Christians and the Blood of Jamey Rodemeyer

220px-Jamey_RodemeyerJamey Rodemeyer, above, is a 14-year-old kid from Buffalo, NY, who earlier this week, after years of being bullied for being gay, committed suicide.

If you’re a Christian who believes that being gay is a morally reprehensible offense against God, then you share a mindset, worldview, and moral structure with the kids who hounded Jamey Rodemeyer, literally, to death. It is your ethos, your convictions, and your theology that informed, supported, and encouraged their cruelty.

We Christians who believe that God created gay people as much in His own image as he did straight people are begging you to reconsider your theology — to do nothing more than be open to an alternative, fully credible, scholastically sound interpretation of one or two lines from Paul.

How can you be unwilling to do something so simple, when you see the horrible ultimate cost of that refusal?

Christ died so that you could love more. And you now support and willingly participate in a system that allows that same Christ to be used as a moral justification for the most vile kind of abuse. How could that have happened? How could something so right have gone so wrong?

Turn, friend. And when you do, open your arms. Discover waiting to embrace you a new Christ behind the relative shell of the one you inherited. Jesus Christ died for your sins. That was unthinkably beautiful. Now Jamey Rodemeyer has died from your sins. That is not. That is the very hell that, awfully enough, you’ve somehow tricked yourself into believing your life refutes.

Please watch this till its end:

About John Shore

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

  • http://www.facebook.com/dawncomer Dawn Marie Comer via Facebook

    Well said.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jill-Joiner/100000809409370 Jill Joiner via Facebook

    Very well said John these people who use moral justification for abuse are no better than the people who created the hysteria of the witchunts and the Inquisition. This poor boys blood is one there hands.

  • Petriece Thomas-Cahalan via Facebook

    As usual, you have gotten to the heart of the matter. Thank you again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Liz-Peryam/100000746253028 Liz Peryam via Facebook

    We have to get them to profess Jesus and then we have to keep teaching them about the love! So many people try to justify their own hate with their “Christianity.”

  • Rick Saunders via Facebook

    Thank You.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Haddox/1220746836 Jason Haddox via Facebook

    Even one is too many. Thank you John.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.owens Jon Cecil Owens via Facebook

    Reminds me of something I wrote a while back:

  • Amy

    What I want to know is, where were all these supposed “friends” who said (after he was dead) that he was a great guy? Why didn’t they stand up for him? As angry as hate in the name of religion makes me, apathy makes me even angrier. Not only should we, as Christians, not be the abusers, we should be the ones to reach out and stand up for these kids.

    • http://mikeponders.wordpress.com Mike Bruno

      The primitive hostility that some Christians have for gays extends to those that support them also.

  • Bob Fernandez via Facebook

    Once again, an insightful and articulate appeal for the true understanding of the life and gospel of Jesus Christ. Thank you.

    • Shirley Allen

      So I am way above the touted average. 3 of my 7 children are gay. Stories like this break my heart. My children are all musicians (gay and straight), and one is also a doctor married to a professional musician. Perhaps there is something to this genetics thing?

      God did not make mistakes. My children are making the world a better place through their performances, which is pretty much all I ever asked of them. Make it better!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Don-Whitt/671548209 Don Whitt via Facebook

    I shared this thru The Advocate but mentioned you, john. And I said, “…this is beyond tragedy. It’s stupidity. It’s pious evangelical numbskulls. It’s the opposite of the Liberty we say we want. This could be my 14yr old son or your 14yr old son and for any reason that makes them different, like being introverted or really smart or awkward or silly or geeky or gay or musical or quiet or just plain different. And now Jamey is dead.”

  • http://blueberrypancakesfordinner.wordpress.com/ erika

    my heart broke when i read this today. such a fucking waste.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pcurtain Patrick Curtain via Facebook

    Thank you for posting!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ashley-Cohea/100000024967834 Ashley Cohea via Facebook

    You said it so much better than I ever could. Thank you so much for this. I will definitely be sharing it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sspencerwolff Scott Spencer-Wolff via Facebook

    As always John, thanks for writing this… it’s moving and important.

  • Dirk

    What a horrid, horrid thing to happen.

    My heart goes out to this poor child’s family.

    There is no possible reason which conservative Christians can offer – especially not the oft touted ‘but that is not us’ to justify this child’s death.

    This is on their heads and they will answer for it when they discover that God has nothing to do at all with their ‘Christian’ worldview.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JohnShoreFans John Shore via Facebook

    Thanks you guys, very much, for your lovely words and loving thoughts. I’m grateful to each of you: stuff so sad really makes you appreciate exactly the kinds of kindnesses you’ve here shown me.

  • Michael

    You are amazing John. Amazing.

  • http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

    Today I went to my psych doctor – routine visit to re-up my perscriptions. At the front desk, I was asked to sign a treatment plan, which I haven’t had to do for a while. I glanced at it and saw “History of Suicide Attempts” in one of the boxes and inwardly cringed. I wound up talking to my doctor today about adjusting my medication/adding an anti-depressant to my regimen because of how I’ve been feeling lately. Having thoughts about my own worthlessness. I haven’t been in an active wanting to kill myself mode, just a sort of hoping I’ll die mode. And it fluctates, turns off and on, because I happen to ride, by nature, the bi-polar coaster.

    I’m not gay, but I am and always have been definitely “different.” I do know that one of the funny things about myself is that I have been told by people that I’ve encouraged them (I have at least one online friend who said once that staying up talking to her on AIM all night kept her from suicide – but, you know, ditto). I put up a little list of things that keep me going over on the Thruway Christians forum in hopes that they may help others and one of them is a “screw the world” attitude. The last line of a short story I wrote recently (it’s on my blog) that dealt with suicide as a central theme was “Try not to let the bastards win this time.” But the deal with this kind of thing is – just because someone can be an encouragement and tell others “It gets better” doesn’t mean that they’re going to feel that way all the time. We all wear our armor and sometimes it falls right off. A person who is struggling can be confident one day and ready to give it all up the next. Things can go south real quick.

    If someone in your life has expressed thoughts of wanting to die – watch them. Take it seriously. Even on the Internet where people infamously whine just to get attention – sometimes, it’s actually real.

    One of the weirdest things in this is, at least in regards to me… is that, even while I carried my own pain for years for being “different,” I was also one of the bastards for a while, too. My attitude changed by little cracks…. I think it came about mostly because of how things going on in the world conflicted with my sense of justice, but in my concern for “believing right” I believed “gay was sin ’cause the Bible says so!” for a good long time, and though I didn’t bully anyone out in real space (how could I? I was the freak people liked to pick on), when I got on the Internet…. well, I’ve said some pretty horrible things. I know I’ve hurt people.

    In my more despressed moments, this bit of past is one of those “many things that make me think that if sci-fi style Time Travel were possible, I’d go back at some point to erase myself from existance” as my worthless soul has done a lot of worthless things.

    I don’t know, though. Untimely death has a way of robbing a person’s ability to change. Maybe I was part of the problem, but am part of the solution now? It won’t help the people I was a bitch to, though, who saw my words on their screens back then. I do have this thought that as petty as my existance is, “maybe I’ll do something worthwhile someday” – I think I’m actively trying to redeem myself through art.

    As for this kid, maybe if he’d held on a little longer he could have helped more people – become to others what Lady GaGa was to him. Too late now. All I can hope is that his soul is free of pain now, at least.

    • Donald Rappe

      I like your thinking Shadsie, I think it’s deep. Please keep on keeping on. I am subject to being petty and cruel and have always felt “different”. Yet its amazing to me how my feelings can be related to some imbalance in my bloodstream.

    • http://somaticstrength.wordpress.com somaticstrength

      I know what you mean about wanting to erase yourself from existence. I know that I make no one’s life better and I’ll die having been nothing but someone who made everyone’s life worse and I inform this to anyone I can as a way of saying ‘sorry I’m still alive, I know I’ll screw everything up.’

      When I was being bullied, it wasn’t just the bullying. It was coming home to abuse as well, and having no one to counteract those messages. There was nothing to say that what my bullies were saying about me wasn’t true. Anyone who thinks that you can see yourself separately from how other people see you have probably never lived where *everyone* is telling you you’re worthless, bad, wrong, horrible. That’s why those that espouse the “gay is sin” messages have this kid’s blood on their hands too. Because they help create the messages that make that bullying okay, and no matter how many times they say “no really, I can love those who are gay even if I think it’s wrong” they are still saying “I think who you are is bad, wrong, sinful.” They may not throw the stones, but they stand on the outside edges of the ones doing it and push them right back to the bullies. “Sorry, no going beyond this point.”

      I’m not gay (though I’m not entirely straight, I’m some weird wtf-romantic asexual; haven’t even figured it all out) and I’ve never been bullied for it (because no one irl knows) but I am a PTSD, anxiety ridden survivor with learning disabilities, and the loudest message I have ever heard is, “How dare you. How dare you not be normal, how dare you not think ‘right’, how dare you ever think you’re allowed to be okay with yourself when the world knows how wrong you are, the only way we’ll accept you is if you apologize for who you are.” Which of course, is an even louder message for the lgbt community. You *might* be an “acceptable” gay but only if you spend every day of every minute thinking how wrong you are for it. Only if you’re working on it, only if you strive to be heterosexual and “normal.” And if those are all your messages, it’d be hard to see any outlet *but* suicide.

      • Diana A.

        “When I was being bullied, it wasn’t just the bullying. It was coming home to abuse as well, and having no one to counteract those messages. There was nothing to say that what my bullies were saying about me wasn’t true. Anyone who thinks that you can see yourself separately from how other people see you have probably never lived where *everyone* is telling you you’re worthless, bad, wrong, horrible.”

        I wasn’t abused but it is true that I had no one to counteract the messages I received about being “worthless, bad, wrong, horrible.” To this day, when someone says something nice to me or acts as if I’m worth talking to, I’m thinking/feeling “You mean me? You want to talk to me? You actually like me?” This bullying thing leaves quite the scar.

        In another part of this thread, someone talked about how this young man at fourteen looked ahead into four more years of being bullied and decided that he couldn’t take it. I don’t blame him. When I was fourteen, I felt the same way. It is only by the grace of God that I yet live, and have come to experience more of the sweetness of life. I am so sad that this happened. We the Christian community need to take responsibility for the hateful rhetoric spewed by too many of our self-appointed leaders and stand against it, demonstrating the love of God to the GLBT community rather than allowing hatred to have the final word. Too many have died already.

        • cat rennolds

          I like you:)

    • Lissy

      I wish I had something good to say to you. *HUGS*

  • Shirley Allen

    It astonishes me that “Christians” can condemn Gays, as though they had a choice. No one is likely to “choose” that particular lifestyle. It’s not for fun!

    • Soulmentor

      Thanks Shirley. Years ago I had a work associate that was nearing retirement (before I was) and he once commented that “getting old ain’t for sissies”.

      Neither is being gay……never mind the stereotype. Even the “fag bois” have tuff inner stuff to survive.

      • http://www.thegagaprojectusa.tumblr.com Justin

        Soulmentor…

        ‘even the ”fag boys” have tuff inner stuff to survice’

        Some do. Jamey did. He dealt with it for years, he had friends, he had what appears to be a supportive family, he had Gaga…he knew ‘it gets better’ but it doesn’t just get better without eliminating bullying. Celebrities and popular kids can make all the it get sbetter videos they want…but at 14…he would have had to deal with bullying until he graduated…four more years. Bullying must be made a crime…it isn’t just part of the high school experience. Its evil and wrong and must be dealt with…sexual harassment is dealt with in schools with serious gusto but not lgbt hate crimes. If this was someone bullied for being black and called ‘nigger’ the school would have dealt with it…but ebcause it was a gay issue it was swept under the rug and their bullshit letter to parents isnt enough.

  • Chad J

    John, PLEASE help me share this FB page. More info as well as a website will be up soon. Jamey’s Law.. to make a crime of Murder to bully one to Suicide WILL only come to pass if WE all make a stand and let our voices be heard..

    Thank You John for all that you do!!

  • Chad J
  • Chad Jeremy via Facebook

    John, my heart breaks that this has happened YET again. My heart goes out to the Parents and Family and Friends.. You said it as eloquently as possible. I might not have had such restraint!

    I shared on your Blog a link. Please share the link for Jamey’s Law FB page. I will also have a website up soon for this as well.

    Its time we as a Nation stood up and demanded a LAW that makes Bullied to Death a crime on the same level as MURDER. Join with me as I move with Gods help everything into place to begin this undertaking.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Chad: Lemme know when you have that site up. From the FB page I’m afraid I wasn’t really able to glean too much about the actual … , like, law itself? But maybe I missed something?

  • Chad Jeremy via Facebook

    It will not allow me to post the link here.

  • Josh

    Hey,

    I went to utube today to congratulate a gay soldier who had mustered up the courage to tell his dad-I was appauled at some of the hate comments I read there and from such young people. I am 45 and grew up in total hell regarding my sexuality. I prayed so hard that things would improve and I think slowly-way too slowly things are improving. To read of this young person who felt his only way out was to end his life is just one of the saddest things I have read-dreadful and to think some [not all] Christians may have had an input. What happened to do not judge? Personally I feel come the day of judgement these judgmental people are in for such a shock. My thoughts are with the family and friends.

    • Soulmentor

      I saw that soldier’s video. I cried. What an adorably brave young man. I wanted to reach out and hug him so bad I ached.

      America feels better today.

      • April

        I did too. This was the same evening that I got into an argument at my workplace because we were watching Dancing with the Stars and discussing Chaz Bono. One of the ladies that I work with kept correcting me when I referred to him as “he” and said that he turned himself into someone fat and ugly when “he” was born a beautiful girl. She was still working with me when I watched that video at 3 in the morning and couldn’t understand why I was crying for that young man.

    • http://myspace.com natalie

      I saw that too it made me cry …I wish my people would realize that the lord your God our father in heaven would except all his gay sons and daughters with love the way the soldiers father excepted him even though they are sinners its not as big of a deal as people make it out to be you know its a sin like anything else and we all fall short of his glory but that doesn’t mean he ever EVER will stop loving us. He will always love you no matter what you do no matter what sins you commit he will always love you no matter what happens he’ll never let you go…

  • Soulmentor

    Wow, John, just wow!!! For years I’ve been trying to tell my….well I HAVE BEEN TELLING my evangelical siblings that their belief about homosexuality is not only erroneous (and I’ve explained how), but it is flat wrong and contributes to the societal prejudice that gives permission to people like the killers of Matthew Shepard and the suicides of so many. You should see their perplexed, screwed up faces at that idea. Their attitude is that, while they would never condone such violence, homosexuals bring this upon themselves by rejecting God’s laws. That kind of religious ignorance is nearly impossible to cut thru.

    Of course, they resist because they come up against the fact that they have invested so much of their “faith” in this issue. You know…..if they can’t believe this part of what they regard as “God’s Word”, then what CAN they believe. Pinning their “faith” on an controversial issue like that is a huge mistake the evangelicals make. It traps them in a mindset that is harmful to others and society. I HAVE given them the book by Daniel Helmeniak that I’d bet you’re familiar with…..WHAT THE BIBLE REALLY SAYS ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY. They never did share their thots about it except to say they read it. How they can maintain their religious attitude about homosexuality after that is beyond me.

    I have encouraged my sister to come to your web site. I don’t know if she has. She won’t discuss this issue with me anymore. But I will send her the link to this blog because you have said so succinctly what I have been trying to get across to her (and thru her to my younger bro, with whom I have rare contact).

    With a Speech degree, I think I’m pretty good with words, but you can pin things down so perfectly with so few words. Thank you, John, I hope you can reach them when I cannot.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      I hope you can too, Soul. Thank you for trying!

    • http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

      My guess as to how to go about it is both to have paitience and try to know what will work for each individual in your family. Arguing the Bible – obviously – but you may have to argue that this isn’t some kind of demonic secular humanist relativist-whatever interpretation and attitude that you have just because you want to be more palatable to the world… Maybe go right back to how some of the stuff that goes on to gays in America *isn’t* “Loving your neighbor as yourself.”

      Appeals to logic or emotion may work depending upon the individual. If it’s a matter like gay marriage and other “law” things, try arguing logically for *American* rights. Hopefully, the people you are trying to reach aren’t so thick as to think that everything Americans do and everything America’s about is “Biblical,” right? Logic may work in other cases, such as if there are people accepted fine and dandy in their church who have been divorced… or have broken other straight-up old skool Biblical laws. I’d stay away from the “you eat pork” argument, just on the grounds that in the New Testament “all foods are clean,” but there’s loads of other ammo as I’m sure you well know.

      Something that worked for me in creating cracks in my conservative way of thinking was something people who think logic is the only way to win arguments cringe at: Emotion! Things that inspired empathy in me – such as a testimony on a Livejournal (not even related to politics, it was about geek stuff) from a young woman about how her girlfriend was scared to death to hold her hand in public for fear of them getting beaten to death, or that thing I heard about how insurance companies were trying to deny death benefits to the same sex partners of 911 victims (I don’t know if that one is true or not or was just a rumor, actually…) Even when I was in conservo-mode, maybe I was never “completely” there because whenever I’d heard of hospitals denying visitation rights – it sorrowed me and made me mad. Emotional stuff like that got to me.

      If emotion works – talk about the suicides. Nothing more emotional than that.

      I think the key is, well, what you’re doing now (with the other interpretations of Scripture exit angle), and add to it something that you think will appeal to the individual minds and hearts. Be paitent and chisel at the cracks you see forming.

  • Sharon Swartzbaugh via Facebook

    Amen Chad!

  • Lauren

    ~Christ died so that you could love more.~

    This this this.

    What a tragedy; yet another bright light gone forever from this world because we were blind.

    • Jack

      \Now Jamey Rodemeyer has died from your sins. That is not. That is the very hell that, awfully enough, you’ve somehow tricked yourself into believing your life refutes.\

      Wrong, John.

      Only those who bullied Jamey are guilty.

      And if this had been going on for years, as you say, how would a pre-pubescent child necessarily know he was gay–much less any one think he is?

      BTW–I’m a gay Christian.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

        Yes, Jack: you’ve previously identified yourself as a “gay conservative Christian.” Who is fond of referring to Muslims as “mahometans.”

        We all have our unique perspectives, that’s for sure.

      • http://www.canyonwalkerconnections.com Kathy Baldock

        People know they are gay long before they are sexual.

      • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

        That’s like saying only those who owned slaves were guilty. Or only those who wore hoods and threw the rope over the branch were guilty. Or only those who actually beat their wives are guilty. And yet we know society plays a role…..a permissive role, often an encouraging, fostering, nurturing, contributory role that creates a climate of inhumanity that allows slavery and Jim Crow and racism and misogyny and oppression and violence to exist. And upon this injustice John and others are explaining to those that are fighting marriage equality and the repeal of DADT and anti-bullying measures and who vociferously preach from their pulpits that being gay is an abomination and whose churches and members support through financial contributions organizations like Focus on the Family and the Heritage Foundation and other lobbying organizations and who vote for anti-gay legislation and anti-gay candidates from within the Conservative Christian community: You are standing on the wrong side of Justice. You are standing on the wrong side of love and mercy and knowledge and science and biblical scholarship and human decency and the way of Jesus. And on this issue, as with the other equality and justice issues in history, if you aren’t part of the solution – you are part of the problem.

        • Dirk

          word.

  • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

    What a sad tragedy, trully heart wrenching. How the parents must feel, I can’t imagine. I wonder though, were the bullies “Christians”? I also don’t understand that whenever a gay teen commits suicide – because they were bullied for being gay – it is somehow the fault of “conservative Christians”, why not anti-gay reprobate atheists? If I were a betting man, I would bet that virtually all these bullies of gay teens are not your “every Sunday” church attender and if they are, they’re about as Christian as Judas……..

    I know of no Christian that condones bullying of any kind, none, zip, nada.

    • Jeanne Wiles

      My daughter was a victim of bullying~ from 3 grade to 7th grade. She is not gay. We moved her out of the school, mid 7th grade . The decision to leave the school~though difficult at the time.. was the best choice we could have made…it was so hard to imagine us at a different school…..she had been with the same kids since pre-k, and she received her reconcilation, first communion next to all these at the kids …. yes, thats right- a CATHOLIC school.

      some of the “so called christians” are the worst. …. and going to Curch every Sunday doesn’t make up for the behavior Monday Thru Saturday .

      I am Catholic, my kids still go to Catholic schools~

      I am from Buffalo NY, and so sad for the Rodemeyer family.

    • Dirk

      Right, Brian, just pretend the hatred doesn’t happen.

      Such a good Christian you are.

      • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

        Dirk,

        Hate happens, always has, always will, because of our sin nature. You seem to claim that it is exclusively from conservative Christians. False Christians are simply “wolves in sheep clothing”, not truly Christ like, no different than a non-Christian.

        • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

          Brian: just because you don’t know of anyone, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. “Well, golly, I don’t know any Christians who beat their wives or who would condone anything like that. And if they do beat their wives then they really aren’t Christians afterall. So I don’t know why you’re mad at Christians?”

          You are missing it. The point – entirely.

          No one here is saying ONLY Conservative Christians are bashing gays. You are saying we are saying that. What we ARE saying is that the Christians who DO bash gays NEED TO KNOCK IT THE HELL OFF because it is contributory for the reasons I outlined below. And guess what: they are the conservative ones.

          Shall I forward you the sermon from my brother-in-law’s Southern Baptist church in Nashville, TN where the minister tricked people into hearing a “we welcome gays” message, on Easter Sunday no less, only to then preach about we love you but if you do this you need to know God HATES what you do and you can expect to: die sooner, get syphilis, AIDS, be depressed and be more likely to have broken relationships and a higher suicide rate and never be happy – but God loves you and so do we, so, please, feel welcome here.”

          READ MY LIPS: There is no but in love. I love you. < that's a period. Don't put a but where God put a period.

          And the reason John isn't all up in the craw of, what was your phrase….oh, "anti-gay reprobate atheists" is because John isn't an atheist. Atheists are not a group with which John self-identifies. Christians are. And as Christians we have a MORAL RESPONSIBILITY to confront INJUSTICE that originates in our house and is carried out by our fellow members against our fellow human beings. (Don't even get me started on torture). This is what good folks across the country want Muslims to do in their community, right? To speak out against the radical elements of their faith, against hatred and intolerance? Welcome to speaking out 101. This is what good Christians did during the Holocaust, hiding Jews, while other Christians turned in and reported Jews….or turned a blind eye to that odd black smoke. This is what good Christians did running the underground railroad while other Christians bought more slaves….and whipped them and impregnated them.

          WE HAVE TO OWN OUR SHIT. Nothing makes me more crazy than people who won't own their own shit. When, exactly, was the last time you saw an Atheist holding a sign that says God Hates Fags? Or perhaps, more accurately: "The God in whom I don't believe hates you because of something that's written in a book I give no authority to." 80% of Americans believe in God. The numbers are not in your favor here my friend.

          You know as well as I do that children can be and are cruel. And to believe that Christian kids don't do the same crappy things that unchurched kids do is to be blind to reality. You know that next to being Amish I went to about as Fundamentalist and Conservative a Christian school as you can go to….where kids teased and bullied each other. …including the one and only Korean boy who went there….including the chunky kid and the slow kid. And I didn't put up with it then either.

          I read a story this week of a boy, educated in a Fundamentalist High School operated by a famous Fundamentalist university in the South, who started awakening to the love of God when he attended a different church. When he went to one of his Christian school administrators concerned about a fellow student who was struggling with his sexual orientation, the teacher chastised him saying "God throws up at that" and accused the boy of "being fascinated with homosexuality" as an explanation for his concern and compassion for his friend. When the boy said he felt it was statements like that that drove kids who are gay from their school and it wasn't very Christ-like he was told he just wasn't willing to call sin sin, had trouble with authority, and was shunned.

          No matter the difference, real or perceived, and no matter the environment, churched or unchurched, people are cruel. To believe it is always "those people out there who are different than me" who only do cruel things is to live in unreality.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Christy: I never denied that bullying by kids in Christian schools doesn’t happen, because it does. Just because a kid attends a Christian school doesn’t make one a Christian. I agree that any Chrsitian that bullies ANYONE should knock it off and ALL bullies should knock it off. Bullying is wrong, Wrong, WRONG.

            Atheists may not carry signs but I dare say that most bullies are effectively atheists. They may serve lip service that they “believe in God” but that means nothing, it is living for God, not believing in God, that matters – “The demons believe and tremble”. You know a Christian by their love.

            I agree injustices to our fellow man should be spoken out against, especially those of a Constitutional nature. We must be responsible to own up to out own crap, that’s for sure.

            I get the point, but I still don’t understand why more people aren’t calling out the public school system to protect gay kids from bullies. As a parent I expect ALL kids to be protected from ANY KIND of bullying while at school. It is those in charge that are responsible for their protection. They have a duty, obligation and responsibility to protect ALL kids from ANY KIND of bullying.

            Why is it always the fault of the conservative Christian that gay bullying occurs and not the fault of the bully or school authorities to protect all the Jamey’s in their charge?

