of ours we shared!

    WHY? Because Chrsitians decided being gay was a sin! The bible, as you pointed out is not as clear on that as people like to pretend it is. Most still think Sodom and Gamorah was about Homosexuality, IT WAS NOT!! Read your own book people!! The SIN of Thos ewicked Cities is the SIN America and Christians suffer from in GREAT abundance…PRIDE AND SELFISHNESS! Look it up!!

    Anyway, someone had seen how anti Christian and angry I am over the latest waste of young lives and sent me here. Sory you got hit with this, but I do appreciate that you are also trying to point out the stuupidity of the attitude that led to these poor kids killing themselves. If Christians EVER truely followed what Jesus was reported to have said, they would LOVE everyone and JUDGE no one!

    • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric Booth

      Dear WordPress,

      I really need a comment Like button for times such as this. Please get on this right away.

    • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

      Tristan, I love this sentence:

      "If Christians EVER truely followed what Jesus was reported to have said, they would LOVE everyone and JUDGE no one!"

      I'm straight and I'm frankly envious of the wonderful relationship you have found with your husband. I've been through relationship hell, and I would love to find a life with someone the way you have.

  • ak

    "The “sinful temptation” that Christians are forever urging LGBT people to resist is love.

    Being, of course, the one thing Jesus was most clear about wanting his followers to extend to others."

    I love this, so well-put. I even IMed it to a few of my friends. Thanks.

  • http://lemonparty.org Chris

    Really? That's your argument? That the church is asking gays not to "love"??? A very weak argument indeed, and full of holes because of the foundation of opinion.

    I am a Christian and do not care if people are or are not gay. God is the only true judge. I wish more Christians kept that in perspective.

  • Tim

    I love your gifts, John. There is sooo much I agree 10,000% with you about…..Here's the big BUT

    But I don't agree that living SEXless is tantamount to living LOVEless. Actually I find that idea sort of exclusionary and offensive!

    I was "stricken", as it were, with a weak libido. I lived for so long NOT understanding why I had such a weak sexual pulse, but since the beautiful bride of my younger years and mother of my two kids finally left me, I spent a lot of time with doctors and therapists. Whether it was my chronic depression that gave me hypertension, or my hypertension and subsequent meds that gave me chronic depression…or maybe a hormonal deficiency gave me all the above…the chicken and the egg. I went from being maybe a little less than normally sexual in my 20's, to even less sexual in my 30's. I met my wife when I was 37, and married just after I turned 39.

    I warned my young bride (22) that I had a low sex drive, but she was fatally optimistic and said something to effect that sex wasn't the "big enchilada" for her anyway. But she changed as most women do. Their hormones really kick in for gals soon after children, and mine were sputtering out. This was years before Pfizer had released Viagra and I was already in a bad mojo funk feeling…no…KNOWING that I couldn't keep up sexually with the woman I treasured and loved more than my own life. I was obviously already descending deeper into depression, because the gripping fear of what my wife was probably thinking but was too sweet and kind to ever say. Well, it came out when she divorced me. She assumed I was gay. Of course if I didn't want to have sex with her, I must be. And she has always been soooo hot. I couldn't keep my hands off her in our courtship. Actually I was thinking that she had invigorated my libido. But soon after the honeymoon, the frequency of our love making began to fail. I have always been a worrier. Those worries about making enough money to provide a home for her and our family, took an unconscious toll and there it began….well I won't bore you with what you have probably already read on my old blog, John. But please remember that love is much more than the act of sexual passion. To imply that LOVE isn't LOVE unless it can be expressed sexually, well…that just ain't true, my brother.

    You claim Jesus. I do too. Not because of what He WILL do for me today, or in the life to come. I love Jesus because of what He HAS done for me when I was yet His enemy. THAT, my friend, is LOVE.

    • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

      I didn't see where John implied that love could only be expressed sexually. For most people, absolutely sex IS a part of it. But there's so much more – being held, being kissed, being hugged. Spooning in bed. Holding hands or wrapping arms around waists. So many physical expressions of human affection.

      I'm in the middle of a divorce, and its been nearly two years since I've had, um, "carnal relations." You know what I miss the most? A loving, tender hug. I just want someone to hold me in a way that communicates that I am their special person. And I think that's what John's talking about up there.

      • Tim

        Hi Mary—

        I suppose it’s possible I misconstrued John’s meaning, but all the threads on this blog for the past week have been about homosexuality. In regards to this blog post specifically, John equates the common Christian expectation for gay celibacy as living without the possibility of loving or being loved. To me, celibate means abstaining from sex…not abstaining from loving or being loved. I don’t know if I would spoon with a bro watching football on the couch, or walking down the beach at sunset with my hand in my son’s back pants pocket, Each expression of love can be as individual and unique as any of us could imagine. The more cliche expressions, waking up in the same bed, gazing lovestruck across the breakfast table over coffee, sending flowers, stolen smooches, wearing matching grey turtlenecks and watching Gilmore Girls together…..bhaaa!! Hallmark has turned love into bearable fart.

    • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

      Tim, it feels really weird to debate this at a conceptual level when this is really intimate and personal. That being said, why don't I charge ahead and do just that?

      You have a low libido, but again – you get to put it in use as a straight male who can be married legally when and if that occurs. The church says your libido is alright with them.

      I think we're all assuming that gay couples have tons of sex when in fact, some could simply be like what a lot of people are, companions who love one another, want to be legally married but maybe don't have the hotness every night in the boudoir. It's not really any concern of mine. But I'd like for them to have the option to be in love, for us to recognize it, not call it evil and have as much or as little safe, monogamous sex as they'd like to have.

      • Tim

        Thanks for your nice response, DR. But to be accurate, I have virtually no libido. Some mornings (maybe 2 per week), I have a little, but it dies off before 8am. It's so strange. Like a battery that can't hold a charge. The reason I waited until my late 30's to marry, was because I new I was sort of a freak. But I still had urges and needs but I was celibate from 18 to 39. I never felt that I couldn't love or be loved. But I had resigned myself to being without a mate for the rest of my life. Not by my choice or desire, but because that was just how it was.

        I don't think anyone has the right to say that anyone else should live a life of celibacy. If I hadn't been a Christian from the age of 27, I don't think I would have lived long enough to fall in love with my wife (ex) and have a family. I owe my life, the 14.5 years of being married (that I will never regret), a wife that I will always love, and two great kids…not to mention a richer and infinitely more meaningful life in regards to everything and everyone else in my life.

        Life can't help but be personal and intimate. That's how were are built. That is one of the prime reasons I believe in a personal intimate relationship with God through the person of Christ. For me, everything else is icing.

  • lauren

    Thank you. Thank you for this post. Thank you for being a voice of reason. I was raised in a very Christian home (of the speaking in tongues variety) and have all but left my faith.

    I think most Christians see us as some sort of symbol, some far removed caricature, anything but a human being. They see the pictures of gay men in leather or drag queens etc. What they don't see are the thousands of us who don't look quite so enticing to a news producer. We're everywhere yet I suppose many don't see us. We're not very different from you. My life isn't very newsworthy. I go to work. I garden. I have date nights with my wife. I take my dogs to the park. I'm learning sign language so that I can communicate with my nephew. I don't like nuts in my icecream. I sometimes get lost in a moment and kiss my wife in public. I don't actually intend to be "shoving it in everyone's face". I just want a kiss. Doesn't everyone sometimes? But then, I sometimes forget, when all I hear are those Christians who condemn me, who despise me, who scream scripture at me, who focus their lives on fighting against my very humanity; I forget that there are thousands of others like you. They seem so hyper-focused on what we do in bed, it's beyond disturbing. I don't want to know the details of anyone's sex life, gay or straight.

    One of the commenters said it's not just about sex. They were right. I'll answer another commenter though I doubt she'll understand or believe me. I had my first crush on a girl when I was five. I didn't, however, recognize it as a crush until years later, once I'd become more cognizant of sexual feelings in my adolescence. I never had a crush on a boy. I don't know when I started wondering if I was gay but I knew from kindergarden on that I was different. I knew I was attracted to girls when I was 13, I just didn't have a word for it. "Gay" was a distant concept of something vile of which we weren't supposed to speak. So I knew I was different. I suppose if I'd been straight there would never have been that enlightening moment wherein I realized I was the same. You don't notice when you realize you're straight because there's noting noteworthy about it. I'm simply not attracted to men. I have male friends but that bond, the bond you share when you love someone and they love you, just isn't possible for me to have with men. I sometimes ask people, "Would you want me to marry your son?" If you believe I can pray away the gay, do you believe I could ever make your son a happy husband? Sure, I could fix his brakes and I love football and hate chic flicks. But there's more to a relationship than entertainment choices. There's more to life than sex. I would like to live mine without being defined by it. I may someday come back to my faith. I don't know. I envy those I know who weren't so tormented by religion. I chose to not believe in this God, this God everyone kept telling me created me yet would someday send me to hell for being the person he created. Maybe if fewer of his believers hated me so much, it would be easier. I don't know.

    I've rambled, sorry. I mostly just wanted to thank you and your commenters. This may be the first time I've stumbled upon a Christian blog and not wanted to cry or throw my coffee cup at the screen. Thank you again. I hope there are more Christians like you.

    • Mindy

      Lauren, you sound like a great person. A really . . . normal, great person.

      I am not a Christian, nor am I gay – but I all but given up on Christianity in general until a friend shared John's blog with me. I was raised with regular church, but it just never resonated with me. And then it became divisive and ugly, or so I thought – and even though I knew lots of self-identifying Christians who I knew were good people, who I knew shared my views, I could never get past wondering why no Christians were speaking up against all the vileness too many hypocritical and very LOUD christians (they don't get the capital 'C') were constantly spewing.

      And then I started reading John and some of his incredibly eloquent, compassionate, generous, funny commenters, and I can feel my optimism being restored, one teensy bit at a time. It is a two steps forward, one step back sort of proposition, but it's progress, nonetheless.

      Welcome!

      • lauren

        Thank you. For the record, my money's on you. Verne's goin' down hard. He just may never be aware he's already lost.

    • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

      Hi Lauren. There are, we're just finding our voice and beginning to use it collectively. There's been a strong, manipulative force in the church that's kept a lot of us quiet and/or confused. But we're waking up (albeit too late to save a lot of these kids who are hurting themselves). And we'll take our church back from this odd element that encases everyone in fear (themselves most).

  • http://gaychristiangeek.blogspot.com/ Anna Rose

    John, have I ever mentioned that you are made of win? Because you are.

  • rnegron

    I love you!

  • gina

    Bless you. It's so nice to know there are sane Christians around. I think most of them are more concerned with supporting dogma and have forgotten Jesus' message of love.

    WWJD? Love everyone equally. Any church leader who tells you otherwise is not to be trusted – they've forgotten we're all made in God's image. And God doesn't make mistakes, right?

    • justmy0pinion

      Stating that someone's actions are sinful doesn't necessarily imply that you don't love them. In fact it is just the opposite. The Bible tells us that ALL have sinned anyway. If I didn't love people who choose homosexuality as a lifestyle then I wouldn't care how they live. I have a niece who has recently accepted the homosexual lifestyle and I don't love her anymore or any less than I did when she was married in a heterosexual relationship. But I am concerned that she doesn't even know that her actions will cause her second death. And I feel the same for everyone here. God loves all of us so much that he was willing to give us guidelines to live by which we call the Bible. And if we weren't sinners there would be no need for a Savior. And if Jesus wasn't the Savior then we wouldn't be having this discussion because none of us would call ourselves Christians!

      • Mindy

        Awfully nice of you to be so concerned. Now, have you told your niece your concerns about her "second death?" Because I'm just *sure* that helped her greatly.

        Don't hide behind the Bible. Listen to her, instead of preaching at her.

      • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

        justmyOpinion writes she doesn’t even know that her actions will cause her second death.

        Neither do you… if you're honest.

      • Matthew Tweedell

        I'm afraid that you don't even know that your action may well cause your second death and your beliefs are causing the first deaths of your neighbors.

        By the way, your connection of the fact that there are Christians with the fact that that Jesus was the Savior doesn't follow. I don't get your reasoning unless you also think Mohammed is His Prophet and the Supreme Being became incarnate in Lord Krishna.

  • http://www.shadsie.deviantart.com Shadsie

    I see a flaw in the argument here – if you'll allow me…

    I'll preface this by saying that I've come to not care what people do in their bedrooms (as long as they aren't my downstairs neighbors being too loud, anyway),, and that I actively feel sorry for people who happen to be both gay and Christian because they get poo flung at them from both sides (the "Christian" side demanding they give up the gay and the world demanding they give up the God …and if both are a part of who you are that's tough…) Also, if I make no sense, I'm not feeling too well today…

    It's just… I remember in my more conservative days that I would counter arguments like "You would deny them love?" with "Love does not equal LUST." I honestly never got (and still don't get) the way so many people seem to equate sex with love and love with sex.

    I've been in a (straight) relationship for several years now in which… neither of us are particularly interested in the ol' in-and-out. We're both pretty aesexual, not ready for things the world seems to say we *have* to be ready for to be *human.* It's not just me, either, it's both of us – my man and I have discussed this extensively. I also have some health issues I've been going from doctor to doctor to try to figure out that could mess up physicality, anyway. Yet, in *every other way,* we act like an old married couple. So, I never really got why denying oneself the act of sex means denying oneself love.

    Then, I remember that I'm an absolute FREAK and that the needs of other people aren't the same as mine.

    I also think about how this "chaste love" thing falls apart when most people see a gay couple holding hands walking down the street or having a cute-peck kiss and freak out.

    I think a better argument for really strict "no-lust" Christians might actually lie in Bible-research because, trust me, sometimes common sense does not work. After being fed a convservative interpretation, I sought out some other interpretations online. Relgious tolerance dot org, a couple of gay Christian sites (I mean, the *very existance* of gay Christians prompted my curiosity to see what they think)… and I find it's rather interesting how people interpret some of the ancient languages, and how they see some of the stories, verses and their context.

    If I'm recalling correctly (too lazy to whip out my Bible and hunt, or to look this stuff up), there's some stuff Paul says in the Greek that would seem more related to Roman idolatry practices than to modern concepts of "gay"…. and there's a story about Jesus healing a Roman soldier's servant who, according to the "gay interpretation" may have been more than just a servant – and, if so, I think that's really, really SWEET, as in, I get warm fuzzies – both the man caring so much about his man to go to Jesus about him and the healing. It's just, finding the "gay Christian filter" on these things was… interesting.

    Personally, now, I pretty much say "I don't know" when confronted with "is this a sin?" and figure "It's between a person and God." and, socially "rights and fairness are rights and fairness." I certainly don't think it's "the one thing that will send you to Hell" or anything as ridiculous as that. As it is, a friend turned me onto some interpretations of scripture that may mean that Hell isn't what we think it is and may be a temporary condition, anyway, too.

    *Shrug*

    • EM

      I see a flaw in your argument too. Joel, the first commenter put it perfectly. You say you don't know whether it's a sin or not? How is it negatively affecting you in any way? Do you have any logical reason as to why it is a sin? For example, murder is wrong because it deprives someone of their right to life and deprives their friends and family of a loved one, the cost of the trial is a burden on taxpayers, etc., etc.. So can you think of a similar cause/effect with gayness? I've yet to see a logical argument as to why it is a sin.

      • Ronnie

        It's in the laws of Moses you're not supposed to lie with animals and men with men and so forth. Check out sodomy it gets it's name from Sodom and Gomorrah, which God destroyed.

        Jesus said I come not to change the law, but to fulfill it.

        The worst lie one can tell is to yourself.

        • Mindy

          Ronnie, take some time and sit and read the comments and conversations on John's posts about homosexuality and religion. Truly, you need to be educated. There is so much wrong with what you've said here, and I simply don't have time right now to do the work for you.

          Educated, compassionate people, Christians and non, have discussed in great detail – in the spirit not of proving each other wrong but of greater understanding – every point you mention, and so much more. Please, I implore you, step out of the comfort zone of what you've been taught in church, and learn. From gay people, from straight people who know and care about gay people, from Christians and from atheists.

          I know you believe that what you wrote is all cut and dried true, but it just isn't that simple.

        • Franklin

          I think you guys are confusing what a "sin" is. It really has nothing to do with morality, at least in the way a non-Christian would see it. For a Christian it is all the things that God doesn't want you to do. That's it.

          So while being gay isn't immoral (towards other people), that is, in fact, irrelevant, at least for a Christian who believes it is a sin. If God doesn't like it it is on the same level as murdering someone (since all sins are equal in the eyes of the Lord).

      • http://www.shadsie.deviantart.com Shadsie

        I never said that I didn't agree with the logic. I am merely bringing up the conservative argument.

        I *USED* to think like that but do no longer. I suppose I didn't stress that whole "in my more conservative days" thing enough. I guess that's what I get for expecting humans to *get* anything rather than to jump first without paying attention.

        I am pointing out an argument I *used* to use – and one that people still use to this day – it's need for address, and… frankly, how to some people arguing all the "no harm done" logic in the world isn't going to do a damn thing for them – they're so into the Bible they need to be argued to *from the Bible* (which is why I bring up some of the alternate interpretations).

      • http://www.shadsie.deviantart.com Shadsie

        Hnn. If your beef was with the "I don't know" bit… well, I don't. I don't know a lot of things.

        I don't know if I'm going to find a portal to Narnia in my closet tommorow. Or if reality is just a dream that my soul will wake up from someday. Or even, for sure, that God exists (Atheists of the world, don't get excited, I'm not ready to "de-convert," I just think having a little bit of doubt is natural and healthy).

        I've read the Bible cover to cover, but only in English. I am not an expert on ancient languages and cultures. I consider myself a Christian, but unlike many you may have met, I do not claim to know the mind of God.

        In other words, I think in grays. To demand that I think in black and white and be one hundred percent sure of anything in realms of faith and philosophy is demanding an impossible thing from me.

        I have no problem with homosexuality myself other than "not my thing," but whether God does or not, I honestly do not know, because that whole "I don't know the mind of God" thing. I began my journey in Christianity very conservative and I've been liberaling out. Please don't demaind that I instantly "know" everything, or anything, because if I am am to be *honest* with myself, I'm not God and cannot definitively speak for him.

        When I speak for myself, what comes out is "Dash it all if I care – I have this plank in my own eye I have to worry about."

    • Siggy

      I have to comment on this since you said "asexual" and "freak" in adjacent paragraphs. Asexuals are not freaks! They compose about 1% of the population, and many of them experience romantic attraction without the sexual component. Look it up.

      And on the same topic, I think the original post is rather problematic from an asexual perspective. Some asexuals indeed go through life not experiencing romantic love… and it's not that bad. It's not as if there aren't plenty of other joys in life, plenty of other kinds of fulfilling relationships.

      On the other hand, if a gay or lesbian chooses to be celibate, we're literally talking ignoring crushes and breaking up relationships. And for what? As far as I can tell, the only reason is because many Christians believe in a cruel and irrational god.

      • Mindy

        Good point – a celibate but sexual being does seem to me to have embarked upon a pointless sacrificial journey. Unless, like some have said, they choose celibacy to preserve an already existing relationship, especially one that involves a family with children.

        But you're right in pointing out that asexual people can enjoy romantic love without sex. And that's fine, but it is not the same as being denied.

      • http://www.shadsie.deviantart.com Shadsie

        I like using the term "freak" in reference to myself often. Whenever I enter an argument about volatile things, I like to come "from a position of weakness" so as not to come across as pretentious.

        I also have issues with despression and self-worth… but sometimes I use "freak" as a badge of pride. Normal people scare me.

        Anyway, I feel… very different than most of the world – for this and many other reasons. I remember being outright told once that I couldn't hope to have an IQ past that of a houseplant until I spread my legs for someone. Stuff like that tells me that I should come from a position of weakness, "knowing my place" as it were.

  • Mark

    Thank you so much for your post. Christian voices that speak out against hatred and oppression are much needed. Thank you.

  • Liz

    Wow. Just…wow!

    This blog has given this pantheist Unitarian Universalist hope for humanity!

    Thank you! Thank you for posting this insightful, non-judgmental, loving piece. Our church has been fighting so long and hard for LGBT rights and acceptance, it is so heartening to know some of our Christian brothers and sisters are finally listening to their own hearts–hearts full of love and acceptance, not blackened hearts full of hate.

    Bravo, John! I am subscribing to your blog, and I don't normally do that kind of thing. I even suggested that my teen son read this, and I never send him to any *Christian* sites!

  • Max

    Brilliant. I’m not gay, but Asperger’s has given me a number of stereotypically gay traits (sometimes swishy gestures, an uppity way of expressing myself, a fashion sense tending towards the louche, a tendency to get overly emotional at inappropriate times, etc.) This caused fellow middle schoolers to hang a gay label on me. I went through a very brief period of confusion over it. But it left me with a great deal of sympathy for gay people and a real appreciation for good arguments in their favor.

    • Argy-bargy

      Max: That's a great point. If only we could all walk in the shoes of someone we're not…I think there would be such a precipitous decline in world intolerance…

      …well, peace might actually break out!

      Scary thought.

  • http://www.trinitylc.org Siri C. Erickson

    Great post, John!

    This is why I have been encouraging Christians who believe that homosexual relationships are not inherently sinful to be more direct in their communication.

    This could be summed up by saying: Publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous same gender relationships are not sinful and the people that enter into such relationships are not sinning when they do so.

  • Kara

    I'm serious about my question, though. People keep saying "We're not denying them love, we're denying them lust!" So I really want to know: Are you okay with a gay couple living together, raising a family, sharing every element of their lives, etc, as long as they don't have sex? Or are you saying that just wanting to have sex with one another is a sin?

    And if it's the wanting that's the sin, not the acting on the wanting, then what hope do we have, in your eyes?

    • Matthew Tweedell

      (Just a little advice, IMHO—you can take it or leave it—perhaps the best way to challenge those who say things like that would be to pose such questions in direct response to comments that make such an implication.)

      • Kara

        Well, I mean, people are doing it here, but I was talking more about a trend I've noticed in general. Thanks for the advice, though.

        • http://www.shadsie.deviantart.com Shadsie

          If in response to me – to clarify…

          I didn't say that I currently had that attitude, I spoke of my "more conservative days" – of an attitude I remember having and how certain arguments didn't work on it / didn't change my mind right away. I only brought it up because I know that attitude is out there and needs to be addressed.

  • David

    I have to chime in and add to the fact that religion is a choice, one I was never given a option to. I was brought up with an ultra religious mother and there was no if, and's or buts when it came to going to church. I am not gay, but have many friends that are. Do I think being gay is a sin? ABSOLUTELY NOT! but that's me. I also find a tremendous amount of flaws in Catholicism and Christianity. That being said, I do hate the fact that Christians want to push their religion on everyone. This should be something personal, something you live YOUR life by and far be it from me or ANYONE else to push those beliefs on anyone. Wanna be gay? more power to ya! I leave you with this question, why do Christians care so much if gays go to hell? Why do they want to "save" everyone?

    • Matthew Tweedell

      Hi, David!

      "[W]hy do Christians care so much if gays go to hell? Why do they want to 'save' everyone?"

      Because—and I know this'll be hard to believe—they really aren't such total self-centered assholes as they seem.

      It's funny you should ask though. I've heard non-Christians who aren't moral relativists ask why Christians aren't *more* aggressive with their evangelism, if they truly believe that otherwise the non-believer is in for a world of pain, to which there will be no end, come the moment they depart the earth. A common analogy is if you see someone's about to get hit by a bus they just don't see coming, it seems reasonable to expect you not to be to shy about doing what you must to get them out of the way, even if it causes them some pain and discomfort.

      The reason not to, however, comes down to the fact that I can move you physically without your prior consent, but I can do nothing with your spirit if you don't somehow grant me access to it. For this reason, such confrontational evangelism, which makes people just want to shut their doors—their ears—their hearts—to Christ, is in fact counter-productive.

      John Shore has actually written a book (and several blog posts) on that very matter. It's called, "I'm OK—You're Not: The Message We're Sending Nonbelievers and Why We Should Stop". It speaks about the main biblical reason that Christians feel called to share their faith with others, which is known as the Great Commission (which you can find at the end of the Gospel of Matthew), and how that’s no excuse for violation of the Great Commandment: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

      • Andy

        " if you see someone’s about to get hit by a bus they just don’t see coming, it seems reasonable to expect you not to be to shy about doing what you must to get them out of the way, even if it causes them some pain and discomfort."

        Because a bus is real. Here and now real, not a belief system.

        Even people who whole heartedly believe they are doing something right by saving those who disagree with them, on a deeper level they are doing it to re-enforce their own beliefs. BELIEVE that you are "saving" someone's soul and you can justify anything. And feel good about it. If I believe that hell is real, then what better way to make that more concrete than to save someone who was headed there. "See?! I SAVED that person!" If they really looked deeply, the savers might find that the saving was more to make their own beliefs real to themselves. Who doesn't find joy in helping someone? Stick to helping people about to be run over by real busses. Let them come to terms with God on their own. You do a lot more to help the universe by feeding a hungry person than by trying to "save" a gay person.

        That's the flaw in your argument. You can't argue a belief. Argument requires proof and religion is based on faith. I'm not denigrating your faith, or saying you can't have it. But until you can come up with proof, stay out of the arguing business.

        • Matthew Tweedell

          Really… so what did I say that is lacking proof?

          (And, BTW, just because you're blind doesn't mean the bus ain't real.)

  • jes

    Amen.

  • http://www.BuzzDixon.com buzz

    Wow, John, when you decide to open a Can O’Worms ™, you don’t monkey around, do you? None of this bopping down to Wal-Mart for an extra large tin; oh, no, you head straight to Costco to stock up on the big industrial size.

    I fear too many people (not necessarily on this thread — it’s at 130 posts & I’m not even going to try and read all of them right now — but rather society as a whole) have polarized this issue, making it a false dichotomy, and either/or that does not exist.

    Love =/= sexual desire. Sometimes love & sexual desire go together, and under the right circumstances that’s nice, but the one does not automatically mean the other & vice versa.

    Frogs & salmon have sexual desire & there’s no love involved there; sons love their moms & except for Greek tragedies & certain websites, there’s no sexual desire, so let’s break that false connection.

    1) God has absolutely no problem with any human being loving another human being & having that love reciprocated. Age, gender, ethnicity, & previous condition of servitude are all moot. Love one another, that’s the command.

    2) God has absolutely no problem with human beings of the same gender loving one another passionately & expressing that love in a physical manner: To whit, embracing, kissing, snuggling, sleeping in the same bed, sharing the same domicile, etc., etc., and of course, etc.

    3) God wants us to refrain from certain behaviors that He indicates are inappropriate. Parents should not have sexual relations with their children & vice versa. Sons should not marry their fathers’ 2nd wives, daughters shouldn’t marry their mothers’ 2nd husband, etc.

    He apparently does not want people of the same gender to act out sexually with one another. Huggin’ & kissin’ & snugglin’ & co-domicilin’ all get a pass, but the specific act of coitus should be avoided.

    4) That being said, God tolerates a lotta sexual nonsense from human beings. That doesn’t mean He’s happy with it, just that He realizes it’s pointless to try to make an issue of it. Adultery is a forbidden sin, but polygamy is not (the line apparently being that adultery tends to be a unilateral act outside the marriage covenant while multiple spouses and/or concubines, while contrary to God’s desire that a marriage consist of one man & one woman, is tolerated because it is open & legally endorsed).

    God has no problem with you (rhetorical) loving your neighbor’s spouse, as long as the boundary of adultery isn’t crossed.*

    He apparently wants our sexual relations to be meaningful & so we are to refrain from casual and/or promiscuous** relations, but we are not forbidden to enjoy premarital sexual relations. Or, apparently, relations with more than one person so long as it’s covered in the legal blanket of marriage or concubinage.

    5) Which raises a whole ‘nother issue re physical relations between/among people of the same gender in a legal polygamous relations, but we’ll leave that for another day…

    6) God signs off on same gender love more than once in the Bible. David & Jonathan are praised for sharing a love that exceeding the love of a man for a woman, while David’s great-grandma loved his great-great-grandma so much she followed her all the way back to Judea.

    So it’s cool.

    But it’s not what God considers a marriage.

    7) A marriage is a union of a male & a female. They are biologically distinct from one another, not just in external physical terms but in the way they process information in their brains. They are equal-but-different. They are the proverbial yin/yang and God’s intent re marriage is pretty clear: You need a yin & your need a yang to have one.

    Doesn’t matter if there’s sex involved or not; it is a union of male & female.

    According to Genesis, God created Eve so Adam would have a companion. “Be fruitful & multiply”, while technically the first divine commandment, is an after thought.

    8) That being said, just because a marriage is a union of male & female, it does not mean it is any more entitled to certain legal rights & privileges than another union involving people of the same gender.

    Nowhere in the Bible does God dictate property rights, hospital visitations, tax breaks, etc., etc., and of course, etc. Those are all societal constructs.

    If a society wants to offer those constructs to other, non-marriage unions of two or more consenting adults, it’s okay.

    In fact, it’s more than okay. It’s a decent, generous, and humane thing to do.

    9) We don’t know why some people have a heterosexual orientation, some people a homosexual orientation, or why others are bisexual or asexual. What evidence we do have seems to indicate that orientation is not a conscious choice. There is strong evidence of at least a partial biological origin. There is also strong evidence that for some persons with a homosexual orientation, it turns out not to be an immutable lifelong condition; there is ample evidence of some gays becoming attracted to the opposite sex as they become older.

    10) We should not blame or ridicule people for things they have no control over. We should not make them feel shame or guilt for things they have no control over. We all have a rough enough ride as it is without getting picked on for things that weren’t our idea to begin with.

    11) Dragging verses out of Leviticus — the rule book specifically for the Levites, the priestly tribe of Israel — is a perilous endeavor. As others have pointed out, we ignore commandments against eating pork, shellfish, and wearing clothes made of blended fabrics (and don’t get me started on the verses in Leviticus that require Levites to not own property; Christians eager to push Levitical law upon non-Christians are awfully lax about the part that requires the really devout to not own anything).

    12) A lot of OT law was for the specific purpose of forging/purifying a Jewish cultural identity, one that set them apart from the rest of the world. Those laws apply only to the Israelites & Jews, they don’t necessarily apply to other Hebrew or Semitic peoples & they certainly don’t apply to Gentiles. They especially do not apply to NT Gentile converts to Christianity.

    13) We are to be Christ-like. Christ didn’t come into the world to condemn it or judge it, He came to love it & save it. I don’t think any of us are in charge of the membership committee, so let’s stop telling people who is/isn’t in the fan club.

    In this key aspect, being a Christian is like being a homosexual: You’ll know if you are one & nobody but God can say if you’re right or wrong.

    * An interesting phenomenon of males & females working together in larger numbers the “work spouse”, a person of the opposite sex one partners with at work in a purely business context, providing one another with on the job emotional support & insight the same way an actual marriage provides support to its partners at home. There’s no sin in developing a tight emotional bond with a work spouse provided one realizes there are boundaries; for a heterosexual couple married to other people to develop an emotional bond to work spouses involves exactly the same sort of challenge at least one of your posters said a gay person would face in trying to develop en emotional but chaste relationship with a person of the same gender. Apparently it can & has been done, but ya gotta stay on your toes.

    ** Promiscuous = one sexual partner more than the person defining “promiscuity” has had

    • Ace

      Oh gee thanks for that clarification!!! [/sarcasm].

      Maybe try not to sound so smug and condescending next time.

      Also? Every individual person is different in their talents and personalities, and while the various genders may on average sit slightly to the left or right of the center of the bell curve, I get so tired of that "separate but equal" shit (calling it "equal-but-different" to lampshade the meaning doesn't work, sorry) as applied to the male and female halves of the human species.

      I'm pig-sick of all that "yin-yang" garbage that tries to sound neutral and politically correct, but is really just crap trotted out by people trying to prop up sexism, the same way "separate but equal" was used for decades to prop up racism, and lately seems to be used by some circles regarding human rights pertaining to non-heterosexual and non-cis-gendered people.

      Uh no, we are not separate. We are one species, no matter how much effort we have put into dividing and separating and "they're-not-us"-ing ourselves over the millenia. But thanks for playing, anyway.

      • http://www.BuzzDixon.com buzz

        But there is a difference between males & females. Not only have poets been writing about it for millenia, but actual research has demonstrated again and again and again that in addition to the obvious physical differences, the way men & women perceive & react to the universe around them is different.

        Mind you, this is on par with the difference between a PC & a Mac; they both can do the same things, but the way in which they do them is different and not identical.

        If the unavoidable fact one side has to face is that homosexual orientation does not appear to be a matter of choice but rather an innate characteristic, then the unavoidable fact the other side has to face is that the union of a man and a woman represents a unique bonding not found in the union of two people of the same gender. The blade of science cuts both ways, I'm afraid.

        And, as I point out, it doesn't alter the core legal issue: If 2 people are allowed to do x, y, and z, why can't 2 different people also do x, y, and z?

        This all-or-nothing polarization creates needless friction & animosity.

        • Ace

          Aaaaaand you completely missed my point. They way *I* perceive and react to the world is radically different from the way my mother and grandmother do, and has a lot more in common with my brother's way of things, and my father's, despite us being opposite sexes.

          Differences between individuals within a gender (or race, or orientation, etc) are far greater than any pat, homogenized and over-simplified labels slapped on people because of the genitals they possess (which then in turn affect people's perceptions of themselves and others, and lead to things like pay gaps and job discrimination).

          And if you think for half a second all those "scientific" studies are perfect, without flaw and Gospel Truth(tm), you don't know jack about science (I've read them, trust me, and a lot of them are built on small sample sizes, a lot of conjecture and don't necessarily hold water. Any old rubbish seems to get published in the journals these days, especially things like "evolutionary psychology" that aren't particularly scientific)

          But I can tell you are the type to not change your mind about anything (I think John had a whole post about you "Silly Putty" type) so I'm not going to waste any more effort.

        • Mindy

          But buzz, your theory would only hold up if all men were the same as all men and all women were the same as all women.

          IN GENERAL, it may be true that women react to and process the world differently than men. We *tend* to be hardwired differently, more the nurturers than men, they are more the conquerers and hunters than women.

          But at the same time, women run the gamut from the extremely feminine to the pretty darned masculine, and everything in between. Just as men run the gamut from being extremely rugged and traditionally masculine to quite effeminate. Most all of us possess both feminine and masculine qualities, but in different proportions, shall we say.

          In the gay and lesbian couples I know, there is almost always one who tends to be the more traditionally feminine and one who tends toward the masculine. My guess is because personality-wise, they balance each other. One lesbian couple with whom I have am friends just had a baby. They have one adopted daughter and recently one gave birth to son. I don't believe there was ever any question about which one would carry the baby. I'm sure that's not the case every time, but in the several couples I know personally, the trend is apparent and they are as aware of it as others are. It isn't a big deal.

          I know heterosexual women who are very feminine and soft-spoken and fit every traditional female stereotype in existence. I know others who are not. So even though your generalization may be factual, this: "then the unavoidable fact the other side has to face is that the union of a man and a woman represents a unique bonding not found in the union of two people of the same gender" is not true.

          Every relationship under the sun is unique in and of itself. That "unique bonding" of which you speak is love, plain and simple.

          • Ace

            Thanks for putting that more eloquently than I could, Mindy.

            No relationship is like any other relationship. The dynamics can be quite different even when the participants look "conventional" from the outside, which sort of shoots "traditional marriage" as a concept out of the water.

            Biological sex, psychological gender and sexual orientation are each a continuum, not an on/off light switch, and individual people fall all over the map. There is not as much correlation between those three as some like to insist, especially taking into account that people often find a way to cram themselves into unnatural roles as society dictates even when it's a highly uncomfortable fit.

            But hey, Buzz has the whole world sorted out, you know, he knows everything, is so much infinitely wiser and more educated than the rest of us, so why should he care?

          • Mindy

            Comes from having God's explicit instruction manual. We should all be so fortunate. Lucky buzz . . . .

          • Susan

            Mindy,

            I need the 'God's instruction manual for Dummies' – or the Cliffs Notes version.

        • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

          This all-or-nothing polarization creates needless friction & animosity.>>>

          Buzz, I couldn't agree more. There is an element of the Christian church that promotes the condemnation of homosexuals and a number of other different people as well. It. They have waged a war of fear and legalism on the beautiful church that Jesus gave to us, holding it hostage for about 75 years. There are a lot of us now that are just ready to take it back. The polarization was created by *them*. I'm just getting into the war they started and I'm fighting back to take my church back.

          • http://malianta.wordpress.com jutta

            You might be interested in 'The God Journey' if you don't know it already.

            Not sure if I can post a link here.

          • http://malianta.wordpress.com jutta

            OK, here is the link http://thegodjourney.com/ – we'll see if it posts correctly.

          • http://malianta.wordpress.com jutta

            Why 75 years?

          • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

            That's when the particular brand of fundamentalism in America took root.

          • http://malianta.wordpress.com jutta

            Approx 1935? What happened back then? Sorry, I really don't know but I am curious. An American might know, but I don't.

        • http://none Don Rappe

          I love this explanation because it's sort of self proving. Only a man could explain the difference between men and women by comparing them to PCs and MACs.

          • jes

            Or, you know, my friend Laura who is a huge computer geek and decidedly female…

    • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

      You sure seem to know a lot about what god wants/likes/tolerates/etc. and what constitutes the necessary gender basis for marriage. Good thing you are a down-home friendly kind of person who wouldn’t dream of imposing your bigotry on others. Oh, wait… through your decency, generosity, and humanity, homosexuals can marry in all but name. Praise buzz! Such almost-equal status is so magnanimous of you, that I am touched, I tell you. But I take comfort and assurance that you know what god is really okay with. You’re one lucky hombre.

      And I continue to read throughout these comments how the creation myth is used to justify opinions as if Adam and Eve were real people created just as the story/stories tells us, that the garden was an actual place, that all this really did happen. We know that’s not true. We have evidence that is not true. I just find it strange that with your pipeline to god, he failed to inform you of your mistaken comprehension upon which you justify your godly conclusions.

      So riddle me this, buzz: how can you know if you’re wrong? How can you know if your religious beliefs themselves (in all their personal glory) aren’t just another social construct?

      • http://www.BuzzDixon.com buzz

        Not all relationships are created equal. There are many wonderful relationships between males & females that can not be called marriages: Fathers & daughters, mothers & sons, f'r instance. Doesn't make 'em unimportant, just in the group of relationships that are not defined as marriages. Using the same logic that demands to know why two people can't call their loving relationship a marriage just because by accident of birth they are of the same gender, why then can't another loving couple demand to know why they can't be married just because by accident of birth they are related?

        And mind you, none of this is pertinent to the core legal point, that a society has the right to define what sort of relationships are entitled to what sort of benefits. I think it's absolutely correct to allow people who are willing into entering lifelong contracts with one another to enjoy the same rights & privileges, regardless of their gender.

        Now, after having said that, if society decides to go ahead and redefine marriage to include couples of the same gender, well, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. I think it's a pointless redefinition (i.e., calling a non-male+female bonding a marriage; not the granting of full & equal rights to that bonding) but if that's what a majority of voters want, so be it.

        It will be interesting to see how challenges to anti-polygamy laws & laws against marrying parents/children/spouses play out in the courts after that, but that's a topic for another day.

        Yeah, I am blessed by God; you should see what He's done in my life. I try to pay attention when He points things out to me, but I don't always pay attention & I don't always get it right.

        I do bother to actually read Scripture, not just skim over it, and try to understand it in the context of its time & culture. There's an awful lot of "folk theology" and superstition that people accept as true that isn't in the Bible; by actually reading the full text one understands how the pieces fit together better.* Concordances & parallel texts are especially helpful, but thanx to the InterWebs you can find virtually every translation online somewhere (try BibleGateway.com).

        So, I read, I study, I listen to other people, including & especially those who hold positions that challenge mine, then think & pray & draw my conclusions. Show me where you think I'm wrong & I'll give it a fair hearing; I can & do change my opinion when the facts warrant.

        Some things are pretty flippin' clear, however. While God wants everyone to be saved, He does expect us to make some effort to modify our behaviors; He forgives a lot but He also cautions that not everyone who calls "Lord! Lord!" will be saved.

        He's pretty clear on the "judge not" business, on the treating other people the way you want to be treated business, & the love one another/forgive one another business. He states several times in the OT that He doesn't care about sacrifice & ritual so long as the orphans & widows receive justice & people aren't trying to harm/cheat one another.

        * Far too many people only have only a Sunday school kindergarten knowledge of the stories in the Bible; highly sanitized with all the messy/troubling stuff left out. Because of this, there are big logic gaps when they try to apply the Bible to their daily lives — they either fixate on stuff that doesn't apply to them or they gloss over crucial links that put things in perspective, thus undermining what little knowledge they have. We need fewer evangelists these days & more disciples.

        • Susan

          @ Buzz

          @ Matt

          AND ANYONE who understands the Bible.

          Help me, a Christian, out here…

          1. God's guide to life is the Bible, which is divinely inspired.

          2. Despite the the interpretations of the interpretations, of the interpretations of the Bible, and despite the men who determined what books would be included in the Bible, it still retains its divine authority.

          Question 1: Would that be the Bible Catholics use or the one Protestants use? They are not the same.

          3. The Bible, to which you (Buzz) say is misinterpreted because people don't venture beyond a kindergarten level to understand it, like you, who have obviously studied the cultural implications, used your concordance, etc., You have a more in-depth knowledge of its true meaning.

          Question 2: Why would God give me a guide to know Him, how to live life, that is divinely inspired, but absolutely clear as mud unless I become a linguist, cultural historian, etc? It might as well be in braille.

          • Mindy

            Aaaaaand, we have a winner . . . !

          • Susan

            Do I get a pize? or maybe enlightenment? no toaster oven please.

          • Mindy

            Oh no, I sent the toaster oven this morning! Maybe you can sell it on Craigslist?

          • Susan

            LOL.

            The comment I previously posted, about the Bible, has really been weighing on me, however. I would love for someone to offer some valuable insight, but don"t think it will be seen in this mire.

            Look forward to my shiny new toaster….

          • Mindy

            I’m hoping that John will write a post soon about his perspective on translations of the Bible. Or translating the Bible, taking it figuratively vs. literally, etc.

          • http://www.BuzzDixon.com buzz

            The Bible states it is divinely inspired. Each portion was written by a human being to the best of his/her understanding & cultural limitations. It is not a single document put together by a single human author or even a single unified human editorial team but a series of documents by/about observers with distinct POVs; this is why Isaiah sees a vision of God that fills him w/awe & terror while Elijah heard a still, small voice.

            The Bible is more like the Reader’s Digest than a single volume. It contains histories written down for slaves in Egypt based on stories handed down by nomadic Hebrew shepherds, rigid draconian rules designed to forge a chesive identity for said slaves while sojourning in the wilderness, first hand accounts of wars & politics covered a thousand or so years of history, romantic love stories, thrilling adventures, poems & songs & proverbs, prophecies by prophets major & minor (& of wildly varying literary ability), plus the Book of Ecclesiastes, arguably the single most depressing tome ever written & the best argument for a divine inspiration ‘cuz what human being would put such a downer in a volume that supposed to inspire people?

            (And that’s not even tackling the New Testament, which contains 4 similar-vet-varying eyewitness accounts plus a plethora of letters written at various time to/by various people on a variety of subjects.)

            Now, one thing the Bible shares with all literary works is the challenge of language/culture drift. The Israelites of Exodus were a much different people from the Jews who returned from Babylon about a thousand years later; it would be like comparing 11th century Frank peasants with contemporary Parisians. On top of that, no language can be adequately translated word-for-word to another language (if it could, it wouldn’t be a language but a code); translation is as much an art as it is a subjective skill.

            So how can we tell what the Bible means? Simple: By comparing all the different POVs from all the different eras & all the different writers & seeing what are the core, interlocking themes.

            Rabbi Hillel, an extremely smart man* (certainly smarter than I am [nor would I be surprised if he was smarter than any of the readers here]), famously summed up the Torah & the Talmud thusly: “Love God, love your fellow man; all else is commentary.”

            Time & again the Bible emphasizes justice & living at peace with one another. Take the dictum “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”. Modern audience view this as barbaric, not realizing it is not a prescription but a restriction, an effort at proportional sentencing.

            Why is this important? Well, take a look at Genesis 34, one of those messy/ugly parts of the Bible they never talk about in Sunday school. Jacob’s daughter Dinah is dishonored in his eyes by having sexual relations with a young man from a local village. The young man offers to do the right thing by marrying her. Jacob agrees if he and all the other men in the village will be circumcised. They agree, and while they are all recovering from this Jacob sends two of his sons into town to slaughter them all, steal their property, and take their families as slaves.

            These are the kind of people God had to work with in the era of the patriarchs. For Moses to convince them to limit their revenge to proportional injury was a major accomplishment.

            God is eternal, He does not change, nor does His Word change. What does change is human understanding of God’s Word.

            Justice is treating everyone equally under the law. Justice is refraining from harming others. Justice is forgiveness.

            Clearly, granting people in domestic relationships equal rights under the law is the just and humane thing; I am all for that. But while all relationships may be considered equal in the eyes of the law, they are not identical. A husband & wife have a different kind of relationship than a father & son, even though both relationships may enjoy equal rights & protection under the law.

            * How smart? Jesus quoted him directly when asked what the Greatest Commandment was. Now that’s smart.

          • Susan

            Thanks for the info,Buzz but was hoping for answers to my simple, enumerated questions.

          • http://www.BuzzDixon.com buzz

            1 — Catholic & Protest Bibles are mostly the same; Catholic Bibles have a few minor books, mostly later histories, that are not considered part of the official cannon by Protestants. Since these books (which cover the Macabee revolt) do not impart any new spiritual insight, there is nothing lacking between Catholic & Protestant Bibles.

            2 — God provides you with a brain. Read. Think. Pray. If you have physical or mental infirmities that prevent you from reading, listen to other people, then think & pray. If you are mentally incapacitated & incapable of thinking, pray.

          • John

            Buzz: So then Protestants now believe in Purgatory and prayers for the dead (2 Macc. 12:43–45)? Huh. Well I guess that just leaves the whole papal thing and we call the Reformation to be over!

          • Susan

            @Buzz,

            Many people read, think and pray and come up with wildly different interpretations of scriptures from the same Bible, and I'm certain that increases with the different Bibles as commenter John referenced.

            Your knowledge of the Bible comes from intensive studying and various resources.

            If the Bible is the divine authority, again I ask you why God would make it so difficult to understand, yet so easy for conflicting messages?

            How is it that we are supposed to have faith as a child, but need a PhD to understand His Written Word?

          • John

            Susan if I may, I'd like to add a few:

            Question 1: Which Bible are we to use? That of the Protestants, Catholics(has more than the Prots), Greek Orthodox (has more than the Catholics), the Peshitta (has less NT books) or the Ethiopian Orthodox (has more than the Greek Orthodox)?

            Question 2: Which textaul variant of the Bible is authoritative? I ask this because there are several as shown in OT quotations in the New Testament and also as seen in the Dead Sea Scrolls. So is it Masoretic? Septuagint? Aramaic Targums? All 3 are used in the NT, the Septuagint more than the others. To keep things simple we can skip over the disputes concerning Byzantine text, Old Latin, etc.

            Question 3: Is the Book of Enoch also part of the Bible? I ask this because the Apostle Jude quotes it as being scripture in Jude 1:14-15.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Welcome to Biblical FAQ, brought to you by Mad Matt Ministries.

            Based on the questions YOU'VE been asking (that's right, all two of you), our expert team of Biblical scholars (consisting of one guy with no formal religious training) compiled a Q&A list to help you in your struggle with homosexuality your walk with the Lord.

            Presenting: 7 Things Satan Doesn't Want You to Know :!:

            Q1: Which version of the Bible is divinely inspired?

            A1: All scripture is inspired by God and useful but none absolutely necessary.

            Q2: Does God like Salsa?

            A2: He likes the music, but the dance is an abomination; sorry. Oh, He also enjoys dip, when His Holy Tostados are consumed by fire.

            Q3: Hey, Jude… cites the Book of Enoch as Scripture. So is it?

            A3: It is as you say.

            Q4: How can I be sure I'm following the right version and the right interpretation?

            A4: The Holy Spirit will guide you to what is right for you to know, as you are ready to receive it. Just keep pursuing Truth and Love, and surely you will find your place in Him. Keep yourself open to any versions, as well as multiple ways of understanding, and then judge as necessary, in the light of reason and grace, what is true, and what you haven't yet found truth in but can tell other interpretations are wrong, when they aren't consistent with compassion and solid reason.

            Q6: What happened to Q5?

            A6: It was sinful, so it got consumed by fire.

            Q7: How blessed are we that God has given us a guide to life, love, and liturgical vestments that's harder to understand than a drunk parakeet speaking in the tongues of angels while underwater?

