The REAL Reason Christians (and Other People) Get So Crazy About Gays

What fuels the fiery hatred that so many Christians and others harbor for gays can’t be explained by pointing to the Bible alone. Clearly something more visceral is being triggered there.

And for so many people, that something is everything.

When you hear the word homosexual, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? A gay man. It’s always a gay man. It’s gay men that get people out on the streets waving signs and screaming. It’s gay men about whom people tend to get so impassioned. It’s gay men toward whom all the hate and anger is directed.

Zillions of people are a long way from being okay with lesbians; I don’t mean to in any way minimize the bigotry against which lesbians constantly struggle. But generally—on an instinctual, immediate level—the lion’s share of the rabid anti-gay energy is focused upon “fags.”

And so that becomes the $83 million question (which is how much total was spent to promote and pass California’s Proposition 8): Why are so many people as reactive to gay men as they are? What is it about them, really, that they just hate so much?

And the answer to that question is simple: Gay men threaten the traditional power base of straight men.

Here’s the basic run of it inside the brain/heart/subconscious of a typical straight man:

I may not be much. But I’m a man. And that entitles me to a lot.

Two women together? That’s kind of cute—sexy, even. But it doesn’t scare me. Because neither of those women can threaten my power. They can’t undermine the truth that, as a man, I’m still (figuratively and literally) on top. Two women together doesn’t change the fact that this is still a man’s world.

But two men together? Yikes. That’s a problem for me. That’s when all the walls in my world begin to crumble.

A man who is gay is essentially my equal, my peer: he’s one of my kind. If it’s okay for him to be romantic with another man, then, for me, everything gets seriously thrown out of whack. Because where the heck does that leave me?

I’m a man. I get to be a man. That means I’m … the man! I’m in charge. I’m at the head of the table. I make the money. I have the muscles. I build the castles. I’m number one! But I can’t be number one without people below me to be number one over. No true boss doesn’t have subordinates. My whole organization—my entire power structure, everything that keeps me being The Man—absolutely, 100% depends upon me—and, by extension, upon my kind—being in charge.

And what we’re in charge of is women.

Muscles. Castles. Food on the table. Conquering hero.

Swinger of clubs. Thruster of weapons.

Head of household.

That’s how it’s been. That’s how it’s supposed to be. That’s my goddamn right as a man. And if you try to take that from me, I will do everything in my power to make sure that you fail.

If men start loving men, then how can I dominate those men?

Men loving men takes away my power. It removes my power; it eliminates the place where I’m designed to exercise my power.

Gay men screw with the basis of my existence. And I will see them in hell before I’ll sit back and just let that happen.

And that’s how that goes.

That’s how that’s always gone.

And it’s hardly men alone who have invested their all into the traditional patriarchal power hierarchy. There’s much in that power structure that has always worked for women, too.

The traditional power hierarchy is traditional for a reason. Men are stronger than women. Traditionally the did have to go out and hunt, and chop down trees, and build homes. Women did have to stay home and have the babies. That’s how our species grew.

Gender matters. It’s real. And it’s sure mattered in the past.

But today? When meat’s for sale at any grocery store, and most guys wouldn’t know an ax from a fax? When women can tap a keypad with the best of ’em? When it’s brains that matter, and not brawn at all? When the winner is the one who is the most creative, the quickest to adapt—the one who’s best at relationships?

Today, the ground beneath the personal politics and power of gender is shaking like a California earthquake.

And grabbing onto your Bible won’t stop that movement. Nothing can.

Men are going to kiss men. And that will always seem intensely weird to straight people—just like men and women kissing will always seem intensely weird to gay people.

It’s a new world. And it’s time to be brave about it.

And mostly, of course, it’s time to realize that when it comes to men loving men and women loving women, straight people have nothing—nothing—to fear but fear itself.

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  • John? I think you just nailed it. I keep kicking the idea around in my head, and you’re right. The idea of a “man” being subordinate in any way to another man does seem so… wrong. It unmans them, and for a woman, having men in the world who aren’t “manly” IS scary. It’s threatening, even if they’re not the men who are supposed to be protecting ME.

    I joined a gym last year and have been pumping iron until I’m now stronger than my husband – and he knows it. He finally joined the gym a couple of months ago and is now closely watching my progress in hopes of catching up to me. LOL Who knew that the best (and only?) way to get him off his duff was to go out and get stronger than him? I challenged his manliness, and he’s responding appropriately, working his tail of to reassert his power position. YAY! I hope this means he lives longer, cuz I sure do love that man!

    So all this clarifies too, how this creates that “Glass Ceiling” in the work place for women, and why it makes my perception of “powerful” women as being unpleasantly aggressive. Is it genetic, or is it cultural, I wonder?

    Are we fighting a losing battle against our lizard brain induced social roles, or are we capable of recognizing that we’re able to overcome our animal natures and accept that being nurturing and loving is behavior both genders are capable of, and that women are also capable of being strong leaders, without seeming unnaturally manly?

    Hmmmm…. have we, as a world society, grown that much???? I sure hope so!

  • Mindy

    And therein lies the wisdom of the ages. When the he-man chests stop being “tough” enough to pound whilst emitting a Tarzan yell of superiority, well, what the hell are those boys supposed to do now?!

    Spot on, John Shore. SPOT ON.

  • Suz

    YOU ARE MY HERO!!!!! Thanks for having the courage to say it. There are issues in the Bible far more impportant than homosexuality, but you wouldn’t guess it by listening to “Christians.” We can’t separate our gender roles from our identities, and yes, we are terrified of anything that threatens our perceptions of “what we are.”

    Have fun with the comments on this one; I’ll certainly be enjoying the show!

  • Michael Rowe

    John, well done. That’s a remarkable bit of insight. And Mary’s astonishing honesty about how women view the role of men–and how that role is perceived as threatened by male coupling–is wonderfully refreshing. It also goes a long way to explain how, when a women (say, a mother of a gay boy) decides to be homophobic, the female of the species can be infinitely fiercer than the male.

  • Maybe I’m crazy, but it strikes me that perhaps that’s the reason why people seem less threatened by overweight, older, more “feminine” gay men than they are by young, attractive, powerful gay men who “dont act gay.”

    Funnily, it’s the opposite when it comes to men being threatened by women. Many men are MORE threatened by an older, less attractive, less feminine co-worker (or, especially, BOSS), whereas a “pretty young thing” seems far less powerful, might appear to still “need” them to be (cue booming voice) MEN and, even if she does turn out to be intelligent, successful and even give them a run for their money, can still be sexually-objectified, even as she is tasking them with a job.

    I watched The Apprentice this past season and it was amazing how every single solitary task performed by the women’s team was immediately (and shamelessly!) turned into a way to play up/use their sexuality to their advantage. And it (unfortunately) worked! These are already-successful women who are just as intelligent and competent as men, but they were very, very clear about the fact that the “sexy card” was the strongest one they had in their deck. Being a feminist, I was appalled, but had to concede that at least they had figured out how to go far in a still-predominately-male business world and were using this knowledge to kick the men’s asses. This is actually a bit humorous, in a dark sort of way, since the men they allowed to objectify them actually thought these women WANTED them! In reality, the women knew exactly what they were doing and used their knowledge to make the men THINK they were giving them “power” while at the same time gaining power for themselves.

    Taking all this into consideration, it only makes sense that if a gay man wants to be respected by his straight male counterparts, he will play down his “gayness.” Similarly, if a straight woman wants to succeed in a mostly-male-controlled environment like business, she will play up the feminine/sex-kitten image. But here’s the kicker: the gay man and the straight woman in the same scenario are doing the very same thing; they are making the straight man feel like he’s “still the man.”

    So come on, straight men…stop being so insecure. Do you really need all women and all gay men to help you feel like you’re a man in order to BE a man? Or is your manliness really that delicate? The only people not tiptoe-ing around your feelings are lesbians, but you (on the whole) pretty much objectify them, too. Sounds like a bunch of little boys that need their mommies and everyone else in the world to tell them they DO have big dicks and they ARE good little men.

    Good Lord…stop expecting everyone else to hold your dick up for you. The world doesn’t revolve around making you feel good about yourselves. If you want to be a man, then be one. Let gay men be gay; really and truly, it’s not ABOUT you. You probably don’t realize it, but when you bash gays, you are realllllly unattractive. Women are NOT turned on by that. We like a man that is secure in his own identity, no matter what’s going on around him. We like a man that is a man because he’s a man, not because he’s belittling another man.

    And while we’re on the subject, the whole men being threatened by a strong woman thing is played out, guys; if you haven’t figured out by now that a strong woman wanting you is waaaaay more exciting than a little thing you can dominate and control, you are so missing out.

  • yes indeed and amen

  • green_square

    I’m not sure I agree 100% with this whole man-power idea. Yet, deep down, I know it’s at least 50% correct. It’s certainly explains a lot about male behavior.

    I think that the other 50% of the issue lies in our out-dated notions of butch/femme gender roles or behavior patterns. Men somehow aren’t bothered much by the stereotypical butch lesbians. (Furthermore, they find the “lipstick” lesbians so sexually attractive there’s no energy left to hate them!) But, especially in the USA, folks seem to harbor the utmost hatred for effeminate gay men. On this point, I think we can agree. And, I wish to add that the hatred seems to increase in direct proportion to the level of perceived effeminacy.

    The only reason I felt compelled to comment on this issue is because I am a more masculine gay man. I live in a very conservative area of the south, and I associate with very conservative groups of people on a daily basis. Yet, these people readily accept me for who I am, many of them knowing full well that I am a gay man. I feel certain that it is my masculine personality that makes it easier for them to accept me.

    I don’t mean to marginalize the more effeminate gay men in any way. I know that life can be rough for them, and I pray that one day that will change. I also don’t feel as though I’ve adequately supported any of my assertions, so John (or any of your readers) please feel free to take my idea and run with it. I just wanted to contribute my two cents. Thanks.

  • Suz

    Nailed it!

  • Interesting. Why are they so afraid? Think about the most extreme homophobes you know. Have they somehow lost or compromised the power in their heterosexual relationship? Does the wife work outside the home and the husband does not? Is the husband retired and the wife still works? Are they unusually passive? Do they have a dominatrix wife? Every single one I can think of falls into one of these categories. I still love them all. They’ll figure it out one day…either here on earth or after they’ve gone. And they’ll realize that they’ve wasted so much time and energy on this.

  • Excellent analysis, John.

  • Ric

    Way to publish the secret code book, John. sheesh.

  • I don’t agree, I believe that the reason most men have issues with Gay men are about sex. Men, especially young men between the ages of 13-35 or 40 think about sex all the time. Voluntarily and involuntarily. Women are the object of these thoughts and fantasies. Ladies, if you work with a or know a straight male in this age range, I can guarantee that you have been the subject of a fantasy. I think that this is issue. Straight men get the willies if they believe that they have been the subject of these fantasies by gay men. That a person has fantasized about them performing acts they find repugnant.

  • Anonymous

    While this certainly may be the case for some, I disagree that it’s the REAL, or main reason. I tend to think men that hate the most, usually turn out to be either repressed homosexuals themselves, or maybe they hail back to an especially confusing and tormenting period in their own adolescence when they indulged latent homosexuality in some manner. Doesn’t it seem logical that they retain enough self loathing into their adulthood and must redirect it at external targets? Remember Ted Haggart? I also recall another local pastor who was a staunch picket waver during the Hillcrest gay pride parades back in the 80’s. I believe he got arrested for lewd and lascivious conduct in the bushes at Balboa Park with a young man. What about the conservative congressmen and senators who were such champions against gay rights who were later found out to be closeted homosexuals. I think these guys honestly loath themselves for having those thoughts or indulging those proclivities. Since they can’t stamp it out in their own lives, they attack the external representations of their internal foe.

  • senarae

    Thank you, John, for putting that out there.

    My life is fairly full of gay men from friends to family members. They are awesome people and I love them dearly.

    I also have some anti-gay friends. While you seem to nail the underlying reasons for the anti-gay attitude, the people I know don’t go that far. It truly is about what the Bible says. It stops there with them. There is no digging deeper for them. There is no analyzing context or history or translations of the Bible. It’s simply taking current translations of the Bible, reciting a verse (or more), and that’s enough to justify their bigotry and hatred.

  • Do you think that everyone who is not for homosexuality is afraid of it? I mean, maybe that makes God scared of it too. He destroyed a whole city because of it (Sodom and Gomorroah). He says not to do it in both Testaments. The issue isn’t how we feel about it, but the Truth behind the matter.

    There are spiritual truths just as there are physical truths. Jumping off a building and hoping to fly without any wings or substantial form of aerodynamics, will result in injury or death. Gravity is at work, and cannot be overcome without technology. In the same way, writing over what God has originally planned in the garden to what will be in the city (New Jerusalem) only ignores the spiritual principles at work. It doesn’t change anything. Sin is still sin and sin still results in death.

    The issues you listed above are not moral issues. The “gray area” ones. Women can’t hold pastorate offices (btw, Paul goes back to Genesis with this one- the issue is with the Fall and women’s desire to rule over man, not the jerk white guy who is ridiculously prideful- though that’s not the proper way to live in the role of a man anyway). Jews can’t eat shellfish (they were under the Law, believers in Christ aren’t, Rom 6:14). And as for slavery, I have yet to read a place where it’s encouraged. Maybe under Law (for the nation of Israel), but certainly not under grace or with the Church.

    Anyway, my point is encouraging sin will result in death. Homosexuality isn’t okay. It’s not normal behavior (Adam and Eve, etc; not Adam and Abe). It should not be tolerated. We should love those who are habitually sinning in it, believer or unbeliever, but that doesn’t mean we with hold the truth from them. That encourages and speeds up death.

    I think people need to go back to their Bibles and stop making up stories about how new things are now (nothing is new under the sun, Ecclesiastes). Man is just as sinful now as he was 3000 years ago. Why do you think there are prohibitions in the Law against sex with animals? Because we’re that depraved to actually do that! This whole post modern crap isn’t new. In Judges everyone did as he pleased. They threw their babies into the flame. They worshiped Baal who, when they had enough sex, would send his semen down on the worshipers (rain) to show his sexual pleasure. They slept with “temple prostitutes”… And so on and so forth…

    Sure, the labels and effects are different, but man is still as sinful as he’s always been and he will be till Christ comes back or brings him home. My point is, just because the culture is changing doesn’t mean we can start reading things into the Scriptures and make exceptions for moral law. You need to move past emotions and what people want to hear and give them the Truth. We’re all sinners in need of grace. That puts us all on the same level. Without Christ, we are sons of Satan. With Christ, we still need His grace daily- Or we’ll go back and serve our old master.

  • The sin of Sodom & Gomorrah was not about consensual sex between two adults. It was about extreme inhospitality that included gang raping strangers in order to humiliate them. You might want to give it some research. It’s an interesting study.

  • Marcelo

    WHY is homosexuality a sin? I mean, it seems just about every other sin in the book (figuratively and literally) has at its core that it is harmful in some way to one or more people, either the participants or others. But what is it about homosexuality that is a sin, do you believe? Other, than of course, that you believe that God has stated that it is, of course….

  • MattPatt

    “I mean, maybe that makes God scared of it too. He destroyed a whole city because of it (Sodom and Gomorroah). He says not to do it in both Testaments. The issue isn’t how we feel about it, but the Truth behind the matter.”

    I’m sorry, I abhor proof-texting, but this is one case where the plain text of the book is a hundred percent clear on what it means. From Ezekiel 16:49-50:

    “This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them when I saw it.”

    Not only have you totally misunderstood the point of the story as told in Genesis, you have willfully ignored Ezekiel’s crystal-clear explication of the message you missed. Sodom was destroyed because it mistreated its neighbors, not because of any kind of sex.

  • Peet

    “People need to get back to their Bibles”. No. No, actually, they need to get far away from their Bibles. At least far enough to read a little history about where their Bibles came from, and how they have been interpreted in a thousand contradictory ways. If the Bible were truly the inerrant Word of God, you’d think the book would be better written, a little more consistent, and a little more clear. It’s not a historical, perfect, inerrant record. Two minutes of reading it will show you that. To treat it as such is not faith; it’s credulity.Millions of people have been killed and tortured over the ages specifically for religious reasons, and I am willing to wager that most of the killers were under the impression that their specific case was an exception to the Thou Shalt Not Kill thing. This is one example of countless examples how the Bible has been used to crush, dominate, persecute, condemn, and harm. The sick fascination of Contemporary American Protestant Christianity with gays is just the latest manifestation of “we’re making you suffer for your own good.” To reduce it to bumper sticker level: Focus on your OWN family.

  • well said, Peet.

  • Naturgesetz

    I think you are too facile in your dismissal of what St. Paul says on the question.

    But more importantly for the thesis you present, I think it is stuff and nonsense. In these business and patriarchal structures in which the man is dominant, whom does he dominate? Other men. Who are his subordinates? Other men. Granted, there are women there as well. But there is nothing in traditional social arrangements which makes it unacceptable for some men to be subordinate to others.

  • Suz

    OK. I wasn’t going to do this, but here goes. I can’t find the study again, so I can’t be completely certain of its validity, but it want something like this: A group of men were interviewed about their views on homosexuality. Then they were attached to an apparatus the physically measured the level of their sexual arousal, and shown photos of sex acts. The “straight” men who were the most vocally anti-gay (big surprise here) were aroused by the images of gay male sex acts. Apparently, the mouth can lie! If anyone else has heard of this study, and can tell me where to find it, I’d appreciate it. As I said, I can’t vouch for its scientific validity.

  • Anonymous

    Stuff and nonsense?