          • http://facebook.com natalie

            This is christian hate speech just because you believe gay is a sin doesn’t make you a murderer nor does it mean that you want what happened to Jamey to have happened or for it to happen to anyone what happened to Jamey was very sad and tragic but how dare you blame all Christians for something a bunch of idiot bigots did? So what if its a sin so is stealing that doesn’t mean when I see a robbery take place I beat the thief to death…does it? NO so is masturbation but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna kill my roommate God you people don’t fucking think do you? You think were all nasty evil pieces of shit ? Huh is that it? Do you have any idea how much it hurts to be labeled something like that when its not true ? So what if it is a sin ? So what? That doesn’t mean Jamey deserved this … he didn’t he deserved a lot more then that … God loved him and all of you more then you will ever be able to understand sinner or not…because God doesn’t judge us by the measure of our sins he JUDGES US BY THE MEASURE OF OUR HEARTS and right now my heart is breaking in my chest cause I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            You lost me, did someone even hint in any way that Jamey deserved the bullying?

          • http://facebook.com natalie

            No I said he didn’t deserve this in fact he deserved better and to be treated like a human being just because he’s a gay sinner doesn’t mean he doesn’t have feelings or that he should be treated with cruelty Christ wants us to take care of the least of our brothers and sisters not kick them when there down or when they sin and make mistakes. Also I think someone should have talked to him maybe they could have saved his life. I use to deal with suicidal thoughts I know how rough it can be if only people payed more attention to and more attention to this kinds of things he’d still be alive to day.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            He was getting counseling, Natalie, and it seemed he had a supportive family.

          • http://myspace.com natalie

            well then I don’t know what to tell you other then I’m sorry about what happened but you can’t blame people who believe a certain way cause then that just makes you no better then the bigots you hate I love you all God bless .

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Few of us have ever been loved like we wanted or needed to be. But we can’t take that pain out on each other. We can’t let others take that pain out on people. You are right……God loves us, God loves you, God loves Jamey more than we can fathom…and it grieves God when we hurt each other in this way, particularly when we do it in God’s name. You are precious, Natalie…..and we can all do much good in the world to end each other’s suffering by loving more. We have to build each other up rather than tear each other down and when others cross a line we have to stick up for those even with whom we disagree.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Wait. Masturbation?

          • http://facebook.com natalie

            Yes masturbation is a sin but Jesus still loves you very much

          • http://facebook.com natalie

            see people focus so much on gays that they forget about every other sin its ridicules !!!!

          • Melody

            Prove it. Where does the Bible say it’s wrong?

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Some claim it is implied in the New Testament from where Jesus said that if someone lusts in their heart they have committed adultery (if married) or fornication (if not married), generally when a person masterbates they have a “lustful fantasy” in their mind, unless of course one is fantasizing about one’s spouse, then presumably that would be OK. There are some obscure Old Testament references too.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            No, not everyone has lustful fantasies, Brian. And the obscure OT reference I believe is in the story of Tamar – a complicated story – but suffice it to say the brother of Tamar’s dead husband died not because he spilled his seed but because he did not fulfill his duty under the law.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            Natalie: Ah. You don’t masturbate. So THAT’S how you got that way.

          • http://facebook.com natalie

            Not at all John I fall short of the will of God too lord knows I’m not perfect.

          • Melody

            I knew it was a matter of time before someone pulled the “hate” card. Learn what real hate is before you use it.

          • http://facebook.com natalie

            Listen Melody I don’t hate anyone…which one masturbation or being Gay I can give you scriptures to back both of them up ? But your not like the results…

          • cat rennolds

            Neither are you and I don’t recommend you try it. We’ve all READ the scriptures, Natalie. Most of us in several different translations, some of us in multiple languages. At this point, the verses you’re talking about, we have memorized. Let me say this in short, easy words.

            It doesn’t mean what you think it means.

            Read any verse in any Bible, and if it doesn’t mean love, then you read it wrong.

          • DR

            Natalie,

            Here’s what you need to understand. When you became a Christian, just like me? We joined a group. Us being “christian” doesn’t begin and end as an individual, even Jesus said that, He said we are “the Body”. And as a Body of Christ, any damage our theology does – even if it’s not intended to do harm? We’re responsible. You’re not just responsible for *you* anymore, you are the Body. You represent Jesus. People who are both Christian and homophobic bigots (and there are a lot of them because our faith has traditionally told us it’s ok to find gay men and women *sinful* and bad) hurt gay men and women. They hurt gay men and women by preventing them Civil Rights through legal marriage. They hurt them emotionally for sure and they really hurt them spiritually.

            We keep saying that we love the gay people. We hate the sin, not the sinner. Right? But this is what love looks like from what gay men and women have told us here: what gay men and women need us to do is stop defending ourselves so much as Christians. They need us to stop pointing fingers at “the bad Christians” and start apologizing on their behalf, fixing the damage they do.

            When you choose to stay in the position of “this is Christian hate speech because someone has called us a collective name” ? When you do that? You’re putting all of the focus on *you*, defending this group to which you belong and that’s never what Jesus did.

          • Diana A.

            I love this. Thank you, DR.

          • DR

            Natalie, it’s fascinating that you took an account of a gay kid’s suicide and twisted it to be about “your” feelings, your injury, your pain.

            Christians, pay attention. Not every second of every day of every week of every month of every year is about Your. Feelings. Your Reputation. You. Your Feelings aren’t the center of everybody’s world. Neither is our theology. People are angry with you and the Holy Spirit has allegedly given us a measure of self-control and humility where we are allegedly supposed to be able to look into the mirror of other’s experiences of us, apply said humility and evaluate it honestly. There is no condemnation in Christ – but there is also accountability to our actions, many of which are being condemned by others as wrong and damaging and they are furious about it.

            So be the Christians you keep saying you are, snap out of this self-involvement you’re marinating in and you keep demanding others cater to. People are angry with you. They are being honest with you about that. It is your *inability* to listen to criticism that is causing you to get defensive. It’s not a spiritual battle, the devil isn’t attacking Chrisianity. You’re being purified. Take it or leave it but if you’re going to be here? Something in you knows that there is something worth responding to here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DexterMcLeod Dexter McLeod via Facebook

    Lawrence King–murdered (15), Caleb Nolt (14), Tyler Clementi (18), Asher Brown (13), Cody J Barker (17), Billy Lucas (15), Harrison Chase Brown (15), Seth Walsh (13), Raymond Chase (19), Felix Sacco (17), Justin Aaberg (15), Jordan Yenor (14), Samantha Johnson (13), Aaron Jurek (15), Lance Lundsten (18), Paige Moravetz (14), Haylee Fentress (14), and Tiffani Maxwell (16); all killed themselves (or were murdered) in the past couple of years after being continually tormented by bullies, usually because they were LGBTQ or perceived to be. There’s no telling how many I have missed, or whose story and torment died with them because they never shared the reasons for their pain. And now, Jamey Rodemeyer (14), whose “It Get’s Better” video is heartbreaking. I still haven’t been able to watch the whole thing through.

    I really just don’t understand this; how supposed ‘concerned’ members of a community can continue to allow this to go on in the schools in the name of Jesus. This has got to stop. If this systematic bullying were happening to specifically Christian students just for being Christian, and if it was a contributing factor in this many suicides/murders, the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and every GOP candidate would be talking about this non-stop. They would decry it as hate mongering and discrimination of epidemic proportions. Instead, people like Maggie Gallagher, Peter LaBarbera, Tony Perkins, etc., keep spewing the most hate-filled vitriol against LGBTQ people to anyone that will listen to them…all because of their belief that God happens to hate all the same people they do, which must be terribly convenient for them.

    You are right John. There’s blood on some people’s hands. And as playwright Tony Kushner once put it, “death, more plenteous than all heaven has tears to mourn it.”

    • Dirk

      The simple facts of the matter are that quite a large number of Christians in America delight in seeing us beaten, raped, tortured and murdered.

      We are become what women and Negroes were before us.

      • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

        Dirk,

        I know of none that delight in such violence. A Christian is proven by their actions, if thier actions are not Christ like, then it doesn’t matter what they say (“I’m a Christian”) it matters what they DO (bully or beat gays, woman and blacks). You tell a Christian by thier love. If there is no love, there is no Christ and they are nothing but a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

        • Dirk

          Brian,

          For the first time, ever, I agree with you.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Dirk, you see, people on here ARE influencing and educating me.

        • April

          Brian W,

          The Westboro Baptist Church and the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan are just 2 of the groups that I can think of that perpetrate hate and vitriol in addition to delighting in the violence that is committed against African Americans, Jews, and those in the gay and lesbian community. That’s if they aren’t committing the violence themselves. I understand what my belief of what God and Jesus expect of me, but these people actually believe that they are enforcing God’s word. And the Christians who have good hearts usually look just like the Wolves.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            You’re right those are groups that spread hate and certainly their actions do not align with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They’re not wolves in sheep clothing, they’re plainly wolves, everyone can see that.

        • Duck

          In my experience that means that there are what, 5 christians on the planet then?

      • gabrielle

        awww =( I’m biracial, I’m a woman. My family always ask me why I wear my equality bracelet. They ask me if I am one of “those lesbians”. I laugh and tell them that I just support the gays. They always ask why and this is pretty much exactly what I tell them. If I were alive to march for women’s rights, or black rights I would have. Happily I march for the gays! =D It just doesn’t make sense to be a hater.

    • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

      “I really just don’t understand this; how supposed ‘concerned’ members of a community can continue to allow this to go on in the schools in the name of Jesus.” I guess my head has been in the sand, gays have been bullied “in the name of Jesus”? I didn’t know that.

      The bullying of Jamey is a national tragedy, it really is, bullying is wrong and if it is so bad that kids commit suicide because if it, that makes it a national issue. The root cause of the problem isn’t the beliefs of Maggie Gallagher, Peter LaBarbera, Tony Perkins, etc., it is a problem of the heart, caused by a bully’s sin nature. No legislation can change a bully’s heart, only Jesus can. It wouldn’t matter one iota if the Family Research Center or Focus on the Family spoke out louder and clearer about gay bullying – no bully is going to care what they say or care what any other Christian group says. Bully’s don’t care, unless there is a change of heart. The belief that legislation can stop a person from hating is a fallacy. A real and permanent change of heart comes through the work of God.

      These bullying of gays are almost 100% exclusively occurring in government public schools, not private “conservative Christian” schools. Why isn’t the government protecting these kids? Why aren’t these government school boards parent-teacher associations and other government authorities doing their job about protetcing kids like Jamey?

      It should read “Public schools and the blood of Jamey Rodemeyer”

      • http://thaliasmusingsnovels.wordpress.com/ Lore

        How many of those conservative Christian schools allow openly gay students to begin with?

        • http://blog.mattalgren.com Matt Algren

          A girl was just kicked out of her conservative Christian school a week or so ago because she came out.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Another kid was kicked out of his Catholic School for turning Protestant

          • Christy

            So you do understand religious intolerance?

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Sure, but I also understand freedom of choice and freedom of association.

          • Christy

            But do you understand prejudice and bigotry? Choosing to be Protestant is a choice. Being gay is not.

        • Christy

          Exactly.

      • DR

        Brian, you know what? You’re right. A bully’s sin nature caused him or her to bully. You are 100% right. What I think might help you is to consider that this can still be right – completely and utterly – while the points being made to you are also, 100% right. This is not a mutually exclusive scenario. Our sin causes us to hurt people. And there are macro-influences to our culture (Christianity being one of them, the media being another, lots of them) that we buy into and allow to create an environment where gays are specifically bullied for being gay. Both can be right (and are right).

      • Christy

        “Why isn’t the government protecting these kids?”

        Because powerful Conservatives in Government listen to Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council because they want the FRC’s PAC money and their votes. And they and their constituents and school board members and school teachers and parents listen to James Dobson and read his books from Focus on the Family. And because there are powerful Conservatives in the Government and school leadership positions who agree theologically with Tony Perkins’ perspective.

        http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130837802

        Tony Perkins and the FRC actively work against anti-bullying campaigns in public schools and spread misinformation about homosexuality because they have an agenda to denounce anything that can be construed as promoting an environment of tolerance or which paints homosexuality in a positive light or as normal. Legislatively they have backed anti-bullying bills (generic ones, not simply anti-gay bullying ones, but ones that would implement measures that would work to stop all bullying) at the state level around the country on the grounds of free speech. They have been categorized by the SPLC as a hate group.

        The political arm of this organization sponsors the annual “Values Voter Summit” coming up next month in Washington, DC where Republican Presidential candidates will have a platform to speak to their social conservative base and where a straw poll will be taken to see who “Values Voters” favor in the upcoming election.

        You said: “The belief that legislation can stop a person from hating is a fallacy.”

        I agree. But it can stop a person from acting on that hate. It would seem, however, that the FRC and NOM believe legislation can stop people from loving or accepting people as they are or finding their gay friends to be completely normal. But this too is a fallacy.

        So. I stand by John and the assertions in his column. You can choose not to connect the dots if you wish, but they are there, none the less. And, yes, you are right; it is a problem of the heart when good people can stand at a distance and say this wasn’t my fault and the bright light of the spirit of a child can go out because the love he felt from the world around him was surmounted by the hate.

        • Christy

          I meant blocked. Blocked anti-bullying bills.

        • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

          Christy,

          O come on girl, you’re smarter than this propoganda hog-wash. School boards, law enforcement, school security and administrators (the last 3 listed are not elected positions) don’t protect gay kids in school because Perkins and Dobsons material tells them NOT to protect gay kids, WTF? You think these guys control the minds and opinions of so many people, they don’t.

          Any school should be a safe environmnet for ALL STUDENTS and that responsibility falls on the school administration, school boards and local government to ensure all kids have a safe environment to learn, that’s what our tax dollars are for. To blame conservative Christians or Dobson or Perkins, et. al. for all the woes suffered by gays is absurd.

          Anti-bullying bills won’t stop bullying any more than gun laws stop illegal guns. I’m for anti-bullying laws, but if you think it is a panacea to stop gay bullying, you’re woefully mistaken. Furthermore to think Perkins and Dobson condone bullying of any kind is also untrue.

      • cat rennolds

        “I guess my head has been in the sand, gays have been bullied “in the name of Jesus”? I didn’t know that.”

        Well, you must have forgotten then, because I told you that before. I not only know people who have been bullied in Jesus’ name, quite recently and regularly, in fact, I have PERSONALLY been bullied about my sexuality in the name of Christ. As well as all the ordinary, garden-variety bullying because “everybody knows” it’s bad not to be straight. And “they” only “know” that because Christianity has been teaching it for several hundreds of years. They got it from the Jews and the Romans, sure, but we got it from the Christians. The Muslims got it from the Jews, too, by the way. Still haven’t heard you say for what other societies and religions homosexuality is taboo. among primitive peoples, it usually is taken for granted. Or celebrated as magical.

        There are essentially 2 classes of bully we’re talking about here:

        The first group, as you say, just wants somebody to bully, and the more different you are, the more likely you are to be a target. For that group, the Christian “problem” with people being gay just means they feel less likely to get in trouble for choosing faggots and dykes as their victims.

        The second group is Westboro and KKK wanna-be’s, both kids and grownups all over the country, usually in the more rural areas and especially in the south. And they can be very violent, not just name-calling. They are trying to enforce their moral values, and they want you to either shape up or ship out. Just because YOU know and I know they are not behaving in a Christian manner, they will not admit it. and non-Christians think they speak for you if you don’t stand up and stop them.

        If they don’t speak for you, it’s time to take Jesus back, don’t you think?

      • cat rennolds

        by the way, I agree about the public schools….but in ADDITION to fixing the Christian attitude, not instead of.

      • Allie

        Gay children in private, conservative Christian schools get kicked out, not bullied. Or they aren’t out because their parents would kill them. In any case, you won’t hear many “bullied to death” stories about private schools, because at least in America, a private school is a buyer’s market. If the school is bad the parents pull the kid out unless the school takes action.

    • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

      Dexter,

      There is another boy you forgot to mention (sadly, as did much of the media) It is 13 year old Jesse Dirkhising. A bright eyed 7th grader in Arkansas who was questioning his budding sexuality. On the night of Septermber 26, 1999, he was brutally and mercilessly tortured to death after being bound, gagged with his own underware, drugged and sodomized for over 5 hours by Davis Carpenter, 38 and Josh Brown 22. Why did it receive so little coverage? It is claimed that because the murderers where homosexual it wasn’t PC to report such a depraved crime, especially since it occured about 1 year after the Matthew Shepard murder – the poster child for gay hate-crime legislation. If the death of Jesse had the media attention as that of Matthew Shepard, the hate crime bill and othe pro-gay legislation could have been dealt a serious blow according to political experts who follow gay issues.

      Jesse would be 25 had he lived.

  • Kate

    it appears some of you left your comments based on the headline, and did not bother to read the article. It does not matter whether or not the individual bullies in question are Christian. The problem is the majority Christian culture of the U.S. says “homosexuality is wrong and evil”. These bullies are aware of this notion, so they feel safe in tormenting someone for behavior that Christians believe is wrong and evil.

    • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

      Kate,

      You really believe that a bully bullies gays because he believes that because a “Christian culture” says that homosexuality is wrong that bullying is then OK? Conservative Christians believe lots of behavior is wrong (teenage sex, abortion, smoking, drunkedness) do these bullies bully smokers, loose girls, drunkers, girls as they walk out of abortion clinics? No they don’t, they bully gays because THEY think its abnormal, it doesn’t matter what conservative Christians think, because if they did, they would bully more than just gays.

      Again these are public school kids, getting bullied by public school kids in our government schools ( a government that kicked Christianity out of the public schools 50 years ago or so). Why isn’t the government protecting these kids?

      • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy
        • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

          Christy,

          Ok and your point is? You can find more anti-Christian sites, anti-American sites, anti-black and on it goes. Everyone knows what Tony Perkins believes and where he stands, don’t read what he says or believe what he believes, its that simple. He has no authority or power or is some sort of spokesperson for main line Evangelicalism. He is a nobody….

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Wow. A nobody like Richard Land or Al Mohler? Or Ken Blackwell or James Dobson? A nobody who runs one of the largest “pro-family” lobbying organizations that endorses and raises money for political candidates? That supplies “instructional information” to pastors and churches on cultural, political, and social issues? A nobody who testifies before Congress on behalf of the “pro-family” agenda that denies any link from bullying to teenage suicide and blames the victim? And who is frequently quoted in articles about social issues representing the Conservative Christian point of view. Um…..I think that makes him a spokesperson. You must have some other Tony Perkins in mind. When you say “main line Evangelicalism” what exactly do you mean?

          • DR

            He has no authority or power or is some sort of spokesperson for main line Evangelicalism. He is a nobody….>>>>

            What in the world? Nothing? Do you know how much money the Family Research Council raises to lobby for legislation? It’s in the millions of dollars, they are one of the most powerful and manipulative force within our country right now.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            DR,

            There are hundreds of lobbyists buzzing around DC all the time, with millions and millions at their disposal, that is nothing new, they all have agenda’s. Do homosexuals have active lobbyists? You betcha!! In fact the homosexual political movement is arguably the most influential special interest group in America today, especially in the Democratic Party, as they attempt to influence every sector of society, like most lobbyists do.

            The Human Rights Campaign is the largest gay lobbying organization with millions at their disposal, there is the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. GLSEN works hand in hand with teachers unions and school boards, then there is PFLAG. In the legal arena there is Lambda and of course the ACLU. For the military there is MilitaryEquality.org, in the religious arena there is SoulForce.org

            Universities have LGBT departments that act as a gay lobbying organization within the university.

            For a minority group of approx 3% of the population LGBT activist groups have been very active and successful in influencing political arenas nationwide. One particular success is in Hollywood where conservative Christians are primarily portrayed as bad, hateful, homophobic, hypocritical, irrational, emotionally cold and unloving, while gays are portrayed as exactly the opposite

            DR, you see everyone is lobbying Washington and other political / social / media arenas around the country, not just the “manipulative” Christian right.

          • Christy

            Brian, you are defending, deflecting and avoiding. This is not healthy nor effective communication. But I’m going to try….one. more. time.

            Your position is that Conservative Christians are not responsible for contributing to bullying, so I gave you links to large, well-funded, well- connected, influential Conservative Christian organizations and people across many denominations who have programs in place to counteract anti-bulling campaigns and anti-bullying legislation.

            Your position is that Conservative Christians are not responsible for contributing to the negative societal perceptions about homosexuality that lead to violence and discrimination against the LGBT community – so I gave you links to and examples of large, well-funded, well- connected, influential Conservative Christian organizations and people across many denominations who have programs in place to spread false and inaccurate information to ministers and churches who in turn share it with their congregations and youth groups who then carry that information out into society of which they are a part and who are spurred on by fear-mongering and politicizing of gay marriage as being threatening to society, the republic, the religious fabric of society, our national ideals, God’s benevolence upon us as a country, the safety of their children, and even the security of their very own marriages and families.

            The fact that other lobbying organizations exist has nothing to do with the point. The point is it is Christian and religious organizations ARE bank-rolling and marketing the anti-gay agenda, specifically those in the most conservative denominations. The anti-gay movement in the country rests squarely on the shoulders of Conservative religion.

            You seem to want to ignore what is so patently obvious to anyone paying attention.

            To deny that there is not a concerted effort by Conservative Christianity to publicly denounce the societal acceptance of homosexuality as normal and equally valid as heterosexuality is to ignore the obvious.

            You keep claiming there is no link. We keep showing you how there is.

          • DR

            It’s willful denial. When he makes a point that you so beautifully counter, he just moves on to another point so he doesn’t have to face it. It’s exhausting.

          • DR

            You said that Tony Perkins is a “nobody” and you were corrected. Now you’re throwing all of this out that has nothing to do with Tony Perkins which whatever, do what you need to do but it’s clear to me that you aren’t willing to stay with the actual topic – in this instance, Tony Perkins being a nobody with no power – when you’re shown to be wrong. You try to take the conversation elsewhere instead of saying “I guess I was wrong”. You just can’t do it. It’s the oddest thing but why you do that, only you know.

          • Duck

            Oddly, the combined budgets of those organizations is dwarfed by organizations like FRC, FotF and the rest of the bile spewing christian right.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            A nobody who testified at the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan.

          • Duck

            Which is why of course none of the Republican candidates for president will be on FRC’s radio show, and none will show up at the “value” voters summit all but begging for Tony’s endorsement.

      • DR

        Brian, the point is being made to you a million times that no one would believe that being gay is “wrong” if Christians , Muslims and others hadn’t inserted it into the world dialogue. OK? Bullies don’t pick on people for having lips, for example, or a nose. If Christians hadn’t suggested that homosexuality was something evil – if we had treated it as something that just comes with someone, like their nose or their lips – it wouldn’t be a topic of bullying. There is no one who is offering this except Religious people and if you’re one of them then you’re one of them.

        Lastly, no one “kicked Christianity” out of our schools. Christianity or ANY RELIGION never belonged in our public schools in the first place, our religion is not the State religion (as much as you may want it to be or even believe it to be.)

        • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

          DR,

          Naw I beg to differ, in many societies completely void of Christianity, homosexuality is “taboo”. Bullying comes from a sinful heart, not because a particular religion labels homosexuality as wrong. Bullies bully because they want to, generally someone who is different than them (race perhaps, or religion). It doesn’t matter what some sect of Christianity believes. Racist bullies bully based on race, others based on looks, socio-economic level, athleticism, sex, religion and yes sexual orientation. Biblical Christianity doesn’t condone bullying in any form.

          Lastly ALLOWING a student to pray or have a Bible in class is not the same as ESTABLISHING a state religion.

          • Christy

            Taking your bible to school for personal reading and personal private silent prayer is not forbidden….and is different from prosthelytizing, organizing an on campus Bible study (which do occur), and putting up flyers about the Bible study. Nuance makes all the difference.

          • DR

            Which societies are you referring to? Please be specific.

            And no one has prevented a student from praying on their own at school or carrying a Bible with them, what are you talking about? Having an entire *group* of kids pray in a classroom as part of the regularly-scheduled day is what is prevented and it should be. Those of you need to actually know what is being prevented and what’s not being prevented before speaking so declaratively.

  • BE HONEST

    lets be honest the enmeny being the devil uses people to bully, not just gays but everyone. he even uses us to bicker and start srguements with one another…lets stop judging people and realize who really is behind it all. the enemy loves strife and fights and if he can start something he’ll enjoy it all.

    • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

      We are responsible for our own actions, not some outside evil force. The sooner we realize this the better. It is an internal force, and we have control over it.

      • Melody

        Exactly, Christy. I am so sick of idealistic Christians saying “The devil made me do it” instead of acknowledging their own mistakes. Wake up, people!

        • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

          The devil and demons are very real, Jesus was literally tempted by satan hinself. He is a roaring lion walking about seeking whom he may devour. We are however, still culpable for our actions. Don’t be fooled the devil and his demons are very real.

          • Melody

            So you finally come out and say it. You’re a literalist, just admit it. You have no evidence whatsoever that they are real, but the Bible talks about them, so they must be real. Get back to me when you can prove demons exist. In the mean time, *facepalm.*

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            In some points, I’m a literalsit – Moses literally exsisted, as did David, Abraham, Isaiah, etc. and of course Jesus. I have no personal evidence of a demon or satan but there are those that do and yes, I believe the Bible when it speaks of satan and demons. You don’t, I do. I live by faith, I don’t need “proof”, the just shall live by faith.

          • Melody

            Believe what you want, Brian. That’s fine. But don’t tell us demons are real just because the Bible says they are. Truce? (Sorry I was short earlier, that wasn’t necessary of me.)

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Fair enough, truce, no need to apologize, you said nothing to apologize for. This is a forum setting, say what you want Melody.

          • DR

            Melody I’m a progressive Christian who believes demon exists. Not all of us fit into nice, neat boxes (on either side of the fence).