            A7: Truth is a many-splendid but unsurpassable simple thing, really. And you know it. You see it all around you: your guide to life is the Life Itself; your rule of love is Grace incarnate. The Way to Truth is Perfect Reason. He is revealed from the beginning through the very nature of things. The details found in myriad writings are just commentary—exquisite, perfect, divine commentary at times, but don't get too hung up over it. The Word of God is not some specific formulation in the words of men, though man may use many words in his attempts to depict Him; yet the Word is a wonder for which the words of men are wholly inadequate. The Name of the Lord is ineffable; though our whole life is the liturgical chanting of His Holy Name (with more than a few mistakes along the way), we've yet to get passed the beginning of it when the end for us draws near.

            But what sort of life would it be if the answers were so clearly given in some book—or blog comment?

          • Mindy

            Matthew, when you're on, you are ON.

            I LOL'd twice, and nearly propelled my Propel out my nose!

            Nicely done.

            A4 needs to be posted in very large letters inside every church and every Bible.

          • Susan

            @ Matthew

            Wisdom and wit – what a blessing to possess the gift of this wicked union!.

            Were you born this way, did you learn it, was it a choice…Who cares…I love it and I love the perfect blend in your post.

            Bravo, my friend and a sincere "thank you." My soul is wounded today and you provided a much needed balm.

            Blessings to you!

            Susan

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Thanks, Mindy!

            You're very welcome, Susan!

        • Matthew Tweedell

          Amen to that!

          (I'm thinking specifically of the last sentance. But actually the whole comment is pretty much awesome.)

          • Matthew Tweedell

            (That was @Buzz, before Susan's comment which I'm sure will end up triggering a response chain that'll leave this one pretty hopelessly separated from the remark it was referring to.)

          • Susan

            It was directed at you, also Matthew, and I'd love your opinion, but some other time. After I posted it, I felt like it wasn't related to this topic and was written out of something I'm struggling with that has zero to do with homosexuality, so I sent John a note to see if he thought it ought to be deleted. Maybe it's a topic to revisit another time.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Unfortunately, I don't think I'll get the chance to adequately address those question tonight.

            I'll likely throw in my two cents tomorrow though, if it's still up here.

        • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

          Your first paragraph reveals that you are trying to frame the word 'marriage' to be the same as 'relationship'. You know that's ridiculous. I have a love/hate 'relationship' with the game of hockey, but thank goodness there are people wise enough like you to explain why I can't marry a game. Apparently, you think I thought I could. So how should I take this little gem of wisdom from you if you think I'm as dumb as a hockey puck?

          Your point that 'society' can re-define marriage for legal reasons will result in court cases – of mothers trying to marry daughters, and sons trying to marry goats and turtles keeping harems of legally married guppies – is very astute. Imagine lions laying down with lambs… end of days, my friend. And it all starts with those gays wanting – of all things – equality. No sleep lost there if it comes to pass by democratic means, presumably, because you're saved and ready for the rapture.

          Well, from where I hail, gays marry and the sky has yet to fall. The lion eats the lamb, mothers don't marry daughters, sons don't marry goats, and turtles… well, to be honest, I don't know what they're up to. Slippery buggers, I'll grant you. The biblical justification for polygamy continues to be a thorn in the side of legal beagles (or is that eagles?) but it has nothing to do, as far as I can tell, with the legalization of gay marriage. Gays are entitled to suffer marriage just like the rest of us in these parts and it affects no one more adversely than if heteros marry.

          Be warned, however: I am an atheist with a pretty good education. I have read a lot of theology so please don't assume I or many others on this site have some minimum understanding of the bible if we happen to disagree with your presumptions and assertions about what god likes or dislikes, approves of and disapproves of, and so on. Maybe some folk in your neck of the woods do have a very simplistic and surface understanding of what christianity is all about, but don't make the mistake of extending your beliefs under the presumption that your differing beliefs are better informed.

          For example, your belief that 'god' wrote the bible is a huge leap of faith and rather belittling to a creator of the universe who according to you can't even get pi right or be unequivocal that the earth orbits the sun. Some other explanation – some other approach to the theology offered in the bible and other scriptures – may serve you (and god) better. I doubt your mind is open enough to appreciate that assuming only the bible (presumably only the NT) is the inerrant word of god while ignoring all other scriptures, indicates that you have indeed tapped into this central conduit to the Truth. Such an approach you now take does not lend confidence to thinking that your pronouncements about the factual nature of god are all that well informed.

        • jes

          "Not all relationships are created equal. There are many wonderful relationships between males & females that can not be called marriages: Fathers & daughters, mothers & sons, f’r instance. Doesn’t make ‘em unimportant, just in the group of relationships that are not defined as marriages. Using the same logic that demands to know why two people can’t call their loving relationship a marriage just because by accident of birth they are of the same gender, why then can’t another loving couple demand to know why they can’t be married just because by accident of birth they are related?"

          I'd like to say that while you make several interesting points, you've made a pretty major fail in logic here. Yes, it's true that the relationship I have with my father is different than the relationship I have with my boyfriend. You see, I love my father, but am in love with my boyfriend. These are entirely different circumstances, and the situation of a homosexual partnership is equivalent to the relationship I have with my boyfriend, not my father. You are tossing up distracting and fallacious comparisons, and then accusing others of faulty logic. Do please try to use a little common sense here, as the argument you've prevented is rather like saying that people shouldn't eat bananas because chewing on rocks is bad for one's teeth.

          • jes

            I apologize, I was distracted while writing the above.

            "argument you’ve prevented" should be "argument you've provided"

    • Matthew Tweedell

      I love the Official Definition of promiscuity!

      And point 5 is indeed an interesting moral issue—not a highly relavent one for us, culturally—but interesting from the theoretical point of view nevertheless.

    • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

      Thanks for clearing all of that up!

      • Mindy

        Wow, DR, you really read the whole thing? I nodded off about halfway through and gave up. I was, however, as impressed as tildeb with buzz's personal knowledge of God's thoughts. How cool must that be!

    • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

      And it’s worth nothing that this is the second time this topic has been called “opening a can of worms” by those who hold the counter view to the original post. This topic has been ravaging the gay community for – oh let’s guess – forever? It’s not exactly something new, and if it feels uncomfortable for those of us who are Christians to discuss? If it feels like it’s some big, dramatic, provocative thing? Then that’s really our problem, this is something gay and lesbians have been contending with for years. If it feels shocking, perhaps that’s because those of us who are Christian are beginning to be held accountable to the impact of our theology.

  • http://indigestible.nightwares.com/ Warren

    Mr. Shore:

    As an atheist bisexual, let me say thank you. It took years of dis-indoctrination for me to get to the point where I was able to no longer be depressed over something I couldn’t change, though I begged various deities for help.

    This is a fine piece, and I appreciate your having written it.

  • Susan

    Thank you, John, for giving hope to gays, Christians and gay Christians. And everyone else who needs that message. <3

  • Bryan Rust

    I may be a Christian, but more often than not, I have the same reaction as Lauren when I read traditional gay-bashing screeds (crying, coffee cup throwing, general nausea). I simply cannot find Jesus’ heart represented in such a point of view. It was a blessing to read something that speaks to the Spirit of the Law in such an intelligent manner. Thank you for this beautiful article, John!

  • Susan

    As a Christian, I am most interested in what Jesus said and did while he was here with us, incarnate. Which is why I find the Jesus of the Gospels to be the most authoritative part of the Bible. Jesus definitely had a message for us, and the main theme of that message was the Good News about the Kingdom of God (or Kingdom of Heaven.) Sin, hellfire, and damnation are not Good News for anyone.

    It should also be noted that none of Jesus’ sermons were about sex, and the few times he even mentioned it were in response to questions from others. So clearly Jesus was not interested in sex. It’s people who are so very interested in sex. Since we believe Jesus to be the son/voice/representative of God, this is a pretty strong indication that God is not into sex, either. Sorry.

    And that makes me really happy, because I know the acts of our minds, hearts, and souls are what identify us as the higher God-inhabited beings we are. I don’t care about other people’s sex lives. It’s really none of my business.

    All this emphasis on sex, as though it were the be-all and end-all of being a good Christian, is, very simply, wrong.

    • http://farfromthisshore.wordpress.com Don Whitt

      There’s some evidence, if you take statements in the bible re. their relationship as some sort of evidence, that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. Obviously, this is controversial and has implications that make some people’s hair curlier, but I’ve always taken comfort in its possibility. It removes the chaste quality that I think Christianity has hung on Christ ever since the beginning, an idea which may be at the root of our issues with sexuality in the Church. We seem to like our Jesus (like his mom) virginal and not distracted by earthly delights. Passion, yes, passionate, NO!. This, in turn, has encouraged us to taxonomize sex so we can a) still have it but b) avoid the “bad stuff”.

      Let’s face it, the church has been run by a bunch of power-hungry, bureaucratic busy-bodies for centuries. If you take power over a person’s sexuality, you’ve exerted a huge amount of control over them. And to have saints, you must have demons, too. So let’s demonize a sexual minority, use that demonization to control the sexual majority and make tons of loot along the way. Woo-hoo!! Gimme that ol’ time religion!

      • Mindy

        Don, I don't care what DR says, you're *my* favorite.

        • http://dianer.blogspot.com DR

          Mindy is my favorite. Not that there's anything wrong with that!

          • Mindy

            More wine!

          • Don Whitt

            Bring on the dancing demonized sexual minorites!!

          • Don Whitt

            oops. Minorities.

          • Mindy

            Man, Don, you DO know how to throw a party!!!

            =:->

      • http://none Don Rappe

        I'm pretty sure there's nothing in the NT that indicates whether Jesus was gay or straight.

      • Susan

        Hi Don. We may have a misunderstanding here. In giving my Biblically-based reasons for believing Jesus was not interested in sex, I didn 't mean to imply anything about his personal life. I was trying to help people understand why the Christian church's obsession with sexual behavior is, in fact, unChristian.

        As for Jesus' personal life, no one really knows, as nothing seems to have been recorded about it. Since he was both fully human and fully God, his human aspect must have known sexual desire. The only place were he says anything that MIGHT apply to his own sex life is Matthew 19:11-12, where he speaks somewhat obliquely about the practice of celibacy.

        [But he said to them, ‘Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.’]

        The practice of celibacy is used by many monks and mystics as a means of achieving a better union with God — what some call a "higher consciousness." In Christian celibacy, I believe the rationale is that celibacy enables the most inclusive love, as the celibate gives his/her heart to God and all people, everywhere, not just to a chosen partner. In Hinduism, this would be seen as moving energy out of the 2nd chakra (sexual center) and into the 4th chakra (heart center.)

        But as Jesus says, this is not for everyone — only those who can do it. Christianity considers celibacy one of the spiritual gifts. It is also referred to as singleness.

        We do get a glimpse of Jesus' great personal attachment to individuals when he weeps at the death of his friend Lazarus. We also see his brotherly familiarity with Lazarus' sisters Mary and Martha. In addition, there is talk of the disciple whom "Jesus loved." This sounds like a strong personal attachment; whether it was also sexual, no one knows. Some have speculated that the beloved disciple was John, some think it may have been Mary. We just don't know.

        But the overall point is: sex, per se, is not the biggie when it comes to ethics and morality, and the church's emphasis on it has been unfortunate.

        • Don Whitt

          Thanks, Susan. I wasn't responding directly to your writing, but it did dislodge some thoughts about sexuality and the use of power over it by the church.

          Celibacy has a long long tradition of being thought of as a way to remain pure, focused and "rising above it all" in many religions.

          But I'm not completely certain if the translations or connotations of eunuch and celibacy are congruent in your examples. For example, you could easily look at the passage you provided re. eunuchs as referring to genital mutilation. This was a common practice , but abhorred by Jewish culture. So, the passage may be more about Jesus talking about respecting different ways of people expressing obedience to, or worship of, God, including neutering themselves or being born neutered and being considered blessed as such.

          The Disciple Who Jesus Loved could have been Mary, but it was probably Thomas who may have been Jesus twin brother. Odd that Thomas's Gospel (my personal favorite) never made it into today's NT. Leave it to a sibling to tell it like it is and tick-off the rest of the cult. Probably his LITTLE brother, not his twin!

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Are not you the beloved disciple of the Lord?

          • Don Whitt

            Yes- there is a lot of support that Lazarus was the man.

          • Susan

            Thanks, Don. Yes, the reference to becoming a eunuch suggests deliberate physical self-mutilation. It's sad to think that sexual desire could be so hateful and unmanageable as to require such extremes — although sexual criminals bear this out. My own lengthy foray into celibacy was rich with discovery and, if anything, made me even more appreciative of the nuances of human sexuality. I hadn't heard Thomas put forth as a possibility for the beloved disciple, but it's a delightful notion, as his sayings Gospel seems to capture the sense of the most intriguing of Jesus' sayings found in the canonical Gospels, especially his mind-expanding parables.

            John Dominic Crossan has written the best exploration of the parables I've ever read, In Parables, and so I find it reassuring that he said of the Gospel of Thomas, "Thomas tells us more about the historical Jesus than all of the Dead Sea Scrolls put together" and called it "the most important early Christan text discovered in this century."

            My favorite quote from the Gospel of Thomas is "Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there." That is amazingly reassuring.

          • Don Whitt

            From The Gospel of Thomas re. Celibacy:

            "How miserable is the body that depends on a body, and how miserable is the soul that depends on these two."

            And I say…

            "But it sure beats playing solitaire all night."

          • Susan

            Your response sounds pretty bleak, Don, especially when you consider the abundant life Jesus speaks of in the Gospels.

  • Joel

    John,

    Thanks for another great post.

    I would say that there is a different and even more important difference between homosexuality and sins:

    The sins you list: murder, stealing, robbery, rape, drinking onesself to death, and any other action we call a sin all by their nature impact someone’s life, property, or liberty negatively. My being gay and living with my partner, and having a sexual relation with my partner does not have any negative effects on anyone else, or on us. Our being together does not by its nature take or damage someone else’s property, it does not take someone else’s life, and it does not take someone else’s liberty.

    If I gossip, I take someone’s good name from them. When my partner and I have sex, no one has lost anything.

    My partner and I living together (including having sex) enriches our lives. Just like a straight couple, we can then take this richness of our lives (not the sex) out into the world. Our relationship gives us the love, support, strength, and comfort with ourselves that allows us to be supportive and loving with our friends and families.

    In short, being gay and doing gay are not like any sin at all. Sin, by its nature, must hurt someone. Being gay, by its nature, is not required to hurt someone.

  • Luke

    "What you are truly and actually saying is that you want them to condemn themselves to a life devoid of love….Be alone. Live alone. Die alone."

    That is such a narrow definition of the word love (!!!!) and is symptomatic of our current world where love = sex. I am a gay celibate and my life is full of love and I am certainly not alone. I am surrounded by loving family and friends. By this definition, Jesus was not free to live in love when He walked this earth. Nonsense.

    • http://practicinghuman.wordpress.com practicinghuman

      Luke, I'm very glad you live in a community of family and friends that upholds you. It's rare to find people continually connected to their family in a local way, especially in an age of increasing pressures to relocate for jobs. May God continue to support you in your journey.

      • Luke

        Thank you practicinghuman. I have to say that the attitude to the gay issue here in the UK is totally different to that in the US; it seems to me anyway. We never hear hell fire preaching for gays and there is great understanding on the whole, and respect for people to choose their own way. :)

    • jes

      I am happy for you that you can feel fulfilled with these relationships, however, you should be aware that this is simply not true for most people. I value my friendships greatly, but they do not and cannot replace the relationship I have with my beloved. "Friends and lovers" is not just something people want on a whim. Sex is a very important part of most peoples' lives. It is neither realistic nor fair to expect life long celibacy of every homosexual as consequence for a "sin" that harms no one.

    • lou

      “Loving family and friends”? Everything in in the universe revolves around our attractions to one another. You can fool yourself all you want and think that you can have it all with loving relatives and friends, but an intimate, bone deep connection with one other person is the only thing that will ever fill that hole that you are pretending doesn’t matter. For god sakes, don’t arrive at the end of your life only to finally realize that what matters most to human beings does NOT offend god. Because if you do keep pretending, if you can’t let go of this dehumanizing, man-made bigotry, all you will have is despair.

      • Luke

        You insult my integrity to say that I am 'pretending' and that I am a bigot. I find it a shame that people like me are not given the respect they deserve in their life choices. I have not condemned anyone else for their lifestyle choices and I would expect thye same treatment in return.

        • Tim

          Intolerance is a two way street. Some people, however pretend that by virtue of bigotry or oppression visited upon them, earn a sort of carte blanche for their particular intolerance.

          Is it too personal of me to sake why you chose to be celibate?

        • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

          Luke, I think that's a fair ask.

    • mattw

      There is no explicit mention of Jesus's celibacy in the Gospels.

  • Greg tREBLEFREE Mitc

    Excellent thoughts! I am linking this on FB and tagging it to you. Thanks so much!

  • John Murphy

    Full disclosure: I wrote that email. No, John does not make this stuff up.

    "It's just too stupid for words." Thanks for the love, John. Why is it that you ask for, request, expect, and desire reasoned careful discourse from others, but do not give it yourself? How does saying one's argument is "too stupid for words" demonstrate love one wonders?

    • http://practicinghuman.wordpress.com practicinghuman

      Hi John,

      I'm curious about what aspects of homosexuality you are concerned get "a free pass"? Are you concerned with people sharing their orientation honestly with family and friends? Are you concerned about people exchanging common gestures of affection such as a knowing tug on the arm or a hug? Are you concerned about two people of the same gender sharing a dinner or a cup of coffee? Are you concerned about unrelated persons traveling together on vacation?

      Where are you drawing the line?

      Cheers.

    • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric Booth

      Hi John Murray,

      "*IT* is just too stupid for words" refers to the tired argument offered, not you. It is not your argument because I've heard it before and even used it before. We've regurgitated the main talking points of that argument in some vain attempt to make the unbelievable credible. We need to throw out this argument. Likening someone's sexual orientation to abhorrent, sinful, destructive behavior is abhorrent, sinful, and destructive. Not to mention incredibly insensitive and mean.

      • Mindy

        hear, hear. Ric is my favorite. :)

      • http://www.nathantaylor.net.au/ Rabid_Womble

        Good point Rick. My dad (an ex-pentecostal pastor) made the helpful analogy between my homosexuality and paedophilia when I came out to him. When I explained how offended I was by that he adopted the 'alcoholic' analogy.

        He had no idea why it hurt so much. In fact, it still does and I find it hard to even talk with him.

        So yes, it is a stupid argument because it is both condensending and utterly rude!

    • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

      Listen, it's simple. If someone is *hurting* someone else, doing so unconsciously but is seemingly indifferent to the harm being caused? Or sees the harm as an end that justifies the means? That doesn't get any *love*. OK?

      Some of the viewpoints and subsequent behaviors that you and others are choosing to take with the gay population are causing damage, regardless of what you think about it. It is contributing to a framework that is causing gay kids to commit suicide, causing gay adults who survived being kicked out of their christian homes to spurn Jesus forever.

      And that's bad. That's dangerous. And your *feelings*, your *injury* as a result of people getting angry with your choices is simply secondary to the needs and the lives of this particular population.

      There is a really fantastic book called the Narcissism Epidemic in America. It speaks to this, that people feel entitled to state and believe what they want to – at times, act exactly as they want to – and expect everyone – demand everyone, even, to be kind to them. Cause and effect just doesn't work that way.

      • http://dianer.blogspot.com/ DR

        And you should also know that I'm speaking as one who believed just like you did years ago, got my emotional ass kicked by some who were far more educated than I was. I was furious with them, I couldn't BELIEVE they were speaking to me in the ways they were! And then I realized they simply had no time or energy for me, they were trying to save a bunch of gay kids from the hell they experienced as Christianity.

        So chose I shut up. II chose to stop believing that I was entitled to everyone being kind to me, even the Christians. I stopped choosing to get offended. I went to where they were. I actually spent time with gay kids. And then life changed in some really beautiful, holy ways.

        • shadowspring

          That is the most beautiful thing I've read in some time. I love that you went and spent time with people and that knowing them, seeing them as real people, changed you in "some really beautiful, holy ways." Sweet.

    • Lauren

      That which is too stupid for words is that silly argument. It's what happens when circular logic humps the leg of religious intolerance.

      • Mindy

        That is without a doubt the single best sentence I've read all week. Here it is again, just because it's that perfect: "It’s what happens when circular logic humps the leg of religious intolerance."

        Lauren, you rock!

        • Lauren

          lol Thanks.

          • Don Whitt

            Lauren, I am ROTFLMAO…

  • Ola

    Repeat after Kara and some others: they're saying "love all you want, just don't enjoy the sex too much!" Sounds very Christian to me, actually…

    Another thing worth repeating: the difference between homosexuaity and actual sins is the HARM TO OTHERS. A good rule of thumb: no harm — no sin.

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

      I make that EXACT argument in this post:

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2010/03/13/christians-when-i

      (John: I do apologize for calling your letter stupid. For what it's worth, I didn't mean you personally are stupid. I only meant that the reasoning your letter so perfectly exemplified is so common, and so profoundly flawed, and so at the heart of what's establishing and perpetuating so much damage in the world, that—as long as I protected you personally by keeping the source of the letter absolutely anonymous—I would do well to present it as a splendid example of that reasoning. I was just being lazy, really: it did so perfectly articulate the most common Christian response to homosexuality that I couldn't resist using it. But I should have; I should have taken the time to rephrase it. I sincerely do apologize for not taking that time.)

    • ManimalX

      "Another thing worth repeating: the difference between homosexuality and actual sins is the HARM TO OTHERS. A good rule of thumb: no harm — no sin."

      With sincere respect to you (and to Mr. Shore who linked his older post that presents the same definition), that seems to be a really, REALLY poor definition of "sin." I am having a difficult time understanding how this definition of sin fits within a biblical framework. The only thing I can think of is if I have a different definition of "hurt" or "harm." If you would allow me a moment to share my understanding, perhaps one of you can help me understand your point of view a little better. And no, I'm not trying to be "silly putty" here. I'm likely not going to change my mind, nor are you, but as Dennis Prager wisely says, "Clarity and understanding over agreement."

      Certainly a lot of sin actually causes harm to others, but that is generally a secondary effect. The primary thing that makes sin "sin" is how it relates to God and His Holiness.

      For example, think of the commandment, "You shall not murder." Why did God say this? Because it concerns creatures who bear God's very image not harming other creatures who bear God's image. God's image is holy, and He reserves the right to life and death over those who bear it. That is why it isn't "murder" when God passes judgment and tells a human to go ahead and kill another human, as He did sometimes in the Old Testament.

      A SECONDARY effect of this commandment is that we humans are not harming each other, but the PRIMARY thing that makes it sin is how it sullies God's Holiness.

      The view that God told us not to murder because He is concerned for our safety is anthropocentric, and is looking at the command and the issue of sin in an upside down manner. The view that God told us not to murder because it violates His Holiness is the correct "God-centric" view.

      Survey the entire Decalogue and even most of the Levitical laws and you will see the same thing is true for them. They are primarily concerned with the relation between the person, the act, and God, than the relation between two or more people. Violating the command "don't steal" isn't sin because one person is harming another person (that is secondary), it is sin because ALL property is God's, and when a person decides that they don't like how that property is allocated and decide to reallocate it themselves, they are operating against God's design.

      Here are a few practical examples of why "no harm, no sin" is poor definition:

      Lying. If I wanted to, I could lie all day long and not hurt anyone. In fact, I could even weave a web of lies that BENEFITS another person or makes them feel GOOD. For a very simple example, I could lie to my wife and tell her that her new shirt that is part of the newest fashion trend looks really cute on her, even though I hate the latest fashion trend and think the shirt looks hideous. But, I lie about it, she goes out for the day feeling attractive and confident, and maybe I even get a little sugar for it later! Everyone wins! Except…. lying is sin. Nobody was "hurt", but what I did was wrong before a Holy God.

      Idolatry. So if "no hurt, no sin," then I should be able to pray to Muhammad, or my ancestors, or demons, or the Earth, or to whatever various rock or twig I choose to (Oh, mighty twig, I beseech thee!), right? Absolutely nobody is hurt when I go into my bedroom, close the door, and pray to my altar to Shiva. Except…. idolatry is sin.

      Prostitution/sexual immorality. Let's say my wife decides that she wants me to go pay a prostitute for sex. That for whatever reasons, my wife has decided that me having sex with another woman really turns her on. We even have lots of fun threesomes! Everyone wins. No STD's are transmitted, not pregnancies happen, I'm sexually satisfied, my wife is sexually satisfied, the prostitute gets paid and we even make sure that she is sexually satisfied. Except… prostitution is sin (because it is both illegal and immoral). If you want to argue about prostitution, then just replace the prostitute with a goat or a weasel or something. Nobody gets hurt, except… bestiality is sin.

      I have other examples, but I hope I have made my point clear. Sin is sin because of the relation between God, the person, and the act. Just because sin doesn't "hurt" anyone, doesn't mean it ceases to be sin.

      • Jill

        LOVE IT! TOTALLY AGREE!!!!!!!

      • Mindy

        Sorry, ManX. I don't buy it. That first lie you told your wife, to be sweet and make her happy? No sin. No betrayal, nothing. You sacrificed your own opinion about fashion to make your wife feel beautiful. No sin.

        Praying to the twig? God still hears you. No sin.

        Threesomes? Not my bag, thanks, but also not my business. Personally, I'd call it a sin, yes. Not into sharing intimacy with "extras." But – not my place to define sin for anyone else – that is up to them and their private relationship with their God.

        I get what you are saying, but I just don't think God is nearly as rigid as you'd have us believe.

        • ManimalX

          It isn't about being "rigid," but about being "Holy."

          I don't mean this to be in ANY WAY mean or hurtful, Mindy, but I don't think you fully understand or appreciate what "Holiness" is. It isn't that God just makes up random crap rules for fun, but rather that He simply CANNOT exist eternally with that which isn't as Holy (think "pure") as He is.

          Think of the whitest white sheet of paper in the most advanced clean room in the world. It is the very definition of the color "white." Nothing is whiter than that sheet of white paper. If I come along with my red pen and make a dot on it, no matter how small, it is no longer the pure white paper it was before. That stain, even if only the size of a pin head, has to be removed if that paper is to remain pure.

          Take the lying thing, for instance. You dismiss it as "nothing" an "no sin," but God makes it clear in Scripture that He CANNOT lie (yes, there are many things that God CANNOT do), and that lying is "sin" (or, a red pen that mars the white paper). This may sound absurd, but God would NEVER tell my wife that He liked her shirt if He thought it was a hideous shirt. What makes it OK for me to do something that God Himself would not and COULD not do?

          Praying to a twig: I'm going to have to defer to Scripture yet again. It is EXTREMELY obvious that God doesn't respond to people who pray to and worship idols. Well, I take that back: He responds to them, certainly, but usually with things like wrath :) I mean, the Bible is chock full of examples of God being downright PISSED at people for paying to the creation and false gods instead of to the Creator and the one true God. It is quite clear that God does NOT accept those prayers.

          If that is your belief about God, OK. Just don't try to claim that yours is the God of Scripture, because your description doesn't match up! Do you know how much I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to believe in a God who ultimately didn't care one whit about my actions and let me do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted? I would love it a LOT. But… I've cast my lot in with Yahweh, the God of the Bible. He is Holy, and expects me to be so as well. He even went so far as to give me a written record so I could get a glimpse of what that looks like. The coolest thin, though, is that He also expected me to FAIL at being Holy, and so He set things up in such a way that I don't have to earn my way into His presence through my own efforts at holiness. I get to be eternally with God because Jesus Christ gave me HIS righteousness/holiness by living a perfect life, and willingly taking my death penalty for me.

          Does that mean I get to abuse such grace and mercy by doing whatever I want to? No way! It means that when I do something even so "small" such as lie, I realize that it was that action that killed Jesus on a cross. And I love Him too much to continue doing the things that killed Him :)

          • ManimalX

            Sorry to be so wordy.

            Condensed version, Mindy: I think we "simply" disagree on what Holiness is, what sin is, and what the Bible can tell us about both.

          • Mindy

            When did I ever say that (a) my God is the "God of Scripture?" Didn't, because I don't believe scripture is infallible. I believe it has to be examined through an historical, cultural lens, and that it was never, ever intended to be taken as either literal *or* infallible.

            And (b), when did I ever say that my God doesn't give a whit about what I do? That couldn't be further from the truth, MX.

            You go on and believe that you are Holier than I because of your knowledge of and devotion to scripture. And I'll go on knowing that you are not. Nor is any one of us more so than the other – except in your own minds.

          • DR

            Mindy,

            Please listen to ManimalX dissertaioms on holy as he describes sex as "dipping willy into a wet hole.". Not because you should, it's the classic example if a conservative Christian suffering from narcissism Gus not even being able to identify his compartmentalized views. He is in teaching mode now.

            Instead, read it as the classic example of what Christians in this country have enjoyed for a number if years now, but are now being held accountable to. The unchecked preaching to those who are below them spiritually, the teaching they are regurgitating to their little baby heathen birds in the same ways they've received it. This, vs. The simultaneous base, vile speech that reflects what is really going on inside if them when they aren't on Christian stage.

            People are starting to notice and they are gettin loud about it. The "Gish I am a sinner just like gay kids!" yet…where is the ministry toward this population that is killing themselves at a rate that is 4x more than other kids? Where is all of this confessed care? Is it simply discussed with all of their gay friends? ( which I suspect are just acquaintances).

            It's fascinating to watch it all start unhinging for them. And it has to be scary, being held accountable to actual action for the first time, to consistency for the first time. Yikes.

          • Mindy

            Exactly. Fear is, I'm convinced, the most potent emotion in existence. Keeps us safe, yes – and then causes us to do immeasurable harm.

          • http://none Don Rappe

            Holiness is not the same as purity. When God told Moses to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground, he did not mean the dirt there was pure. Water may be very pure without being holy, but when impure water reveals God in baptism, it is holy. Holiness reveals the divine, sin obscures the vision. God's sexual gifts are good and holy, just as he their Creator is. Sin obscures the vision causing us not to notice the image of God in his LBGT children.

          • Jes

            That. That is brilliant. Thank you.

        • Tim

          Mindy, first let me assure you that I like you a lot and think you are a sweet and caring lady, but you kind of contradicted yourself. If you agree with John's observation that no harm=no sin, then by the rules of deductive reasoning, harm=sin. If you agree that Christians who think homosexuality to be against the teaching of Christ, do harm…then you have defined that mindset as sin. Am I wrong?

          • Mindy

            I'm confused, Tim – how is that contradicting myself? Thanks for the kind words, even though this morning I'm feeling kind of hard-headed and not deserving of it.

            Yes, I believe that Christians who participate in any active portrayal of homosexuality as sin – whether they speak it, write it or merely support a church that professes that belief – are doing harm. And are thus sinning. Yes.

            If I believed in "sin." I don't use that terminology in real life – they are simply wrong and causing harm.

            How is that contradictory with what else I've said? If it is, I'll do my best to clarify.

          • Tim

            We're all hard-headed at times, Mindy. Thankfully I believe we are all striving to be soft-hearted.

            Anyhow, what I perceived as contradictory was what you stated a few posts upstream — "not my place to define sin for anyone else – that is up to them and their private relationship with their God." Even though you don't use the term, when you define the gay=sin mindset as wrong and harmful, you have, comparatively, defined sin for anyone who holds that mindset . I don't criticize your right to make that definition, but I do find it contradictory to your previous statement.

          • Mindy

            Got it, Tim, and yes, I suppose technically, I am contradicting myself – but how else does one stand up for victims, especially voiceless victims like all who have passed on because of this, without pointing out the actions that contribute to the harm?

            By telling someone that they are sinning – and yes, yes, I realize everyone sins and all that – you are essentially pointing out to someone a specific problem in THEIR personal relationship with God. Which, to me, is nobody's business and shouldn't be done.

            By standing up for a victim and pointing out the specific activity/belief system/behavior/words that caused harm, you are advocating for fellow human beings.

            When children misbehave, I don't scold them just because *I* think what they did was wrong. I tell them WHY it was wrong, who it hurt and how. Somehow, that is a different animal.

            I see your point, but I don't consider them the same thing. Not sure if I explained it properly or not . . .

          • Mindy

            Tim, whether we agree or not, I sincerely appreciate your willingness to listen and learn.

            When you compare what Christians do to parenting, I see your point. But let me take the analogy one step further. When you, as a Christian, point out to someone the possible eternal consequences of their behavior, you are not doing so from the position of parent, but of sibling.

            Much like when my older daughter scolds her sister with a, "you're gonna get in TROUBLE!" for what *she* (oldest) perceives as a transgression by Lil Bit, a Christian person who points out the sins of another is, as I tell said oldest, meddling where she doesn't belong.

            If Lil Bit is in some kind of immediate danger or about to hurt someone else, yes, stop her (that's never happened). Otherwise, it is up to me, the parent, to handle it. If she *is* doing something dangerous, tell ME (you might say, pray) and I will stop her and help her understand why. Otherwise, you'll have to let her learn from her own mistakes, because unless danger is imminent, telling me is tattling. And tattling is not an option.

            The key is that I parent each daughter a bit differently, based on their individual personalities and strengths. I mete out consequences, as it were, with learning as the ultimate goal – and because I know my children well, I know what motivates them and what each one needs in order to learn how to be the very best versions of themselves. Sis doesn't get to "parent" Lil Bit simply because she is older. That's my job, or her father's job. She can be a confidante, she can be a role model – but she cannot be "the boss."

            Similarly, Christians don't get to "boss around" their brothers and sisters. God will take care of that, thankyouverymuch. So Christians who, like you said, DEMAND that their fellow citizens be deprived of marriage, say, "for their own good," are overstepping their bounds. Only God can handle that "for their own good" thing – especially because this is not an issue that hurts anyone. We take some "sins" into our own hands, through the judicial system, in the name of protecting each other. That's an entirely different matter.

            The conventional wisdom, for years, in parenting, was that in order to be fair, we must treat/parent each child exactly the same. But as our understanding of child development has increased, and our understanding of how to nurture nature expands, that conventional wisdom is changing rather dramatically. What motivates one child to change his/her behavior will not necessarily work for another, so parents have to work with each kid individually, by really *knowing* your kid.

            Making the analogy to Christianity, this simply means that God will work with each of His children, as it were, individually – and it is not the job of the siblings to meddle. Be there as confidantes and role models, but leave the parenting to your Father.

          • http://malianta.wordpress.com jutta

            Tim,

            I am chewing on the sentence "to warn homosexuals about the possibility of their orientation’s eternal impact."

            I know that some Christians feel compelled to do that.

            But I wonder if this is not the main problem that they say, we can receive forgiveness for all sins, but this one will bring you to hell.

            Even though I believe (for the moment still) that homosexuality is not God's original intent (aka sin) but I just can't see that a gay Christian who lives in a vibrant relationship with Jesus, and in dependence of him decides to live in a committed gay relationship, will go to hell. Do you?

          • http://malianta.wordpress.com jutta

            Mindy,

            I think you are very right about who is the best person to admonish somebody else.

            I have rarely seen that telling somebody else that something is sin or giving any other unsolicited correction has been really helpful. Unless it happened under the special guidance of the Holy Spirit and was bathed in love. I think it can work in a relationship of trust, such as a mentor with a mentee. I am thinking of adults.

            This is something I learned in 12-step groups where you never give advice but share your ESH (experience, strength, hope). I found that so much more helpful, especially for those who are already wounded.

          • Tim

            You explained it very well. and I think you poignantly illuminated why some people with the gay=sin mindset, do what they do. I am obviously here to challenge what I currently think and believe. That doesn’t mean I have changed my mind, but it does mean that until I look at more information about this issue, I can’t adopt any final or conclusive stance.

            Now granted, a gay adult of legal age is a big boy or girl, and they are free to make their own decisions regardless of what anyone else says or thinks. But your explanation of good parenting is somewhat corollary to why well intentioned Christian people are so intent on warning gays to deny their orientation. While you probably won’t agree with my reasoning, maybe at least you can understand why the warning should not be seen as a demand. And while we’re on the subject of DEMANDS, I would like to thank John and other posters such as you and DR for helping me to clarify my thinking in regards to the issue of voting Yes on 8. I think that was tantamount to DEMANDING how gays should live. I think that sort of course is NOT one Jesus would have me take. However, as a parent, my heart to warn homosexuals about the possibility of their orientation’s eternal impact, is primarily why I think and speak against decisions of following that orientation.

            It’s apropos that the word “orientation” is used to describe human sexual relationship, specifically from an etymological point of reference. In regards to homosexuality, many Christians believe that such orientation can’t help but elicit an audacious and oftentimes contemptuous heart toward anyone who disagrees or stands in the way of their decision. Admittedly, all too many Christians fall err to the same said qualities in their desire to help. Like a good number of well-meaning and loving parents…instead they end up bringing more harm than help. I don’t doubt that you and others here can acknowledge that at least some Christians with the gay=sin mindset are well intentioned, but we let our own pride and contemptuous attitude get the best of us.

            In the end, I am anti-any orientation that keeps anyone away from, or at odds with, a reconciled relationship with God through Christ. The origin of the word orientation is derived from orient, meaning “the east, and the rising sun”. Jesus is referred to in the first chapter of Luke’s gospel (vv. 78-79) as the rising sun from heaven. Of course, as a Christian, I am convinced that there is only one God and one way, truth and life in God. I know many here disagree and that is their prerogative. I can’t force anyone to believe what I do. I can only offer the reasons why. But my prime directive as a Christian is to LOVE at all cost…even at my own peril. Much LIKE the love of a parent which I know you can understand. Some times scolding seems hurtful and harmful and we are hated because of it. But if we explain our reasons, right or wrong, we are understood as someone who ultimately LOVES and desires the best for those we love.

            God bless you, Mindy. Regardless of our differences in belief and opinion, You are a kind heart and person of purpose.

          • Tim

            @Mindy

            Good points. Being a confidant and role model is the safe course. What's that saying?…preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.

          • Mindy

            @Tim – don't know if you'll see this, nested in the middle of everything, but think about this. Being a confidante and role model, from one sibling to another, does not mean "preaching" at each other. I understand what you are saying. Living according to your faith is the role model part. Being the kind of loving, compassionate person Jesus called his followers to be is awesome role modeling, and I'm all for it. Actions speaking louder than words, right?

            Being a confidante involves listening, more than anything, and not offering advice unless asked. Offering empathy, sympathy, sharing humor.

            But siblings often have very different approaches to the world – and that is not only OK, it is wonderful and should be respected. If Sis tells Lil Bit that she *should* handle a school situation a particular way, I can almost guarantee you that Lil Bit will (the first time) take the advice under consideration, and handle it her own way. Sis' advice might've worked – but not for Lil Bit, because her personality is so very different. So she'll handle it her own way, which will also likely work, and everyone is happy. They learn from each other. BUT – if Sis starts in with, "Well, it worked *this* time, but next time you really have to do it my way," and then continues to preach to Lil Bit how she *should* be handling things – even though her own way worked just fine, Lil Bit will stop listening. She'll distance herself from her sister, because Sis isn't allowing her to be herself, to trust her own instincts, to have faith in her own abilities and way of doing things.

            Probably the first thing that pushed me away from Christianity was the whole "one true path" thing. I have too many non-Christian friends who are amazing, incredible, wonderful people, and who I *know* are not doomed simply because they haven't accepted Christ.

            If someone asks for help, asks what you would advise to deal with a particular situation, then preach away. Well, share away, anyhow. Share how Christ has helped you in some similar situation. But if you aren't asked, my feeling has always been that LIVING your faith is, by far, the best way to share it.

            Many paths can be traveled, and trusting that someone else's path is right for THEM is showing unconditional love. Which seems to me to be what Jesus was all about.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            @Tim & @Mindy

            I believe there’s a difference between being wrong, causing harm, and sinning.

            Right and wrong are established relative to clear individual intentions and/or common goals. That which works to accomplish them is right; anything else would be wrong in the given context—whatever is expected to have results not progressive of the established hierarchy of goals. But what if one's goals do not conform to truth and love? They can still be right about what actions to undertake without ever considering the matter morally. It is a specific subset of true and false propositions that are the subject of moral philosophy, and harm is not a sufficiently well defined or widely accepted criterion, nor is net benefit.

            One could be right about how to do something, but wrong about whether it should be done. But how do we—how do they—figure out that they are wrong? Because some higher goal is likely to be violated. But do all people share the same highest goals? I don't think that's the case. Someone may be right to commit suicide, though we may find that killing oneself is wrong. But that's because we value life as a goal, an end unto itself. Who ultimately is to judge though? If anyone, it isn't man. And surely the days of man are numbered.

            As for causing harm, what if some is appears to be about to get hit by a bus, so you knock them over, hurting them somewhat, in an effort to save their life? If you didn't do it, you wouldn't cause any harm—the bus would; I mean, you certainly shouldn't blame yourself if you hadn't happened to be standing there giving you the opportunity to have saved them. But what if you did have such opportunity and didn’t?

            Now if you argue that though you cause them some harm, the outcome overall is a net benefit, how do you know that you are right? I don't mean overall for society, as what if they would be better off dead (which however is again a matter in which different goals may lead to different assessments, and even so with a great degree of uncertainty given the information available, leaving us with no good way to judge if they're a serial killer or getting set to become a fascist dictator one day)—rather I mean even for this person individually, as what if the bus was going to have swerved enough to narrowly avoid them at the last second?

            And it’s not just about the intent either. Because, again, what if one had an opportunity to save someone but didn’t, because it was someone he/she honestly did think would be better off dead?

            And if it would be a bad thing—morally wrong—evil—not to act in a timely manner, who’s to say just how long we can wait to see how the bus is moving or if the person’s reacting before we act?

            There can be no universal laws in such detail. The best advice is just to know yourself and your goals, bearing in mind that goals to cause harm are in the same way harming your own self, ultimately.

            Oh, and they profane God too—that's what it is to be sinful.

          • Jes

            Your reasoning does not follow the rules. no harm = no sin does not mean that harm = sin. Mindy, and several others, have stated that part of their definition of sin is that it causes harm. At no point did anyone claim that all harm is sinful. If I step on your toe, I've harmed you, but it's not sinning.

            You are following a similar logic train to this:

            1: Ducks have wings.

            2: Planes have wings.

            3: Therefore, Duck = Plane.

            Patently untrue, but easy to fall into.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Hi Jes! Your point against Tim's argument is completely valid, but I didn't see any need to take up that matter as I rejected a certain underlying premise.

            You see, I think stepping on someone's toe is a pretty good example actually of exactly what it is to trespass or to transgress. And what if it was on purpose?

            Even if it wasn't though, perhaps you have an obligation to be more careful where you put your feet? People sin all the time without any ill-intent.

          • jes

            I should have specified accidentally, I guess. Obviously if I go out stomping on peoples' feet, that's one thing, but if we just happen to be going through the same place and bump into or step on one another, I don't see how it can be called a sin on either part. I guess I just prefer to believe that God doesn't want to micro-manage my life to such an extent. Not every act is either sinful or holy, and not every action should be dissected and analyzed for its holiness:sin ratio. How would you get on with living life if you did?

          • Matthew Tweedell

            By the Grace of God.

          • Tim

            Also consider that ill-intent is often in the eye of the individual. What about the abusive father who beats his kids and honestly believes that it builds their character and makes them "tough". Or the person with a brutal honesty…people like Simon Cowell. They think they are actually being kind by demoralizing people with their brand of "honesty".

          • Tim

            Hi jes—

            I'm not getting it. My only point was that I thought Mindy contradicted her previous claim that it wasn't her place to define sin for anyone else, yet she technically defined the gay=sin mindset as causing harm (i.e. sinful).

            I don't understand how that followed your illustration of erroneous deductive reasoning, but if you can cite where I did, I'd be happy to address it.

          • jes

            It was a bit tangential, not addressing whether Mindy contradicted herself or not, just pointing out that the deductive reasoning you used to get from "no harm = no sin" to "harm = sin" is an easy logical fallacy to fall into, but it is a fallacy.

            I guess I was feeling a little pedantic, you can just ignore me.

      • Verne

        Now I agree with this…@ Mindy….sigh I won't even waste my breath u are so not worth it!

        • Mindy

          Whew. Glad to hear it, Verne.

        • DR

          You are so right Verne, she's not. You just stay in your little fundamentalist corner with all of the others and keep talking about how the gays are responsible for being gay and how God will condemn them for that if they don't get in line. The Mindys of the world will just spend time figuring out how to keep the gays from killing themselves after dealing with you and your peeps. Thankfully for Mindy, their blood isn't on her hands, that's between you and God (good luck with that). But what Mindy is doing takes a lot of time and energy, so you're right- probably not worth your taking time!

          • Verne

            Thank u DR…well their blood isn't on my hands …I didn't tell them to go and be gay they chose it so it's them with God….and what is Mindy really doing? just a bunch of blah blah blah!…………..

            Who is then responsible for the gays being gay? I didn't write the bible so don't get your panties in a bundle and all bent out of shape! If they weren't gay from the start maybe they wouldn't want to kill themselves…u people blame parents and other people I understand it's a factor but at the end of the day they get all depressed because they know they are living in sin!…Whatever u people bore me….I LOVE GAYS ….GOD BLESS THEM ….(and this is not a joke)

          • Mindy

            Oh look, Verne wasted his breath again.

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            Hey, don't insult a man who just proclaimed his love me… :P

  • amazing grace

    I am christian in my 40's who is attracted to those of my own gender. I've made the conscious decision to remain celibate. Not because of peer pressure, fear, or because it's my only option. This is a very personal and heartfelt decision I made simply based upon my personal convictions and what I believe the Spirit speaks to my own spirt within me about this issue. I make no judgement about how others in my similar situation have chosen to deal with this same issue in their own life. In fact I have many friends who once like me chose celibacy as an option but have since changed their convictions about having a same sex partner. I still love and respect them regardless of their decision.

    What I take offense to John in your latest post is your sweeping generalizations about those of us who have chosen celibacy as an option based upon your quote, "What you are truly and actually saying is that you want them to condemn themselves to a life devoid of love." I for one can attest that my decsion to remain celibate has hardly condemned me to a life devoid of love. Just because I've chosen to not relate to another human being based upon 'romantic and sexual' love doesn't mean I cannot experience love and fulfillment. Quite frankly I found your comment insulting and well 'stupid'. I really appreciate your avid support and love for gay people everywhere as I know it's in short supply within christendom. On the otherhand I think too often, as usual, we place too high of a price on 'romantic love' which as we all know by now (one only has to look at the current divorce rates) to know that this kind of love often leaves many of us waning.

    • http://practicinghuman.wordpress.com practicinghuman

      I think the attitude that the original post goes after is the attitude of suspicion associated with gay persons. Celibate persons actually do have a rich range of relationships, including housemates who legitimately do life together. If a Christian community is looking at a gay person in a negative light because that gay person has a same-gender friend with whom the gay person grabs coffee with regularly, then that's a problem. If Christian communities assert that gay persons are always thinking about how to get their sexual fix when they engage in general human physical contact like a hug, then that's a problem. If Christian communities assert that a gay person is having an affair with a married person of the same gender because the gay person and the married person talk regularly and closely, then that's a problem.

      The problem is that so often people construct gay celibacy in a way that asserts that a gay person must remain identifiably alone forever.

      God's grace and strength to you on your journey.

      • amazing grace

        thanks for your kind words. I think what I'm mainly concerned about is that i think it's just as wrong to swing to the other side of this issue and begin to making sweep generalizations as I feel like John did in his post. And quite honestly, I've felt judgement, discrimination, and I've been at the receiving end of snide remarks made to me by other christians who have given up on celibacy and don't seem to offer me the same respect that i offer to them in their change of heart just because I haven't changed my convictions. All I'm asking is that everyone be mindful, regardless of what your belief is, to not so freely assume you speak for me, does that make sense? Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of John I just think he may be going on overboard at the moment.

        • jes

          I don't think that he was trying to say that celibacy is a bad choice, or that people who choose it are wrong. I read his statements as saying that forcing celibacy on an entire segment of the population is wrong.

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

            bingo

        • http://malianta.wordpress.com jutta

          this was also my point

      • Lauren

        What!?!?!?!! "sexual fix"???? I'm not a heroin addict. I'm not a sex addict. I'm not an addict of anything except maybe RedBull.

        Fair warning: I'm not going to be very eloquent here. Amazing Grace's comment disturbed me enough and then I read this response.

        Actually, I've written an erased about 3 pages. So I'll keep it short.

        This type of language. These ideas. Those people who believed celibacy was some sort of compromise that would allow me to live a christian life and not burn. The idea, just the idea, nothing more that I would have to live alone as this article states. The idea that I couldn't fall in love and experience all that goes with it, yes, sex included. These ideas that seem so kind to you. So charitable. Because well, I mean you're not exactly saying I should burn in hell for being gay just if I act on it and not repent. And lookie there, there's someone who's nothing at all like me, and likely has an attachment disorder. Well, look, that person knows love (what cause mommy loves you or you have friends?). See, lauren, you can have these thoughts and these feeling and as long as you realize they're sinful and you hate yourself enough for them, Jesus will still love you. So you're future's just gonna be awesome.