  • Michael Rowe

    Oh, I knew this was too good to be true. It seemed as though it was Smart People Day on until Phillip waddled in. Phillip, you’re a prime example of why people think all Christians are ignorant, dull, and full of hate. Your lack of intelligence is like a cold spot in a haunted house. Your lack spiritual discernment is just embarrassing.

  • Ah but Naturgesetz, in the traditional social arrangments, even the lowest man on the totem pole has a woman at home to control. Sometimes more than one!

    This chain of command was overtly taught to me in mainstream evangelical Christianity. Not some obscure fundamental denomination. Just regular old E.V. Free churches, Baptist churches, non-denominational churches, etc. I remember quite clearly an overhead transparency being slapped on the screen as a sermon illustration that looked like this:


    This was the order of spiritual authority. God was in BIG BLOCK LETTERS, “Man” was in slightly smaller script, “Woman” was in a little bit smaller script, etc. Elucidating, really. So Naturgesetz, it really is about more than the business world…we’re talking about a much larger picture. This is the Biblical order of creation.

    Can you even fathom what it feels like to be third on that list, and know you are from the time you are a little girl? I haven’t had the opportunity to be in a position of authority over a man in the business world, but I can tell you right now, even though I am no longer an evangelical Christian and am a very vocal feminist, I would still feel, on some level, like I was “out of order” if I had to boss men around. That’s humiliating, but honest. I don’t want to feel like that; my brain doesn’t think like that. But when your entire identity is formed within a culture that totally subscribes to that order, it’s not so easy to get out from under it.

    But at least I’m on the list. At least I am “third.” That’s better than not being on the list at all, which is the experience of gay men for thousands of years.

    But wait…maybe this is the issue. Or maybe this is just one more way of talking about what John is saying in this post. To put it simply, maybe the problem is, there’s no place for gay men on that list. Or women in authority.

    And haven’t we been over this very same issue before? Someone pointed out in another comment that not that long ago, slavery was justified with Biblical texts. In fact, slaves used to be on the “list,” right below children. They were the people with the least power. But Christians finally decided that the Bible WASN’T inerrant on the issue of slavery and that the whole slavery is o.k. think in the Bible was actually “cultural.” A good portion of Christians agree that the verses about women not being in authority were cultural, as well.

    Why? I hope it’s because people realized that mysoginy can’t co-exist with Love. They realized Jesus wasn’t patriarchal. They realized that treating people as property wasn’t Christ-like.

    So let’s get on with the show. Homophobia isn’t consistent with Jesus’ message about the kingdom.

  • Zenbee132002

    Hey John,
    So close, but not what I think the “fear” is about. It’s not about the average person, it’s about controlling the average person. The “fear” of Homosexuals is used to control the masses, Male and Female. For to be even accused of being Homosexual is to be ostracized from Society. That is why it is still there and still being used….. Because many can be controlled without a lot of effort. Someone, or even Something only has to be labeled as “Gay” and it’s no good to all who wish to have our Society’s seal of approval.

  • Donwhitt

    Pure pish-posh and whizza-plop!! (Dag-nabbit)

  • Just found it, Suz:
    But then went further to make sure it was an actual article and yes, it is:

    Incidentally, this was published in 1969. This is interesting because the term “homophobia” (according to wikipedia) was used for the first time in a speech that same year:

    “George Weinberg is credited as the first person to have used the term in speech.[9] The word homophobia first appeared in print in an article written for the May 23, 1969, edition of the American tabloid Screw, in which the word was used to refer to heterosexual men’s fear that others might think they are gay.[9]” (

    I find this interesting because I’ve grown up hearing the term “homophobia” used to describe, basically, “people who hate homosexuals.” That wasn’t the original meaning at all! But the original word actually might get at the real issue behind what we now think of as “homophobia.”

  • And just in case someone doesn’t want to read the entire article, here are the findings, in a nutshell:

    “Broken down further, the measurements showed that while 66% of the nonhomophobic group showed no significant tumescence [that’s scientist talk for getting a hard-on, boys and girls] while watching the male homosexual video, only 20% of the homophobic men showed little or no evidence of arousal. Similarly, while 24% of the nonhomophobic men showed definite tumescence while watching the homosexual video, 54% of the homophobic men did.” (

  • Maybe they’re just pissed off that women don’t fantasize about them! 😉

  • Suz

    Thanks, Cheryl! You rock!

  • Hi, Phillip…

    You mentioned you hadn’t seen verses condoning slavery. Here are a few:

    Ephesians 6:5-9: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free. And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.”

    Colossians 4:1: “Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven..”

    1 Timothy 6:1-5- “All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. 2 Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare[a] of their slaves. These are the things you are to teach and insist on. 3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.”
    Also read Philemon which is all about how Paul met a slave named Onesimus, who had escaped from Philemon (his owner). Not only does Paul pass up a perfect opportunity to tell Philemon how wrong slavery is and how slavery has no part in the new kingdom, but sends Onesimus back to Philemon!

    Clearly, slavery was “cultural.” Paul was obviously trying to promote peace and harmony within an already-exisiting social structure. He wasn’t challenging the social structure itself, but basically saying, “Since we live in a society where slavery is just a matter of course, and there are both masters and slaves who are Christians, I’d like you to all love one another like Jesus did.”

    *****This doesn’t mean slavery is RIGHT. It means Paul couldn’t imagine a society without slavery.******

    I could make the same point about women in leadership positions. Paul wasn’t saying women are actually inferior to men. He couldn’t imagine a society in which women were seen as and raised as equals to men, educated, etc. If a woman can’t read, she damn well isn’t going to be the one up in front reading the Torah or the letters from Paul, or whatever. Women were mothers, sisters, daughters and wives in Paul’s world. So his saying/not saying what he did about women is simply a reflection of the world he lived in.

    If you accept that, I challenge you to explain why the issue of homosexuality is any different. Citing Sodom and Gomorrah seems like a cop-out, since as soon as I say, “Well, God told the Israelites to kill women and babies, and when they didn’t kill them, he told them to take them as concubines,” this is explained away by the pre-eminence of the new law under Christ, etc. So I’d challenge you to stick to New Testament verses.

  • Diana A.

    Yeah, I think there’s some truth to this too.

  • Diana A.

    I agree that there is some truth to this as well.

  • Diana A.

    This is sad.

  • Suz

    Umm. Wait a minute there….

  • Diana A.

    This is true as well.

  • hehe! I don’t mean we don’t fantasize about men; I just mean we don’t fantasize about THOSE men. 😉

  • Part of this reminds me a bit of this write up on a wiki site dealing specifically (and humorously) with plot devices in entertainment:

    I also seem to remember looking in on Slacktivist (that person who’s going through and systematically critiquing the “Left Behind” book series) – and seeing the Slacktivist rant on a theory they had that the series was, at least in part, a big revenge fantasy by Fundamentalist white men writing it in response to seeing society change – people sharing rights that were once only white male Christian privilage. Maybe it wasn’t Slacky, but someone else. It would seem like a good explaination for some Fundamentalist behavior. I’ve read part of the series (halfway through) and I don’t *remember* there being a lot about gays, just a mention here or there, but… it’s pretty well assumed that they’re among the many, many hellbound in those books.

    Fundamentalist white male privilage certainly didn’t explain me, though. Powerless, outsider-type female…was still a jerk some years ago. I suppose I was just *listening* to frightened men too much for a while. I just thought that being anti-gay was “being right” and being true to the Bible… then. I’m pretty sure some of my own sexual issues/sexual minority backlash got into it (I’ve spoken before about being asexual and feeling like the world devalues me for it, as in wanting to tell idiots “Please stop telling me there’s something wrong with me, or I’m unitelligent or not-fully human or assuming that I’m a closeted lesbian because I’m happy as a virgin. I’m mildly attracted to men, but don’t really care about sex, thank you. No, really, back off”).

    I don’t think I ever really *hated* anybody, though, I was just going along with “I’m supposed to believe certain things are wrong” and I didn’t personally know any gay people. The Internet, with all it’s gay people, and gay Christians (that was an eye-opener), and not-gay Christians who are OK with it and can justify the position … well, make me feel like I’m “free to be kind” now, “free not to hate.” Or something. I’ve since decided, “If I am wrong in this (being fine with gays), I really would rather being wrong through kindness and love than be right through hate.” Thanks for being an affirmation.

    Of course, my past attitude versus my current one (taken up since I’ve *stopped* going to actual church) makes me wonder if the anti-theists are right about some aspects of religion: Was I just a naturally good person who was made crazy by religion for a while? I’m really, REALLY hung up on the idea of an afterlife, and of God. I don’t want to abandon those things.

  • Anonymous

    Way to go, MattPatt!

  • Not up on arguing Biblical nitty-gritty at the moment – I see others have done well to do that. Just making an aside…

    Some of the Old Testament laws, when you think about them, seem to be health-proscritpions, things that would seem common-sense to protect the health of a person or group today that the people seem to have needed to be told back then. Being unclean after touching a dead body for example – people back then probably didn’t have any idea about germs/spread of sickness… the thing against pork being a possible thing to control disease (as pigs back then were prone to all sorts of parasites). (Incidently, I am having porkchops tonight)…

    Sex with animals. Yeah. You’d think that would would be common sense. I work at a barn. Have you ever *seen* the schlong on a horse? Incompatible naughty-bits, hoo-boy!

  • Anonymous

    Cheryl… you done good on so many fronts!

    I’m learning that when someone who is entrenched in a belief system is confronted with a REALITY that CANNOT be made to comfortably fit into their defined parameters; when using the brain God gave them instead of relying on specific scriptural interpretations is required, the action most often taken is…none. When I’ve brought up intersexed (hermaphrodites) into the conversation, the usual response I get from fundamentalists is *crickets*

    It’s far easier to ignore such realities than dig deep and wade through the uncomfortable questions that lead to uncertainty. The problem is, the more one hides his/her head in the sand, the more entrenched the person becomes. Hate continues to spread as does inequality. And more people are turned away from Christ because of *Christians*.

    The good news is that somewhere under the layers, there is a niggling at the soul, b/c there is an awareness that he/she has compromised authentic faith for inauthentic dogma. At some point, I think, or hope, the inconsistency is too much to bear thus it surfaces and is dealt with.

    Thanks for your tenacity. Who knows how many seeds you’ve planted, or will plant in future readers.

    God bless.

  • Agreed.
    Got a blog, Susan?

  • Meg

    Great post, John. I agree that this is probably a large part of the reason behind people getting crazy about homosexuals.

    I just wanted to add that the whole time I was reading, I had “The Man Song” going through my head. LOL If you’ve never heard it, go check it out. It’s on youtube.

  • I’ve heard this thing before – the “People who hate gay people are proably in the closet.” While certainly true for some, I doubt it’s true for all. Some people are just jerks. I also think there’s something to be said for people who gain power – people who are listened to as having some kind of authority or power to say how the world should work and people who are “below their feet” as it were. Sometimes, it feels *good* to put other people down, to be cruel. I think the impulse to cruelty is one that we must constantly resist – and sometimes people sucumb it, even praised for it, and it just feeds the sadistic joy of putting people/groups of people below one’s boots.

  • Anonymous

    No way. That requires talent and smarts beyond my capabilities! Do you?

  • Anonymous

    Oh, I see you do. Look forward to reading it!

  • Diana A.

    I love “The Man Song”!

  • I wasn’t aware of that in Ezekiel. But it is clear that sexuality has something to do with their destructing in Jude…: “just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire (7).”

  • ??? Where was I full of hate? Ignorant? or dull? Taking the Word literally and as God’s Word takes less faith than believing in things like the big bang and the random assortment of organization and order from nothing. And saying homosexuality is a sin certainly doesn’t mean I hate homosexuals. It means I want them to experience the grace of God in knowing the Father.

  • Right. It was a cultural thing. He didn’t encourage it though. And, like you said, even if he did, it doesn’t mean it was right. Also, and I don’t want to imply slavery is in anyway okay, but I don’t think the type of slavery going on in Paul’s day was nearly as brutal as we read about in our American History books. I’ve looked at it before, and to Paul and to others around that time, it would’ve been the normal boss/worker relationship. Just, you had ownership of a person’s life. lol. But my point is, it’s not encouraged.

    A different gender role doesn’t= inferior. Men and women are equal but men are set up as the leaders of the household and women are set up as those who respect their husbands. It’s the same relationship God the Father and Christ had here on earth. Equal… But Christ did ONLY what the Father said.

    The NT is clear on homosexuality as well. Much of Paul’s writings (Romans, Galatians, 1 Corinthians, etc) condemns homosexuality. Romans 1 is the clearest, really…:

    ” 26For 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,

    29being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,

    30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,

    31without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;

    32and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them (Romans 1:26-32 NASB).”

    Again, homosexuality is a sin issue. It involves real moral thoughts, actions, and words. These other things do not. And homosexuality passes through to the NT unchanged. It’s still a sin. Still condemned. Still resulting in death.

  • Honestly, Jude has always come off as a blow-hard to me.

    I’m an editor and I just finished telling a new author that no one likes it when a book starts out by announcing the credentials of the author. Basically, starting out by saying, “Look how awesome I am!” is a really bad idea, and a sure sign of a blow-hard that no one is going to enjoy reading.

    This is the benefit of not having to believe the Bible is inerrant, however: I get to say that Jude is a blow-hard asshole that I would never want to meet. Further, I think the reason why his “book” was included in the canon is clearly stated in his opening statement of Jude: “Hey guys… remember I am the BROTHER of the BIG GUY so you have to listen to me…”

    It’s nice that I can now say, “Pshaw!” to a book that is CLEARLY the antithesis of Christ’s message/life, and not feel bad! 😉 Just give it a read. It is completely NOT an expression of Jesus’ heart.

  • Jude 1:7, “just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.”

  • It ignores the established marriage order. God set up marriage as between one man and one woman. This is how he created us. All of us. So, at the root, it’s against the established order. It’s sin because God says so. I know you probably think that’s silly or some kind of circular reasoning, but if God made all men, he knows how we should and shouldn’t live. If we do get married, it’s for His glory, pleasure, children, and all sorts of other things. Everything in life has this kind of structure and order as designed by God. Pornography, adultery, and homosexuality are just a few of the perversions man has created to try and usurp and undermine what God has created and set up.

  • Umm… He’s replying to the sin and corruption that’s crept into the church. If “Jesus” is love, roses, and faeries then yeah, Jude rocks the boat. But if Jesus is the same guy who condemns the Pharisees for raising up a son of Satan twice as bad as they are (Matt 23:15, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.”), I think it’s fair to say Jude is doing something Christ like in calling out those who are encouraging evil (abusing the grace of God).

    And whoever is reading Jude’s letter would want to know his qualifications as he’s writing on a very touchy subject and obviously something that would not go over well if those in this sin/perversion of truth/etc read it. Now that I read it, all he says is “Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James”… and then he starts addressing his audience. The first thing he says is that he’s a slave of Christ. Then brother of James. Which means, brother of Jesus. I’m not sure how that’s bragging? Where does he say how awesome he is? If that’s what he’s saying, then I guess it’s implied because it’s certainly not clear in the text. He jumps right to his subject matter after that short intro (3, namely that he wanted to write about their salvation, but found it more necessary to write about the apostasy in the church).

  • Anonymous

    It is not a sin to be dumb, but we should accept God’s Kingdom as children do, accepting whomever he chose to place in it with us. The sin comes when we use our intelligence to separate us from each other and from the love of God.

  • Anonymous

    When Jesus says it would be better for someone to be weighted and thrown into the sea than to offend one of those little ones who believe in me, he does not except homosexual little ones.

  • Anonymous

    I agree it’s about power and about fear. Women are less effected because the power they exercise is more subtle and they become accustomed to overcoming fear in order to exercise it. Women seem to fear mindless things like wild beasts while men may have more fear of other men with bad ideas.

  • Anonymous

    Again… what about intersexed…those who are born with the sexual components (internally and/or externally) of both genders? Usually the doctor “assigns” a male or female gender by surgically weilding a scalpel.

    It is approximated that one in 2,000 are born intersexed, or one in every five babies born in the U.S. (source:

    How does your black/white scriptural interpretation reconcile this not uncommon state of being?

  • MattPatt

    So the author of Jude made the same willful mistake you just did. Stranger things have happened.

    Or, to engage this question with more seriousness than I think is warranted (seriously, you can’t get around Ezekiel here), consider that “gross immorality” and “went after strange flesh” are both good descriptions of the wanton rape of strangers, which is the part of that story which actually precipitates the cities’ destruction, not the fact that the citizens of Sodom wanted to rape *men.* “Raping strangers is bad” also fits neatly within the “don’t be mean to your neighbors” theme of those verses from Ezekiel, which also runs through most of the minor prophets, the major prophets, the Torah, the New Testament, and indeed any book that’s ever been a credible moral guide for anyone.

    Seriously, I just don’t understand why people don’t think this story is All About The Gay. If I ever understood that viewpoint, it got educated out of me long ago.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting side note: The number of intersexed births is equivalent to the number of babies born with red hair…

  • MattPatt

    Ah, crap. Please omit “don’t” from the next-to-last sentence above; it makes no sense.

  • MattPatt

    Phillip, please see my reply above. You’re still choosing your own reading, one which really isn’t supported well by the text.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting side note: The number of intersexed births is equivalent to the number of babies born with red hair…

  • DR

    It’s so well-known in even the most common Evangelical circles that Sodom and Gomorrah were about how they were treating those who came into their towns, it’s honestly a little shocking to see someone keep quoting it as the accurate interpretation. What am I missing?

  • DR

    Wait, aren’t you Manimal X? Or am I remembering you incorrectly?