          • Melody

            You’re right, DR. I overreacted a bit. I don’t mind that a Christian of any persuasion believes in demons (I myself am actually not sure whether I do at this point). It just seems like my point was missed a few posts up. Maybe there is a devil and demons, but that doesn’t excuse us as individuals from admitting our failures. Because we’re individuals, we can choose not to act on a desire to discriminate. Even if there is a devil whispering in our ear, it’s *our* choice that matters.

          • DR

            No worries, the spirit and intent of your point is what I should have focused on. I’m a derailer sometimes. xoxo

          • DR

            Where is anyone denying the presence of evil as being “real”? The challenge Christy is presenting is our choices are 100% within our control. Believing that gay men and women are evil is a *choice*. Committing adultery is a choice. Satan tempts, but we are not tempted beyond what we can handle.

          • DR

            Sorry Brian, it looks like you were responding to Melody.

          • Christy

            The devil is that voice inside us that tells us we are the most important person in the room.

          • Lissy

            Oh… I never heard it put that way before! Wonderful!

  • http://facebook.com natalie

    And no I’m not gonna give in I’m not changing what is in the scripture and you KNOW IT !!! Don’t fucking try to make me change what I believe I wont I didn’t do this too him and its not my fault what was done and its not my doctrine or my Gods fault for what happened Its wrong to single someone out for there sin YES but its just as equally wrong to try to pretend or change somethings that’s a sin to it not being a sin the bible is clear on this we can not preach false doctrine that’s wrong. However its equally wrong to judge !!! I mean seriously look at all the trouble it gets us into I think as a sin it should be treated no differently then any other sin no better or worse then any other sin WHY IS THAT SO HARD PEOPLE ITS NOT FUCKING ROCKET SCIENCE!!!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Um. Wow.

      • Soulmentor

        Methinks she doth protest too much.

    • Melody

      It’s time for your medication, Natalie.

      • Kelly

        Don’t speak on rocket science, you probably know nothing about any kind of science. Where’s your proof that the bible is true/real. It’s nothing but an excuse to hate.

    • Patti

      Natalie~

      You have some serious anger built up in you. Did you miss therapy today? Could that be because YOU have some skeletons in your closet? And when you wrote “my Gods fault”…..how many Gods are there? And your language F this F that…..I can see you are such a good Christian. Who are you to judge? I can tell by the way you talk you are young. I think it’s time you grow up and take your diapers off. You have a lot to learn. Jamey is and will always be loved by MILLIONS around the world. The only trouble I see here is YOU!! Seek help!!

    • DR

      I mean seriously look at all the trouble it gets us into>>>

      Wait – what? Are you actually suggesting that “the sin of homosexuality” is “getting people into lots of trouble? More so than others? In my life, “the sin of homosexuality” resulted in a number of my dearest gay friends married, in healthy long-term relationships a raising a bunch of kids and taking them to church on Sunday. You need to put the Christian crack pipe down, natalie, you’re practically hysterical with the suggestion that you’re not only wrong but actually hurting people. If you’re really a Christian you’ll get over yourself a little bit and start worrying about *that* instead of freaking out.

      • http://facebook.com natalie

        No what I’m saying is the judgement of others when it comes to this sin is geting people into trubble its not so much the acknowledgement that this is a sin as it is more so the judgeing of other peoples sins that is causeing all of us alot of grief.

        • Allie

          Well, you said one thing I agree with. All of us have plenty of our own sins to worry about without worrying about the sins of others.

    • Soulmentor

      The Bible is anything BUT clear on it, Natalie. It has been misinterpreted, often deliberately so for centuries. If you think the Bible you read is remotely what early Christians believed, you are sadly misinformed. See my long comment to you above.

      • http://facebook.com Natalie

        Really don’t play that Game with me it will only make you look like an uneducated fool when it comes to scripture may I advise you that your read all of Romans and Leviticus thoroughly again.

        • vj

          For someone who professes such familiarity with Scripture, you are remarkably comfortable with calling someone a ‘fool’…. Perhaps you should have another look at Matthew 5:22 (referenced by Allie below)

    • Beth

      The writings that now make up the Bible were firstly, written by men, then chosen or not to be a part of the book based on how threatening or non threatening they were to the king’s throne. The writings themselves lose much in translation…

    • Lymis

      Natalie, one of the things that is in the Bible, explicitly spelled out in absolutely no questionable terms, is that there are specific things, like pork or shellfish, that it is a sin to eat. Period.

      And then, when Jesus came, died, and rose, His followers were agonizing and arguing about this, and it was revealed to St. Peter that it doesn’t matter what you put into your body, but rather what comes out of your heart and soul that constitute holiness – that food eaten in goodwill cannot offend God, because God created all food.

      And the condemnations of same-sex sexual activity are nowhere near as explicit as the condemnations of specific foods and clothing. As people constantly point out, most of what seems literal in the Bible is badly translated into English and didn’t mean what it appears to say now.

      But even if it was literally true, like the prohibitions of food, the New Testament is equally clear on this point – that in Christ we are new creations, and that in Christ there quite literally is no “male nor female, Jew nor Greek, slave nor free.” If in the heart, mind, and life of Christ, there is no distinction between male and female, then it follows that there can be no sin based purely on the genders of the people involved. If a man can love a woman in a holy way, then in Christ, a man can love a man or a woman can love a women in a holy way.

      Saying anything else is binding yourself to the Old Law, refusing to embrace the Redemption. And placing yourself entirely under the judgement OF that old law. If you don’t embrace the Redemption, you’re going to hell for eating shrimp or pork chops. If you do embrace the Redemption, then you have to be open to the possibility that God simply doesn’t care about our genders – because just as God created all foods to be good, God created all people – gay, straight, bi – in all our forms and complexities, and God sees all of us as good.

      Being gay is no more a sin than being left-handed 0r tall is.

      • http://facebook.com Natalie

        Yes I’m aware of that but Christ never changed anything about what was said against homosexuality the food laws were changed but nothing about homosexuality however yes we were all made new people because of his sacrifice meaning not just for homosexuality but for all sins are sins have been washed a way clean all one needs to do is except Christ and there saved from hell fire what I’m trying to tell of you now pay close attention other wise you’ll miss it again is that if a homosexual excepts the lord Jesus as his savior he is going to heaven no matter how much he falls short in his wrong doing but that it doesn’t change the fact that it isn’t still wrong doing…ANY QUESTIONS?

      • Allie

        Well… this isn’t entirely accurate. The Jews regarded themselves as a separate people with specific laws which applied only to them because of the special role God had chosen for them. Jewish faith never required Gentiles not to eat shrimp. The Jewish belief is that to be righteous a gentile should follow the seven laws established for all children of Noah… which aren’t listed in the Bible per se but can be derived from it.

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

        In the book of Acts, there’s a discussion in the early church of what should be required of Gentiles who become Christian. Which laws were ceremonial and which were moral? In the end they decided to keep three – which are interesting because no modern Christian church that I’m aware of except the Seventh Day Adventists even attempt to teach all three, and the Seventh Day Adventists profoundly misinterpret one. They decided that Christians needed to: not eat meat sacrificed to idols (in other words, don’t participate in the rituals of other religions), abstain from fornication, and abstain from blood (by which they meant that meat should be slaughtered in a kosher manner with the blood drained from it.)

        As I said, I’m not aware of a modern church which requires kosher meat. Seventh Day Adventists, in a magnificent combination of ignorance with literalism, interpret this to mean you shouldn’t get a blood transfusion.

        Anyway – no, according to the Bible, if you don’t accept Jesus, you will not go to hell for eating shrimp, unless you happen to be Jewish.

        • http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

          It’s Jehova’s Witnesses that are against blood transfusion. I know that for a fact – my father grew up as one – and split when he was grown up. This is one of his contentions he had with my grandparents’ church.

          I don’t know about the Seventh Day Adventists, though. I’ve heard they abstain from pork and shellfish, but I didn’t know if they had the same thing about blood transfusions as JWs do.

        • Lymis

          Nice try. But the prohibitions against same sex behavior are in exactly the same place in the Old Testament as the the dietary and clothing prohibitions.

          People cannot say “There is a whole complex and historically relevant set of reasons why the dietary rules don’t apply to 21st century non-Jewish Christians, and then at the same time say “Homosexuality is wrong because it says so in the Bible, so there can be no discussion or argument.”

          If “It’s in the Bible and the word of God never changes” shuts down any discussion or possibility of salvation for gay people (unless of course, we miraculously stop being gay), then it has to shut down discussion on shrimp or mixed fabrics -or women speaking in church.

          If historical context, social realities, and how the Israelites fit in with nearby cultures is part of the discussion of some of the Levitical prohibitions, then it has to be part of the discussion for homosexuality.

          You don’t get to change the rules in the middle of the conversation. And people who so only when it applies to gay people reflects exactly the sort of hurtful bigotry this thread is about.

          • Allie

            Dude, I’m on your side, pay attention.

          • Allie

            Oh… and for the record, no, that’s not true. There are two major NT passages concerning homosexuality, one in Jude, one somewhere in Paul, can’t recall where at the moment. They aren’t just OT passages. It’s in the supposedly New Covenant, Christian part of the Bible, where it’s hard for honest people to overlook.

            The thing is, Paul also said that women should cover their hair because their heads weren’t made in the image of God, unlike men’s heads. Paul was a jerk. Before becoming a Christian, Paul was a Pharisee. He stoned Steven to death. Being struck blind and forcibly converted improved him, but he remains a jerk who whines constantly about not being treated as well as the other apostles and regards his personal prejudices and preferences as God’s law. His words are sometimes amazing, he’s responsible for some of the most beautiful passages in the Bible. And also some of the most bigoted and foolish. He was a human being. A great one, but not God, not Jesus.

            I don’t think it’s possible to be a sane, intelligent person and regard all parts of the Bible in the same light as literal, inerrant truth. Can’t be done, and the effort of lying to oneself and pretending to do it breaks something in a person, so that there’s no truth in him.

          • Lymis

            Both the major New Testament “lists” that include homosexuality as something that will keep you from heaven are clearly documented mistranslations of terms that were not understood that way in their originals, and the other reference to it (and the ONLY text considered a condemnation of lesbian sex in the whole Bible) is clearly stated that God punished specific people for specific acts of idolatry by making them gay – using that as a condemnation of all gay relationships would be like taking a text where God struck someone blind as a punishment to mean all blind people are sinners.

            On the other hand, the Bible is full of things that don’t explicitly mention same-sex acts, but which take willful bigotry not to see as applicable. The “in Christ there is neither male nor female” or “anyone who loves is born of God and knows God” or the parable of the sheep and goats, where people are sent to hell for following scriptural rules rather than loving their neighbor, or the parable of the Good Samaritan, which clearly praises loving behavior (even when the recipient doesn’t share your religious beliefs) over slavish adherence to religious beliefs even in the face of obvious need.

            For that matter, the case of the woman caught in adultery is even more applicable. Jesus never said a word about homosexuality, and cured the body-slave of the Roman Centurion, and praised his faith, but he repeatedly clearly condemned adultery. And yet, faced with a clearly guilty adulteress, he told the crowd to mind their own business and go home, and that judging her was none of their business.

            Anyone who can’t see that as a clear guideline for how straight Christians should treat gay people, even gay people they feel are guilty of sexual immorality, needs to pay more attention.

          • Allie

            Well, I agree with your interpretation of Jude (the passage about God turning people into lesbians) although it’s hard to argue that the passage shows homosexuality in a positive light. Incidentally this passage should prove, if you’re a Biblical literalist, that being gay is NOT a choice, since in this passage God forces people to be gay! Funny how the literalists never see it that way.

            But frankly I think the apologies for the various terms are a stretch. It’s not clear at this late date exactly what was meant, but it remains fairly clear that Paul didn’t approve of gay sex.

            But – again – I’m not real exercised about what Paul did and didn’t approve of. Just as I don’t believe God turned anyone into a lesbian as a punishment, and I don’t believe God cursed anyone with dark skin. I don’t believe in an inerrant Bible, so I have no stake in this argument.

            Curiously enough, the other passage you mention, about the adulteress, is under attack by the inerrancy crowd themselves. Don’t know if you were aware. Since it’s a powerful argument against the death penalty, and most fundamentalists support the death penalty, they have resorted to saying that it’s a late addition to the Bible and non-canonical.

            Anyway. We differ in how we reach them, but we come to the same conclusions. I believe as you do that homosexuality is not a sin, and that even if it were, the correct Christian response is to treat all people with kindness and mind your own business.

          • Diana A.

            Yes, indeed!

    • Martha Love

      Will you please speak without profanity? You are not representing Christ well.

      We are not to judge those outside of the Church. Inside the Church, yes, we need to judge them to be sure their lives reflect that of Christ’s.

      “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. ‘Expel the wicked person from among you.’ ” 1 Corinthians 5 : 12-13

      • Soulmentor

        And that isn’t judgemental?! What convoluted thinking….if it can even be called thinking. You can’t possibly think that doesn’t send the message into society that gays are bad, sinful, evil, lesser, undesirable, worthy of condemnation or even violence. If you do, you are drinking from the river in Egypt.

        The finger of complicity in Jamey’s suicide points at you no matter how adamantly you deny it.

        • DR

          ( I think Martha’s fine with Natalie swearing at everyone, she only appears to be directing her corrective comments re: profanity to you. Imagine that! ;) )

      • DR

        I’m sorry, was this directed at Natalie? Oh, wait….guess not.

        • Martha Love

          Yes, it was intended for Natalie. I do not see any other profanity.

          • DR

            Then I apologize for misunderstanding you.

    • Allie

      Hon… okay. Do you know what Jesus said about homosexuality? Not Paul, not Jude. Jesus. Do you know what he said on this subject?

      Jesus never said anything about homosexuality being a sin. He talked a lot about lack of charity, about judging others, even about divorce. But he never said one word against homosexuality.

      He did say this though – Matthew 5:22:

      “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”

      Now, we’re not exactly certain today what Raca means – although pretty much everyone is agreed it was a slang term of the time. There are two possible derivations, depending on who you talk to. It may come from a word meaning “to spit,” and mean basically, something worthless. Or it may come from a word meaning “effeminate,” in which case the meaning would be similar to the modern word “sissy.” Or even “fag.”

      So, the only thing that Christ may have said about gay people was not to tease them? That’s a little different from what most churches teach today!

      You don’t have to give up your faith. Just follow Jesus, it really is that simple. Don’t let yourself be distracted and led astray by human beings who want to distort his message. Why is the modern church so obsessed with homosexuality, out of all the possible things they could focus on? I’ll tell you: it’s because homosexuality is safe to attack. If the preacher preaches against gossip, everyone in his church has been a gossip. If the preacher says to care for the poor, then all the people shift uncomfortably and think about the nice clothes they are wearing and the nice car they drove to the church. But if the preacher says that homosexuals go to hell, then all but 10% of people in the church can sit back and smile, in the comfort of knowing they are good people, not like those other people. And the other people, the 10% who are gay, get to look around and see how outnumbered they are. Either they leave the church or they hide their inclinations by publicly persecuting homosexuals.

      • Christy

        Thank you, Allie.

      • Diana A.

        Yes, thank you.

        • Allie

          Thanks to you all! I can’t believe I never found this blog before now and feel truly blessed to be here.

          • vj

            Allie, it’s great to have you here! I have really been enjoying the way you articulate some very thoughtful insights.

      • Christelle

        True!

  • Jane Doe

    The article rings true. I remember being 14 and after realizing that I was gay, wanting to commit suicide – spared only by my ability to lie to myself and God that I would never succumb to “the life style”. I didn’t create that belief on my own; this message exists in church and throughout society to some degree. God help those who believe this lie. I hope Jaimie’s death is not in vain and that it at least serves as a wake-up call for his community.

  • Robert

    I was almost one of those statics. What killed me a little bit every single day was not the bullying. It was not the taunts or the punches or the books being knock out of my hands. What killed me a little more each day was knowing that no adult cared. My parents didn’t care. My teachers didn’t care. My priest didn’t care.

    I knew they didn’t care… because they agreed with the bullies.

    I heard my parents’ comments about fags and sissies. My coach called me a fag. My teachers were slightly better. My uncles were worse. My Chruch just called me subhuman, damned, a prevertand damaged. I was 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. Exactly who was I supposed to turn to when my tormentors were my parents, teachers, coaches, priests and peers. Exactly who are these kids to turn to when their tormentors are “liberal” ministers like Erwin McManus of Mosaic LA who states gays are as natural as “pigs eating their young” and going to hell.

    These a-holes have no compassion for these or any kids…. they only know that selling hate against gays has been profitable.

    Ministers, priests, rabbis, imams have reduced God the Creator of All… to a few words scrawled across some paper a few thousands years ago… the idea is absurd… and then these words were edited and re-edited by mean spirited little men over the ages to now be spouted out by narcissistic egotists like Rick Warren, Erwin McManus and Pat Robinson… all for their own glory and profit.

    Simply put… Gays kids are dying to keep the coffers of rich churches filled. Gays kids are dying because it is profitable.

    • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

      God is the same yesterday, today and forever, turn to God and not man since the arm of flesh will fail, but He will NEVER fail. The love of God is available to all

      • DR

        Brian, instead of this how about you actually acknowledge it? I think you escape into talking about the universal truths of God so you don’t have to face what this man just said he experienced in his church.

        • Brian W

          I can’t change what happened to this man, nor can I really understand what he has and is going through, but God does and if we flee to God the Son, Jesus Christ then healing can be found through the love of God. I can do nothing, God can do anything…

          • DR

            You can acknowledge that there is something really terrible going on in the Christian church. It actually helps when you do that.

      • Soulmentor

        Oh, what prattle.

      • Moondog

        God failed Jamey Rodemeyer.

        • DR

          No, we failed Jamey Rodemeyer (we religious people). *We* failed God.

          • Christy

            I agree.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            What about the public school system, are they not responsible to protect? What about the bullies, aren’t they responsible?

          • Moondog

            Oh, there is plenty of blame to go around, don’t get me wrong. Christians, the school, and bullies are all at fault, too. But ultimately, there is an allegedly “omnipotent and omnibenevolent” god who sat back and did nothing as this boy was tortured to death. His misery, torment and death was god’s will, and if that doesn’t disturb you, it should.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Moondog,

            We live by faith that God knows what he’s doing, we don’t know why “bad” things happen, I don’t know why, but I’m not God but I believe by faith that “all things work together for good to them that love God and are the called accordng to his pupose” I find peace and comfort believing that God is in control of all things, for the best.

          • DR

            That’s a total cop out, of course we know why bad things happen. Because we allow them to happen. This child’s death could have been prevented.

          • Christy

            “Life is difficult” M. Scott Peck famously wrote…..and unfair and unkind and many times downright shitty. But life is not God.

            We are bound to get the wrong answers when we ask the wrong questions. The right question is not why does God let bad things happen. The right question is why, when God has provided us with all that we need to survive in this world, including the gift of each other, do we continue to fail to learn how to love each other and live together in peace? This is how we failed Jamey and many others like him.

            God did not cause this to happen nor did God allow it to happen. It is not the will of God for children to die or lose their mothers or for tsunamis to destroy cities or for people to kill each other in God’s name. God grieves with us. God holds us in our pain. But when we do not know how loved we are and we live from a place of fear and pain and loss……we hurt others and ourselves.

            Being loved and knowing we are loved sets us free from our own pain and suffering so that we can love others.

          • Diana A.

            Again, right on target.

          • DR

            No, The public schools don’t teach that homosexuality is wrong.

      • Soulmentor

        God may be the same forever as you say, but his “Word” as represented by the Bible has done little BUT change since its beginning. God is NOT the Bible. And the Bible is NOT God, tho many “christians” seem to have made the Bible their God. That is idolatry.

    • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

      I’m so sorry, Robert, for all this pain and loneliness and spiritual abuse. I’m so sorry you were hurt like this as a child and that the hurt continues today. Those of us who have been through horrific pain know….and see….with different eyes – with compassionate eyes – the suffering of others and the causes of it and we are committed to do what we can to end it. Bless you. Know that you are loved by a host of strangers…. and better angels.

    • http://blog.mattalgren.com Matt Algren

      Exactly right, Robert. Your experience was the same as mine. I could handle the outright abuse; it was the little digs every day, knowing that teachers wouldn’t do anything (and might join in), knowing that family would probably disown me, knowing how politicians and other leaders felt about me back in the first days of AIDS. That knowledge was what killed me inside.

      I’m honestly surprised I survived it as quietly as I did.

    • Moondog

      Yeah, my own experience growing up is pretty much a carbon copy of Robert’s description. Growing up, I was so completely spiritually abused, tortured, and maimed by “men of god” that I cannot even perceive a benevolent god anymore. Maltheism is the only thing that makes sense to me.

      • DR

        I’m so sorry that we hurt you and we let you down. It’s something so evil and those of us who know better allowed this to happen, silent because we didn’t want to stir the pot. Thankfully we have people like John who do now but the courage you needed the “good Christians” to have, the boldness that you needed us to have, that we all keep saying we *do* have? We chose not to use it, we looked the other way and we allowed you to be abused. I will spend a lifetime trying to repair it but you’re owed an apology from those of us who don’t believe being gay is a sin but are still connected to a larger Church that does, and we didn’t stop paying them or protesting them until things changed. We put you in spiritual and emotional danger. It’s our fault.

  • http://myspace.com angelica

    whats so bad about believing gay is a sin? Just because I Believe its a sin doesn’t mean I would wish harm on any homosexual and its rather bigoted thing to think about someone in my opinion.

    • DR

      There are a lot of you who seem to feel like you are entitled to have a belief about someone else and you are exempt from the consequences of said belief. Where does that come from? Why do you believe that? All of our beliefs impact other people. This isn’t just some kind of personal belief that stays within your house.

      Because your belief devastates men and women who are gay and as kids, your theology marks them as something damaged and unholy. Because they can’t stop being gay as much as you might believe that and your belief creates such despair and fear in these kids that they kill themselves because they feel too flawed to keep living. If you think I’m wrong? Take a trip down to your local homeless teenage shelter, they’ll educate you on what your belief does to the kids who are gay. Most of which by the way, are homeless because their parents who shared your belief but took it one step further and kicked their child out of their home.

      • Brian W

        DR,

        It’s what people DO that affects people more than what they believe. How one acts on their beliefs is where others can be harmed.

        • DR

          Vocalizing a belief to a gay man or woman that you think their homosexuality is wrong in the eyes of God is an act. And it does damage, we’ve read about it a hundred times here. It is more than just you and others just “expressing your opinion” though of course you are legally free to do so. You vocalizing your belief causes damage and you expressing regret that that damage occurs is no substitute for you begging for their forgiveness for what your belief has done to them.

        • Dirk

          Brian,

          The argument can be easily made that what one does as a Christian is, indeed, what one believes.

          I don’t much care for the Catholic church but it would be dishonest to deny the countless thousands of good Christian Catholics who risked their lives – and were tortured and murdered by the thousands – to rescue Jews during the dritten Reiches.

          It simply is not enough to pretend that the position taken by so very many Christians in America is not your responsibility. Either you are going to stake out the same claim as Pontius did or you are going to accept that conservative Christians are directly murdering, torturing, raping, beating and causing the suicides of many many people.

          Excusing their behaviour on the grounds that they aren’t ‘really’ Christians in your eyes won’t bring this child back to life.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            DR and Dirk,

            Thanks, I didn’t look at in such a light.

          • DR

            It is a very, very important distinction. You and others seem to be very focused on your *right* to assert your beliefs about gay men and women.

            You also seem to think that while vocalizing your beliefs, you should be treated with respect. It is exactly like someone who is racist who believes that she or he can say “I just believe that Hispanic people aren’t good for America and they should be sent back to where they come from” and not be on the receiving end of some anger. You just can’t have it both ways. Believe what you want to, knock yourself out but Jesus isn’t some get out of anger free card just because you feel like you love people while at the same time, telling them you believe the core of who they are is condemned by God and saying so.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            DR,

            At the core of all people is a sinful heart that needs to be changed by God the Holy Spirit and when it is changed by faith, it is evidenced by a repentant heart and a life of love to all people. We are by no means perfect, but transformed by God the Holy Spirit.

          • DR

            You are now generalizing and as a result, changing a very specific topic in order to continue not addressing the point. Not doing it anymore (I tried). You seem incapable of staying on track with a particular subject for any length of time.

        • http://facebook.com natalie

          My point exactly brain thank you I couldn’t have put it better myself. Just because I belive it a sin doesn’t mean I think gays should be reduced to socitial torment…or condemnation. If I thought that I would have to throw myself under a bus cause I’m no better then they are…

          • DR

            Your belief is what causes them to experience social torment and condemnation. If I’m wrong, then please point out where a non-religous group is calling gay men and women “sinful” because they are gay. Thanks.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            DR,

            Social torment and condemnation doesn’t happen because of the beliefs of a small group of people, it occurs becuase of the majority of society’s beliefs. Of course no non-religious group would call homosexual behavior a “sin”, since it is exlusively a religious word. Generally non-religious people would call it abnormal, unnatural, etc., but not sinful.

          • DR

            Who? Be specific.

          • Brian W

            Most bullies

          • DR

            Wait I’m confused. Who introduced the idea that homosexuality is bad in our culture if it wasn’t religious people? What non-religious organization started that? Please be specific you continue to assert that bullies who have latched on to the idea that being gay is “gross and wrong” and subsequently bulky didn’t get that idea from Christianity or religion. Tell me who injected that idea into our culture and please be specific. And don’t change the subject. If that’s your plan then please dot even bother responding.