        These are the thoughts that brought me to sitting alone in my room when I was 17 the night my parents told me I'd have to leave if I "chose to be gay". These are the thoughts that brought me to down a pint of Jack. These are the thoughts that made me load one bullet in the gun. Just one. These are the thoughts that made me decide I'd leave it all to luck or chance. I tasted the metal and gun oil. I pulled the trigger.

        Christian "love" put me there. Something brought me out. Something that resembled a hope that maybe they were all full of shit. I left home. I lived another hell entirely for a few years. I just want you to know. Words have meanings. They're just words. But maybe you should think before you start throwing them around.

        • shadowspring

          I am glad you are still alive to share your experiences with us Lauren. Those of us wanting to learn appreciate your courage to share. :) You deserve love.

        • Mindy

          {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{Lauren}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}} Count me as someone who is really, REALLY glad you are still here. I'm so sorry you were put through so much pain.

          • Lauren

            Thank you both.

        • http://practicinghuman.wordpress.com practicinghuman

          Lauren, I think you missed the conditional in my comment. IF [Christian communities assume that homosexual persons are trying to get a sexual fix], THEN THAT'S A PROBLEM.

          Christian communities are full of misunderstandings of what it means to be gay. But then too, Christian communities are full of misunderstandings of what it means to be straight. Straight Christians really don't need to think about their sexuality one iota provided sexual expression remains in the marriage covenant.

          I've personally encountered all of the conditionals I've stated. The conditionals are full of misconceptions and preconceived notions. And they hurt. They hurt a lot. They are said without thought or regard for the human persons present in the conversation. The conditionals reflect a lack of listening, sensitivity, and compassion. What is true of one person's experience and journey very rarely maps identically to another person's experience and journey.

          Yes, some people are totally addicted to sex. Some of these people happen to be gay. But not all gay persons are sex addicts. To assert the latter is wrong.

    • Mindy

      A.Grace, the difference is that YOU made the choice. I can't help but think that if it weren't for these artificial labelings of orientation as sin, your spirit would feel free to open itself to a lifetime partner – but you made your choice and that's fine.

      But to assume that all gay people, simply because of who they are capable of loving intimately, should *have* to choose your path is both cruel and ridiculous.

      I understand that you may choose to not to have sex, but I do find it sad that you have closed yourself off from the possibility of a loving, monogamous relationship. The point is about that, far more than it is about the sex.

      I'm in a state of celibacy at this point in my life, simply because I am not in a relationship and I have no interest in sex without one. I don't believe it is permanent, however, and I remain open to finding love again, which would then likely lead to sex. They are not synonymous, and I don't believe John or anyone else is saying they are. But allowing yourself to be open to the possibility of sex means you are allowing yourself to be open to the kind of relationship that might lead to sex. And that is something everyone should be blessed enough to enjoy.

    • PJ Moore

      Thanks Amazing Grace for your response. I'm a Christian woman, 65 yrs old, who loves homosexuals because I've known several who are much more loving and accepting than a lot of straight people. You've made a decision that works for you in your relationship with Christ. How can anyone possibly think that you love less than the rest of us? No way!

  • http://www.lovecominghome.com christina lewis

    you put words to my thoughts. so now i've gone from somebody who thinks this way to somebody who speaks this way. that's a powerful thing you did. if many speak this truth less children will jump off bridges in the future. your words bring heaven to earth. they are holy words, you world changer, you.

    • Susan

      @ John Shore

      What @christina said so perfectly, I second ditto, echo, etc.

  • textjunkie

    Amen, John.

  • Brenda

    @ Luke and amazing grace–You guys are awesome! Human relationships don't fill the empty places in our lives, but God does.

    • Mark

      @Brenda: A content-empty and value-free platitude. I don't know what you mean by it. How could anyone take any comfort from it?

      Our lives are enriched by the range of rich relationships that we experience (both celibate and non-celibate who've posted on this thread have made those points). We are designed for relationship. It's through relationships that God often speaks to us.

      • Tim

        I get comfort from it. I personally know hundreds of other people that would agree. Why must you deride Brenda's comment?

        You say, "it's through relationships that God often speaks to us." so I would assume that you believe in the existence of God. It sounds like you are under the impression that if we were without human relationships, we could never know God as deeply. Sorry, I agree with Brenda. Some of the people I know that are closest to God, have virtually nobody else in their lives. I can say from experience, I've never been closer to God than since my wife divorced me. I guess what you get out of any relationship is relative to what you put into it.

        • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

          @ Tim

          It's pretty tough for a real flesh and blood and emotionally complex and feeling person to compete with an perfect and idealized idol.

          Perhaps the reason why these 'holes' are filled with our imaginings is because we are in control of that interpreted yet personal mental construct. When we place more importance on that construct than we do real people with blemishes and all, is it any wonder that it becomes the most important 'relationship' we have? Of course it's not a real relationship in the non trivial sense of two people interacting and building an evolving complex relationship with intense yet fluctuating emotional ties. It remind of widows and widowers who often alter the real relationship they had with their dead spouses into idealized versions of the most astounding relationships unknown to the rest of us mere mortals.

          • Tim

            Good morning, tildeb. You raise some good points. I'd say that you have as much surety that God is my personally interpreted mental construct as I have that He is an eternally existent being of ultimate truth. However, it would seems that our surety, in both cases, is subjective for the same reason. Neither of us can base our surety on any empirical evidence. You can rightfully say that the empirical evidence supports the notion that God does not physically exist in this world. But the Bible, Christ or any of His adherents don't claim that He does. God is eternally existent. Eternity exists outside of the corporeal plane of our cosmology. But of course I believe they do intersect on a spiritual plane.

            When I place my "construct", as it were, before all else, I haven't discounted importance on my corporeal relationships. It's hard to describe to someone who seems to be a non-believer. As close as I could come is the worn out "apples to oranges" idiom. But not in the traditional sense. Because of the amazing out-of-this-world quality of my apples, my oranges inexplicably take on a dimension of color, flavor and richness that is remarkable as well. IOW, because of my devotion to this personally interpreted mental construct, my corporeal relationships have greater meaning, deeper connection, and far greater commitment…at least as it lies with me. If you believe that my putting God first diminishes the potential or quality of my temporal relationships, that would be a subjective judgment modified by your own bias.

            I do understand where you are coming from, tildeb. I've been there before.

          • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

            @ Tim

            Your first paragraph is a marvel to behold.

            When you use the term 'surety' you are suggesting that there is a degree of confidence and when you suggest that your surety and my surety are equal in that no empirical evidence informs either, you are making a thinking error. This is an intellectual sleight of hand by you to paint your epistemology as the same as mine when it is no such thing.

            My surety is of the kind that there is no possible way you can draw the conclusions you do because there is no way for you to 'know' anything whatsoever about some thing, some agency, that does not exist in nature, the kind of agency that leaves no empirical evidence. Now you assure me that it does exist but because it exists only in a place you call 'eternity' that you say exists 'outside' of our corporeal plane of our cosmology, we cannot gain empirical evidence of it. We cannot gain evidence of it, Tim, because we cannot know of it, so I go one step further in my epistemology and insist that you cannot gain any evidence whatsoever from such a hypothetical place. In other words, your explanation is not knowable even if it is absolutely true. You simply have no means at your disposal to know of such an agent who exists only in such a place. Therefore, your belief in the veracity of this explanation can only be a mental construct only and any descriptive assignations (a being of ultimate truth no less!) of its nature and role are purely imaginary at best. Unless you have evidence to the contrary…

            Your point of equal surety is like saying that believing that mushrooms are intergalactic spies and not believing mushrooms are intergalactic spies are equivalent if there is no evidence for the conjecture. To compound the error by insisting that we find evidence about the perfect nature of interstellar fungi only on the plane of existence where spirituality intersects with belief is just a kind of theological deepity that means nothing. It's not your 'apples' that are out of this world, Tim; it is your rational epistemology you have discarded to make room for your beliefs.

    • http://practicinghuman.wordpress.com practicinghuman

      I would contend that people cannot be celibate without a community to support them fully. Additionally, this support cannot be rooted in fear [ie if you screw up and we see you with a same-gender special friend, then you're going to face consequences from this community] but needs to be rooted in real, authentic community [ie you're totally welcome to dinner at our house on a weekly basis. We want to spend time with you. We want you to know our family. We would love you to consider yourself to be a part of our family as we get to know each other better]. Too often Christians stop at the "Just pray" when dealing with the loneliness and isolation that the feeds on the fear.

      No person should be expected to "just be spiritual" around questions of authentic intimacy and human connection.

    • Matthew Tweedell

      @Brenda, how exactly does God do that? Doesn't a spirit necessitate the existence of the associated corporal substance in and among and through which it dwells? Perhaps it could be that if one just focuses on God enough, he or she simply ignores, but does not actually remove, such voids?

      • Tim

        Maybe you’re over thinking it.

        I only have to look back at what I was stuffing into that void before I encountered Christ. Relationships, drugs, porn, crime, even dabbled in witchcraft. None of it satisfied. All of the stuff that is corporeal will either fail us or pass away. Even if it doesn’t, we need more and more of it to “do the trick”. I came to the conclusion that everything has it’s limit….shelf-life…the point at which it just no longer supplies the thrill. In 30 years of walking with Jesus, I’m just getting my legs.

        • Matthew Tweedell

          Of course, because such a void is spiritual. None of that could have been what would fill a void of love, for love never fails. But don't think that people, being as they are in material bodies, cannot at the same time truly be in love.

        • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

          Tim writes All of the stuff that is corporeal will either fail us or pass away.

          That reminds me of the little blurb at the beginning of the book Shike that goes something like:

          "Nothing lasts forever, nothing remains unchanged. Therefore, one must find happiness in nothing at all."

          I thought at the time (I think I was about 14) that was pretty profound.

          In my book, to turn away from those things and people that undergo this necessary change is to turn away from life itself and intentionally refuse to follow the path of compassion that teaches us how to live well and live wisely.

        • Mindy

          Tim, I had that giant hole in my life at one point, too – the one I filled with all the wares of addiction, all that you list (minus the witchcraft). I was able to fill it, ultimately, by figuring out who I really am, what really matters to me, and seeking that. I found love, I lost it. I found unconditional love with my children. I rebuilt relationships with family, I tested new waters for myself – by writing, by returning to school, by volunteering, by working harder to BE in the present. I am, by any account, still a work in progress. I am not in love with anyone, but I love so many – friends, family. Some days, I still have to work on loving myself, and I know that until I can do that fully, I won't succeed in a relationship. But I work on it, and the days I do things that matter to others, that help others, that touch others, those are the day I feel content.

          I don't believe that religion would do anything for me that my relationships – the ones I have to work at – don't do. Just my personal take on it, but conquering personal demons doesn't always require religion. My spirituality happens outside the confines of anyone's rigid rules, but it is no less real, and no less meaningful, than your relationship with Christ.

          I am not discounting what you have – I'm just sharing another perspective.

          • Tim

            Thanks for your thoughts Mindy. Our personal take does "take us". I agree that the greatest sin (or in your vernacular, harm) we visit on ourselves is to not love ourself. Some might such philosophy is counter to a spiritual faith that vaunts self-sacrifice as the highest paragon of virtue. But…if we believe the lie that we aren't worthy of love, we call God a liar. Obviously you wouldn't see it that way, but I would still like you to consider the spiritual possibilities that while we rejected God or the notion of God, He loves us nonetheless. That is what won me over at 27. But I'm repeating myself. Blah blah blah.

            Have a great Sunday and give your beautiful daughters a hug for me.

  • http://xkot.livejournal.com/586080.html Scott Erickson

    Thank you for this article. After reading it, I felt compelled to share my experience with the subject of trying to deny myself a life of love. http://xkot.livejournal.com/586080.html

  • BlueSky

    1 Corinthians 6:9-10 – "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

    Romans 1:26-27 – "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion."

    C'mon people, it's stupidity (or rather denial) to say that homosexuality isn't a sin. That being said, it is just one sin of many.

    • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric Booth

      As does 1 Corinthians 6:11.

      • Jill

        Exactly!!! I don't judge homosexuals because I am not any "better"! I was definitely a fornicator and an idolator…but I am forgiven. The point is…homosexuality is a sin, but it is unfairly demonized as the worst of the worst. Really, all sin is the same, and we are all sinners in one way or another, saved only by grace and not our own merit.

        • Mindy

          Jill, how can it be a sin? It is not a choice, it is simply a state of being.

          Is it a sin to be born with one green eye and one brown eye? Is it a sin to be born any other kind of physiological "difference?"

          How, in this day and age, can you still say that??? The Bible has been translated many different ways. I don't believe for one moment that it is not a gray area. It is absolutely a gray area, even for a rigid Biblical scholar, unless you refuse to accept that translations vary.

    • Mindy

      BlueSky, you are full of thine own waste.

      To quote a favorite movie line: You are not only wrong, you are wrong at the top of your voice.

      I am neither stupid nor in any kind of denial, and I can recognize a "sin" when I see one.

    • Matthew Tweedell

      Besides the very valid points others have already made, even if we read these verses by themselves & as they have been translated in these particular expression in modern English, what if one is not an "offender" against anybody and has his/her natural relations set for those of the same gender (the going against of which is, yes, perverted)?

    • BlueSky

      Matthew Tweedell: You pose an excellent question and one I have struggled with for years. What you are really asking is, "Why did God create us to sin?" Or put another way, "Why would God condemn us for something we can't help but do?" We all have a desire to sin in some way or another (not just homosexuality) and it seems unfair for God to punish us for just doing what is natural for us to do. And I don't have an answer to why God has either created or allowed sin to be a part of life. But God does provide us with this … "He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.

      As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us."

      • Matthew Tweedell

        That's not what I'm asking, since man, not God, created sin, and there’s nothing we do that we couldn't help but do.

        Sin consists in the perversion of one's own nature. Just as we get angry with someone only when they act not according to the nature we've projected upon them, so it is with God: when one is acting consistently with the God-given nature of their being, he/she would not be sinning but doing the will of God. But to discover who God made us to be, we have to understand properly how we are as a part of a much greater whole, and we must learn our place in it. So we must explore the world around us as well as the intricacies of our own soul until at some point we can, in some small way, break through the barrier of ego—of self—that we've constructed between the two. It is thus that we come to know our true nature.

        • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

          @MT

          Your point raises the question: how can we know the difference between the nature god instilled in us and our own nature?

          The answer must necessarily define what is meant by 'nature' so as to establish the boundary between the two you say we possess. I don't think you have means at your disposal to successfully do this.

          If you can't do this, then you can't 'know' what you say we need to know to know our true nature. So to assert that man – not god – created sin is an empty assertion based only on your say-so, as is your assertion that one's nature or the part god instilled can be 'perverted' in order to define what sin is, as is your assertion without having any means at your disposal to know whether one is following the god-given nature part or one's own, as is your assertion that we can learn "properly" what portion of the whole is our place, as is your assertion that we have some means to determine what defines "properly", as is your assertion that we can figure out how to break through our 'ego' that we have supposedly constructed without in some way infringing on the part given to us by god. Assuming for the moment we successfully negotiate all of this highly dubious path you have set out before us, by what means can we verify that we have, in fact, come to know our 'true' nature?

          You like to write arguments like this, MT, but fail to appreciate just how wobbly your starting point is and how it is so often unknowable unless one simply assumes it to be true. Your 'answers' are no such thing: they are assertions without any means to verify that they are probably true, probably accurate, probably correct.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Thank you, ~b.

            Besides all your assumptions and assertions without any means of verification, there are a few that I need to correct as they are verifiably false:

            Nowhere did I assert any difference between “the nature god instilled in us and our own nature”. In fact, I identified our own true nature with that which the Father has dictated that we have.

            The boundary of which I spoke is between that which is within us and that which is all around us.

            It is not so that the assertion that man, not God, created sin is empty. But of course, you don't believe in God, so of course you would have to agree that sin is something caused by the presence of man, and not God. If you did know God, however, you could know that He didn't cause anyone to sin, neither did He Himself ever sin.

            Lastly, I was not giving answer to any questions there.

        • Matthew Tweedell

          (I would like to point out that where I said, "…angry with someone…," this actually applies equally to things as well as people.)

    • DR

      Thanks for clearing that up!

    • http://practicinghuman.wordpress.com practicinghuman

      You know, Romans 2 definitely helps to put things in context.

    • Liz

      http://www.soulforce.org/article/homosexuality-bible-gay-christian

      Read the fifth passage, about halfway down the page. It infuriates me when people think that the English translation of the Bible is the end-all-be-all of what was actually said. The only way to know what was originally written is to read it in the originally language it was written in, or to consult someone who is fluent in that language about context and definitions.

      Actually, read the whole page. You probably should, anyway.

    • myfanwe

      @Bluesky starting any conversation with 1 Cor 6:9-10 without any preamble… in fact starting any conversation with ANY scripture without preamble is rude, and the quickest way I know of to lose an audience.

      Read the gospels and the book of Acts and see how Jesus and his Apostles started conversations. You might learn something.

      eg: "I perceive that in all things you are very religious…" (Paul speaking to the people of Athens)

      "Let down your bucket and give me a drink." (Jesus to the woman at the well)

      "Where are your accusers?" (Jesus to the woman taken in adultery)

      "What would you have me do for you?" (Jesus to the lepers)

      You know it was never from a bible bashing scripture howling abusive place that they came, but from a perspective that they were talking to human beings who don't deserve to be brow beaten.

      Just saying…

  • http://practicinghuman.wordpress.com practicinghuman

    Celibate gay Christians and straight Christians who think all gays must be celibate might be very encouraged by a new book called "Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality" by Wesley Hill. Around my other reading experiences, it truly is a one-of-a-kind book in the gay Christian genre.

    • frank

      I'm sure it's about as life affirming as brain cancer.

      • DR

        Listen, try opening your mind up a little bit. There are a lot of people who live celibate lives for whatever reason. This relentless aggressive hostility against those who are *choosing* to do so is just as abusive as those who would try to force someone into celibacy via theology.

        Stop demanding that everyone view sex and intimacy by your own terms.

      • http://practicinghuman.wordpress.com practicinghuman

        It's a refreshingly honest look by someone who has decided to count the cost and to make that cost known in some rather public ways. On top of that, it's a short volume. The book is well-written from a reading standpoint and goes beyond a simple formulation of "Thou shalt not have sex" into some rather candid reflections about what life actually looks like. Additionally, the book places an impressive burden of responsibility on straight Christians that should lead a reader to ask the question, "Could I possibly require this way of live of every gay and lesbian person?"

  • Basil

    Thank you John for this post. We love you!!

  • Jill

    Congrats on your feature! Very cool. I have to say: I really enjoy your blogs; they're very thought-provoking. Very provocative, in general. I have wrestled with this myself, and I understand your position. I've thought to myself many times… that telling someone to resist homosexuality and be celibate really does come off as though they're being told to live a life devoid of romantic love.

    I can't call myself a Christian and make excuses, though, because this subject is hard to digest; God's Word is clear: homosexuality is a sin. It is not up for debate; it is not "gray area;" it is not subjective. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 gives a list of people who participate in lifestyles of specific types of sin who will not inherit the kingdom of God: "Do not be deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetuous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God." Again, I don't believe this is talking about people who struggle with homosexual feelings but choose to live for Jesus and deny those feelings. I believe this verse applies to people who deliberately choose to carve God's opinion about homosexuality OUT so that they can live how they want to.

    The one verse that comes to mind, is James 3:16, which says: "For where there is jealous and selfish ambition, there is disorder and every evil thing." I really believe that God did not make people gay; it is a choice. I have a very close girl friend who is a lesbian, and every now and then, she mentions thinking about dating men. She's not bi; she doesn't describe herself as bi, but as a lesbian. Yet, she says things that clearly show she CHOOSES to be with women because she's repulsed by men. My point is this: She is rationalizing what God calls "sin," because she wants to. Homosexuality is out of God's order for mankind, and God says it is "evil."

    Back to the original point that it seems as though a gay person is being told to live a life devoid of romantic love. I relate this to my days of smoking pot after I divorced. I liked it; it calmed me, and took me away from the stresses of life. There's really nothing black-and-white in the Bible against pot, but the verses most people throw out are those verses with the Greek word "pharmakeia," from which we get our word "pharmacy." Personally, I still believe that pot is not really included in that. I prayed about whether it was okay or not for a couple of weeks, and the answer God gave me was "Be filled with My Spirit," and also, "Be zealous and repent." This may not be everyone's case, but for me, pot had taken God's place in my life as my #1 Comforter. God wanted His rightful place back. Likewise, in the case of a gay person, if they decided to follow Jesus 100% (and that means no dissecting God's Word to make it more palatable), then they'd have a choice to make: do I trust God to fill me with the love and affection I crave and make me whole again, so that I can love someone of the opposite sex as He intended? Or do I trust God to give me the peace, comfort, and strength I'll need to lead a celibate life?

    I don't think there is a "one-size-fits-all" explanation for homosexuality. I DO believe that it is a sinful desire that is carried out. And I whole-heartedly believe God's Word. Romans 1:18 says that the "wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, WHO SUPPRESS THE TRUTH IN UNRIGHTEOUSNESS." People who choose to believe contrary to God's Word are suppressing the truth because they simply don't like it.

    • ManimalX

      Ruh roh Raggy! Let the Jill bashing begin :(

      • ManimalX

        (P.S. Jill, just in case my comment seems weird, I only mean that you broke the Cardinal Rule of the Kingdom of Shore: thou shalt not calleth homosexuality sin, and thou shalt not useth the Bible to doeth so.)

        Hope you brought your body armor and fire extinguishers!

        • Jill

          I respect his right to disbelieve it is a sin. That's his prerogative. I don't agree, and he (like many others) won't agree with me. That's alright… someone said it best (maybe it was you): "clarity and understanding over agreement." I'm not looking for people to agree with me. I just wanted to give my perspective…

        • DR

          Oh for God's sake, keep your victimization in check. It's really pathetic for a grown man, you lead with it so often that I'm getting embarrassed. Stop rallying your "You're in for it now" bullshit, I'm embarrassed for you. This is a conversation for adults who are ardently countering peoples' positions. That anger is on the table on both sides is fine. Please stop derailing the conversation with this kind of thing.

      • Jill

        Sigh. I'm not trying to change anyone's perspective…this is just what I believe to be the truth…just the same as others believe their way to be the truth. Like I said, one of my closest girl friends is a lesbian, and we never even talk about my views on it. The one or two times I've said something has been to gently say that the Bible calls it sin, and I wouldn't be a Christian if I disagreed with God's Word. But, I love her, and I told her so…I'm no better than she is, and I don't judge her. My areas of sin are different, and I'm not saved because I'm "better," but because I've chosen to follow Jesus. I hope nobody takes major offense to my post. Everyone, please take me with a grain of salt! Sometimes, I come off as tactless, and I don't mean to! I'm sorry in advance if I hurt anyone's feelings!

        • Mindy

          Oh, trust me, Jill, the skins here are thicker than that. But hurt people? You're darned right you have. If you really said that to your lesbian friend – wow. Yeah, you hurt her.

        • DR

          Jill,

          With all due respect, *your* feelings are not important to this topic. Nor are mine, frankly. Can we all stop talking about our feelings on such an important issue that is actually causing gay kids to kill themselves?

          The only feelings that I care about – that we all should care about – are the feelings that your particular mindset (which represents the historical Christian mindset) is impacting to the point of suicide. Kids who are gay in Christian homes get booted *out* of their homes on a regular mindset because of this "love the sinner, hate the sin" concept. Because it can't be lived out. They just get hated. And then they are either homeless or living with people who decidedly, do not have their best interests at heart.

          I'm sure you're a lovely person. And a long time ago, I held these same exact beliefs. And you need to take a hard, honest look at what your particular mindset is doing to the gay population. You need to take a look at that through the filter of gay people themselves, you need to do some reading and have some conversation with people who are gay, who are working with gay kids and have no personal investment in you because your friends who are gay are going to feel too uncomfortable to tell you the truth.

          You need to really understand how your mindset is contributing in many ways, to the death of kids who are killing themselves (which I'm sure is horrifying to you, it is to most wonderful people who love Jesus and just don't realize it). You also need to understand how it's contributing to so many gay and lesbian women turning away from the love and redemption of Christ, a relationship they deserve to enjoy.

          You need to really learn, and then weigh all of that out compared to remaining right and safe within this particular belief system. One that has held our – my – church hostage for a number of years, and now a lot of us, and we're in the millions, Jill – are fighting against and now taking back.

          • DR

            (And one more thing Jill, I offer that to you as someone who has been exactly where you are. I don't want to dismiss your feelings, nor your intent. I know you're just sharing and being honest which needs to happen!

            But please understand where a lot of us are coming from here, that might explain some of the heat. We've dealt with a lot of the gay community that's been absolutely ravaged by this mindset. I've dealt with dozens of gay kids who've been kicked out of their Christian homes, and that was just a very small sliver of time in a fairly small city. So the anger I feel is more of a fear and a grief for this population, and a bit of a despair as to why christians are so fixated on making sure we all still believe that being gay is a sin when kids are dying. So know that is where a lot of this passion is rooted within. And it's not just an unfortunate set of incidents, nor is it isolated. There is a pattern of this kind of thing in our country that is substantial.

            So as you offer what you believe just to connect with others and to share your perspective? (and again I'm glad you do). You also sign your name to the *impact* that I've just outlined though it goes without saying that most reasonable christians would not have that intent.

            (Though in the latest "All faggots must die" comment left on a very prolific blog, I have to qualify that by saying "most" instead of "all".)

          • Jill

            Hi, DR! Thank you for sharing and writing to me! I can certainly understand your position. I DO think it's awful that parents of gay children would kick them out of their homes. I don't think that is the answer. I do believe it is a sin, but that's not how sin is dealt with. I think that as children get older, they make their own decisions, and the only real, loving thing a parent of a gay teen can do is pray for them. Kicking them out is not the answer. I don't know what it's like to have be a parent to a gay teen, and I don't know how I would respond. It's got to be a difficult adjustment for a parent. My gay friend's parents are the sweetest people in the world, and her mom is a Christian, and is always very loving and prayerful for Angie. Personally, I think her mom is doing the exact right thing. What else can you do, but love your child and pray for them? Angie and I have great conversations about love, relationships, and life in general. She's a beautiful person. I don't judge her worse than others because I, myself, was formerly one of those mentioned in the 1 Corinthians chapter that I outlined. With all due respect, I must say that I do slightly take offense to your assertion that I am damaging gay people with my attitude/mindset toward homosexuality. it is possible to have beliefs and not wield them hurtfully. My friend loves me and calls me to talk about her problems and stuff. She calls me to get together and hang out when she's in town. She comes over for dinner. We go to the park with my kids, so they can play and we can talk. I don't think she would do those things if I was awful to her, pressing her at every turn to "give her desires to Jesus." I really do care about her, and she knows that. How could I judge her, when I was once under the same wrath as a sinner in different ways? I do pray for her, because that is really the only thing I can do, aside from show her genuine love and take an interest in her. I can't do the Holy Spirit's work and convict her of what the Bible says to be sin. She doesn't believe in the God of the Holy Bible, and has made it clear that she doesn't believe God has a problem with people being gay. It's BECAUSE she doesn't believe in the God of the Bible that I have nothing to argue with. We have different beliefs; it's simple.

            I knew my position would come under fire as being hateful and intolerant, and that's okay. I didn't write the Bible; I just believe everything it says, no matter how unpopular/unpalatable it is.

          • DR

            Sigh.

          • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

            That sigh of yours sounded suspiciously like the one you used on Mel/Jenny. Hmm.

          • DR

            Jill With all due respect, I'm not surprised that you ended that entire thing with how others see you instead of

            offering a practical solution for what you are going to do about re people in your tent who use your beliefs about gay people to do exactly what you find so horrifying.

            Talk is cheap in this instance. No one cares what any of us as Christians have to say. If you really think it is shameful and horrible, then get involved and prevent it. Or you could just focus on making sure everyone knows that you believe gay people are evil. I really don't care either way at this point, but your hooch says a lot more about your true measure of concern.

          • DR

            Your "hooch"? LOL touchscreen. I meant "choice".

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Toooo funny (about "hooch")!

            LMAO!

          • jes

            "I knew my position would come under fire as being hateful and intolerant, and that’s okay. I didn’t write the Bible; I just believe everything it says, no matter how unpopular/unpalatable it is."

            I find myself trying not to choke whenever someone actually claims with apparent sincerity to believe and/or take literally every word the Bible says. Do you truly? Do you refuse to eat cheeseburgers and cut your hair? Do you honestly support the selling of children into slavery if you can't arrange a marriage for them? Do you go in public with your face uncovered? Unless you can honestly say that you follow every single rule put forth in the book, you have no ground to stand on while accusing others of cutting out the unpalatable portions.

            I know that I lack the words or emotional lever to change your stance; I've tried before with other people. The best I can hope for is that you will think about this. The reason that I no longer attend church is that I can't stomach the company of people like you. I cannot see myself willingly joining a community in which I cannot actually be accepted for who and what I am. You mouth tolerance, but I don't want to be tolerated like some unimportant annoyance.

            I don't know you personally. From what you say, you sound sincere, but until you shake yourself out of the mental trap you seem to be lodge in, you will not be helping God reach queers. You will only be adding to their alienation.

          • DR

            Dear jes,

            As a Christian, you need to know how sorry I am for this. I take responsibility as a Christian who doesn't believe this way, yet hasn't done enough to shut it down so you'd not feel alienated. So gay kids don't kill themselves as a result of this theology, so they don't get kicked out of their homes or bullied/threatened at school as a result of this being part of the message.

            We should be the *first* ones to be telling gay kids that "It gets better", that there is hope and love for the taking right now because we claim that we have this relationship with a loving God who loves unconditionally. But instead, we've developed this theology that gets communicated in a massive way and then we blame you for not getting onboard with it. And then people like me just want to point my finger at the "bad" christians and think that's enough.

            I'm sorry. These people are in my tent and they are my responsibility, not yours. I'm sorry I've not done more to be louder than they are. I've been afraid and lazy and probably a number of different things that contribute to this. I won't be anymore.

          • jes

            Ah, DR, I don't blame you–you and several other folks on this site are doing a lot to restore my opinion of humanity, actually. And there were a lot of things leading to my leaving church… the attitude towards sexuality and sex in general was only part of it. Such things that are not in the range of this post's topic, like the wonderful lectures on how women didn't need an education because their husband should take care of them.

            Which doesn't mean I don't believe there's a God. There's a lovely button that I have somewhere, which says "I like God just fine, it's his fan club I can't take."

          • ManimalX

            @ Jill:

            You wrote, "it is possible to have beliefs and not wield them hurtfully."

            That is well stated and brilliant. Unfortunately, some people just can NOT wrap their minds around such a simple truth, and can't STAND it when others don't do things their way.

            You and I share very similar opinions on this issue, and we also both have healthy, flourishing relationships with gay folks. That is what has made me literally laugh out loud several times this past week at many of the absurd "you are personally responsible for killing gay teens!" accusations. That kind of outraged accusation is certainly valid in some cases. But, as I wrote before, when the accusation is repeatedly leveled at people to whom it doesn't apply, it loses its meaning and relevance.

            Unfortunately, the way many around here are foolishly wielding the "you kill gay teens" sword may in fact help contribute to the very thing they hate. By "crying wolf" when there is no wolf, they are very likely to chase away people who would otherwise be sympathetic to their essentially valid message.

            Christians who think homosexuality is sinful are able to have healthy, loving, compassionate relationships with gay people. Homosexuals who think homosexuality is not a sin are able to have healthy, loving, compassionate relationships with people who disagree.

            The naysayers can rail against that all they want, but their fiercest arguments cannot change reality.

          • DR

            Question: do you sit there and go on and on about the variety of "wet holes" you dip your willies into while you're bonding with the gays and their significant others? Do you have dinner with actual gay couples? Do you pray with them? Do you ask them to pray for you?

            We both know all three of those answers.

          • DR

            Question: do you sit there and go on and on about the variety of "wet holes" you dip your willies into while you're bonding with the gays and their significant others? Do you have dinner with actual gay couples? Do you pray with them? Do you ask them to pray for you?

            We both know all four of those answers.

          • ManimalX

            DR: "Question: do you sit there and go on and on about the variety of “wet holes” you dip your willies into while you’re bonding with the gays and their significant others? Do you have dinner with actual gay couples? Do you pray with them? Do you ask them to pray for you?

            We both know all four of those answers."

            1) Sometimes, but not in the way you are trying to imply.

            2) Yes, often.

            3) If I feel led to and if they want me to.

            4) Most of them aren't Christians, so why would I ask them to pray for me?

            Since you already knew my answers, can you tell me if I got them right?

          • DR

            Dear Manimal,

            I think you are full of sh!t and the closest thing you get to a gay man or woman is watching episodes of Will & Grace. And it looks like freefox (or whatever the moniker) figured that out all on his own.

            But you are a Mac guy, so I'm going to give you some credit for that.

            With love and affection for my favorite luddite on the blog,

            DR

          • ManimalX

            Dear DR,

            If my claims about my gay friends are false and therefore make me full of shit, then your claims about working with gay teens and being in the "suicidal gay teen" trenches are also false and you are equally full of shit… with two exceptions:

            1) I actually believe your claims based off of nothing other than your anonymous word,

            and

            2) I am probably full of more shit than you, because I probably weigh about 3x or 4x more than you do.

            I also have a 3 and a 4, if you care to listen ;)

            3) I not only believe your claims about working with gay kids/teens, I also acknowledge that it might break your heart more than mine because even though I have functional, healthy relationships with people who identify as homosexual, I don't know any gay folks who have killed themselves. That's got to be a huge burden to you, and one which I don't share with you in every aspect.

            I obviously don't recant my claims, but I do admit to seeing through some of your more hostile statements, and to being made more sensitive to the issue of gay teen suicide by your passionate pleas.

            4) I don't mind if you type out "s-h-i-t" instead of "s-h-!-t."

            Hell, you could even call feces "willy" and I wouldn't give a willy ;)

            Plus, you are a Mac gal, so I'm going to give you credit for that.

          • DR

            Manimal, here’s the real point. I dot care I you believe me or not, I just don’t. Your theology on homosexuality is hurting a lot of people, I’ve seen it firsthand and there is evidence presented directly to you- by Fay men and women here- that confirm it. So all of this talk about your “gay friends” is just to make you look like you care about gay people. It’s a “look over there” tactic that a lot of fundamentalist Christians use as they are facing the impact of their theology and feel really defensive about it.

            So have gay friends or don’t, I don’t care. Believe whatyou want about me. I don’t care. All I care about it is preventing more kids from dying, more gay men and women feeling like they don’t have access to Jesus as a result of your theology and subsequent choices in letting them know they just don’t quite measure up if they love someone you don’t approve of them loving.

            You don’t corner the market on what God thinks about this . Your side is causing grave harm. You can keep talking about it or you can go do somerhing about it, you can educate yourself or not. In a phrase, out your money where your mouth is. True compassion is determined by behavior. Not intent.

          • wduk

            "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord." Then people want to ask why gays are killing themselves or getting killed!

          • DR

            So you are suggesting that it is the fault of a gay child who is 12 and kills himself as a result of his father who is a pastor kicking him out of he house for being a "faggot". Right then.

            Dear conservative Christians,

            Wake up. I am sick to death for cleaning up YOUR MESS. Take some responsibility for your own ignorance and that of your fellow brothers and sisters like this one, at minimum. The entire world is watching you as you either remain silent in the face of this commenter. When you do nothing except say "Gosh it is so horrible that these kids are being hurt, sin just shouldn't be dealt with in this manner!" and then you do NOTHING? Your actions speak so much louder than your words.

            Jesus said, some will call me "Lord, Lord! But I will say I never knew you.". You are so focused on that population being other people, but I wonder- have you ever considered that He is actually referring to you?

          • Mindy

            What DR said. I stopped myself from responding directly to this vague lifeform calling itself wduk and presenting itself as Christian, because John's blog deserves better than the venom I'd have spewed.

            And since I'm not a Christian anyway, it would no doubt simply dismiss me as an unsaved heathen not worthy of consideration.

            But I echo DR here – CHRISTIANS????? This is the hateful drek that YOU must combat in your ranks.

            YOU must start speaking out, loudly and forcefully, against this kind of despicable sentiment. I am, literally, shaking with anger at reading those words. PLEASE, I implore all of you who are reasonable and compassionate and read your Bibles through the filter of all the God-given love, intelligence and common sense you possess, to take your religion back from this kind of hate-filled, hard-hearted and dangerous whackjob.

          • DR

            Dear Jill,

            Are you reading this? Why aren't *you* responding to this? That's all I'm asking. I'm asking you to get in the game, here. Stop with the 30,000 feet Bible talk. People are dying. They are getting *pushed* out of your church.

            Solve. The. Problem.

          • Jill

            DR- I agree that there needs to be a ministry to gay teens, but short of changing biblical theology to make homosexuality okay, what is your proposal? I agree that something needs to be done, but I am not going to compromise God's Word to do that. To truly love someone is to tell them the truth. If a person is not open to Jesus and the gospel, the most I can do is be there for them, and love them…giving them love that they are not getting at home. Invite them over on holidays, help them with whatever they need, be a good lsitening ear…I honesstly don't know what else to do but that. If a person struggling with this is claiming to believe in the God of the Bible, there DOES need to be a ministry to them, but it needs to be true to God's Word.

          • DR

            Jill, why are you asking me? Why don't *you* go figure out what needs to be done? I'm tired of doing all of the heavy lifting for Christians who want to express compassion for gay kids, but don't take responsibility for the impact their theology has. And if you think I'm picking on you, I guess you can continue to think that. This is nothing personal, I don't know you. I don't care about your feelings getting hurt or not hurt, this is not about you.

            This is all very simple. if your priority is ensuring that God's Word not be compromised, then go to the gay community, discover the impact your theology is having – go do the homework yourself. Put your money, your time and your effort where your compassionate words of concern are and go create the ministry yourself. You're creating the problem with your theology. If the theology is indeed, accurate – if it's inspired by God – then given His love for the vulnerable, He will provide the insight and the creativity through the Holy Spirit for you to continue on preaching your mindset and saving gay kids who kill themselves as result of hearing it at the same time.

            As for me, I am entirely invested in groups that are already helping this population through call centers, YouTube campaigns and more.

            If you really care about this? Stop asking people like me to answer your questions. The only word to describe that is lazy, Jill. Kids are dying. You're on the sidelines as they march to their suicides, holding up Biblical verses. The time for action is now. Go find out what your part of the solution is.

          • jes

            How do you think God's going to feel about those folk who go gay-killing? Pretty sure that fall under both "Judge not, lest ye be judged yourself," and "Thou shalt not commit murder."

          • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

            Don't most of us develop a slightly more sophisticated morality than the assumption of righteousness because some authority is based on rules… usually before we turn ten years of age? Why is it that some religious folk have trouble with the very notion?

          • ManimalX

            While I won't mock and ridicule wduk, I WILL take up DR's challenge, though maybe not EXACTLY as she desires.

            wduk: you are committing Scripture abuse here. Yes, the wage of sin is death. But, you are doing just as much "Scripture Twisting" (everyone read Sire's book, please) as those who claim sexual immorality isn't sin.

            While I would (and do) argue that Scripture describes acts of homosexuality as sin, there is NOTHING in Scripture to indicate that it should be elevated to some sort of "higher level" of sin than any other sin.

            So, if we "equalize" the playing field of sin, we should see that sexual immorality is no "better" or "worse" than any other sin.

            That causes a problem for your position (that gay teens kill themselves because "the wages of sin is death"). It causes a problem because we see a much higher rate of suicide among homosexuals than we do among any other "class" of sinner. That raises a red flag for a lot of folks, including me. To me, it seems to indicate that we (and by "we," I mean "Western Christianity" in general) put a much higher priority on this particular sin than any other.

            We don't see an elevated suicide rate amongst murderers. We don't see an elevated suicide rate amongst liars. We don't see an elevated suicide rate amongst idolaters. We don't see an elevated suicide rate amongst heterosexual adulterers. We don't see an elevated suicide rate amongst thieves.

            Do you see a pattern here?

            Something has gone wrong. Western Christianity has become something unbiblical; Western Christianity has become something that disproportionately condemns one sin above another.

            To those who believe that homosexuality does not equal sin, I UNDERSTAND. I really do. This is where you claim that the disproportionate amount of attention paid to homosexuality somehow means that it is not "sin."

            But… (I like big BUTs, and I cannot lie), bottom line (for me and my understanding of Scripture), is that we are doing too much condemnation and not enough loving regarding this specific "sin" issue.

          • Mindy

            My fingers are being forced to type this . . . but – well put, MX.

            The problem, for me, comes in how the "loving" works out with those Christians who hold this sin up so very high. Because too often, that "loving" seems to be taking action to change said gay sinners, rather than accept them, in all their sinful glory.

          • DR

            This is all great. Now go do somerhing about it. You are the one creating the problem. Go solve it.

    • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

      "Do not be deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetuous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God."

      So, really, having sex with someone your own gender is on the same level as not being able to change a tyre (effeminate), being a fanboy (idolator), sleeping around (fornicator), ambitious (covetuous), fibbing (swindlers), or – irony meter go sproing – calling people names (revilers).

      Does that mean everybody who calls us "faggot" ends up in hell with us together? Now, that really sucks.

      Lady, you live in a Captalist world. Hell, you live in the country that made capitalism the success story it is today. (I'm not going to say how I guessed you are American – Mindy would accuse me of being not nice.) Even if you seriously claim to not be covetous yourself, you must be aware that the wealth you enjoy simply by living there has been accumulated by greedy white men (who tended to be fornicators as well as thieves, drunkards, swindlers and most definitely idolized wealth) by slavery, exploitation, war, and wholesale destruction of entire cultures and ecosystems. Usually with the bible in hand.

      He who is without sin cast the first stone. And the devil can quote scripture with the best of them. Seriously, it is always the peeps who think they are the good guys that make big J weep…

      • Mindy

        I will not accuse you of anything. I love this comment. I hope you are heard.

        OK, well, I might accuse of something, eventually. But today, nope. Besides, it's my birthday today, so I got my snarkiness out of my system in MX's general direction, and now I am all sweetness and light. My daughters are accompanying me to a big Art Fair, around which we will wander and admire the lovely work of others. :)

        Happy day, all!

        • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

          Happy Birthday, and enjoy the Fair! :)

        • jes

          Happy birthday!

        • DR

          HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

        • Matthew Tweedell

          Happy birthday, Mindy!!! :D

          Hope you and the kids had a great day!

          • Mindy

            Thanks, guys – you're sweet! We had a lovely afternoon – walking and looking at some spectacular art, seeing lots of friends. Nice time. Back to reading!!

        • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric Booth

          Sorry I missed this. Glad your birthday was lovely!

          • Mindy

            thanks, Ric. Didn't mean to make this about me . . . sorry, John!

      • Jill

        By no means am I casting stones, Freefox. I am a sinner saved by GRACE ALONE, and not by my own merit! Believe me, I often think about the condition of my own heart, realizing how God absolutely HAD to do that radical thing called the Cross to save me from His judgment.

        Also, I would never say that I have never been covetous…being an American is almost synonymous with that, I agree. I'll also agree that I have fallen into the trap of being covetous when I was not walking with Him, but because I am following Jesus now, His grace has given me a spirit of peace and contentment, even though I don't have very much. I'm a single mom with two kids, so I don't have a ton of money to throw around. But, the main thing I'm learning mostly is thankfulness and trust in God. Thankful that I and my children are healthy, thankful that our house is not in foreclosure, thankful that we have food on our plates. Everyday is an emotional struggle (and financial one, too), but that's where I CHOOSE to trust that God's Word is absolutely true, and I can ALWAYS trust in Him to provide for me and my children. And for the past 3 years since my initial separation and divorce, He has not failed me or disappointed me in any way. He has been very faithful to me, though I have strayed far from Him at times.

        As for the devil quoting scripture: the devil twists it to suit his own evil purposes. Like when he was telling Jesus in Luke 4: "If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread." He was challenging God to affirm His identity. But, Jesus knew that He was who GOD said He was, and was unmoved. My scripture quoting was in context, not out of context. Whether you agree or disagree doesn't change what the Bible says. Like I said before: I didn't write the Bible. I didn't put all that about what sin is defined as in The Holy Book. I just choose to believe it. And in that, I recognize how sinful I am, as well, and that is why I need Jesus!

        For me, this is not about singling out gays. For me, this is about others who claim to be Christian changing the truth of God's Word because they don't like what it says. That's not my fault; I didn't tell God how to define Himself or what "Holiness parameters" to set. it just is what it is. Inasmuch as being gay is a sin, so are a lot of other things which i am also guilty of. I'm not judging gays. I'm just saying that I cannot agree and say it is not a sin when my God has explicitly stated that it is.

        • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

          @ Jill: Beware. Smugness is a form of pride. :)

          • Jill

            hahaha wow! that's a bit of a stretch to assume i am smug because i hold fast to my own beliefs. might the same be said of anyone who holds to his own belief?

          • DR

            Jill,

            You mentioned you are divorced. I'm sure that's been horribly devastating for you, not to mention your children who shatter as a result of divorce. Divorce is an epidemic in the Christian community, we enjoy an even higher rate of divorce than the secular community does (about 57% of christian marriages end in divorce compared to 54% of the US average).

            The Bible is quite clear on those who divorce committing adultery when and if they remarry. Given God's Word on the matter, will you remarry if you have the opportunity?

        • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

          What I meant to say before I got sidetracked by my sophomoric criticism of capitalism was actually that I thought being on the same sin-level as whimps, hedonists, fibbers, mudmouths, lushes, and gluttons isn't all that bad. I doubt there are many peeps on the planet who aren't one or more of the above. And of course I would never claim to be without sin.

          As for your claim that you believe EVERYTHING in the bible, I have a hard time believing you. Even if you go the (extremely dogdy) Leviticus doesn't apply to us followers of Jesus road, between the two different stories of creation and the two mutually exclusive lineages of Jesus, claiming to believe everything in the bible is a bit like claiming to understand non-Eucledian geometry. Read Lovecraft and know that your sanity is doomed if you walk that path. Lol. But seriously, you believe everything Paul says? "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection." Seriously? "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." Hey, I am a man. You are a woman. So, woman, do not disagree with me! Do not usurp my authority! Do not presume to teach me anything, but be silent!

          Come on. That's silly.

          (And you have to explain to me that Grace thingy. So, when you sin, you still are saved? Aren't I, too? So, as long as I accept Jesus as my Saviour, I can bugger who I want, right? I'm having an, uh, hard time wrapping my, uh, head around that.)

          • Jill

            Hi, freefox! I will respond to the other stuff later, but right now, I want to touch on the subject of grace:

            If a person accepts Christ, he has to accept ALL of Christ's teachings (which is the being gay is not God's original design for humankind). If a person truly believes and accepts that, and accepts that he is a sinner and believes Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for his sin (which is hell for ALL sinners, and not only gay people), and trusts that Jesus death on the cross was in and of itself ENOUGH of a payment to keep him out of hell…AND lives a life purposely following Jesus and DOING what He commands, then we say that person is saved. Saved people DO still sin, but they do not live lives of sin. Meaning that, in my former life, I was very promiscuous and under the penalty of death as a fornicator. But Jesus paid the price for me, so I wouldn't have to pay the price for it. I believe that and now live a life of celibacy until marriage. Do I still sin in different ways? Sure, but I am quick to recognize it and ask God for help…because I really can't live the life He wants me to without His divine strength. When I sin, I repent of it and make it right with those I've sinner against, and then set myself back on a path of right living before God. I know that when I do fail, there is grace for that. There is grace for all sinners, but grace is not to be used as a license to do whatever we want. If we believe that God's Word is true, we need to live that way, thus proving our faith in God by living it. For example, if a person believed that eating meat was awful for the body and produced an acidic internal environment, but continued to eat meat…that person probably doesn't really think it's unhealthy or he simply doesn't care about how what he's eating affects his body. But if he really DID believe eating meat was harmful to the body and created an acidic internal body environment that leads to disease and other less serious maladies, he would become a vegetarian or a vegan, thus living out what he believes.

            I have to run, but I'll write more later! :) Have a good evening!

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            Are you teaching, Jill? Are you trying to teach me about Grace?

            "But I suffer not a woman to teach" says the Good Book. How dare you?

        • Matthew Tweedell

          "For me, this is about others who claim to be Christian changing the truth of God’s Word because they don’t like what it says."