  • DR

    Phillip, there are millions of gay men and women who are also reverently and profoundly Christian. Your fears are ungrounded. They already know the Father. And the Father knows them through the saving work of Jesus Christ (while they are in relationship with their same-sex partner).

  • Suz


  • Yadoodle

    Decide what you believe, then go through the Bible and find individual verses that support your theory. Ignore the whole of it’s message; it’s really really big, and open to interpretation. Don’t sweat the consequences of you beliefs. You will sleep well at night knowing your conscience is mistaken because the Bible is right.

    Does ANYBODY wonder why so many devout Christians turn their backs on the church?

  • Suz

    Oops, Yadoodle is Suz

  • Marcelo

    Well, you haven’t given me any other rationale than what I asked you not to cite: that it’s God’s will…which is based on the Bible. I assume you are just accepting it at face value without considering it deeper than that.

  • I vividly remember that list as well Cheryl, and still hear from the evangelicals that women aren’t supposed to occupy positions of leadership, especially pastoral ones. It wasn’t that long ago that there was a lot of controversy when the Methodists decided to ordain women, opening up the way for them to be pastors and even bishops. I believe the Anglicans were right along with them. I was a teenager then but I remember all the negativity aimed in their direction. Both denominations have survived quite well.

  • woah. back the truck here Phillip. You say that the type of slavery that was going on in Pauls day wasn’t as brutal as what we read in history books. Are you freaking kidding? Do you really understand what slavery is, what it really means?

    Do you understand that you had zero rights, zero property, zero freedom?

    Do you understand that you could be sold, beaten, raped, worked to death, kept from adequate food and shelter, and had absolutely no say in the matter?

    Do you know that you had no family, few friends, and your very life was dependent on the whim of your master?:

    Do you know that in Roman days, slaves could be used for “entertainment”, They were just as violent a people as we are, so that entertainment often meant that slaves were used in violent means to provide a little “fun”?

    And yet is was condoned, generally condoned by Paul, knowing quite well the horrors these poor people faced. As was pointed out he likely knew there was no choice, and as was pointed out it was an accepted social structure of the day.

    Then there is this, Jewish women had no rights, period. They were often little better then slaves. They couldn’t own property, they couldn’t testify in court, they couldn’t defend themselves against accusations, they couldn’t support themselves without a man’s benevolence, if not a husband then father or brothers. Roman women had it much better, but not by much, as they could be cast out into the street minus a dowry if a spouse tired of them or suspected an infraction.

    It is also in that culture that these words of scripture were written, a culture that granted rights to only a portion of society.

    And sorry bud but the Romans 1 passage has much less to do with homosexuality and a hell of a lot more to do with the other things on that list. And unless you missed it. It is talking about people IN the church, not out.

  • Anonymous

    “Taking the word literally.” Ah, yes. A book that was written down my fallible mankind, translated by fallible mankind, and is interpreted by fallible mankind every week in the pulpit has NO chance of being misconstrued on ANYTHING. Never mind the centuries of hidden agendas and power trips by those in authority to twist things to their benefit. Never mind that fallible mankind decided which books were “in” and which books were “out.” Never mind the cultural meanings of many of the stories and words in the Bible that we can hardly understand in this day and age. Never mind all that.

    While the Bible was inspired by God, it has been touched, handled, abused, tweaked, misinterpreted and misused by enough humans that there is a chance its original intentions and meanings have been lost or are being misconstrued. Why does one get labeled a “bad” Christian by stating this oh-so-obvious fact???

  • Anonymous

    “Taking the word literally.” Ah, yes. A book that was written down by fallible mankind, translated by fallible mankind, and is interpreted by fallible mankind every week in the pulpit has NO chance of being misconstrued on ANYTHING. Never mind the centuries of hidden agendas and power trips by those in authority to twist things to their benefit. Never mind that fallible mankind decided which books were “in” and which books were “out.” Never mind the cultural meanings of many of the stories and words in the Bible that we can hardly understand in this day and age. Never mind all that.

    While the Bible was inspired by God, it has been touched, handled, abused, tweaked, misinterpreted and misused by enough humans that there is a chance its original intentions and meanings have been lost or are being misconstrued. Why does one get labeled a “bad” Christian by stating this oh-so-obvious fact???

  • Susannagift

    John – finally agree with part of your opinion on this subject. Didn’t want to argue, so just stayed quiet. Kudos! I do want to say to, that being a single woman, a mother of 2 young men, & totally hetero in my choices & personal desires: I have often been confronted with judgements that I am or may be gay – simply because I’ve chosen to be alone (not lonely) & not pursue my own dating life while parenting 2 young men. I hope my sons will make wise & unselfish sexual choices, & follow their own pursuit of God in their own time. I don’t see eye to eye with you on every corner of your passionate perspective on loving people in general & letting everyone pursue the love they need in whatever relationship suits them – but I really appreciate heart (& your writing)!

  • Amelia Kilometere

    The most holy, Jesus loving, Christ-like person I know is a gay man. His influence in my life makes me want to be a better person.

  • What Allegro63 said. 🙂

    Jewish men said a prayer every day, “Thank you God, that I am not a Gentile, a woman or a dog.” Nice, right? This isn’t because Jewish men were SO BAD. It was a reflection of the actual status/position of women in the society.

  • Anonymous

    Could you please cite your references for the brutality of Hebrew slavery? The reason I ask, is that a lot of people have preconceived notions of the overall brutality in regards to slavery based upon modern-day depictions (film) that are far from accurate or historical. I don’t doubt that some slaves were brutalized just as some prisoners in our current criminal correctional system are brutalized. Such brutality in any instances are the individual actions of evil persons behaving contrary to God’s expressed will.

    What I wasn’t aware of in the beginning of my faith (since I also held that God wrongly condoned slavery) was that in Hebrew society, as in many other societies, slavery was tantamount to what we call incarceration. Punishment for a crime resulting in monetary loss, or the mode of repaying a person for a theft that could not be repaid. When people owed more money than they were able to pay back, there weren’t legal options such as chapter 11 or 13. Debtors could only be forgiven by their lenders. If the debt could not be forgiven, the debtor was obligated by law to barter their own lives as laborers, household servants, etc. to pay back the debt. In other cases, for example, the loss of sons or husbands in war, the captured enemies of those killed in war, were taken as replacements for the families who lost husbands and sons and would otherwise go destitute for lack of manpower. It was intended as a justice based system. To the winner went the spoils of war. In many cases, the losers themselves were the spoils of war. Because such systems were under the honor of fallible humans, abuses arose and eventually became what we rightly loathe as slavery by abduction. Such was the case of American slavery. The Africans that were abducted from their lands and tribes had committed no crimes and owed no debt. Such slavery was and still is abhorrent. As a matter of historical record, American Quakers and evangelicals were some of the first to speak out against such slavery in the 17th century abolitionist movement. William Lloyd Garrison and Charles Finney (Second Great Awakening) both embraced the Christian doctrines of coming out from among a corrupt nation and boycotting slaveholders. So to hold that God, Christ, His disciples or Apostles condone injustice is an inaccurate appraisal.

  • Anonymous

    Excuse me, but which is it? One in 2000 born intersexed or one in every five babies? The first statistic is .2%. the second is 20%. The first seems accurate by current statistics. The second, I trust was a typo. Also, as stated below, redheads constitute roughly 1-2% of the human population. Cursory google searches bear this number out.

  • Anonymous

    Labels notwithstanding…if we assume the Bible is no longer valid by virtue of touch, handling, abuse, tweaks,misinterpretation and misuse, by what standard can man’s philosophies and understanding boast above that of the Bible? Aren’t mankind’s books just as subject to the same human fallibility with no ostensible claims of inspirational (a.k.a.God given) genesis?

    It seems purely logical to me that without the belief that God is able to faithfully complete the work of maintaining the Bible’s literary integrity, what hope does anyone have of actually KNOWING what a “good Christian” is?

  • Bill

    Just read your recent article about power and why people hate gays…i think you’re on to something there John. Notice hyenas and the rigid hierarchical societies in which they live. Unfortunately, some of the systems in which humans live are much like the societies of hyenas; power can only be understood by individuals in terms of hierarchy. Some languages only refer to others in terms of superior or inferior. Warning Will Robinson, equality does not compute. We’re still evolving.

  • MattPatt

    It’s… I’m going to go with “fascinating” that you think that chattel slavery as practiced in the Americas is merely an “abuse” of what is an otherwise just institution.

  • I’ll see your Scripture and raise you America. I’m going to try to be gentle because… I am a person who always keeps open the possibilty of “being wrong” about things. I don’t like the arguments about homosexuality being “sin” or “not being sin” because I honestly don’t know myself and feel like “This doesn’t really apply to me, but I’m going to go with my impulse to be kind to people, figure it’s between them and God.” As I said in one of my posts below, I’ll err on the side of love – but it might be an error. I hold to the whole John 3:16 promise that I’ll be getting to Heaven anyway, no matter what I believe about people’s pants.

    But the thing is, when dealing with non-believers about this stuff, think about your society. This is vital if you are an American. Don’t give me that “Christian Country” crap. If we were a “Christian Country” would pornography be legal? For that matter, would people be free to be non-Christian if we were strictly a “Christian Country?” In my opinion, at least, the best governments are those that are secular – neither endorsing or stamping out religion. State-Athiesm is horrible. Theocracy is horrible. (I suppose I’d trust “Theocracy” in Heaven, but that’s only because it ain’t humans behind the wheel. Humans are fallible. Sometimes humans are bastards).

    And let’s go back to some of your cited scripture:

    “30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,”

    If you grew up in modern day America and *haven’t* done any of these things? Consider yourself and angel or something. (Or maybe Amish). I can tell you I’ve had fights with my father where I’ve told him very bad things… I regret it now, but… and yet, do we not give people who fit all these descriptions rights as American people? Haters of God – you won’t have to go far on the Internet to find those. Ever been to the comments on the Religion articles on Huffington Post? Or taken a look at the fans on Richard Dawkin’s blog? Honestly, it doesn’t bother me that people hate God. God can defend himself when and if he wants to (very paitient, is He not?) People can call God a tyrant and Jesus an asshole all day and it doesn’t bother me. It’s when people say things like “the world will only advance and get better when people who believe in God die out.” – THAT bothers and frightens me. And yet… doesn’t the U.S. Goverment give Athiests and outright Anti-theists the right to not go to church? To not pray since they don’t want to? To get married and have children? To adopt children? To share in a spouse’s property, to make medical decisions for partners and family? They want even more rights (which I think they should have. Would it kill us to get rid of the stupid phrase on our mamon or to just stop caring about the mostly-non-existant piety of our politicians)?


    “31without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;”

    If you tell a gay man that he is not allowed to visit his sick/dying partner in the hospital because their partnership “wasn’t holy” aren’t you being the EPITOMIE of unloving and unmerciful? Isn’t it unloving and unmerciful as an American to say “You are less American than I, no spouse for you?”

    No one should tell you to have any kind of sex that you don’t want to. (As I’ve said in earlier posts, I’m an an asexual who’s rather pissed-off about that kind of worldly attitude). No one’s forcing you marry someone the same sex as you. No one is forcing you to give up your faith in God or your various beliefs, either. (Some of us might be trying to convince you of a better way, but no one’s forcing you) – You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink as the saying goes, though in my barnwork I’ve learned that you can encourage some horses to drink by sweetening the water with molasses…

    Arguing this kind of thing in the church, “within the family” – is fine, but I think we do the world (especially the non-believers we’re trying to convince that our water is sweet) a great disservice when we get into the politics and denying of worldly rights to people who are different from us.

  • Nope- not me. =)

  • Sandy Beach

    As a lesbian and a Jew, I have a few thoughts:
    *Phillip says that sin results in death. Well, all living things in the world die. So I don’t see that gay people are any worse off on that score. And I’m wondering what sins the plants have committed.
    *When I watch a different-sex couple kiss, it isn’t strange to me, and there are plenty of straight movie make out scenes that I find sexy. As straight people see more same-sex couples kiss, I think they’ll soon find it rather a non-issue. Unless they freak out and go shoot up a strip mall.
    *Marriage was established by G-d to be between one man and one woman? Nope. Not according to the Bible, where multiple wives was pretty common. But also not according to the Catholic Church, where until relatively recent historical times, up to about two hundred years ago, according to the historian John Boswell. Rites of so-called “same-sex union” (Boswell’s proposed translation) occur in ancient prayer-books of both the western and eastern churches. They are rites of adelphopoiesis, literally Greek for the making of brothers. Boswell, who died in 1994 (I guess he was a sinner), was a Harvard-educated full professor at Yale, Roman Catholic, and renowned for his knowledge of ancient languages and translations of ancient texts.
    *It upsets me each year when I get my Social Security statement and see that my partner would get $1800 per month if I died–if only she were male and the federal government would recognize our partnership. I think marriage should be a religious ceremony and status, and so far as the benefits under civil law, all consenting adults should be free to access them by entering into civil unions.
    *Sodom and Gomorrah? Really? If you go read the story, the abominations are clearly not homosexual. For example, the rabble surrounds Lot’s house, where the strangers who are secretly angles are staying. The rabble demands to be given the strangers so they can have their way with them. When this is refused, they ask for Lot’s daughters! Gender, power, domination. Not really about love at all.

    Happy Holidays!

    Sandy Beach

  • Agreed… I only believe what I do because it’s what the LORD has revealed to us in His Word. I’m a dispensationalist too. Which is why I keep emphasizing reading the Word plainly, normally… But that doesn’t mean I do it blindly and start doing whatever with the text based on what it says. I recognize, like any good reader, cultural precepts around that time period, things that are not applicable to a modern day Believer, to a Christian period, and things of that sort. In other words, not everything God has said is binding on all people at all times in all places. God has worked differently with people throughout the ages. He hasn’t changed but the way He’s dealt with us has. You see this as you crossover from the nation of Israel in the OT to the Church in the NT.

    Anyway, Rin Tin Tim I agree, and want to expand your question: Why trust God for salvation at all if the other things he says are basically subjective? That should bring doubt to just about anything in His Word. Including our salvation.

  • Sandy Beach

    Actually, the strangers were angels, not angles. I do not believe they were Anglican.

  • Honestly, I don’t feel like I need to address it. I mean, things like that are just the natural results of the sin of Adam which spread to all mankind (Rom 5). It doesn’t have moral implications quite like homosexuality does. And I don’t know much about the intersexed anyway… lol.

  • Yeah… this stuff is sticky. I’m not sure if I want to keep posting on here because it’s easy to be misrepresented and have a bunch of presuppositions attached to you. It makes for interesting discussion, but no one really gets anywhere.

    Furthermore, I agree with this:

    “Arguing this kind of thing in the church, “within the family” – is fine, but I think we do the world (especially the non-believers we’re trying to convince that our water is sweet) a great disservice when we get into the politics and denying of worldly rights to people who are different from us.”

    Also, I’m not arguing for a theocracy. At all. I’m merely arguing to take God at His Word. Which means calling homosexuality a sin. I realize people don’t like that and there’s much definition I should probably foster when I say that (“sin”), but I don’t have time for it here. But suffice it to say, I don’t mean, necessarily, intentional hate against God. People in addictions and habitual lifestyles that are believers just don’t wake up wanting to do that. I don’t know anyone who does, actually. So, sin doesn’t mean pissing in the face of God outright, but it does mean not attaining to God’s standards in some sense.

    Also, I’m not saying you have to be not gay to be a believer. I’m not arguing for a works based salvation. Again, I’m just saying what God says on the issue and saying we should deal with it as sin and not as an alternative lifestyle. That’s not what it is.

    So, all in all, I’m for the grace of God and I’m not for shoving my views down people’s throats. I realize that posting on a blog talking to people you really don’t know it can seem that’s what I’m doing. But, like I said, I’m just arguing for calling homosexuality what it is and dealing with it in Christ. For the unbeliever that first means believing Christ died for his sins and rose again. Then this other stuff. For the believer, it means a lot of repentance, accountability, and recognizing who they are in Christ.

    Btw, thanks for your post. I enjoyed reading that and I think I need to be more careful with what I say and think about some of these things. Like you said, God can defend Himself. At the end of the day, His Word is still His Word even if I can’t prove it or if I look like an idiot in so doing. I shouldn’t take things so personally or try and be some sort of lone warrior.

  • lol!

  • – Well, actually, they never asked for their daughters. Lot was being a jerk and offered them to the crowd (Gen 19:1-11). I realize the sin is bigger than homosexaulity, but that was definitely included. I’m not saying it was the only or the biggest. There was pride, arrogance, power, like you said, and so many other things. They all kind of snowball together.

    – Sin results in death… physical for all men. And spiritual for those who do not know God the Father. And death can also happen daily for those in habitual sins (the wrath of God IS BEING revealed on… Romans 1). So, death isn’t limited to physical. And I’m not saying all who are believers who are practicing homosexuals are going to hell either. If they know the Father thru Christ they’ll know Him in eternity. But their sin still needs to be dealt with in Christ.

    – “Marriage was established by G-d to be between one man and one woman? Nope. Not according to the Bible, where multiple wives was pretty common.”
    Again, just because something happens in the Bible (slavery in a post earlier) doesn’t mean God sanctions it. Context and differences between historical ages (dispensations) must be taken into account.

  • Homosexual doesn’t = unbeliever going to Hell. It just means that they have sin to deal with in Christ and by His power if they’re a believer.

  • Awesome!

  • MattPatt

    Phillip, once again, the issue of whom the people of Sodom wanted to rape is entirely beside the point the story is making. “Rape is bad, don’t do it and don’t condone other people doing it, or else” seems to me to be a perfectly good message.