          • http://facebook.com Natalie

            no its really not because for starters the bigots aren’t even following the bible correctly in the first place they are warping the truth with lies example bible says its a sin, truth so lets all beat gays to death, lie do you see how that works? So what if its a sin so is bazillion other things that no one seems to care about is the point I’m trying to make !!!

          • DR

            Natalie people just don’t agree with your basic premise and subsequent point. I doubt repeating it a million times will change that. I actually believe it’s too that’s not following the Bible accurately.

          • DR

            You not following scripture accurately. Not “too”.

          • Diana A.

            It doesn’t matter whether the bullies are Christians or not. The point is, Christians are perceived as encouraging the bullies by proclaiming homosexuality as a sin and refusing stand against the bullying. Only by taking a firm stand against bullying anyone for any reason and being willing to admit that we might be wrong on the gay issue will Christians be able to reverse some of the damage done to gay people in the name of Christianity.

        • Soulmentor

          That may work for you personally in your own mind and behavior, but you seem to be forgetting something that Dr keeps going back to and that is this; how OTHERS respond to YOUR expressed beliefs. Your beliefs are NOT an island unto themselves. For that reason, you carry responsibility to consider the social consequences of your expressed personal beliefs, and we’ve seen those tragic consequences haven’t we.

          “By their fruits ye shall know them”

          What, over centuries, have been the fruits of this outrageous religious lie?

        • cat rennolds

          Living beings communicate in a lot of very subtle ways, and we can often tell how others feel about things without their ever even saying anything, much less acting on it. Even very small children know whether somebody’s feelings match their words. And children are the ones we’re most trying to save here. What you believe matters most of all, more than what you say or do.

          If you really love your child, for example, and believe they are a wonderful human being, you can spank them for misbehavior, and it’ll hurt, but it doesn’t make them afraid of you or make them feel worthless. If you DON’T believe they’re valuable, you can say all the right things and they will still feel hollow and hurt inside no matter what you do.

    • Beth

      Angelica –

      “What’s so bad” is that it’s false yet perpetuated and acted upon others in violence.

      Besides, it’s as much a sin as being straight is a sin.

      • http://facebook.com natalie

        wait I’m confused you said it isn’t a sin and now your saying its as much of a sin as being straight is which is it a sin or not a sin?

        • http://facebook.com natalie

          Well did it ever occure to you that I think its a sin but that its the same as any other sin why wouldn’t it be?

          • DR

            Natalie, it is you putting being gay in the category of sin in the first place that is the problem, here. No one cares that you’d equate it with all of the other sins. We are angry that you are categorizing it as a sin in the first place and using the Bible to justify that when the Bible really never talks in any explicit way about homosexuality at all.

          • Martha Love

            “‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.” Leviticus 18:22

            In the Old Testament, you had to adhere to the Law in order to be righteous.

            When Jesus died for our sins, we no longer had to adhere to the Law in order to be saved. Jesus’ blood did that for us. It did not, however, make the Law go away.

            Do you mean to say that the 10 commandments are no longer valid, as well?

          • http://facebook.com Natalie

            Thanks Martha God bless you sweet heart

          • Soulmentor

            http://bible.cc/leviticus/18-22.htm You have graphically displayed why the “unchanging Word of God” is a blatant fallacy. The verse you presented is not the same as that verse seen in the King James. (“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” ) That you may think they mean the same things is irrelevant to the reality that someone changed the words. Someone also changed the King James word “effeminate” to “homosexual” on some translations when they clearly don’t mean the same thing. (So much for the “unchanging Word of God”) AND, to add to that idea, “abomination” and “detestable” and “disgusting” are mere personal opinions. They do not mean the same as “sin”.

            Can you really think for a moment that the committee that King James assembled for the version that bears his name made no changes from the scriptures THEY had available…..and made changes to? And those before that, and those before that and…..back thru centuries and languages and politics and……well, I’m sure you get my point which, in case you don’t is this: THINK before you vomit out rote religious talking points.

            You DO get it, right?

          • DR

            Yes that’s exactly what I mean Martha and I also believe that people should be allowed to marry their pets. Thanks for your insightful comment.

            Ps let me know when you start wearing head covering on church, then we can address the scripted you addressed. Thanks.

          • cat rennolds

            “‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.” Leviticus 18:22

            I try not to. Men and women are so different.

          • http://facebook.com Natalie

            YES IT DOES Romans Leviticus read um and weep pal, Oh and by the way maybe you should care cause by saying its no different then any other sin I’m actually advocating for your tolerance oh no but I’m just an evil bigot is that right? Your welcome you ungrateful jerk.

          • DR

            You are one of the unkindest Christians I’ve ever encountered on this forum. The way that you’re reacting to people and calling them names is creepy and I’m embarraessed as a fellow Christian by your behavior. You should be ashamed of yourself.

          • Christelle

            AND THIS shall stand as a GREAT example in the type of attitudes, ideas, and behaviors that led to Jamey’s death. Imagine Jamey, alive, yet contemplating his death- when he stumbles across this statement… really really sad.

            I use to believe that homosexuality was a sin. I now know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is not. Get to know some homosexuals. Get to know their hearts. Search, Study, and get rid of all the ideals that you were brainwashed into believing. It’s a process, Natalie… but you can do it… your heart can change. Fill yourself with love. Christ’s love.

        • DR

          Her point: being straight is not a sin. In that same way, being get is not a sin.

    • Lymis

      What’s so wrong about it is that you are “believing” that someone’s basic existence is a sin.

      When we are gay, it is who we are, not a choice. Like being tall, or left-handed, or having skin of a particular color.

      When you say that “being gay is a sin” you are saying that no matter what we do, how we live, how we worship, how we treat others, and how we act in the world, we are inherently damned by something we cannot change (and should not have to want to.)

      What you are saying is that someone who is straight is judged by their behavior – being in a loving, committed, holy relationship is good, for example, and using people as disposable toys for sexual pleasure is bad. But when someone is gay it doesn’t matter how much they love, how much they are committed, how well they treat their partners, or how much they give their relationships over to God, no matter what they do or how they do it, it’s a sin.

      If you are left-handed and use that hand to feed the poor, help the sick, clothe the naked, that’s a good way of living out being left-handed. If you use it to hurt, to steal, to attack, to kill, then it’s a bad way of living out being left-handed.

      Saying “being gay is a sin” is dismissing any possibility of God acting in the mind, hearts and lives of people who find themselves to be gay. It is setting yourself up as the judge of God – deciding for yourself how much God is allowed to love someone else. That’s a form of idolatry. It is certainly deeply arrogant.

      If you, as a Christian, find yourself to be gay, it’s your moral responsibility to find for yourself how to incorporate that fact into all the other aspects of your life.

      If you, as a Christian, do not find yourself to be gay, then the question for you is NOT “how should gay people behave?” but rather “Here is my gay neighbor. How should I treat my neighbor?”

      Do you honestly think it is “loving your neighbor as yourself” to tell someone “God hates you and is never going to love you under any circumstances?”

      • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

        Lymis,

        Even the most staunchly conservative Christian generally doesn’t believe that “beying gay is a sin”. They generally believe that homosexual behavior (same gender intimate sex) is what the Bible condemns (in their opinion).

        • Christy

          You are incorrect, Brian. If that were so, as you claim, then why do churches and religious schools refuse to ordain clergy, or deacons, or forbid out but celibate homosexuals to teach classes or teach in their private schools or forbid an out but celibate student to attend their school? Why would they kick out a student from their community because they say I think I’m gay. You may not hear it in the churches you attend, but I assure you there is a loud and clear message that not only is being gay wrong , but it is a choice, consciously chosen and if you pray hard enough God will take it away – which is not nearly so “nuanced” as you described. And frankly, nuance, in general, is not the strong suit of the evangelicalism with which I am familiar.

          You see nuance is: if you masturbate while thinking about that hot girl that rides with you on the bus who is not your wife or girlfriend, especially if you have a wife or girlfriend, and she is someone else’s wife or girlfriend, this probably is sin. Verses: Masturbation is categorically wrong and sinful.

          • DR

            Exactly. Even “celibate” gay men and women are not allowed in ministry.

          • Soulmentor

            Not allowed, IF KNOWN, tho some denominations now permit even openly gay and partnered clergy.

          • DR

            Yep.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Christy,

            Churches and religious schools can have whatever standard they want and if they so chose not to ordain or admit celibate gays, they are free to do so. There are denominations that don’t ordain woman pastors or they don’t ordain divorced people -they are free to do so. They are free to believe sex outside of marriage as well as same gender sex is wrong. Perhaps you don’t believe that but in America we are free to believe as we wish and free to speak and write about it to.

          • Christy

            I didn’t say they couldn’t. I was refuting your assertion here where you claimed:

            “Even the most staunchly conservative Christian generally doesn’t believe that “beying gay is a sin”. They generally believe that homosexual behavior (same gender intimate sex) is what the Bible condemns (in their opinion).”

            Which is inaccurate.

          • Brian W

            It is accurate

          • Christy

            I gave you my evidence. I welcome yours to support your claim.

          • DR

            Then tell me Brian, why are gay people who are celibate still prevented from serving as Young Life leaders – Young Life being a mainstream non-denominational Christian organization – even if they are celibate? If what you say is true, that it’s just the “gay behavior” (which I assume is sex), then why isn’t it ok for them to serve God and kids?

          • Brian W

            DR,

            Well why don’t you ask them? I’m not a part of the organization, perhaps their webiste will give you the answer you seek.

          • DR

            Brian, the point is that *you* made a declarative statement about Conservative Christians only finding homosexual behavior a problem. I countered you with an example of how a conservative Christian organization won’t even allow celibate homosexuals to serve. I am countering your point and asking for a response to that.

            If you’re going to be here and really debate these issues, consider that you need to start backing up these assertions of yours with facts and examples instead of sweeping generalizations that are only rooted in your experience.

          • DR

            Wait all she dod was counter your point she said nothing about the “rights” of an organization to do so.

            This is what yoo do when you are shown to be wrong, you change the subject.

          • Brian W

            I made a point, she made a point and I didn’t change subjects

          • DR

            We are asking you why conservative mainstream Christian organization will not allow celibate gay men and women to serve in ministry if what you say is true – that it’s just the behavior that Conservative Christians consider sinful. You assert it’s their right to do whatever they want to do which is obvious – the *point* that’s being discussed here is what you brought up – gay behavior being the concern. So why then does a conservative christian organization like Young Life STILL prevent gay men and women from being on staff if they are celibate? That’s the question on the table for you to answer – you brought it up, we didn’t.

          • DR

            No answer from Brian.

          • Brian W

            Ask the organization directly, why ask me?

          • Christy

            You made an unsubstantiated assertion.

      • Diana A.

        Love this! Great explanation.

      • vj

        “If you, as a Christian, find yourself to be gay, it’s your moral responsibility to find for yourself how to incorporate that fact into all the other aspects of your life.

        If you, as a Christian, do not find yourself to be gay, then the question for you is NOT “how should gay people behave?” but rather “Here is my gay neighbor. How should I treat my neighbor?””

        This, I think, is the most perfect summation of the whole issue I have ever come across – covers all the bases, in a very gracious way. Just wish MORE people would get this!!

  • http://myspace.com natalie

    Patti sorry if I vented all that out so fast just what john wrote really got to me it hurt me because even though I believe homosexuality is a sin I wouldn’t wish harm on anyone and I don’t hate anyone and I am very very sorry about what happened to that poor boy.

    • DR

      Natalie is “very very sorry”. I’ve been Natalie a very long time ago. Natalie and others like her believe that they are entitled to believing anything they want to believe about someone else – homosexuality being a sin, for example – and they also believe that no one should hold them accountable to the impact of that belief. As a matter of fact, they are *indignant* that someone would suggest that they would be a part of hurting anyone!

      This is the cognitive dissonance that some Christians allow to take such root in our lives that they are incapable of making the connections of belief to impact. They really can’t comprehend it, the self-absorption is so pervasive. They need our prayers because there is no rational discussion, no debate and no arguing that will change Natalie. She’s chosen to lock herself into her Christian theology so tightly that it’s become a cage instead of liberation, boldness and sacrificial love. When you are loved by Jesus – really, really loved – you have no need to defend yourself. Your identity is not being “a Christian”. You are the man or woman that Jesus loved and redeemed. You are your name. You are just you. And people like Natalie are perhaps, the furthest away from this experience than many of the atheists on this forum. And they are miserable.

      • vj

        “When you are loved by Jesus – really, really loved – you have no need to defend yourself. Your identity is not being “a Christian”. You are the man or woman that Jesus loved and redeemed. You are your name. You are just you. ”

        DR, this is such a beautiful summary of the Gospel! Love it!

        • Christelle

          I agree!

      • Beth

        Thank you, DR.

      • Christelle

        Me too DR. and it was through reading THIS site and reading many of the comments from readers like you that helped change my heart completely.

        I now feel free…

        even tho I too, have been bullied by evangelical Christians because of my now “liberal” beliefs and refusal to engage with the bullies… I even have my own I HATE Christelle twitter page about me!

        I still feel free, because I must be doing something right. Right?

        Somehow I just made this story about me. But I’m truly heartbroken for this boy. Heartbroken over the fact that Evangelicals (Christians) have allowed this to happen and don’t even realize what they are doing… but I guess.. I was one of ‘em. at one time… Keep doing what you are doing John and DR. Hearts ARE changing. Mine did.

        • DR

          Christelle, are you serious? Someone created that kind of page? That’s so awful but I can’t say I’m surprised. Do you mind me asking – are you OK? Do you have the support you need? You sound 1000 kinds of fantastic and I totally understand that freedom that you’re taking about.

          Please check in with us and let us know you’re ok, getting bullied and harassed online is no joke and I’m worried about you. You sound perfectly fine but if you need a little love, you’ll find it here. xoxoxoxoxo

          DR

          • Christelle

            DR, I have a fabulous support system… and funny you should mention The Trevor Project- I just started volunteering with them and I’ve met some of the most fabulous and amazing people around town. I can’t lie and say it hasn’t been hard… but in my darkest moments… those moments where you can only open up to your closest friends… My best friend is there to cry with me. Love me. And say things to me like “I love you exactly the way you are”. and “when you fall, I’ll be there to catch you” oh yeah. and my best friend happeneds to be gay. Of course, there’s much more to my story… but that will have to wait for another day ;) Thank you Thank you Thank you for being a voice of truth. For now, I don’t engage the bully, provoke the bully and so on… What’s great about my situation is that it pushed me towards The Trevor Project… So it’s not all bad :) My perspective is changing and I refuse to allow negativity to steal my joy… (tho, of course, I have moments- can’t lie and say that I don’t)

          • Christelle

            I should clarify- My perspective on my situation is changing in that I refuse to allow someone else’s negativity to take away my happiness.

            My perspective on homosexuality changed completely over the course of time. I had to rid myself of all of the brainwashed philosophy that I was raised with (did that sentence even make sense?). I studied the Old Testament, took classes. I met some amazing people who are homosexuals. I listened to their hearts. I fell in love with them. SHAME ON ME for EVER thinking that homosexuality is a sin. SHAME ONE ME for EVER contributing to bullying by believing at one time that is a sin. SHAME ONE ME for actually believing that one can “love the sinner but hate the sin” without belittling and demeaning that person. AND SHAME ON those of us who call ourselves Christians for not showing the same kind of love that my best friend does when stating “I love you exactly the way you are”.

            I do not think that homosexuality is a sin.

            AT ALL.

          • DR

            I was there too. I know whT you’re feeling. But now you can be a really productive part ofthe change. It’s now how we start but how we end and when we decide to allow the Holy Spirit to break these patterns in our lives, incredible things start happening.

          • DR

            Are you in high school? If you are, the goal is to just get through high school, my friend. It’s all so much better after that.

          • Christelle

            Oh my word, no- I’m not in high school- that’s funny! I’m a thirty something year old woman with three boys ages 5, 11, 13… I assume you think that I’m in high school because of the bullying? Nope- Evangelical Christian grown adults can bully, harrass, threaten, and slander as much or more so than children… My situation is due to a deeply rooted situation imbedded with lies that my “harrasser” wants to hide. Bullying is about power and control. She has neither with me and therefore continues to harrass (had to get our phones blocked), threaten and bully in an attempt to get her way. Bullies are full of hate and fear and unfortunately it plays out in ugly ways as we have see with this 14 year old child who committed suicide. In regard to religious bullies… I am reminded of Christ hanging on the cross stating “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”

            As for my faith, it’s still developing. I’m still learning. We never really stop developing or learning, do we?

            Or perhaps my writing style is juvenile? I hope not… ha ha!

            Thanks for checking on me :) I appreciate it…

          • DR

            No I was thinking you were remarkably mature for someone in high school – hahahaha!

            I can’t believe that grown adults actually put up some kind of Twitter page. What creepy freaks have invaded our church? Ugh.

      • http://facebook.com natalie

        No DR thats not it at all you are way off base on all of that I love everyone my father loves sinner or not I would never hurt someone just because they are a sinner because my lord dosen’t teach condemnation he teaches forgiveness and kindness and too take care of the least of my brothers and sisters who the least you may ask? anyone who is in need of guideance and one who needs help who is sad or down trodden an out cast a sinner I don’t hate them because there sinners its quite the opposite and you will see that if you would just get to know me I love them even more so because there sinners and they need help and someone to love them and not be told that God hates them to not be pushed away form our churches and pulpits but to be wellcomed in with loving arms its because were sinners that we need christ not because were sinners we should avoid christ lol that makes no sense and thats not what I’m about.

        • DR

          No, I’m not off-base. You have certainly tempered yourself now that you’re on moderation but I won’t allow you to back track because you won’t learn anything.

          You need to listen to what people are saying to you. In this scenario Natalie, you don’t get the last word on what “love” looks like and sounds like when it comes to gays and lesbians. You certainly may be well-intended and you may *believe* that you are loving them and you also might believe that you can consider gay men and women who are gay sinful *because* they are gay, but they are here telling you that you can’t do that. You can either choose to listen to them or not, but this is where you don’t get to be both. You don’t get to say “homosexuality is a sin” and still be considered as someone who “loves Christians”. You might tell yourself that but it’s not true.

          • http://facebook.com Natalie

            DR This is getting ridicules and I can see now that it really doesn’t matter to you what I say cause I will always be viewed the way you want to few me because I don’t fit into your idea of what the christian world view should be NO I don’t have to be one way or the other you don’t seem to get it its not about who ever is a sinner is going to hell that not how God works and who ever is a sinner God must hate what narrow minded dogmatic view you have if that’s what you think God is about on the other hand its just a narrow minded and nonsensical to think all God wants is to sit in a drum circle and sing cume by ah you need stop playing religion and get real with God if you think that it has to be one way or the other and that those are the only two options choose from what bunch of bull shit you have a lot to learn about God and Christianity and the way things really work if that’s your deal.

          • DR

            Natalie consider growing up a kittle bit and dropping the “Now I’m hostile, now I’m hurt” routine. I’m not that easily manipulated.,, You are being evaluated based on the impact of your belief, period. Your belief that homosexuality is sinful causes massive damage in the gay community. Period. It damages the witness of Christ. It causes gay kids to kill themselves. It is part of activation by unbalanced people to bully and harass and beat gay people up. Period.

            If you don’t want someone telling you the truth about your belief’s impact? This is probably not the Internet community for you.

        • Soulmentor

          Good Lord!!!! Did you get any sentence structure lessons in school?!?! The only punctuation in that entire screed is the period at the end!! It reminds me that the original Hebrew that we now see in English translation was written not only from left to right, bottom to top, but without punctuation. Imagine the early scribes trying to sort that out, scribes who were themselves terribly ignorant compared to today’s language and worldly knowledge. And you honestly think that the Bible you read is “God’s unchanging Word”?!!!!

          Your writing style is a chore to wade thru as well as a display of your ignorance and intellectual laziness. What does that tell us about about your intellectual credibility and state of mind? No wonder you react so adamantly and self-defensively to comments here. You cling to your religious talking points because you have nothing of your own intellect to work with. Your “love-the-sinner-hate-the-sin” mantra is tiresome.

          • Soulmentor

            Oops. I see a question mark.

          • Soulmentor

            Ooops again. I now see another mistake in my writing. The original Hebrew was written RIGHT TO LEFT, BOTTOM TO TOP with no punctuation or paragraphs. Imagine trying to translate that……into Latin…….then……

            And when you learn that even the “original” Hebrew as translated from the even MORE original Aramaic……well, after you consider Aramaic to Hebrew to Latin to whatever before it even gets to English (and its myriad versions) , can you possibly believe there are no mistakes in the Bible?

    • Soulmentor

      Natalie. The Spirit of God is speaking, nay shouting to us today in this gay issue. You can deny til you’re blue but, as John suggests, the rise of Progressive Christianity is inevitable because it is right and, on this issue, THE CHURCH has been tragically and often willfully wrong all along. Satan has used the church to promote one of his greatest lies.

      So I ask you….Do you speak out when your “christian” friends and social circle or church members tell hurtful gay jokes or in some way denigrate gays? Do you defend gays against the preacher who speaks of them as evil or, worse yet, sad, lost or godless in need of YOUR guidance to salvation (you need to help God)? Do you do or say anything anywhere among your church groups or “christian” friends to mitigate the pain and loneliness and separateness felt by gays who may be and most likely ARE even among your close social acquaintances, ie; the quiet young man or woman in your church youth group, that handsome, seemingly diffident single usher in your congregation? Do you sit silent or worse, participate in the ever so sincere chatter about the sinfulness of gays within the hearing of your young people, or worse yet, actively promote it?

      If you look in the mirror and see any of that and more, then no matter how loudly you protest here to this forum or others where you know you need to protest your innocence in the violence against gays, you ARE complicit. Do you really think the pervasiveness of such religion promoted anti-gay attitudes has no social or individual human consequences? Or, if you understand how it may, do you engage in it anyway because, well……WHY? Because since it’s “God’s Word” those consequences don’t matter and gays brought it upon themselves?

      I am gay. I am 67. I was married and now divorced 20 years. I have two successful military officer sons and three granddaughters. I struggled with it (unsuccessfully) until my early 40′s. I prayed, often flat on my face in great agonizing tears to be changed and finally gave up, lest I get to the point of despair that Jamey and so many others have. One day, as I sat on the stump out back of my house and family, in a rush of spirit filled release I looked up and said, “Ok. It’s just you and me. I can’t do this anymore. I’ve been told that if I ask for something in your name, you will give it. You have not, so I am going to believe that you must know it really isn’t necessary. So I am going to go my way and be who I am and if it’s wrong, you will change me and if you don’t, then I am going to believe it’s ok with you. Because I can’t do this anymore.” In that moment I felt a lift in my soul that I hope someday you will know. THAT WAS “FAITH”. The truth indeed, set me free. But my mother died thinking I am going to hell and my father probably the same later, tho I don’t know. We never spoke of anything substantive. I never knew them and remain estranged enuf from my siblings that I wouldn’t recognize some of my nieces or nephews if I saw them on the street. Tragic, huh?

      That moment on the stump began two decades of voracious reading and learning to the extent that I now have a personal library on the subject of homosexuality longer than twice my arm span and probably have an unofficial Master’s Degree in my head on the subject. From that, I offer you help to understand and STOP THE HATE you seem to not know you and others so unwittingly spread.

      To grasp a better understanding of the religious, often willful mistranslations of the Bible, I urge you to get and read WHAT THE BIBLE REALLY SAYS ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY by Daniel Helmeniak, a former priest. It’s a thin, easy read but the most definitive answer to the lies of the Biblical literalists I have found on this subject.

      Also , to counter the accompanying religious lie of how “unnatural” it is, I urge you to get and start to read BIOLOGICAL EXUBERANCE by Bruce Bagemihl, PhD, professor of Biology and Biological Research. I say “start” because it’s a huge scholarly tome you won’t get thru. I didn’t either, but no matter. By the time you are even a third of the way you will get the drift…..or you’re in such serious denial there’s no hope for you. It will shock you to learn how NATURAL it is. It even has many pictures of animals, especially apes and larger animals, “doing it”.

      If, after doing this and the Spirit moves you to learn more, well….where do I start? IS IT A CHOICE? by Eric Marcus, THE CHURCH AND THE HOMOSEXUAL by John J McNeill, ON BEING GAY by Brian McNaught, SAME-SEX UNIONS IN PRE-MODERN EUROPE and CHRISTIANITY, SOCIAL TOLERANCE AND HOMOSEXUALITY by John Boswell, Yale professor of history, researcher fluent in several of the pertinent ancient languages who did much of his research in, of all places, the Vatican Archives!! WHY CHRISTIANITY MUST CHANGE OR DIE by Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong, and any or all of John Shore’s books. There’s literally tons more, but after even the first two, you will never think the same again about religion and homosexuality. DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THAT. YOU WILL NOT LOSE YOUR “FAITH” BUT DISCOVER A STRONGER ONE.

      Finally….you don’t have to do it all like I did. You do not need to learn to survive as I did. But if you are unwilling to even begin to learn for the sake of all the potential Jameys, then you deserve the approbation of someone like John and all of us who have yielded to God’s Spirit in this matter. You deserve the pointed finger of complicity in not only Jamey’s suicide, but Matthew Shepard’s brutal murder several years ago in Wyoming. (google it if you are unfamiliar with it)

      Godspeed Natalie, whatever you do.