          Excuse me, Jill, but YOU are the one changing—perverting—the Truth in God's Word. First, you have somehow reinterpreted as references to homosexuality as you understand it, things written in a culture to which the whole concept of homosexual identity (or sexual orientation in general, or even individuality in which to establish such identity) is foreign. Second, you (or translators you wholly trust to do the impossible: to convey a text in the construct of another mentality yet precisely realizing fully identical implications) have clearly conflated certain things, allowing conclusions far broader than the words themselves could possibly support. Third, you take these words themselves as the actual Word of God, when they themselves clearly indicate that Christ Jesus is the Word; the text is but an icon made of Him, which clearly cannot capture the magnitude of His essence or give very precise definition to His features, or depth to His Person.

          • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric Booth

            Matthew Tweedell, this is very well stated. I've tried to say this and have failed. This captures the distinction between the original scriptures, today's bible, and the Word. thanks.

      • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric Booth

        @FreeFox, thanks for stating this: "So, really, having sex with someone your own gender is on the same level as not being able to change a tyre (effeminate), being a fanboy (idolator), sleeping around (fornicator), ambitious (covetuous), fibbing (swindlers), or – irony meter go sproing – calling people names (revilers)."

        So many ignore their own reflections too well.

  • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

    Uh, I got a question to, well, all of you, really. Why do peeps obsess so much about the queer thing? I mean, yeah, there is the religious argument for those who believe in the bible, but the bible forbids a lot of things. Eating shellfish for example. Where are the Christians picketing Lobster Restaurants? Or masturbation. When was the last time upright College Jocks taunted someone to death because he masturbated? Adultery used to get folks stoned to death. When it now happens in Islamic Countries we all point our fingers at them and keen over the barbarism.

    What is it about blokes snogging blokes and chicks snogging chicks that gets everybody's knickers in a twist?

    Queers like to call all homophobes self-loathing closet homosxuals, and in a couple of cases it seems to be a good call. But still, that only removed the problem for one step, doesn't it? Why do they loathe themselves so much that they have to hide and throw stones at others?

    There icky-factor? Peeps think of queers they think of anal sex and of poop and are grossed out. But where is the big Christian Coalition Against Str8 Anal Sex?

    I mean, seriously, all you good pro- and anti-gay folks, any ideas or theories? What gives?

    • DR

      More than likely people who are gay themselves are the loudest. And Christians need a very tight cage with which to live within in order to not have to deal with the world and live within our privilege. So a lot of us just take exactly what our pastors say about being gay and what the Bible has to say about it verbatim and then we look for information that supports is so we don't have to change. Because for a lot of Christians, our theology is what we wrap around ourselves to keep us safe, to validate our being, and to understand a world that in many cases, was scary and volatile from our childhoods. So it becomes our security blanket and anyone "outside" of it threatens to thin it or even remove it if they prove our theology is wrong.

      • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

        @DR. Thanks for the answer. It's been really on my mind. And in all the hubbub about same-sex-marriage and what did God say when to whom, nobody seems to have a clear idea why this is so important to those who "dip their willies in wet holes" (i.e. heterosexuals.)

        I ask, because a lot of the homophobia I have faced appears to be really deep seated. I don't know how familiar you are with its real face, but I have been both shocked and fascinated with the deep, profound, core-shaking bitterness and viciousness with which peeps react to my kind. That is why I keep bringing up such whimsical points like the biblical clam chowder proscription. If it were JUST God's word they are driven by, they should with the same firceness threaten to dip lobster eaters into boiling water. But of course they don't. It would be silly to actually get worked up about whether or not God minds what you put in your mouth. Only fruitcakes like Taliban and Chassidic Jews worry about such nonsense, right? And they are easily reconizable as fruitcakes by the silly headgear they each wear.

        So, why does it drive Christian Love-thy-Brother-Worshippers bonkers when I put "willie" in my mouth. When the protein supplement I take isn't shrimp but semen.

        A former Mormon friend of mine suggested it might have something to do with gender roles. (That was in the context of same-sex-marriage.) That they feel so threatened by a challenge to the customary male/female gender rules and regulations. It would accound why nerds are the group of youths second to queers to get the brunt of Jock hostility.

        Maybe as you say, it has something to do with clinging to the safety blanket of simple-minded faith and with feeling threatened that somebody might take that away from them. Maybe it is a threat to both their faith and their comfortable gender ride.

        Still, I find it hard to explain the torrent of radioactive excrement that seems to boil up in some peeps when they get confronted with faggotry.

        • Matthew Tweedell

          Before I had the opportunity to know people who was openly gay (that is, up until I was 15), gays seemed, well, queer to me. I don't think the notion of lesbians ever made me uncomfortable, but male homosexuality did.

          Gay was foreign to me—I just couldn't get it—and in the picture painted of it before me, it was confounding of what I had come to think I knew of males and females, masculinity and femininity.

          It was unknown, and humans are inclined naturally to fear the unknown, or at least be uncomfortable with it. And so I was, until I had the opportunity to get to know it better. And I could picture that aversion manifesting as hate, the active counterpart to fear, which is an antithetical attitude to what I should perhaps have been better taught as a Christian: love.

          I don't think I could ever actually do something extremely cruel to LGBT folk, and even to think such a thought is wicked, but there was a time when indeed I could have at least pictured it at least in my mind, because I simply could not relate to queers as human beings any more than I might the Taliban—not that the Taliban isn't pure evil or that gays are inherently wicked in any way, but the point is that the reason I don't grieve too heavily for them—even for their woman and children who get killed incidental to killing the evil men themselves—is just that I don't feel connected to them. I realize now that such is simply my own failing, but it is so easy when you are immature to assume that something inherent in who those people are is actually the reason for your lack of compassion towards them.

          As for the Bible, if assumed sufficient and inerrant in whatever interpretation most easily conforms one's own disposition, it makes it all too easy to tuck yourself in to an endless variety of security blankets that no one ever makes you grow out of.

  • ManimalX

    I keep seeing people claiming that homosexuality is "not a choice." I can't say I understand that statement, though, for a variety of reasons. Here is the most prominent one, in my mind:

    If homosexuality is "not a choice," then why is there a rapidly growing number of ex-gays? And not just "ex-gays," but ex-gays who have moved on to flourish and live very joyful and fulfilling lives, be it as heterosexuals or as celibates. (In fact, there are several studies that show the majority of men who identified as homosexual at or before the age of 18 identify as non-homosexual at later ages).

    I anticipate the response will come in the form of the "No True Scotsman Fallacy*." The claim will be: "Well, if they were able to stop being homosexual, then they weren't REALLY homosexual to begin with."

    Now, that is a perfectly fine response IF there is some way, other than self-identification and observation of behavior, to determine homosexuality. For example, if one could produce the mythical "gay gene," then a genetic test one could prove that those people who were able to stop being homosexuals were never TRULY gay because they lacked the gene. A parallel example: If a person claimed that they were an Asian woman, when in reality they were a Caucasian man who only dresses and acts like an Asian woman, a genetic test would be able to determine the person's true nature.

    The problem is that there is as of yet absolutely no good or conclusive evidence that sexual orientation is genetic or somehow "hard wired." Can a person repeat and reinforce an action/mindset often enough to THINK that they no longer have a choice but to act/think a certain way? Absolutely. That is evidenced by thousands of clinical studies and simple observation of human behavior. Is that true in the case of homosexuality? Well, studies seem to indicate that it is at least PART of the puzzle.

    Another big part, as far as the latest studies of which I am aware, has to do with primary and secondary effects of genetic traits. For example: there is no "fighter pilot" gene, but there are genes that, if found in proper combination, are likely to result in a person being a fighter pilot. What are the characteristics of a fighter pilot? They have to be fairly short and compact. They have to have very fine hand-eye coordination. They have to have very good balance. They have to be resistant to motion-sickness. They have to have the proper circulation and physical build to withstand high gravitational forces. Etc. Having those unchangeable, natural traits doesn't mean the person HAS to be a fighter pilot, it just means that it is much more probable that they will become a fighter pilot. "Fighter pilotness" is the secondary effect of a lot of other primary factors.

    This is where science runs in to a lot of politics and political correctness. Even though it would be a great advancement of genetic research, it isn't seen as very "PC" to ask the question "what are the characteristics of a homosexual male or female?" When people do this, they get accused of "stereotyping" or "promoting intolerance." I know personally of one study that was shut down (aka "not funded") for this very reason, even though the people wanting to conduct the study were in no way operating out of any kind of religious motivation (none of them were Christians, anyway).

    So anyhow, I've run myself right out of time and can't close this up with a good conclusion. So I will just state that I am supremely curious as to the arguments of my "opposition" here. What evidence is there that sexuality "isn't a choice?"

    *The "No True Scotsman Fallacy" is described here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

    • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

      That's why I always thought the it's-not-our-choice defence was the stupidest thing queers could ever say. By just saying it you are implicitly admitting that there was anything to defend yourself for. What if it is a choice? Why NOT make it? Why NOT be queer? Why not snog and shag folks with same set of X/Y chromosomes as yourself? Why defend it at all?

      • ManimalX

        @ FreeFox:

        You are in the UK somewhere, aren't you? When you use the word "queer," is it the same as an American using the term "homosexual," or does it share the same negative connotations as it does here in the States? In other words, "queer" is usually used and understood here in the States (at least among people I know) as a pejorative.

        If you mean it simply as "homosexual," then consider me educate, carry on as you were, and forget I even chimed in :) But, if you are using it as a pejorative, then even though you are agreeing with me to an extent, I must officially state that I don't support the use of such language.

        Given the language barrier, though, even between "English" speakers, I figured I'd ask before jumping to conclusions :)

        • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

          @ManimalX, re: Queer

          Depends on who is talking, really: Homophobes use "queer" as a, whatchacallit, pejorative. A lot of queers I know, including me, use it as a, hm, non-de-guerre? Battlecry? Proud self-description? I prefer it to "gay", because, well, gay means colourful, happy, jolly. Makes me think of butterflies. Not a word I'd use to describe myself or the "lifestyle" (as conservatives call it). Queer is, well, strange, unusual, or out of alignment. It is NOT straight. (Maybe it's cuz my other language is German, and in German the word "quer" means "across", "at right angle", "diagonally" or "transverse".)

          So, believe me, I wasn't trying to slag queers. But I'm not saying they are all happy either. By dint of being queer they do not conform and are not straight. (And I don't give a **** if they aren't by choice or by biological, social, or psychological compulsion)

          (Oh, and where I grew up, peeps who call queers homosexual usually do so with that special form of painstaking tolerance, with this liny hesitation before uttering the word, as if every time they do it takes some extra courage, that it has become utterly tainted for me. Call me a faggot any day, and I'll grin and bow my head. Call me a homosexual, and, well, I cringe. Bugt I know, that's just me.)

          • ManimalX

            Awesome! Thanks for the language lesson :)

            I hate, hate, HATE the "P.C" (politically correct) crap forced down our throats here in the U.S.

            For example, a black friend of mine and I met at Starbucks the other day, and exchanged a variation our usual greeting: "What's up, my honky?!" "What's up, my negro?!" accompanied by a handshake and a hug…. we got some SERIOUSLY dirty looks… oh well :)

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            I know what you mean. My Turkish buddy Orcun used to call me "Infidel", as in "Oi, infidel dog, what's up?" To which I would answer "Nothing much, Saracene scum. How are you?" And he'd go something like "Ah, you know, killing Christian babies and stuff. Hard work." We just wished we'd have a Jewish friend we could accuse of poisoning wells. ;)

          • Jill

            BAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!! love it!

          • DR

            "But, if you are using it as a pejorative, then even though you are agreeing with me to an extent, I must officially state that I don’t support the use of such language."

            I'm confused. This is something that those who are focused on "PC language" would also support. Perhaps you should pick a lane (didn't someone famous recently say that?)

          • Mindy

            Well. Here's an interesting thought, DR.

            It *appears* that Mr. MX has indicated by the above that INTENT has a lot to do with whether it is OK to use a particular word, or not.

            Hmmmm. Which would be the same justification, I presume, that he would use to for his "reviling" language (as he insinuated in his Starbucks anecdote) – even though it apparently offended those around him it was still not wrong, because his "intent" was above the PC fray – he and his friend knew they were not speaking with ill intent, so the rest of it be damned.

            FWIW, I agree with him. I do agree that we carry PC language too far and that intent truly does matter. I also believe without question that words matter an awfully lot, so, for instance, if he and his friend spoke in a "lovingly reviling manner" in front of impressionable children, say, THAT might be a problem.

            Which is why, for example, him lying about his wife's fashion choice to make her feel confident and lovely (the intent obviously to be kind and loving to someone he cares about) is NOT a sin, even if the Bible says "lying is a sin."

            Because it's not all black and white, context and intent do matter, the world IS one giant gray area, and MX, you just contradicted your cool self.

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            Something about ManimalX really rubs you the wrong way, huh? :P

          • Mindy

            Ya think, FreeFox? Yeah, it goes back to before this post. There are three or four regular posters who, if I knew t them in real life, probably wouldn't speak to me. And actually, that's OK. At my age, I am finally realizing that I don't have to be liked by everyone, and if someone doesn't like me for sticking to my guns, well, there ya go. I am fairly certain that the rubbing goes both ways or that I am so easily dismissed as a non-believer that I don't matter to them AND probably just prove their superiority in their own minds.

            Some days I can summon patience and peck away at my keyboard in a methodical effort to try to help someone understand. Others, I am just so sick of the sanctimonious preaching of the MXs and the Vernes and the refusal to see or take responsibility for the damage done by such belief systems of the Jills and the Mel/Jennys that I just can't play nice anymore. And then we get the random, drive-by vitriole of someone like wduk, and I can't even *pretend* to play nice anymore.

            I have seen too many gay people hurt by this attitude, and we can play word games and banter back and forth, but the bottom line is these people are purveyors of hate and bigotry and absolutely, resolutely refuse to see it.

            OK, really, now I'm gettin' out here. Really.

          • jes

            "Oh, and where I grew up, peeps who call queers homosexual usually do so with that special form of painstaking tolerance, with this liny hesitation before uttering the word, as if every time they do it takes some extra courage…"

            So very, very true.

            Also, "queer" is a much broader term, including not only homo men, but homo women, bisexuals, transgender, and transsexuals.

            As for being used as a pejorative, well, since any word which means someone is any of the above is used by haters as a pejorative, including the good ol' "pc" homosexual, it doesn't really matter which word you choose so much as how you use it, I think.

      • ManimalX

        @FreeFox:

        Language usage aside, you raise a good question: why NOT "snog and shag" whomever we want to?

        Well, the answer is this: if you DON'T believe in a God or that He/She/It left instructions on how humans are to operate, then snog and shag away! Dip your willy into whatever wet hole you please! There is honestly no reason NOT to!

        If, however, you DO believe in a God, and you DO believe that He/She/It wants humans to operate in a certain manner, then you'd better keep your willy in your britches except under the specific revealed conditions!

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

          Right. Because only people who believe in God have morals.

          Logic/knowledge of humans: fail.

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            Uh, I feel on thin ice here, challenging Master Shore, and on the whole I am of course on your side of the argument, but where did ManimalX say that all morals have to come from a God? For someone of his/her argumentative position, I though that was a surprisingly calm and non-judgmental post. Don't believe in God, snog who you want. Believe in God and His immutable message, and things get more complicated. I still think he/she has a funny way of reading the Word, but it was sort of logical. Wasn't it?

          • ManimalX

            So (and, Egad! I know this is a much broader question), where do morals come from? Sciocultural constructs only get you so far… especially in our modern era of globalization, philosophy, and religion.

            If there is no sufficient outside force directing morality (such as Yahweh and the Bible or Allah and the Koran, etc.), then morality is a purely subjective and easily dismissed thing. As it is, most modern understandings of "morality" do nothing but ape from Christianity anyway.

            In my previous post, I am referring to ultimate moral authority. If there is none, then there is no ultimately valid reason not to act however an individual sees fit, other than to avoid punishment by relative laws of the land….

          • ManimalX

            Umm, make that "sociocultural"

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            OMG, you really did claim that all morals come from God. Gee, and there I go and put my neck out for you. Well, to that question I can give your own answer back.

            If you DO believe that the Bible is God's Own Word, faithfully penned by peeps with a secure hotline to Heaven, yeah, you might believe that morals actually come from high up.

            But if you consider the possibility that it might just be a bunch of homilies collected through the centuries by uneducated desert dwellers and translated so often that noboy knows what they actually meant originally… you could come to the conclusion that all morals are actually inventions of humans. Which is why there is many, many religions and cultures, and yet ALL of them have morals. Different one, to be sure, but no society on the glob and throughout history didn't claim a set and wasn't fiercly protective of their everlasting value.

            Maybe it's just that humans as self-organizing beings, tend to come up with sets of rules that make living with each other easier than having to huddle in caves clutching your few possessions and fearing getting slugged with a bone suddenly because everybody's free to do whatsoever they please. But if that's true, then the rules are a) as fallible as humans themselves, and b) change with the circumstances.

            As I said, I am utterly certain that there is a God. And I do think that the Bible does a fair (if hard to decipher) job of describing Him. But i rather think it was humans doing the descibing. Many, many humans. From many, many cultures. And what they experienced as God and as God's Will was invariably coloured by the context of their cultures.

          • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

            The fly in the ointment here, ManimalX, is that human morality precedes religious belief.

            In other words, you bring with you the morality necessary to 'interpret' the will and aims and nature of god that supposedly reveals god's morality, and that's why you can so easily dismiss certain bits of scripture that you know are morally absurd while using other bits to promote your morality as if it were god's. Isn't that convenient.

            Why anyone thinks that god has anything meaningful to offer us about justifying any answers to moral questions is not only rather bizarre, it's downright dangerous. The same thinking when put into action kills people under the banner of obeying god. And I don't think that is a good thing. In fact, such bizarre thinking is immoral.

          • Mindy

            Wow, MX. Wow.

            Morals come from . . . our minds? Wanting to not hurt our fellow human beings? Wanting to feel good about making someone else happy? Wanting to live in peace and harmony during our short time here on earth?

            You are unbelievable.

            But cool, you know, because you rail against being all PC and stuff.

          • ManimalX

            "Morals come from . . . our minds?"

            An often used argument that generally fails when examined logically. Since I know your mind is already made up and you don't care about having a civil debate with me, I won't waste anyone's time going into detail.

            "Morals come from . . . Wanting to not hurt our fellow human beings?"

            Soooo… morals come from… a desire to act in a way that can't be defined or achieved without morals? Want informed by the morals that want is supposed to create?

            "Morals come from . . .Wanting to feel good about making someone else happy?"

            Soooo… morals come from… emotions defined and informed by the morals they are supposed to create?

            "Morals come from . . . Wanting to live in peace and harmony during our short time here on earth?"

            Soooo… morals come from… a desire for a state of being that can't be defined or achieved without morals?

            Are you seeing the problem here? All of your arguments are simply, "morals come from things that can't exist without morals."

            "You are unbelievable."

            Probably. But at least I can proved a logical definition of "morals." I know you love getting all indignant on my sorry ass, but could you at least have a valid argument before you unleash your righteous fury on me?

            "But cool, you know, because you rail against being all PC and stuff."

            Yeah, I prefer Macs.

          • Mindy

            So the only reason we decide to not to hurt each other, do right, etc. is because of God. Right?

            You're saying that we make human decisions to be kind, etc. – even those who are absolutely certain that God does not exist – because God exists.

            And this is more "rational" than my argument, how again?

            I'm not even necessarily disagreeing with you, MX. I am not an atheist. But I'm not getting how that argument is logical and rational. It is based on faith. You have faith in God, as do I. Mine is simply not the God of the Bible, and I'm not at all convinced that Jesus was supernatural. That being said, perhaps it *is* God, in all the various forms humanity believes him/her/it to take, that instilled a moral code in our DNA.

            I say perhaps. Or, perhaps it is something that has developed and refined over the millenia as part of our evolutionary survival instinct. How best not to wind up destroying the entire human race soon rather than later requires that we BE NICE TO EACH OTHER.

            I can see that either of those could be true. Either way, I know far too many people who absolutely do not buy into the existence of God who are kind, compassionate, good people. They don't pray, they don't base their moral code on any book of rules – they just do the right thing. And for you to say they do that because God exists anyway – well, that's your prerogative. But logical and rational, it ain't.

          • DR

            "Dip your willy into whatever wet hole you please!'

            I was rather taken with this fetching, loving description of sex myself. From a Christian!

            It's fascinating as people talk, they reveal so much of who they are. Sometimes you just need to let them keep talking.

          • Mindy

            Fascinating, isn't it? And cute how he tried to "match" FreeFox's dialect, as it were.

            Your point is quite valid, however. Kinda like when I first posted here, people thought I was nice. Bwhahahaaaaaa!

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            Match my dialect? I'd never call a Dick Willy! That's almost as bad as calling it Peter. But at least he has firmly established his non-queer ignorance cred. Bums need lubricant because on the (w)hole they aren't wet on their own. (My contribution in the interest of "clarity and understanding over agreement".)

            But always a pleasure to meet outspoken people who aren't nice, Mindy. Hope to read more from you in time. :)

          • DR

            It appears as though he was "establishing rapport" with you in order to make a personal connection and make sure you know he loves you as he asserts that you more than likely have no moral authority if you have no religion.

            It's like a warm bath of kindness with a plugged in toaster thrown in at the end! Enjoy!

          • Mindy

            Hey, I said he tried, not that he succeeded. :) He also thinks that his ability to play slur games with an African American friend makes him really cool and removes any possible racism he may have ever committed in his life. No, he didn't say, that – but that is a standard response from folks like MX. He likes to consider himself quite above the rest of us – THAT, if nothing else, comes through loud and clear in his comments.

          • DR

            When I read that kind of thing from ManimalX (that is so frequent), and then watch him try to educate others on morality? This verse comes to mind:

            "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt[a] water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water."

          • DR

            I wasn’t trying to provide a “fetching, loving description of sex.”

            Oh I think we all figured that out, dear. Stay classy.

          • ManimalX

            DR, do you even READ anything I write? Or do you just take the words on your screen and jumble them together until you find some way of making them mean something completely different from what they meant?

            I wasn't trying to provide a "fetching, loving description of sex." Go back and read my actual words until you get it. I know you are an intelligent person when you want to be.

            Your habit of resorting to personal insult when you lack anything else to say is usually quaintly amusing, but this time it was just…. stupid.

            And Mindy, I was trying to "match his dialect?" Huh? Did we all wake up in Bizarro world when I wasn't looking? I wasn't aware "willy" was the sole property of the UK. Someone should tell my American mom, dad, and grandparents that they were completely wrong to refer to penises as "willies."

            Tell me, what would you rather I call male genitals? Peters? Dicks? Pee-pees? Tallywhackers? Sneaky snakes? Man-sized manicottis? Or do you guys demand that I use only the clinical term of penis? Would that put your fragile sensibilities at ease? I mean, I wouldn't want to sound British, Irish, Scottish, or European! God forbid!

            LOL! I literally just *snorked*!

            Anyway, thanks for derailing the conversation I was trying to have with FreeFox with your asinine (though ultimately amusing!) personal attacks!

            @FreeFox I enjoyed the small bit of back and forth we had. It is always refreshing dealing with people who are free of hypocrisy and completely honest and open about who they are. You remind me of the buddy I mentioned earlier (I forget the pseudonym I made up for him) who bets me that I will become gay before he becomes Christian. (Wait, I can say "buddy" without trying to "match your dialect," right? I mean, "buddy" is sufficiently white cracker American sounding, right? Wouldn't want to accidentally offend the word police again!)

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            Gah, MX, why did you have to compare it with manicotti? Now I'll have that in mind every time I, you know. Peeps don't react too happy when you great their privates with half-suppressed snortles…

          • ManimalX

            Manicotti was a last minute substitution made in honor of "Grumpy Old Men.' I was going to use something else a little more… colorful, but then I would have probably had to repent for being graphic, DR and Mindy would have used it to get on my case even more, and you might have ended up with an image in your mind that would have actually caused full snortles.

            It might not be all that bad, though. I hear half-suppressed snortles are quite the rage in some circles.

          • Mindy

            MX, if you notice, I put the word match in quotation marks for a reason. FreeFox was using slang, so you jumped into slang. That's all. Keep your panties out of that twist – it's not becoming.

            I get the feeling you aren't particularly fond of women who disagree with you.

            Funny, that.

        • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

          Well, that is exactly my question – which I posed directly above your Scotsman entry. For one, I most sincerely believe in God. Apparently who I think He is is very different from who you think He is, and the arguments about who is right in that regard are millennia old and nobody has been able to resolve them, so while interesting – and I'm always there for a good theological debate – they are clearly moot. But secondly, yeah, the bible can be read to forbid queer sex. It also forbids working on saturdays, eating clam chowder or cheeseburgers, masturbating, and wearing stretch jeans (they mix synthetic and natural fibres, and wearing clothes of mixed fabrics is forbidden). While I too think that wearing stretch jeans is a crime against the natural order, clearly nobody is going to start a crusade against it. The only peeps who really follow their holy words are Chasidic Jews and the Taliban (who I do not want to compare beyond that, btw, most Chasidic Jews are wacky but otherwise nice, many Taliban are murderous bastards), in other words: Seriously wacky Nutcases. Civilized people usually edit the word of God with common sense.

          • Mindy

            "Civilized people usually edit the word of God with common sense."

            And that, ladies and gentlemen, is IT in a tidy little nutshell.

          • Don Whitt

            Yes, but common sense is oh so uncommon.

          • justmy0pinion

            I don't believe that a whole city was destroyed because someone worked on a Saturday or because someone ate clam chowder or because someone wore stretch jeans. However, because the people of Sodom and Gommorah were perverse (and the only actions of the people of the city that we see in Scripture, were that the men wanted to sleep with the angels who appeared in the form of men) the city(ies) were destroyed. So, nice argument to cause a laugh or two, but really c'mon!

      • Matthew Tweedell

        More to the point, how are we even to define "choice"? Nothing we can do or say is absolutely independent of externalities. Yet at the same time, there is no expenditure of energy that we absolutely had to undertake (even if we must die otherwise—death is nevertheless a theoretically possible choice).

        For example, every rational soul believes that the destruction its world (the world as it knows it—that of which it has constructed mental models by which to reason) would be evil. To secure this world, it seeks out others who live in it (people with a like worldview, ultimately because there really is an objective reality all people live in and experience), and works together with them in the struggle against those forces that would destroy it (be they natural or human). So it is that we construct civilization, and so it is that we fall in love. And in these two things, all of a sudden the individual soul isn't very important—and in its rationality, it recognizes as much. So it wishes not only the security of the world for its own sake, but the betterment of the world for the sake of its children, its brothers and sisters, its lovers and friends. It becomes in some small way like a single cell of a multi-cellular organism; through feedback—communication—symbioses and, with the modeling power of the rational mind, empathy are established. And so a second universal moral is born, one that perhaps not every rational soul, but certainly every empathetic one, around the globe, knows—love.

        So who cares what it means for such a thing to be a choice and whether then it is, or isn't, or something in between, or varies case by case? It's not so complicated really, and such complication is really meaningless. To reason and to love are two universal moral imperatives. And they discover truth and true love, respectively. And these two of the essence of divinity.

    • Mark

      "If homosexuality is “not a choice,” then why is there a rapidly growing number of ex-gays? And not just “ex-gays,” but ex-gays who have moved on to flourish and live very joyful and fulfilling lives, be it as heterosexuals or as celibates. (In fact, there are several studies that show the majority of men who identified as homosexual at or before the age of 18 identify as non-homosexual at later ages)."

      References? Ex-Gay Watch and Beyond Ex Gay both point to the opposite. And be careful of the word "choice". We choose behavior. It is extremely rare to be able to choose attraction.

      All of the folks that I know of who went the Ex-gay route say that the same-sex attraction never goes away. Ex-gay ministries are typically being more careful about the "change" that they promise. Two prominent Ex-gay ministries have backed off completely (Courage Trust in the UK and New Direction in Canada).

      You're going to have to do better than make the assertion.

    • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric Booth

      @ManimalX, re:the growing number of ex-gays. Actually, I've not seen this study. I have heard of this happening. I actually know of at someone at my church who married, had children, and then left the marriage, lived with another man, left the man, got married again. I think he is probably transgender/bisexual/questioning. I don't believe he is ex-gay or ex-straight or ex-anything. He is who he is.

      I think most, if not all, gays within Christian communities, are scared, embarrassed, and confused. These is not the best emotional state for a person to be in when making life decisions.

      Also, the old, it's-a-lifestyle-choice argument seems to falling away. And I think we have to admit it is falling away because of some compelling evidence to the contrary. So we Christians have moved from "it's a choice" to "the jury's still out on that one" and "the evidence is inconclusive."

      If we're honest, we would admit this is a fancy way of saying "we don't know if it is a choice or a genetic characteristic." However once we go here, we have to alter our response. But, sadly, we have not. And by sticking to our guns (so to speak) we are effectively erring on the side of cruelty instead grace.

      • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

        Please excuse me for pressing my point, Ric, but I still and fervently think that the question of choice takes serious antecedence behind the question of WTF does it matter. The whole topic only becomes an issue when you affix some preference to either outcome. But WHY DO THAT? Do I question if your like, dislike or indifference to liquorish (or to stay biblical, cheeseburgers) is biological or social, if you have a choice in liking them or if you can or cannot resist eating them? No, of course not. Cuz it isn't my bloody business. (And with cheeseburgers at least you CAN make the vegan point that holding cattle is unpleasant for the cattle and unhealthy for the global ecology!)

        • Mindy

          FreeFox, you are absolutely right – it should not matter to anyone, for any reason, who is gettin' busy with whom, as long as both parties are consenting adults. The problem is that sexual mores are a stupidly huge issue here in the US. And while your argument may well be the most valid of all, it simply won't fly in this culture, because that bespeaks of a society gone sex-crazy mad!!!!!!!!!

          As if we weren't a completely sex-obsessed-but-pretending-to-be-against-it-in-all-but-traditional-married-unions culture already . . .

          • Don Whitt

            Firefox – I agree with you completely.

            The problem is one of power. Religion+Power is the ultimate narcotic. These mega-church, conservative Christians aren't happy worshiping God – they want to control our lives. In my book, this includes LDS and many other cult-like organization that – with missionary zeal -have decided they have clear understanding of what's right, what's wrong and they're going to do whatever it takes to enforce it wherever they can. They won't be happy until we're all miserable and they've trampled every ounce of God out of all of us. They are like Nazi's with Bibles.

            Also: I love your statement about PC language and the word "Gay". I've always thought it's use in this context was more than a little ironic. I think some of this is easier, culturally, for males because we grow-up using terms of endearment with each other such as "Hey, douche-bag!" or "Yo, nut-less wonder!". At least that was my experience growing-up in middle-America as a middle-class white boy. If you weren't called something insulting then your friends didn't care about you. And that sort of humor acknowledged life's crappiness while keeping us from feeling too sorry for ourselves.

          • Don Whitt

            And I shouldn't just point to the mega-church types – the mentatlity pervades throughout churches large and small. As Mindy points out, it's fear-based and that's a universal state.

        • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric Booth

          @FreeFox re:choice, I agree with your pressed point. It should not matter.

          My point to ManimalX was the Christian response to "well, I don't know, maybe the dna thing might be true" should definitely be, by our own beliefs, grace. It is contradictory otherwise.

          Of course, I believe our response should be, as you put it, WTF does it matter? in any case. But getting that point across is more than just a little tough.

  • http://soiledwings.com Sherry Meneley

    Holy Cow – it must be in the air, I rambled about the same thing on my Friday post…

    Great post John, this just made you even more likeable in my book (as if it mattered… who are we kidding, it matters!)

  • Paul

    Excellent post and interesting discussion.

    What I ruminate the most is basically the last sentence of the author's post:

    "The “sinful temptation” that Christians are forever urging LGBT people to resist is love.

    Being, of course, the one thing Jesus was most clear about wanting his followers to extend to others".

    The whole idea of Christ is about love. Very, very few Christians even know what this concept is even about and substantiated when they continue to quote scripture to defend their homo hating ways. Then the hate is deflected upwards by saying my hate towards and my ill treatment of teh gays is not my issue, or my fault or I am not responsible for my judgmental ways, for ti is what God commands me to do. Please. Get your heads out of your bums and stop deflecting and own your own hate and bigotry. Own it. Own up to your responsibility and the consequences of your hateful and judgmental ways. Own up to the fact that the Bible is a bizarre book, with many interpretations, and many contradictions that Christians and others pick and choose and take out of context all the time. For those of you here who support your bigotry with the bible and can assure you 100% that there is a bible verse in there that I can find that will condemn you to your own hell. Mixed fibers in you clothing lately? Shellfish? to name a couple. Get the stones out as you will be my first target, you sinner you…..lol. The whole debate is just insane. Some people are straight, some are gay, some are bi, some are intersexed, some are asexual. We are all human and come in a variety pack as god had intended.

    • Thomas R

      Although I wouldn't normally put it in the particular as I understand it I can love any gay man I wish. I suppose as a Christian/Catholic I'm even supposed to love gays.

      The prohibition is on sex and on having romantic unions that exclude the other sex. As I mention below love is not merely sexual. As far as I understand it sexual/romantic love is not the greatest love in Christian terms. Living and dying for your fellow person is more the great love. If I had the skills to do it I could devote my life to helping gays with AIDS or helping gay refugees from Iran or whatever. Just as I could helping alcoholics or former prostitutes or whatever. Insulting analogy? Well yeah maybe, but one of the people I really admired as a kid is an abstaining alcoholic so maybe not.

      • Mindy

        Thomas, I would die for my children in a heartbeat. I have family and friends for whom I would lay down my life. But none of those relationships = romantic love, with or without sex. Complete acceptance and trust and the knowing of your very soul by another is an enormous gift, not to be taken lightly. The unconditional love I feel for my daughters and receive from them is the light of my very life – and if someone asked to trade it for a "perfect" romantic union, I'd not hesitate to say no. But the two, honestly, cannot be compared.

  • Mark F.

    The Jewish tradition has always considered a person who voluntarily chooses celibacy to be somewhat disordered at the very minimum. Voluntary celibacy is not exactly considered wrong or immoral, but it is strongly discouraged. Although I'm a secular person, I agree with this viewpoint. Someone who chooses celibacy is missing out on an important part of life.

    Of course, one can love one's friends and families, etc. , but in no way is this like romantic love. It's apples and oranges. And part of romantic love is physical affection and sexual satisfaction.

    • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

      Jewish tradition didn't have queers in mind, though. The focus is more on being fruitful and multiplying…

  • Thomas R

    The obvious problem with your post is that romantic love is not the only kind of love. Further the Gospels are clear that not everyone will have romantic love in their life. It speaks of eunuchs and never mentions Christ as married or having a romance, not even in passing.

    I am celibate. I have both opposite and same sex attractions. I am not alone and I am not unloved. No one is asking I be either one. Rather than having the specific love of a lover I have, and admittedly need to increase in, a generalized love and service to God and community.

    I can understand thinking everyone should have access to romantic love, I don't agree but I understand, but the post itself is inherently misleading to make a hostile point probably against people you don't understand at all.

    • ManimalX

      @ Thomas R:

      Phenomenal post!

      Lots of folks seem to forget that BIBLICALLY "sex" and/or marriage do NOT define a human being. In fact, Paul seems to indicate that "singleness" (or "celibacy") has certain benefits over "marriage" (or being properly "sexually active.") Certainly, Jesus Himself was not sexually active (sorry to all of the fans of Dan Brown's fiction and similarly ridiculous theories regarding the sexual activities of Jesus).

      • Thomas R

        Thanks. Although in fairness from the Protestant or Jewish tradition I can see how it would be awkward. Protestantism, in general although there are exceptions, took a reaction against Catholic ideas on celibacy and considered them anti-family to some extent. So I think many Protestants end up being stuck with "homosexuality does not really exist" or "we have to ask of homosexuals something we would never ask of any heterosexuals ever." Judaism is interestingly different, or has the possibility to be, in that I know of at least one Orthodox Jewish woman who says that as the Tanakh says nothing on lesbianism lesbianism is licit, but male homosexuality is not. And although I might have been skeptical at first, I think she really meant it. I think she even said she might support lesbian marriage, but is uncomfortable with general same-sex marriage because there is no way to make it exclude gay male couples.

        I'm not Protestant or Jewish though so I admit I don't think about this too much and I don't even think in that way very often. From Catholic and Orthodox tradition celibates are often our leaders. In Eastern Orthodoxy priests marry, but bishops and patriarchs are monastic so far as I know. I just know for me the popular culture idea that romantic love is everything is something I think I was always a bit skeptical of, and have now pretty much abandoned for my own life.

        What we, as Catholics, I think do wrong is basically agree that gays having to be celibate is "woe the pain, woe the loneliness, woe the disorderness of it all" and then almost add "but do it or else." And I think that doesn't exactly encourage one. Even before I ever had or was aware of having same-sex attractions I felt like what it all meant was gays are maybe called to a different kind of life. One that can be quite rewarding and holy. I worry sometimes it might sound like "if you make great enough sacrifices you can be equal to the crazy homeless guy we'd also never let be a priest."

    • Mindy

      Thomas, it is only that ALL people should have the option of pursuing romantic love. That's all. Whether an individual chooses to or not is entirely up to said individual. I don't know anything about you or why you made your choice, but if you've never been involved in a full romantic relationship, with either sex, don't knock it. I really don't believe John was being hostile to a life of celibacy – IF it is chosen by an individual with no pressure, either way, from others.

  • deb

    Okay, deep breath everyone. I am a conservative (gasp!) Christian who has recently had an "epiphany" of sorts around this entire conflict. I was never actively involved in fighting gay marriage or anything like that, but honestly, my previous feelings on the subject were mostly based on fear and ignorance and quite frankly, judgement.

    First, I am straight and happily married with kids. I believe pretty strongly that God designed a man and womans body to fit together physically, which speaks to His ORIGINAL design for sex. I won't apologize for my opinion on that account, but what I will apologize for, is how many of my Christian brothers and sisters, and myself at times, have treated the whole argument and people who are gay. We are not God, we do not understand His ways, nor do we get to decide who is "in" and who is not. Clearly there are people in the world who ARE GAY. Period. The why or how is completely irrelevant to the conversation because we will most likely never understand it. It just IS. God LOVES each of us equally, regardless of our orientation and it is not my place, nor the church's place, to judge or condemn or tell someone they need to change something that is of zero consequence to the rest of us when done in an adult, consentual, committed relationship. So, Christians, get on with feeding the hungry and caring for the orphans and following the Great Commandment to "Love God and Love Others" and STOP fighting this battle! Let people have their rights and their lifestyle and get on with more important things. Let's take the plank out of our own eyes and let God judge each of us in His time…his job, not ours!

    Now, that said, if my pastor teaches our congregation what the bible actually says about homosexuality in church, please do not call the police and have him/her arrested for hate speech! Allow us the same freedom that you are fighting for yourselves and respect our doctrine. If my pastor is inciting violence or hatred against gays, that's one thing. But in the several conservative/fundamental/evangelical churches I have visited or attended over the years, I have never once heard a pastor tell the congregation to go and fight the gay movement or hate gay people. On the contrary, they have offered words of healing and acceptance and love to anyone, gay or straight. Obviously there are churches and organizations out there who are radical and taint the image of the majority (yes, I do believe that a growing majority of Christian churches are tolerant and accepting of gays), but for those who are simply holding to their tradition and doctrine and belief of marriage being between a man and a woman, let them be. Don't go there. Find another church that does allow Gay marriage. The other's are not being haters, they just hold to beliefs that are different than yours and that should be okay in this country. Again, as long as they are not inciting violence against you, why is it a problem? Just like we Christians should just get back to feeding the poor and caring for orphans, maybe the gay activists should focus on helping the poor souls who are gay in Muslim countries. Talk about oppression!

    How about we just love each other and agree to disagree…is that so difficult? In the words of the Prophet Paul McCartney, "Let It Be…"

    • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

      So you want people to respect your tradition and doctrine, Deb? No. I will not. I refuse to respect bigotry in the same way I refuse to respect slavery. And you cross the line to ask people to just that when these ideas hide behind religious beliefs and scripture.

      I will not respect those who pretend there is a dividing line between respecting the tradition and doctrine of slavery but excuse themselves because they refuse to own slaves, who sit down and have dinner with slaves, who profess love for slaves, who have nothing against slaves, who think slaves are wonderful people, all the while finding slavery to be just peachy because some religious belief endorses it. Slavery is wrong.

      In the same way, I will not respect those who pretend there is a diving line between respecting the tradition and doctrine of gay bigotry but excuse themselves because they don't personally discriminate, who sit down and have dinner with gays, who profess love for gays, who have nothing against gays, who think gays are wonderful people, all the while finding gay bigotry to be just peachy because some religious belief endorses it to be a sin and abomination. Gay bigotry is wrong.

      • deb

        Hmmmm….I don't recall saying that Gay bigotry is peachy…obviously you read through tainted lenses tildeb. The main point of my post was to encourage Christians to leave it alone, and you missed that completely…

        • Mindy

          But, Deb, the problem now requires more than “leave it alone.” I understand what you are saying. But that doesn’t change the fact that any theology that labels being gay “a sin” when, for gay Christian teenagers figuring out that who they are leaves them facing untenable choices in the eyes of their church.

          If there was not the loud faction of Christian out there reinforcing their supposed internal “flaw” in the eyes of their lord – and either trying to “fix” them or require them to fight their “sinful urges” by remaining celibate for the rest of their lives, “leaving it alone” might be sufficient, kind of like most mainstream Catholics simply ignoring the papal proclamations that don’t make sense, like birth control, etc.

          But the vitriol against gays that comes from the ultra-conservative Christians truly must be countered by Christians speaking out, forcefully, against the theology that hurts so many. Don’t just leave it alone. Understand how wrong it is, and say so.

          • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

            I cannot improve on Edmund Burke's famous quote that all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. In today's world, that should be 'people'. Leaving the issue alone is tantamount to tacitly supporting its continuation. What is needed is for resounding condemnation not from the outskirts of the faith but from its very bones: the good people who fill the seats and pews and mosques and temples. Silence never furthered necessary change.

          • deb

            I hear what you are saying, but for you and tildeb to completely disregard the positive steps a formerly somewhat "homophobic" Christian has made in the direction of tolerance and acceptance, angrily demanding more and more and more, is not the way toward healthy dialogue and understanding on either side. Not everyone is going to beat the drum and take up the fight for this cause. But we have come a long way in the country already in a relatively short period of time, and while it may seem slow it is sure. Those who hang onto the doctrine of bigotry (toward any group) will eventually die-out (literally and figuratively) and the paradigm will shift for good, as it has with slavery and many other evils across history. But don't spew venom at those who are at least making heart-felt changes in their own attitudes simply because they are not joining the next local Gay Parade! For those who aren't there yet, pray for them. Isn't that what Jesus taught? Pray for those who persecute you! Pray for understanding and common ground and that we would all live at peace with each other, regardless of beliefs.

          • Mindy

            Deb, I'm not completely disregarding it, and neither did I "spew venom."

            I'm glad that you have grown and change – what I am trying to point out is that those who continue to spew the real venom can only be stopped by other Christians. They won't listen to agnostics like me or atheists like tildeb, because they can easily write off our views as simply being non-Christian.

            The fact that a dialogue like this is even taking place is a huge step in the right direction. The fact that Christians like DR are out there working with kids directly is incredibly important.

            I guess I just hope that Christians who have gained a greater understanding in this area will step out of their comfort zones and share what they've learned with those Christians who haven't yet.

            And eventually, hopefully, Christianity will be able to embrace the fact that the Biblical passages they cling to are not only possibly translated incorrectly, they were also written for another time. And they will figure out that sexuality should simply not be an issue the church needs to address.

  • kay

    Thank you so much for this. It's so wonderful to hear a Christian acting in a Christ-like manner for once!

  • JimmyD

    Hi, I am a Christian teenager and have been reading several articles on this blog along with the comments with avid interest. I am really quite grateful to have stumbled upon this blog at this time when so much effort is being put into trying to understand this mammoth issue of *shock, horror!!* being gay. For the record, I am gay and have experienced much pain and angst in trying to reconcile my sexuality, something that is very much beyond my control, and my faith, something to which I have a deep unerring attachment. Deep down I still wish I was straight, not so much because I have a moral problem with being gay, but because it would be so much easier. I feel that I have a strong relationship with God and I also have a very deep desire to maintain it. At the same time, I do very much want to experience the love, laughter, peace, joy, contentment, safety, excitement, passion, anger, agony and angst that comes with being in a relationship. I accept that the bible is pretty clear with how this particular relationship between two males is regarded, however, if in the event I do decide to pursue a relationship, then I will accept the consequences, if there are any, and face God. I do not know whether God will regard my decision (and yes it is a "choice" – but only because, as John so eloquently worded it – I do not want to reject love) as a sin but I do know that when I am called upon to account for the decisions I've made in my life, God will understand why I made them, and will look upon me only with the boundless love that emanates from his grace.

    I do not know the bible well enough to comment, but it seems to me since so much conflict exists within Christianity over this particular issue, as opposed to say, murder, then surely this raises the question that maybe, perhaps, possibly, in some small way, that this issue is not a black or white, right or wrong, left or right, kind of issue, but one that is multi-faceted, unsettled, contentious, etc.

    In regards to several comments made by ManimalX and Jill, I reiterate what I said before, I did NOT choose to be gay, and please ask yourself, who in their right mind would choose it?? If it WAS a choice then it would have to be listed as apsychiatric/mental/spiritual/physical disorder because a person would have to plain nuts to choose to bring upon themselves the unrelenting hatred of some, the snide comments and looks from others, and far worse, the "you're a sinful person who God will never love but I won't judge you" people who smile at you sincerely as they twist the knife just a little deeper. I have a very close friend who I very much love and who is a good person, however every time she says "I'm not ok with you being gay, but I don't judge you" I have to say, it hurts… a LOT. Jill, I am grateful that you have chosen to be more compassionate to gay people than many Christians would be, but I do ask that you be more considerate and compassionate of your lesbian friend. Just because she said she'd consider dating men, this does not automatically mean she is not a lesbian. I can say I'd consider dating women (though I won't), but it doesn't make me straight. I am attracted to men, always have been, always will be. I don't know why I am this way. I don't know whether God made me this way or whether my soul has been corrupted. But what I do know is that I am gay, I crave the love of another human (just so happens, a man rather than a woman), I am Christian, and I crave the love and compassion of God. If that means I'm going to hell… then so be it.

    Today I was reading about the several teens who've taken their own lives because of their sexuality. I must confess this has been something I've been tempted towards in my own life, but thankfully my attempts failed and I have come to appreciate the gift of life that God has given me. Perhaps my sexuality is my "thorn" and I can certainly appreciate the benefit of having one… I just wish it wasn't so damn painful!! :D

    Thanks so much to everyone here. Regardless of everyone's views, I feel very optimistic, given that this discussion is taking place at all. I also apologise for my self-absorbed ramblings. I did not realise how pent up this issue was!

    • Mindy

      JimmyD, stay true to yourself. And thank you, so much, for posting and sharing – that is not self-absorbed at all. Who knows who you help by posting in a public way? Helping others in your shoes know that they are not alone is no small act of compassion and kindness.

      Sending you hugs and hope for strength, peace and love –

      • JimmyD

        Thank you. It truly means a lot to hear you say that.

        • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

          What Mindy wrote.

    • DR

      Oh man, this makes me cry. I'm so glad you found this blog. And please, please, please know you are SO much more than your sexuality. And your sexuality is so precious to God. You are precious to God exactly as you are, you are *profoundly* OK and this experience of suffering you may have to endure as a Christian who is gay will deepen your sensitivity toward the vulnerable in our culture who has no voice. But please know you have millions of people who support you, who know what you know which is you are loved as you are. Whatever mystery of what is right or wrong is for you and God to solve AS He adores you. These things are so hidden from us at times. But the logic of a loving God actually making this a *choice* is stupid. There is no logic. This was not a choice for you, no one would choose this.

    • http://none Don Rappe

      Jimmy, I believe your sexuality is the gift of God. Your choice is to act on it responsibly. Irresponsible action is sinful, but responsible action is God pleasing. The same is true of our other gifts. And what is responsible for us depends on how God has called us to be in this world. I believe he will be our God and we shall be his people. The Bible taken as a whole backs this up. Do not be confused that being gay is sinful, since this would make your creator a sinner, he is the author of your being. This modern idea is a blasphemy that did not exist in Biblical times. There is no rulebook for what is right for each individual soul, but God gives you a heart, which is another gift.

    • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

      Hugs & Kudos, mate! Illegitimi non carborundum! ;)

    • Diana A.

      Hi Jimmy!

      I'm a bit late to the party as I have no at home internet and I finally got a job (yay!) so I'm not able to get to the library as much to respond to blog posts and such.