  • Erika Ebullient

    I think it’s exactly the point that “taking the Word literally and as God’s Word takes less faith”. It also takes less intellectual and spiritual effort – if you can just say “God said it, not me”, if you can just ignore way the mountains of evidence that the creation story is an allegory, not literal truth. But a lot of us believe that being a Christian isn’t about doing the things that “take less faith”, and we are willing to meet reality as it is – far more messy and complicated than you seem to give it credit for, and not always perfectly wrap-up-able in a literal interpretation of the Bible.

  • I didn’t, either, Phillip, but I think before we dismiss it, it is important to try to understand it. I thought intersexed meant you had a mixture of male and female parts, to put it simply. It is NOT that simple. Read here:

    This is the most important parts:

    “What does this mean? Intersex is a socially constructed category that reflects real biological variation. To better explain this, we can liken the sex spectrum to the color spectrum. There’s no question that in nature there are different wavelengths that translate into colors most of us see as red, blue, orange, yellow. But the decision to distinguish, say, between orange and red-orange is made only when we need it—like when we’re asking for a particular paint color. Sometimes social necessity leads us to make color distinctions that otherwise would seem incorrect or irrational, as, for instance, when we call certain people “black” or “white” when they’re not especially black or white as we would otherwise use the terms.

    In the same way, nature presents us with sex anatomy spectrums. Breasts, penises, clitorises, scrotums, labia, gonads—all of these vary in size and shape and morphology. So-called “sex” chromosomes can vary quite a bit, too. But in human cultures, sex categories get simplified into male, female, and sometimes intersex, in order to simplify social interactions, express what we know and feel, and maintain order.

    So nature doesn’t decide where the category of “male” ends and the category of “intersex” begins, or where the category of “intersex” ends and the category of “female” begins. Humans decide. Humans (today, typically doctors) decide how small a penis has to be, or how unusual a combination of parts has to be, before it counts as intersex. Humans decide whether a person with XXY chromosomes or XY chromosomes and androgen insensitivity will count as intersex.

    In our work, we find that doctors’ opinions about what should count as “intersex” vary substantially. Some think you have to have “ambiguous genitalia” to count as intersex, even if your inside is mostly of one sex and your outside is mostly of another. Some think your brain has to be exposed to an unusual mix of hormones prenatally to count as intersex—so that even if you’re born with atypical genitalia, you’re not intersex unless your brain experienced atypical development. And some think you have to have both ovarian and testicular tissue to count as intersex.

    Rather than trying to play a semantic game that never ends, we at ISNA take a pragmatic approach to the question of who counts as intersex. We work to build a world free of shame, secrecy, and unwanted genital surgeries for anyone born with what someone believes to be non-standard sexual anatomy.”

    This is also enlightening, and why (I think) Susan is bringing this into the the conversation:

    Basically this is NOT about, “Well there are people with mixed genital parts so, see….that means God created people that way…or gay…or whatever.” That is usally how this discussion goes, in my experience.

    In fact, that’s exactly the WRONG direction to go with this. The point is not, “God made all KINDS of fucked up stuff.” The point is everyone is different. The first article I cited above makes this point perfectly. There are no “neat and tidy” intersex categories. There is a wide spectrum of penis sizes, clitoris sizes, sizes of openings, variance in internal sex organs, etc. It’s easy for those of us who have the “right female parts” or the “right male parts” to say that God made “male” and “female,” and that anything else is a kind of aberration. It’s simply not that easy.

    To put it simply, when you meet a Christian gay man and he says, “I love this man and I want to be married to him and have a life together,” and you say, “No, sorry, you are a MAN and therefore you should be with a WOMAN,” how do you know that that “man” is actually a “man?” You don’t. Just because he has a facial hair and a penis doesn’t mean he started out like that. Doctors and parents make decisions for intersex babies and “choose” a gender, even doing massive surgery to make the child look that gender. But if this “man” emerged from his mother’s womb with internal female parts and a very small penis, it’s quite possible he is actually more “female” in his feelings/thoughts. We don’t know! How dare we say that boobs and vaginas equal women and those people must like to have sex with people who have penises? And really, how do we know that Mr. and Mrs. Jones (a “man” and a “woman”) couldn’t be Mrs. and Mr. Jones underneath their clothing, or inside their minds?

    Gender classification is not black and white. How can homosexuality OR heterosexuality be black and white?

  • John, it’s an interesting take on it, for sure. I think you’ve made some excellent observations, and since I’ll never be able to approach things from a heterosexual man’s perspective, its hard to argue with it. I think Rin Tin Tin is on to something too. Its probably safe to say that there are different reasons different people cringe from gays, be it over power and control issues, biblical misinformation, fear of being exposed for having gay leanings, or just simple ignorance.

    The saddest thing of all, really, is that the people who need to read this, need to understand, absorb and learn from it are the people who probably NEVER will. Folks who are clinging that tightly to their fear and ignorance will not readily let go of it. I just pray that somewhere along their path that the cracks will loosen and a little bit of love will get in.

  • Anonymous


    Many thanks for grasping my point, engaging in a little research and presenting this ‘side of the story’ far better than I. (Now you understand my limited command of the written word, thus why I’m not a blogger…)

    It’s been crazy busy and I owe some folks additional/corrected info. Nonetheless, I wanted to take a sec to express my appreciation.


  • I tend to agree with your assertion of why straight men tend to see gay men as a threat, but what about all those straight women who have disdain toward gay men? We tend to think straight women are a gay man’s best friend, but that’s definitely not always true. How does the power structure play into that dynamic? How are we as gay men perceived as a threat to straight women? Any thoughts?

  • Anonymous

    It’s exactly toward your thought here, Josh, that I made sure to include in this post the sentence, “And it’s hardly men alone who have invested their all into the traditional patriarchal power hierarchy. There’s much in that power structure that has always worked for women, too.” I wish I’d had more time to explore that, but you get the idea. To any woman who, for instance, has emotionally invested in, and cleaves to, the common enough dictum that a woman’s proper role is to to “submit” to her husband, a homosexual is also (at, again, a most visceral level) a profound threat.

  • Laurelhedge

    FWIW, approximately one in every 500 persons conceived with a “Y” (male) chromosome will also have two “X” chromosomes. This condition is named Klinefelter’s Syndrome. Many of the people who have it don’t know it; and have either minimal or no symptoms, but others have both male and female sexual characteristics in varying degrees. There are many other kinds of intersex anomalies, all together, they make up the larger number.

    Just wanted to clear that up. Carry on.

  • Kara K

    Phillip – do you drink alcohol? Do you gamble, or play cards of any kind? Do you dance? There are Christians in America today that consider those sins. Far fewer than there were a century ago. Do you eat shellfish or pork? There are Christians in America that consider that sin. Do you wear blended fabrics? Again some Christians consider it sin because at one time or another someone wrote down that God said not to do it.

    I have a friend who questioned her fiance’s relationship with God because the man (a former truck driver) swears like a truck driver. I asked her how she knew it was wrong to swear and she replied that it just didn’t feel right to her when she did it. She interpreted that feeling of wrongness as conviction from God that it wasn’t right. I asked her if her fiance felt that wrongness when he swore and she said no. I asked if it was possible that since God had not convicted her fiance of the wrongness of swearing that it wasn’t really wrong – for him.

    Many people look at the many biblical/cultural prohibitions and ask God to convict them, if they are indeed sin. You suggest that the “sin of homosexuality” can be overcome by faith in God. Thousands of gay men and women have begged God to take away the attraction they feel and God has not done so. Thousands of gay men and women who have been refused in this way are broken by guilt when told by mainstream Christianity that they didn’t pray hard enough, didn’t try had enough, didn’t do enough. Does God refuse to change them in order to punish them? Or is it possible that God refuses because it’s not a deal-breaker for Him?

    I believe that God deals with all his creation on an individual basis. Does he not know the hairs on our heads? He therefore knows the state of our hearts. By your many words on this blog I fully believe that God has convicted you of the wrongness of homosexuality – for you and your life. Much as he convicted my friend of the wrongness of swearing – for her. God has not convicted me of the wrongness of swearing. And like you homosexuality is not for me. But what he has convicted me of (what feels wrong) is the act of judging other people. It is very clearly not my place to tell anyone else about the sin or wrongs in their life. Jesus is the only judge of the heart. In telling people that their sin interferes with their relationship with God you assume you know more about their individual relationship with God than they do. Wow, that’s some amazing hubris. Not only that, but it puts limits on your infinite God. It puts him in a box, and allows you to say I know what my God is and isn’t capable of. My God is bigger than your box. He surprises me daily with his grace, his mercy and his love.

    I believe usurping Jesus’ role as judge of the human heart is a sin. Usurper doesn’t = unbeliever going to Hell. It just means that they have sin to deal with in Christ and by His power if they’re a believer.

  • Perhaps I am an unusual woman, butI do not fear beasts.

    I work with large animals on a regular basis – and, in fact, every stablehand-barn job I’ve had, it’s been mostly or all women. Maybe it’s the whole “women like horses” sterotype in play. As for wildlife, I love nature – if I saw a wolf or a bear while out on a walk, I’d think “Awesome!” (while keeping a respectful distance). I haven’t taken up hunting, but I’ve thought of it. When many people (women *and* men) go “Eek! A spider!” I’m the one saying “Okay, where’s my boot?”

    Remember gutting a catch of fish in the kitchen… how my guy would *quickly* exit the kitchen due to his own squeamishness while I’m going “Oh, look, the guts are out on the cutting board and the heart is still beating- cool!”

    Yeah, I’m weird. I just know that in some things, I don’t fit the “feminine” sterotypes. At all.

  • Anonymous

    Read it again Matt. It says, “abuses eventually became what we rightly loathe as slavery by abduction.” I never implied that it was “merely an abuse” of an otherwise just system.

  • Suz

    Wow! Especially, “My God is bigger than your box.” Words to live by. We will learn just how big He is when we meet him after “death.”

    We have our paltry human justice to punish wrongs here on earth; let’s not judge beyond it, since we cannot see beyond it with our human eyes.

  • Anonymous

    Good catch and my apologies. Usually I try to confirm info in triplicate (from reliable sources that don’t necessarily have an agenda…if that exists anymore) but failed to properly proof. Nonetheless, a few of the sources are below:

    As to number/population

    No one knows exactly how many children are born with intersex conditions because of the secrecy and deception surrounding it, and also because there is no concrete boundaries to the definition of “intersex.” It is nonetheless estimated that about one in 2,000 children, or five children per day in the United States, are born visibly intersex, prompting early (and often misguided) intervention.

    As compared to occurrence of red hair:

    Before seeing little Josie on my computer screen, I had interviewed people born with ambiguous genitalia and reproduction organs, known as intersex. They are neither fully male nor fully female. Intersex people are far more common than I could’ve imagined. To summarize what Psychologist Dr. Tiger Howard Devore said, intersex people are as common as people with red hair. “As often as you see somebody with red hair,” Devore said, “you have probably seen somebody who is intersex.”

    As to both number/population and compared to occurrence of red hair:

    The blogosphere is littered with posts about female genital mutilation happening today, right now at Cornell University with boingboing’s Female Genital Mutilation at Cornell? It’s Complicated leading the charge. This is my official position on intersex surgery and why we must rescue our sex organs from religion, unnecessary medical procedures and institutionalized heterosexuality.

    Some Background

    1 in every 2000 babies will be born with ambiguous genitals – 1 in every 2000 babies will be born with red hair. If you’ve ever met someone with red hair, you’ve met someone who is intersex.

  • Anonymous

    And if you have no doubt of your own salvation, what motivation could you ever have to learn to read the enscriptured Word of God rightly?

  • I grew up in evangelical Chrisianity so I’ve always heard that phrase, “sin leads to death.” But now that I’m on the outside, looking in, I’m not sure what that even MEANS. Like…actually in real world talk and walk.

    If it’s “Not going to heaven”/”going to hell,” why don’t Christians just say that?

    But when I was a Christian I always got the sense it was more than that, and it sounds like you are saying that, too, Phillip. I thought it was something along the lines of this: If you sin, there is this sort of “rotten” quality about un-dealt-with (known) sin and it will basically kind of erode/eat away at you, spiritually. The implications of that were always hinted at, but what I thought was that it got in the way of your “relationship with God” and kind of “blocked” the Holy Spirit from working through you.

    This was problematic because I had been taught that without the Holy Spirit working THROUGH me, I was absolutely incapable of doing anything good at all. Basically, left to myself, I’d end up destroying my own life and the lives of everyone around me. The only thing blocking me from utter degradation (or potential for) was the Holy Spirit in my life. That’s what I was taught/believed.

    The issue for me, looking back, is that I am not a Christian now, and I still do kind, nice, compassionate things. In fact I am MORE compassionate than I was when I was a Christian. I love better and with more intensity and focus. The more honest I am about my lack of belief in Christian principles (i.e. the more authentic I become) the better my marriage is, the better my parenting is, the better I am at forgiving, etc. Life feels happier, less oppressive, more free and the fear I used to live with 100% of the time is gone. I feel like someone scooted a chair under my butt and I can finally REST.

    So the idea that sin causes death in a very-alive person who is “sinning” just doesn’t bear out in the world for me. I think that things like hate, bigotry and fear obviously CAN drive people to hurt themselves or others. But this seems like a very logical connection, not a mysterious spiritual one.

    My experience, post-Christianity, is that I have been hurt but I have become more compassionate as a result. I have been rejected, but it taught me that I want to not reject others and to take the risk of loving even when I’m not 100% certain I will be loved back.

    Anyway, my point is the sin=death thing just sort of falls apart for me when you break it down into the real meaning behind it. And again, if you’re talking about it leading to going to hell, o.k. I don’t believe in hell but I understand lots of people do. But I’d prefer people just say, “Sin leads to eternal damnation and punishment,” if that’s what they really mean. Much less confusing.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe because Philippians 2:12 reminds the believer in Christ that salvation is something more than a moment in time when we are converted to faith by God’s Spirit. Salvation is also the ongoing work of sanctification (which is still a work of God’s Spirit) that refines us in this life. A work in progress, more or less. By reading and meditating on the Word of God, the Holy Spirit brings enlightenment/revelation. One passage of text can uncover multiple ideas pertaining to any number of personal applications. That’s why it is considered by many believers to be a living breathing thing. Hebrews 4:12 says the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating to the division of soul and spirit…joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah. I didn’t mean to imply that my theory was any more a reason than John’s reason. His is probably just as valid. I believe the reasons are far too varied to think there could be one central avenue of attack to disarm the current atmosphere of fear or hate.

  • Anonymous

    I realize I was way over generalizing, It seemed to me to be the spirit of this post. I didn’t mean domestic animals and I meant to include such things as autos and motorcycles. Personally I have a very great maternal instinct which doesn’t seem to interfere with my lusting after women. I never understand why other men don’t want to pick babies up and squeeze them the way I do, but most of them don’t. It was my privilege to participate strongly in raising my twin granddaughters from the age of 11 to 42 months. (Yes, I am proud of being able to change dirty diapers two at a time on a picnic table or in a supermarket bagging area.) I am also pretty proud that both are now National Merit Scholars and able to have choice about the colleges they will attend next year. Anyway, I really know that all us children of God are pretty different.

  • Anonymous

    Anglican angels at Sodom. Wouldn’t you know it.

  • RoeDylanda

    I had a variation on this conversation with a cousin who was gnawing on my ear to be more “submissive” to my husband– dude, your wife would be lost and helpless without you? No wonder she stays. I could run my life/finances/home repairs just fine without my husband and I’m thrilled to see him walk through the door every day? Because he is THAT AMAZING. And he knows that a woman who *doesn’t* require his presence to sustain her life is crazy about him anyway… pretty powerful stuff.

  • Anonymous

    Normal biblical God sanctioned marriages were between a man and his wives and slave women (concubines) in the period in both Hebrew Bible and New Testament times. Timothy is cautioned that bishops should take only one wife not because that was a common practice, but to be free of the duties of a large household. There are no biblical “one man one woman” injunctions. That, like the marriage of gay people, is purely the sanctification of a social custom at a certain time among people of a certain culture. Similar to the sanctification of Christmas trees among people whose ancestors once worshiped trees. The adoption of many winter solstice holy-days or the rites of Spring associated with the Goddess Eastre.

  • Anonymous

    My woman is very good at sensing my feelings and will often share them. If I become afraid and angry because you might arouse some homoerotic impulse in me she may share my feelings because she trusts my judgment.

  • MattPatt

    No, believe me, I read your post multiple times because I couldn’t believe my eyes. Perhaps inadvertently, you have argued that the enslavement of conquered nations and debtors is in and of itself not an unjust system. This is not an argument I am comfortable coming anywhere near.

  • Hmmm… Very intersting. I did not know all of that previously. Well, the intersexed fits its own category and should be evaluated on a case by case basis…

  • Agreed. I was just clarifying that what Sandy Beach was saying, “When this is refused, they ask for Lot’s daughters!”, never happened.

  • PDW

    I agree for the most part. The one comment you made that needs modification is the stereotypical notion that gay men, by definition, are not “manly”. Frankly, a large portion of the gay population is not fey, sissy, swishing or flaming. My partner and I are as masculine as any straight man could be…. he a 5 sport athlete. And most of our gay friends are the same. The difficulty for most straight people is to get rid of the heterosexist notion that there has to be someone to play the woman’s role.

  • Paul

    I find myself torn on this issue, Yes the Bible says homosexuality is bad, and Christ commands us to Love one another. So I should love the sinner and hate the sin. ok thats easy enough for me. BUT what about civil rights, end of life rights and the rest. I think when it comes to the stereotype of gay men all out and about having sex with multiple partners a week with no consequences that is what scares straight men and Christians. I am a Christian and have always had my problems with what the Bible says. I think that once people look past the curtain and just accept people for who they are it would be a much nicer place.