      • http://facebook.com natalie

        to anwser your question soul My church is not a church that demonizes homosexuals but whenever I see someone discriminating against some one I look them right in the eye and ask them if they think what they are doing would make jesus proud ? Didn’t he say do not judge lest ye be judged? why don’t you take the plank out of your eye befor you pick the speck in your brothers? It has proven to be very effective to calling them out on there hypocrisy one person who had made a very nasty rude comment about homosexuality I called them out on it and told them how would jesus feel about this and they broke down and cried … I think that was because they relaise how disapointed there lord would have been and then they asked me to pray with them and I did for forgiveness after which the homosexual who had been builled came up to me she was in shock you didn’t have to do that she said why did you do that ? I told her my lord has commanded me to take care of the least of my brothers and sisters surely you were least in that moment …I never saw her or the other christian again but I often think of them both and pray for them often.

        • Soulmentor

          I won’t respond to you anymore. Your original responses to this article and other comments make anything you now say not credible. Rather like Glenn Beck. Nothing he says anymore that might sound good, is no longer credible because of all the crazy ranting he has done and said in the past. As Dr alluded to, your backtracking does not work.

        • Allie

          Well, that sounds pretty good actually. But that’s not how you’ve been behaving towards the gay people you meet online. The people who read your words here are real people too!

          I do urge you to read the book he suggested, and examine your heart. Remember that Jesus said all the law and all the prophets could be derived from two simple rules, to love God and to love your neighbor. If you can figure out how the law that being gay is wrong can be derived from either of these, let me know. And Jesus told people over and over that their ritualistic, strict interpretations of the Biblical laws, interpretations which hurt people rather than helping them, were wrong. When the church said he shouldn’t pick food to eat on the Sabbath, or even heal people, he pointed out that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath, which was an amazing, revolutionary idea at the time. Jesus reserved his strongest words – the closest he ever came to cussing somebody out – for the church elders of his day, who twisted the blessed gift of God’s word into a burden.

  • http://myspace.com natalie

    John what you said hurt me I don’t think you even realize how offensive your words were and I don’t think you care …

    • Lissy

      Everything seems to be about YOU, personally… I wonder why that is. John hurts you PERSONALLY. I wonder why you feel “persecuted.” Perhaps it has to do with something that has nothing to do with any of us?

  • http://myspace.com natalie

    let me tell you something you don’t know me you don’t the kind of person I am I have gays friends who mean the world to me and I would be crush if they were ripped form this world don’t fucking assume you know what kind of a person I am based on what I believe because you don’t know SHIT !

    • DR

      Natalie, your defensiveness is your issue and it should serve as a wake up call. We don’t get defensive about things we know are wrong. Get as hysterical as you want to, but if you as a Christian believe that gay men and women are going to hell for being gay – if you believe that they need to *repent* from being gay in order to be saved, in order to be a Christian? There is blood on your hands because your theology triggers bullying. It’s an awful thing to realize but consider really challenging yourself about why you’re getting so defensive instead of attacking John for it (plus you doing so is really creepy).

      • http://facebook.com natalie

        I never said that DR I said simply that its a sin and that people shouldn’t be ashamed or in denial of there sins nor should they be persecuted for there sins I also said its a sin like anything else and shouldn’t be stigmatized you don’t see people treating any other sin they way they treat homosexuality and YES I acknowledge the fact that that is wrong However I’m not gonna sit here and lie or change what the bible says about it just because the idea of it being a sin make me feel uncomfortable okay thats not healthy for us spritually either I’m not geting denfesive I’m simply defending my faith with all the chaos in the christian religion right now some ones got to do it… On one hand you have bigots and radicals who treat the sinner like there allready damn even though there not DAMNED infact they have just as strong of a chance to go to heaven as the next person I never said they didn’t Then you have people like John and John I’m mean no offense or disrespect who simply don’t want to acknowledge that its a sin because the disagree with that accessment but heres the thing both parties are wrong Yes its a sin but that doesn’t mean we should treat people the way those kids treated Jamey thats not what the bible teaches about ANY SIN we should be forgiven like the lord is forgiven but we shouldn’t try to change things or say its not a sin that’s just the opposite of the other extreme and its just as wrong and hurtfull to God if not worse … What we need to do is find a happy medium a middle ground that’s where I am at on all of this I belive its a sin like any other sin and I don’t discriminate or treat it any differently then my own sins all fall short of the glory of God and through christ lord anyone can be forgiven and saved dispite there sins so that means even if your Gay if you have faith in christ YES you not only most certainly can go to heaven chances are you most definately will end up in heaven A murderer can end up in heaven if only he has faith in his lord jesus to save him. Thats alot to take in I know but its the truth and if murderer can be saved why wouldn’t a gay man?

        • DR

          I’m simply defending my faith with all the chaos in the christian religion right now some ones got to do it.>>>

          You’re not defending your faith, you’re defending yourself. There is a big difference between the two.

          And bear in mind that your belief that homosexuality is a sin is just an opinion, Natalie, and opinion that’s based upon people we trust who’ve interpreted it a particular way. All of us who rely on Scripture have an interpretation we rely upon. None of us really know “the truth” of the entire Bible. So apply some humility in these discussions and realize that you actually might be wrong about your interpretation of what the Bible says about homosexuality, there are a lot of very smart, conservative Christians who are now opening up to the idea that they’re just wrong about it. And if you’re wrong (which I believe you are), God have mercy on you for the damage you’ve done. And God have mercy on me for not standing up to you a long time ago and stopping you.

          • http://facebook.com Natalie

            DR your not hearing me clearly you still have it in your head that I’m some bigoted monster whose out to get you I’m not… an interpretation lets take a step back for a moment here whose to say it isn’t you who is wrong on your interpretation? You are free to have whatever interpretation you want DR justly so so am I especially if my belief isn’t hurting any one even though you think it is its not and I can prove it to you In the bible there are a lot of things that are regarded as sins but none of them have gotten as much attention as murder or being a homosexual why? Because that’s whatever people in society want to think is worse then anything else it has nothing to do with what scripture has to say it has to do with how people personally feel about something everyone is in full agreement that rape is horrible but the bible rarely mentions it so you see some of it has to do with people and personal feelings rather then what scripture actually says now it says in the bible for man to lay with another man as though they would a women is a sin I really don’t see how anyone could interpret that any other way… but too each his own but now in the favor of the gays it doesn’t say anywhere that we should hate these people for what they do or that we should condemn them quite the contrary in fact it says that WE SHOULD NOT CONDEMN ANYONE FOR ANY SIN and that too condemn is in fact a mortal sin !!! How many times do I have to say this and explain before you realize that I’m not your enemy that I’m trying to help you and to help you see reason here?

          • DR

            O might be wrong in my interpretation Natalie but the good news is how I interpret scripture doesn’t cause gay kids to kill themselves. Yous does. And I don’t need any help from you but thanks for the offer.

          • http://facebook.com natalie

            Nither does mine like I said it is how the interpertation is being presented and taught and it has more to do with peoples personal feelings about said interpretation if what you get from my interpretation is that all gays are evil God hates them there going to hell and should be stoned then you’ve missed the point entirely and need to go back and reread the bible and take all of it messages at face vaule… and not single out the sin of homosexuality as something worse then any other sin but to acknoweleged it a sin and a sin like any other sin forgiveable and tolerable and something that is not to be stigmatized or judged the truth is DR this doctrine hasn’t killed anyone its the bigots who have misinterpreted it and made it something evil and grainy that has… you really are no better then the monster you hate if you can’t see that and all you can do is condemn people for what they belive… and thats sad and I feel sorry for you and I will pray for you.

          • DR

            Natalie, let’s do this. I volunteered for about six years in a homeless shelter for kids. The shelter was sponsored by a Presbyterian Church, lots of Christians who were volunteers who loved kids and loved homeless people.

            Almost 60% of the boys who were homeless were gay. You know why? They were kicked out of their “loving Christian homes”. Or they left home because they couldn’t bear the shame and disappointed of their parents who actually were quite loving but believed that these boys were “in sin” because of being gay. These boys did EVERYTHING to change – everything. They prayed, they begged God to let them like girls so they could be married and make their parents proud. But it didn’t happen. So many of them run away in shame and fear and then they are released to predators in the street where they are raped and exploited.

            So let’s do this. You keep telling yourself that your belief that being gay is a sin isn’t doing any damage, you keep telling yourself that your love for your gay friends and your sadness over a gay child committing suicide is enough to make your hands clean. But I dare you to volunteer at a homeless shelter, I dare you to have to hold a kid as he sobs and sobs, asking “Why can’t God just change me – I just want to go home, why can’t he CHANGE me?” and then come and tell me that I’m a jerk for telling you that your beliefs didn’t impact these children. Let’s see how long you last. I’m not kidding. I dare you and Margaret to go do it. Try it for a month and come back and tell us what life is like. Spend some time volunteering with the Trevor Project, a volunteer project that’s exclusively committed to keep gay kids from killing themselves. Put your money where your Christian mouth is.

          • DR

            On second thought, never mind. It’s nauseating to deal with you, your self-absorption and victim complex is borderline narcissistic. All you do is defend yourself when we’re talking about a kid that killed himself. And when you’re not doing that, you’re attacking people and losing your temper. It’s repulsive and on behalf of people reading, I’m so embarrassed by your behavior here as a Christian who shares my Christian tent with you. The tide is changing, most evangelical Christians support gay marriage, even Focus on the Family is beginning to see they’ve got this all wrong. Your opinion on homosexuality is losing its grip on my beautiful church. I’m going to help that process along by not giving you any attention anymore.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Whoops. Too far, Natalie. Blocked. Apologize, promise to play nice, and I’ll welcome you back on. (You’re on “moderation,” so if you input a comment, it won’t show up on the site, but I’ll see it–and can then publish it if I want to.)

      • Eva

        Phew.

      • http://facebook.com natalie

        I promise John sorry if I came on a little storng I’m just a verry passionate about what christ teaches.

      • DR

        Thank God, she’s hostile and seems really unstable.

  • Soulmentor

    Someone please tell me how to get my photo on the avatar.

  • Mark Smit

    I am an atheist but I respect your views. Jamey was no more sinful than anyone else who is simply himself. I cannot imagine that *any* religion, in the true meaning of its scripture, would condemn that. In my eyes, it is too easy for people to take passages from the Bible, Torah or Quran literally. Those who wrote these books did not live in an open society as we have today. Nor did they understand the true nature of being gay. I cannot blame them for that. But I do blame so-called Christians who somehow portray it as a sin. Because it is no more so than being straight.

    • Diana A.

      Yes. I agree with this.

  • shadowspring

    http://rachelheldevans.com/ask-a-gay-christian-response

    This guy Justin has something really valuable to say to Natalie. I hope she’s still around, because she could learn a lot about what the Bible really says from his web site.

    I have been looking on the internet for a few years for a gay Christian apologist who could show me, from the Bible (because it means so much to me personally) who/where/why was this strongly anti-homosexuality doctrine was wrong. I was searching because it really doesn’t fit with what we see of the character of Christ in the gospels. The first places I found were very weak, and unconvincing. But Justin’s web site lays it all out so well, how it is not same person attraction or relationship that the Bible condemns.

    The Bible condemns the sex trade. Many times you see the word immoral or homosexual in the New Testament it is replacing the word “whoremonger”- pimp, if you will. Condemning the sale of other people as sexual slaves makes sense. Condemning loving, consensual, committed relationships of any kind does not.

    The Romans passages? Read Romans chapter one and two together as one text, like they were originally written, and you get a whole different message. Romans two starts out by saying you have no right or reason to condemn ANYONE for anything- including the “sins” listed in Romans one. Additionally, Romans one is written to the Romans, whose worship of their gods consisted of, yep there it is again- temple prostitution. Forcing people into prostitution, supporting a sex trade that reduces human beings to mere objects of sexual gratification and not respecting them as whole persons made in the image of God, THAT is the “sin”.

    Also, the Sodom and Gomorrah passages? Seriously, violent gangs were wanting to publicly sexually abuse, i.e. RAPE the “strangers”, and you think gender had anything to do with it? A similar situation is recorded in another Bible story, only that time the man throws out his female concubine to the crowd (unthinkably evil!) in his place- and she is raped and abused by this mob until she dies. How can anyone get any other message from this being evil other than that mob violence/gang rape/hating those strange to us is EVIL. Gender had nothing to do with it, and sexual attraction had nothing to do with it.

    Finally, all those other OT passages in the law? This blogger found a great response and reposted it here: http://www.quicksilverqueen.com/2011/09/the-bible-on-homosexuality-and-other-things/

    I am sorry for my support in the past of the anti-homosexual interpretations of the Bible, and I hope all the gay people reading here can find it in their hearts to forgive me. You deserve to be loved. You are not “wrong”. You are loved and welcomed by God and by me.

    • Diana A.

      Thank you. This is beautiful.

    • Soulmentor

      “Read Romans chapter one and two together as one text, like they were originally written, and you get a whole different message.”

      It is not possible to read ANYTHING in the Bible as it was originally written because nothing there is original after centuries of re-interpretation, re-writing, changes made to suit the politics of whatever age and society. Some insist “God’s Word” never changes, but the truth is that it has little else since its beginning. Perhaps some of the principles remain and some things like the 10 commandments are pretty clear but even there, personal interpretations change meanings. Example is the 6th commandment. Flaming fundamentalist often equate homosexual behavior with adultery but of course, there is no comparison. I am gay and cannot commit adultery no matter how much sex I have because I am not married, even if I have sex with a married man. It is HE who commits adultery, not me. Likewise, the word “homosexual” has replaced “effeminate” in some Bibles when their meanings are simply NOT he same, and Sodomy has been used to mean so many things it no longer has meaning. For instance, how can lesbians commit sodomy if one takes it to mean male anal sex? Yet I’ve seen it used against them. The Bible is wide open to interpretation and those who insist God’s Word never changes are woefully, and probably willfully inattentive and ignorant.

      Thank you Shadowspring for your generous spirit and critical thinking. Here is another resource I suspect you will find helpful. http://www.amazon.com/What-Bible-Really-about-Homosexuality/dp/188636009X It is the most definitive book on the subject I have found.

    • cat rennolds

      Thank you.

  • http://www.twitter.com/chrishyde Chris Hyde

    John, I’m not even bothering to read the stupid argumentative comments here. I just wanted to give you a (((standing O))). Thanks…awesome post!

  • John (not McCain)

    I’d like to thank the Natalies and Brian Ws of the world for reminding me why I’d rather spend eternity in hell than five minutes around people like them.

    • Brian W

      Glad I can help

      • DR

        When you act like an asshole like you just did in this comment Brian, you shouldn’t be surprised when people like me say you’re incapable of change.

        • Brian W

          DR,

          Girl, you really need to chill and act more like a Christian that you claim you are. That comment really hurt me and was extremely offensive, why are you so mean to me at times? How can I ever change and believe like you if you treat me so unloving? I respect all people no matter what they believe, do you?

          • cat rennolds

            Boy, you just stepped in it. I ain’t Christian and I ain’t pacifist neither, and you just totally screwed up. Watch and learn, wonder boy, watch and learn.

          • DR

            Brian you’re rude to people who push your buttons while at the same time, educating them on the proper use of Scripture. You speak to atheists’ motivations and intentions and you don’t handle being challenged.

            I think it will take a tremendous work of God for you to set your ego and your “knowledge” aside in order for you to learn which is a choice that you will make if you want to fully enter into that process of change. I’m countering you sheerly for the exercise of making sure that people reading you know that there are Christians who hold a different perspective and are also willing to openly oppose the beliefs you hold about homosexuality beig wrong.

            So no, I’m not going to “chill” because my comments make you feel defensive or uncomfortable or if you feel backed into a corner when asked to substantiate your assertions with facts.

          • Brian W

            DR

            Intelligent comments are great, I just don’t like it when you call me a sphincter hole, that comment is unnecessary. I was commenting that you should chill with the name calling and disrespect of people. I like being challenged because I can absolutely be wrong, of course I can be, I’m never too old to learn. My comments about atheists are biblically based, it is what the Bible says of unbelievers (man’s natural unregenerate spiritual condition) not me.

          • vj

            “Glad I can help” is an intelligent, respectful, necessary, ‘Christian’ response to someone who is basically volunteering to go to hell? Really? How do defend your own flippancy?

          • Diana A.

            Do you have the courage to change? Do you have the courage to admit that you might be wrong?

            If you do, I’d like you to consider reading a little book called “UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity…and Why It Matters.” Here’s the Amazon link for your convienience: http://www.amazon.com/Unchristian-Generation-Really-Christianity-Matters/dp/1596445777/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1316897666&sr=1-1

            It tackles similar territory to John’s book “‘I’m Okay–You’re Not!’: The Message We’re Sending Nonbelievers and Why We Should Stop,” (another book I highly recommend if you’re open to considering the possibility that you might be wrong) only from a more conservative angle.

            If you don’t have the courage to change, if you don’t have the courage to admit that you might be wrong, then I feel truly sorry for you. It’s going to be a long life of putting up with people like us who aren’t quite as smart as you are, only to discover, upon your death or the second coming (or maybe never, if the atheists are right afterall) that you weren’t quite as smart as you thought you were.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            I would also recommend “Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart” as well as “How To Love” both by Gordon Livingston and “The Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck.

      • cat rennolds

        “you really need to chill and act more like a Christian that you claim you are. That comment really hurt me and was extremely offensive, why are you so mean to me at times? How can I ever change and believe like you if you treat me so unloving? I “respect all people no matter what they believe, do you?

        • cat rennolds

          answer: No, I don’t. I’ll start by respecting them, but they have to show me some reason to keep doing it. Respect has to be earned, and you just lost mine.

          • Brian W

            O know, how will I ever sleep now…

          • DR

            You’re one piece of work. I guess that’s more of that Christian love you keep telling us you’re only here to demonstrate. Ugh.

            There are *thousands* of people reading this. Your petulant attitude and your douchy comments are embarrassing as a Christian. Please remember that you represent all of us here.

          • Brian W

            I don’t name call or make disrespectful remarks of other peoples comments. I admit, my humor (sarcasm?) can come across bait crass, sorry. Over the months I have posted on here I have been called many derogatory names and my comments equally lambasted, I have never retaliated in like manner. Ok so I get a bit sarcastic, I admit it, I’m not perfect and I publically apologize if I have offended anyone.

          • cat rennolds

            Okay, you called DR a girl, when she’s a mature adult female. Most people interpret sarcasm as disrespectful. I went off mostly because I have had very little sleep for the last few days. Again, I’m sorry.

            I KNOW it hurts to be the target of people’s hate. It’s even harder when you didn’t do anything to earn that hate. Or you didn’t MEAN to. so the next time you get something like that, take a deep breath and remember, we’ve been getting hated since we were BORN for something we can’t ever, ever change. But you’re lucky. You can do something to change the hate, both against you….and against us. Brian. HELP US if you love us.

  • Blessed

    They swat at a gnat and swallow a camel. The good Samaritan parable can be too easily changed to “the good homosexual”. Pharisees still seem to walk the Earth beating people over the head with what ever letter of the law suits them at the moment.

    “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    Just how hard is this??? It’s right there for anyone to read.

    “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.”

  • cheri

    Wow, the ratings and ravings of some closed minds. Stop fighting!

    I was raised a Christian, but I have doubts, which makes me agnostic. It also makes me open minded. I have never read the bible through, only attempted to start reading it, but then again I am not a reader. What I know is that the Bible just as the Koran is works interpreted and then written in the different languages needed for churches to propagate. Who really knows what really happened, and what message God, Jesus or Ala and any others wanted to give us.

    I consider myself a Moral being. I have family members who claim to be Christians, yet they are prejudiced. I give any family member hell for saying anything prejudiced. And many times have walked away from my mother in public because she was rude.

    I have known some gays in my life, starting in high school which was 30+ years ago. I never called them names or questioned whether they should be called a sinner; I just considered them friends of mine.

    I believe the majority of the “Haters” were created out of the environment they live in. From prejudiced or pushy parents, to strict church teachings and schools for not paying attention to what goes on. From making friends with the wrong groups. Mostly I blame the parents who are too busy to see the evil building in their child(ren), or actually teach prejudice in their house. If you as a parent use profanity in your home, do you not think that your child will then use it outside? If you belittle others constantly, do you not think that your child learns that same behavior?

    I believe every human being has a right to be a good moral person, and the right to love another who will love them back. I do not believe in bullying, harassment, or punishment for being gay, black or any other nationality.

    I don’t think the government or the Schools by changing policies are going to fix this problem. There does need to be something done and we all need to figure it out. Other Students who don’t share the bullies ideals need to stand up to the bullies, and not cower behind them, laughing at what they are doing to the “different” one.

    In Junior High, we had a handicapped girl in our Home Ec class, our teacher found out that some girls had been “teasing” and making fun of her. Our teacher, announced one day, that the girl was absent from school due to the treatment she had been receiving. So the teacher made us ALL walk around the room in the same manner the girl “had to” due to her handicap, and then made fun of us while we did it, reminding us that any one of us could be in her position. It may not have hit home for all the bullies, but it stuck with me the rest of my life.

    My company requires us to do “Required Training” at least once a year. One of the subjects we are “Required” to complete is called “Diversity”. Maybe there should be a class on that in school. Set up scenarios the students will participate in to help them feel the pain of another. And courts should make adults go, as a punishment for hate crimes.

    Matthew 7:12 in brief: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” To the bullies, do you Want to be Bullied?

    I feel for Jamey’s parents and hope that the horrible situation does make some changes in at least some of the student’s ideals of right and wrong.

    If we could only see good intentions from all of us, what a wonderful world it would truly be.

    • Amanda

      Cheri,

      I agree there should be a class taught each year to students for Diversity. That is an excellent idea!

    • DR

      Cheri, there are some important battles to have and this is one of them. Anger is often an activating agent. Peace is often just a reason to avoid conflict and when we do that, we allow evil to win and more kids like Jamey to the vulnerability of evil left unchallenged.

  • Martha Love

    I am Christian. I believe homosexuality is a sin. I would NEVER HATE someone for their sins, nor would I make them feel hated. I love all humans because Jesus died for me when I was still a sinner – who am I to judge another? It is my job to love others.

    My point is: you can’t put the blood of this dear young one on Christians, as a group. Guaranteed: if “christians” were bullying young Jamey, then they are no real Christian at all.

    Heavenly Father, I pray the blood of Jesus over the family of Jamey, and all who read this blog. I pray your loving Presence will fill them, and your Understanding will help them deal with this tragedy. Keep them from the lies and fiery darts of the enemy. In Jesus’ precious name, I pray. Amen!

    • DR

      Martha, you are simply being held accountable for your belief and the *expression* of your belief. You can tell everyone in the world that you believe that homosexuality is a sin. That is absolutely your choice. And when you do, you damage the spiritual and emotional state of gay men and women. And you are accountable for that, you don’t get to just “have a belief” and be exempted from the *impact* of that belief because you still love everybody.

      I am a Christian too and the Grace of Jesus Christ isn’t some kind of immunity from being held accountable to what we say and do. Nor does your prayerful words or *feeling* love for people who are gay and lesbian make up for the damage you do as you insist on your right to believe a particular way and still be viewed as someone who loves the GLBT community well. You just don’t get it both ways, that’s not how the real work and it’s certainly not how the Kingdom of God works.

      • Martha Love

        Hi DR,

        In response to this article I voiced my opinion; however, I do not go around telling people being gay is a sin. I strive to show Christ’s love, as well as speak it, while holding my beliefs close to my heart.

        All sin is equal. A lie is a sin. Murder is a sin. Neither is a greater sin.

        Christ died for us while we were sinners – and then told us to be born again! He did not say we are free to do as we please, he said to SIN NO MORE! When we encourage others to turn from their sin, we are loving them, just as Christ loved us.

        If that person is not a Christian, though, it is best to keep your mouth shut about your beliefs, and just SHOW them love.

        “Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” 1 Peter 2 : 16-17

        “The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4 : 7-8

        • DR

          You expressed yourself here for thousands of gay men and women to read. You are responsible for the damage that did. God have mercy on you for not understanding what you’re doing.

        • Diana A.

          Martha, from your standpoint, you are encouraging others to turn from their sins. But what’s it like from their standpoint?

    • Christy

      I have to disagree with this idea the “real Christians” don’t hurt people. Because we do. We hurt people all the time. We all sin. And unfortunately we are quite often blind to it. This is where prophetic voices come in, like John’s in this post. These voices have stood up throughout time to address the sins of the Church and challenge the status quo and us, the followers of Jesus, to look at ourselves and become more aware…. of ourselves and others and have the courage to ask, “What if I’m wrong? How have I contributed to the suffering of others? What can I change about me and my understanding and my relationship with others and that will ease the suffering of another and reflect the love of Christ that I claim? How can we be more like Jesus?” We have to be willing to admit our own sin and contributions to the sins of society and make the necessary changes.

    • Robert

      Actually Martha… I can put the blood of this innocent child on your hands… because this whole love the sinner, hate the sin… is total BS based on ignorance, narrow mindedness and passive aggressive hate… it is like poison in a cream puff…I know what hate feels like when people like you deny my humanity… this is what you and your antiquated belief system does… it make me less than human… you and your belief system make it ok for bully’s to pound the life out of these kids… because to you, to the bullies… we don’t count… Keep your prayers… the kid is dead. Your prayers are just to make yourself feel good. To convince yourself that you are a decent person… You are not (well you might be just not on this issue)… Thinking that my loving is a sin… is your smug self righteous, passive aggressive hatred in action.

      • DR

        Yes. This.

      • Brian W

        Robert, you just don’t get it and hold bitterness, perhaps hatred, in your heart to your fellowman, those that call themselves Christian.