      A couple of things I wanted to bring up that might be of use to you:

      1) Claiming the Promise: An Ecumenical Welcoming Bible Study on Homosexuality, Editor: Mary Jo Osterman–If you can find a church that is giving this particular class, I highly recommend it. It goes through some of the "clobber passages" and shows how they're not as cut-and-dried anti-homosexuality as they are currently being interpreted. Even if you can't find a church in your area that is giving this class, you might be able to get a hold of the copy of the study guide by going to this website: http://www.rmnetwork.org/learn-more/resources/stu…. Also, you've probably had the opportunity to read what Kara has written on this subject on this website–she can probably recommend some resources too.

      2) On a more general level, I can highly recommend both The Misunderstood God: The Lies Religion Tells About God by Darin Hufford and The Inescapable Love of God by Thomas Talbott. Neither of these books deals specifically with the issue of homosexuality and Christianity. The Misunderstood God compares the teachings of some Christians about God against the teaching that God is Love (1 John 4:8) and the definition of love Paul gives in 1 Corinthians 13. The Inescapable Love of God is an argument against the notion of eternal punishment that is based both on scripture and on logic. But I recommend them because they will support your overall view that when you are "called upon to account for the decisions I’ve made in my life, God will understand why I made them, and will look upon me only with the boundless love that emanates from his grace."

      Peace be with you, Jimmy.

  • Lori

    I know I'm just one in a long line of posts, but I have a problem with saying that sin is not sin if it causes no one harm…that's quite simply the human standard, not God's standard. We have to remember that God is the author of life. He makes the rules and His ways are higher and holy. We can rationalize all we want to and justify every action and lifestyle we want to and feel as good as we want to feel about it, but if it doesn't live up to God's holy standards, then it doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks or says about it, it only matters what He says about it.

    I mean, when sin entered the world through Adam and Eve – how did they really harm anyone? All they did was eat a piece of fruit that they weren't supposed to because some snake said that it would make them wiser and they believed him. Eating a piece of fruit didn't hurt anyone. Oh, wait a minute, I guess it hurt them because God said that if they ate that fruit, they would surely die. He wasn't being mean, He was just telling them what would happen because He loved them. So who was hurt? They were – their relationship with God was broken, they had to leave paradise and they had it a lot harder in the world. It wasn't a picnic for them anymore.

    So while we are all born sinners, we have to work harder to live a holy, Godly life. That's why Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to us. But just because we all are sinners, doesn't mean we can just slack off on the sins that come more naturally or are so hard to get through…some of us will never get through them easily or enough, but we are to take "every thought captive" and live our lives in righteousness.

    The argument that you think these stupid Christians who are asking people to be unloved or not able to give love (forget the sex part which I think that equation with love is assinine, but just forget about that) is just untrue. I'm not asking that of anyone. I'm simply stating what I have read in the Bible, what I understand God's holiness to mean and what that should mean for people living their daily lives.

    • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

      But the story of Adam and Eve is a metaphor, Lori, and not fact. Man evolved, which is a fact. For you to claim that god is the author of life and that this is a fact, meaning man was created by god, is hardly sound reasoning. It is simply a matter of faith that is maintained in spite of contrary evidence.

      What 'god' says about homosexuality is by self-reported revelation, transcribed and interpreted and re-written and interpreted again to become the scriptures we have today. There is a very good argument that scripture actually says nothing about homosexuality being a 'sin' because the word itself is a modern invention. So your argument that god's standard that homosexuality is a sin is at best questionable on several fronts.

      What we do know, without doubt, is that gay teens kill themselves at four times the rate of other teens and that one of the majors reasons is because gay teens are told by word and deed that there is something wrong with homosexuality. Your attitude and explanation does no good altering this degrading and appalling lie, but your interpretation of scripture seems to me to be the single most important factor in maintaining that lie. And the reason why I claim that is because without scripture, there is no reason to consider homosexuality in a negative light whatsoever. None. Zero.

    • Matthew Tweedell

      John Shore didn't equate sex with love; that's something you did. He's pointing out how what you really want them not to have when you want them not to have marital relations is not so much sex, but love. So, for the record, you are absolutely fine with allowing them everything Shore actually mentions? Then why are you challenging what he wrote?

      • Mindy

        Thanks for pointing this out, Matthew. The whole point is that haters tend to think the sex is the only thing gay people think about. That they don't want the hand-holding, snuggling, soul-searing conversations you can only have with that one person who knows you best. Lori just did exactly the same thing.

        And "we have to remember that God is the author of life" is, as tildeb said, nothing remotely close to a rational statement. It is a statement of faith, which is fine and good, but should have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with human opinion of another's private sexuality.

  • deb

    One more thing…to those who have been blatantly rejected by their parents, peers, or churches for being gay…or worse have committed suicide or been killed, I’m profoundly sorry and know that Jesus is weeping for them. Shame on the church for not doing more to help those kids! My prayers are with them.

    • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

      If you are truly sorry for the devastation and suffering caused by those who act on these scriptures and wish to do something about it to bring about meaningful change then drop your support for the root of this bigotry: the scriptures condemning gays are morally wrong and should be rejected and condemned loudly by christians everywhere. They have no sanctity in the modern world or modern theology.

      • deb

        I am only responsible for my own personal actions/attitudes/beliefs. Choosing to no longer engage in the fight against the gay community, and encouraging other Christians to do the same is, in effect, the same as choosing not to support that part of the doctrine, is it not? I cannot control what others do nor can I change what has been done in the past, but I am accountable to God for my own heart, which, in this case, has been changed on the side of compassion. Count that, tildeb, as a win in your favor.

        • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

          It's not my favour you need to win, Deb; through exorcising your faith it should be the heart of your lord. Silence and toleration of doctrinal and traditional bigotry I doubt are shining examples of the kind of moral courage that is often required to implement god's unbiased love for others. It seems to me – an atheist – that speaking out against those comfortable in their scriptural bigotry is good first step.

          • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

            "Exorcising"? Talk about a Freudian slip! I meant "exErcising". Good grief. My apologies.

          • deb

            I meant in favor of the cause as a whole…not "yours" personally…

    • DR

      Dear Deb,

      Please stop talking *at* gay people or praying *for* them. Talk *to* them. Tell that teenager who posted below that you're sorry. Ask him how your theology has impacted him. Stop distancing yourself from this group of people by talking about them. Do what Jesus did – connect with them and listen. Have the courage to really listen to the impact your theology is having on kids. There is one here, JimmyO. Talk to him.

      • Mindy

        Excellent advice, DR. Deb? Think about it. Talk to JimmyO. Talk to Kara here, or some of the other gay and lesbian participants who consider themselves Christian – or did, at one point.

        Involve yourself in real, heartfelt discussions with them, and listen as well as you speak.

        • DR

          What is frustrating is they causerhe damage and then I am the Christian who is actually there dealin with their mess. They get to keep their hands clean as they pray for them. Ugh,

          • Mindy

            True. And all I can say, friend, is thank God for people like you.

          • DR

            I'm not doing as much as I could or should and sound like a martyr without wanting to. It just seems like these people really think that just saying "Gosh so sorry how awful I will pray" is even helping. It makes it worse. Just once, I wish the Debs of Christianity or the ManimalXs would put themselves close to a gay kid who show them the scars of his near suicide. Who sees the panic in his eyes when he hears the name "Jesus". Who flinches at the idea of entertaining a loving God exists.

            But they won't. They wont ever get too close, they will tell themselves that having a few gay friends at a social level is enough. That their concern and horror is enough. That their "sorry" is enough. It's a start, but it's not even close to enough.

      • deb

        I don't recall saying that I was praying for or talking at anyone, except for Christians…and that was for them/us to stop the attacks on gays. Oh, except for the part where I said I am praying for those who have been persecuted to the point of being suicidal. Sorry…forgive me for praying for their healing!

        • DR

          You can be sarcastic in order to evade the point I am making, Deb. I'm sure suggesting that you actually ask a gay kid what this theology has done to Jim would be a pretty terrifying thing to do. But you decided to get in the fame, here. So play it all the way through. There are gay people here who I bet, would tell you directly if you asked them. Crust you try to evade that experience says more about the real courage behind your convictions than anything you pray for.

          • DR

            Ugh, iPhone. Crust=that.

          • deb

            Not evading, just not on your time table apparently DR. Your anger toward those who are attempting to take steps in your direction is only furthering the divide I'm afraid. My only point (that I'm obviously failing miserably at making) is that I have prayed for clarity on this issue, and my heart has been changed. I now feel a great deal of compassion for these souls who have been so hurt by so many, whereas before there was indifference. I'm sorry if that's not enough for you, DR, but it's where I'm at today and I think I'm heading in the right direction.

            Would you prefer I stop praying for the victims to be healed and the church to stop the bigotry? Would you prefer that I stop praying for my own heart to continue to change? I believe that prayer changes things and has the power to heal, as is evidenced by the changes in my heart that was hardened in many areas, MANY healed relationships, physical healing and provision, the list goes on. Prayer may not seem like enough for you, but it means a lot to me and to many who are hurting around the world so I will continue. If God, at some point, puts in my heart a desire to do more, then I will heed the call. But verbally attacking someone who has come a long way toward tolerance because they're not doing enough is not the way to help those who have suffered my friend.

        • DR

          And most of all as I jump all over you for not doing enough? Thank you for doing what you are doing. This sounds trite to say, but we are all growing at very small bits at a time as much as we can. That you would step out and say somerhing to Christians is so important. Thank you for that, it does help.

          • deb

            Of course I posted my last "rebuttal" before I saw this…sorry for being defensive…I'm feeling a little beaten-up here today!

          • DR

            I understand, deb. I was where you are, I am the last one who should be beating you up. I was a jerk to rush in and demand more, people move at their own pace. I'm in such despair about the results here that it's almost like a Hail Mary that gets thrown at the last minute. As a result, I do push "faster faster" and for me, playing the bad cop is often a shock that Christians have experienced that some later thank me for – but some don't and being online one has to be even more careful with it. So I appreciate your candor. I need to pull up a little, I feel a little desperate to help this community and at times, feel like the ends justify the means. Probably not entirely.

  • justmy0pinion

    Can I ask by what defintion we are determining what sin is? Because if we use the 10 commandments then there is a real flaw in all of this logic. The commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy affects no one but the person who chooses to follow this commandment, but if we break the law (10 commandments) then we are sinning.

    So, I think we need to clearly define SIN. Sin is anything that seperates us from God. And sex outside of a marriage seperates us from God. (This includes heterosexual relationships). So, does a right winged fundamentalist want you to live forever without love no! But sex and love are not interchangable. I am straight and I am single, I am a virgin. Has it been hard at times to keep my purity, yes. But just because I want it doen't mean that I should have it. So, all of this to say only God can decide who goes to heaven or hell, but I think there are clear passages of Scripture that say homosexuality is a sin and I believe that all sin (if not covered by the blood of Jesus Christ) will seperate us from God and seperation from God is Hell. So, make your own choice as to your orientation but don't let someone else tell you what is truth (not even me)search it out for yourself!

    • Mindy

      "Sex outside of marriage separates us from God."

      So *you* say. You cannot make a blanket statement like that as if it is true for everyone. That may be true for a conservative Christian. It may be true for individuals the world over, but it is not necessarily true for everyone.

      I am not married. I am divorced, and am dating a very nice person. We may, at some point, become intimate. But we will likely never marry. I have kids, I have a fine life of my very own, and I'm not sure I want to do that again. That in no way distances me from God.

      As for your "clear passages," they are not at all clear. They have been translated many times over, but when they were written, the knowledge construct and the word "homosexual" did not even exist. The reality is that those "clear passages" are about as clear as mud, yet they have come to be accepted as, well, gospel. But there is a very good chance they are not. There are many explanations of this, of the Greek translation, etc., throughout the comments to posts about homosexuality here on John's blog. Research it – read from other than Christian sources. You might be surprised at what you learn.

      • Susan

        Well said, Mindy. :)

      • Susan

        yes, quite well said, Mindy.

        • Mindy

          Hey, John – is there a prize for a comment that is double-Susan-ed?? I mean, c'mon. :) Both Susans. Makes me blush.

          • http://none Don Rappe

            Yes, the comment is good and deserves two Susans. A worthy attainment.

      • http://escapingmediocrity.wordpress.com Natassia

        Who defines "the truth"?

        Come now, is it really that unreasonable to believe in an absolute morality? As it is, being a Christian is to believe in an absolute truth and the ability to discern between right and wrong.

        Therefore, a Christian (at least one who honestly believes that the Gospel is true) is going to believe that what is true is always true, regardless of who we're talking about. That's why Christians make "blanket statements," as you call them. If they believe it to be true that sin separates Man from God, then they also believe that sin will separate you from God.

        It's not bigotry or even close-mindedness. It's simply the Christians' belief about truth.

        • DR

          Said the Christian who believes her version of Christianity is absolute truth. As a Christian who just read a bit of your blog, I can assure you that I am as devout a believer in Jesus Christ as you are, and we have radically differing conclusions about what Jesus said and who Jesus is. What do we do now?

        • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

          If I may and repeat what I told to Jill earlier (and which none of you devout Christians has yet deigned to react to – cuz you can't): DR is a bloke. I'm a bloke. Hell, John Shore is a bloke. YOU are a chick. St Paul says you gotta shut up and if you try to lecture us, you're sinning. If you really believed all the rules, you'd never talk back to a bloke.

          But you do. So, you claim those rules of the Good Book that you want to uphold but ignore those that you don't want to.

          THAT MAKES YOU A BIGOT!

          • Mindy

            Actually, DR is a chick. So can they talk to each other? Or, because we are in the presence of all you blokes, must we be very, very quiet?

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            Lol. Oh, DR, I beg yer pardon. My bad.

            @Jill: No idea. I'm not a Christian, am I? Just a theist who loves God more than God apprently loves him. I was never good with rules.

          • jes

            Perhaps they're just holding the "women in their place" argument for a different day? It's still preached. I have been told in all seriousness by a preacher (and I went in after the sermon and asked for clarification, so I know I didn't misunderstand what he was telling the congregation) that women don't need to have an education as our husbands should be taking care of us. All we women-folks need to do is stay home and raise the kids and cook supper for our dear hubbies.

            That belief is still out there, and often in the same areas of fiercely held anti-gay sentiment.

            (Incidentally, guess who never went back to a Baptist church? That one Sunday was enough to guarantee that neither my sister nor I wanted anything to do with that church–we were "church hopping" at the time, looking for one we felt comfortable in.)

        • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

          Natassia writes Come now, is it really that unreasonable to believe in an absolute morality? As it is, being a Christian is to believe in an absolute truth and the ability to discern between right and wrong.

          Note how you switch between arguing that you have a belief about morality (which you say you are allowed to hold), to the ability to discern right and wrong (forgetting that this discernment is also a matter of belief)!

          What if your belief is incorrect, Natassia?

          How can you know if your belief is incorrect?

          If you cannot know if it is incorrect, then you cannot know if it is correct.

          And that is why your beliefs about morality – absolute morality in particular – are not open to challenge, and that meets the definition of closed-mindedness. Your willingness to act on these closed-mined beliefs and extend them into the word makes you a bigot.

    • Susan

      Well, justmyOpinion, it's doubtful that your "purity" has anything whatsoever to do with the used/unused state of your genitals. If by chance you are female, your notion of "purity" actually dovetails quite nicely with that of the Islamic extremists who punish women who lose their "purity" in rather horrible ways.

      In Christian terms, purity is more closely related to the state of your mind, heart, and soul. Interestingly, Jesus has something to say about both these states — and also about the notion of purity.

      In Matthew 5 (the Sermon on the Mount), Jesus tells us that our very thoughts are also deeds. He says, specifically, that when we feel anger, we are guilty of murder, and when we feel lust, we are guilty of adultery.

      We don't know if Jesus felt lust, but we do know that he felt anger — most obviously when he drove the money changers from the temple. But we see it in him other times, as well. So if Jesus, who was the son of God, could do the equivalent of murder in his heart, then what hope is there for the rest of us? Clearly, "purity" is not what it's all about.

      Well, there IS hope, but it does not lie in doomed attempts at "purity." It lies in our relationship with the Lord, and that does not depend on "perfect behavior;" rather, it depends on our acceptance of God's love. That's all: just let him love you, and love him back. Then take that love, that acceptance, and share it freely and non-judgmentally with others. Do that, and you've got the two Great Commandments covered: you are loving God with everything you've got, and you're loving your neighbor as yourself.

      • http://escapingmediocrity.wordpress.com Natassia

        The body is inseparable from the spirit except in death…that's why sins committed against the flesh can scar the soul.

        Sexual immorality is one of those unclean things that makes us unclean from the inside out. It starts in the mind, manifests in the actions of the body, and ends in an injury to the soul.

        • http://none Don Rappe

          While what you say is true, it is not up to you to define which activities are immoral for another.

        • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

          Natassia, you claim that the spirit and body are inseparable. Presumably, you use spirit and soul as synonyms. Because spirit and body are inseparable during life, that must explain why there is no evidence for this spirit/soul while the body is alive (a very convenient way to hide, don't you think?) and is gone after death so it cannot be found then. Another coincidence, no doubt, to keep the claim immune from verification.

          You have admitted that your assumption about absolute morality is a belief you have chosen, which mean sexual actions you consider immoral are based on the same belief you have chosen. You make a thinking mistake to assume that the belief you have chosen about what is true equates with what is true (because the probability is .5 at best with no other considerations based on evidence). Your pronouncement that a sexual action is immoral, that it starts in the mind, that it manifests in the body, that it injuries the soul, is a factual chain of claims that cannot be independently verified on anything other than your belief. Attributing your belief to accurately reflect god's Truth is dishonest when you know these beliefs you have chosen may or may not be true.

          Surely you can appreciate why your belief alone is not enough justification to extend its conclusions into the lives of others. Granted, such an extension is arrogant, closed-minded, and can be shown as a social conglomerate to be highly prejudicial towards others. All this is speaks poorly of your honest caring and compassion towards others you are willing to marginalize on the basis of your belief. But when you use god to be the proxy agent of your belief, you add intellectual dishonesty to your arsenal.

          The good news, however, is that it is easy to disprove the charge of having a closed mind by changing it. I have tried to facilitate this change with what I think are better reasons than the ones you now hold that keep it closed. It's a small step, really, to understand why your beliefs (the ones you have admittedly chosen, don't forget) do not belong in directing the lives of others any more than the contrasting belief of others should be directing yours.

  • http://www.bornagainyesterday.com Justin

    The sticking point is this: the Bible is explicitly and unambiguously anti-gay. It couldn't be more anti-gay if it carried around a big sign that said "being gay is despicable in the eyes of God and is a perversion of nature"… wait. No, hang on. That's exactly what it says.

    Those who are Christians self-identify as being members of that faith. They make a choice to align themselves with a group whose belief system is allegedly based on the same Bible that clearly hates Gay people.

    Why would anyone choose to associate themselves with a clearly anti-gay, unloving belief system? Either a) they're not really thinking about the implications of the label they choose for themselves or 2) they don't care. This is one reason I had to stop identifying myself as a Christian. If I do, I'm making a conscious choice to identify with a religion that behaves in a hateful fashion a lot of the time.

    Or 3) They're redefining the word "Christian" to mean whatever they think is nice and good, regardless of what the basic texts of the faith say or of what the two thousand years of doctrinal history would say. This is exactly the same thing as my claiming the label "vegetarian" but continuing to eat steak, claiming that "vegetarian, "to me," includes steak. Or claiming to be "Catholic" but reserving the right to disagree with the Pope if I want.

    BTW, the prevailing attitude towards homosexuality in Jesus' day was exactly that expressed by the Bible in other places. Homos were to be killed if caught. Jesus, who had no problem speaking out against the prevailing culture on other issues, never brought this up. Ever.

    So either he 1) didn't care, or B) …actually I can't think of another reason he wouldn't mention this.

    • Mindy

      I would agree with you, if there wasn't so much research that shows how very unclear the Bible *actually* is on the topic of homosexuality. There is a good chance that what was meant in the original languages was about the sin of "spilling the seed," i.e. wasting perfectly good sperm when we humans needed to procreate as much as possible simply for survival, male prostitution, and men taking boys (who were fairly commonly enslaved as prostitutes). The concept of the homosexuality (the idea of same-sex attraction and relationships, not the acts) was not yet recognized in Biblical times, so no one seems to be able to offer a reasonable explanation as to how it could have been considered an abomination.

    • deb

      Or 3) He did care, and probably said something to the effect of "love them anyway" but this sort of blasphemy was conveniently left-out of the historical text.

      • Matthew Tweedell

        "Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." (John 21:25)

    • Matthew Tweedell

      "Or claiming to be 'Catholic' but reserving the right to disagree with the Pope if I want.”

      Funny… I thought the only Catholic who agrees entirely with the Pope at present is Benedict XVI.

      I was not aware that any personal disagreement with him—not just professing a belief in contradiction to those rare papal ex cathedra pronouncements—was incompatible with being in communion with Rome.

    • http://none Don Rappe

      I know of nothing in the Bible to indicate whether Jesus was gay, pro or con. Except for a reference to Peter's mother in law we wouldn't know that he was a married man.

    • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

      Aye. I dunno about research, Mindy, didn't study that. But in the common translations that are around when I read the bible itself, that is exactly the vibe I go away with. Fags are gross and need to be killed. But to repeat it for the umpteenth time, the bible also tells women to shup up and never contradict a man. So far none of the Christian men in discussion have taken offence at the fact that you (Mindy) contradict them and ARE A WOMAN. Why not? Cuz they'd be laughed out of here if they really wanted to sell the point that God doesn't like outspoken women. (Even though the bible clearly says so.) Cuz that fight was largely won 40 years ago.

      The bible says a lot of things. NONE of you live according to it all. The bible is the silliest, tiniest towel behind which to hide your intolerance. Using the bible as an argument just means that you don't have any other.

    • http://www.bornagainyesterday.com Justin

      All of the research that supports the Bible being "gay-friendly" or at least "Gay-neutral" is recent and unsupported by any amount of historical precedent. For 2000 years the Bible was unarguably anti-gay. Now, suddenly, when it's no longer convenient, we find reasons to say, "Hey, wait, the Bible actually said THIS all along!"

      This is disingenuous. The book says what it says. In the original languages, too. I've checked. The Bible is explicitly anti-gay. And Jesus didn't care enough about homosexuals being murdered in his home region to say anything about it. These things are obvious but they're rather unpleasant if one wishes to continue being called a Christian AND has a conscience. Hence problems like what Mr. Shore is addressing in his original post.

      However, and this is my point, most modern Christians aren't anti-gay. Nor are they a lot of other things mandated by their holy scriptures. I believe that it's nostalgia for the vocabulary of the religion that keeps people calling themselves Christian these days in a lot of cases. Not actual commitment to 2000 year old doctrines.

      And, yes, the Pope can never, ever be wrong according to Catholic doctrine. Papal Infallibility ain't no joke. If Benny says condoms are bad and you disagree, then you're disagreeing with God Almighty, according to the doctrine. Bad Catholic. Into the confessional you go.

      Unless, like some of my Catholic pals, you feel no need to go to confession, in which case you're protestant anyway so just switch to Episcopal and be done with it, I say.

      Many Catholics are Catholic out of nostalgia for the vocabulary and the ceremony, not the actual belief system. Just like the other Christian religions.

      My point is this: if you're a Christian you are self-identifying as a member of a deeply anti-gay bigoted institution. There is no way around this without being a bit disingenuous, as I mentioned. Arguments like Mr. Shore mentions in his post are evidence of this problem.

      (What I'd love to see is for this population to just come out and admit they're humanists and leave the dangerous mythology behind once and for all. However, that's not the point of this blog so I shant be rude and pursue that issue further.)

      • http://www.bornagainyesterday.com Justin

        Sorry, I missed something.

        @Mindy – Homosexuality was a recognized and widely accepted practice in Greek and Egyptian civilization for a long, long time before Jesus is said to have walked the earth. That's why the Paul letters bring it up.

        In fact, the Law of Moses, which was the only "bible" Jesus' culture had, explicitly condemns homosexuality multiple times. There's no confusion about this. There is only the need some very good people have to continue treating a sometimes very bad book as if it were perfect. It's OK to admit the Bible was wrong about a great many things. In fact, it's more honest.

        "Look, it's just the Bible. It's not Gospel." – Dara O'Brien

        • Mindy

          @Justin – I know that. But not the concept of monogamous gay relationships, and there was not a word for it. It was . . . recreational, shall we say? And the Paul letters talk about male prostitutes and I've read in several places that the translation was likely about men lying with boys – as in, the boy-prostitutes – being wrong.

          FWIW, I totally agree with you your take on the Bible. Lots of very scary stuff in there –

  • http://escapingmediocrity.wordpress.com Natassia

    Love is an act of will. To say that you just "fall in love" and have "no control" over who you fall in love with, makes love a meaningless and spontaneous emotional reaction. Of course, that way you don't have to feel guilty when you "fall out of love" with that very same person.

    You have no control over your feelings.

    Well, most Christians believe love is about far more than feelings.

    And the way I view Christianity is like any other predisposition someone may have towards sinful behavior like an addictive personality, or narcissism, or an anxiety disorder, you name it. It's a thorn in the flesh–a cross one must bear.

    Having an anxiety problem is in itself not a sin. The problem is what that anxiety may lead me to do: wrath, cruelty, impatience, compulsivity, etc.

    And I don't believe that the state of being homosexual is necessarily a sin, but it is what that state of being homosexual might lead the person to do.

    Turning to God helps to curb the panic and symptoms and intensity so that not only can I function, but I can actually thrive despite my pesky little thorn. And just as with me and my anxiety, I think God's grace is sufficient for a homosexual.

    • jes

      "And the way I view Christianity is like any other predisposition someone may have towards sinful behavior like an addictive personality, or narcissism, or an anxiety disorder, you name it. It’s a thorn in the flesh–a cross one must bear."

      I realize from the rest of your post that you did not mean this the way it reads, but I was amused by it anyway. Christianity is itself a predisposition towards sinful behavior, and a thorn in your flesh…

      • http://escapingmediocrity.wordpress.com Natassia

        lol, yes, I saw that after I posted it.

        I figured people were bright enough to see it for what it was: a typo. :)

    • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

      Natassia writes Love is an act of will.

      I call bullshit.

      Love is an intense physiological response of the limbic system that can be triggered in ways that are not self-directing. I have independently verifiable evidence for that claim.

      What do you have for yours?

  • Mindy

    Of course love is about more than just feelings. And yes, we do have a certain amount of control over who we fall in love with. We do not, however, have control over who we are attracted to – we can choose to pursue a relationship or not, but that initial attraction is usually out of our hands.

    Think about it, though, Natassia. I assume, based on your comment, that you are straight. Can you imagine looking at *any* woman and imagining a relationship with her? Not sex, but a romantic relationship. The intimacy that comes along with falling in love. If all of a sudden, for one reason or another, men were off limits completely, could you will yourself to fall in love with a woman? No? So then you just accept that men are off-limits, and will yourself to a single, celibate life – forever? You'd be OK with that?

    Of course you wouldn't. Very few of us would. For a gay person, one who really is NOT attracted to the opposite sex at all, that is what life is like in conservative church. So your answer is that instead of giving themselves permission to date, to seek a long-term, loving, monogamous relationship, they should just ask God for – what? The strength the remain celibate and alone? To "change" them?

    I'm not trying to be a smart aleck – I really want to know.

    • http://escapingmediocrity.wordpress.com Natassia

      We may have no control over our attractions, but we do not have to be controlled by those attractions.

      You asked if I can imagine looking at *any* woman and imagining a relationship with her? I have before. Does that make me bisexual? No. It means that sexual attraction is fluid and it is often shallow. A physical response towards something, or even just a curiosity about it, doesn't mean that is who I am. It doesn't define me.

      I have, amusingly, thought about what it would be like to have a "romantic relationship" with a female, and it occurred to me that it would be a farce–a weak imitation of the real thing. I observed that a woman would not be complementary to my personality, nor would it work out well with my desire to have a healthy family. I sought that which I am not: masculine.

      But these "what if you were the last two people on the face of the planet?" kind of questions are pointless. You seem to be implying that I can't be a healthy, normal human being without having sex. In fact, you seem to be saying that it would be unnatural to be celibate.

      How odd.

      With God all things are possible–even celibacy. And plenty of people have done it and continue to do it. They don't wither and die. They don't melt into puddles of misery.

      I don't claim to have an answer to the problem of homosexuality (and yes, I think it is a problem, just as is anxiety.) I think GOD has the answer. And what that answer is happens to be between each individual person and God. I just know that with God all things are possible. To believe otherwise is to believe that God is not almighty.

      • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

        Are you really trying to define love? Trying to claim THIS is love and THAT isn't? Come on. Love is a big word. It has zillions of meanings. Centuries and centuries and centuries peeps have written about love. You can fill books with what love means. At the lowest level love means intense affection. Everything beyond that depends on the culture, the context, the circumstances, the person who uses the word.

        But reading all this made me think. Maybe it ISN'T really about who you fall in love with and who you get your loving from. I mean… fuck… how to say this…

        "Loving’s pretty easy. It’s letting someone love you that's hard."

        - Rita Mae Brown (Riding Shotgun, 1997)

        The worst thing about being queer and told that you are an abomination isn't that you aren't allowed to be loved by others. That IS bad enough. But the worst is that your aren't allowed to love yourself!

        There is another thing that many think is supposed to go with love, and that is that is supposed to be unconditional. BUT when you're queer, it NEVER is unconditional. Yeah, God loves you, BUT he wants you to be different. Your rents love you, BUT they want you to be different. If your lover loves you, it really is a perversion. If you love a woman (or a man, for a dyke), you know that some part of your love is a lie, if only a lie of omission. As a queer bloke, even if you like a child, your own, or your baby borther, or your nephew, even then you know that those who know always have this little, held back fear in mind: He's a perv, so, who knows if his affection for the kiddo is all that innocent.

        When you're queer, you can never be innocent. You can never be accepted. Not the real you. You can never really let go, let yourself fall into the arms of love. You always have to be on the look-out, against yourself, against those around you. A part of you has to fight love all the time. It is SO FUCKING EXHAUSTING. After a while you get so tired you ust want it to stop, even when it means you have to stop breathing to get there.

        So, all you good "Christians" who think that picking that one prohibition from the Good Book of Zillion Prohibitions, there really is only three options for queers: Say "screw you all" to you bigots and ignore you and shag whosoever you want and feel good about it, or give up and die, or FIGHT till you are gone and we have won. And when that day is there, and there is queer boys happily snogging on all the school grounds in the world, and you have can't go through a town without having to retch all the time for seeing all those hand-holding dykes and happy faggots, just remember, we didn't bring that fight to you. You brought it to us. And I hope you choke on it.

        • Mindy

          Freefox, that sucks. The not getting unconditional love thing. That is the one thing that, as a straight person, I can relate to. I grew up feeling that I would only be loved if I met certain standards. Otherwise, sorry, not deserving. And it affected my entire life.

          You deserve better. SOOO much better. And so we soldier on, I suppose, yes?

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            And though we are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven – that which we are, we are: One equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will… to strive… to seek… to find… and NOT TO YIELD! :)

          • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

            What's not to love about Tennyson?

        • jes

          May I re-post your words, FreeFox?

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            Sure thing, mate. Feel free. (Though I am curious. Will you tell me where you are reposting them?)

          • jes

            My livejournal, for my friends who don't read this blog.

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            Oh, and Jes, when you do, feel free to fix my many typos. ;)

        • http://escapingmediocrity.wordpress.com Natassia

          Love has already been defined. I don’t need to redefine it.

          Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

          Does that sound like something you just fall into or fall out of?

          I think C.S. Lewis summed it up best over 50 years ago:

          What we call ‘being in love’ is a glorious state, and, in several ways, good for us. It helps to make us generous and courageous, it opens our eyes not only to the beauty of the beloved but to all beauty, and it subordinates (especially at first) our merely animal sexuality; in that sense, love is the great conqueror of lust. No one in his senses would deny that being in love is far better than either common sensuality or cold self-centeredness. But, as I said before, ‘the most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of our own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs’. Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling.

          Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all. Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last; but feelings come and go. And in fact, whatever people say, the state called ‘being in love’ usually does not last. If the old fairy-tale ending ‘They lived happily ever after’ is taken to mean ‘They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married’, then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships? But, of course, ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love.

          Love, in this second sense–love as distinct from ‘being in love’–is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be ‘in love’ with someone else. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.

          Further on he comments on the concept of ‘falling in love’:

          Another notion we get from novels and plays is that ‘falling in love’ is something quite irresistible; something that just happens to one, like measles. And because they believe this, some married people throw up the sponge and give in when they find themselves attracted to a new acquaintance. But I am inclined to think that these irresistible passions are much rarer in real life than in books, at any rate when one is grown up. When we meet someone beautiful and clever and sympathetic, of course we ought, in one sense, to admire and love thses good qualities. But is it not very largely in our own choice whether this love shall, or shall not, turn into what we call ‘being in love’? No doubt, if our minds are full of novels and plays and sentimental songs, and our bodies full of alcohol, we shall turn any love into that kind of love: just as if you have a rut in your path all the rainwater will run into that rut, and if you wear blue spectacles everything you see will turn blue. But that will be our own fault.

          Just because the we English-speakers use the word “love” to mean anything from an intense like for a particular flavor of ice cream to a friendly affection between teammates to an unconditional love between a mother and child, that doesn’t mean all languages are so vague. For example, Greek has four words: eros, storge, philia, and agape.

          Agape is an act of will, and it is the highest form of love. It is what we should all strive for, even with our enemies. And it has nothing to do with whether or not someone loves you in return.

          It must be a painful thing to feel inclined towards something you have been taught all your life is wrong. The guilt over the uncontrollable desires of your heart and body must be mind-numbing. I would not wish to be in those shoes. It is a heavy cross to bear.

          And I was really feeling sympathetic to your cause, FreeFox, until you concluded with this:

          So, all you good “Christians” who think that picking that one prohibition from the Good Book of Zillion Prohibitions, there really is only three options for queers: Say “screw you all” to you bigots and ignore you and shag whosoever you want and feel good about it, or give up and die, or FIGHT till you are gone and we have won. And when that day is there, and there is queer boys happily snogging on all the school grounds in the world, and you have can’t go through a town without having to retch all the time for seeing all those hand-holding dykes and happy faggots, just remember, we didn’t bring that fight to you. You brought it to us. And I hope you choke on it.

          You end on a note of “sexual free-for-all is the answer” and a proverbial middle finger for anyone who thinks otherwise. That’s not love. That’s lust.

          P.S. Only God can declare someone an abomination, and I don’t believe He creates abominations. People make abominations out of themselves.

          • jes

            I may be misinterpreting FreeFox's words, but I think what he said was more to mean that queers feel backed into such a corner that we can see no middle ground with most Christians. It has become an all-or-nothing situation, not because every queer out there is striving for the position of most promiscuous in the pack, but because Christian belief has denied us the option of being just other folk with similar desires. Christian belief sets queers up as monsters and abominations, and what can we do about it? Suffer in silence, roll over and die, or accept the label and excel at it. We didn't pick the label. We were given it. But if we're going to get condemned as abominations no matter what we do, why should we NOT do the best we can to live up to the label?

            Really, what do you think a monster is going to do when backed into a corner? Let the hunter run it through, or fight back with every bit of the strength the hunter feared, which inspired the hunt in the first place?

          • Mindy

            Nicely put, jes.

            I can think of all kinds of abominations – and being gay simply has nothing to do with any of them.

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            Kinda, Jes. It wasn't really a moral argument. It was just a description of what I feel is being witbut by a lame, not just be Christian homophobes, but by a large part of society (though no doubt a LOT less than in the years, decades and centuries before my lifetime. I know that for a queer I got it easy.) John SHore made the point that Christians demand that we live without love. That has sparked this big debate on here if celibacy is the same as life without love, if love is lust, if there is love without sex, the role of romantic love, etc. pp. And I just thought, well, for me it isn't so much that I am denied the right to love and be loved, though yeah, that is a small part of it. But right now I have no lover, I am celibate (unless you count Mr. Hand, a sin itself, I know), and I have love in my life. I am raising a child together with someone (not my child, not my wife, no sex or pretensions of romance, but still, there you are), I have friends that I love, I have a job that I love, I love God, and I love my life. I have love, even when I am not practicing sinful sex.

            But what I didn't have until I decided – after a long, hard, painful and pretty harshly sacrificial journey – that I wouldn't accept their judgement… not rebel against it, mind you, but simply do not accept that they have the right or the power to define the truth for me, what I didn't have until then, was the peace of being able to love myself, and by doing so, accpeting the love others brought towards me. Nobody can be loved who doesn't love himself.

            And to me that is a far worse sin – to not love yourself the way God created you, to reject the person He made you – that is truly unforgivable. And you are condamned to hell for it. I don't know anything about the next life, but going through THIS life while hating yourself IS hell. And I can understand every queer kid who decided that it is better to kill yourself, even though I want to shout to all of them to hold on, to hold on every minute longer, and to find the exit from that dark, hellish tunnel the Christians and others have cast us into.

            I am a bit ashamed for the cussing at the end of that last post, even though I do not take anything back. It is just, talking about all this brings back bad memories. Very bad, very painful memories. And the anger that accompanies them.

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            Damn, I am too tired: "It was just a description of what I feel is being witbut by a lame, not just be Christian homophobes, but by a large part of society" was meant to be: "It was just a description of what I feel is being withheld from me, not just by Christian homophobes, but by a large part of society."

          • Matthew Tweedell

            In what sense do you mean that one form of love is higher than any other? (And yet you claim you're not doing any ecclesiastical teaching…. hah!)

            By the way, what you gave is no definition of love (as a noun). That's a bunch of adjectives describing it. It doesn't really say what love actually is (while neither does it in any way preclude homosexual manifestation of it).

  • http://thenonconformer.wordpress.com/ thenonconformer

    YOU DO REALIZE THAT DEPRESSION IS A BIG PERSONAL PROBLEM IN MANY GAY PEOPLE'S LIFE EVEN CAUSE THEY DO NOT FACE THE ROOT, OTHER CAUSES OF IT BUT TOO OFTEN RATHER TRY TO MASK IT WITH GAY SEX, DRUGS, MEDICATIONS, BOOZE, ACTIVITIES..

    • Mark

      Or, perhaps, we just suffer from the never ending and nauseous opprobrium of PEOPLE WHO ARE SHOUTING AT US ALL THE TIME?

    • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

      Every queer man or woman I know who has been suffering from depression, suffered from it while they tried to fight their queerness, and it invariable got better and disappeared once they accepted themselves. Seriously, folks, it is really only you who is making us sick. Not God. Not booze. Not sex.

      • Belinda Carroll

        Yes, I have known many many gay people, who when they were suppressing their gayness were dealing with depression and anxiety. Once they came out they are the happiest people you have ever met. A close friend of mine came out after being a fundamentalist Christian. He told me one day that sometimes he was so overwhelmed with how much he loves his life, his friends and his community that he just had to cry. Come out. I don't think Jesus cares.

    • Jim

      Wow, all-caps all-the-time, huh? You sound like someone who speaks with the passion of personal experience.

      Really, what is your point with that? What are you trying to suggest? What exactly is that "root cause" of depression among LGBT people that they try to "mask with gay sex"?

      So depressed people have sex to "mask" their feelings? And here I thought those who do do it BECAUSE PEOPLE LIKE TO HAVE SEX. Apparently no: Gays–who are necessarily "depressed"–have sex for dark, dubious and unhealthy reasons, unlike all other people. What a fully transparent load.

      Furthermore, your not-so-subtle suggestion that gay people are special purveyors of addiction and emotional problems could not be more bigoted and nonsensical. If gay people have have special distress or pain, and in their lives, maybe you'd like to consider that BEING A WIDELY DISPARAGED , OPPRESSED, AND CIVICALLY MARGINALIZED MINORITY just might have something to do with that.

      if you have a shred of sincere interest in the actual emotional well-being of actual gay people, maybe you should consider avoiding YOUR "temptation" to anonymously bash them on internet forums, and instead actually befriend, support, and stand in solidarity with those LGBT people in your life.

      • jes

        Another mark against nonconformer's theory of hiding depression with promiscuity is that depression often decreases sex drive.

      • Tam

        You are right on, Jim

  • jes

    What is this even supposed to mean? Do try to use understandable grammar and realistic punctuation; screaming nonsense is hardly a convincing argument.

  • Mindy

    Nonconformer? I don't think so. I think you conform just fine by walking the line of the Christian dogma.

    Depression has nothing to do with this conversation. Many, many of us straight folk suffer depression as well – for all kinds of reasons.

    And if you don't think being told you are less than, that you are going to hell for who you are for your whole life won't cause some situational depression, you're sadly misinformed.

    Now, if you want to discuss, turn the cap lock off and quit yelling.

    • Lauren

      Belated happy birthday. And thank you for your kindness. You're an amazing person. And I can't read through 800 posts to find a more appropriate comment to reply to.

      • Mindy

        Thanks, Lauren. People like you are truly an inspiration. I didn't know, until I brought home children who don't look like me, what it feels like to have the world judge you based on who is holding your hand. Vastly different kind of judging, I realize, but after so many people chose to insert themselves into our personal lives uninvited, one of them pointing out I should never have gone overseas to bring more of "them" to the US, I got a glimpse into what it feels like to be be judged and pigeonholed by people who know nothing at all about us.

        I can't even fathom all the insidious negativity you and so many have had to deal with other the years. Explains why my gay and lesbian friends are some of the strongest, most centered and lovely people I know.

  • Peg

    Here is a question for all those who have decided God's perspective on happy people. I have numerous gay friends that have been with the same person (even married during the brief time when they were allowed to) for over 20 years. Then I have numerous Christian and non-Christian heterosexual friends who have been married and divorced at least two times. Jesus said a sin is a sin…"he who has not sinned cast the first stone". When we stand before God, if he does harshly judge us for our iniquities, who will he judge more harshly, the happily ever after till death do us part homosexuals or the twice divorced Christian out there looking for number 3? Remember, judge not, lest ye be judged? Are we reading the same bible?

    • http://escapingmediocrity.wordpress.com Natassia

      First of all, just because a Christian determines through the Scriptures that homosexuality is a sin, it is not the equivalent to casting a stone.

      One can discern that a particular behavior is wrong, for example, but that is not equal to judgment nor is it equal to punishment.

      The fact that a homosexual couple remains monogamous (even without that typical open-relationship disclaimer you often see between gay men) does not negate the sin of homosexual behavior.

      Nor does the fact that a heterosexual couple who commits "adultery" through the practice of multiple divorces and remarriage negate the original design for the pairing of mankind by God: a man cleaving to a woman and through that pairing produces biological offspring who they raise together.

      • DR

        First of all, just because a Christian determines through the Scriptures that homosexuality is a sin, it is not the equivalent to casting a stone.>>>

        Again, interesting as conceptual idea but are your grounded at all in the actual *reality* of this concept being implemented? With all due respect, do you read the newspapers or any kind of information readily available on the condemnation that gay kids specifically experience from their religious parents? The "casting a stone" occurs as these kids are regularly kicked out of their homes for being gay. It's so well-known and is such a huge problem that I'm slightly shocked more people aren't aware of it.

        • Jeanine

          I have been ‘educating myself’ as you exhorted me to.

          I have found an abundance of perspectives ‘other’ than your own – not religious in nature – as to the causes and effects of homosexuality and the associated teen suicide rates.

          http://www.narth.com/menus/interviews.html

          This organization is a scientific, professional, non-religious group who has a completely different opinion on this problem than you do. They have some very interesting perspectives that you may want to read into, backed up by scientific study.

          They also have an abundance of positive testimonies from people they have helped.

          Thanks for challenging me to look into this more.

          • Lauren

            I have to jump in here Jeanine. You should do a little research on this scientific, professional, non-reli…hahahahahahahaha. Wait, give me a minute. Bwahahahaha. Okay done.

            Narth. Okay, one of their founders, George Rekers was just recently caught in an awesomely hilarious gay sex scandal. After which, they scrubbed any mention of him from their website. They're being sued by a researcher (Dr. Remafedi) for altering and falsely citing his work. They and their research (what research they didn't steal and twist to suit their lies) have been debunked by every medical and mental health organization in America.

            Here's some more. Have fun and then try again: http://www.truthwinsout.org/blog/2009/11/4813/

          • DR

            Oh wow. Lauren just provided the specifics to these citations and why they are in question. Kismet!

          • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

            Jeanine's research skills need a bit of … remedial work, methinks.

            Just a hint, Jeanine, from someone who has made a fair bit of money from helping people do thesis papers: when one tries to research a particular point of view, first find out everything you can why that point of view is considered wrong, and then use the research that successfully defends against those points. In other words, assume your opinion is wrong first and then begin your research. Those who research only favourable citations get smacked down very quickly in the world of academia. It's amateurish.

          • DR

            This content is being legally challenged, Jeanine. Sorry. And I believe one of the founders was just recently caught in a sex scandal? But I'm glad you're digging into this content!

          • jes

            I did not spend much time at NARTH's website, since I'm actually supposed to be working right now. But a few quick thoughts follow.

            Funny how this "scientific" organization seems to have missed the following studies:

            http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-07/has… "A group of Korean geneticists has altered the sexual preferences of female mice by removing a single gene linked to reproductive behavior. Without the gene, the mice gravitated toward mice of the same sex. Those mice who retained the gene, called FucM, were attracted to male mice. (FucM is short for fucose mutarotase.)"

            http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2… On "male-oriented" rams, among other things. "Austrian scientists reported this month that switching a single gene was enough to make female fruit flies rebuff males and attempt to mate with other females. Swedish researchers recently found the sexual center of gay men's brains lit up when they sniffed a pheromone-like chemical from men's sweat, but didn't respond to a chemical from women.

            And last fall, Italian scientists offered a possible explanation for the persistence of gay genes — even though evolution tends to weed out traits that discourage reproduction. The team from the University of Padua found that mothers and aunts of gay men had more offspring than female relatives of heterosexuals, suggesting genes that influence homosexuality in men may increase fertility in females."

            I'd like to also point out that ANY organization or person that tosses out "natural" in relation to sexuality has just expressed utter ignorance of the diversity of "natural" sexual behavior. There is a species of lizards that is entirely parthenogenetic (no males at all, only females, who perform copulatory behavior). Ducks and dolphins commit rape, and gang rape. Many apes have a form of prostitution in which status in the troupe, food, or other resources are traded for sex. Rats exhibit homosexual behavior in both male and female. Shall I continue, or shall we agree that "natural" is not a good basis on which to judge sexuality?

            As to the non-religious nature of the organization, I had a bugger of a time trying to find a list of members and their educational credentials. Someone else appears to have had better luck at that, and posted some info about Mr. Rekker above.

            And here's a direct quote from one of the articles that I did not have time nor patience to finish reading: "Fisting is the sexual practice of inserting a large object or one's fist into the anus of one's sexual partner, in some cases up to one's forearm."

            Now, anybody who knows anything about kink will tell you that 1: fisting is NOT a homosexual-only practice, in fact most of the folk I know (and I will grant you that this is a small sample size) who fist are straight. 2: fisting is NOT specifically anal play, see number 1 there– most often it involves a vagina. 3: what is wrong with fisting anyway, if both parties enjoy it? Frag off, this is not a sickness. And 4: try this site on for size, just for kicks. It's a lovely discussion of how fisting is an acceptable and enjoyable activity for married Christian couples. http://www.sexinchrist.com/fist.html

            And now, I'm off to work some more. Enjoy :)

          • Argy-bargy

            Haha….I dare not click that link…I'm at work.

          • jes

            No pictures! but yeah, if they track your websites, best do that from home.

          • Soulmentor

            I've seen it on a m2m web site up to the shoulder. I can't imagine where that much arm goes, but I'm sure the receiver has gotten his innards rearranged and is wearing diapers during his every day life and has some explaining to do to his doctors!!!!! I've never done it myself and would never be the receiver in any case. I spose it can be pleasurable but, like a lot of pleasures, can be like a drug and harmful if done to excess.

            Oh my!! How did we get into this discussion?!?!

          • DR

            Here is more information on the research. It looks like NARTH is being accused of repurposing some research incorrectly, the world the scientist used regarding their referencing his research is they "hijacked" it (I know you love to use quotations!)

            http://www.citypages.com/2010-05-26/news/universi

            In all seriousness, if you're researching this particular topic to counter me? Go for it. Let us know anything else you discover and add it to the discussion.

      • Mindy

        Wow, I'm in all KINDS of trouble.

        I knew before I got married that I could not have children. No parts. So my marriage, was that a sham? Where we failing, in your God's eyes, because we knew before we married that we'd never have biological children? How do you feel about my parenting children I did not gestate?

        I mean, the whole divorce thing obviously makes me a big fat loser, but I wonder about the other stuff. I didn't lie about it – he knew, because he'd been there with me through the cancer. Should I have set him free, as it were, to marry someone who *could* bear him children?