  • Alan

    Let’s spend a moment of silence considering all the electrons that lost their lives in this pointless argument with a guy whose one and only rhetorical ability is post-hoc reasoning.

    BTW, interesting ironical tidbit… I notice Phillip mentions he’s a dispensationalist. In the old days, my traditional and orthodox Calvinist religious forebears would have burned him at the stake for such heresy. These days it is the fundamentalist dispensationalists who are supporting churches and laws in Uganda that work to make homosexuality a capital offense.

    So it goes…

    Anyway, as for the topic. There’s some interesting research out there correlating increased homophobia with increased arousal when subjects viewed erotic same-sex images. And, of course, one hardly needs a study to see the hundreds of high-profile loudmouth homophobes that get caught every year with some rent-boy “lifting their luggage.” (Thanks to uber-homophobe and quack psychologist George Rekkers for introducing that phrase into the lexicon.) While I am well aware that the plural of “anecdote” is not “data”, I also know that two points make a line and five points make a trend.

    I was raised in the midwest, and never learned an appreciation for eating fish, seafood, or shellfish. (When I was growing up, the Filet o Fish was the gold standard of seafood in these parts.) Even today I still don’t like those things. Yet somehow, I am able to restrain myself from trolling from blog to blog arguing with seafood lovers about how fish tastes and smells like a rotting corpse, or haranguing people about the dangers of mercury in lake fish, or fantasizing about the disgusting texture of scallops. *shudder* However, every day “straight” folks wander around blogs pretending (uh…pretending?) to be experts on homosexuality, experts on the health aspects of being gay, and conjuring up all sorts of fantasies about gay sex in military showers. Weird.

    But as someone observed in a previous comment, the closet queen explanation may describe many of the homophobes, but probably not all. So what about the other 1%? In my experience, one can never underestimate the overwhelming and deep-seated need some people have to be meddlesome busybodies, fusspots, tattletales and scolds.

    Since we’re unlikely to convince them of the wrongness of their ideas, regardless of the underlying reasons for why these supposedly straight folks spend so much time obsessing about man-on-man action, my question is this: Is our enabling of that obsessive behavior by engaging with such people really healthy for them? Or for us?

    And what about the electrons? My God people, won’t someone please think of the electrons?!?!

    Oh well, as long as trolling blogs keeps the homophobes out of the rest stops, maybe it’s a useful outlet.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, Alan. Welcome to the upper, upper, upper echelon of my (or anyone else’s, ever, anywhere on the web) blog.

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    That’s so exactly true—and so important to remember. Thanks, PDW.

  • Anonymous

    Perfectly said. That’s the purest, most real kind of love.

  • Anonymous

    Inadvertently or not, enslavement of conquered armies and nations were a reality of nearly all cultures in that era. Those were the realities of coming against a neighboring nation and their armies. If your nation comes against my nation to take my resources and wealth, if you lost the battle, you forfeited your resources and wealth. Double or nothing, dude. You don’t get to simply walk home with what you came with. It wasn’t Pop Warner. You seriously lose it all. You count yourself fortunate that you weren’t disemboweled and left on the battlefield for small creatures to snack on.

    The transition from personal enslavement of debtors to a debtor’s prison began a far more brutal trend in the treatment of the interned. At least in a home paying back the family you stole from, there was less of a likely hood of having some sadistic hireling caving your skull in or avoiding the uninvited sexual overtures of a fellow inmate. I’ve known a couple people in the corrections business. It attracts more sadistic guards than it can afford to turn away. I tell you, if I had the choice of being some homeowner’s indentured lackey, mowing his lawns, washing his cars, spiffing his silverware, maybe even being trusted enough to drive his kids to school and other assorted functions, I’d count my blessings that I wasn’t locked up in the general population being overpowered and forcibly raped at 2am by Dwayne from the Aryan Brotherhood.

    You can twist my words and try to paint me as someone who believes it is righteous and just to conquer and enslave nations, but that just isn’t true. Instead of not coming anywhere near the argument, why not engage ideas counter to your own? Isolating yourself within the echoes of your own ideology is no different than the cloistered Christian who watches only Fox news and movies like Fireproof, Left Behind, and Blind Side.

  • MattPatt

    Wait, are you the same person as Rin_Tin_Tim? If you’re not, then I’m confused — I haven’t tried to twist your words into anything. It’s one thing to say “this is what happened, like it or don’t,” as you have done, and another thing to say “this is what happened, but the Bible says God said it was okay, so let’s rationalize a bunch to say that it wasn’t unjust to own other human beings.” Rin_Tin_Tim has gone a step beyond the recitation of historical fact and declared that since it’s in the Bible without God’s explicit condemnation attached to it, it must have been just to do these things. You’re not. (Unless you do actually believe that, but I’m not getting that from this post. I hope you don’t. Owning other people is wrong even if the rules of war or financial transactions do allow it.)

    Although now that I read over your post again… all I’m going to say is, we do not have debtor’s prisons in the USA for good reasons. Although lately it appears that we’re in the middle of a de facto re-establishment of that system, in which courts issue bench warrants against people whom evil financial companies have falsely claimed to serve with notice of civil suits against them for failure to repay debts. Which, let me be clear, is bad, and hopefully the court system will wake the hell up and realize that it’s allowing itself to be played.

    As to the insults directed at me at the end… yeah, no, I actually am comfortable isolating myself within the echoes of my own ideology that it’s wrong to declare some human beings to be the property of others.

  • Anonymous

    It is the same person.

  • I like you!

  • Phillip, who is going to do the “deciding,” case by case? I’m sure as hell not going to! I doubt you want to have that on your shoulders. So who exactly gets to make the call whether someone who is having sex with someone of the same gender as they are is sinning or not?

    But let’s just go with the idea that someone is going to make the call…just for the sake of argument.

    Let’s say that a guy named Joe goes to your church. You’ve known him for awhile. You know he’s a Christian. He’s active in the church.

    Joe tells you that he is gay. Not only that, he has a committed partner he hopes to marry as soon as possible. They are talking about adopting kids. In fact, he introduces you to his partner, Mark, also a Christian.

    So I’m guessing, according to what you’ve said here so far, you would say that Joe and Mark are sinning. And it’s not because they are “fornicating,” but because they are GAYS fornicating, since their marriage wouldn’t make it o.k. in your eyes, either. So it seems pretty black and white to you: this is SIN.

    O.k. well what if you then found out that Joe was born intersexed. He had a very tiny penis that clearly hadn’t formed all the way, as well as some internal sex organs that seemed “female.” The doctors and his parents made the call: he doesn’t have a vagina, so Joe is going to be male. They do whatever they can do there on the spot and continue to do surgeries, give him hormones, etc. as he gets older. He looks like a man. Bulge in his pants. Facial hair. No one but Joe would know about all of this.

    But inside, Joe never feels “male.” He doesn’t become attracted to women. He is treated like a boy and told he is a boy. He wants to be a boy. He tries to act like a boy. But as he gets older, he realizes he is sexually attracted to men. There’s just no way around it; it’s not even ambiguous.

    Please don’t misunderstand: I’m not at all implying that anyone who is gay is intersex or that you have to be intersex in order for it to be “o.k.” for you to be gay. I’m just talking about THIS CASE. This guy. This situation.

    So what would you tell Joe? He goes on to explain to you that he still has some female sexual parts inside. He wouldn’t have facial hair and would have breasts if he didn’t take the hormones he takes.

    Is it “o.k.” for Joe to be gay, to have a male partner, to get married, etc.?

    I’m sure you see my point. This is not something you have the ability to decide. This is clearly SO not black-and-white.

    “Case by case” means SOMEONE has to decide which parts with which hormones “qualify” as intersex ENOUGH to be “o.k.” Clearly that is just plain WRONG. And we’re not even talking about the way that people feel inside…the immeasurable things. What about those who were born intersex, their gender is selected and they are never told that that decision was made. Some of them never know why they are infertile until they are adults and come to find out, they have the “wrong” parts inside!

    And of course…if we acknowledge that “heterosexual” and “homosexual” are not the black and white categories we like to think they are, we must re-think this whole subject. Now no one gets to judge who should have sex with who and certainly not who should marry who. I guess you’d have to trust that God sees/knows people’s hearts.

    Wait…it seems like I’ve heard that before…wait…was it in the New Testament…by golly, I do believe Jesus said something like that!!! 😉

  • *Laughing* I was reading your post while lunching on raw tuna. I first tried sushi last year – fell in love with the stuff and get it whenever I can.

    Fantasies about military showers – I want to have *words* with those people. Though maybe they wouldn’t believe me because I am female and of course women aren’t as horny as men or something. I had a stint in Basic Training – Air Force, way back in 2000. I enlisted because I was poor, wanted money for college and adventure/to escape my family – it didn’t work out for me. I was one of the (emotionally) weak people quickly culled from the herd, but I remember the experience. Indeed, in basic training, you shower with your group in communal showers. I saw lots of naked women and they saw me – no desires to do anything with that. “May I borrow your shampoo” was about as “sexy” as it got. We had all of FIVE MINUTES to spend showering, bone-tired from the day and needing to get quickly back to our bunks to polish our boots and organize our things *exactly* the way the TI wanted it to avoid group punishment in the morning. When your feet are covered with bursting blisters from breaking in your boots and you’re hungry and sick because you got all of five minutes to hork down what dinner you could get into you and you’re so tired you could die — yeah, sex is the *first* thing on your mind *rolls eyes.*

  • I think we’d all like to know if you have a blog, Alan. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Yes I and siriuslee are one person. For some reason when I post from my iPad, I am locked into that Disqus identity. Not intending to confuse. I honestly don’t pay attention to which identity I post from.

    Quickly to answer a couple of your points, I agree with you that ownership of people is morally wrong. However, I think it fair to also acknowledge that the indentured slaves weren’t “owned” as we define ownership of property. They were freed upon their debt being paid in full, or the occurrence of the Jubilee Year during their term of internment.

    It was common for people (Hebrews and foreigners) to sell themselves into slavery because they could not find gainful employment and they preferred to sell themselves and their children to the wealthy thereby preventing their own deaths from starvation. As for being considered permanent property, it was also a Hebrew custom that a servant or slave could voluntarily choose bondservanthood which was a lifelong contract. That made the slave and sometimes even their their children, the permanent possessions of their master. Even as an inheritance to the master’s children. Not because the master and his children were cruel and possessive, but rather because they loved them and had treated them and their children as family. Certainly there were wicked masters, but such mistreatment of people (slave, freeman, or bondservant) was certainly NOT sanctioned by God.

    I apologize for my last paragraph. It was a bit over the line. I meant it more as a challenge than an insult.

  • MattPatt

    I’m sorry, I’m still not buying your rationalization. I mean, I understand where you’re coming from with it, but I fundamentally do not accept that any legal system which declares one person to be the possession of another can ever have been divinely ordained as just. Period. I don’t care how voluntary you want to have made it, I don’t care how soon one could obtain one’s freedom or freedom for one’s children as in Rome, it’s still totally abhorrent. The comparison between masters and slaves and members of a family is cruel — while it may be true that heads of households in various civilizations have had that kind of absolute power over their dependents, I likewise don’t accept that as a just system either. (Actually, just for extra fun, there were times in ancient Rome where you’d have been better off as the male slave of a wealthy man than as one of his younger daughters. That just ain’t right.)

    Then again, I am not a Christian of any stripe, so I don’t really need to resolve the issue in the way that you may feel you need to.

    So, once again, let me be clear: It’s not that I don’t understand your reasoning. I truly do get what you’re saying. I just don’t find it adequate.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know where Philip stands, but I think (and this is just my opinion) that nobody knows for sure what the biblical qualifications or ramifications for being effeminate mean today. I know there are straight guys that are married, with kids and a happy and passionate marriages, but talk like and carry themselves like Kurt from Glee. Based on a literal interpretation, I guess the occasional straight guy that walks and talks in a girlie fashion is doomed to hell?

    Your Joe scenario is a valid point to think about. Some have suggested that sexual orientation is the sum total of genetics, hormones, cognitions and arousals, psychological conditioning….oddly, many of these same factors play into depression and bi-polarism.

  • Lore

    I always thought Sodom’s sin in the story of the angels visiting Lot was attempted gang rape, not so much the fact that the mob’s intended target was a couple of males. Keep in mind that Lot offered up his two daughters to appease the mob, and that we don’t know for sure that the mob was entirely male. Also keep in mind that Lot’s two daughters eventually date raped their father.

    Honestly, I don’t know how someone can equate gang rape with a nice, normal person who wants to get married and raise a family with someone of his or her own sex.

  • Suz

    Not to pander or anything, but you seem pretty smart, pretty funny, and you’re a VERY good writer!

  • good, now they know how I feel.

  • Kara K

    I work with one of those. After 8 years of marriage, two kids, a church plant, a degree in religious studies from a pentecostal university and an ugly divorce, he and his boyfriend are hoping to someday get married.

  • vj

    Wow, Kara K!!! I think you have expressed this all so beautifully – especially your 2nd-to-last paragraph. “It is very clearly not my place to tell anyone else about the sin or wrongs in their life. Jesus is the only judge of the heart.” – Yes, yes, yes! Isn’t that what Jesus’ whole ‘get the log out of your own eye’ bit is about, after all?

  • vj

    “In my experience, one can never underestimate the overwhelming and deep-seated need some people have to be meddlesome busybodies, fusspots, tattletales and scolds.”

    I think, Alan, that you have entirely hit the nail on the head….

  • Suz

    If you read the whole Bible, the overriding message is twofold and contradictory. Judgement and punishment vs. love and forgiveness. I’m sure God is big enough to reconcile the two, but our brains keep them separate; we must prioritize one over the other. I think our best course is to justly punish ONLY the acts that are unjust – require the “sinner” to right his wrongs. Even if we can’t love and forgive him, God can, so let’s not risk offending Him by overdoing it, and “overdoing it” includes labeling something as sin because it’s in the Bible, but causes no harm. Nearly every sin in the Bible can be justified by anyone because it has harmful, real consequences. When a “sin” like homosexuality appears arbitrary and unjustified to the logical mind, we choose to view it through faith, in one of two ways – through love or through judgement. I choose love, which means it’s not a sin in my eyes.

  • StraightGrandmother

    PDW- Agree! My son isn’t “girlie” he ran the Marine Corps Marathon this fall and finished in the top 3%. Gay people like hetrosexual people, run on a spectrum. Some are athletes and some are well, not. Being more towards the girlie side does not diminish you as a person in any way whatsoever. It is just who you are, they can have a fine moral character or a horrible moral charachter just as any hetrosexual person can have a fine moral charachter or a horrible moral character. Being more of a macho man or a girlie man does not determine the fiber of your moral charachter.

  • Michael Seraph

    Why should a male couple mean that one guy is “subordinate” to the other one? If I had a boyfriend or husband, trust me, we would be co-equal. If someone can’t imagine that, I’d suggest that their imagination is locked into a cultural gender role box.

    I totally agree with you that nurturing and loving are good and natural for both sexes, and that women can be strong too!

  • Michael Seraph


    1. The example of Sodom no more forbids all homosexuality, than the example of Gibeah in Judges 19 forbids all heterosexuality. Both cases involved sexual violence and gang rape — grievous and crying sins in any case.

    2. Romans 1 has a context — idolatry. To apply it against Christian gay people is just wrong. Remember that both in Corinth (where Paul wrote his epistle) and in Rome (where it was headed) there were prominent temples to the goddess Cybele. The Greeks and Romans were abandoning the invisible Deity taught by their own philosophers, and were worshiping Cybele using idols of women, lions and serpents. Her male priests, the Galli, castrated themselves (what a terrible penalty for their error!), dressed as women, and played the part of women in same-sex pagan temple prostitution. Even the women likewise, who worshiped Cybele, dressed as men, were fitted with artificial phalli, and played the part of men in same-sex prostitution to honor the goddess. All this has absolutely nothing to do with two nice boys who trust in Christ but happen to fall in love with each other.

    3. 1 Corinthians 6:9 was rightly translated 500 years ago by Luther as “child molesters”.

    If you took the time to get to know some real, live, gay believers, you might not be as bellicose on this issue.

    But I sense that, 150 years ago, you would also have been quoting the bible to prove that slavery is God’s unchanging will. That’s why we have a Southern Baptist Convention, after all.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Shadsie, I really liked your opinion. It makes a lot of sene to me. Basically you are saying they are bullies. When they bully others it simply makes them feel good about themself.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Marcello, looks like it…. just accepting it at face value. I would venture to guess that Phillip Yanda also believes that GLBT is a “behaviour” and not an innate core of who GLBT people are. Just watch for it anytime you see the word “Behaviour.” By calling it a behaviour this assumes anyone can change their behaviour. It is just another cop out, put down… I would like to see them change their hetrosexual “behviour” into same sex “behaviour” see if they can do that. Just wake up one morning, snap your fingers, and you know change your “behaviour” from hetrosexal to same sex.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Double WOW! Agree with the psoters above, second to the last paragraph is a home run.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Is this true? If true what do the Jewish people think about that prayer now? I mean is it still a good valid prayer?

  • Just from a little poking around it looks like it’s still in the Jewish literature and therefore still a prayer prayed by some Jews. I’m not Jewish, though, so I have no idea how common that is.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Alan I really enjoyed your post.

  • Anonymous

    Good enough.