        • cat rennolds

          Once more into the breach, dear friends!!!!!! I’ll try to use short easy words this time.

          dear Brian (and Martha, and Natalie): We do not say that you, personally, are literally going out, finding bullies, and telling them, hey, go hurt and harass gay children until they kill themselves.

          We do not say this of any one single Christian individual unless we have reason to believe it true of that person. (there are some that I do know of).

          We do not say you are lying about your feelings of love for gay people. We do not say you have actual hate feelings. there are Christians that do; we are not saying all Christians do.

          What we are saying (is give peace a chance) sorry, tired.

          What we are saying is:

          1. The organized religion known as Christianity is primarily responsible for spreading, enforcing and defending the idea that there is something inherently bad, wrong and evil about homosexuality.

          2. When otherwise intelligent, loving and compassionate Christians endorse this false and erroneous idea, publicly or otherwise, you are actively helping to maintain a climate of personal danger and suffering for persons who may never have committed any voluntary homosexual behavior whatsoever.

          3. When Christians do NOT endorse this idea, but do not speak out against it, they are allowing a harmful situation to continue, when they have some power to alleviate it.

          4. These are not actions or positions consistent with the instructions that Christians were given by the Christ whose name they call.

          It is time you took back your church from the haters and the powermongers, and set an example of love for the rest of the world. Or you can keep saying, well, it wasn’t me. Where would you be if Christ had said, quite truthfully, “What are you so mad at ME for? I never did anything wrong!” Instead he said, bring it on, I’ll die for this even if it wasn’t me.

          Until Christianity stands up TOGETHER and says loudly, We were wrong, we are to blame, and it stops here, you’re telling all the bullies that harassing a gay kid to death is not any worse than being gay in the first place.

          • Diana A.

            Thank you, Cat. This was quite to the point.

          • DR

            beautifully said.

          • Christy

            Well done.

          • vj

            “Where would you be if Christ had said, quite truthfully, “What are you so mad at ME for? I never did anything wrong!” Instead he said, bring it on, I’ll die for this even if it wasn’t me.”

            Oh, this brought tears to my eyes….. So very, very true.

  • http://ciaranrr.blogspot.com Kieran Roy

    John, as always your post moves me.

    And as is often the case, I am troubled by the comments of others here. “I won’t change what I believe, I won’t do that to Him,” seems to be a common theme. Do you think He approves of the message that is being sent right now in His name? Go again and read the Sermon on the Mount. Go again and read the passages that John mentions. For that matter, read this again:

    “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    Time and again, I see this refuted with, “but this passage says,” or “but Paul said,” or, “but Leviticus says.” The sentence quoted above? That was Jesus. As in, Christ. Should a Christian not be *most* concerned with the words of Christ?

    How many more children do we have to lose before we begin to understand? Before we begin to listen? It’s already been far too many.

    • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

      Gods Word is the entire Bible – not just a few words of Jesus. Jesus ackowledged the entire Old Testament as the Word of God and gave it full authority as such

      • Robert

        If this is true… if the entire bible is “GOD’s Word”… then why do we allow interest rates on credit cards, why are adulterers not being stoned in the public square, why is Gumbo being sold in supermarkets, why are churches not slaughtering bulls, why are blended cloths being sold as sheets… why are christians not out in the streets marching about TV, Movies, the World Wrestling Federation and all other venues that portray nearly naked women for a buck…

        The reason is simple… because most people do not believe that the entire bible is GOD’s Word… Most Christians…. SAY one thing and the DO another. You say the entire bible is the world of god… you act as though it is a menu… and you selected easy things to enforce… in my book… Most self proclaimed Christians are lazy hypocrites…

        I will stopped being gay… when I met one christian that actually follows ever single rules that written in the Bible… until then… I will meet you in hell. Cause Brian… if I am going… then I am pretty sure you will be there too.

        • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

          You are making a straw man (Old Testament laws exclusive for Israel) and tearing that straw man down again. The Bible must be studied and interpreted in a scholarly, reasonable and critical manner, not in a misapplied literal way. But if you took the time to study it, you would know that, but you don’t, so you make ignorant comments about the Bible, because the noetic effect of sin has rendered you epistemologically bankrupt. But you are free to believe as you wish.

          • Dirk

            Brian,

            Brian, you just pronounced judgement.

            You just laid claim to knowing the mind of God.

            That is rather more than mere epistemological closer, that is blasphemous.

          • Brian W

            Dirk,

            Wrong again, I call it the way I read it, his comments evidence his spiritual condition yet he is not beyond the saving grace of God. You obviously do not understand the definition of blasphemy in context of Christianity

          • DR

            Wait a minute – are you actually suggesting that someone who calls christians into a consistent application of Old Testament scripture (which is exactly what Robert is doing) committing “blasphemy”?

            And please tell me you aren’t actually diagnosing and discerning someone’s “spiritual condition” over the internet. The arrogance of you thinking you can do that is almost frightening, Brian.

          • Brian W

            I didn’t say it was blasphemy you said I was commiting blasphemy. What a person says or writes is a reflection of their heart, so someone who clearly ridecules the Bible and Christianity is an unbeliever, because of the noetic affect of sin. When someone says they believe homosexual behavior is sin, you diagnose them as hateful, homophobes, torturers over the Internet.

          • DR

            Brian, seriously – people don’t like the Bible, OK? You need to stop reacting so emotionally to that. This country and world is *filled* with people who view Christianity as something very bad and you getting really defensive with each and every one of them each time they characterize those of us who do believe the Bible is the Word of God isn’t doing God any favors. You keep choosing to fight these battles in ways that just make the anger people feel against Christians hotter than it already is now. I don’t understand.

          • Brian W

            DR,

            Unbelievers don’t dislike the Bible, they hate the Bible because it reveals the sin in their life. To believers it is redemption, salvation, liberation from sins grip in our hearts and Gods love manifested in Jesus Christ. Without the Bible, what do we have? Man’s foolish wisdom. Sorry a Christian without the Bible is virtually powerless and without instruction. The Bible is essential to Christianity.

          • DR

            Brian I don’t feel comfortable speaking for why an “unbeliever” dislikes the Bible. I wonder why you’d feel so comfortable assigning intent and motive to people you don’t even know. The Bible has been used by Christians for years to justify some pretty horrible things, I think you’re speaking to an entire groups’ opinion and that’s an awfully arrogant, not to mention spiritually dangerous thing to do. Some non-believers may have been hurt by the Bible in their lives being used as a tool to abuse them as children. You might want to think before you write these kinds of things.

            (And I never said the Bible *isn’t* essential to Christianity. I believe that as well)

          • Christy

            Brain, could you help me understand how your view of things is different from what I wrote about the Fundamentalism with which I am familiar that John was gracious to publish here:

            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2011/07/17/the-patriarchal-ego-fortifying-psyche-destroying-soul-crushing-domineering-brain-washing-fear-inducing-manipulative-spiritually-abusive-world-of-the-fundamentalism-i-know/

            Particularly this excerpt: ‘There was such a strong focus on the verse, “not of works lest any man should boast,” that they did no works at all. There was no caring for the poor, no helping the homeless, no feeding the hungry, no clothing the naked. Getting people to church was the only “works.” Conversion and right belief were the cure for everything. Drug addict? Alcoholic? Smoker? Find Jesus. (It’s your free will to choose to do these things, after all; just stop doing them, and pray for God to take the sin away.)

            Dance, drink, listen to worldly music, or go to movies? Find Jesus. Attend the wrong kind of church? Find the real Jesus. Your husband hits you? Bring him to church; he just needs to get right with Jesus (and, “that’s the the risk you run, honey, when you marry an unbeliever.”) About people who were down and out, they taught, “Well, that’s just evidence of them not having God in their life, not living the right way, and God not blessing them because they are sinful. And, anyway, they like their sin; they enjoy it; they don’t want to change; they hate God.” ‘

          • Lissy

            “Without the Bible, what do we have? Man’s foolish wisdom. Sorry a Christian without the Bible is virtually powerless and without instruction.”

            So you don’t believe in the Holy Spirit? That God talks to us? Leads us? Or does He only lead through the Bible? How was Jesus lead then if we’re only lead through the Bible?

          • Lissy

            “Unbelievers don’t dislike the Bible, they hate the Bible because it reveals the sin in their life.”

            That’s ridiculous. If they don’t believe in God, they don’t believe in sin. How them can they hate something that points out “sin”? I’m Christian. I am not Muslim. I don’t hate the Quran. I’m interested in learning what it says, actually.

          • http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

            “The Bible must be studied and interpreted in a scholarly, reasonable and critical manner, not in a misapplied literal way.”

            Haven’t the people here done the same thing? Isn’t this very thing why Mr. Shore posts his blog? Studying and disscussing Scripture and how it applies to our lives and world – and most importantly, our neighbors/fellow humans is exaclty why we’re here. Just becuase people come to different conclusions from their study (and different conclusions than you have) doesn’t mean we aren’t all studying the same thing. Think about it.

          • Diana A.

            Thank you, Shadsie. This is good.

          • Dirk

            Diana, Shadsie, DR, you are all making valid points.

            I don’t usually discuss the matter, however, every time some semi-literate English speaker refers to ‘their’ Bible and ‘liberal’ interpretations of the Bible, I cringe.

            I am fluent in several languages. The English language versions of the Bible which the conservative Christians use as a justification for their hatred are, by far, the least accurate and most poorly translated of all the languages in which I have read the Bible.

          • Diana A.

            Are there any good English language

          • Diana A.

            …interpretations of the Bible? If not, what modern language interpretation would you recommend?

          • Diana A.

            Hi Dirk!

            I’m going to try this again since I ended up dividing my previous question in two due to being on my DROID.

            Are there any good English language interpretations of the Bible? If not, which modern language version would you recommend? I say modern language because I’m not actually fluent in any language other than English, so I’d probably end up using Google Translate (yes, I know, not the best way) to translate the translation. And it does a better job with modern languages than with more ancient ones as I’ve had cause to find out.

          • Brian W

            I haven’t been on here long but I have never read a serious and scholarly exegesis on any verse/passage. But that aside, I agree Christians do come to different conclusions on various Biblical subjects (homosexuality for example) after they study what the Bible says.

          • http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

            I’m no scholar, either… pretty much the stuff I’ve read on the subject has been online after I sought it out. I’m certainly no authority: I’m a 32 year old failed graphic designer who works part time cleaning up poop at a barn, a wannabe fiction writer and artist and so severely bipolar I’ve had a Disability case pending for the last 5 years. I spend a lot of time in “juvenile” hobbies such as playing videogames and watching animation. I’m honestly no one anyone can or should look up to for anything seriously scholarly, be it religion or science. I’m extremely introverted and though I spent my teen/young adult years being “churched,” I haven’t been to church in years. I’m pretty much just an Internet geek with a lot of opinions that have changed over the years.

            Now that I’ve established I’m no one to take seriously… good. Now listen to me anyway.

            I’ve decided that I could be wrong in my current opinions on this issue and on others. I’m somewhat agnostic so I think “Hey, I could be wrong about this whole God’s existance thing.” I sometimes wonder if reality is reality – maybe I’m in some weird extended dream I’ll wake up from someday. Maybe I’m dead and whatever I’m doing right now is the last thing I was doing before I died. Yep, seriously weird I am. Anyway, I’ve decided in my thoughts on the gay and God thing that, hey, if I’m wrong, being sincerely wrong on the side of wanting to love people and be fair to them isn’t such a bad way to be wrong. I’d rather stand before God and answer for a “permissive” stance on scripture that was born out of my very strong inner sense of justice and wanting to care for people and give them the benefit of the doubt than risk standing before God having to answer for an attitude that was unecessasrily cruel.

            When I hear about people being hurt and people committing suicide over that hurt, all these weird protective, heroic-I-wanna-defend-people feelings kick in. ‘Cause I play too many videogames, maybe.

          • Diana A.

            Sometimes, Shadsie, I think you’re way too hard on yourself. Then you say something like “Now that I’ve established I’m no one to take seriously… good. Now listen to me anyway,” and I think to myself “Good, she’s going to be okay.”

            Keep up the good fight, Shadsie. You’re way smarter than you think you are.

          • vj

            “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Tim 3:12

            Dear Shadsie

            Be encouraged by this verse! You have been through so much, yet you are willing to confront things with a clarity that many seem to be lacking. God uses those who make themselves available, and you are certainly doing that….

          • Allie

            How about the bit that says every poor person you fail to help is Jesus, and you will be held responsible for each one at the judgment? That’s pretty plain speaking there, no real room for interpretation, and I don’t think Jesus was kidding. The truth is, you pick and choose, but you choose the easy parts and disregard the hard parts. For anyone who is not born homosexual, it’s very easy not to be homosexual. Like the lawyers Jesus reproaches, you load other men with burdens grievous to be borne, and yourself touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.

          • DR

            *Like.

          • Christy

            Yes, this.

          • Diana A.

            Exactly!

          • Brian W

            Allie,

            Kind of like Judge not and you will not be judged…but you can judge me on what I do and do since you claim I pick the easy parts and disregarding the hard parts of Christianity.

          • Allie

            Hogwash.

            I’m out, I don’t think you’re sincere in the beliefs you’re representing, which makes it impossible to have a meaningful discussion with you. I’m not interested in playing theological checkers.

          • Diana A.

            Well Brian, one day we’ll all find out, won’t we?

            Are you sure you have no plank or speck of saw dust in your eyes? Are you absolutely, positively sure? Because if you’re sure, you can completely disregard what we say and go on your merry way, certain that you are right and we are wrong. No one is stopping you from doing that.

          • Brian W

            I most definitely have a plank in my eye, I have spiritual issues I to deal with daily. “the things I should do, I don’t, the things I shouldn’t do, I do” O sinful man that I am. I need to ask for forgiveness from God all the time AND from people I may have hurt. Life is a battle and a challenge every day

          • Allie

            Back in for a moment, because although I realized instinctively that what you said was hogwash, it took me a bit to realize why.

            YOU came HERE. No one went trolling on your homepage or your blog or a fundamentalist forum to say that you were a sinner. You came here and you presented yourself and your behavior and invited commentary on it. It’s a little much to do that and then claim others are unfairly judging you.

          • Christy

            The hard parts of Christianity involve loving our neighbor, and our enemies, without exception or condition and letting go of our need to change, fix, or improve anyone.

          • vj

            YES!

  • Jon

    I understand the contextual/historical interpretations that refute the long held belief that homosexuality is a sin based on the few fundamental passages conservative Christians often quote. Recently, however, I returned home and met with my hometown pastor (also conservative) for breakfast, and when we discussed my belief that homosexuality is NOT a sin, he used Genesis as support for his dissent. He suggested that God’s creation of man and female in the garden of eden for procreation and companionship supports the heterosexual relationship and its fundamental role in creation. I personally struggle with a literal interpretation of these first verses in Genesis given my background in science, but I was stumped on how to respond to him. Any suggestions when discussing this topic with Christians who believe in creationism?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Well—right off the top of my head—have you tried suggesting to your pastor that he grow up? (Sorry. Patience fail. Sorry. Ignore me. Carry on.)

    • Christy

      You could say: “If Genesis is literally true and not a myth – an explanation of human origins containing truths – where did the other people come from whom Cain was afraid would kill him?” And when your minister answers, that not all mysteries are revealed in scripture say, “Exactly.”

      Or you could say: “So by extension God endorses incest? Because how else did Adam and Eve and their children populate the earth? And, medically, we know that close knit DNA pairs do not produce viable offspring. So how is that even possible?” And when he says all mysteries are not revealed in scripture you say, “Exactly.”

      • http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

        I just had a flashback to a Simpsons episode. See if I can remember what was said…

        Rod Flanders: Daddy, where did Cain and Able’s wives come from?

        Todd Flanders: If there were no other people around, how did they make babies? Did they make babies with each other?

        Ned Flanders: No, no, no, no, no!!!

        Actually, some of what people already suggested sounds good to me, so all you get from me is a poor attempt at humor.

    • Christopher Zenner

      Jon,

      Your pastor certainly raises a valid point, and one I’ve struggled with myself. But, consider this: Does the Genesis account of Creation inform us of every single species of plant and animal that Papa created? And, what about the myriad species of plants and animals that have resulted from crosspollination, crossbreeding, adaptation, etc. since that time? Also, what about the various expressions of homosexual behavior in the animal kingdom? No, it isn’t apparent in every animal species, but biologists have definitely observed enough instances to realize that it is somewhat prevalent. It is all Papa’s creation, is it not?

      Essentially, your pastor’s argument rests on the point that, simply because the Creation account mentions only heterosexual behavior, heterosexual behavior is thus the only acceptable expression of human sexuality to God. Interesting then that many evangelical Christians have a whole slew of opinions on things like abortion, euthanasia, masturbation, and oral sex, among others, which are never *explicitly* mentioned in the Bible.

      The other issue that I personally wrestle with is this: Doesn’t the idea that the entire planet was populated by one man and one woman necessarily imply a great deal of incest, at least initially, which was later condemned in Mosaic Law and would now be regarded as wholly abhorrent by most evangelicals today? I haven’t a clue how to resolve that one.

      In Him,

      Chris

    • DR

      One might also use that analogy to suggest that because Adam and Eve were (presumably) of one ethnic descent, it is now sinful that a man and a woman from differing ethnicities are committing a sin if they marry because it’s not the precise model for marriage that God laid out with Adam and Eve.

  • Robert

    In the end… the thing that is the most offensive part of this whole thing… is that when I was a kid… 5, 6, 7, 8… I believed in God and Jesus in the same way I beleived in Santa Claus… fully… completely… with my whole being…

    and then I grew up…

    anyone who is an adult and is so ignorant and so arrogant as to actually profess that the bible is the literal word of GOD… and that they are actually following it (when it is sooo obvious that they don’t)… are people that can not be reasoned with… because they are protecting very fragile and weak selfs or too fearful to accept change or have really low IQ… because the one thing that all self proclaimed Christians seem to have in common it their desperate need to be RIGHT all of the time. Once they have made up their minds to beleive in something… and then found a passage in the bible to support them… (and this is always the way it happens)… they are forever right….

    and their ministers get rich… and gay kids are told they are sinful, hateful and garbage.

    • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

      Robert,

      You don’t think YOU”RE right with your opinion of Christianity and Christians?

      • Dirk

        Brian,

        I do have to ask you – do you believe the entire Bible, follow it exactly as written?

        • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

          I believe the Bible, but parts no longeer apply today or to Gentiles

          • DR

            Like men laying with men? Exactly, I don’t either.

          • vj

            well, he walked right into that one, didn’t he? ;-)

  • http://facebook.com natalie

    You know you people like to preach a lot about love tolerance and exceptance and to not hate but when it comes to people like me brian and martha you treat us with absolutely no love no tolerance no exceptance and you hate us why is that ? We don’t hate you we love you we except and tolerate you …

    • http://facebook.com natalie

      But no matter what we do or say no matter how much we try to show you any kind of empathy its never enough is it will never be good enough for you until we give up our moral vaules do you have any idea how much that hurts no you don’t and I don’t think any of you care cause if you did you would take the time to hear us out you would realise how much we actually do care but its never enough is it and I’m sick of it I’m sorry but I just can’t take this kind of patronization anymore I love you all of you and if you can’t see that then I guess you are all truely lost… and that makes me very sad because I don’t want to lose any of you.

      • DR

        Natalie, it’s not your feelings that are the problem. It’s your beliefs. You keep bringing this back to how you *feel*. That you cry. That you feel upset. Neither of those things are going to bring this little boy who killed himself back. While it’s regretful that this is upsetting to you, your feelings are secondary compared to keeping little boys like Jeremy from believing they are bad, damaged and condemned by God because they can’t stop their “homosexual thoughts and acts”. Which is exactly what Christians like you are communicating them, regardless of your intent to communicate otherwise.

        • DR

          (Jamey, not Jeremy – ugh, iPhone auto correct).

      • cat rennolds

        Natalie? It DOES matter that you care. It matters to me a lot. I think that feeling so bad about Jamey’s death, says, hey, Natalie is a loving person who truly wants to do what she believes is right.

        How you are feeling right now, thinking that we hate you and are calling you, personally, an evil person? Thinking that you’re not good enough for us, and nothing you can do will make you good enough?

        That’s how it feels to grow up gay.

        The difference is, you can change what you believe. You can think, you can listen, you can pray, you can try to understand. You can change what you DO about what you believe. You can change what you say. You can use your empathy to say…..Ok….now what do I want them to do for me? What would make me feel loved? So how do I do THAT for THEM? How do I help THEM feel loved?

        Being gay is not a choice. it’s not a belief. it’s not an idea. it’s a fact.

        Every “reformed” gay I’ve ever seen was either not gay to begin with, or telling a very large, very painful lie with every breath.

    • DR

      We don’t “hate” you Natalie, we’re being completely, 100% honest with you and the impact we believe you have on the GLBT community and we’re not being quiet about it anymore. You continue to identify yourself as a Christian that loves all people and yet you keep calling people names, swearing at them so consider editing your own behavior before calling others out on theirs.

      With all due respect, you come across as someone who’s not quite stable. At minimum, you don’t seem capable of talking to people who don’t particularly like you very much. That’s the real world, people may not like you. That doesn’t mean we wish you harm or we’re fighting against your legal right to speak. Not everyone is going to like you and you need to grow up and get used to it.

    • Diana A.

      Natalie, no one is asking you to give up your moral values. You believe homosexuality is wrong. So don’t be a homosexual. But for you and others like you, it isn’t enough to make your own choice on this issue. You are instead determined to impose your values on others, when you know little or nothing about what it’s like to be them. Natalie, live your life. Let other people live theirs. You are not God. Let God handle everyone else. If God wants them to change, God will let them know.

      • DR

        If God wants them to change, God will let them know.>>>

        This entire comment – particularly this phrase – is beautiful. Thank you!

        • Diana A.

          Thank you, DR.

        • Soulmentor

          The problem with that is that people like Martha and Natalie seem to think God needs help with that from them. Kinda smacks of self-righteous religious arrogance.

          It also sounds a lot like people who desperately need to convince themselves of their own faith and favor with God……and perhaps of their own sexuality.

      • Brian W

        You’re doing the same thing, if a person doesn’t affirm that a homosexual lifestyle is healthy, normal, natural and support same sex marriage, then they’re hateful homophobes.

        • Allie

          Well, yes. That’s calling a spade a spade. You get called that because you ARE that. Wanting innocent people to suffer and be denied rights makes you a hateful homophobe, just like telling lies would make you a liar, and stealing would make you a thief. Don’t like it? Unlike them, you can change it.

          Not the same thing as calling something that isn’t a spade a spade.

        • http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

          You’re forcing it into black and white. Much of the world is painted in shades of gray. And you’re gray. I know because I’ve been there.

          I do not think that you’re “hateful” – I mean, you aren’t picketing funerals, I doubt you’d ever beat someone to death for being gay, and I doubt you’d ever tell a kid to his face to kill himself. I’m sure you don’t want anyone to die, or to go to hell.

          In fact, you’re out to save souls, correct?

          I’d say that you’re more in a mode of “not listening” than actively hateful. Of course, the sad thing about this ol’ world is that there is a sort of “passive hate” that goes on that most of us aren’t even aware of. As we go through this life, even the most loving and kind of us – we just have no idea how much we hurt others.

          I’m not gay, myself, but I’ve had other issues. I’m a very sensitive person. Little offhand remarks, little snipes… being called names as a kid, things my parents said (they love me more than all the world and are good parents, but those that love you can hurt you the most), even things people say online… (someone made a quip about “medication” here earlier that I felt to sting even though they weren’t talking to or about me…) those things – things we aren’t even aware of – build up in sensitive people.

          A person who is both sensitive and gay in our culture has it especially bad. They can write off the funeral picketers and people who call for the death penalty for homosexuals as being jackhole hateful idiots that aren’t worth a second thought. The everyday people like you (or family and friends like you) – otherwise intelligent, kind, normal people — they can’t write you off so fast, so the things you say are potentially even more hurtful.

          I’ve hurt a whole lot of people with my passive-agressiveness, so I’m judging you no more than I’m judging myself. Seeing some of the comments on here by you and others is honestly like looking back in time to some kind of Internet-mirror. I know why you want to keep to your stance – it hurts to change and admit to having hurt people, but, in the end, it may balance out – I find that courage feels good in its own special way.

          Maybe it would be different if something were just a “behavior” or “lifestyle” and treated as such. If it were treated as a behavior, people who are against it as a religious comittment would treat it like the Amish treat owning TV sets and wearing modern clothes.

          I’ve felt no hatred from anyone at my local farmer’s market.

          The ticket to the future is always blank.

          • Lissy

            I so love you! Such great insight!

  • William

    “It is your ethos, your convictions, and your theology that informed, supported, and encouraged their cruelty.”

    Really? If I believe that something is wrong, does it necessarily follow that I encourage cruel behavior by others? Isn’t it possible to hold convictions without responding poorly or encouraging others to respond poorly?

    Your statement is silly.

    “Now Jamey Rodemeyer has died from your sins.”

    Really? Me, hundreds of miles from Buffalo, NY? I killed Jamey Rodemeyer?

    How very, very silly.

    • DR

      Yes, actually, if you vocalize your belief that homosexuality is sinful it contributes to gay men and women believing they are permanently alienated from Jesus Christ. And in many instances, the children that hear that message are driven into despair and kill themselves. So yes. You are responsible.

      • William

        So I should just shut up? A gag order?

        • Allie

          How melodramatic! No one is in a position to issue you a gag order.