        I understand that you *think* you know all the rules, Natassia. But until you spend time with gay people, until you sit with them, face to face, and discuss what it's like to know that you can never have a real relationship without losing your family/church/community, you really, truly, haven't got a clue.

        • DR

          This is terribly cynical (shocker!), but sometimes I wonder how much tax revenue would be lost if gay and lesbian US citizens were allowed to marry? Now, they can't enjoy any of the tax breaks offered to those who are married legally. Gay men and women tend to be highly educated and do quite well professionally – their income is substantial. I wonder how much of this is to keep them paying taxes? This of course, is a conspiracy theory and tomorrow I'll parce out who the second shooter on the hill was. But for now….

          • Matthew Tweedell

            Obviously the second shooter on the hill was the man who went on to become bin Laden's secret lover. That's right—-Phelps. (He disliked Kennedy because he was Catholic; he dislikes Catholics because of their anti-gay teachings; now he’s mad with envy over gays who are out of the closet, because he’s not able to take his relationship out of the closet because the closet is bin Laden's secret hiding place; and he hates America because she wants to kill his lover whom she can't find since he's in Phelp's closet. And it all makes perfect sense now. Sort of.)

          • DR

            Oh Matthew. It just takes a common enemy to see how awesome you are. :D

          • Mindy

            Bwwwahahaha! Matthew! I do believe coffee just came out my nose.

            Thanks for that. :-D

          • Argy-bargy

            Not sort of! You may have discovered the innermost secrets of the Templars! (Or the Freemasons, I can’t remember which.)

          • Argy-bargy

            DR, this is an excellent point. I’d have to dig them out, but I think that there is plenty of objective evidence that those in “married” stable households are more productive, healthier, and contribute greatly to their communities. Although there might be a reduction in tax revenue, there is undoubtedly an increase in consumption, home ownership (with real estate taxes paid) and a reduction in health spending and reliance on social services (less government spending). Net, I’d say it’s far better for society from that standpoint. If hetero couple households are “net” better, and studies show that gay couple households are just as likely to be healthy, productive, and stable as hetero households, then it logically follows that gay couple households would also be net contributors.

      • Don Michael

        Dear Natasha,

        Thank you for your wonderful post. I'm sure you are very pleased with yourself. You're a God-loving Christian, blah, blah, blah…..which means you love Jesus Christ, who by the way, never, EVER said anything about homosexuality…at all.

        I'm certain you revel in your moral bigotry, intolerance and in your mind-numbing, sheep-like love of the Bible, the grand-daddy of all literature which was written to inspire hate and foolishness, and is perfect for followers like you. You hate yourself. Therefore you are incapable of love or tolerance.

        Why do you hate yourself? Simple. Because people who like themselves don't put down others, specifically those who have done nothing except being born with a sexual preference you don't like. Well, congratulations. Take your hate with you. If I believed in Hell, I'm positive you would be there.

  • http://escapingmediocrity.wordpress.com Natassia

    FreeFox,

    Christians demand that we live without love.

    Realistically, I think what most of them are saying is that if a person is a Christian than he or she should abstain from sex if it is of the premarital, extramarital, or homosexual variety.

    I don't know that Christians are DEMANDING that homosexuals do or not do anything. Homosexuals are free to engage in whatever behavior they want to, so long as it is consensual and between adults. And I don't hear a loud call for the criminalization of homosexual behavior.

    I think what homosexuals are looking for is not only tolerance from the Christian community, but acceptance. And not just acceptance of their person but also acceptance of their behavior.

    But in order to do that, Christians must cherry pick their faith and the long-established church traditions, doctrines, and scriptures that define the religion of Christianity. It seems to me that [activist] homosexuals are demanding that Christianity conform to their viewpoint. If an establishment/organization/church/whatever cannot state its foundations or discriminate in its membership or define its borders, then how can it remain an "organization"?

    And if Christianity is inherently false–and it appears that you believe this is so as do many other homosexuals–then why be concerned with it? Are Christians trying to criminalize your behavior? Are they trying to oppress your freedom to engage in homosexual acts, or cohabitat with someone of the same sex, or have a wedding ceremony with someone of the same sex, or talk about homosexuality in public?

    • DR

      I don’t know that Christians are DEMANDING that homosexuals do or not do anything.>>>

      Of course Christians demand a particular standard of behavior – what a naive suggestion. Specifically, as we continue to keep gay and lesbian citizens from a legal standard of marriage through our votes against it, we demand they accept our religious standard of marriage. We deny them the legal rights and the social contractual benefits that come from "married" status. Spiritually speaking, Christians demand that gay and lesbians refrain from having sex or following up on romantic impulses behaviorally in order to be considered holy.

      • http://escapingmediocrity.wordpress.com Natassia

        Christian tradition and scriptures and doctrines demand adherence to a strict moral code. But whether or not Christians themselves (as if by the very fact that they claim to be Christians gives them any authority over the behavioral standards of other human beings) demand anything is a non-issue. Why do you care what someone "demands"? Muslims demand all sorts of things. New Atheists have their own set of demands. Scientologists do as well. So what?

        What you seem to be insinuating is that people may demand things so long as it conforms with your viewpoint. It's not okay for people to define marriage as what it has traditionally been in this country: a legal contract between a man and woman (because the state has a vested interest in the possible offspring that may result from such a union). And yet it is okay for a small group of people to DEMAND that their definition of marriage is the correct one and everyone must abide by it through the legal sanction and financial subsidization of a sexual relationship that could in no way, shape, or form produce biological children.

        By this same standard, one could assume that the only reason society has not legally recognized incestuous relationships is because not enough people have been screaming loudly enough for their "equal rights." And by that same measure, why don't we also recognize polyamorous relationships? Or what about same-sex cohabitating folks who raise children together (like sisters or a mother and daughter) but do not have sex with one another? Why can't they also be recognized as a "marriage" and received the "equal rights" as heterosexual married folks?

        • Argy-bargy

          @Natassia:

          If the purpose of marriage is to join a man and woman for the purposes of procreation, does that mean that a man and a woman who already know they can't procreat shouldn't get married?

        • DR

          Christian tradition and scriptures and doctrines demand adherence to a strict moral code. But whether or not Christians themselves (as if by the very fact that they claim to be Christians gives them any authority over the behavioral standards of other human beings) demand anything is a non-issue.>>>

          What in the world are you talking about? Christians vote for laws within this country based on their *strict moral code* (that's not as consistent as you infer, and often not even lived consistently ourselves.) As a result, of course they impose their morality on others who are non-religious, they just do it as citizens.

          Why do you care what someone “demands”? >>>

          Um, because you suggested that religious people *don't* demand certain things? I countered you and now you are asking me why I care about it? Please stay on topic.

          Muslims demand all sorts of things. New Atheists have their own set of demands. Scientologists do as well. So what?>>>

          Again, above, you are the one who suggested Christians don't demand behavior, not me. I countered you. Please stay on topic.

          What you seem to be insinuating is that people may demand things so long as it conforms with your viewpoint.>>>

          No dear, that's you. Or historically, it's been us as Christians who are like you are doing now, throwing a petulant hissy fit at the mere suggestion that the legal contract bestowing certain rights and societal contracts upon people who don't share our religious definition of "marriage"

          It’s not okay for people to define marriage as what it has traditionally been in this country>>>

          Of course it is. People demand laws change all the time. Have you heard of something called the Civil Rights movement?

          . And yet it is okay for a small group of people to DEMAND that their definition of marriage is the correct one and everyone must abide by it through the legal sanction and financial subsidization of a sexual relationship that could in no way, shape, or form produce biological children.>>>

          Look in a mirror. You're the one demanding that it stay the same. Same coin, different sides.

          People in this country can demand whatever rights they want and expect out of whichever belief system to which they ascribe. It seems like you feel like Christians are the only ones entitled to define historical definitions of things which is simply your privilege speaking.

          You live in America. Welcome to a new world where we as Christians don't get the last word on the law anymore. If you want to be petulant about that, go right ahead but most reasonably-educated people who are also Christian are beginning to understand that the privilege we have enjoyed by those who have told us we are a "Christian nation" – therefore manipulating us into voting a particular way – is ending.

          • Mindy

            There it is again, that "biological children" thing.

            And I ask you again, should we not have been allowed to marry? Not a single uterus between us, my spouse and me. So? There was no chance of offspring, no matter how much monogamous, traditional, married sex we had.

            How is that OK, if gay relationships are not? And why on earth do you think it is OK to apply "God's original design" as the LEGAL standard for marriage? We honor all religions or the right to not have one at all in this country. My God doesn't mind at all if gay people marry. Why can't my God be the big winner and set the laws???

        • Matthew Tweedell

          Incest is likely to have negative effects in posterity should offspring result.

          As for the other things… sure, why not? What legal prerogative has the state to determine with whom I make a given contract? I mean, you define this as a contract between a man and a woman, but what right has the state to arrange whom it can be between so long as the parties are legally consenting to it? It would be outrageous to have certain contracts legally allowed only among persons of differing races or between a tall person and a short person or whatever.

        • DR

          I can't believe I didn't answer this:

          "Muslims demand all sorts of things. New Atheists have their own set of demands. Scientologists do as well. So what?"

          Because none of those groups enjoy the privilege of being the 'majority' of Americans. If you've any doubt about the mentality of Christians in America who believe they are entitled to demand just about anything we want to have (again, I am a Christian), then please watch the Norman, Oklahoma board where the idea of having a GLTB history month was proposed. The entitlement the majority of the room felt to retain their "judeo-christian community" was substantial.

          Nastasha, be a Christian. Who cares. I would like to keep being one myself. But being Christian does not automatically mean to getting my way with every single American law, OK? Which is what many in our country simply demand.

          OK, I can really be done with this thread. I hope so.

      • StraightGrandmother

        Very true, well said.

    • Mark

      "I don’t know that Christians are DEMANDING that homosexuals do or not do anything. Homosexuals are free to engage in whatever behavior they want to, so long as it is consensual and between adults. And I don’t hear a loud call for the criminalization of homosexual behavior."

      Oh right. So NOM, FOTF, FRC, the proponents of Prop 8 and all that money getting poured into propositions and referendums that have the effect of restricting my civil liberties are just a figment of my imagination?

      You're not listening very carefully if you're not hearing it.

      • http://escapingmediocrity.wordpress.com Natassia

        You are FREE to marry. No one is going to arrest you for going in front of your preacher and taking vows. No one is going to stop you from making contracts with that person and living with that person.

        And Californians voted to be FREE not to subsidize your sexual relationship.

        What you call a "civil liberty" is really a financial obligation that you are attempting to impose on the state.

        • DR

          You are FREE to marry.>>>

          What? Where?

        • Mark

          What you call a “civil liberty” is really a financial obligation that you are attempting to impose on the state.

          Pot, meet kettle.

        • DR

          And Californians voted to be FREE not to subsidize your sexual relationship.>>>

          Except of course, gay men and women who live together as "spiritually" married don't get to enjoy the tax benefits that you and your husband enjoy – right? As they pay for your neighborhood's sidewalk fixes and public schools so you don't have to as much.

          • DR

            Does anyone else notice that Christians like Natassia tend to run when "money" is put on the table for discussion?

            I swear that bringing money to discussions – for some christians, not all – is like switching a light on and watching the night critters scatter. *Poof*. Gone.

            Christians and our relationship with money is so immoral and inscestuous that we don't even know how to think about it anymore, let alone talk about it. You've got the good Reverand Longs with their BMWs and their prosperity gospels, absolutely manipulating the poor to offer their Social Security money. And this issue, to be so unwilling to look at what the lack of legal marriage does to a gay couple's financial status. To actually have them pay DOUBLE as legally-single people for the public schools the married straight people get to send their kids to – it's so shockingly hypocritical that I can't believe we've not been called on it before now and forced to speak to it.

            And yes, I said "forced". There are things we need to be held accountable to. This is one of them. If you're so proud of your beliefs and so adamant on your ability to exercise your Free Speech to assert them? Then follow through and actually hold yourself accountable to the impact that others are bringing to your attention. Or at least have the courage and/or integrity to admit that you just don't care about it. I'd have much more respect for that than just crying victim and running away.

    • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

      Since you adress that last post to me, I must assume you think that somehow it is in response to something I said. I fail to see how it answers anything I have written… and I admit, I have written a LOT in these comments… John Shore made the statement about Christians demanding that we live without love. You HAVE read the original blog post, right? While I agree that part of the queer-sex-is-sin doctine would cut us of from a certain part of love, the worst about it is that it demands we do not love or accept ourselves.

      Do I want tolerance or acceptance from Christians? Well, frankly, I couldn't give a hoot if you tolerated or accepted me. Do I want, say, my co-workers, my boss, my teachers, my friends, my siblings, or my rents to accept me – and that includes not only that I have the desire to shag other carriers of the Y-chromosome, but also that every now and then I actually do that, hm, yeah. I do. Not meagre, grudgingly-given, painful tolerance, but full-blown, ture, acceptance without reservation.

      Do I want you to cherry-pick the bible and tradition? As I said a million times before on here: Yeah. Cuz, you know, let me let you in on a little secret: You. Do. So. Any. Way.

      I'm a man. You're a woman. St. Paul tells you to shut up when I speak, and that he doesn't suffer you to teach me. And yet, here you are. Cuz you are an intelligent, independent, modern woman of the 21st century. And I congratulate you to it. And now that you won YOUR war – or had others win it for you, maybe, I dunno what you did in the 1970s – please, go back to Paul, shut up, and let me win mine.

      "Are they trying to oppress your freedom to engage in homosexual acts, or cohabitat with someone of the same sex, or have a wedding ceremony with someone of the same sex, or talk about homosexuality in public?"

      I do not really have to answer that, do I? I only have SCARS to prove that they do, lady. But why don't you ask Billy Lucas? Why don't you ask Raymond Chase, Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh, and Asher Brown? Oops. You can't. Cuz they are dead.

      • http://escapingmediocrity.wordpress.com Natassia

        You quoted him as saying that Christians demand that you live without love. You also expressed your agreement with him, which was evident in some other posts you made.

        • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

          I may have agreed with him on something. Don't know. But you see, I know you faithful are a bit weak on the concept, but just because I agree with one thing someone says, does not mean I agree with everything they say. But be that as it may… how about the rest? How about the violence, the name-calling (that is forbidden in the very same verse most Christians quote to legitimize it, btw.), the kids who pissed on my street clothes during gym class, then filmed me as found my wet, reeking clothes and sent the video to all his friends in the school? How about the bloke who told me how disgusted he was that I didn't have the courage to let vet put me out of my misery when I realized I was a faggot? And yeah, how about the dead teenagers being heaped on your front step?

          How about your cherry picking anti-queer passages but ignoring anti-women's-lib passages? How about those passages that condemn Jews? You alright with those, too?

          Come on, let's hear it.

          • http://escapingmediocrity.wordpress.com Natassia

            How about the violence, the name-calling (that is forbidden in the very same verse most Christians quote to legitimize it, btw.), the kids who pissed on my street clothes during gym class, then filmed me as found my wet, reeking clothes and sent the video to all his friends in the school? How about the bloke who told me how disgusted he was that I didn’t have the courage to let vet put me out of my misery when I realized I was a faggot? And yeah, how about the dead teenagers being heaped on your front step?

            How about your cherry picking anti-queer passages but ignoring anti-women’s-lib passages? How about those passages that condemn Jews? You alright with those, too?

            Come on, let’s hear it.

            You're right.

            They were cruel and failed to behave as Christ commanded of his followers.

            There is nothing more to say about that except that my heart breaks for what you suffered at the hands of cruel children.

            I was tormented in school as well, but for a different reason. I did not deserve that treatment–no one does–but I rose above it. It taught me to be kind to those who are different. And it also gave me the courage to stand up against bullies later in high school and college…even bully teachers.

            There are verses that condemn particular Jews at a particular time. But the idea that those verses are blanket statements on Jews as a whole is silly. Jesus is a Jew. His disciples were all Jews. The apostle Paul had a Jewish mother.

            P.S. I'm rabidly anti-feminist, so I don't ignore those "anti-women's lib passages." ;)

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            "It taught me to be kind to those who are different."

            Is it really only me, or did anyone else hear the Irony meter just go sproing?

          • Argy-bargy

            Mushroom cloud on the horizon, actually….

          • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

            Like a gong here, and doubly so with the standing-up-to bullies comment but supporting a discriminatory law.

          • DR

            This is the person who really freaks me out. Utterly unconscious, not aware of the dissonance and justifies both via a holy righteousness. It's like being blinded twice – can't see the inconsistency and excused from even looking for it because God tells her she doesn't have to.

          • DR

            Stunning.

          • http://escapingmediocrity.wordpress.com Natassia

            I think you are redefining what "kind" means. :)

          • Mindy

            Very loudly, yes.

          • DR

            There is nothing more to say about that except that my heart breaks for what you suffered at the hands of cruel children.>>>

            With all due respect, no one cares that your "heart is breaking". It means absolutely nothing to the people who are actually manning the call centers and at the homeless shelters where these kids go when there is nowhere else for them to go. They would tell you that your theology and insistence that it serves as the formation for how all gay children view themselves as well as how God sees them is in part, what is killing these kids.

            In short, take some of your tough talk and apply it to yourself, please. Nobody cares that you feel badly about it. How about you get involved and solve the problems that you create by your posture on these issues.

          • http://escapingmediocrity.wordpress.com Natassia

            How odd that it is only recently that there is this epidemic of gay children attempting to commit suicide.

            What are the suicide statitsics for children 60 years ago, I wonder?

            Again, I think you are equating cruel parenting with the belief that something is a sin. There are plenty of gay teenagers who are not homeless even though their parents believe that homosexuality is sinful. And there are plenty of heterosexual teenagers who are homeless even though their parents don't view their sexual orientation as sinful.

            You are being incredibly rude, and there is no need to be. I was simply expressing my sorrow at someone's ill treatment (especially since I can empathize with being the target of bullying because of something I had no control over).

            And yet you throw my sympathy in my face like it's worthless simply because it comes from the mouth of someone who doesn't think like you do.

            Talk about close-minded.

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            I am sorry, Natassia, but he is not uncalled for rude. Actually, I am working my best to stay called for un-rude. I am one of those "children" that suffered under the mental, spiritual and physical violence of self-righteous peeps that – at least in part – claimed to be justified by the bible. And too often have I met well-situated middle-class Christians who had the luxury to talk theology while their very words lead to wounds on my body as well as my soul. I spent 2 years on the streets. Believe me, if you are a minor and homeless, you get to see a very different side of what the real effects of theology are. Yes, there was Christians who helped, even if they knew of me being queer. But not many. Your belief does more harm than good. I know.

            I have made my peace with God. For me, this is not about theology any longer. Believe whatsoever you wish. But your actions – and words ARE also actions, as is the omission to act – do matter to me. Because they have effects on other people.

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            "How odd that it is only recently that there is this epidemic of gay children attempting to commit suicide."

            It is odd, isn't it that the year of the big fight about Prop 8 and Perry v. Schwarzenegger is the year that sees 7 teenagers being driven into suicide because they are percieved to be queer by their peers.

          • Mark

            Dipstick. Gay kids have been attempting (and succeeding) at killing themselves 3x the rate of straight kids for decades.

            your ignorance is insulting.

          • DR

            Go look for those stats yourself if you're genuinely interested, data is readily available.

            As for being rude? If treating you like an adult who is responsible for her actions and being honest about how others who are in the trenches with these kids view your "compassion"? So be it. Keep hiding yourself from it. But there are a lot of people out there who are dealing with these ravaged kids as a result of the theology that you are proudly defending, here. I am one of them. Your feelings are decidedly secondary and you will ultimately choose what you learn and what you don't.

          • Mindy

            Natassia, you don't know rude.

            You have no idea how utterly insufferable you are being. You have no clue how hurtful so much of what you've said is, to so many people.

            What happens when you have children and one of them realizes, along about puberty, that he or she is gay? Then what? What will you do? Will you counsel your child to go against his or her very nature? Ask them to never expect a long-term, loving, monogamous relationship? Preach to them what you are preaching here?

            You really are quite removed from reality. And it is, truly, unnerving to read you holding *such* strong opinions about something you know so little about.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            @FreeFox

            7? A bit of a low-end estimate, doncha think?

          • jes

            "P.S. I’m rabidly anti-feminist, so I don’t ignore those “anti-women’s lib passages.” ;)"

            Wait. You're rabidly anti-feminist, but you said elsewhere that you vote? Didn't that whole women's suffrage bit come about as a result of the feminist movement?

            Not to be too terribly tangential here, but I think your next prayer session may want to include a request for some help evaluating a few areas of your own hypocrisy, of which you are so blissfully unaware.

            Asking for acceptance of homosexuality is not in any manner the same thing as forcing you (or anyone else) to embrace it. It is asking for you to stop imposing your belief system on others—we are not trying to dictate to you who you can or cannot marry, or whether you should or shouldn’t marry at all, which is in sharp contrast to many Christian’s approach to this topic.

            Arguing that gay marriage should be opposed because government funded because the state has a vested interest in possible children is silly. If that’s the reason the government should continue to deny homosexual marriage, then it should also deny marriage to infertile couples, couples over a certain age, and after a few years should take away tax benefits from hetero couples who’ve failed to reproduce. Or perhaps force them to divorce and try again? This argument is overused and pointlessly silly. Myself, I think the government should have nothing to do with marriage at all. No tax breaks or penalties for marriage, and no restrictions (beyond, of course, consenting adult) on who I can or can’t marry. Frankly, it is not the government’s job to care about that, it’s between me and whatever God I choose to follow or not follow. And America is supposed to have a government separate from church.

            Nobody here is trying to end Christianity, just ease the overwhelming tendency of conservative Christians to try running everyone else’s lives. And if you honestly cannot see that tendency, I suggest you subscribe to a few newspapers, read them thoroughly, and let yourself actually think about what you’ve read, because you have got to be blinding yourself, either intentionally (in which case I don’t know why we’re even talking to you) or subconsciously.

      • http://escapingmediocrity.wordpress.com Natassia

        FreeFox, people are murdered for all sorts of reasons in this world, and in this country in particular. Many times it is over greed and envy (armed robberies gone bad and the like). Other times it is over revenge. And sometimes it is to terrorize communities.

        No one believes it is a sin to own an iPod and listen to it while walking down an impoverished street. And yet people are killed over it. Believing something is a sin or not realistically has very little bearing on the incidence of murder. Think about it. Murder is a sin too.

        All sorts of philosophies and belief systems out there "make demands" of us. If you don't like the demands of a particular belief system, then don't adhere to it. This seems rather simple.

        However, it sounds like you view the very existence of belief systems that demand strict adherence to a narrow definition of sexual morality as offensive and oppressive. The very idea that these concepts exist serve to oppress you…or at least that's what it seems like.

        You're a man, and I'm a woman. We are not in a church. I am not in an authoritative position in this discussion. Therefore, St. Paul's particular words–I suppose you are referring to one of his epistles to the Corinthians–are not relevant to this discussion.

        Context, FreeFox, context.

        • Argy-bargy

          "….I am not in an authoritative position in this discussion…."

          What are you in an authoritative position on, then?

          • http://escapingmediocrity.wordpress.com Natassia

            I have authority over my own person and over my children and over my dog and over any thing that happens to have my name on it (like my car)…I would have said my cat, but I don't really have any authority over him–or at least he denies me any authority. :)

          • Argy-bargy

            1 Timothy 2:11-14:

            11Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

            12But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

            13For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

            14And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

            Are you not teaching us what the meaning of Scripture is?

          • http://escapingmediocrity.wordpress.com Natassia

            First of all, Paul was giving instruction on worship. What we are engaging in here is dialogue, not worship.

            I am also not a teacher, nor are you my student. I am not here to instruct you but rather to engage in dialogue.

            And as Paul said, HE did not PERMIT a woman to teach. This is based on what Paul had the authority over to permit or not permit anything. Paul only had authority over the church. He did not have authority over governmental institutions, for example. He did not have authority over public forums of debate and dialogue, nor did he claim to.

            I can't help but think, though, that you WANT Paul's words to be applicable to a quasi-anonymous, public Internet forum.

          • DR

            Always so fascinating to see people of this mindset fly the context flag when things get awfully close to home, like the parents of kids who come out – all of the sudden, theology changes.

            You're playing the semantics game rather fast and loose. You're not asking questions here, you're asserting authority and making declarative statements. That's teaching. Obey the Word of the Lord in this matter, show some consistency.

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            What I want is for you to realize that you are interpreting the words of the bible. That you are aware that it was always human beings who wrote them down. There is God's spirit in those words. God's spirit is in a lot of things. But they are not a list of commands by someone you are condemned to follow. And they do not lead to a better world when you do follow them blindly. They require thought and deliberation.

          • http://escapingmediocrity.wordpress.com Natassia

            I am not playing the semantics game. Just because I make assertions, it doesn't mean I am grasping at authority.

            Good grief.

            It's no wonder that folks like you find the mere existence of a strict moral code to be oppressive. Just stating the aspects of that code are acts of oppression.

            Perhaps you are lifting me to a pedestal that is much higher than where I am actually standing. I have no power over you or your thoughts. I am no acknowledged expert or Biblical authority. I have no control over you.

            So it is you who grants me authority by the mere fact that I am making an assertion?

            How odd. I feel like Alice in Wonderland or something.

          • http://escapingmediocrity.wordpress.com Natassia

            FreeFox, actually, I'm just discussing the context of those statements…and the context of those statements don't make them logically applicable to the dialogue in this thread.

            Paul wrote what he wrote. I'm not trying to determine his meaning (especially since it seems pretty straightforward.) I'm just trying to determine the applicable context.

            And from the surrounding passages, it seems pretty obvious: I cannot be a spiritual leader of men.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            It is not the existence of a strict moral code that bothers anyone. It is baseless assertion of its absolute and true relation to matters of eternal destination that's a problem.

            But about that strict moral code that you, woman (who hopefully opposes financial instruments/accounts that accrue interest at anything greater than the inflation rate of their enumerated currency—as the Bible instructs us to stone usurers, speaking against this grave sin far more than it does on homosexuality, with Christ Jesus Himself even going on the record clearly against it, and there seems to be much more rational reason in such a prohibition) do believe you have sufficient authority to confidently assert as the religious teaching of the Church:

            Matthew 11:29-30

            "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

            1 Cor. 10

            23-26

            "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience….

            29-30

            The other man's conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be judged by another's conscience? If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for? (1 Cor. 10:23-25,)

            Acts 15:28-29

            It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.

          • DR

            Interesting – you get to decide how much your licensing fees are on your car? I want to live in that state!

          • DR

            You establish macro-authority via your vote. When you vote a particular way as a citizen of the US (assumption), you vote authority in that impacts others outside of your immediate circle.

          • http://escapingmediocrity.wordpress.com Natassia

            Except my neighbor has equally one vote and can easily nullify my vote. By the very fact that each adult has the ability to vote, none has authority over another.

          • DR

            Your choices, your consequences. Stop playing the "look over there" tactic. You have authority via your vote. Take responsibility for it.

          • http://escapingmediocrity.wordpress.com Natassia

            But you are trying to put me in an authoritative position which implies that I have control over someone that someone does not have over me.

            That's what AUTHORITY is. Although, it seems like you are trying to say that by the simple fact that I am autonomous and, along with my neighbors, have the collective ability to self-govern, then that means I have authority over my neighbors.

            You're twisting things in convoluted circles.

          • Matthew Tweedell

            You are incorrect in your conclusion as not all voters weild equally powerful votes. Take a closer look at the concept of voting power.

        • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

          Ah. A Christian who understands the meaning of context. Great. I am happy that you see it that way. And you seriously do not think that the context, the historic, social context in which the statements that probably pertain to man-on-man sex is one that is not really applicable today? Or are you trying to say that it is only the context your interpretation wants to allow? We may not be in church, but, seriously, when Paul wrote this, they weren't really in church either. Cuz neither the church as the institution we know it today nor the sort of buildings we have it occupy today had even been invented. It was just a bunch of faithful gathering in caves to worship God and to, well, discuss the Word. Kinda like we are here gathered in a virtual cave, many of us all to ready to worship God (look around, there is enough non-atheist non-homosxuality-condemners here… and I do count myself amongst those who love and believe in God), and discussing the Word. And you are trying to teach me that my understanding of it is wrong.

          I'll admit, it is a matter of interpretation. We could discuss it. Once you stopped claiming that there was only one way to read it.

          As for the murder-for-an-iPod argument, lady, you aren't serious. People do not get murdered or driven into suicide because peeps claim that listening to iPods is sinful. We get slaughtered for being who we are.

          • http://escapingmediocrity.wordpress.com Natassia

            I think you misunderstood my argument that believing something is a sin does not inherently lead to murder. People are murdered over non-sins all the time. People are murdered for who they are all the time too: being black, being white, being promiscuous, being rich, being pretty, you name it.

            And yet you seem to be tying the murder of homosexuals to the belief that homosexuality is a sin. This is not a logical argument. For one thing, there is very little evidence for it.

            I really don't want to get hung up on this Corinthians stuff…but okay.

            You may be a Theist, but you don't sound like a Christian man. In fact, I don't know for a fact that you are a man at all. (Likewise, you don't know if I really am a woman.) I am not in an authoritative position over you in this discussion, nor am I trying to place myself in an authoritative position over you. In any case, this is not a church setting, building or no building.

            And you seriously do not think that the context, the historic, social context in which the statements that probably pertain to man-on-man sex is one that is not really applicable today? Or are you trying to say that it is only the context your interpretation wants to allow?

            I view man-on-man sex as "missing the mark." It deviates from God's original design which is what is best. Is strictly monogamous, discreet man-on-man sex better than promiscious, publicly-glorified man-on-man sex? From a societal viewpoint, yes. They are both sinful–they both "miss the mark", but one is limited in its scope and its negative affect on others.

            Christ's words come to mind:

            At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"

            He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

            "And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

            "Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell."

            And it really seems to me that the gay activist community today is more concerned with what adults want than what is best for children in general. If you're interested, at my blog I have summarized (and quoted) most of the recent U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Conference that covered much of this issue: What's best for children? (Although it dealt more from an assumed heterosexual viewpoint.)

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            I would say you are missing the mark. I do not contend that the bible can be read to call queer sex a sin, nor that the values of the people around 0 BC/AD were pretty firmly on the make-babies-in-small-tight-economic-units-called-family. But we just agreed on, the bible says a lot of things, up to kill your kids when they don't respect you. It is a matter of context, and of interpretation. The bible is not a clear cut catalogue of dos and don'ts for the 21st century. We can discuss the mores of sex, love, and marriage. But not by blind bible-thumping. But by actually talking about what it means for the people living today.

            You miss the mark when you waste time writing blogs against same sex marriage while the same ideology – however well understood or misunderstood – that you preach leads to the abandonment, despair, suicide, and murder of kids. I am sorry, but that takes precedence. As long as homophobia is accompanied by the sort of violence and vehemence as it is today, that is simply the bigger problem. Especially a Christian, especially one who feels for those that are different and claims to stand up against bullies, should direct her energies elsewhere.

            As long as you are standing on the side of the Westboro Baptist Church and the LDS in this fight, I will see you as my enemy. As an enemy of all that is good, and holy. Of what God would want.

          • http://escapingmediocrity.wordpress.com Natassia

            And you are free to believe whatever you want, FreeFox.

            I am not arguing that somehow you should see things my way or any particular way.

            I just don't understand why people should see things YOUR way.

            Abandonment, despair, suicide, and murder of kids take place in all sorts of environments–especially those in direct violation of Christianity (drug abuse, promiscuity, etc.). To blame it on Christianity is ludicrous.

            And here you are telling me what I should and should not be doing…"making demands" on me. You are defining what is good and holy. You are determining what God would want. And now you have equated me with the WBC and the LDS?

            Who is the one being narrow-minded and bigoted here?

            I'm confused. I thought I was the one who is supposed to be phobic, close-minded, judgmental and oppressive.

            This has been an interesting discussion. But it's gone off in a million different directions and I tend to lose interest when that happens.

            Have a good day.

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            I grew up mostly in Germany. In that country we've had wild discussions about who was to blame for the first world war, the second world war, the holocaust, the killings alongs the Berlin Wall and the other atrocities commited in communist East Germany. And by and large all those who can legitimetly claim to stand on the side of civilization and humanitarianism agreed in the end that those who provide the words and thoughts that are then carried forth by overzealous jackboots are just as guilty.

            We were also taught to never be tolerant towards the intolerant, to never accept those who show no acceptance. That those who preach exclusion, and hatred, and the dehumanization of groups of people, lose the protection of those civil rights they attack.

            I've had enough fists and boots and gobs of snot in my face teach me personally and intimately the prudence of this point of view.

            I do see myself as an enemy of those who violate others be from dug abuse, or unstable parent situations (my rents seperated, believe me, I am not tolerant towards rents who fuck around and leave their own kids to fend for themselves, no matter if those rents are queer or str8). But I do INCLUDE religious intolerance in that canon of evils. Christianity should be a bullwark against such abuse. Sometimes it is. Sadly, often, it is the force that drives the abuse. You chose to side yourself first with those who picket AIDS-treatment centres and carry God Hates Fags signs over siding with those who fight the bullies and violators. You find it more important to cling to obscure and mostly meaningless sexual morals in a few, disparate biblical verses instead of heeding the loudest calling of Christianity, that of love and acceptance – even of the whores, and the lepers – and fighting the bullies.

            Yeah. I claim to know better than you what is good and holy.

            Yeah. I am feel little tolerance towards you.

          • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

            Whoops? Did I just invoke Godwin's law?

          • Matthew Tweedell

            He's not blaming it on Christianity; he's blaming it on you. DR and John Shore and I and many others here are Christians, but you don't see us complaining. I for one don't feel at all that he's being anti-Christian or that he's spoken ill of my particular system of beliefs in any way. But guess who I DO definitely feel is anti-Christian here, who worships the spirit of antichrist?

          • Mindy

            Well put, Matthew. But you'll notice Natassia got bored when people started picking apart her arguments and took her leave, bidding us to have a nice day in her wake.

            Funny that she lost interest when a group of intelligent people took her to task.

          • StraightGrandmother

            FreeFox, I would never debate you ever. You gotta give Natassia credit she hung in there longer against you than most people. You are one super smart dude.

          • DR

            "You are defining what is good and holy. You are determining what God would want. "

            It's so fascinating to watch certain Christians come into this discussion, demand that we don't know what God would want, assert what God "really" wants and then when countered, make the above statement.

            And then of course, flounce off in a dramatic huff when called on that and just effectively countered.

            I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone, am I the only one?

          • Argy-bargy

            No you're not the only one DR, but it can't be the Twilight Zone. That was a "wondrous world of imagination." There's not much imagination here on the part of some of these posters, and there's nothing wondrous about ignorance. I weep.

          • Mindy

            Nope, you are not the only one, DR. And Natassia seems far more concerned with being right than anything else.

            And AB – so true. No imagination. And ignorance is acceptable in mind willing to learn. And recover from said ignorance. Willful ignorance in a closed mind is, indeed, worth weeping over.

          • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

            If you're honestly concerned about what's best for children – and I sincerely doubt you are – then you will know that there is zero evidence that children raised within a gay marriage are harmed any more than children raised in a heterosexual marriage – an institution all of us subsidize but which only favours heterosexuals. What truly harms children is subitting them to your arbitrary beliefs that some are less equal than others based on your bigotry.

            In the same way you try to hide behind god to support your bigotry, now you try to hide behind the welfare of children. If you were honestly concerned about what's true – and I sincerely doubt you are – then you would know that your anti-gay stance on marriage is not based on evidence of harm but the cause of much of it. But you don't care. At heart you are just another intellectual coward unable or unwilling to care about what's true if it interferes with your beliefs; instead you are fine with supporting the removal of rights of others that you enjoy if it allows your bigotry to remain in place. You simply do not care that it continues doing real harm to real people including children. And that makes you part of the problem.

          • StraightGrandmother

            Natassia, are you kidding me did you really write this,

            "And yet you seem to be tying the murder of homosexuals to the belief that homosexuality is a sin. This is not a logical argument. For one thing, there is very little evidence for it."

            You might want to take a peek at the crime statistics. Now there is finally a cataogry for hate crimes against GLBT people.

    • jes

      “I don’t know that Christians are DEMANDING that homosexuals do or not do anything. Homosexuals are free to engage in whatever behavior they want to, so long as it is consensual and between adults. And I don’t hear a loud call for the criminalization of homosexual behavior.”

      No? You have heard, I trust, of Lawrence v Texas? The court case resulting from the arrest of 2 homosexual men engaged in an adult, consensual relationship, in their own apartment, who were dragged from their own bed by a police officer with drawn gun?

      You missed the huge media circus with loud condemnation of the possibility of overturning Texas' law against sodomy from hundreds (if not thousands) of VERY vocal Christians? That's not demanding?

      How about these specific cases, which Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Rehnquist cited as reasons to uphold the sodomy lawt?

      * Williams v. Pryor, which upheld Alabama's prohibition on the sale of sex toys;

      * Milner v. Apfel, which asserted that "legislatures are permitted to legislate with regard to morality…rather than confined to preventing demonstrable harms;"

      * Holmes v. California Army National Guard, which upheld the federal statute and regulations banning from military service those who engage in homosexual conduct;

      * Owens v. State, 352 Md. 663, which held that "a person has no constitutional right to engage in sexual intercourse, at least outside of marriage."

      I want to repeat this one specifically: "legislatures are permitted to legislate with regard to morality…rather than confined to preventing demonstrable harms."

      Really? REALLY? What ever happened to that whole separation of church and state bit? Yes, obviously Christians are being oppressed everywhere by our government's disregard of church tradition.

      *sigh*

      • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

        Ouch!

        • jes

          I'm sorry, was that too harsh?

          • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

            Brute facts do tend to be harsh when one is used to making up one's own; it leaves so little … wiggle room.

          • jes

            Hee. I do tend to prefer specific facts over subjective reality. Comes of the whole scientific education, I suppose. ;)

            Also means I occasionally have to face up to things I'd rather weren't so, but guess that's just part of the deal.

          • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

            'Jes' so. (Sorry… I couldn't help myself.)

          • jes

            I. huh. I do believe that may be the first time anybody's punned my name. :D

          • Argy-bargy

            “I never give them hell. I just tell the truth and they think it's hell.”

            –Harry Truman

          • jes

            Excellent!

          • Mindy

            I don’t think so at all, jes – you just nailed it!

  • Margaret

    Without getting too deeply into this, and saying first that I loved your conversation with John and Kathy on WORD FM about Phelps…

    I take issue with your premise that to live a celibate life is to live a life devoid of love. It's kind of a limited perspective to say that the only love one can experience is sexual in nature and that without romance/sex, life is a loveless void. Sad, really.

    I'm a conservative evangelical Christian, my family are all devout Catholics, so we share pretty much the same sexual ethics. I think Catholics actually have a better understanding of this than the rest of us–the value and benefits of celibacy have long been part of their teaching. Whether straight and single, or homosexual, if we are Christians we are called to live lives of service to God, reserving sexuality for one situation only–marriage between a man and a woman. The Church has certainly failed in maintaining these sexual ethics on the hetero side of thing. In my opinion, the answer is not to say "Ah, everybody is failing, do whatever the heck you want, God doesn't care" but to reign in our own personal excesses, whatever they may be, before we start working on other people's issues.

    I don't know about the rest of the Christian population. Personally, I do not want to *demand* that anybody live a certain way. I would like to see my fellow evangelicals spend as much time teaching and mentoring in the area of faithfulness in already existing marriages, and celibacy in heterosexual singles as they do on protesting homosexuals. But I do reserve the right to disagree with philosophies, standards, and behaviors based on my faith.

    • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

      You are welcome to disagree with philosophies, standards, and behaviours based on your faith for yourself. But you have no cause, no reason, no justification whatsoever beyond your beliefs, to extend them into the public domain and attempt to impose them on others. That extension is where you cross the line.

      • Margaret

        I might agree with you, provided we agree on the definition of "impose".

        By impose do you mean fighting for laws that impose something, or do you extend "impose" to expressing my beliefs in public?

        If the latter, do you support the suppression of public speech that disagrees with your beliefs?

        I believe that there is cause, justification, and reason for living out and expressing beliefs. We each have an equal right to do so, and an equal right to disagree with or even reject outright the beliefs of the other. But neither of us has the right to suppress the free expression of each other's beliefs in public forums either by law, indimidation, or manipulation.

        • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

          impose: to establish as something to be obeyed or complied with; enforce

          You are free to express yourself and to express your religious beliefs any way you want, but understand that comes with responsibility, too. If you mean to use your freedom to curtail another's then you are attempting to impose your beliefs (for that is all they are without any benefit of independent verification or evidence) on others. If so, then you have failed to use your freedom of expression responsibly.

          When I talk about the public domain, I mean specifically those offices and policies and procedures empowered by the public. Office holders who lobby for a favoured religious belief or attempt to instill some official public status on a personally held belief are abusing the power of that public office. Any such action needs to be resoundingly criticized for that abuse. And we see this done all the time by politicians attempting to curry favour from the irresponsible.

    • StraightGrandmother

      Margaret I think you are missing the point about celibecy. It is a person's choice to remain celibate. But to tell gay and lesbians, bi-sexual and transgender that they HAVE to remain celibate in order to be in God's good graces is not right. For people who want to remain celibate, Catholic Priests and people who wish to be virgins when they marry, hey great more power to them. What is happening here is GLBT people, according to the doctrine many here believe in, they are forced to be celibate, whihc is kind of the point of this article.

      • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

        Well said, SG, and right on point..

  • http://fromstevesdesk.wordpress.com stevenjevans

    John, I believe you have conflated love and sex in your article. A father can love a son without having sex with him. It seems that your whole argument is built on the premise that love and sex are the same, which is false. Am I missing something here?

    • Matthew Tweedell

      @Margaret & @stevenjevans

      John didn't equate sex with love. In fact, he didn’t once mention sex.

      Celibacy goes beyond sexual activity (and if it didn't, then I've been celibate all day today, while I'm fairly sure more than a young Catholic priest or two hasn't); it implies living alone, just as John used it. So why do you only think about sex all the time and then expect people to live alone because you get disgusted by it?

      Is this really all you think about when you think of marital relationships? Sex? It would seem so, since you seem to indicate that you would be totally fine with everything that John Shore actually mentioned. And if that’s correct, how could you oppose gay marriage other than for the purpose of regulating a person’s private sex life, which 1) seems like quite the authoritarian abuse of state power, and 2) doesn’t work because people could still have homosexual relations outside of marriage unless they further subscribed to a personal ethic that cannot be mandated by government under our constitution?

      Do you really miss the nuance of the love John refers to?—what defines a healthy, happy father-son relationship is not normally that they should share their lives together, day-by-day, in undying commitment.

  • Mindy

    Yes, Stevejevans, you are missing something. John very clearly states that being gay has to do with a whole lot more than the sex.

    It is the sex that straight conservative Christians have a problem with, but by labeling it a sin, by saying, as another commenter did, that the gay person will "suffer a second death" because of said sin, insist that gay people will burn in hell, can never be close to God, are an abomination, choose to be gay (they don't) because they are depressed/schizophrenic/bipolar/weren't loved enough by one parent/were loved too much by the other parent, and absolutely do not deserve the right to marry – well, that tends to get in the way of the fact that being gay means that everything that has to do with romantic love is felt by them, it just happens to be for a person of the same sex.

    A lesbian has no more interest in cuddling up on the couch to watch a romantic movie with a man than I do with a woman. I enjoy strolling through the park holding hands with the man I am dating, sharing a spontaneous kiss just because we like each other's company – and no one sees anything wrong with that. But if two men did that? Conservative Christians wouldn't be able to hide their disgust. And if you think those gay guys wouldn't feel the contempt . . . well, just ask one.

    Romantic love is about a lot more than sex. A LOT more. But even a chaste Christian who plans to remain virginal til her wedding night goes into a dating relationship knowing that if it works, if the relationship flourishes, sex will be part of the picture eventually, once they've committed to each other in marriage. If marriage wasn't an option . . . well, then what?

    It's all aspects of romantic love that are not allowed for gay teens in the Christian realm. And that is a tragedy.

  • StraightGrandmother

    So so many smart people here, I am way out of my league…

  • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

    A lot has been talked about here, how it isn’t the Christians who condemn queers, but that it’s God’s law, and you cannot pick and choose. If you accept anything in the bible, you must accept all of it. While that statement is of course bogus from the get go (there are many approches to the bible taking it as a valuable, even holy book, but accepting that it is a historic document written in the end by human hands), I cannot believe that ANYONE on this blog has actually read the bible, thought about all of it, and is even capable of truly believeing EVERYTHING that is stated within.

    Let me give you just a small sample of reasons:

    The truly faithful are without sin according to 1 John 3:6, 1 John 3:9, 1 John 5:18. John even goes so far as to say that only doing good and never doing evil is the same as being of God (3 John 11), but according to 1 Kings 8:46, 2 Chronicles 6:36, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:23, and even 1 John 1:8 and 1 John 1:10 no one is without sin. Does that mean that nobody is faithful and of God? Bleak view…

    What exactly does Jesus command us? The rich young man asked him. According to Matthew they are Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. According to Mark they are Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. Huh, defraud not or love they neighbour? Make up your mind. Luke simplifies things: Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. There is no sixth command. So… defrauding is okay? We don’t have to love our neighbours? Or both? And anyway, what happened to the other commandments Moses brought from the mountain. Does Jesus think they aren’t important? Did he forget about them? He was a bloody Rabi. Did Matthew, Mark, and Luke get things confused?

    How about simple dating. When did Solomon begin his reign? 1 Kings 6:1 clearly states that it was 476 years after the Israelites left Egypt. However if you add together the the time spent in the desert, the rule of the Judges, the rule of King Saul and the rule of King David (according to Acts 13:17-18, Acts 20-22, and 1 Chronicles 29:26-27) Solomon began his reign 570 years after the Israelites left Egypt. (And what’s with the 40 years in the desert anyway: From Cairo to Jerusalem it is 260 miles. That means that they travelled less than a 100 feet per day! FOR 40 YEARS! Okay, they didn’t go in a straight line, but still, if you take these things literally it is beyond silly.)

    Let’s say, numbers aren’t the bible’s strength. Simple sequence should be straightforward enough. When did God create the stars? According to Genesis 1:16-19 He created them on the 4th day of creation, one day AFTER dividing earth and sea. According to Job 38:4-7 however, God claims that when laid the foundations of the earth the morning stars were ALREADY singing together. Huh? While they were still shrink-wrapped in their box, sitting next to the jars of water?

    Oh, and here my favourite, about the question if thieves can go to heaven. As Jill already told us, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 is pretty clear that fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, drunkars, revilers, extortioners, the greedy, queers (who by the way have also been translated as simply “people who do violence to their nature” whatever that exactly means), and thieves all shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Now, I am not only queer, but for three years I was also quite an active thief. I did my time in a young offenders institution, and I paid for it in other ways, but Corinthians bars me from entering heaven. There’s no loophole condition set in that passage. It clearly states that those folks are damned.

    Unless, of course, you take Luke 23:32-43 into account, the story of the Good Thief, who is the only person the bible tells us about who is personally promised entry into heaven by Jesus himself. And before I hear anyone say “penitence” or “contrition”, read the passage. The thief who legend knows as Dismas but who stays nameless in the bible doesn’t show any remorse. The only thing he does is admonish the other criminals that are crucified with Jesus to not mock Jesus but to admit that they ARE criminals while Jesus is without guilt. Hey, I was a thief. I am Queer. I don’t repent. But I’ll admit freely that Jesus did nothing to deserve being crucified, and that one should not mock him. Voilá. Where is my instant get out of Hell for free card? After all, if it works on thieves, it should work for all the other sins of Corinthians also, shouldn’t it?

    On the question of forgiveness, Acts 13:39 promises us that those who believe are forgiven all their sins. Matthew 12:31-32, Mark 3:29, and Luke 12:10 on the other hand all agree that while everything else is forgivable, blapheming against the Holy Ghost can never be forgiven and is eternally condemned. (There is a rather elaborate contextual reading of the passages leading to this contradiction that allow to interpret both statements in ways that are not exactly mutually exclusive, but only if you admit that the bible needs some carefull reading taking into account both linguistic and cultural details of the original authors.)

    And this is really just the tiniest sample of contradictions. I haven’t even begun by naming the countless atrocities that we all agree are intolerable, but that the bible cleary excuses or even demands: The bible accepts slavery and often demands the killing of humans, like the famous unruly children, or the children who mocked a prophet, and even of the population of entire nations. For example God berates King Saul bitterly through the Prophet Samuel for not fulfilling his command to kill all Amalekites. Saul did kill all babies, women, children, and men, and poor lifestock, but he left alive the king and the good lifestock. For that God promises Saul trough Samuel that Saul’s kingdom will be torn from him. Do you really want to tell me that you agree with such deeds because it says so in the bible? That you do not pick and choose WHAT to believe from the Good Book?