  • jes

    I also have some anti-gay friends… There is no digging deeper for them. There is no analyzing context or history or translations of the Bible. It’s simply taking current translations of the Bible, reciting a verse (or more), and that’s enough to justify their bigotry and hatred. ”

    Perhaps this just expresses my own lack of patience and willing to dog, but those people? Those are people I do not remain friends with.

  • jes

    Right. Marriage was declared explicitly by God to mean one man and one woman and all exceptions are anathema. Obviously it follows there’s not a single instance of multiple marriages in the Bible… nope, nope. That’s a mighty weak base on which to stand your whole argument. Wasn’t Jacob blessed of God, even while being married to 2 women (who, tangentially, were also his first cousins) simultaneously?

  • jes

    Ah, the good old S&G defense. And, as usual, you go ahead and disregard the part where the incident that resulted in the destruction of the cities was the attempted gang-rape of a couple angels…. a far, far cry from letting a couple queers live peaceably, in my (ok, maybe not so) humble opinion.
    Since the typical person who makes this argument won’t bother to listen to appeals along the lines of how do you know what God actually meant and what was mis-translated by human scribes, I’ll skip that whole line of reasoning and instead address this:
    “And as for slavery, I have yet to read a place where it’s encouraged.”
    Son, I must conclude that you have not read closely or for content if that’s the case.

    However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. Leviticus 25:44-45

    When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment. Exodus 21:7-11
    (Oh, free reference shot at my other comment regarding multiple marriages in that one!)

    When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. Exodus 21:20-21

    Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. 1 Timothy 6:1-2
    (Not only is it a good, Christian thing to own slaves, it’s spiritually healthy to be one! Everyone wins!)

    I believe my point is made, and I’m tired of looking up specific verses. If you actually care to follow up on your self-expressed lack of knowledge of slaver in the bible, check out Deuteronomy, Ephesians, and Colossians for further instructions on how to properly keep and treat your slaves.

    You say that you “think people need to go back to their Bibles and stop making up stories.” Well, I’d encourage you to follow your own advice, and actually read the book before you go telling others what it means.

  • jes

    Obviously so, Marcelo, since he also claimed that the bible never approves of slavery, and implies the same of multiple marriages.

  • jes

    “”Raping strangers is bad” also fits neatly within the “don’t be mean to your neighbors” theme of those verses from Ezekiel, which also runs through most of the minor prophets, the major prophets, the Torah, the New Testament, and indeed any book that’s ever been a credible moral guide for anyone.”

    AHahahahahahaahaaahha! yes. I think I love you, MattPratt.

  • jes

    Blind devotion to a pre-decided opinion that will never be changed no matter how much logic is thrown at it’s defenses.

  • jes

    Also disregarding the multiple direct conflicts and inconsistencies within the “infallible” book….

  • jes

    “. But that doesn’t mean I do it blindly and start doing whatever with the text based on what it says. I recognize, like any good reader, cultural precepts around that time period, things that are not applicable to a modern day Believer, to a Christian period, and things of that sort.”

    Except on the particular topic of homosexuality, which couldn’t ever be construed to fall into the category of “cultural precepts” or “things that are not applicable to a modern day Believer.”

    Incidentally, do you have any idea how hilarious I find it that you can go from “taking the word literally” to stating that the bible contains “things that are not applicable to a modern day Believer, to a Christian period, and things of that sort. In other words, not everything God has said is binding on all people at all times in all places. “? Because I have to admit that I’m getting quite a good laugh here at your apparent total lack of internal consistency.

  • jes

    Thank you for making this point so well…I was mulling how to do so, but I think you nailed what I would have struggled to say.

  • jes

    I’m sure there were people in slavery due to debt and war. But there is also the option, clearly expressed in the bible, to sell your daughter as a slave instead of finding her a husband. So you can’t really argue that it was just a different system of justice.

    And you really don’t have to look much farther than the bible itself to get a handle on brutality in the slavery of the time. After all, there’s a specific note that slave owners who beat a slave so severely that he dies from the beating after several days are within their rights as the owner of the property. Same passage frowns on outright killing of the slave though. Seems a little odd to me that it’s not okay to beat them right to death, but no worries about letting them suffer for days with internal injuries before dying, but I’m neither a bible scholar nor an historian, so who am I to say this indicates a certain level of brutality?

  • Matthew Tweedell

    I must admit, what “seems purely logical” to you seems to me anything but. Not only is there an important distinction to be made in logical analysis between a potentiality (e.g. what “God is able to” do) and a reality (e.g. what God did), but is connection between one completing maintenance of literary integrity and another’s hope of knowing anything is exhibited, and its existence I must seriously question (just as one ought take seriously the question of any claimed god’s reality when his nature remains insufficiently clear). Of course, the one who concurs with your brand of logic would say, “I only believe what I do because it’s what the LORD has revealed to us in His Word,” (as if his understanding truly is no more than what’s written in a book—don’t ask me where his belief in his ability to read it comes from!) and offer such stellar reasoning of his own as: “Why trust God for salvation at all if the other things he says are basically subjective? That should bring doubt to just about anything in His Word. Including our salvation.” — without any apparent recognition of the critical hidden premise that salvation be not “basically subjective” (even as Sunday-school children know it’s accomplished via the heart and soul)!

  • Guest

    “Taking all this into consideration, it only makes sense that if a gay man wants to be respected by his straight male counterparts, he will play down his “gayness.”

    Straight men have done nothing to earn respect from gay men. Nor do we care if they respect us.

  • ReDu

    The way the Bible is written, and other ancient texts from other cultures, they blame the woman for man’s troubles. Excoriate her pain in child bearing as retribution for unleashing all that’s terrible on the world.
    They blame the woman for expulsion from a perfect, untroubled life.
    As IF, such a life EVER existed. Who’d believe THAT?!

    Already, the Bible and all it’s directives come from a male, heterosexual, patriarchal point of view.
    And punishment to all who challenge it!
    Which is why I have always found such texts to be suspect, and not any divinely inspired books. But books rooted in primitive, reactionary, male centric power struggles.

    I wouldn’t follow it if you paid me.
    Modern people of faith, even when required to explain the recent human rights abuses of women’s suffrage, Jim Crow and systemic bigotry on gays and lesbians, make God take the blame for human failings in moral ethics. Men can be SUCH cowards!

  • JohnJay60

    Please note some corrections. The bible does not say slavery is GOOD. It acknowledges the situation, as an economic condition and not a social condition, and had in the Old Testament elaborate rules for treatment and release from slavery, and in the New Testament an impassioned plea from Paul to a slave owner’s master for leniency. Also Christianity got over the whole shellfish thing in the middle of the Acts of the Apostles; you may be thinking of Levitical law 1500 years earlier.

  • DR

    You’re not even addressing the point. The Bible was used to justify that slavery was “good”.

  • Wow. When I read this blog (as a radical, recovering fundamentalist Christian), I was smacked between the eyes. Of course that’s what this is all about. Doh.

    Great job.

  • Michael Rowe

    When Paul said “slaves, obey your masters,” he wasn’t “acknowledging slavery as a social condition,” he was endorsing it. He didn’t say, “Masters, free your slaves.” Is Christianity and the Bible really that difficult to defend without changing what it actually says? If so, perhaps it’s time for a change of religion

  • Matthew Tweedell

    What St. Paul was endorsing was obedience and subservience, accepting of the lot one’s been given in life. He didn’t give a clear endorsement like “Masters, take more slaves.” The Bible teaches, in fact, that we all have our masters, but no man can ultimately serve more than one. It is no coincidence, you see, that the new religion spread like wildfire among the enslaved and oppressed in the Roman Empire. It’s spiritual rebellion, of slaves against their overlords and of Jews and others oppressed under Roman governance. The Kingdom of our Lord is not of this world; it’s out of this world, man! How radical Christianity is, was, and ever shall be: for the Truth shall set you free! We submit and subordinate then unto worldly authorities simply because it has been so ordered by our one heavenly Lord, Master and Teacher, who ultimately Himself is namely a perfect servant unto us! The Word of our Father has been born to us, not to bind us, but to advise what’s ultimately in our own best interests, so we freely choose (as the first “free” thing we really can do, owing to how sins puts one’s own true nature in a bind, prior even to truly apprehending the capacity for a choice) to listen to the Word of the Father, as we trust in His manifest Wisdom and Love for us. So, in serving our Lord—the Lord even of Lords, the Almighty—we are not so much serfs, as sons of God. Therefore, let us accept as worthy of adherence the command that we “do not resist an evildoer”, and in the same Spirit, let those enslaved obey their masters, until that day when He shall pass over them and set them free—surely that day is coming and is already come! So let us put the past behind us and get on with the journey through the wilderness; the Promised Land awaits us on the other side!

  • You all are just discovering what I’ve known for awhile….John Shore can bring it! Great writer that continues to challenge me every day to be a better person of faith

    Thanks, John! Lokks like you’ve got a few new fans…

  • Jim

    Alan, I don’t know where I can find more of your writing, but, I’d be a REGULAR READER if you post somewhere. JIM

  • Meandnotyou

    Great last line. That really does sum it up.

  • Robert

    you know… the whole christian thing about loving the sinner but hating the sin… is sort of like saying… “I love african americans… except for the color of their skin”.

  • Cameron

    “What St. Paul was endorsing was obedience and subservience, accepting of the lot one’s been given in life. ” Ya know, Mathew – you probably aren’t ever going to read this, as I am months behind you posting it. But I am just SO grateful that Martin Luther King Jr., along with thousands of other people, did not buy into the above statement in the era of the Civil Rights marches, and Freedom Rides. People were beaten, hosed down with fire hoses, gassed, beaten shot and KILLED resisting their “lot in life” to be treated as less than human.

    When the money changers in the temple were turning God’s great dwelling into a circus of animals, manure, noise, theft and usury, they were abusing the poor who came with very little, struggling to buy their offerings. The poor were supposed to be subservient. Its their lot in life to be on the lower rung – and great is their reward in heaven, for the poor you have always with you. Jesus made a whip out of rope and in a move that would have scandalized non-violent Gandhi, waded in, over-turned tables, scattering money everywhere and brought down the hammer. He beat the crap out of the money changers abusing their power and abusing the poor.

    So lets just knock off with the whole subservience is always and only the right thing. There is a time and place for everything including when to serve and when to resist – and when to resist non-violently and when to resort to violence.. Wisdom is knowing when to do which.

  • Tracy Smith

    I think you’ve pretty much hit the nail on the head here. It is the men who are most insecure about their own sexuality who tend to be the most homophobic.

    I think a big reason why gay men are reviled more than lesbians is related to misogyny. That is, these people see gay men as taking on the role of a woman, thus giving up their manhood.

  • Brad in Oklahoma

    I agree that it is the whole power thing that scares the bejeebus out of them. Think about it gay men call their significant others “partners”. A partner by definition is someone who is equal and shares in the endeavour. If a str8 man thinks he is the head of the household but boom his wife considers herself a “partner” he looses power because that would entail allowing her to share equally in tasks and decisions. I personally like having somebody to walk beside me and help to keep the pace as we make it through our life’s journey! But then again, I like power-sharing!

  • Danielle

    Well, sure, fear of losing power may be in the mix. But a 1996 study also showed that homophobia is associated with homosexual arousal. Hence, overcompensation for much-feared feelings of same-sex attraction in the form of homophobia.

  • Lanie: Good points; made with too much toxicity. I’ve put you on moderation. Be nicer!

  • Douglas

    You’re not the only one!

  • Tracy Smith

    It’s always amazed me the extremely shaky base that stereotyped “masculinity” is based on. If one’s self-esteem comes from external bases — how other people in one’s life behave — then it’s just essentially a house of cards. True self-esteem comes from within and is not affected by what other people do or think. Concerning men vs women, how does a man truly “win”, when the woman has agreed to always come in second — to play a rigged game?

    As far as men being stronger than women — yes, they are, if you’re talking about brute strength. But there are other types of strength, such as the strength it takes to endure the agony of labor and to push a new life into the world. I once read somewhere that men can run faster, but women can run longer. Women’s strength is that of endurance, rather than brute strength. So, though not exactly the same, it is equal, because both types of strength are needed in the world.

  • Jeannie

    Wow. I got to say, this just makes so much sense.

  • Wow.. are you kidding? You’ve edited what I’ve said to make it look like I sweared at you. That’s pretty outrageous.

  • ALSO- you can’t possibly edit what I say and call me an asshole at the same time.

  • DR

    Of course, the response of the church is poor at best and needs A LOT of reflection on how to be more Christlike in this whole debate.>>>

    Thanks for clearing that up. It would be great to hear you actually be specific as to what some of the contributing factors are instead of diminishing this one (which has got tons of citation and support behind it).

  • Another good point! I changed.

  • I can. I did.

  • Gina

    I really like this article and agree with you about the lack of fear from lesbian sex. But you don’t speak to the reason why some women find gay-men-sex threatening. I’m wondering how their fear plays into your male power theory. Surely they can’t all be Polly-homemakers from the 50’s that believe their world rises and sets in the success and happiness of their husband-providers and thus anything that upsets their hubby’s world is detrimental to their own! Although maybe they are fearful of the declining potential mate pool–but is there real happiness in a marriage to a closeted gay man?

  • Sarah

    Wow! This piece certainly hits at least one of the nails, squarely on the head! Thanks for that!

  • Alan Austin

    Increasingly, Biblical scholars are agreeing that all the Biblical texts interpreted as condemning gay activity in fact condemn same-sex abuses – rape, exploitation, prostitution, heathen worship practices – not loving committed relationships.

    And increasingly, churches which welcome gay couples are finding their ministry enhanced.

    Excellent article. Thanks.

  • Sara

    Excellent analogy Robert – I’m going to adopt it. Thanks!

  • Neo

    Ironically, I think this argument can go both ways.

    Homosexuals know that if fundamentalist Christians are right then criminalizing homosexuality and taking other measures may be justified. They see that the fundamentalist view threatens their power and that’s why they get so crazy about homophobia.

    I’m not saying this is my position I just think it’s a blanket argument that goes both ways, it avoids the issue and It’s really just overgeneralization with what seems to be ad hominem. It’s a great Marxian analysis and it seems like a good way to piss off fundamentalists, but not much for an argument.

  • aw shucks, I wanted to read the horribleness of Lanie’s post! uncensor it pleaaaaase! can she or you at least summarize it? Like forbidden fruit, now all I want is to know what was deleted.

  • Diana A.

    Hi Wayne! I’m bad like that too!

  • Diana A.

    Even if I thought that homosexuality was a sin, I would not feel right about criminalizing it or making it legally acceptable to discriminate against homosexuals in other ways. Not everything that is a “sin” by biblical standards is or should be criminalized. For instance, do we really want to criminalize gossip?

    Sometimes, it helps to look at what John wrote for previous blog posts. I vaguely remember this issue coming up and him deciding to write a post about it. I could be wrong but that is entirely possible.

  • Maria

    Ain’t it the truth. Ain’t it the truth. How sad is it that the only thing most of these people have to hold onto is a power grid that is falling apart. This is why they fight so hard and this is why they are so fueled by fear, hate and anger.

  • cat rennolds

    except for one small tiny little detail, neo… men don’t yet HAVE power. not even the power to be left the hell alone to live their own lives as they see fit.

    Gay men – GLBT anybody – are not trying to force anybody else to be G, L, B or T. You can’t say that about the Christian “majority.”

  • Kat

    Great article. I will chuckle while I “blasphemously” add shrimp to my paella for Sunday dinner tomorrow.

    And yes. The poster who previously referenced the direct correlation between homophobia and repressed homosexual drive is really on to something. I’d like to take the argument further and expand on why some Conservative or fundamentalist women are also so blatantly anti male homosexuality. I believe it’s because it is a type of sexuality that we, as women, cannot compete with. In many traditional marriages, sexual desire is a type of “currency” that a wife may use on her husband. And if that husband is more interested in men, it’s like trying to pay for something using dollars in Europe and being told they only accept Euros. Now, for a rational and independent woman, a homosexual fantasy isn’t so big of a deal. We can acknowledge the fluid nature of our own sexuality, and we have control and respect in our relationships. We dont need to “buy” favors, and we know from all our high school experiences that a couple homosexual predelictions are normal. Not to give you too much info or anything…. ahem… I digress. The point is that, for a submissive wife who uses her attractiveness as her (only) bargaining chip and sees morality in stark black and white terms, ANY homosexual urge is a threat to her power and also an absolute indication of perversion. There is no middle ground, and the subject itself is painted in too much fear to be considered rationally.

  • Allen

    Right you are, Tracy. And that’s why “which one of you is the man in the relationship?” keeps getting asked of gay couples (lesbian couples too, for all I know). It’s usually a straight man who asks that, and I think part of the reason is, from their perspective, that tells them which one of us they need to pay attention to.

  • Allen

    An aside:

    Thanks, John, for the remark that men and women kissing seems intensely weird to gays and lesbians. Only decades being inundated with the image has made me, uh, comfortable with it. Not a huge deal or anything, but this doesn’t get said very often — especially by straight people. You rule (but I don’t mean that in a man-role patriarchy way, of course)!

  • Pastor PMHA

    Neo, there is nothing ad hominem in this argument, no personalizing of any statement, and nothing Marxist either, other than saying all people are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights – among them the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (oh, wait that is American).

    And this arguement cannot go both ways because it is about the powerful wanting to maintain that power at whatever cost and seeing anyone not buying into that social construct as dangerous to themselves. The reality is that straight men DO KILL gay men. And Fundamentalist Christians are not right – they have read into the English translation their bias. There is no more threat or abomination of a gay person loving another than there is to eating pork or shrimp, touching a dead body, wearing fabrics of mixed fibers, or any number of other things called “abomination” in the Bible.