          There are plenty of situations in life where the right thing to do, the Christian thing to do, is to just shut up. If someone is telling a lie, they should just shut up. If someone is trying to defraud someone, they should just shut up. If someone is being vicious and cruel, they should just shut up.

          No one can make you shut up – but wouldn’t you choose to shut up if you knew your words were hurting people? Why would you want to do that?

        • DR

          Huh? Who is suggesting you should be quiet? I love my right to saying whatever I want, it’s a critical part of our freedoms here in the US and I’ll fight for that right for all of us to say it.

          Am I accountable for what I say? Am I responsible for the impact? Absolutely. And so are you. Which was my point, so let’s please try to stay on topic. Thanks.

        • Christy

          William, do you see how those who believed slavery was a legitimate and necessary source of cheap labor were also responsible for the problems of slavery, even if they believed slaves should be treated without cruelty and they didn’t own slaves themselves? Are you able to see how those who remained “neutral” on the issue of slavery and who did not speak out against it, and the cruel treatment that did occur, were part of the problem which allowed slavery to spread and delayed the ending of slavery?

          The point John and DR and others are making is that we are not islands unto ourselves. We are part of a larger whole. A society. And what we think and what we do and what we say contributes to creating the whole of society….to culture. Everything said and done has a ripple effect that reaches far beyond where a word or deed was said or done. Words have consequences. Words have power. Words have been used to overthrow governments. The pen is mightier than the sword. What we say and do does matter, and it has effects beyond this moment. It can have intended consequences and unintended consequences. When unintended consequences are linked to things we say and do and we are made aware of it……we have a burden of responsibility to take the time to reflect on what we say and do and see how it affects other people…..and then re-evaluate our position.

          No one lives in a vacuum. With awareness, comes responsibility. This is John’s point. And he is entreating us to ask ourselves within the Christian community: If we were accused of Christ-like love and compassion for others, would there be enough evidence to convict us?

        • Soulmentor

          Actually yes, William, you should shut up……until you educate yourself, which means reading something more than the Bible, and examining your “faith” for indeed, if you are unwilling to examine what you think you believe, then you have no REAL faith. You do not trust God or yourself to find truth beyond what you have been told by someone else.

          That is not a gag order but it is interesting that you bring that up because that is what “christians” like you would like to issue to those of us who do that examination and challenge you to do likewise. You act like we should not DARE to challenge your self-righteous ignorance.

          • Diana A.

            Indeed!

        • DR

          Why is it that the Williams of the world never come back once the meaning they insert in everyone else’s point is rejected? I sense that William was only willing to have one kind of conversation which is the one that he has 100% control over.

      • Martha Love

        Vocalizing a belief did not kill this kid – constant bullying did.

        • Christy

          What about the work of organizations like the Family Research Council headed by Tony Perkins and Focus on the Family who actually lobby the federal government to oppose anti-bullying legislation and policy; who spread misinformation to churches, pastors, youth groups, and parents; who developed programs and legislation that works to oppose anti-bulling programs in schools and state legislation? Do you see any culpable connection to this activity and fostering and nurturing an environment of intolerance that does not help decrease bullying, but actually contributes to it?

          • DR

            This is a great question that deserves a response.

          • Martha Love

            What I see is an intolerance to my point of view. Aren’t we supposed to tolerate all points of view? That’s the message I’m getting – but I’m conflicted because at the same time my point of view is not being tolerated.

            I’m so confused.

          • Allie

            Well, shoot, no wonder you’re confused.

            Of course you’re not supposed to tolerate all points of view! Who ever said that?

            I don’t want anyone to tolerate the point of view that black people are inferior, have a slave mentality, and should be enslaved for their own good, like children. That point of view is disgusting and no one should tolerate it.

            Not real keen on Hitler’s point of view that Jewish people should be put to death either.

            Tolerance of those who don’t harm anyone, on the other hand, is simple humility, respect for other travelers on the path of life.

          • Martha Love

            Yes, enslaving people, murdering people, are all mentalities and actions that are not to be tolerated. We agree!

            Having a point of view about what is sin and what is not… I understand that you are saying my having, and voicing, that view point is contributing to the bullying of the homosexual community… but I do not agree with what you are saying.

            My viewpoint is not that homosexuals should be enslaved or put to death.

            My viewpoint is that homosexuality is a sin. Lying is a sin. Murder is a sin. Not loving God is a sin. Not loving your neighbor (anyone you meet in life) is a sin.

            Jesus’ blood covers all these sins. There is redemption for all… it needs to be received by all.

            Where am I advocating death, here?

          • DR

            My viewpoint is that homosexuality is a sin. Lying is a sin. Murder is a sin. Not loving God is a sin. Not loving your neighbor (anyone you meet in life) is a sin.>>>

            Then please tell us – how does a gay man or women change their orientation in the process of repentance so they can be saved from this sin? They have told us that it is impossible. God would never provide a temptation that we can’t escape, obviously, so apparently you know better on how gay men and women actually change their attraction to the same sex which results in the thoughts and behaviors and desires you have claimed are condemned by God.

          • DR

            (all of the other examples you offered represent choices in behavior that can be changed. Being gay is more than an impulse – it is an orientation, it’s like *being* a woman. So please help us understand how *being* gay is altered in the repentance process so that gay people become straight. That is the only way they stop sinning according to your view.

          • Allie

            Which one of those things doesn’t fit?

            Murder is a decision. Lying is a decision. Loving God or not is a decision.

            Being gay is something people are born with. There’s a genetic predisposition and increasing evidence points to the environment in the womb as an important factor. Regardless, almost all gay people clearly express their feeling that they have always been gay and did not choose to be gay.

            What if someone said being black was a sin? It’s in the Bible, after all, that God cursed Hagar with dark skin. Do you agree with that? Because I feel that regardless of whether or not it’s in the Bible, that’s not a point of view that anyone needs to tolerate. People don’t choose to be black, therefore being black cannot be a sin.

          • Martha Love

            This is the core of our disagreement.

            I do not agree that it’s not something that can be controlled, or that it’s something all who are gay are born with.

          • DR

            Martha tell that to the dozens of fsy kuds who came from Christian homes that I worked with that BEGGED God to change their desires. He never did. What would you tell them to just pray harder?

          • vj

            Martha, the overwhelming testimony of most gay people is that *they* have experienced being gay as something that they have not chosen, but which is innate to them. Regardless of your own opinion on what is or is not sin, if the feeling of being gay is not something you have experienced, then what right do you have to decide whether or not it’s something that someone else should [want to] control?

            We can only look on the outside of someone’s life, but God sees into the heart of every person. We are each called to a personal relationship with Jesus, not a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter religion. Why don’t we leave it up to God to convict people of what he wants them to stop/change, and commit ourselves to loving anyone and everyone, just as Christ commanded us?

            Anyone who insists that any particular person or group of people is inherently unlovable by God is perpetuating a lie straight from the pit of hell, and has completely missed the enormity of God’s love and grace to us through Jesus.

          • DR

            Martha here’s the deal. You use Scripute to escape from facts About gay men and women that you don’t understand or are too scared to get close to because it means you’re wrong which is very frightening for a lot of Christians.h

            You don’t get the last word on what being gay is or is not. I know you think you do and only the Holy Spirit can deal with your need to control. The grip people like you have on ourChurch right now with this kind of perversion of Scripture is loosenig , God is purifying Hid Church through people like John who have the courage to stand up to you.

            It’s going to be a very confusing time for you but my goal is making sure you and others eho helieve that God condemns homosexuality don’t do any more damage to this very vulnerable population as thugs change. But the good news is in te years, the young Evangelicals of whom 53% believe gay marriage is perfectly fine will be adults and this horrible chapter of Christianity will be put behind us.

          • DR

            No answer, Martha? Tell me – what do you tell gay children and even adults for that matter who’ve *begged* God to become straight so they can receive the God’s salvation that you and others like you have told them for YEARS that they *must* have in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. What do you tell them? I dare you to answer.

          • Diana A.

            Well, you’re not the one who’s gay, are you? So what gives you the right to judge gay people? Are you so perfect that you have that right?

          • DR

            Why would any of us tolerate a belief that hurts kids and alienates men and women from receiving the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

            Martha, you’re trying to apply a very well-known tactic by those of you who are fixated with the belief that some kind of “liberal agenda” is taking over the church. That tactic is called “look over there” when you refuse to continue a conversation about specifics. No one here is talking about tolerance in any kind of general way. What we’re talking about is how the belief of homosexuality being condemned by God – when that belief is expressed – what that specific impact is on the homosexuality community and how it contributes to an environment of bullying.

            Either have the conversation that we’re actually having or don’t, but people here aren’t that easily distracted (or manipulated).

          • DR

            Christy asked you a question about Tony Perkins trying to shut down the anti-bullying campaign. Please give us your thoughts on that. Thank you.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Bullies don’t care about an anti-bullying campaign, they’re bullies for crying out loud. If bullying is occuring in out public schools, which it is, then the government needs to protect these kids!!

          • Christy

            You don’t listen. My solution is local and school based. What’s your government solution, Brian? Or are you being sarcastic as I suspect you are?

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            The only true, lasting and permanent solution is the soul transforming power found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ

          • DR

            This is true. Now please answer the question about Tony Perkins. Thanks.

          • DR

            You have no idea how effective anti-bullying campaigns are. I was involved in public schools for years and saw firsthand how education, information and discovery experience that both bullies and their victims went through (guided by professional facilitators) that did miraculous things in schools.

            To borrow a phrase from Christy, these unsubstantiated assertions of yours are tiresome

          • Christy

            So: Public Service Announcements, Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No campaign,” Public Awareness campaigns about everything from HIV to CPR to hand washing to prevent spreading the flu virus to the signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke – All a waste of time. Preventive messaging doesn’t work? Is that your assertion.

            Is it your assertion that the ONLY thing that will help curb bad things happening in the world of ANY kind is that people admit they are a sinner and accept Jesus as their personal savior? Conversion is the only proper and sufficient response to every ill in the world?

          • Brian W

            I never said anti-bullying campaign / legislation is 100% ineffective, I said it won’t be a panacea to stop bullying. However I’m for it, even if it reduces it a little. Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign did little to curb teenage drug use, but something is better than nothing. I’m in 100% support of all programs to increase teen awearnees about the pain and suffering bullying causes.

        • DR

          Martha, there’s just no one telling the gay community that being gay is wrong except those of us who are Christian (I unfortnately am part of that because you don’t get to just speak for yourself, you speak for Christ when you condemn these kids as you say homosexuality is a sin and we both belong to that tent.) You contribute to a macro-impact – do you know what that means? This isn’t just about your tiny little individual actions, I’m sure you’ve never bullied anyone. Please try to stay on topic. Your expressed beliefs contribute to the environment where bullies are given permission to believe gay is “bad”. And they focus on it.

          • Martha Love

            You, expressing your beliefs that my beliefs contributed to this young man’s death, make me feel horrible. If I kill myself tonight, my blood will be on your hands?

          • Christy

            Your belief, Martha, is a choice. It is not your identity innately tied to your psyche….your whole self, who you are. To tell you your words, something you do, hurts other people is not the same as telling a gay person they are inherently bad and going to hell because of who they are – something they did not choose. You have control over the words you choose to use and say. And you have the ability to choose to say something different.

          • DR

            Where have I told you that you’re permanently condemned by God because you are committing a sin that you can’t change? Please point that out to me and if I said that and if you killed yourself as a result, I’d be responsible for it. Of course.

          • Martha Love

            And where did I say that anyone is permanently condemned by God because they are committing a sin?

            Oh, I see… your point is it’s a sin that can’t be changed… We were given free will, and therefore are able to change our actions.

          • DR

            Martha, being who are gay can’t change their orientation. You are telling them that “the homosexual lifestyle” is a sin as if being gay is a bunch of acts. It’s like reducing your relationship into just sex with your husband (presuming you’re married). That’s the problem. You want to make being homosexual into some kind of behavior or choice that can be changed and it can’t. So kids like Jamey, lots of kids hear you saying “repent!”, they try and try and try to change and they can’t do it. So they go into despair.

            I have nothing against you personally. I’m sure you’re a lovely person. But I’m just telling you the truth, don’t shoot the messenger.

          • DR

            being who are gay = “people who are gay”. My typos on this iPhone are terrible, sorry about that.

          • DR

            Martha, I’d love a response to this when you find some time. Please let me know how gay men and women can change their orientation in the process of repentance. Thank you!

          • Martha Love

            Through the power of the Holy Spirit, and the strength the Lord provides, men and women with this “orientation” can abstain from acting on their fleshly desires.

            Their orientation remains the same, but out of obedience, they turn from their sinful ways.

            Sex outside of marriage is a sin. Hetero or homo. You can abstain from sex as a way from turning from that sin.

            The only sin that is unforgivable is speaking against the Holy Spirit, saying it is from the enemy.

            The message is hope – there is hope for the sinner, in the redeeming blood of Christ Jesus!

          • DR

            Martha, please provide the testimony of gay Christians who have repented of their homosexual, fleshly desires as they gave their lives to Christ and as a result, became straight and attracted to the opposite sex. Because you know what? Those of us who’ve repented and given our lives to Christ? We actually do stop lying, we stop cheating on our spouses, we lose the impulse to abuse, cheat and murder. I’ve not met a gay Christian who has given his or her life to Christ who became straight as a result and I know a ton of gay men and women who are Christian.

            So please let us know how this works. Are gay Christians who are still gay not really Christians in your book? God is a God of logic. This all seems pretty confusing. mentioned.

          • Diana A.

            Yes, gay people can and have changed their actions in order to conform to society on this issue.

            They have been closeted when they would have rather been open.

            They have remained celebate when they would have rather been in relationship.

            They have married people of the opposite gender when they would have rather married someone of their own gender.

            My question is, is it really a good thing for gay people to feel compelled to take the above actions?

            My answer is, no, it’s not.

            It’s not good for gay people to feel compelled to hide their sexuality. This leads to misunderstandings as heterosexuals hit on them. Plus, it’s hard to feel compelled to hide your real self from the people who love you (or at least claim to love you.)

            It’s not good for gay people to remain celebate when they would rather be in relationship. Any desire, denied and constrained for long enough, explodes and ends up resulting in foolish action. (I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to deny a craving. I have. “I really want peanut butter and chocolate ice cream, but I’m going to eat some celery instead.” An hour later “I still want peanut butter and chocolate ice cream. Maybe I’ll put some peanut butter on my celery and that will satisfy me.” And so on until several hours later when I’m at the grocery store face down in a vat of peanut butter and chocolate ice cream. Gee, maybe I should have just had some in the first place.)

            It’s not good for gay people to marry people of the opposite gender when they’d rather marry someone of the their own gender. This leads to misery for both parties as the heterosexual longs for something the gay person can’t give and the gay person feels guilty for wanting something the straight partner doesn’t have. It’s better for everything to be out in the open so gay people can be in relationship with other gay people and heterosexuals can move on to other heterosexuals.

            Honesty in general is much better than lies but when we tell gay people that they are unacceptable as they are, it leads to lies as gay people try to pass for straight. In the end, this hurts everybody.

          • DR

            PS – what an outrageously sick and self-absorbed thing to try to use an example of a child’s suicide and twist that into some kind of analogy you’re trying to use . You’re clearly an adult who isn’t in the same position as a child who’s being told by our society that he’s committing a sin that he can’t change. You’re a real piece of work.

        • Christy

          Vocalizing the belief informs the opinions of society at large which informs the opinions of the bullies and does nothing to work toward ending the bullying. The negative and untrue messaging about homosexuality coming out of the FRC and Focus on the Family and NOM creates a negative atmosphere of fear and misunderstanding which contributes to informing the opinions of the bullies.

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            You guys give too much credit to the FRC and FOTF and NOM as organizations that form the beliefs of everyone who has an opinion contrary to yourself. I don’t think ANY bully cares or even knows who Dobson and Perkins are.

          • Christy

            You give too little.

            Brian, you’re an investment guy. If marketing and advertising doesn’t work why do fortune 100 and fortune 500 companies spend multiple tens of (hundreds of?) millions of dollars on it? And if lobbying doesn’t work, why do companies spend millions of dollars on it? Seems like a lot of smart, successful business people are wasting a lot of money. Would you recommend they dump their M & A departments and budgets?

          • http://www.BrianWendt.com Brian W

            Advertising and marketing is the same as lobbying in DC, really? Kind of a stretch there Christy. I didn’y say lobbying doesn’t work, I said you put too much credit that FRC, FOTF, et. al. comtrol the voting and opinions of everyone that doesn’t hold to your beliefs. They’re nowhere near as influential as you think.

          • DR

            OMG. Brian. Please educate yourself, I don’t know any other way of saying this. Perkins is one of the most powerfully influential lobbyists in Washington, Republicans are terrified of him and cater to him and Democrats know how powerful he is because of his ability to manipulate Christians in this country.

          • Brian W

            No he’s not that influential, you think he is, but he isn’t.

          • DR

            Brian I’ve worked on a number of congressional campaigns on behalf of children’s rights – I know what I’m talking about, just because you refuse to both back up your claims on just about anything you say or acknowledge anything about which you’re wrong after someone *does* provide facts to counter your assertions doesn’t make you terribly credible.

          • Allie

            True, but how many junior high school kids know that? Brian has a point, they aren’t shaping opinions DIRECTLY.

            However, the junior high kids have parents. They imbibe the ideas through their parents.

            You have a good point about educating ourselves. It’s my experience that good-hearted people can listen to these programs for about half a sentence before saying “Ick,” and turning it off. Leave it on once in a while. You need to know what other people are listening to, where they get their ideas, and what those ideas are, before you can fight them effectively.

          • Christy

            I’m done.

          • Christy

            Does the death penalty work? Because I don’t think any murderer cares or is even thinking about that when he caps some guy in the head.

            Do you accept the sociological concept of societal responsibility at all or are you strictly an individualist purist?

            I desperately want to know.

          • DR

            Do you understand the point? Dobson and Perkins lobby to TAKE AWAY the money funded to prevent bullying in our schools.

        • Dirk

          Niemöller is perhaps best remembered for the quotation:

          First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out –

          Because I was not a Socialist.

          Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out –

          Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

          Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –

          Because I was not a Jew.

          Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

          Martin Niemöller

          It never ceases to fascinate me that the group of people with the most politcal power in the US, a group which enjoys strict constitutional protection in their right to discriminate and hate should lay so much claim to being oppressed.

          • Christy

            Word.

        • Diana A.

          One of the things the bullies said to this kid was that he was going to hell for being gay. Gee, I wonder where they got that idea from. It couldn’t possibly be from Christian rhetoric, could it?

          • DR

            It must have come from the hugely popular grassroots group, AWUTWSOWDH which stands for “Athiests Who Use The Word Sin Only When Describing Homosexuality”.

        • Soulmentor

          Marha, I agree, constant bullying that was given social permission by a socially pervasive vocalized ERRANT belief.

        • Lissy

          “Vocalizing a belief did not kill this kid – constant bullying did.” *snort* So then, what do you believe “bullying” is?

  • Christy

    “…we have, indeed, forgotten that we belong to each other, and until our memory is restored, we will have no peace.” ~ Sarah Stockton Howell, student, Duke Divinity School

  • Martha Love

    “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.”

    Romans 8:6-8

    Not my opinion, but the Word of God. If you reject the Word of God, then you and I will always disagree.

    • DR

      This doesnt answer anyone’s question. Typical.

      • Martha Love

        I will repost this here, so you can see it:

        Through the power of the Holy Spirit, and the strength the Lord provides, men and women with this “orientation” can abstain from acting on their fleshly desires.

        Their orientation remains the same, but out of obedience, they turn from their sinful ways.

        Sex outside of marriage is a sin. Hetero or homo. You can abstain from sex as a way from turning from that sin.

        The only sin that is unforgivable is speaking against the Holy Spirit, saying it is from the enemy.

        The message is hope – there is hope for the sinner, in the redeeming blood of Christ Jesus!

        • Dirk

          Martha,

          I think it might be useful for us to separate two things from each other.

          First, we have our fundamental disagreement over whether homosexuality is a sin or not.

          Second, we have the truly appalling situation of numerous children in America killing themselves. To put matters into a context upon which conservative Christians like you and followers of Christ like me can agree: Even the Sojourners now officially recognize that 40% of the homeless CHILDREN in America are gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender who were thrown out of their homes by their Christian families.

          You will never change your opinion that my soon to be 30 year faithful, true, loyal, monogamous, committed marriage to my husband is the perfect embodiment of sin.

          You will always place the hour long marriages of Brittany Speers, the cheating-on-his-wife-dying-of-cancer marriages of Newt Gingerich above our marriage.

          I get that.

          Fine.

          Just, all these children are dying as a direct result of the actions taken by conservative Christians towards us gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender.

          Now, there are three possibilities I see for you.

          One, you rejoice at the thought that all these gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender kids are, in your firm belief, going to hell. Yee-Haw and let them burn for ever.

          Second, you acknowledge that you will stand before Christ one day and He will ask you why you let these children die for your beliefs.

          Third, you decide that, whatever our disagreements, you, as a follower of Christ if not as a Christian have a direct responsibility to end these needless rapes, beatings, torture, murder, suicide and homelessness of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and the transgender in America.

          It seems to me that this is what it comes down to. Of course, my feelings right now are colored by the unbelievable recording I just saw of last night’s Republican debate. Republicans actually booing an American soldier, serving in Iraq, risking his life for them.

        • DR

          That’s exactly what I’m responding to.

        • http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

          I used to argue just like you, really. I offer my apologies to every LGBTQ person for that on bended knees.

          (I’d say QUILTBAG but, I’m actually one of the letters in that, more that later).

          I understand where you’re coming from – really. You read those Pauline verses in your English translation of the New Testament (I have a pair of NIVs sitting around the house, myself, and a KJV for if I need to make a flowery literary reference in my writing). You see a particular translation plain as day and just trust that the translators are smarter than you and knew what they were doing. Furthemore, you listen to people you trust to be smarter than you about this stuff… your pastors, your family perhaps, older people in your Bible study sessions, maybe some of the jerks on TV because the jerks on TV seem to know what they’re talking about…

          And it sure seems like a lot of gay and gay supportive people you meet (perhaps just on the Internet) *are* hostile to faith. Maybe you’ve run into the type of people who tell you that you have to abandon Christianity/Christ or even all believe in a God or spiritual experience of any kind in order to be a full human being. Makes you think it’s all darkness fighting against the light, doesn’t it?

          And then you come to a place like here. Gay Chrisitians! Straight Christians who support gay people and can whip out “liberal” Biblical backing! Oh, noes, what are you to do? Except listen, maybe. Perhaps you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t actually curious about other’s points of view. (You don’t strike me as a troll. You aren’t dropping F-bombs).

          You know, I used to think in regards to “gays can just control their desires” along with “straight people can control their desires if they want to” – “Why would it be so hard to be celebate?” All my adult life, I’ve wondered just why the world is obessed with sex – why does it seem like nobody can control themselves and people just *have* to have it, or everyone *has* to get married when I never really wanted to. “What’s so hard to control?” – I found out there’s a word for me: Aesexual. I didn’t understand the drive for physical intimacy becuase… I didn’t understand it. My brain’s not wired for it, apparently.

          Now, I am in a romantic straight relationship – no sex, just companionship, yet, I can see you wagging your finger at two men or two women who do the same thing. Even without the sex, you probably would worry about “skirting temptation” or some other flimsy thing that church folk get scared for other people over.

          I guess what I’m trying to say is – step back, take a look at other people’s perspectives. Read more, speak less (I’m one to talk, aren’t I? Verbose as all get out), and consider that if you think “it should be easy” – maybe you’re one of the rare folks like me who just doesn’t have that much of a drive to control. If so, realize that other people aren’t you.

        • http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

          I have more to say (what a surprise, everyone roll your eyes now).

          It’s only tangetially related…. not about homosexuality, but about church-obession with sex and sexual sin in general. I think we’re too obessed with it. Like America, the Chruch, and churches seem to have this thing where sex gets pointed to first, before other things, like our relationship with the poor , the suffering, the imprisoned, each other…

          When I was… 17 or 18… something like that, I was very involved in my local Baptist church and so was my next door neighbor and friend, whose family actually divided time between that church (which they loved like a second family) and a Catholic church. A Catholic family who was sometimes Baptist – go fig. Now, my best childhood friend was into church all her life (whereas my family didn’t go to church and I had a crazy conversion experience at 14). A sweet person for whom faith was very important – your “sweet little Catholic girl.”

          When I was 18, my friend and I had been growing apart – over the last year especially. I figured it was something wrong with me becuase, being the introvered freak-kid at school whom everyone thought was weird and having people shy away from me due to my overage of emotion (early signs of the bipolar disorder there…), it was always something wrong with me.

          I came home from a Christian retreat I’d gone to to find out my friend had given birth. She told me – it had come from out of the blue. She was unmarried and she’d been hiding her pregnancy from neighbors and friends for fear of judgement. A terrible fear of judgement. That is why she was shying away from me – I was hurt because I was afraid she’d had enough of the “freak” like most other people in my life and she was hurt becuase she knew I was really into the church then and was afraid that *I’d* disown her as a friend for getting pregnant!

          I was appalled that she’d thought I’d disown her. I assured her and hugged her and wanted to meet and be the awesomest “aunt” ever to her daughter as soon as the child got out of the hospital…

          I attended the funeral of that child. My friend’s daughter was born premature and didn’t make it, despite best efforts. It was one of those situations where I knew I couldn’t understand the pain of another person so all I could do is show up and dole out hugs.