    • Mindy

      Wow – thank you for sharing so many examples. Nice work. And so, so true – how can anyone possibly adhere to all of it? No one does. But they swear they do. Scary.

    • StraightGrandmother

      FreeFox, well I guess you win this argument nobody challanged you.

      My personal favorite was the Get Out of Hell Free card.

      Maybe some time you could wrtie about Biblical daughters and women and thier proper role in society.

      My you have certainly done well for yourself (based on your Biblical knowledge) since juvie :)

      • Mindy

        He's pretty cool, Freefox is – and just for the record, SG, I'm glad you're here.

        And yes, he won the argument. :)

    • MarkF

      I feel for where you are. I was there for a long time.

      I hate that I'm getting older. Yet I do enjoy that I have found some wisdom and some amount of peace.

      God's word is consistent, even if the synoptic Gospels are not identical. The moral law stays the same. Man's body is meant for life. Meant for life eternal and for life temporal. Life in the temporal means procreation, or sex for a better word. Sex means life, and that means between a man and a woman in marriage.

      But no one is perfect, not in this body at least. Homosexual sex is wrong. It doesn't mean that God doesn't love you. It's not the end of the world. But it still isn't right. But it also doesn't end God's love for you. The balance between those two things is the struggle of being a son of God in this life.

      Homosexuality is a terrible substitute for God. Yet on this earth, God's love comes to us in human form. Give him some time. Forgive whoever in the Church has hurt you. As a bit of advice, pray to the Blessed Mother for her help. Try a rosary a day for a week. If the rosary is new to you, it's a meditation on the Gospel prayed by you to God with Mary at your side.

      • DR

        I pray the rosary! :)

  • Susan

    Anyone here read C.S. Lewis? Here is a passage toward the end of the chapter on "Sexual Morality" from his book "Mere Christianity."

    “I want to make it as clear as I possibly can that the centre of Christian morality is not here. If anyone thinks that Christians regard unchastity as the supreme vice, he is quite wrong. The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins. All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronizing and spoiling sport, and back-biting; the pleasures of power, of hatred. For there are two things inside me competing with he human self which I must try to become. They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self. The Diabolical self is the worse of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute.”

    Worth pondering.

    • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

      Thank you, Susan. I'm not in all points fond of C.S. Lewis, his Narnia books are a bit too preachy for me in places, but him and Chesterton at least had their priorities straight. That is what I'm wondering all the time: Sure, you can make biblical aruments against queer sex… but why do you have to? I mean, given the state of the world, given all that is wrong, even from a purely Christian perspective, how can you waste any time fighting such a minor detail?

      Really, the only reason I can think of is that the bible argument is just a smoke-screen, and that in reality all those homophobes are just totally fixated on their personal horror of icky buggery and it drives them absolutely bonkers to think of it… which they apparently do, continuously.

      • Argy-bargy

        Yes, FreeFox. Bigotry always strives to find *something* to justify itself. Misuse of religious scripture is no different.

      • Mindy

        You nailed it, Freefox. Your last paragraph – that’s it. They can’t stand the “ick” factor – OR they are turned on by that “ick” factor and believe that by protesting too much, they will somehow make up for those appalling fantasies swimming around their thoughts.

  • MarkF

    "Don’t hold anyone’s hand. Don’t snuggle on your couch with anyone. Don’t cuddle up with anyone at night before you fall asleep. Don’t have anyone to chat with over coffee in the morning."

    What you say COULD be true if only the above were a good description of what homosexuality is like in reality. What you describe is a myth. Or it's temporary. Or it comes right before a big emotional crack up that ends the relationship.

    You can't put wings on a pig. You can't make homosexuality something it's not, namely into something healthy.

    BTW, none of what you describe above is against what God wants for us. Archbishop Dolan of New York tells us that it's fine to have same-sex love, just not same-sex sex.

    I lived this life for thirty plus years. I know a lot more about it than you ever will. You're talking about some theory that makes sense inside your own head. Unfortunately it's been tried. For thousands of years. It still hasn't worked out like think it should.

    Another BTW, why do you think you know more than over 2,000 years of the accumulated wisdom of the Church?

    Life is complex. A person can indulge in this once in a while and still be a Christian, as long as they ask for God's forgiveness for it. But they can't base their whole life and theology around it without ceasing to be a Christian. The more a person is wedded to the philosophy of homosexuality, the more evil they become. The more a person practices the sex of homosexuality, the worse they become.

    • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

      "I lived this life for thirty plus years. I know a lot more about it than you ever will."

      Wow, you sure are older than me. But… if you know so much on account of your age… won't I know as much when I get to be the same age? Or are you telling me that I will never reach 30? That I will die before I get there? How would you know that? Hey, are you threatening me or something?

      "You can’t make homosexuality something it’s not, namely into something healthy. "

      I didn't know that I had to make it healthy. Is it ill? What's it got? The flu?

      "The more a person practices the sex of homosexuality, the worse they become."

      Really? How do you know that? You got statistics or something? I'd love to see your sources.

      "the philosophy of homosexuality"

      Ooh, I know Existantialism, and Logical Positivism, Language Philosphy and Kantianism, Idealism and Postmodernism. The philsophy of homosexulaity I dont know. Please, tell me, what is that philosophy?

      Curiously, yours truly.

      • Matthew Tweedell

        I'm surprised you try to deny it, considering that you are an openly practicing homosexual:

        The Homosexual Philosophy: A Primer

        brought to you by Mad Matt ;-) Ministries

        Homosexual philosophy is based on 3 primary tenets:

        1) I want sex.

        2) I would rather have sex with a member of my own sex.

        3) So f*ck you.

        We see clearly that this is not God's design for man: Adam couldn't have been homosexual in the beginning as there were no other men there with him. Adam also couldn't have been heterosexual in the beginning as there were no women then either. It seems quite clear: God's design is that is that a man should masturbate in solitude. The first tenant goes clearly against the God's intent.

        Anyhow, the bloke's whining (to rudely mock your dialect, FreeFox; imagine my faux British accent fellow Americans) finally got on God's nerves enough to make a woman to tell him to grow up. But still, what sort of "getting to know" about good and evil do you think God had forbidden them in their youth, before the “serpant” got the better of the woman?

        In divine consequence of what she had done (since obviously she was the one who turned Adam on to the idea), the woman got pregnant. Now, in those days, it must be remembered that for their kids to reproduce, they had to intermarry; so God had not yet forbidden incest at that time. Indeed, in the same way neither had he forbidden homosexuality, and Adam’s boys could do whatever they pleased with one another. But the point is that this as well as Adam's sexual relationship with Eve was not part of God's plan from the beginning, because God is just so powerful that He can even disrupt His own plans!

        The remaining tenets fall quite easily: number 2 is just gross (that's why it's called number 2), and number 3 is just rude. I mean that, of course, not judgmentally, but in a philosophical sense. So, in summation, the homosexual philosophy (not to be confused with the homosexual, Phil O'Sophy) is the way of rude gross sex, this serving as the moral imperative and primary virtue of its ethics.

        As for 1) epistemology and 2) ontology, these are relatively simple:

        1) We can come to know something through having sex with it (known in some circles as the Sodomite Phallicy); and

        2) the nature of all being is sexual (first elucidated by the goMorons).

        • Matthew Tweedell

          Hmm… that’s not a right couple of sentences; try this:

          “God’s design is that a man should masturbate in solitude. The first tenet goes clearly against God’s intent.”

          I’m not drunk. I swear.

        • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

          Well, MT, kudos for the epistemology and ontology. I don't often but for that I laughed out loud and woke up the dog.

    • jes

      I'm sorry for the heartache the end of your relationship(s) must have brought you, but you really do need to accept the fact that breaking up is not in any way related to being gay. Such an accusation is patently ridiculous.

      Do you honestly think straight folk never break up? never divorce? Look around you! look at the divorce rates–higher, incidentally, in straight couples than in gay couples in many areas where gay marriage is allowed. (The exception, oddly, being Sweden–take from that what you will.) You cannot allow your own experiences to define the experiences of every other person, especially when you have so many folks here telling you that their experiences are different. Every person here has experiences equally valid to yours, and by claiming that homosexuals can't have a healthy, loving relationship, you are are directly insulting and devaluing those of us who have had or who do have, shall we say, "non-standard" relationships.

      I would also hazard a guess that your deep-seated certainty that homosexuals cannot have love was a factor in the loss of your relationship. How can you expect a relationship that you subconsciously sabotage with the certainty that it will fail to succeed?

    • StraightGrandmother

      MarkF, as I stated on the other thread, i have read my share of posts by gay men and they are nothing like yours. FreeFox for example, when you read what he writes you believe that he is queer. Your posts do not ring true to me, I am a skeptic that you are or ever were a gay man at all.

    • Mindy

      I don’t know where you live, but I’m thinking you picked the wrong gay community, MarkF. I just know far too many who are the absolute antithesis of what you describe. You can beat that drum all you want, but it flies in the face of the reality too many of us know.

  • Susan

    Maybe that's YOUR personal experience, MarkF, but I have known several gay and lesbian couples, and what they have is love. They are good people. Some are devout Christians and active in their churches, as well (which is not necessarily the same as being a good person.)

    I've also known gay couples who have broken up. And straight couples who have broken up.

    There are no guarantees. Relationships are not easy.

    But please don't make negative blanket statements about ALL gay people. One half of one of those couples was a gay man who was a very dear friend of mine for decades. He was one of the kindest people I've ever known. He died of a heart attack, and I will always miss him. You didn't know him, and you can't judge him. I know God loved, and loves, him.

  • Mindy

    Yesterday afternoon, I picked up my daughter and a teammate after their volleyball game. They are sophomores in high school, they'd won their game and were chattering away about . . . whatever teenaged girls chatter about . . . when my daughter said, "Mom, promise you won't tell anyone? It's not public knowledge yet." I promised. "G. is leaving at the end the semester!!" She said this with great dismay – G. is a favorite teacher, an enthusiastic, delightful young woman who gives her heart and soul to her students.

    My daughter and her friend lamented this development, then she said, "She's moving to –." When I asked why, she told me that the teacher said it was the best decision she could make. A little smile crossed her face, and she said, "Do you know WHY that is, Mom? Because L. is there!! She's going to be with L.!!!"

    L. was her English Lit. teacher last year, who left because she was accepted into a Ph.D. program in another city. It was well known around the school that L. and G. were best friends, but my daughter and her BFF had a feeling that there was more to it. Turns out they were right. Now G. had made the decision to move to be with her partner, to start a life together. And my daughter and her friend were very excited for them, even as they knew they would miss her terribly.

    I looked in my rearview mirror as my daughter and her friend were agreeing that this was for the best, that L. and G. were just the cutest couple, and then immediately began discussing the latest development in the boy-crush of said friend. I could not have been prouder of my child. I feel so blessed that she is growing up in such an accepting, loving community, and just wanted to share this to reinforce the message that not everyone is filled with homophobia and hate.

    • http://www.aviewfromtheedge.net/blog Nicole Longstreath

      Mindy – thank you for sharing. It's so nice to see the younger generation leading by example. When parents don't teach their children to hate – guess what – they don't. It really is that simple.

      • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

        Dear Nicole. I know we all want this to be true. Unfortunately it is a little bit more complicated than that. "Not teaching children to hate" is easily said. But what exacty does that mean? How exactly do we do it? Most rents teach their kids not to smoke pot either, and yet they do. We do not teach by words, but by examples. And I don't think that "hating others" is the core problem. Hating is a very energy consuming, stressful, hurtful act. Those who do wish they could stop. But they can't. I am pretty certain I know what I am talking about. I spent four years hating very much. And I still have not learned fully to stop hating, as much as I want to. Now that I am myself responsible for a growing human being, I am working hard on remedying that.

        I think the problem is that to teach your children NOT to hate, is by teaching them NOT to hate themselves. And since actions teach, not words, to be able to do that, you need to be able NOT to hate yourself. And that is the core problem. Because for all their talk of love – especially, of course, of asexual, higher, spiritual… in other words trimmed, trunctated, limited love – many Christians do hate themselves, for all those sins they must perpetually fight within themselves. And those who hate themselves have only hatred to teach, only hatred to pass on.

        When parents are able to love themselves will they teach their children not to hate.

        But try to teach that to someone who has so grown accustomed to self-hatred that he no longer can imagine a world without it, who truly thinks you are mad or trying to tempt them into hell, when you tell them that what they are trying to cut away from themselves all the time is beautiful and should be left to grow, and flower, and flourish.

        Unfortunately it isn't simple at all.

        But if Mindy either had rents herself who gave her that precious gift to pass on to her daughter, or if she managed to win it for herself, well, as the Jewish saying goes: (S)he who saves one life, saves the world.

    • StraightGrandmother

      Pat yourself on the back and here, i'll give you an 'atta boy, well done mom :) oh a double smiley :) :)

    • Matthew Tweedell

      Whenever you share about your relationship with your daughters, it always strikes me what a wonderful mother you must be, Mindy!

  • http://jessicaalexandra.wordpress.com jessicaalexandra

    I would firstly like to thank you for your perspective on this matter. It always interests me to know how people other than myself think. Secondly, I’d like to address the fact that I am a christian.

    It utterly breaks my heart to hear that gay people get depressed to the point of actually taking their own lives. This is obviously not what God wants for any of his creation. What breaks my heart even more is that there are actually people claiming to be christians who hate the gays. This is ABSOLUTELY NOT what God wants us, as christians to do.

    I am a theatre oriented person and therefore am exposed to a vast majority of gay people. I can tell you honestly that some of the gay people I have met have a more clear moral center than some of the people I know who claim to be christians. I love each and every one of my gay friends to the death of me. It makes me angry that people would ridicule a person and make them feel inferior because of their sin. EVERYONE SINS. Who am I to judge this person who is gay? I am no one to do such a thing. I will not judge them, no, but God will have his turn.

    It is important to understand that I am not guiltless either. I too, will be judged before God. It is a day I await in fear because I have lived a sinful life. The point is this: It is not the place of a christian, or any person for that matter, to judge anyone: gay, straight, black or white. This is not the concern for humans, but for God.

    My uncle was gay. He died some years ago of AIDS. Though I wasn’t old enough to really know him, I think that’s the worst part. There was a life that I could have loved so deeply; he was my own flesh and blood for crying out loud! One thing that really shakes me is that lying on his death bed, he explained to his brothers and sisters that he realized his lifestyle choice was wrong-he realized he had sinned and he asked God for forgiveness. I have no doubt that his beautiful soul is at peace with his maker right this very moment.

    Homosexuality is sexual sin, just like pre-marital sex is sexual sin and just like lust is sexual sin. Can any one christian honestly sit there and tell me that they have never in their life had a sexual fantasy about another person? How many christians have sex before marriage? How many christians are gay? The numbers would throw any person for a loop. Sexual sin is sexual sin. God sees all sin equally in his own eyes. Therefore, it is not our place to judge gay people, but it is our DUTY to love them. Do you really think you’re going to “change” somebody by telling them that they’re going to hell? No. You’re not. All you can do is be there for them, be a friend and love them like you love yourself, because they too, were created by God.

    While I do believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, I do not believe in depriving gay people of love. Now, I don’t believe this the same way you do, but to each man, his own, right? I don’t support gay marriage, no, but the fact that someone is gay does not mean they’re not going to heaven. Your “contradictions” are not valid because anyone who knows the bible will tell you that the New Testament wipes out the old. So while thieves and fornicators are “barred” from heaven, they are also saved by the grace of God who gave his son to die so that these very people would have a way of getting to heaven. All anyone who has sinned has to do is ask Jesus Christ into their heart. All sinners are barred from heaven because it is a perfect place that spares no room for sin. In this case, I would have a one-way ticket to eternal damnation. Thankfully, by the mercy of my maker, I can ask for his forgiveness and voila! Heaven, here I come. This is the truth to any sinner. To believe that Jesus Christ paid your debt and to ask him into your heart is all you need to get to heaven.

    I don’t think you quite understand that christians aren’t asking gay’s to live a life of no love. Quite the contrary, I believe they should be loved by anyone and everyone! However, it is their sexual sin that I don’t agree with just like it is the sexual sin of my best friend who has slept with a million and one guys that I don’t agree with. Just because I have chosen to stay pure until I am married, doesn’t mean I am judging anyone else who is guilty of sexual sin, because I too am guilty of sexual sin. It would taste a lie to say I have never lusted after a man before, and it would also taste a lie to say that I have never provoked lust in a man for me. I am just as guilty of sexual sin as any homosexual man or woman out there. Celibacy is not damnation. In fact, God sometimes grants people this gift so that they can live their life fully for him without distraction of a husband or wife. Marriage is ultimately a choice and in some ways an escape from sexual sin. Since God made sex to be good, obviously, people are going to like it. In order to save people from further sexual sin, people are allowed the choice to be married so that they may freely have sex whenever they wish-but only to their spouse. There has never been any proof that there is a “gay gene” or that people are just “born gay”. People are born sinners-and there is no exception to that rule, every person is born a sinner-but that there is no proof that people are born gay ultimately leads us to believe that homosexuality is a choice. God would not allow people to be born gay if homosexuality is a sin. He does not set people up for failure like that.

    We live in a society that is self-absorbed and gets what they want. I too, am guilty of selfishness and self-indulgence. However, I do not to EVERYTHING I want and I resist the temptation to do everything that I simply “cannot help”. You think you can’t help it, but really you’re just diminishing your own sense of strength. I believe that being gay is a choice one makes, just like I believe that loving someone for the rest of my life is a choice I’m going to have to make. I am more than positive there will be days in my married life that I believe I will actually want to murder my husband, instead I will choose to love on him. Not in a sexual way, but I will love on him in the way that a wife is supposed to love her husband. I may hate him, but I will choose to love him.

    Please understand, I am in no way trying to attack anyone who is gay. Some of my most beloved relationships are with people who are gay. I am however, trying to show you that not all christians are brainwashed to think that God hates gay people. God LOVES gay people! There are churches out there who are preaching the wrong things and turning many people away from God’s love and it’s so frustrating! There is nothing wrong with the person who is gay. It is their sin that is going to get them in trouble, just like my sin will get me in trouble. I will stand before God one day and he will judge me for every sin I’ve ever committed, but thankfully I serve a loving God who has and will forgive me for all my sin once I ask for it.

    So basically, the moral of the story is this: I am sorry for any hurt that gay’s have been caused because some christians misinterpreted what the Bible had to say. I am sorry that gay’s feel attacked and alone on a daily basis because some people think they have the right to belittle them. Gay people, just like any other people DESERVE love and respect, for they are people too. Don’t hate the sinner, hate the sin. Don’t judge gay people either, for their sexual sin is but a mirror for yours. Their sin is just more out in the open than your sin is.

    • http://jessicaalexandra.wordpress.com jessicaalexandra

      The "contradictions" I refer to were a reply from another user, not the author of this post

    • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

      JessicaAlexander writes I don’t support gay marriage and I believe that being gay is a choice one makes and then has the hypocrisy to write I am in no way trying to attack anyone who is gay."

      Of course you aren't, JA: in the nicest way possible you just want to maintain second class status for gays based on your religious beliefs that must be understood not to be your opinions but god's truth, which just so happens in fact to be backed by wrong assumptions and incorrect information. But why let what's true interfere with what you believe is true when all it does it inflict unnecessary harm others.

      After all, you're just so… nice! What's a little bigotry between loving friends, eh?

      • Mindy

        Bingo. And therein lies the problem. We couch bigotry in such lovely sentiments – loving the sinner but not the sin, it's not me, it's God's word, I would never be cruel to anyone but I still believe they are less than . . . .

        And refuse to think through the real-life ramifications of their statements, because, after all, those silly gay people could just not ever have sex. What's the big deal???

        ::::sarcasm font off:::::

      • http://jessicaalexandra.wordpress.com jessicaalexandra

        On the contrary, tildeb, I don't want there to be separate classes of people, gay and straight. I don't in any way think that I am better than any gay person who ever lived. Like I said before "I am just as guilty of sexual sin as any other homosexual man or woman" The way I feel towards homosexuality is the same way I feel about my own sexual sin, and also the sexual sin that is now socially acceptable now-a-days (casual sex)

        DR: I agree with you. I think I should be avidly working against the cruelty that gays go through. Not one person deserves to be treated the way they are treated. One thing though is that gay people are also pretty intolerant when it comes to christians because they believe we hate all of them, so most of the time, I get judged before they can even get to know me. I understand that most of the time, this is the way they are treated, but two wrongs don't make a right. However, I don't think any gay person is going to be harming themselves on my account. I remind my gay friends on a daily basis how loved they are, and how much they mean to me. I never preach to them I only love them which is the only way that I can show to them that God loves them. It is a friendship that comes with it's disagreements, yes, but it's a difference of beliefs just like my beliefs are different from my muslim friends. I don't try to convert any one of my friends because that will NEVER happen. People only change if they want to change so all I can do is love them-which I love to do!

        Mindy: I understand what you're saying. However, I am not trying to be intolerant, I am standing up for what I believe in, in the same way that gay people stand up for what they believe in. I would be living with a guilty conscience if I didn't stand up for what I believe in. I am not trying to be an arrogant christian at all, quite the contrary, I am trying to show that we are ALL equal and ALL sinners. Even the most devout christians are guilty of sin. However, I know this will never be known to people who disagree with me because people WANT christians to disagree any way they can so that they can point out our flaws and hypocrisy. We are people just like you. However, neither side will ever see eye to eye and I'm okay with that. It was never my intent to change your minds because I am not so naive as to think that were even possible. I just wanted to let people know that there ARE christians out there who aren't judging gays because if you're a real christian, you don't live in la la land, you struggle with your own temptations and your own demons and your own troubles. Any christian who tells you that nothing in their life is out of the ordinary is a liar (and maybe that's their struggle).

        All in all, I am just as guilty and am not judging them-like I said, that's not my place. I am not trying to change any of your minds, I just wanted to tell people that there are christians out there who do genuinely LOVE gay people. With that said, I will not respond to any more "reply's" because I would be wasting my breath. We're fighting two different wars here and I'm not into preaching to recruit, I just felt I should stand up for what I believe in, just like all of you are doing the same. It's an admirable trait on both accounts and all of your passions are really beautiful (I'm not being sarcastic or trying to be cheesy, I'm completely serious haha) I hope you all live blessed lives and that you grant others the privilege you've granted me, and that is letting me speak my peace. I hope you all understand where I am coming from

        • Mindy

          Jessicaalexandra – no idea if you are reading this; the stock answer is always "I won't answer anymore because I know you're not going to listen." OK. Don't answer. But I sincerely hope you read this through to the end.

          I understand that you've been taught your whole life that gay sex is bad, along with all those other sexual sins. I get it. And long-held beliefs are hard to let go.

          But when you say gay sex is sinful, "the same" as your own sexual sin, consider this. Your sexual sin, I assume, would be premarital sex, or lusting for premarital sex, or something along those lines. In your mind, you feel guilty, you feel sorry, you might promise God you won't do it again, etc. But what you also know is that even if you vow celibacy until your wedding night, you still have that wedding night to look forward to! And then, unless you become an adulterer, you'll be able to have all the sex you want with your beloved for the rest of your life. Sex no longer equals sin! Yay! So for YOU, sexual sin is temporary.

          For a gay person, in your rulebook, sex equals sin FOREVER. Doesn't matter how monogamous, how chaste until s/he meets that special one and only – none of that will make it acceptable. The special, private bond of intimacy that we hope for with that one perfect someone – - – nope, none for you, gay people!!! I love you, gay friends, I think you are just the bee's knees, gay friends – but sorry – you can't ever have sex in your entire life without it being a guilt-ridden, sinful experience. I know, seems unfair, but hey, I didn't make the rules! You'll have to take this up with God, oh, but wait, He already had it all written down, and I'm afraid that's the end of that. Maybe He'll let you be straight in heaven??

          C'mon. You want everyone here to live blessed lives, except for the gay folk, because, well, they are forever sinning, darn it.

          I feel fairly strongly that God gave us thinking brains and feeling hearts for a reason. He did not intend for you to cherry-pick a few questionably translated Bible passages to subjugate an entire group of your fellow humans. Any more than He ever intended the Bible be used to justify slavery – yet it was. It was waved around and quoted loudly to justify the owning of other people. And those minds and hearts He expected us to use? We did, and we figured out that slavery was a really bad idea.

          The Bible was used (still is, sometimes) to subjugate women to men – it was quoted as a valid reason to deny us the right to vote, the right to pursue an education and the right to hold a job. But again, most compassionate and thinking Christians realized, eventually, how wrong-headed that is. Now we look at third-world countries that hold their women hostage to ancient beliefs and feel outrage.

          This is more of the same, JA. The human race is in no danger whatsoever of dying out just because gay people are given the same rights as others and are allowed to marry and adopt. Geez, we have enough medical intervention available to infertile couples now, that babies are being born in actual batches these days – to people who only a few decades ago would've remained childless.

          So they take up the slack, so to speak, for all those gay folk not procreating. Even though many of them still do, thanks to that same medical intervention.

          I admire you for trying to speak out about your beliefs. But I would ask that you seriously consider the possibility that your beliefs might be . . . wrong. Just consider it. Think about it. Talk to your gay friends about their hopes and dreams for their futures and their love lives. Pray about it. And don't just regurgitate Bible verses. Pray quietly, and really listen to what God might have to say.

        • https://questionablemotives.wordpress.com tildeb

          JA, you miss the connection between what you believe and what you support: no marriage for gays. There's the legal discrimination right there. It causes harm. There is the extension of your beliefs imposed on others without any rationale other than your religious belief. That's the second class citizenship translated into law. And you are okay with that. That's the bigotry. Full stop.

          Believe what you want, but unless you are equally willing to have your rights and freedoms sifted through some majority's religious filter first for their approval and acceptance according to their beliefs rather than yours, then you are harming the equality of others in law and unwittingly undermining your own.

        • DR

          @jessica: One thing though is that gay people are also pretty intolerant when it comes to christians because they believe we hate all of them, so most of the time, I get judged before they can even get to know me.>>>

          Hi there.

          What you're not tying together is that your *feelings* about gay people aren't important here. Your *beliefs* about gay people are what is causing them a lot of pain. Your beliefs represent a blanket of "Christian belief" that they experience on a macro level.

          It would be like in the days when we owned slaves in this country, asking an African-American to not "hate" their owner because their owner was a really nice person and made sure that her slaves knew that she loved them. In this equation as a Christian who is telling gay and lesbian citizens that they are not good enough to be married, that the way they love is "sin", you are the slave owner. I know you're not going to like it, but the thing is, you don't get to define who you are in this scenario. They do. *They* get the last word on the impact of what you say and and what you believe. I know you don't *intend* to cause harm, but your belief causes tremendous harm. And as sweet as you seem to be and I bet you are a deeply loving person who would never want to hurt anyone? You are hurting a lot of gay people outside of your relationships with your vote and your belief system. And you are responsible for that.

          I understand that most of the time, this is the way they are treated, but two wrongs don’t make a right.>>>

          Well, they do in this instance., though I'm sure a lot of them try to love you as you are. You are causing harm which is going to cause people to be angry with you. You need to learn how to be OK with that if your beliefs about homosexuality are more important than being treated well. That's just the law of cause and effect. You are actually the one treating gay and lesbian people poorly *first* through the way you say God sees them and who they love. They are just responding to you. It's not really reasonable for you to expect them to be kind to you (though I'm sure many are).

          However, I don’t think any gay person is going to be harming themselves on my account. I remind my gay friends on a daily basis how loved they are, and how much they mean to me.>>>

          Jessica, you being on this blog right now proclaiming that being gay is wrong, who they love is sinful and that being gay is just reduced to how one has sex is hurting them. There are hundreds of gay men and women reading you say that *right now*. You are hurting them. So go into despair over it. And some kids after hearing this over and over again, kill themselves. It's true and I know it's awful to hear, but this is more about how you are impacting strangers.

          You're great for entering into this discussion. And I've been on the other side of this, someone said the same things to me. It was a shock, I was very angry and appalled that they wouldn't let me be who I was, someone who loved gay people. But then I listened, and then I understood. Maybe you will too. If not, I hope you keep reading!

        • andrea

          What you believe in is a book written by men and I don’t care if some say it’s inspired by some divine creature. Believe what you will, even if it is the Pink Invisible Unicorn.

          However, too many fundy christians ARE forcing their rules down the throats of others, based on their beliefs (homosexuality is wrong). 450 mammals and 150 species of birds practice homosexuality and they were allegedly made by your God. God wouldn’t make mistakes would he. Unfortunately your book of fables is not Gods word but mans.

          I believe the bible says women are to submit to their husbands. Throw out the equal rites, you do what I say.

          To those that say pray, people have been praying for 2000 years for peace, ain’t working like all prayers. Pray to god to make you gay for 10 years and tell me if it happens.

          And there are none so blind as those who will not see.

    • StraightGrandmother

      I would like to ask you a favor. Can you please talk with your GLBT friends and ask them at what age did they first started having same sex attraction feelings.

      Then ask them if they think if they tried really really really hard if they could change, change into only having opposite sex attraction. If they prayed really hard could they “convert” to hetro.

      Please do this then come back and give us a report.

      Thank you!

      • Arainbowguy

        Hi there, grandma. As a gay man, let me point you to questions and answers I had with a straight pastor that might address your questions: http://arainbowflaginnarnia.blogspot.com/2007/06/my-epistle-to-christian.html

        I prayed really hard…as in, for 35 years, hard. Offered myself for ministry, went to seminary. Still gay.
        My friend Peterson Toscano spent 17 years, $30,000 and two exorcisms trying to be straight. Still gay.

        I am the way I was made…the way God made me.

    • DR

      Dear jessica,

      Your “this is horrible” is a good first step, but it’s one that most reasonable people are taking. Your theology – what you’ve stated here – is contributing to driving children to despair and a part of the reason why many are killing themselves. That is well-documented, and I’m telling you that as a christian with lots of experience with gay kids.

      You need to actually do something to solve the problem you are creating. Your “I’m sorry!” is making the problem worse because what people want from you is action, not apologies or expressions of remorse. Those are lovely but they don’t do anything to solve the problem.

      I’m sure that there is absolutely not one bone in your body that *wants* to create the problem, here, but the fact of the matter is that it is happening and those of you who attempt to boil someone’s sexuality down to a set of behaviors that can be stopped are hurting children. You need to be willing to save these kids more than you need to be right about this theology,

    • Matthew Tweedell

      "God sees all sin equally in his own eyes."

      I am very interested in your reasoning in reaching such a conclusion.

      "Thankfully, by the mercy of my maker, I can ask for his forgiveness and voila! Heaven, here I come."

      I cannot agree with reducing it to such simplicity.

      "People are born sinners-and there is no exception to that rule, every person is born a sinner…."

      I believe you are mistaken. One of the very important things about who Christ Jesus is that he is proof that, though a man be subject to temptation, he need not ever give in to it, that sin is not inherent to the human nature. I must assert that there *is* an Exception, whom you cannot deny and claim to be a Christian in the orthodox sense of the faith. Moreover, one is surely not born already a sinner! For what blame could you lay justly upon the innocent? Indeed, our Lord has told us, "the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these"—present tense.

      • http://jessicaalexandra.wordpress.com jessicaalexandra

        I have read and will ponder all your last thoughts, seriously, I will. I know I said I will not be responding but I also wanted to address Matthew Tweedell because when I believe I am wrong, I will willingly admit it.

        MT: You are right, I was mistaken and thank you for correcting me. We are all born into sin. children, are not born sinners. That was my mistake in trying to think quickly.

        Also, when I said that all sin is equal in God's eyes, I guess I should have clarified: Jesus equates committing adultery with having lust in your heart and committing murder with having hatred in your heart. However, this does not mean the sins are equal. What Jesus was trying to get across is that sin is still sin even if you only want to do the act, without actually carrying it out. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day taught that it was okay to think about anything you wanted to, as long as you did not act on those desires. Jesus was forcing them to realize that God judges a person’s thoughts as well as his actions. Jesus proclaimed that our actions are the result of what is in our hearts.

        Lastly, I am curious as to why you don't believe that asking for forgiveness for your sins is not the way to heaven? God says that if you believe in your heart that Jesus Christ paid for your sins and you accept the Lord as your savior, that you are saved. Is this wrong? So me asking for forgiveness of my sins allows me to go to heaven right? Otherwise, what did Jesus Christ die for?

        • DR

          JA, that you're open to considering what's been offered is really beautiful. Thank you. It takes lots of time and courage to change. Again, I've been in your spot and for you to stay here when you get pressed to the wall shows that your heart is pursuing Jesus. And we seek what we find! xoxoxoxo

          • Mindy

            What DR said, Jessicaalexandra – I'm grateful to read that a young woman who holds her faith so dear is open to allowing that faith to mature with her. Kudos to you – that takes a big heart.

        • Matthew Tweedell

          You seem like a fairly intelligent young lady, Jessica. Thank you for your reply.

          First, well… there's also that Jesus died for offense against the Sanhedrin.

          Now, I'm not sure where you got that idea of what "God says". It may be that that's a valid way of expressing in part the Word of God, but that does not make it what God said exactly. It is however what St. Paul and others testified to (although if they were testifying as to what they'd heard God say, that would make it hearsay, and I'd see no reason to believe it any more than to believe anyone else who might claim to hear from God); yet I don't see how asking for forgiveness equates with believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. Believing in Him means all of Him, not just His forgiveness of your sins. He Himself has said that many who call Him Lord will not be admitted into the Kingdom. However, that admission is no way contingent upon explicitly begging His pardon. If we confess our sins, they will be forgiven, but what if we should accidentally overlook any, or die before we have a chance to ask for forgiveness for something? Well, we believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sin.

          By the way, where do you get that we’re born into sin? Is sin an element in the atmosphere? I mean, sure, there’s sin in the world we’re born into, but that exists as various discreet thoughts, words, and deeds—it isn’t the essence of this world itself (and, in fact, in the beginning, it’s not even there). Certainly man has a sinful nature, but it’s not something the act of being born exactly puts us into. And I’d say we are as much born into perfect love as we are into sin.

  • Mindy

    Thank you, Matthew. That's because I don't write about how I get one of them to school late about once a week, snap at my oldest when I'm tired, let them have messy rooms, let my teenager swear when she's really pissed about something . . . you know, the regular stuff. ;->

    She does know that if she swears in front of anyone else, it is on her head. And to my knowledge, she doesn't.

    We do OK. I set a lousy example with money management, altho' we're working on that. But I couldn't love two girlies more . . .

    Hopefully, if they grow up knowing anything, it will be that.

  • John O.

    I suppose it's just because, as I've entered middle-age, I've become a weepy old queen, but the brilliant and civilized discourse here actually moves me, and does my heart a world of good. I thank all readers and commenters for it.

  • dancingSnake

    Thank you for this post! I read it via Dan Savage. I think it's so important for this message to be heard by the world (all of it – Islamic, Budhist, Judaish, Christian…). Just as it is so important for every one of us to speak out against any kind of prejudice, violence, bullying and hate.

    Thank you taking one more step in the right direction.

  • Matt Ray

    John is so on it. I love this mug.

  • http://xnrealists.wordpress.com zero1ghost

    great article! well thought out and reasoned. as a pastor of an Open and Affirming UCC church we get a lot of these same arguments leveled at us. they’re awful, poorly reasoned, and have no basis in biology. i’m still struggling with the concept that most people haven’t heard of the Kinsey Scale nor have done any spiritual work on sexuality aside from “Don’t.”

    thanks for the post!

    • http://questionablemotives.wordpress.com/ tildeb

      I had never heard of the Kinsey Scale. Looked it up. Thanks for the info, Z1G.

  • http://www.deconstructingthenews.com Conservative Blogger

    Just found your site as I was searching for info on the whole gay rights mormon conservatism thing. This is a great post.

  • faithforgivenessfreedom

    Thanks for this post. What a touching insight, I think the way you expressed that no sin can prevent you from loving and be loving is eloquent and important. I’m writing a blog about reading the Bible in a year and yesterday’s post mentions this topic, as I read Romans 1-2. But as I say there, in the times that the Bible was written there was no opportunity for homosexual people to live in open, manogamous, safe relationships. Now there is in many countries, I think it’s so archaic that much of the Church doesn’t see the ‘homosexuality as a sin’ stance is so utterly unloving.

    Thanks again. http://www.scripturethis.wordpress.com

  • Bradley

    The major issue i am having with these arguments is that no one is actually reffering to the Bible… i think i saw one old testament refference? there tons of others for example 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and Romans 1:26-28 Both clearly say that homosexuallity is wrong and those are new testament verses, Its not natural to be in a relationship with the same sex. You cant produce off spring and there is a high chance of receiving HIV.. God in the beginning created Adam and Eve setting an example for us to follow.. And i aggree with the email you received homosexuality is a sin therefore it has to be put off and fought if you are a follower of Christ!! NO if ands or buts….

    • http://rdmlorisgoretownhorrycoscusaearth.blogspot.com/ Robert Meek

      Then you must agree that it is also mandated by the Lord to stone to death Fornicators, adulterers, that eating pork and seafood (except for fish with scales on them) is forbidden, that having sex with a woman during her menstrual cycle is forbidden, and more.

      Otherwise you are merely cherry-picking what you will and won’t accept out of those same Scriptures, and that sir, is nothing less than hypocritical.

    • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com/ Ric Booth

      Bradley,

      Two references hardly constitute “tons of others”. In fact, what the bible has tons of is *love*. Over 700 occurrences of the word love in some translations. The King James has the least with a sparse (?) 425-ish occurrences of the word *love*.

      Some translations don’t have any (zero, nadda, zip) occurrences of the word homosexual. The most I’ve seen is 4. Total.

      Don’t you think it’s a little odd that with all that information on LOVE, we still cannot agree on what God’s love looks like in this world? And (this is the point really) we agree to disagree on this. It’s a non-issue.

      But with homosexuality, with virtually no detail information whatsoever, we (the church) have declared the topic to be crystal clear. unambiguous. nonnegotiable. How can this be so?

    • Anonymous

      Many people have referred to the Bible with regard to this post.

      Do your examples of 1 Corinthians 6 and Romans 1 constitute “tons” of other examples? Do you know what the *actual* translation of those two (tons) verses are?

      Where does Jesus address homosexuality? Nowhere. Why do you think that is?

      Are couples who have sex but unable to conceive sinning because the activity cannot lead to offspring?

      Gay males are no longer the most likely to receive HIV. Lesbians are the most unlikely to be infected by HIV. So, that makes them more acceptable?

      Your argument is full of wholes. How do you intend to plug such holes, or are your assumptions incorrect?

    • Beri

      Pretty sure HIV isn’t mentioned in the Bible. Just sayin’.

    • Lindsey

      I think you also fail to realize that the bible was not originally written down until nearly 300 years after the death of Jesus. Look into the Council of Nicaea. It was a bunch of Bishops meeting to discuss the nature of Christ and THEY decided what eventually ended up in the bible. What you are following today in your “Bible” is put together by a bunch of men who decided what they wanted to put in there. Jesus did not write the bible. If you were a true follower of Christ, you would only want to spread love to everyone, not hatred. Anyone promoting hatred of a certain type of person can not truly call themselves a Christian. And I truly hope that you do not believe that Adam and Eve were the first humans and you therefore believe the universe to only be 6000 years old…because that is pure stupidity.

  • Arainbowguy

    Here is a blog post that addresses the whole alcoholism-vs-homosexuality debate. As Jeffrey Siker points out, it’s a specious argument. http://arainbowflaginnarnia.blogspot.com/2006/08/alcoholism-homosexuality-and-gentile.html

  • JR

    The thing that is interesting for me is how we have characterized the concept of singleness as being a curse, a horrific ending to one’s life, something that is a destiny that should only be heaped upon the outcasts of society. From a biblical perspective, Paul is very clear on singleness – it is a gift from God!

    I by no means am a bible scholar, but when Paul discusses marriage in 1 corinthians 7 he says “it is good for a man not to marry…I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift FROM GOD; one has this gift (singleness), another has that. Now for the unmarried and the widows I say it is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am.”

    Christ also had something to say about this issue in Matthew 19. In discussing divorce with the Pharisees he closed the discussion with a comment to his disciples that “some are eunuchs because they were born that way; some were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage BECAUSE OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.” While I am not sure this is a complete list, their are several great men that chose a life of solitude and worship of God as their primary love – Daniel, Elijah, Elisha, Paul, John the Baptist, and (of course) Jesus never married.

    Here’s the other interesting point of this passage when Paul does discuss the necessity for marriage since “there is so much immorality,” he talks about that “each man should have his own WIFE” and that the wife should have “her own husband.” He makes reference about the husband fulfilling his marital duty to “his wife” and likewise the wife to “her husband.” The wife’s body belongs to “her husband” and the husband’s body belongs to “the wife.”

    Later on in the passage he talks about how a woman should not seperate from “her husband” and vice versa. In Ephesians 5 Paul gives clear direction from God that wives should “submit to their husbands” and that husbands should “love their wives.”

    My point in bringing this up is that there has been a lot of arguments made about what the NT says about homosexuality and then the discussion goes to what Christ doesn’t say about homesexuality. If we look at this from another point and ask what does the bible say about

    MARRIAGE? Not one place in the bible – OT or NT – does it EVER give any consideration for marriage being between a wife and a wife or a husband and a husband. Never once does Paul refer to “spouse submit to your spouse” so as to be gender inspecific; never once does he mention wife submit to wife or husband submit to husband.

    Christ is to return one day for His church. The picture that is painted in scripture is that the Groom will return for his BRIDE, not another groom. Again, when Christ is addressing the Pharisees in Matthew 19, he says “haven’t you read that in the beginning the creator made them MALE AND FEMALE…for this reason a MAN will leave his FATHER AND MOTHER and be united to HIS WIFE.” He did not say that a man will leave their parents (again gender inspecific) or that they will be united with their spouse.

    My point in all of this is to say that if we are going to head down a path of pointing out that Christ did not preach against homosexuality and construe that somehow that means he must have been OK with it, then you also have to look at what he DID say about marriage and on that topic he was unwavering – every topic or discussion or reference of marriage whether by Christ or by Paul is referred to in a very gender specific manner – MAN AND WOMAN.

    • Steve

      It seems to me that Paul and other biblical writers draw upon the experiences of their immediate audiences to draw analogies to God. In the Old Testament God is pictured as a man with two wives. This does not mean only polygamous marriage is acceptable! Heterosexual marriage was overwhelmingly the most common social ordering of sexuality in Jewish culture. So it is no surprise if it is used to picture Christ’s relationship to the church. But this does not necessarily imply that only that sexual orientation or social ordering of sexual expression is appropriate. Given, as I argue in another comment, that Jews and the early Christian leaders may have been unlikely to encounter or recognize healthy expressions of homosexual love that were not associated with and colored by the corrupt religious-social system and values of the Greco-Roman culture, it is no surprise if there are no passages regulating the expression of homoerotic love.

      Celibacy is a gift from God, but have you really sat down and listened to the folks who are saying that every fiber of their being SCREAMS that they do not have that gift, that they need sexual love, and that they are only able to experience that with members of the same sex? Is it really fair to impose life-long celibacy on them?

  • Simon

    Its better to live and die alone than to burn in hell forever. Isn’t it? Or is there no hell in liberal theology?

    • Steve

      Simon, does God really want the fear of hell to stop us from exploring this matter honestly?

      • Steve

        Because whenever I see biblical passages threatening judgment, it is not against people who are peaceably living their own lives or honestly exploring issues. It is against people who actively seek to oppress others or choose to be complicit in an oppressive system, and neither the gay people I know, nor the “liberal” Christians who accept them, are anything like that.

    • AJ

      “Its better to live and die alone than to burn in hell forever. Isn’t it? Or is there no hell in liberal theology?”

      Your wording is interesting, and says more about you that you may realize. For instance, that you’d rather make it about an automatic knee-jerk reaction against ‘liberals’ instead of giving any real thought to what was said. That you choose to divide the world into ‘good religious conservatives’ and ‘bad godless liberals’. You automatically assume that liberals aren’t religious and religious people can’t be liberal.

  • http://thinkingaloud99.blogspot.com Steve

    For the sake of discussion, I’d like to offer a view of Romans 1, which I think is the only passage that poses a significant challenge to a gay-affirming theology, and here your thoughts about it. I think a strong case can be argued that sexuality of all sorts in the Greco-Roman society was tainted and corrupted in its expressions by the imperial/hierarchical values that Paul was organizing a movement to counter, and that corruption, combined with an inherited Jewish notion (perhaps originally derived from a pro-natal impulse in Jewish culture) that homosexuality was not the blessed life, stirred up so much dust that Paul simply could not see or envision the kind of loving gay relationships we see more clearly today. This was a day when a Roman pater could legally kill his spouse (that actually may have happened more frequently in earlier times but it was arguably still part of the cultural ethos), masters could rape their slaves (of either sex), etc. Paul looked at the Greco-Roman society around him, with its religious systems that justified hierarchy and oppression, and probably never encountered ANY instance of homosexual expression that was not wrapped up in this mess (e.g., temple prostitution, abused slaves, random liaisons with no commitment, etc.). Paul did not analyze homosexuality in a microscope, he had no occasion to. In cataloguing the corruption of Greco-Roman society, in passing, to pave the way in his rhetoric for a message to his fellow Judeans, he refers to homosexual passions as a curse for idolatry. Because of the “dust,” he got it wrong. And yet, ironically, that very dust got cleared in part due to the counter-cultural movement against the corrupt, hierarchical, oppressive values and social system of the Roman Empire that he helped start, enabling us today to see this matter more clearly.

    Perhaps the early Pauline communities had such a Jewish “aroma” that homosexuals steered clear, preventing Paul from gaining a closer acquaintance, and allowing him to continue to paint with a broad brush in his assumptions. But what if Paul HAD become aware of loving homosexual relationships and of the fact that a whole segment of the population felt excluded from the counter-cultural community he was nurturing? Was Paul really a man who was incapable of re-thinking his deep-seated prejudices? Consider the enormous step he took in letting go of Jewish dietary restrictions, in embracing Gentiles at the dinner table. He did that because, in his mind, NO barrier could be allowed to stand which kept people who were turning to God from joining the community of his counter-imperial kingdom. The concern to build that community ALWAYS trumps in Paul, even if it means giving up something as deeply ingrained as the prohibition against pork, etc. The overwhelming tendency of Paul suggests to me that if he were here today, he would be laboring with all his might for an inclusive stance toward gays, just as he labored to overcome the alienation between Jewish and Gentile Christians.

    I think this “dust” theory of Paul on homosexuality is preferable to views which try to make Paul out as gay-affirming and inerrant, or to the view that he has in mind naturally constituted heterosexuals who deliberately went against that (a view that I think is “reaching.”) It sees Paul as a man of limited and finite vision, carried along by the Spirit of God, and yearning to see the transformation he had experienced become the experience of the world around him. The irony is that we may best stand on his shoulders today by shedding his assumptions about homosexuality.

  • Hammerbro82

    Love the blog post. I’m citing it in my ethics paper on sexual morality. As a Christian who actually pays attention to real life, I love it when people point the many reasoning errors in fundamentalism.

    I think it is ridiculous that being straight is about love and family, being celibate as a priest is about godliness and human kindness, but being gay is just about sex. As Sesame street would say, one of these things is not like the others.

  • Tie

    @Jessica

    Are you saying that you are ‘sexually’ and ‘emotionally’ attracted to women and you have made a conscious decision to not partake in the sin? For you to say that homosexuality is a choice, would have to mean that you could only know from first hand experience, because you can’t have it both ways. Either you are gay, straight or bi… which is it?

    I am not gay, because I have a sexual and emotional attraction to men.

    I am not straight, because I have a sexual attraction to women, but don’t feel an emotional attraction… for some people that may be different.

    I am bi, because I have an attraction to both sexes. I however have made a conscious choice to not partake in sexual pleasure with a female, because it could not lead to ‘love’ for me. It isn’t my choice to be bi, it is only my choice to partake or not.

    Gay, straight or bi, is never a choice… the only choice involved is whether or not we partake in one of those relationships. Who of sound mind, would walk away from a mutual love? Who of sound mind would ask you to?

    In closing I will say this…. So-called Christians, who go around screaming and quoting the Bible about all the things the Bible has to say against homosexuality, always seem to forget one major thing that is said in the Bible… ‘Marriage Is Honorable In All’. Yet these same so-called Christians, would fight until the end to deny homosexuals the same right to a life of love… all in the name of their uncomfortableness… It’s called unjust bigotry sweety and you are as guilty as the next.

  • http://funeralurnsforcremation.com Peter Alahassam

    Thanks for great information about this article . keeping your good work

  • Lindsey

    For all those who think being gay is a choice, I ask you this: When did you choose to be straight?