    Jesus seemed to prefer the open minded and accepting folks, rather than the self-righteous and dominating religious folk. And I say this as a professional religious folk!

  • Pastor PMHA

    The women may be afraid their world will fall apart if their husbands come out of the closet. Mixed Orientation Marriages exist and are devistating before, during and after the truth comes out. See books about the topic by Amity Buxton, Carol Greve, and articles about such public outings of senators, fundamentalist pastors and govenors (dishonesty with self and others always hurts someone).

  • cat rennolds

    it’s not about happiness, for anybody. it’s about reproduction and it’s about power. Power to force that man to provide for you and your children whether he wants to or not, if not legally then by social pressure.

    A lot of them ARE “Polly homemakers.” The secret power the feminists never want to admit to, to control a whole family by apparent sweetness and submission. Making your happiness the yardstick of his success. Letting him think he’s making the decisions while you run his life. Anything detrimental to his world IS detrimental to yours; it’s less profitable, less comfortable, less happily-ever-after. It diminishes your STATUS. Your IMAGE. What will the neighbors think? The Happy Family Game is a competition, and the whole GLBT community, given equal status, would make it look pointless by comparison.

    There are also oppressed, brainwashed women who rabidly endorse the system oppressing them. Otherwise they’d have to look at themselves and go, “How did I let this happen to me?”

    Plus, there are already more women than men. Female infant mortality is lower, we’re overall healthier, and we live longer. In a monogamous culture, if men start marrying each other, there are going to be even fewer of them to go around. Of course, with our overpopulation, this is a bad thing, how? But you are looking at thousands of years of training versus only a few decades of technology and overpopulation.

    It’s not politically correct, or at all pleasant to look at, but there are some serious hind-brain, instinctive, PHYSICAL reactions going on here. It’s not just acculturation. I know the popular thought is “homophobes are closet homosexuals,” and sometimes it’s true, but sometimes it’s just a gut-level ick factor. I know a LOT of gays and lesbians who get the same ick factor from even the idea of straight sex.

    Gregarious animals, with a few exceptions, establish power by harassing each other until the strongest one is on top and makes the rules. Then the less powerful ones will gang up on the least powerful and the most different. The more unusual an individual is, the more harassed he is going to be. Sometimes to death. But are we humans, or are we chickens?

  • Pastor PMHA

    Yes, in fact the New Testament word translated in the past as “homosexual” is actually literally the “abuse of one man by another”

  • Patrick Mahoney

    I am sorry but I feel the post by Neo is just nonsense. I wasn’t concerned about losing power or being afraid the fundamentalist were right. Goodness, I was a fundamentalist, I grew uo surrounded by straight people and their assumptions about gay folk. I came out for several reasons. I didn’t want to spend my life alone. I didn’t want to go on hiding and being ashamed of myself. It’s crazy to think of gay folk as some seperate population competing for power. We are members of the same families and communities. When anyones rights are dimished all of us suffer. When anyone lives in fear we all have a responsibility to do the right thing.

  • Neo


    Thanks for the response; even if I thought homosexuality was a sin, I wouldn’t feel right criminalizing it either. My intent was never to argue that such actions would be justified, criminalization merely strikes me as one example of a way in which homosexual power might be threatened by a fundamentalist Christian view. It seems clear to me that there is a power struggle between the two groups. I wouldn’t want to criminalize gossip, doing so might have interesting results though lol.

  • Neo

    Thanks for the response Cat,

    To the contrary, I would argue that gay men do have some power. Clearly, not as much as fundamentalist Christians, but it seems clear to me that there is a power struggle between two groups here.

    I think you make a valid criticism of the Christian majority, but I still think that homosexuals are trying to gain/protect their power just like the fundamentalists. Your comment seems to even emphasis the fact that there is a power struggle between the two groups.

  • Neo

    Pastor PMHA,

    Thanks for the response, we may be using the descriptions (Marxist & ad hominem) in different senses.

    As for Marxist, I was referring to Marxist Conflict Theory where society is formed of different groups competing against one another for power. The article points out two groups competing for power, that’s what I think makes it a Marxist analysis.

    I understand your confusion in my use of the term ad hominem; simply put, I feel that if you make the claim that an opponent in a debate is not concerned with the issue at hand but is only concerned with gaining/protecting power, you are making a personal attack on the person rather than making a logical argument relevant to this issue.

    “And this arguement cannot go both ways because it is about the powerful wanting to maintain that power at whatever cost and seeing anyone not buying into that social construct as dangerous to themselves.”

    And my argument was that homosexuals may see fundamentalist Christians as dangerous to themselves, so it goes both ways right?

    “The reality is that straight men DO KILL gay men” < I see them as dangerous too

    "There is no more threat or abomination of a gay person loving another than there is to eating pork or shrimp, touching a dead body, wearing fabrics of mixed fibers, or any number of other things called “abomination” in the Bible."

    I confused as to why you begin to argue that homosexuals are not a threat here, seems irrelevant.

    I think you may have misunderstood my argument, sorry if I wasn't clear enough I hope this helps.

  • Neo


    Sorry if my post offended you. I only meant to point out that it’s useless to make the claim that one group(out of two competing groups) is after power. It seems clear to me that given any two competing groups, we can conclude that each group is after power in some way, shape or form.

    “It’s crazy to think of gay folk as some seperate population competing for power.”

    I completely agree, as I wrote to my original post, “I’m not saying this is my position.” I’d like to take it a step further, I think it’s crazy to think of fundamentalist Christians as a seperate population competing for power as well. This I think, is exactly what the article does.

    Unfortunately, if we view society as being composed of different groups competing for power, I feel that we would have to place homosexuals in that category as well as fundamentalist Christians. Personally, I don’t feel that this is the way we should be looking at members of our society, hence my criticism. I hope that clears things up a bit; I really didn’t mean to offend.

  • nikos

    I’m pretty sure homosexuals get crazy about the fundamentalist Christian (or just fundamentalist religion in general) view of homosexuality is because it leads to people getting beaten to death. The fundamentalist standpoint is at best forced closeting and banning from public life anyone gay, and at worst literally homicidal. The power threat only applies to those in power, and homosexuals ain’t the ones in power.

  • nikos

    Can we just accept that we’re talking about a millennia-old text written by people? It’s going to be flawed, and some of those flaws are going to come through as hate directed irrationally at an entire group of people.

    Just a note, “heathen worship practices” grouped in with rape and exploitation is a pretty good example of the kind of thought I’m talking about.

  • Nay

    First and foremost i would like to say as a straight woman, i am not “weirded out” at the sight of two men or two women kissing. it is two people in love. and love is a beautiful thing. i would rather see them kissing then see two people killing each other.

    this power struggle that you speak of, that is a man made problem, being gay/lesbian is not. you are born that way. i have spoken with some top notch genetic doctors, and they are norrowing down the genes. thats right genes. gifferent genes that make some more effemenent and some more butch. the the power struggle come from with man himself himself, gay or straight, male or femal, man ih the human context.

    And while i do not believe this myself, i put this out there for the bible thumpers. In the NT (of which i do not follow since i am jewish, but am very familure) it says that Jesus says he knew his disiples, and, throughout the Bible OT and NT it say when a person knew someone it was in a sexual manor. so what does that say of Jeses? the point of saying that is that you can not take things word for word from an text that was written long ago in many different languages and rewritten translated and rewritten.

    as for me, some of my nearest and dearest family and friends are gay and or lesbian. i love them all dearly and would trust my life with them. and i would defend them and their right until the day i die.

  • DR

    Are you actually suggesting that a group of people who’ve been murdered, abused, bullied and discriminated against for their sexual orientation have “power”, just because they are trying to organize and fight the majority that either inspires all of the above or actually does it? I’m totally confused by your point of view.

  • DR

    He didn’t misunderstand it, your argument is flawed. This is *all* about power – the power to decide if being gay is right or wrong, the power to decide if being gay is accepted or condemned by God, the power to decide if gay men and women can marry or support their partner at their partner’s death bed. The power to define marriage as only one way vs multiple ways. This is all about power and the wrong people having it. Period.

  • DR

    I think it’s crazy to think of fundamentalist Christians as a seperate population competing for power as well. >>>

    What is it, exactly, that you think Fundamentalists are so scared of losing? They are losing the power to decide what God thinks about marriage, family and how gay men and women play a part in that.

  • Diana A.

    It’s the little things, like death, that get a person down, ya’ know?

    Seriously, thanks for the reminder about what’s at stake here.

  • Diana A.

    I agree with this one too. The need some people have for every word in the Bible to be literally true drives us sometimes to absurd measures in pursuit of that goal. Much better to remember that “inspired by God” and “dictated by God” are two different things.

  • Karen

    I agree with your article, but I think that you are missing another key point to the “power” over homosexuals. Homosexuality is a “those people over” there sin. I can rile against them with out abandon, because I will never be one of them. I will never be sexually attracted to another woman, so I can judge them without ever facing the possibility of being judged by my own set of standards. I am better than the gays, because I will NEVER be amongst their sinning ranks. I have that power, and I will exploit that power to make myself feel better.

    I won’t get on a soap box about adultery, because even though I love my husband and am completely committed to him, there is a possibility that I could face a weak moment in the future. I won’t get all fiery against adultery of the spirit (lusting after a man other than my husband), because I would have to stop watching those HOT vampires on True Blood.

    I would not dare mention or get fired up about feeding the hungry, visiting those in prison, tending the wounded, etc, because those are things to which I could be held accountable.

    I would much rather rile against “those people” of which I will never be one.

    I think that this is a valid point, so I am also going to post this reply to your Facebook as well. So, whatever you do, don’t make any posts about the sin of pride.

  • Karen

    As well, sodomy was a form of pagan worship at the time. So was Paul talking about the act of homosexuality, or was he talking about what it meant? I see it the same as the little golden calves on my 4-H trophies from my youth are not a sin, but the golden calf that was built to be worshiped was.

  • Karen

    Very true.

  • Chris

    An interesting argument. Thomas Aquinas, who for Roman Catholics was something of a definitive authority until the 1960’s, argued that male homosexuality (he never bothered his head about lesbianism) was wrong because:

    a. two men could not procreate, (although he allowed that postmenopausal heterosexual couples could have sex w/o sin)

    b. Animals don’t engage in same sex sex. (They do, and Thomas may have known that, but his readers didn’t.)

    c. When two men lie together, one is taking the part of a woman, and that is an insult to his dignity as a man. There are no exceptions or conditions offered for this argument, which is apparently dispositive.

    Thomas thought. with Aristotle, that women were defective males who merely provided a nest for homunculi deposited by men to mature. Bad biology, bad reasoning, bad morality.

  • Neo

    “Are you actually suggesting that a group of people who’ve been murdered, abused, bullied and discriminated against for their sexual orientation have “power””

    Yes, I think the article suggests this as well, at the very least homosexuals have the power to threaten the power of fundamentalists. If homosexuals truly had no power there would be no reason for fundamentalists to fear them as a threat…. but this seems irrelevant to my original statement.

    The point is that homosexuals are trying to gain/maintain/protect power, just like fundamentalists. To say that one group is only after power and the other group isn’t after power at all sounds like nonsense to me, it’s clear to me that there is a power struggle between TWO groups here, and each group wants MORE power, not less.

    My statements don’t justify or ignore murder, abuse, bullying or discrimination against homosexuals whatsoever; neither do they classify these as “powers” which homosexuals have, obviously these things oppress homosexuals and do not empower them.

    I think we may be using different understandings of “power”, I don’t necessarily feel that you must be oppressing someone or some group to have power…

    Hope that clears things up a bit, thanks for the response.

  • Neo


    Besides “He didn’t misunderstand it, your argument is flawed.” and “the wrong people having it.”, everything you’ve written seems entirely consistent with my argument.

    I’m sorry but I think you’ve misunderstood as well.

    As for “the wrong people having it.”, I haven’t made the claim that the “right” people have the power and I don’t intend to…

    I’m claiming that there are two groups here who are BOTH competing for power… not just one. Whether one group is right or wrong is irrelevant to my argument.

    I hope this helps better explain my position, maybe I should have been more clear in my original statement.

  • Neo

    Nikos, great input!

    If it’s true that the fundamentalist Christian view leads to people getting beaten to death, then we have a valid criticism of the fundamentalist position.

    I want to make it clear that I do not mean to defend the fundamentalist position.

    I think arguing that one group is after power and one group is not a relevant or valid criticism, unlike the criticism you’ve given.

    Whether one group is in power or not is irrelevant, the two groups are still competing for power.

    I hope you can see how your argument actually deals with the issue at hand and doesn’t go both ways, unlike the argument given in the article which I meant to criticize.

    I think we should be using specific arguments and criticisms which deal with the issue at hand(like yours) rather than irrelevant arguments that can go both ways(like the one given in the article).

  • Neo


    I feel that your statement here implicitly puts homosexuals in the position of a separate population competing for power.

    I don’t think you can say that one group is competing for power while the other isn’t. If one is, then they both are.

    If one isn’t, then neither are.

    There cannot be one group competing for power against no one, if this is the case then they are not truly competing for power.

  • Neo

    Sorry, meant to write

    “I think arguing that one group is after power and one group is not cannot be a relevant or valid criticism, unlike the criticism you’ve given.” for line 7…. Guess I’ve been writing too much already lol.

  • Diana A.

    Yup. You nailed it.

  • Jim

    YOU SAY “But the Bible also says that slavery is reasonable (if not good), and that women shouldn’t speak in church, and that Christians should never eat shellfish, and on and on and on.”

    This is truly dishonest scholarship. It sounds like deliberate fallacy.

    Your purposely equating women speaking in church with what the Bible says against Homosexuality. Now you’ll say I misunderstood you but I didnt. Your trying to build a logical row of domino’s that leads to Homosexuality being knocked over with womens speech.

    You have to if your going to defend this. Your smart so we cant just say you need work on your reasoning skills. You want gays to continue doing what they are doing so you twist things. You know the bible accepted the current norm of slavery and why–and that there wasnt a command to commit slavery. You know shellfish was part of the OT ritual laws that pointed to Christ. You know women weren’t told they would be cast into the lake of fire for the “abominable” speaking in church. You know there is no comparison– yet you make one.

    And your reason why people are crazy is skewed as well.

    People lust every day–but no one teaches it right.

    People cheat on there spouses every day–but no one teaches it right or has parades why its right


    They dont accuse people of being Haters for saying cheating is wrong.

    If homosexuals acted on their feelings but didnt want to –and admitted they were going against God you wouldnt see anything special.

    Your preaching something that is wrong is Right and not only that–your telling my children sin is right and Im a bigot and hater for repeating what God commands.

    Im sorry but there is nowhere to go on this one. No clever arguments are gonna change that. Paul abstained from marriage as a choice. It can be done. You just dont want gays to abstain so you write your own laws. Its tough for sure. There are many sins we have to abstain from–this one must be overwhelming but your living for This world by twisting God’s world so you can enjoy yourself. You dont accept that God knows whats right–you decide whats right and teach what is wrong.

  • DR

    This is hysterically fueled nonsense.

  • DR

    Yes, we disagree. The heterosexual, Christian community has the bulk of power in America. There is no other group that impacts public policy and even theology more than this group. They also have a tremendous amount of privilege as a result. That’s power. That minorities put *effort* and *energy* as well as has some influence as a result of organization and protest? Sure, but the threat of a removal of privilege isn’t the same as having privilege and power to begin with. I think to interchange those words is unnecessary sophistry of idea and discussion and will only serve to inject noise into a very important reality.

  • DR

    No, they aren’t competing for power. One group wants to keep it. The other group wants to be protected from it. Huge, huge difference, Neo.

  • DR

    I am literally speechless.

  • Diana A.

    I get the impression that Neo is mostly interested in an intellectual debate and does not understand that there are real human beings at the other end of his arguments. I could be wrong.

  • Dirk

    It is also poorly written. If the writer’s mind is as disorganized as this screed, then it is no wonder he or she holds to such foolish notions.

  • Dirk


    Your arguments remind me of why I so hated freshman philosophy.

    While we gays, lesbians and the transgender are being murdered, raped, beaten and our families threatened with physical violence, you are voicing a theoretical point of argument based on a discounted social philosophy.

    Is it a power conflict? In the sense that the chosen victim of a murderer who defends him or herself against that want-to-be murderer is engaged in a power struggle, sure.

    Just, what possible point is there to your comment? That is the crux of the matter.

  • DR

    Yes. It’s so creepy. It’s like watching a drowning man struggle for life and then making this casual observation, “It would appear as though the drowning man is struggling for power against the ocean.”

  • Neo

    Dirk, thank you for your criticism. It strikes me as a very intelligent response, although I think you’ve misunderstood my argument(Just like everyone else apparently lol)

    My comment was a criticism of the article, the article makes a marxist analysis of a conflict between two groups. While I believe there is a conflict between two groups, I don’t believe that pointing this out does us any good. We should be making arguments about relevant issues that effect us all.

    “While we gays, lesbians and the transgender are being murdered, raped, beaten and our families threatened with physical violence, you are voicing a theoretical point of argument based on a discounted social philosophy.”

    This is pretty much my criticism of the article, except I was trying not to pick sides….

    The article voices a theoretical point of argument based on a discounted social philosophy while PEOPLE are being murdered, raped, beaten and threatened.

    Murder, rape, abuse, threats…..These are the relevant issues we should be dealing with. Instead of dividing society into two groups, pointing fingers and competing for power, we should all be working together to deal with these issues. Taking the former route will only piss off fundamentalists, the latter route might actually help them see things from a different point of view….