    It is not a conscious decision that you make. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJtjqLUHYoY

  • Spacey

    I love your glueing wings on a pig analogy and I think it perfectly describes the Christian equating of homosexual orientation and sinful temptations.

    Nonetheless, I found myself feeling disturbed at these lines:

    “When you tell a gay person to “resist” being gay, what you are really telling them—what you really mean—is for them to be celibate.

    What you are truly and actually saying is that you want them to condemn themselves to a life devoid of love.”

    The idea that a celibate life is equivalent to a life devoid of love is insulting to all singles. These statements merely reinforce our culture’s “cult of the couple” and devalues alternative ways of giving and receiving love. I do not believe that celibacy should be foisted on anyone against their will whether gay or not. All of the sexual expressions of couples you mentioned are beautiful and meaningful and should not be deprived to anyone because of his or her orientation. But, there are many reasons why someone might not ever be in a committed relationship or experience sexual intimacy (either by choice or circumstance). This does not make her less of a sexual being nor deprive him of the ability to give and receive love. In fact, some singles are able to give and receive love in unique and unconventional ways that coupled folks cannot. The most generous, affectionate and loving person I know has been single and celibate her whole life.

    Just a thought.

    • DR

      As a heterosexual female, I can be celibate as a result of my beliefs. It can be a great life, people don’t need a partner to be fulfilled. That being said? I get the option according to the Church, I get to experience it if I choose. I even get to have hope that I’ll have it if it is a desire of my heart.

      Contrast that to what the church says about gay men and women. Gay people don’t even get to hope for it like straight people do. Whatever deeper experience of love, even sex they want? They need, even? They don’t get to hope for that.

      What is hard to understand about that?

    • Susan

      I admit that you make very salient points, I admit that people are people and all people need love and acceptance. I fully admit that I believe what the Word states; that homosexual acts are an abomination before that Lord. I truly believe that Jesus would be and is (The Holy Spirit) at home in today’s society among all peoples and would not and does not exclude any. I believe He would be and is(The Holy Spirit) in the heart of things today the same as when He was on the earth. He would be and is (His Workers) out giving love and care to: homeless, alcoholics, prostitutes, HGLBT, teenage runaways, mentally impaired, and abused; anyone whom needed His help and love. I believe He allows the sun to shine, the rain to fall, and the wind to blow equally on all of us. I believe He blesses all equally or as much as we allow Him to bless us. This being said, I believe we all sin and sometimes humans have to be the judge of those sins, its called being a juror. But the sin that is associated with an alternative lifestyle is not mine to judge, I can’t speak for anyone else. When I’m bringing the Word of the Lord to someone who lives an alternative lifestyle, I show them in the Word what is said about it and then I tell then that it is between them and God; because there is but one final judge and His name Is Jesus. People have the right not to agree or accept the alternative lifestyle of other people, but, we don’t have the right to reject the person(s). I believe that what transpires sexually between people is their business (children excluded), if it is sin, then it is between them and Jesus; it should not concern any one else unless it interferes in their life, except parents of minor children who normally would show concern. People who live alternative lifestyles are people, just people. The main concern Christians should have is sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, its up to them to decide, accept, or reject Him.

      • Matthew Tweedell

        A Christian, as one to whom the Son of God has introduced the love of the Father, having recognized this in all its majesty, should have as his or her main concern that he/she love, emulating their heavenly Father thereby and faithfully following their Lord’s perfect command. Of course the Good News–the Gospel–is of Love, but that doesn’t mean its delivery is always truly of Love, and when not, Satan may take the opportunity to do damage to the Gospel of our Lord and Savior.

        I think this notion of an “alternative lifestyle” will hardly prove rationally acceptable to any; conservatives find it validating an “alternative”, and liberals see it as reducing a person’s very nature to a lifestyle “choice” in defiance of the norms.

        By the way, I see no particular reason in your choosing to believe that God blesses, or attempts to bless, equally each individual; I think, on both Scriptural and experiential grounds, that that may not be true.

        Also, I cannot see on what basis we have the “right” not to agree or accept the “alternative lifestyle” of other people. First, rights are typically regarding what we *can* do—not what we can *not* do (Perhaps it’s a sign of our collective inclination towards laziness that we expect a right not to do something, or anything, and remain unperturbed in it). Second, we do not have the right to be wrong: we are not entitled to facts in contradiction to reality, truth apart from that of God, a state of affairs going against his will. Of course, in matters of conscience, let there be no compulsion. Yet I must then wonder what compels people to think there is anything wrong in general with how LGBT people live—why the thought occurs to them that it would be desirable to remove a speck they think they see in another’s eye due to the obstruction of their vision by a plank stuck in their own—for one thing you said is so very true: “the sin … is not mine to judge….” Choosing to recognize sins is a lifestyle choice—the one Adam and Eve made in defiance of God.

  • Panaele

    Wait, wasn’t Jesus single? You know, never married? Yet, he preached LOVE all the time? Hmmm….bad argument there, John. Love is a shit-ton more than cuddling and coffee in the morning.

    • DR

      I must be reading another blog entry – where in the world are you reading love being reduced to cuddling and coffee in the morning? If you’re going to critique something, consider putting your defenses (or whatever emotion this stirred) to the side and reading with the intent to understand the author’s point and check to make sure you’ve gotten the point. People like John seem to take an awful lot of time writing these things with careful intention, it’s such a shame that people do drive-by comments reflecting meaning back that’s based on their lens, not the content itself.

      • Melissa Chamberlin

        DR, you are amazing. Thanks you.

  • Gromm

    Sure, Jesus was single. Jesus also said nothing about homosexuality – not a thing. Not even anything that might *suggest* homosexuality. Maybe there’s a reason for that.

  • Amy

    The problem with a lot of these comments is when you become a Christian that’s supposed to come first. Before your husband or wife, before your children, before your wants and desires. You can’t make Jesus try to fit into your life. You have to form your life in God’s will. It sucks. Every inclination in every one of us is to do wrong. Sin one way or another. The blogger feels that the sentance given by Christians is unfair. But if anyone really loves God/ Jesus with his whole heart the number one choice in his life should be to do God’s will. So then you have to decide what that will is.

    Jesus did say a lot about love. In Greek there are three kinds of love: Agape meaning brotherly love. Eros meaning sexual love. Philia meaning friendship love. When Jesus says love your neighbour he is not talking about sexual love. A big theme in the New Testament is loving others as God first loved us. This loving others is not a sexual love. Asking someone to remain celebate is not asking them to give up agape or philia love. It is asking them to keep their body pure.

    Let’s all be really careful about what is or isn’t in the Bible. It’s pretty dangerous to be adding or taking things from God’s Holy Word. You can argue yourself in circles but you will not in the whole of scripture find a passage that supports eros love between two of the same sex. I don’t presume to know why God allows some people to have those desires. Life is hard, it’s not meant to be easy, it’s actually a punishment for the fall into sin.

    Let’s live first for God. If we feel he would condone the choices we’ve made, then we have our answers. I always think when I am doing something I’m not sure is right or wrong: If Jesus returned on the clouds of heaven right now would I be ok with doing/thinking/saying this? I will not answer for another at his judgement seat. I’ll have to answer for me. May we all live to HIS glory alone.

    • DR

      Dear Amy,

      Please have the courage of your convictions and address the young man who was abused by his parents as a result of your theology. I’m really asking. This is all fine to offer in concept, but you need to come face to face with the damage you are doing as you defend/exhort what you believe despite your intentions, as good as I’m sure they are. So go actually *read* about the damage your beliefs about “adding to God’s Word” are doing to people. Have the courage to do that. You need to understand that there are a lot of us Christians out here who are tired of cleaning up your mess. Go deal with it, then come back and tell me how wrong I am.

      • Amy

        Hello DR

        I have no idea what I’m being accused of. I don’t even know you!

        I read todays blog entry and have no idea what it has to do with my convictions. I never abused that person nor ridiculed him. It is not the result of the Bible’s teaching that he was abused. It was a result of sin. (Not his sin the sin of those around him who failed to treat him with love and respect.) He was treated very badly and I’m sorry for that but I don’t quite compute how it’s my fault.

        Your tone is abusive. I won’t have a screaming match on the internet. Please address me with respect as one homan being to another. If you are a Christian then I would think your main goal would be that of Jesus to treat everyone with respect.

        Amy

        • DR

          I have no idea what I’m being accused of. I don’t even know you!>>>

          Amy you stepped into a conversation and you countered some thoughts, here. I’m countering you back with the same candor that you applied in your comment. That’s not “accusing” you, I’m actually holding you accountable to damage that is done to gay kids as a result of the actual theology you seem to be defending, that theology being gay = sinful if unrepentant, they go to hell. I’d suggest getting a thicker skin if you’re going to actually wade into these waters, there are people who are very, very angry with people like you who are sending this message to gay children and we’re saying so. So stop playing the victim please, this could be an opportunity for you to actually engage with someone who doesn’t have a lot of respect for this particular belief of yours and i’m saying so. Being liked isn’t your goal as a Christian, nor is being respected. Being the presence of Jesus is the goal. Let’s not focus on whether or not we like one another when children are being hurt in the name of Christ, it’s really unimportant in light of that.

          I’ve volunteered a shelter for homeless kids and I can’t tell you about the number of gay children kicked out of their loving Christian homes for being gay – we’re talking 15 year old kids here, sent to the street where they are exploited. And some of these parents were truly trying to do the right thing, the “tough love” thing. And they threw away their kid, it happens in thousands of Christian homes every night. And your theology contributes to it, whether you like that or not.

          I read todays blog entry and have no idea what it has to do with my convictions. I never abused that person nor ridiculed him. It is not the result of the Bible’s teaching that he was abused. >>>

          You’re wrong, actually. This is going to be very difficult for you to hear and you may decide not to, which will be disappointing but not surprising if that’s your choice. You are someone who believes that homosexuality is against God’s plan seems to only want to enter into this discussion when you want to defend your point of view like you’ve done here. But where *are* you when a gay child needs you like the one who wrote that letter? He needs you – more than anyone, Amy – to say “I know I believe that being gay is wrong and against God’s plan but I’m so sorry that people used *my* theology as a way of abusing you. I’m so sorry, I will make sure that people who believe as I do don’t do this, I will start talking to my community about this and making sure this doesn’t happen to you anymore.” But you don’t. You didn’t say anything to him, not one word. And with me? You want to make sure your hands are clean, that you’re one of the nice Christians.

          And I get it, Amy. I was just as defensive and wounded as you appear to be when I was on the receiving end of someone who was saying everything I am saying to you tonight. I demanded respect, I demanded that he recognize that I was not an abuser. But what I failed to see (and what most people do) and took me some time to realize is that I – when I believed like you did – was *contributing* to a *system* of belief that parents like these are using to condemn their kids. And I was doing nothing about it. Even loving Christian parents say this kind of thing.

          You don’t see it because it’s really scary and hard to do the math for most people who believe that gay people are going to hell if they don’t repent. How does that work for a ten-year old that literally, cannot change how he feels about other boys? That gets messy for you and others like you to deal with.

          It was a result of sin. (Not his sin the sin of those around him who failed to treat him with love and respect.) He was treated very badly and I’m sorry for that but I don’t quite compute how it’s my fault.>>>

          Your tone is abusive. I won’t have a screaming match on the internet. >>>

          Amy you can write me off if you want to, use my anger with you as a reason not to listen. But anger is an activating agent and you can run away from this if that’s what you choose to do. It won’t make you any less responsible. People earn respect, it’s not always given. I don’t respect your beliefs about gay men and women, I think they – and you as you live them out and act upon them – do tremendous damage to gay men and women’s beliefs that God loves them and that they get to have a relationship with Jesus. I’ve seen it firsthand a hundred times. And someone needs to be straight with you Amy – someone needs to tell you. If you listen? That’s up to you. I suspect you’ll be like a million other people and not, and i get it – it’s terrifying to realize that there are some of us fellow Christians who are angry with you. But anger is often productive. Let it be productive in your life.

          DR

          • Amy

            Dear DR,

            We will not ever agree and it’s not because of our views on homosexuality.

            I do not believe what is in the Bible is optional to believe. You don’t get to pick and choose and then say “See, I’m a Christian.” Being a christian is supposed to be about giving things up for the Lord. I was raised to do the right thing and not the thing I wanted. So yes I guess I’m a religious tyrant cuz I say “No sex outside of marriage, no working on Sunday, no taking the Lord’s name in vain. And no sexual relationship between two of the same sex.” But I apply these things more strongly to myself than anyone else.

            But that doesn’t mean I think those who sin should be treated horribly. Then I would think I had to be to be treated horribly and this is the great difference between you and me.

            You are judging me. I am not judging you. I am saying that I thinkwe should follow the Bible and if you feel you are than I would accuse you of nothing. I’m within my rights to interpret the Holy Word of God the way I think it should be. But I don’t feel ‘justified’ in treating you horribly as you do me. You just treated me as you are defending the man from yesterdays blog being treated. You are accusitory and tell me my beliefs have ruined lives in homeless shelters.

            MY BELIEFS HAVE NOT HURT THOSE PEOPLE. My belief is my FAITH and it is mine alone. It can’t hurt anyone unless I use it for hurt. Someone else’s sin hurt those people. The conduct of people have hurt them who believe what I believe but I don’t carry that responsiblity. I can only control what I do and I try to treat all with love and respect. But all this isn’t because I think I’m so good and righteous.

            oh no. I’m sure I have hurt people. I’m a sinner. I have to repent every day from sin and I know it. Without the the will of the Lord I would be the worst sinner on earth. But God plucked me from my sin and powerfully bent my ugly will to His Holy Will. Not one thing in my life should be what I want to do or say but everything should be to glorify God.

            Life isn’t about you DR, or me, not even about those poor souls in the homeless shelter treated so badly. It’s about doing God’s will in our lives no matter how hard. Glorifying God.

            All I said in my email was “if we can meet the Lord doing/thinking/believing the things we do then we have our answer.” I’m sure you feel you can. So then why are you wasting valueable time attacking a loser like me?

            I pray we meet in the Kingdom of Heaven though I’m sure you think I’ll never make it there with my beliefs. I’m sure you’ve condemned me though you seem to think I’m the one condemning people. Interesting. God Bless

            I won’t look for a reply simply because I don’t think I’d be serving the Lord by arguing further.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            From the ThruWay Christians founding document:

            The Biblical scholarship supporting the idea that Paul never wrote a word proscribing natural homosexuality is at least as credible and persuasive as the scholarship (if not typical Bible translations) claiming that he did. Any person who uses the words of Paul in the New Testament to “prove” that homosexuality is a sin against God has either never themselves researched the matter, or has simply chosen to believe one set of equal proofs over another. Though laziness is easily enough understood, we remain mystified as to why anyone who purports to follow Jesus would choose to condemn an entire population over choosing to obey Jesus’ self-proclaimed Greatest Commandment to love one’s neighbor as one loves oneself.

          • DR

            You are judging me.>>>

            I am judging your actions as a result of what you believe and how those actions play out in my world and the lives of the gay men and women I love and a very vulnerable population of gay children who kill themselves faster than any other population of kids.

            I am not judging you.>>>

            Of course you are. You’re judging the quality of peoples’ obedience towards Christ as you

            MY BELIEFS HAVE NOT HURT THOSE PEOPLE.>>>

            Amy keep telling yourself that, but as one who was *with* “those people” in their most vulnerable state? They are. And you need to hear it. That you aren’t going to listen? OK. That’s not my issue. What we get defensive about says far more about us than the person who challenges us.

            I’m sure you feel you can. So then why are you wasting valueable time attacking a loser like me?>>>

            Amy, someone has to tell you this – you have to grow up a little. I and hundreds like me have been on the front lines with these kids and I’m offering you a perspective on what your beliefs do to them – you contribute to a Christian culture who is oppressing them, marginalizing them and sending them a message that they can’t ever know Jesus and remain gay. Some kill themselves as a result, a lot of them do. No one is calling you a “loser”, by injecting this kind of thing into the conversation you give yourself an excuse for leaving it. Stop taking everything so personally and learn how to engage people who might believe – as I do – that you actually care enough about gay men and women to take some tough talk about your impact on them of which you’re probably not even aware.

            I won’t look for a reply simply because I don’t think I’d be serving the Lord by arguing further.>>>

            OK. But know that you chose to spend your energy defending your *self* instead of providing comfort and encouragement to a young man who was abused by parents who are clinging to the same beliefs you are about homosexuality and you didn’t show up for him. You put your interpretation of the Bible and your beliefs about gay people before loving him. I sense that your decision is what you’re running from, not this conversation.

            God have mercy on you for the things you do of which you are not aware. If you’re a little bit more aware now? Good.

          • DR

            typo correction:

            “Of course you are. You’re judging the quality of peoples’ obedience towards Christ as you *indicate we are not following the Word*.”

          • Eric

            As a christian, our number one goal should be to love. No matter what the person has done, is doing, or will do. Jesus was the greatest example when he prayed for the people who were killing him. It is a terrible thing what people are doing to their children. Kicking a kid out to the street to figure it out for themselves is terrible. I truly don’t believe that me believing that homosexuality is a sin causes hate. I do believe that people filled with hate cause hate. I know people personally who are homosexual and call themselves christians, I do not hate them, but if asked I will provide my opinion in love. Treating someone badly because of sin is hypocritical because we all sin daily and ask forgiveness daily. I am not trying to argue, but as I read I was deeply saddened by the posts. Yes I do believe that homosexuality is a sin, and I believe that everything in the Bible is accurate, relevant, and true. The Bible requires all to die to sin, that hurts. It hurts to give up something so deeply embedded in our life. I have struggled with sexual issues in my life, and praise God for His grace that He has helped me. What I say does not matter. What does matter is the truth that we will all stand before God and give an account for our lives. We can argue with God. We can be angry at people. We can tell him about all the issues we have dealt with. The only thing that matters is that God says and what God wants. I hope and pray that everyone who desires to be a christian will fully submit to all the Word of God because in the end that is all that matters.

          • DR

            @Eric:

            “I truly don’t believe that me believing that homosexuality is a sin causes hate.”

            Eric, we Christians seem to operate under the notion that because we don’t *believe* something, it doesn’t exist. There are thousands of gay men and women – you can hear their stories on “It Gets Better” via You Tube – that would tell you your belief about homosexuality being evil does indeed cause them to commit suicide. That you *feel* no hatred toward this community is certainly true, I’m sure. That you love them, even? I’m sure that’s true. But you need to stop believing that you have the last word on the impact of your belief system when the person who is on the receiving end of it is telling you otherwise.

            You get the last word on your intention, but you don’t get the last word on your impact.

    • DR

      (the letter I’m referring to is today’s blog entry).

    • Matthew Tweedell

      I’d like to address all your comments here at once, if you don’t mind, Miss Amy.

      There are actually four terms to translate “love” in the Koine Greek language, and of the three you mention, your understanding appears to be lacking.

      Eros, for example, according to the Ancient Greek paradigm, isn’t necessarily sexual; its essence lies in gratification of self: for such is most pleasing, as it satisfies deep psychological needs, filling certain voids according to God’s design in a man’s or woman’s heart. Traditional theology should understand eros to be the inward-directed love distinct but inseparable from the outward-directed agape: any real communion must involve two-way communication, interaction, interrelation, binding communicants together in one relationship, with one Spirit, of one True Love. Eros motivates not only acts of sexual union, but acts of spiritual union, and knowledge not only carnal but divine as well: for such is the longing to hear the Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

      Now, brotherly love is philia, not agape. This love is indistinct in the classical Greek worldview from that of friend and neighbor.

      As for agape, this is the aspect that gives love its real, eternal power. This is what drives love: it is in agape that love begets love. For its nature is directed outward: it gives of itself; it is self-sacrificing; it is victorious over self and, transcending self, over even death, by which it may even breath new life into itself whilst quenching the eros forevermore.

      So as for “eros love between two of the same sex in the Bible”, need I point to David and Jonathan? David makes very clear the eros component in addition to the philia component of this love, saying (2 Samuel 1:26): “I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.”

      So I definitely agree: “Let’s all be really careful about what is or isn’t in the Bible. It’s pretty dangerous to be adding or taking things from God’s Holy Word.”

      That revisionist theology explains your assertion that “[b]eing a christian [sic] is supposed to be about giving things up for the Lord.”

      Rather, being a Christian is supposed to be about receiving Christ into our hearts and His Holy Spirit as our own. Yes, it’s better to give (by agape, for the sake of the eternal) than to receive (by eros, for the sake of the fleeting self), but one cannot give of what one has not first received!

      To accept the Spirit of the Prince of Peace is to submit one’s own will to the will of the Father, in which case one would not this distinction that you make between “the right thing” and “the thing I wanted”.

      As John the Evangelist wrote, “the truth will set you free”.

      Getting back to agape, you wrote, “My belief is my FAITH and it is mine alone. It can’t hurt anyone unless I use it for hurt.”

      Faith is only really dwelling within you to the extent that it moves you to action. James 2:26: “[F]aith without deeds is dead.” But if that action is one of evasion—the doing of whatever else, whatever vanity, when we ought to be attending to the work of God—we will find ourselves without an ark when the floodgates open up. The lack of agape, the lack of support for your fellow man—moreover, for the son of man, the little ones, to whom belongs the Kingdom—does hurt, and is sin. Wicked it is to respect what is wicked. Tolerating intolerance is a most destructive perversion.

      Now, your faith has also paved the way to more direct actions: posting comments on this blog. And your beliefs expressed therein are in fact found to be hurtful. If they were not, why would DR respond defensively? What motive could there be other than to deflect hurt, on the behalf of the poor in spirit?

      I hope you read this, Amy, and I pray the Lord bless you and your house, and keep you and strengthen you in faith and understanding.

      Peace in Christ.

      • http://www.facebook.com/timidtemper Jenny

        Mr.Matthew,

        I must say that I never post to blogs like this, I generally just read it and discuss it with my girlfriend of the last 4 years. I can definately say that I am one of “those” people that this entire article and comments is talking about. I am now 31 yrs old. My immediate family did not quit talking to me, though my extended family did. I was abused physically and mentally by my immediate family. I ended up a drug addict after a while and got into recovery. They told me in AA that I HAD to find a higher power that I could understand…. This was one of the hardest things I had ever dealt with and I grew up in a crackhouse with crack using parents that abused me. I was never introduced to “Jesus” or “God” until I was 15yrs old and the people in the church and the things they talked about freaked me out completely! I tried it for a little bit and nothing in my life and family changed(it actually got worse). So I gave it up and it became a fad just as the gothic clothes and everything else from my teenage yrs. Three and a half yrs ago I got sober. This is when I had my search for what I could understand. I’m a Math and Physics major in school. I rule out anything that I cant scientifically prove the existance of. Though still studying (and searching), I have only been able to move from a group of people( there is strength in numbers) to karma( what goes around comes back around, get what you put out). Tho this looks like a small move, for me it was a milestone to move away from something physical to something I cant see but see results of.

        I said all of this to simply say that, as an intellectual, I have never had all of what you said make since…. not neccassarily the part of inturrpreting the bible, but the explaination of love. I thoroughly respect anyone and their beliefs, I just dont personally believe them. I live a nice quiet peaceful life with my “wife” and three kids. My “wife” and kids are all christians. I dont disclose my belief to the kids yet. They are only 7, 8, and 9. But my kids are taught to completely like someone for who they are and not for what color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation or anything else! This is what makes the world the most beautiful planet in space! Everyone is born to find happiness. Some never get that chance, some (like myself) will not let anything or anyones opinion step in the way of finding their happiness. All people like me want is to live peacefully. I once heard a quote that said “My friends water is thicker than my families blood.” I have NO blood family now that I’m sober and want a “normal” life. I have a whole new set of family and friends. As they say in AA ” I have a new pair of glasses”. Now with that being said, I appreciate you for posting this and I hope you dont mind me sharing it. I wish more people would choose to get educated! I truely hope you have a wonderful day! You have contributing to the search (journey) that I am on…….

  • Heather

    Holy cognitive dissonance, Batman! That’s where I land on this issue (and it feels really prickish to call something so deep and raw an “issue” because it’s people’s lives we’re talking about here.)

    I am pro-gay marriage or better yet taking marriage out of the hands of the state altogether and having civil unions for government purposes and individual religious and non-religious groups can just decide for themselves who they want to considered married. I don’t even see a good reason for limiting unions to two people — the Bible only even does that for specific situations.

    Because of my Evangelical background, I expected to find myself uncomfortable with displays of affection between same-sex couples, but it turns out that they don’t bother me any more than the same displays would bother me with a straight couple (though I’m admittedly a bit of a prude). I don’t see a problem with gayness. Consenting adults and all that. My own sense of morality is rather along the lines of “An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will.” I don’t see how anybody is being hurt by two (or more) people of the same sex having a romantic/sexual/domestic, whatever relationship.

    On the other hand, in terms of religion, I really am conservative — still Evangelical in that sense. Though I want to *not* see teachings against homosexuality in the Bible I can’t honestly interpret the applicable verses another way. By that I mean that if I look at those verses the way I look at any other verses in the Bible in determining what the author (and I’m coming from the perspective that the author is inspired by the holy spirit) is saying I can’t come to a different conclusion at this point.

    I read these other viewpoints hoping to find something to convince me otherwise because, frankly, I don’t like the idea that God would call something that appears to be totally innate and without remedy (and I hate to use the word remedy here because if the implications of disease, but I don’t know how else to say it) bad and consign someone to a life of celibacy and loneliness for no good (to me) reason.

    Yet I also know that this God of love who sacrificed his only son for our salvation has (by my standards) a serious history of assholery. I mean, he struck a guy dead for trying to steady the ark and commanded flat out genocide on more than one occasion — right down to the livestock and infants.

    Cognitive dissonance, Batman. Seriously. So basically, the only conclusion I can come to right now is (kind of along the lines of CS Lewis’s) that it’s none of my damn business. I don’t know what it’s like. I can’t understand. But I do know what it means to be in a loving sexual relationship — my husband enriches my life like nothing else — the sun just seems brighter when he is around, even after almost nineteen years together. I can’t personally deny that to anyone. If God wants to that’s up to him, but I don’t want any part of that and I see no reason why I should.

    I sin all the time. In thought and in deed. On accident. On purpose. I hurt people. That’s why I need Jesus. That’s why we all do. So. It pisses me off in a major way when my conservative brethren want to fuss about homosexuals but the the slum lord sitting in the front row NEVER has to feel the slightest prickle of guilt about the conditions his tenants are living in (and there are a lot more verses about that kind of thing in the Bible than there are about homosexuality beyond any doubt). Because, you know, he tithes and is on the board. And then they hold one rally against abortion and another to cut funding to Medicaid and WIC and Planned Parenthood. It makes me want to scream. Give me the gays any day. Please.

    People that give gay kids a hard time should be run with my mini-van. By me. But that would be a bad example to my kids, even though my kids would jump out of the van and stomp them because they read a lot of fan fiction . . .

    Okay. I’m going to stop ranting and agonizing and go to bed now.

    • http://tzada.blog.com Stephanie

      Heather, I love how you wrestle with this. I belive the answer lies in our new position to the law. We have died to the law so we could be married to a better Spouse. I agree with you that I cannot ignore certain things. As a former semi frum Jew, it still makes me sick to see ppl eat ham in a way I imagine it makes some sick to think about gay marriage. But my personal habits and convictions are not communicable. I am free to eat ham and I am free to be a lesbian if God calls me to it.

      God’s law, now, is a dark glass thru which we see Jesus. We were created to be the wife of God. The law must reflect this. He is not gay because he does not commit himself to another god, but to his goddess, the church. And the church commits herself to God. This is the image in the law. However! God’s law can only be used in that way, to show an image of Christ. It does not and cannot apply to Christians in a legal way. Each Christian must become self actualized in her own way by following the Spirit, not the letter.

      In Jewish law, sex constitutes marriage. The ceremony and the papers are a social construct designed to protect the sexual, cohabitational, relationship.

      • http://tzada.blog.com Stephanie

        Not to mention, the gentiles were only ever given the seven laws of Noah, the 613 are intended for Jews. The seven laws are those that the Jerusalem council in Acts referred to when they gave Paul instructions on what to teach the gentiles re morality (no drinking blood, they said, yet even this is permissible). It is against the law for a non Jew to be shomer shabbos for example. The ten commandments are for the Jews, not everybody. Christ did not bring gentiles into the fold to put them under a covenant they were never held to in the first place.

        • Stephanie

          I should hedge this by saying that this is about God revealing Godself to humanity in temporal reality through a picture type, not God in eternal reality. So when I say God isn’t gay, I’m not saying it’s ungodly to be gay for God may very well be all of the above. I daresay we all have a lot of mind and heart opening to do to comprehend that. We are going to need new bodies just to begin to understand him and his generous liberalities, pleasures, and love. (And I call him him because he’s my husband. Come on!)

  • http://www.st-andrew-umc.com Matthew B. Winkel

    For those still following these comments … *chuckle*

    I was just referred to the awesome Mr. Shore by my friend Ron Goetz. I certainly didn’t read ALL of the above comments, but someone said that Jesus never said ANYTHING even HINTING at homosexuality. Well, Ron did some research … he told me even HE was skeptical about it, but he keeps finding MORE evidence:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/36405396/Jesus-and-the-Six-Homosexuals

    His blog continues this fascinating project, debunks the “clobber passages,” etc.:

    http://biblethumpingliberal.com

    • Nate Sterling

      Your first website — http://www.scribd.com/doc/36405396/Jesus-and-the-Six-Homosexuals — in the conclusion of the book located on that website it uses weak evidence (Luke 17:34-35) supportive of gay activities during the time of Jesus but NO SUPPORT FOR GAY ACTIVITY.

      It must be made clear that although gay activity is considered to be a sin and is taught against in the bible support for gay intercourse is not. It directly state’s in the bible against homosexuality, or “sexual relations” with fellows of the same sex orientation: 1 Cor. 6:9, 1 Tim. 1:8-10, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13 — these are all definite proofs in the bible that stand against homosexuality.

      A question worth looking into: What should Christians vote be, when it comes to Gay Marriage Rights? Is this further evidence for why marriage should be left out of the governmental affairs?

      The greatest commandment in the bible is to Matt. 22:37-38 “37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.” regardless of any ‘so-called’ abnormalities. Disciples of Jesus are taught to “love” even those who struggle with lusting over their own sex.

      • http://www.biblethumpingliberal.com Ronald Goetz

        Nate, if you just glance at Luke 17:34-35, it does look like weak evidence at first. When I investigated those verses, and the context of Luke 17:23-37, it more carefully I found a number of interesting things. (To read all the blog posts, click on http://biblethumpingliberal.com/gays-lesbians-in-luke/)

        Notice that it is “in that night” that the “two men in one bed” and “two women grinding together” are discussed.

        The first thing I realized was that the O.T. references behind “two men in one bed” were two of the verses you quoted: Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. Jesus referred to the exact verses that prohibited man-on-man sex.

        But he didn’t take this opportunity to warn us about it.

        The second verse I studied was verse 35, which refers to “two women grinding together.” I discovered that words like “mill” and “corn” are not in Luke’s version. (“Mill” is present in Matthew, but not in Luke.)

        I also discovered that the word “grind” was a sexual euphemism in Old Testament Hebrew, as well as in the Greek and Latin as it was spoken in Jesus’ day. Horace uses it in Latin a couple of decades before Jesus was born, and Plutarch uses it in Greek at the same time Luke wrote his gospel.

        So, in Jesus’ day as well as in the O.T., “grinding” was just as polite as talking about “making love” is today. But still, Jesus doesn’t warn us against lesbian love-making.

        The third thing I examined the story about Sodom, Lot, and the fire and brimstone. These are the verses that come immediately before the ones about “two men in one bed” and “two women grinding together.” I discovered that Jesus’ comments about Sodom did not mention man-on-man sex at all.

        And still–Jesus doesn’t take this opportunity to denounce homosexuality. You would think that Jesus would warn us about homosexuality, about accepting homosexuals, when he was talking about Sodom, when he talks about two men in one bed and two women grinding together at night.

        IF he condemned gays and lesbians the way everybody says he did.

        What we have here is Jesus using two gay and lesbian couples to illustrate a lesson on God’s judgment. Whether or not you believe in “the rapture,” what is clear is that, in this chapter, God separates those he accepts from those he does not accept. Half the gays and lesbians in Luke 17:34-35 are acceptable to God, even in the middle of their love making.

        Gay and lesbian celibacy is a non-issue for God, especially when they are forbidden to marry.

        Some sexually active gays and lesbians are acceptable to God, and some are not, just like it is with heterosexuals.

        Nate, Jesus did mention gays and lesbians. He used two gay and lesbian couples as the main characters in his story about the end times.

  • http://www.mastersonhall.com Jesse Hall

    Great article. You’ve been writing articles lately about whether gay folks can be Christians and/or go to heaven. But the preeminent question mostly raised to me (and hence a topic I’ve been waiting for you to write about) is whether gay is sin. Turns out, you had already written the article last year; and you wrote it well. This is a home-run article. Well done, sir. Well done.

  • Jeff Blackshear via Facebook

    Cutest widdle flying piggy ever! <3

    …….sorry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brena.easterday Brena Easterday via Facebook

    Falling in love with the same gender is not deliberately trying to offend God or good.

  • Brian Davis via Facebook

    A strong rhetorical point. I find it more satisfying to argue what constitutes a sin than whether a particular act is automatically sinful. I have been able to get a few Fundies to see that it is context not the act intrinsically. You find a flaw and use it to change a mind once in a while.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mad-Maddie-Mendelsson/783945797 Mad Maddie Mendelsson via Facebook

    John Shore, you’re arguments are alway well thought-out and intellectually delivered.

  • Kenny Dozhier via Facebook

    Sir, I salute you. You gave us THE defining argument on this matter.

  • Kenny Dozhier via Facebook

    And something I know I’ll obsess over for months!

  • http://tzada.blog.com Stephanie

    John, I appreciate all you do to make the name of Jesus famous. I still don’t understand, though, why people argue homosexuality or any other matter from a legal perspective. We are not Jews. All things are lawful (but to each individual, some things are not beneficial). Christians must follow the Spirit dwelling in our hearts. If the Spirit leads one to be in love with someone or to smoke hashish or to run a stop sign, it is sin to disobey him. So if one feels conviction to have a homosexual relationship, thank God for him or her, for that person does the will of God. Who knows how many might be saved from perishing because of that person’s obedience to the Giver of Law? We are rightly judged by no one. We are not Jews.

  • Susy Crandall via Facebook

    However if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and acts like a duck, it’s probably a homophobe. And that is a sin.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jennifer-Edwards/1196313106 Jennifer Edwards via Facebook

    You are so amazing at putting into words exactly what I believe!

  • Jennifer Sandberg

    Let’s turn this argument completely around: what if heterosexuality was considered a sin: so all those “Christians” would then say: Just resist being attracted to members of the opposite sex. Maybe THEN they would start to understand. Or….maybe not.

  • http://lgbttraining.blogspot.com/ Anthony Venn-Brown

    excellent article……..you might like mine of a similar vein

    http://gayambassador.blogspot.com/2011/10/normal-0-false-false-false-en-au-x-none.html

  • http://www.facebook.com/kelly.mosher Kelly Lynn Mosher via Facebook

    I didn’t say it, GOD DOES.

    • Christina Johnson

      How do you mean? Please elaborate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Freya-Spencer/100000611047378 Freya Spencer via Facebook

    I’m with Jennifer!

  • http://www.pjwatty.tumblr.com Phillip

    Hey John Shore!!

    Hey bro, thanks for your blog, I’ve found a lot of good reading here. I think you are very sincere in your writings and I appreciate the passion you put into it. Sigh… but I’m torn with the content of this blog, particularly the last 18 lines or so (lol.. yes, I counted).

    If you asked 1,000 men, “Who do you love the most?” And maybe, “Who loves you the most… even unconditionally?” Or, “If you hit the lottery, who would you spend money on first?” I wonder what the majority of them would say… Their girlfriend(s), boyfriend(s), wife, husband, daughter, son, mom, dad, granny…

    Rather than suggest which I think the most common answer would be, I’ll only assert that, whichever the most common answer is, I bet you that the answer, from most guys (and gals), would not be largely informed by… eros (sexual love or desire).

    For so many of us, the person we love the most is not the person(s) we have experienced eros love with- I’d bet you, John Sore, $100 that this category of person falls 3rd or even lower on the list.

    The ONLY point I’m making in this long comment is that to resist sexual desire or relationships is not to resist love. It doesn’t mean to live and die alone. It doesn’t mean that you will have a lesser existance or deprived loveless life! To reduce love to this level of experience is… well… I’ll just say that I’m just sorry so many of us honestly can reduce love to this… As I’ve experienced love so great that any romantic desire or relationship has paled in comparison.

    This is not to say the love between a couple isn’t the most passionate and powerfully intimate love many experience, but it is to say that there is even more! to love. More to life than that. Consider the words of Jesus when speaking about eunuchs in Matthew, or the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians and other books. I isn’t even God’s intention that we all amrry… are the rest to live lives devoid of life and love!! Absolutely not!!

    I’m done, for now, John Shore. And I’ve got that $100 set aside. Did you even right the last 18 lines of this blog? Doesn’t seem like your style! Just kinda… or wholly off, i thought… and you’re usually on point.

    Best Regards to you, John Shore!

    Phil or Phillip Watson, if you prefer… lol

    • http://www.pjwatty.tumblr.com Phillip

      my friends are gonna get on mr for the errors… especially that “right” in the last paragraph… oh the shame…

      • http://www.pjwatty.tumblr.com Phillip

        It is very late and I’ve slept 5 hours in the last 2 days… And my typos- or the embarassment- will probably keep me up another night… I wish we could edit comments….. Thanks again for such great articles/blogs, John Shore.

        Phillip

    • Allie

      Love… ur doin it rong.

      If your spouse isn’t 1st on the list, I feel deeply sorry for you.

      • Phillip

        Allie, I guess most of us are doing it wrong. Fewer and fewer people are getting married and divorce rates are rising quickly… I, like you, feel deeply sorry for the state of marriage in the western world.

        Nonetheless, i really wanted to contrast PASSION and LOVE. I think most marry for passion and compatibility rather that the sacrificial love that Christ exhibits; the love that never fails… the patient, kind and long-suffering kind love that puts others before itself. The love that would face death for anther. This love can be experienced and shared with no romantic/sexual expression. Like the love I share with my immediate family.

        I hope to share the SAME pure and powerful love with my spouse one day- in addition to passionate romance… I just wish more people had the same desire. We confuse passion for love and sorta glorify ourselves and our romantic expressions of something so much more deep and powerful than our “enduring, romantic, partner-to-partner love.” Love is eternal. It’s so much bigger than our emotions and romantic desires.

        A celibate life, is a FAR CRY from a loveless life.

        I’m 26 years celibate, yet overwhelmed with love.

  • Michael

    I find that there is one fundamental flaw with this chain of reasoning you have presented in the “Wings on a Pig” article from the Oct 1 issue of Christian Issues.

    You have equated love with sex. No, you didn’t say it right out, but that’s really the only thing wrong with homosexuality. A man can love another man, and a woman can love another woman. In fact, a married man can love other women, but he can’t have sex with them. Sex is not love.

    Love is patient, love is kind… and on it goes in the 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians. A man can experience love for another man without the lust.

    • DR

      This is the most ridiculous argument. A marriage is not a marriage without intended sex. Come on.

      • Glynis

        DR, Hang him for what he said, if you can. But he is not guilty of what he didn’t say. He never mentioned marriage, not in the context of which you are accusing him. You’re comment is therefore abusive (calling it ridiculous – which is name-calling) and an invalid argument. The “Come on” part is again, a form of verbal abuse, since is is ridicule or sarcasm.

    • TheIntellectualGerbil

      i’d like to point out two things, that may help you understand what i think john meant:

      1. physical intimacy is pretty worthless without emotional intimacy. everyone can masturbate to get this “itch scratched”. (sorry if this is to graphic)

      2. a gay man or lesbian woman does not fall in love with a member of the opposite sex. there is a significant difference between love as a friend and love as a partner.

      also i would like to tell you a personal story:

      i was raised in a conservative christian household so i do get where people are coming from, i walked that road myslef. well i also happen to be gay and this is how i experienced what i think john described.

      yes you can build a close friendship and as a gay man you can love a woman. physical intimacy is not a problem either, all the parts work just fine all you need is discipline – but there the problem starts, love should not require discipline to “endure” it.

      i had several relationships (relationship for me = lasting at least 1 year) with women from 16 until i was 20 and just could no longer pretend, because it was killing me. can you imagine how much it takes to keep up a wall 24/7? the only times i was myself was in the middle of the night when everyone else was asleep and i was free to break down into that frightened young man that was me, terrified that the next day someone could find out who i really am.

      i prayed like crazy for years and i don’t even want to remember the number of times i cried myself to sleep because i just could not change who i was.

      don’t get me wrong, i dearly loved the women i was with, but i never ever desired them as a partner, neither emotionally nor physically. this is what was missing and it is the crucial essence that binds two people together in a relationship of that kind. when i was with my girlfriend that bond just was not there and try as i might i could not forge it.

      now, i am sure you remember what it is like to fall in love with a woman as a straight man (guessing based on your nick). imagine having several relationships with really wonderful people but always feeling empty inside. that feeling you have when you fall in love with a woman just is not there. would you want that?

      now imagine how it was for me, after i accepted who i was, meeting my first boyfriend and really falling in love for the first time when i was 20 years old. the whole shabang, butterflies, my emotions all over the place, grinning like a fool all day long. dating, talking, flirting and everything finally just feels right.

      when i woke up in my boyfriends arms for the first time i cried out of sheer joy because this felt like i was home. sorry i have no other words for it.

      i am in my mid thirties now and with my partner of 12 years in a commited relationship. the most important things for me are, were and always will be waking up in that mans arms, watching him sleep at night, kissing him good buy when we go to work.

      no human being can be happy without the possibility to experience this kind of emotional bond, but that is it what some christians expect homosexuals to do.

      god blessed me with love, it may be different than yours, but it still is pure and true love, not just physical attraction. if being gay is a sin, than me and my husband will burn in hell together and i would not want it any other way, because wherever this man goes my heart, body and soul will follow.

      p.s.: sorry for all lower-case i am seriously dyslexic. my brain considers punctuation a game of chance and if i even try to play with upper case i usually end up all over the place …

      • Diana A.

        Thank you. What you’ve written is beautiful.

      • Bevie

        Thank you for writing this. I am seriously in tears and my heart is both sorrowful (for your pain in the past) and singing (for your joy with having found your true love) at the same time.

  • Eliot Parulidae via Facebook

    This one gave my uncle pause. Some people are cruel, of course, but others simply don’t think very far ahead.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cawomack Cynthia Anne Womack via Facebook

    There’s this simmering idea that EVERYone should be celibate. You’d be surprised at the number of people who think ‘carnal relations’ are something we got stuck with after Eve had (s-e-x) with the devil. Gay men are ‘bad enough’ but *women* aren’t supposed to like intercourse at all. Normal females endure the physical aspect of marriage in order to accomodate the fleshly weakness of their husbands or to have children. Homosexuals are as unnerving as those people who read books,eat vegetables or go to church of their own free will.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JohnShoreFans John Shore via Facebook

    I’d hate to be the person who’s job it is to get everyone on board with being celibate.

  • Paul Handley

    I think this is perhaps the most difficult and complex issue in the whole of Christian dialogue with the secular world. Ultimately, as a Christian, who wishes not only to bear witness to Christ’s love, but to the best of my ability imitate it (I do so very badly – believe me), I find myself conflicted; between what I wish were true and what is likely to be true, in the light of biblical injunction.

    What do I wish were true? I wish that gay people – who I believe are gay at the very core of their being, not by virtue of inculturation or perverse and ‘sinful’ choice – were free to express themselves sexually according to the dictates of their own psychic reality. Further, that that sexual urge might be marshalled, disciplined and find complete fulfilment in secure and committed
    romantic relationships; that ‘marriage’ which is the very foundation of the
    Christian understanding of human sexual relations and how they are best organised, not only for the highest good of the individual, but for our children and the wider community.

    What is likely to be true in light of biblical injunction? It’s certainly true that Christ makes no mention of homosexuality in the gospels; we could assume, that being the case, it was a question of so little importance that it was completely beneath his regard, or, that as a practising and devout Jew, the Levitical prohibition of homosexual acts required no further commentary;it was simply assumed.

    There are many modern, scholarly exegesis on the relevance of biblical homosexual injunction to modern predicament;

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/assault/bible/doesnotoppose.html

    There isn’t time to gloss the arguments here, but the foregoing link makes for very interesting reading and I have to say, intellectually, I find many of the arguments both compelling and persuasive; spiritually and emotionally however, I do not. On the one hand I wish that the privileges of marriage and those romantic human kinship bonds that are available to the heterosexual community could be equally extended to the homosexual, but in conscience and faith I cannot. And believe me, I wish that that were otherwise.

    ‘The “sinful temptation” that Christians are forever urging LGBT people to resist is love.’

    Is that really true? Christians do not deny LGBT people ‘love’; they call into question the legitimacy of homosexual practice and its iteration
    within the structures of heteronormativity; but this does not deny them ‘love’
    or the ability to express ‘love’ in the ways that were central to Christ’s teaching; love as self-sacrifice, compassion and ultimate regard for the other. But it does– and there’s no way round this – deny access to a particular kind of ‘love’; the romantic expression of the erotic dimension of love. There is in short a call to celibacy.

    The call to celibacy is difficult, it is at times an immense and overwhelming burden, but it is a call extended to vast swathes of the Christian community, not just the Christian homosexual. I am an unmarried man, a situation I dearly wish were otherwise, but time, chance and perhaps my own psychological disposition means that it’s unlikely I will ever marry; those privileges of legitimate sexual expression, romantic love and emotional intimacy will forever be denied to me, and I feel that burden daily. My orientation therefore – as a Christian -
    toward the homosexual, is by no means that of judgement, but rather of empathy
    and a profound compassion.

    Contrary to your contention, I don’t see access to romance and sexual expression as a ‘birthright’, but rather as a privilege. It is, I would argue, the liberal secular world that sees such as a universal ‘right’; the Christian church has never made that assertion. And while it sees romantic love and sexual expression as having foundational importance for healthy human flourishing, it doesn’t see it as ‘the greatest part of being human’, rather, the Christian church teaches that the greatest part of being human, is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your strength – anything that
    compromises that primal command is idolatry.

    I think there’s a danger therefore, of seeing human romantic relationships as an idol; something without which, healthy and meaningful human life cannot be conducted. Such is simply not true, and it is certainly not Christian teaching. Rather, it is a trope of an oppressive secular mass media where erotic fulfilment is synonymous with fulfilment per se. For the Christian, human fulfilment is found in God and God alone; whether you are single,married, gay or straight that fulfilment – in God – is always abundantly available to you.

    Celibacy to be sure is difficult; we fail at it, I’ve failed at it (how could I be judgemental!?), but one hopes there is grace abounding, more than enough, to deal with it. I know my views maybe contentious; to some even offensive, but however much I wish things were otherwise, in conscience, I know of no other way to maintain the integrity of my Christian faith; in orthodox Christianity, homosexual acts, by anybody,are prohibited. For me, any attempt to revise that assertion, whether by appeal to the historical context or semantic inflection of those injunctions, can only ever be attempts to accommodate biblical teaching to human desire; in my view, we do that at our peril. It is not such a theology that has caused pain, disarray and damage, but rather the inhumane and purblind ways that such a theology has been implemented.

    I know the pain of exclusion, but the path of Christian pilgrimage was always a path of difficulty, and we were never promised happiness. One has to look on life with gratitude, in whatever situation one may find oneself ,and notice that it is always replete with gifts; even if they are not the gifts one would have wished for oneself.

    • James Walker

      the notion that God actually cares about such human foibles as whether we engage in a “licensed” marriage before we engage in sexual intercourse is, frankly, laughable.

      take a good, long look at what is actually prohibited in the Pentateuch. note that Jewish men were not prohibited from taking the daughters and wives of non-Jews (or even of unfaithful Jews) by force. they were not prohibited from having sexual relations with women who were non-married, non-virginal, non-relatives. nor were they prohibited from using prostitutes whenever they felt the urge to do so. they were only prohibited from bestiality, from incest, from whatever “one man with another lyings of a woman” meant, from stealing a Jewish man’s virgin daughter and from stealing another Jewish man’s wife. Levites, specifically, were also prohibited from selling their daughters into prostitution. that list does not fully cover all the possibilities we intend when we use the word fornication.

      in the New Testament, Paul is pretty clearly against prostitution and given the emphasis he and Jesus place on Love as the highest good to which Christians aspire it makes sense that Christians ought not to be prostitutes, to use prostitutes or to procure or to sell prostitutes. nor should Christians steal away other’s wives or husbands (adultery). but I simply don’t see any clear indication the Bible writers were prohibiting any and all sexual relations outside a “recognized” marriage.