    It seems that you’re trying to use my own argument against me lol, the difference is that you choose to divide society into two groups…. as if one of the groups is never affected by these relevant issues(like rape, murder, etc.)

  • Neo

    Diana and DR,

    These are the same impressions I get from reading the article.

    You’re trying to use my own argument against me lol, the difference is that you choose to divide society into two groups…. as if one of the groups is never affected by the relevant issues(like rape, murder, etc.).

  • Neo

    I think you’re trying to make this about taking power away from the heterosexual Christian community, when this should be about dealing with relevant issues that affect us all like murder, rape, abuse, etc…

    Even if we use your definition of power and accept that homosexuals have no power, as you say…. I still think that telling the heterosexual Christian community that their power should be taken away will only piss them off and get us nowhere.

  • Diana A.

    Not all members of the “heterosexual Christian community” are anti-gay. To the contrary, many who participate in this blog, including John Shore, DR, and myself, are heterosexual Christians.

  • Diana A.

    To continue: I have no interest in using your argument against you. I’m not even terribly sure what your argument is or why you’re making it.

  • Dirk


    I think at this point it bears saying: Everyone here, even not-too-bright me, has made clear that you have not been clear.

    It is possible, of course, that we all are too dim and that’s why we have misunderstood you.

    This is what I think you are saying, maybe by comparing what I think you meant to what you really meant you can find a way to rephrase your thoughts.

    If I understand you correctly, you see the conflict between us, the victims of conservative Christian hatred, expressed through beating, raping, torturing and murdering us and our enemies, just those conservative Christians as one of power.

    You seem to be saying, were we to cease defending ourselves and let the conservative Christians continue to beat, rape, torture and murder us as they like, then…and that is where I just don’t follow you.

  • DR

    Neo, with all due respect it seems like the collective response to your comments can be summed up in a very short, “Dude. WTF?”

    There is nothing you’re saying that has any *impact* to the real-world homophobia that’s prevalent in our culture and is being actively promoted and spread by Christians. That’s the only thing that matters – stopping that. Stop pontificating about power and get engaged in the real debate, you seem smart!

  • DR
  • DR

    I’m so sorry to ask this – I mean it. But…are you high? It’s a serious question. This doesn’t even make sense.

  • DR

    Neo? You took the wrong pill. I think instead of getting you out of the Matrix, it plunged you in deeper. The matrix *in* the matrix!

    That’s deep.

  • Diana A.

    Thanks, Dirk. This sums it up nicely.

  • Neo

    Thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt Dirk.

    I’ll try my best to rephrase my thoughts.

    The articles presents the situation between fundamentalist christians and homosexuals as being one of power.

    Essentially, the argument presented in the article is that fundamentalist Christians don’t really care about marriage or sexual morality or whatever homophobic reasons they might give to criticize homosexuals, but they only dislike homosexuals because they see them as a threat to their power.

    Specifically, the article presents this power, which is being threatened, as the traditional power hierarchy.

    Now I’m not concerned with whether this is true or not, the article could be 100% correct in everything it says and I still think this would be a useless argument.

    Why is it useless? You’re probably wondering at this point, because it seems to present valid criticism of the fundamentalist position.

    Here’s the issue I have with the argument presented in the article:

    It’s not really an argument, it’s just a theory about the motivations of a group of people.

    Anyone can make up theories about people’s motivations and defend them all day long, especially when the motivation is argued to be power.

    Just like my original example: “Homosexuals know that if fundamentalist Christians are right then criminalizing homosexuality and taking other measures may be justified. They see that the fundamentalist view threatens their power and that’s why they get so crazy about homophobia.”

    Again, THIS IS NOT MY POSITION, it is a counter-example designed to show how unfair it is to make a theory about the motivations of a group and then go on to push your theory as a criticism of that group and an argument against their position.

    I really hope this helps…

  • Dirk


    A bit. It does help a bit.

    My background is in the hard sciences. I tend to view social theories as next door to useless at best and truly dangerous at worst.

    I’m a practical man. If going back to 1858 and letting Dixie go (and please, take Texas with them) with a period of time for the conservative Christians to leave America and go live in fascist, theocratic Confederacy while the good Christians leave Dixie for a sane country will resolve the problem, let’s do it.

    Whatever it takes, the number of beatings, rapes, murder and torture of gays, lesbians and the transgender has never been higher. This persecution of us by conservative Christians must stop.

    And it will stop.

    By any means necessary.

  • Neo

    Well said sir,

    Except the “By any means” part, don’t stoop down to their level…. MLK never had too and neither should you. Thanks for giving me the chance to explain, we seem to be more on the same page now.

  • Neo


    The article pontificates about power and avoids the real issues, that’s why I criticized it….

    With all due respect, it’s becoming very difficult to engage in intelligent discussion with you.

  • DR

    Neo, it looks like we’ll just agree to disagree (I left the discussion. Enjoy yours with the others!)

  • Pro-Gay Rights Christian

    Hmm…I just want to say, that similar to how straight men enjoy seeing two women kissing, there are many, many straight women who enjoy seeing two men kissing (and engaging in *ahem* other kinds of physical affection). Look up slash fanfiction or yaoi is you don’t believe me. That’s why I reject the notion that straights are immediately turned off by displays of physical homosexual intimacy – as long as it’s between the opposite gender! How strange human sexuality is.

  • TL

    This guy is so clueless that he proved exactly the point that this article has made, which is a reasonably true argument. In order to continue the struggle for power, Jim has to denounce you as being intentionally dishonest about scriptures. Au contraire, Jim.

  • Danielle

    Indeed. I’m a female who was once in a relationship with a woman who identified as lesbian, not bisexual, and she liked to watch gay male erotica. She couldn’t admit that in most lesbian circles, though, because bisexual leanings are generally not considered much of an asset in gay/lesbian circles. I think most humans like things, people, ideas, etc to fit into familiar boxes that lessen the chaos of human existence, and when this can’t be done, it causes anxiety. And of course there’s also the anxiety of having some level of awareness of same-sex attraction when a person is very invested in a heterosexual identity. I think this anxiety theory may explain a lot of the “hate” out there towards LGBT folks, i.e., the “hate” really is, at least in part, anxiety projected outwards.

  • Danielle

    …and the same anxiety theory probably holds true for gay/lesbian folks who are uncomfortable with bisexuality, i.e., either it upsets their sense of order in the world and causes anxiety, or it hits a nerve with whatever level of opposite-sex attraction they might have themselves, which could easily cause anxiety since bisexuals are kind of the black sheep of the gay “family”.

  • amen. I’ve often wondered why my friends would freak out because I had other friends who were gay (I’m not). I’ve always told them, “when I go to hang out with them… I’m straight. When I am hanging out with them… I’m straight. And when I come home after having hung out with them… guess what? I’m still straight.” As for fearing a gay man would make a pass at me, I’ve always viewed that the same way I would if a woman who wasn’t my type did… “I’m flattered, but no thanks. Sorry.” Why is this so hard for the rest of the hetero world to understand? Am I that sophisticated/advanced?

  • Danielle Buie via Facebook

    That’s certainly one possible explanation, but I think there are a number of other explanations as well.

  • You probably are Jason. 😀

  • Jason, I always find it amusing that straight guys imagine that gay guys are attracted to them. Do they think they’re that hot, that a gay man couldn’t resist them? When I walk down the street, I don’t think that every man I pass is hot for me! What hubris!And how stupid…

  • Roger Loveday via Facebook

    Interesting take, John! I suppose, also, that in the wretched and life-hating religious fungelical communities from which gay-haters come, being gay is associated with intense SHAME and exclusion from the Great Celebration of Life. No wonder they hide it!

    But a number of studies have proved that if a person is on friendly terms with a happy and well-adjusted gay person, they are far more likely to be well disposed towards gays and gay causes.

    But, alas, they have to HIDE their orientation as best they can — even when they engage in gay sex. Look at the sad case of that poor, crazy pastor, Ted Haggard. What a story!

    What astonishes me is that these homophobic “Christians” (like the Westboro Hate Cult) are so marinated in HATE. It must be terrible to live like that.

    And only a *closeted* GAY man would persecute other gay men. Straight men are simply not interested in persecuting gays (unless they can make money out of it).

  • I feel sorry for people who are so filled with hate and fear that they want to stop other people from having happiness. One of my best friends is gay and he has been there for me more times than I can count. I can’t imagine my life without him in it.

    Jason I am like you I don’t know why people worry about a gay person coming onto them. I had lesbian who is now a good friend hit on me when we first met. I was not upset or insulted. I just explained the same way I would to a guy hitting on me that I was not interested. I guess people who might get upset are worried that they are sending some kind of gay vibe out and that might mean gasp they have hidden homosexual desires.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    “the whole subservience is always and only the right thing”


    I, for one, have argued no such thing. Pardon me, but I am by nature a fighter myself. I really struggle with the whole “turn the other cheek” thing. But you said it yourself:

    “People were beaten, hosed down with fire hoses, gassed, beaten shot and KILLED resisting their ‘lot in life’ to be treated as less than human.”

    If only this were a Christian nation, in the true sense of the word, this should not ever have been necessary at all. And it proves Paul right, that resisting is dangerous. I still think he was giving rather practical, situationally dependent advice. What slave uprising ever ultimately succeeded? Rather the institution was brought down in the end by external forces of justice.

    By the way, Jesus never taught us to follow his example in the temple, but his example on Calvary: He did not say, “Take up your whip and follow me,” but “Take up your cross and follow me”. The temple incident gives us rather an example—that of the moneychangers—of whom *not* to be like, if we wish to avoid God’s righteous anger.

    In any case, there’s no indication that he used the whip to ever actually strike anyone, but only to drive them from the temple. I would think the sight of the approach of a seemingly crazed man swinging around a long, thick whip, and the sound of him cracking it against the table where one is working would be sufficient to drive away most self-interested individuals without bodily violence. If Jesus ever inflicted bodily harm to anyone, ever, all four Gospel-writers have somehow neglected anywhere simply to say so.

    Now, the late Rev. Dr. (or can we just call him Saint already?) Martin Luther King, Jr., did a superb job—in rather Christ-like fashion—of maintaining proper balance between fighting against the established unjust order in the manner that’s most effective—a war of the spirit—and not in the way that’s most damaging—physical warfare. Of course, that doesn’t—neither for Dr. King nor Jesus Christ—prevent others from applying this tactic against oneself, but by limiting the wrongs to one and not making them two, at least the losses are more limited overall. And as for the gains? The Kingdom and a seat of honor at the table there of the Prince of Peace. But that’s not to say there isn’t also a place there for those who physically fought so valiantly, be it at Gettysburg in 1863 or Tripoli in 2011, for an increase in what is good and right.

    Yes, I know perfectly well that there is “a time for peace and a time for war”. But I really don’t like war. Perhaps I just have too much on my conscience as relates to that particular issue.

  • Jeff Blackshear via Facebook

    Homophobic men are afraid that gay men will view and treat them the way they (the homophobes) view and treat women. I think misogyny factors in quite heavily.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    It strikes me plain as day that you, DR, are the one interchanging privilege and power.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    How does that matter? No one appears to have asserted otherwise; DR simply noted that that’s where the power is, and Neo concludes therefore that empowering homosexuals diminishes their—our—power.

  • @ Jeff Blackshear, there is so much truth to that statement!

  • Mature, secure, reasonably intelligent people are not threatened. Those who are threatened simply are missing those qualities.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    “I get the impression that Neo is mostly interested in an intellectual debate and does not understand that there are real human beings at the other end of his arguments.”

    “It’s like watching a drowning man struggle for life and then making this casual observation, ‘It would appear as though the drowning man is struggling for power against the ocean.'”

    What silliness! Was it not abundantly clear by this point that Neo’s very point is that this—it seems to him (though I could, and perhaps you all should, have argued otherwise)—is exactly what John Shore’s article here is effectively doing on this issue?

  • John Sutton

    I don’t think this is about men living men, John. It’s about men having sex with men. That’s the picture they can’t get out of their heads. That’s what they ask us to abstain from.

    That’s why kids get it! They don’t immediately focus on where my penis is, which straight men seem to do, for some reason. Instead, they see that my partner and I love each other and they just get it.

    I agree with the basis of your argument, but it’s not about our love. If you’re talking about sex, say sex.

  • John Sutton

    Dammit. The whole thrust of my response, shot in the first line.

    That should say men loving men, of course.

  • Tom Weller

    @ John Sutton: I completely agree with your assessment John. I am in the process of writing a second and third book, and in so doing I survey and interview many people, gay and straight alike. My data would support your thesis that indeed it is the “sexual picture” that is so frightening to straight people. Why that is I’ve never quite figured out, because I’ve been around gay people all my life, and I consider them to be friends, co-workers, acquaintences, team members or what ever. My wife feels as I do. Maybe I’m the strange one or the naive one, I don’t know, but I sense no threat; perceive no threat, and certainly am not the least bit concerned with someone else’s sexuality. We are on race on Planet Earth, and that is the Human Race.

    And @ John Shore: You know my mantra by now: Christianity is NOT a Religion. To wear the mantle of Christian, means one follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. All 2026 words He was purported to have spoken in the main stream Gospels, and perhaps more in the Gnostics. To do so means that one therefore cannot discriminiate, exclude, be prejudiced toward, or bigotted toward any other member of humankind. To simply be “Religious”, implies that one may do any or all of the above in the name of Religion! (Think Westboro Baptist Church.) Therefore, in a literal sense it is NOT Christianity versus Homosexuality, rather it is RELIGION versus Homosexuality. This is a universal trait of “religion, the dogma of which entraps and enslaves humankind in ways never meant by the Creator. I think Ghandi said it best: “I love your Christ; I do not love your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Spoken by a man who is a darn sight more “Christian” than the bulk of us who wear the title!

  • A good one from the archives by the way. Thanks John for provoking yet more thought!

  • Matthew Tweedell

    Ok… so now there’s nothing here to add this to:

    Of course, it would be a mistake for me not to hasten to add that I consider you, DR, and you, Neo, and Diane and everyone else in the world who isn’t against me on the issue at hand, as on precisely the same team. That doesn’t mean teammates don’t ever dis one another’s game. The ultimate purpose in doing so improving the overall effectiveness of the team, and I simply feel that DR had a habit—not to say I don’t yet have far worse habits myself—of contributing unnecessarily to factionalism within the team, which of course does harm to its potential for effective teamwork, and degrades the overall team spirit. Knowing, however, that she’s not going to quit this team just because I give her a hard time—no, she’s a true fighter—I allow myself the liberty of doing so. Why? I was never born to be much of a team player myself. But I do wish everyone no hard feelings.

    (See how much wordier it is to try to be more diplomatic about these things?)

  • Matthew Tweedell

    Since John is going—as he certainly should—to make sure I play by his rules (which, as with all the most natural of rules, seem to have a somewhat fuzzy at the borderline) one way or another, and as I’m just getting too old for this nonsense, I suppose DR and I—mostly I—had better figure out once and for all how we’re going to play nice (or nicER) around one another.

    Here’s my proposal, if you’re out there, DR: In the future (and I’ll not comment any further on anything from the past), if I think you’re just not quite getting it, I’ll simply comment—and if you have a better idea, go ahead and let me know, but for lack of a better idea—“I don’t know about that, DR,” and I’m done. It’ll be up to you how to react/respond/whatever to that. And when you, or John, see me crossing the line, you can simply say “Matt…” and I pledge to tone it way down immediately or else not to comment until I do (which is, of course, not to say that John can’t still remove whatever remarks he wants any time he chooses).

    What do you say to that, DR? John?

  • I think this makes a lot more sense than threats to the straight-male power base; homophobia is thousands of years old, after all.

    Arthur Evans traces the rise of homophobia in the west back to the late Roman Empire, some hundreds of years before the Church existed; he points to a gradual shutting down of Greek and Roman traditions of pederasty (NOT the sexual abuse of small children, but the relationship between a teenage boy and his mentor including romance and even sex).

    I admit I don’t know enough ancient history to be any more articulate than that. Does the history of misogyny look like a bell curve after all, the way the history of homophobia seems to?

  • charles m

    oh- so great….. John, if you could sticky that somhow it would be lovely….

  • Valerie

    My husband has the same opinion about religion that you do! So glad to hear from folks that believe the same as you do!

  • I just saw the greatest Jay Bakker interview.

  • Christine McQueen via Facebook

    I also just saw that and shared it.

  • Artemis Kore via Facebook

    I like your breakdown of how some straight men may unconsciously perceive the situation–a good example of kyriarchy and how gender, orientation, etc intersect and affect each other.

  • Sybil

    You got here first, but that is EXACTLY what I’ve always said (‘cept you managed to be more concise than I usually do!). Thank you.

  • Will

    @John Sutton, It works good both ways; men loving = men living.

    Better yet; Humans loving = Humans living.

    And vice versa; Humans living = Humans loving.

    I don’t care who you love. I only hope that you love and are loved.

  • Deborah Staszazak via Facebook

    I’ve always thought male homophobia was about hatred of women–you know, that faggot, that pussy, that sissy . . .

  • One small further point; what do I do, as a straight man, with the idea that another guy I knew, as far as I knew a straight man, tells me he is now going to live as a WOMAN!?


    A guy who tells me that what I have is not worth having, who would give up his MALE PRIMACY to live as a female? I really don’t get that.

    The odd thing is, neither do lots of lesbians or gay men; they struggle with the whole idea of being transgendered and try to explain it away. I’ve been told more than once that I should just admit I’m gay. If only.

    Just one more layer.

  • Glynis

    Great point, Darya. You’re someone who’s willing to say not just the truth, but the whole truth.