          My parents told me something pretty harsh later on. They suspected that my friend wasn’t taking care of herself and that the stress she had from trying to hide everything was a likely reason for the premature birth. It was nothing I ever shared with my friend – nothing she needed to hear.

          The whole reason she was hiding was because she was afraid of being DISOWNED BY THE CHURCH AND DISOWNED BY HER FRIENDS WHO WENT THERE.

          Because… of the American Christian obession with sex and its rules and how wrong it is if it isn’t done in such and such a way and what “whores!” people are if they don’t toe the line.

          I’ve lost contact with my friend for other reasons – just life getting in the way, mostly with her being busy with her career in the Air Force and me with my moving across the country to be with my guy and subsquent dealing with my illness.

          I just never want to have to attend a funeral where the casket’s the size of a shoebox again.

        • Soulmentor

          Typical conservative religious talking points prattle that serves only to obfuscate. Martha, you sound like a robot and indeed, perhaps you are.

          Do you have ANY thoughts of your own?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

          You have the wrong last name, Martha Love.

          • Melody

            Agreed. Or rather, she would do well to start living up to her surname.

        • DR

          I suspect Martha won’t be coming back but one more point to make here; I wonder if she would support homosexuality if gay men and women could be legally married? I suspect she’d find some other Scripture to land on, some other point to be made.

          After years of dealing with the Marthas, my hope that she’d change or reconsider isn’t big. I do believe that most people in her position are *so* invested in her belief that homosexuality is wrong that she can’t face her point of view being deconstructed in any substantial way. There is too much at stake for people like Martha; they use Christianity as a place to lean into so heavily that it becomes their identify when in fact, Jesus came back to give Martha *her* identity that only the Father knows. It’s a very subtle yet a very substantial difference. Facing that her beliefs are wrong means losing everything she depends upon that makes sense of the world, morality and most importantly, herself. It’s a terrifying thing.

          What Martha would experience if she chose to embrace the Grace being offered to her is that she can be wrong about this but still right about Jesus, utterly and completely. I hope she gets there.

          • Christy

            Yes…..this. Perfect.

          • Melody

            Confession time: I used to be like Martha. I grew up Southern Baptist, very sheltered, in the thick of the Bible Belt. I was eleven before I knew it was even possible for people to be attracted to the same sex. This was during the controversy surrounding the SBC boycotting Disney for allowing Gay Days, and living in a very small town, you can imagine how they would have treated someone if he or she came out.

            I come from a family that’s well-meaning, but doesn’t question what they’ve believed from childhood, because it’s just easier to hold onto if it’s entrenched in your mind. And since I’d never known someone who was openly gay (and wouldn’t until I stated college), it was easy for me to dismiss LGBT people as either perverted or mentally ill. (Growing up with a father who regularly voices his disdain for them didn’t help my perspective.) I wasn’t as outspoken as my thoughts towards gay people, I certainly let people know it WAS a sin (in my mind). The Bible CLEARLY says so, so it’s TRUE, damn it!

            Anyway, I went on believing homosexuality was a sin that could be changed if only the person was willing. Then I moved to Houston for grad school, became close friends with non-Christians, and read Blue Like Jazz. Only following my first year of grad school did I begin to truly reevaluate my worldview, coming to realize that the Bible, in its proper context, isn’t as clear-cut as conservatives would have us believe.

            Although I never said anything as cruel as what Jamey’s classmates said to him, or what extreme homophobes such as WBC like to say, I was indeed homophobic for many years, based primarily on my literalistic reading of the Bible and growing up in insular communities. I said and did some things I now regret (such as voting in favor of a bill banning gay marriage in Texas, though, sadly, it would have passed either way). I’m thankful to my more liberal friends who put up with my arrogant, intolerant attitude toward ther beliefs, and now I’m fighting alongside them for human rights.

            All this to say, people like me and Martha have the ability to change our hearts and minds. It does take time, and you have to be *willing* to consider the possibility that you might be wrong. If Martha isn’t willing to evaluate her worldview, nothing we say can change her mind; like I did, she’ll have to figure it out for herself when she’s ready.

          • Christy

            Agreed. So well said. And as a recovering fundamentalist Baptist myself, welcome.

          • Lissy

            I have to say there are a LOT of recovering fundamentalist Baptists here! Welcome!

  • http://somaticstrength.wordpress.com somaticstrength

    People who argue that they have the right to believe being gay is a sin, and no one should think badly of them, and they can ~totally~ still be loving and they’re not like *those* bullies have never been in an environment where you are being told who you are is wrong and offensive to god.

    At my church, being an introvert was a sin. Being an argumentative girl with biting sarcasm was a sin; you were supposed to be sunshine and roses and whatever you went through you made sure you kept that sweet, sweet smile intact and that would prove your right relationship with god.

    So, there you have it. Being an introvert is a sin. Getting drained over relationships is a sin. Needing downtime to recuperate from people because too much human interaction will make you so depressed and exhausted you want to kill yourself is a sin. And for the extroverts who don’t understand this, imagine being told by those around you that needing interaction with others was wrong. Notice it’s not just the action; it’s the desire. You need interaction? Sin. You want lots of relationships? Sin. You feel the urge to have a conversation with someone? Sin. How dare you be that way. God HATES that about you. Oh, he doesn’t hate you. But he hates THAT. Stop it. Right now. Kill off that desire. Go live on a deserted island for the rest of your life. DON’T YOU DARE make up any imaginary friends while you’re there. Or have conversations even with yourself. Sin. You can control it. You aren’t *really* a social being, that’s a lie. I can’t ever stop informing you of that, because otherwise, you might be okay with part of yourself.

    When you wake up in the morning and you think about greeting someone, stop. Sin. Think about your parents/husbands/kids, stop it, sin. Think about how you love having good conversations with others, stop it, sin. Think god loves that about you, stop it, sin. Wake up every morning and what you want to do, your self-expression, make sure you know at all times, how much god HATES that about you.

    The analogy might seem silly. But it’s so easy to go around thinking, “hey, I should have the right to have a consequences-free opinion on the sin of other people” when in your mind, you know god loves you for who you are. That your sins are not also a part of your definition. You’re a rosebush weeding off the dead roses and surrounding weeds, looking at other colored rosebushes and telling them that all those colors are wrong, chop them off until all that’s left are the green stems because that’s the only color about them that’s “right.” You say, “I don’t have their blood on my hands” and then you turn to them and say “murder yourselves.”

    • http://somaticstrength.wordpress.com somaticstrength

      Also, it takes a certain level of entitlement and narcissism to believe that your opinion should be the one that is not held up to scrutiny or criticism while also holding opinion that directly says others are wrong.

      • DR

        These comments of yours should be engraved, they are So. Awesome.

      • Diana A.

        Ditto to what DR and Christy said.

    • Christy

      Brilliant!

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

      This analogy is perfect. imho.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

        I can’t believe the quality of the writing you guys do on this site.

        • cat rennolds

          Like, like, calls to like. Like. Dude. Taylor Mali.

  • Stephie

    This world is full of sin, death and destruction because of the enemy (Satan), which is unseen. Jamey’s blood is on the enemy’s hands, and Jamey is now in God’s hands. Praise God for his merciful ways!

    • Maggie

      Nice duck Stephie. The unseen enemy gets all the blame? And what part of this story reveals God’s merciful ways?

    • Christy

      The enemy is within. The enemy is us. The sooner we figure this out, the better off we will be.

      It’s so easy to write off our individual contributions and responsibility to our social problems when we believe evil is an “unseen” force outside of ourselves….and good is an unseen force outside ourselves (God). This battle rages WITHIN us. And when we understand and surrender to the reality that sin = ego and love = God and the one that grows within us is the one we choose to nurture and feed…..we grow emotionally and spiritually. And when we live oblivious to how our self-centeredness contributes to blocking the sum total of love and compassion in the world (read: how our sin blocks the sum total of God in the world) we are already dead. We are dead to love. We are not living the life Jesus came to free us into. We are blind to reality.

      The first shall be last and the last shall be first…..and we have to start with ourselves and our egos and move them out of the king position and destroy the ego lenses we use to look at everyone else and through this awareness-raising of the Spirit we are lead to the love and grace of God that sets us free from the chains of ego (our sin nature).

    • DR

      Yes, let’s just blame the Devil and we will never have to take responsibility for anything that happens to our children. Because it’s all just a big mystery.

      Let’s not critically think about it or analyze our own behavior because the way it all works, now, gays are bad and straights are good and the way that gays stop being condemned is that they just stop being gay. Which happens magically through the Holy Spirit, even though no one’s ever met a gay man or woman who’s actually Christian and as a result of giving their lives to Jesus, became straight.

      Praise God indeed for his mercy but for the mercy we’ve no idea He bestows on those of us who remain so profoundly lazy in your thinking and so cowardly as it relates to your own self-examination.

    • cat rennolds

      Satan laughs when we point at him as the author of evil. It greatly pleases the Father of Lies when we blame him instead of looking inward and upward.

      The One Blameless Man, the one in whom there WAS no fault, never once said, hey, it’s not on me, Satan did it. If He was willing to take ALL blame on himself so that he could CURE it, what are his followers meant to do?

      • Diana A.

        Thank you, Cat. This is so true.

      • Christy

        Brilliant! and lovely.

  • http://a-bright-blog.blogspot.com/ Jason Bachand

    John, you’re taking quite a beating over at the Huffpo – but not from me and the usual atheist crowd, but biblical literalists. Rather surprising.

    You know I support your message and the cause. I support the right of consenting adults to love and marry whom they choose. I support the friends and family of this poor young man. And I support compassion­, kindness, and intelligen­ce.

    But I do not your take on this issue as a Christian one (which should come as no surprise). As a rationalis­t, I see no reason why the solution to superstiti­on and supernatur­alism should be more of both, albeit a little nicer. Scientific reason is the best hope for a more just future – aren’t you tired of arguing with these right wing types over biblical passages and different perspectives on theology? It never ends, and since neither side has evidence to disprove the other, it never will. The weight of scientific proof is a much better force for changing backwards ideas.

    • http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

      I’m not John, but let me beg to differ…

      People are tribal. People are into “whose in our group and who is out.” When it comes to Christians, arguing from an atheist perspective already makes you “out.” Some may listen to you, sure… but there are many more Christians who are only going to listen to “one of their own.” Period.

      You may wish that all people put away “dusty old books” and just “listened to Reason” and science. You may wish all people were as rational as you are. But you know what they say, “If wishes were horses…”

      (I’d *own* all the animals I clean up after at my job… anyway…)

      The FACTS are that some people will *not* listen to someone unless they come to them with Biblical scholarship. It doesn’t matter if you think people are dumb for basing their lives on a book (or book series, more accurately) written millenia ago, not everyone is “rational.” To these people (as idiotic as you think they may be) the Bible is the authority and takes precidence over everything else, including science.

      Sometimes, you have to step back and let people in the club deal with their own club members. You have no say. You’re not in the club. Sometimes, people have to fight fire with fire.

      While people like John are setting up the firebreaks, make sure that huge honking firehose you want to turn on it all isn’t hooked up to a tank of gasoline.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Jason: I’m always getting pounded on HuffPo—and always from the far left, and far right. So … no surprise there. And if think science will ever quantify matters of the heart and soul, you’re not the rationalist you think you are.

      • http://a-bright-blog.blogspot.com/ Jason Bachand

        Well John, that’s a much longer discussion – have you read Sam Harris’ “The Moral Landscape?” Worth a look if you have the time. I’ll keep reading your posts and posting here as long as I’m welcome. Our premises are utterly compatible, but our objectives are roughly the same – and I enjoy your writing.

    • DR

      Are you suggesting that John leave faith off of this discussion table entirely. I don’t understand why this would be something you would suggest a person of faith do…

      • http://a-bright-blog.blogspot.com/ Jason Bachand

        No, I was making a not-too-suble overture toward deconversion. :)

        • http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

          Be careful with that. It’s sweet that you think some of our minds are worth “saving,” but there’s a reason why people don’t like folks JW’s coming to their door… Just because it comes from the “other side” doesn’t mean people aren’t going to nod, smile and then close the door.

          • Diana A.

            Exactly.

        • DR

          Why would you do that if someone’s faith in God motivates them to do the right thing for people?

  • Alan

    Interesting that all these folks yammering on and on about how homosexuality is eeee-vul can’t go 3 sentences without discussing man-on-man sex on a blog post about a *teenager*.

    If gay people immediately started talking about gay sex in reference to the death of a teenage boy we’d be called all manner of horrible things, and deservedly so.

    When so-called Christians can’t seem to get their minds off mansex, even when discussing the death of a teenage boy, what do we call them? And why are we queers labeled the perverts?

    And can anyone explain to me why so-called Christian adults who themselves are protected from all sorts of negative behavior in the workplace by dozens of local, state and federal laws think that a single anti-bullying law to protect our children is a step too far? Silly me, I thought Christians were supposed to particularly care for the “least of these.”

    • DR

      Amen.

    • Dirk

      Nope, such protections aren’t for gays or the transgender.

      As many of these ‘good Christians’ here and on the Huffpost have already made clear, we deserve every horrid thing they do to us.

  • http://iwanttogetfitfast.com Kirk P

    There are plenty of people in this world who commit suicide, for reasons other than being gay. I believe God does not condone homosexuality. But that doesn’t mean that I judge others for being gay. It is their business just like my sin is my business, because God gave us all free will. We are all sinners; gay and straight alike. “He who is without sin deceives himself.” Also remember that tax collectors were sinful too, but Jesus still spent time preaching forgiveness and salvation to them, and eating with them. We are all God’s children and he loves us all the same. We all must do our best to do God’s will knowing that in the end, he is truly the one and only judge. Our job is to do our best to love our neighbors as ourselves and to preach the gospel of forgiveness to everyone. Let us all focus on that.

    • DR

      You saying “There are plenty of people who commit suicide” is like telling the Katrina victims “Listen there are tons of people who deal with floods every year, so we aren’t going to do anything to help you in any specific way and it’s not our fault that we aren’t acknowledging your uniquely dire circumstance right now.”

      Those of you who keep trying to change this subject ate ignoring the fact that this population of kids is the number 1 at risk group for suicide. It is an epidemic in this demographic and all you want to do is distance yourselves from what we are really talking about here- your role in this demographic’s collective despair- so you don’t have to face it.

  • ANonny

    Sorry, juvenile: the people with the blood on their hands are the people who told him that he was a precious snowflake and it doesn’t matter what he does, because if God loves him, he must be good already, and thus, whatever he chooses to do is fine.

    Well, that’s a big fat fucking lie: original sin means that all men have disordered desires (concupiscence is what we we usually call it), whether it’s to degenerate and disordered sex with men, women, or animals, or drugs, alcoholism, or a desire to ‘end it all’, rather than to have to admit your stupid, prideful faults.

    The problem with that lie in contradistinction to the truth (of a sinful mankind in need of salvation which has been made available through the Mediator, Jesus) is that if you believe the lie, you never learn to practice the actual virtues, which is an excellent way to fall into vice – and ultimately wind up running headlong into hell, as you flee the God of Goodness.

    May God have mercy on this poor fool’s soul, and especially on the rest of the synagogue of Satan who preaches evil by denying the truth. Their body count – including those murdered via abortion – continues to climb by the millions a year.

    • Dirk

      OK, this has to be the most vicious, brutally nasty lie posted by the conservative Christians here yet.

      You all but countenance our murder, rape, beating and torture.

      What a sterling example of Christianity you are.

      Hmm, have you forwarded this little gem to the poor child’s parents, yet?

      • Maggie

        Wow – are you a seminary student with such big fancy words and no heart at all? Actually, yes, he was a precious person and was good already. People like you have his blood on your hands.

    • DR

      You creepy, abusive, broken souls who undoubtedly grew up in miserable, dysfunctional, loveless families have hijacked the church as a means to escape from your reality. Thankfully you are on the way out of our beautiful, beloved Church. Enjoy your last few years before you’re way of believing and behaving is remembered as just another horribly awful, evil black blot on the Body of Christ. You really don’t have much power anymore, we need to protect children like Jamey from you but that is happening now. We should be ashamed of letting you have this much power for so long. But your time is up. I can’t even imagine how miserable you are. God have mercy on you. You are utterly broken and alone.

      • Stephie

        Our God is a jealous God… Jesus showed us how to live peacefully while on earth… but when he comes back – WATCH OUT!

        • C

          Stephie, are you referring to the Battle of Armageddon? Where in the future it is believed by some Christians, Jesus will lead an army that will wipe out all unbelievers?

          • Lissy

            SO does not resonate with Jesus of the Gospel.

        • Christy

          Actually, if you look at the original text, the word that was translated into jealous in English means something more closely akin to…..passionate. Our God is a passionate God. Who loves us tirelessly and endlessly and unconditionally. That’s quite a different and more beautiful thing than a jealous God. Don’t you think?

    • Diana A.

      Wow, what a lovely human being you turned out to be. If I thought you were a paragon of Christianity, I’d turn and run from it as fast as my little feet could carry me.

    • David

      @ ANonny – you are a frightening soul. I’m not sure if replying to you makes any sense, because you seem to be so out of touch with your own humanity, and reality in general.

      We are talking about a 14 year old boy. We know nothing about his actual inner “sinfulness” in regard to sexuality. At 14 he may have had crushes and sexual feelings for other boys, but I’m disgusted by your implication that this child had “degenerate and disordered sex” with anyone. In this crazy world it’s possible, but until I hear in the media that he was molested, I’m going with his own assertion that he was one of the millions of young people who realize at puberty that they are gay.

      What is far more likely, and happens every day, and happened to me, is that because he in some way “different” – as gay males sometimes are – he suffered daily torture at the hands of classmates. That torture is soul-killing.

      Don’t blame the victim, blame the perpetrators.

    • Mindy

      You, and those like you, who spew this demented hate in God’s name, are the lowest of the low. Your comment sickens me to the point I can’t really put together a coherent response. How dare you speak of a lost 14-yr.-0ld child this way? How DARE you take the name of God and use it for your own vile, bigoted, hateful purposes?

      I pity you. What a miserable life you must lead. But more, I pity anyone unfortunate enough to be hurt by your hate.

    • Lissy

      To others so much must mean you hate yourself even more. I feel extremely sorry for you.

      • Lissy

        *to hate others*

  • Maggie

    Wow John, you really started a shitstorm with this one, but God bless for starting the conversation and pointing out the emperor has no clothes!

  • Soulmentor

    I hope my sister is seeing all this. I may never know because she won’t communicate with me anymore about anything substantive because I challenge her rote religious prattle with more knowledge of her religion than she has.

    After centuries of having the social power, they aren’t accustomed to being challenged and now resort to playing the victim and feeling persecuted simply because we are finally talking back instead of meekly bowing to their righteousness. Worse yet, we are talking back with knowledge, the bane of blind faith that can’t abide scrutiny.

    • Christy

      Soulmentor, I was with a friend las night who insightfully said this:

      When we grew up in a house filled with shaming, as adults we respond to any suggestion or input as criticism…..no matter how it is presented. And we respond by getting defensive and feeling attacked and criticized. It feels like the paradigm we grew up with, reinforcing the “We aren’t good” lie.

      I see this in my own situation. Those of us who have gone through a crisis that required us to re-examine what was true about our past and confront it and rip off the false veneer of what we thought it was (our rearing) and see it for what it really was: pain, abuse, toxic environment, absent unconditional love, dysfunctional, wrought with unhealthy people/thinking/communication and how that influenced our incorrect self-concept of worthlessness and shame, know that the lies we were told about us as children and the lies we believed about ourselves as adults aren’t true. And we’ve grieved that. And some have even progressed enough to let go…..and move forward and make emotional and spiritual progress…..to get unstuck……of living in blindness about what is true and what is not about ourselves and about others. Yet, so many have not yet had the courage to peel back the veneer of their lives. And I understand; it is a painful process and hard, difficult work. But when you do and you face the truth……this truth does set you free.

      I asked my therapist friend once how, as a therapist, she didn’t feel overwhelmed by recognizing the suffering and the need of so many people who could benefit from therapy. She said, “It’s difficult to see people choose to stay in their pain. But I can’t help them if they aren’t ready.”

      Love to you and all that you and so many others have been through…..and love to those who still aren’t ready…..may they one day awaken.

    • OneOfTheWatchers

      Soulmentor, That’s ironic! After ten years of listening to MY sister’s self-righteous, I’m finally speaking out and she’s crying ‘foul’. I know exactly how you feel.

      • Soulmentor

        Here is a relevant part of an email I sent to her after my above comment:

        “I know you aren’t wanting this or talking to me about it anymore, but I want you to see this cause I don’t know your thinking anymore…..unless it hasn’t changed. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2011/09/20/christians-and-the-blood-of-jamey-rodemeyer/comment-page-1/#comment-92201 This man says what I’ve been trying to get across and so much better than me. He is what is becoming known as a Progressive Christian. I regard it as the Spirit of God working among us.

        And by the way, I think of yesterday and the repeal of DADT in the same way. Today, America feels better. ”

        Her response was an obvious cop-out and gave me my answer:

        “I really have not been going to many websites that people send me because I seem to pick up so many viruses, so I avoid them if possible. My thinking has not changed.”

        Why do I suspect she has not problem going to “Christian” web sites? I guess God zaps the viruses before she gets there. So she is clearly making no attempt at intellectual honesty. She apparently has adopted my mother’s response to my similar efforts with her when I offered to learn and share with her. “There is nothing to learn and share”, my mother told me in a letter. She died never giving herself a chance to suspect I might not actually be going to hell.

        Sorry, John. I’ve failed to get her to your site, but I know you totally understand. “You can lead a horse to water……..”

        There are none so blind as those who WILL NOT see.

        • Allie

          Ugh, that must be frustrating. All you can do is keep trying and hope for grace to bonk her on the head. Worked for Paul, and he was a nasty one.

          Although it’s more than likely an excuse, re: your sister’s virus problem, a little program called NoScript prevents most viruses that you might get from visiting websites. All it does it turn off java scripts and let you turn on just the ones you want as you need them.

  • Josh

    Tolerance does not include tolerating intolerance as that would negate tolerance to begin with.

    Viewing gay people as inherently bad does lead to hate crimes against gays and to gays being bullied to the point of suicide in schools.

    Homophobia comes from religion. A bigoted religious position is still bigoted.

    • Brian W

      It doesn’t come from religion, it originates from a sinful heart

      • Christy

        It would be worthwhile endeavor to spend some time pursuing that train of thought further.

      • Mindy

        Brian, you know better. I KNOW you know better. Admit it.

  • http://mjamesg.blogspot.com/ Mike Golch

    Yes God did create everyone in his image,GAYS STRAIGHTS AND LESBIANS AND TRANSGENDERS as well.

    • Brian W

      Pedophiles too?

      • DR

        Wow.

        Brian, you just put pedophiles in the same gay men and women. What a sick, repulsive comment. Truly. It’s sick, this comment makes me sick to my stomach.

        Next time you whine about people being “mean” to you, remember what you just said to probably thousands of gay Christians who are reading this. This is such an act of aggression toward the GLBT community, I’m stunned that you’d say this. Part of me was holding out that you were somewhere inside of you, a nice guy who is just very, very insecure and confused but this erases any chance of anyone seeing you like that. And you did this to yourself.

        • Brian W

          No I’m not putting pedophiles in with gay men and woman. Mike commented that God created people gay and I asked if God created pedophiles. Just asking a simple question. I do not think LGBT people are evil and they are no more or no less a sinner than myself, nor do I claim that gays can not be truly used greatly by God and can be fine Christian people.

          • DR

            I don’t believe you. This is not a “simple question”, you just caught in perhaps, revealing something about yourself that you may not have wanted others to see. There would be no purpose in your question, other than to draw the correlation that being gay is as sinful as pedophilia. You’re carefully worded response doesn’t negate your original question. You busted yourself, Brian, it doesn’t matter how many words you try to weave around what you just did.

          • DR

            If I’m wrong, then explain the reason why you asked the question and the point you were trying to make.

          • Brian W

            I’m not trying to make a point, I’m trying to learn. For example God creates people with ADD, multiple personality disorder, pyromania, kleptomania and a whole range of other issues. Because they were created that way, does it make it normal? That is the question that probably deep down most Christians (and non “pro-gay” non-religious people) grapple with, honestly, concerning homosexuity. If it is truly a biological (i.e.

            genetic / hormonal) is it normal or abnormal. I, for example, have abnormal eye-sight (extremely near-sighted) and as such there are certain jobs I would not be qualified for. I really do want to learn, I have ordered some of the books recommended by others, I have read much more on the web sites others recommended too. Be patient I have over 30 years of “disinformation” I have to unlearn and/or critically analyze more thoroughly.

          • DR

            OK. Thanks for explaining. I’m sorry I jumped down your throat, I will take your word for it, I’ll try to be more patient (people who worked with me were very patient) and I’ll try to react with less anger, I applaud you for sticking around and asking honest questions.

            All of the things that you’ve pointed out – pyromania for example, kleptomania – all of these things humans seem to be “born” with also lead to behavioral fruit that is damaging – sinful behavior. Pyromania sets fires and destroys property and takes lives. Kleptomania leads people to steal. These are things we may be born with as a result of original sin, it seems likely.

            The difference of being “born” gay is that being gay doesn’t lead to sinful behavior (let’s just stay away from the definition of gay sex as being sinful). If you note the examples of the gay people on this forum, they for the most part have loving, committed partners who stabilize their lives. Many are Christian. The orientation that they are born with doesn’t lead to damage. It’s a myth that’s been widely accepted that there’s some kind of specific sexual promiscuity, we as straight people are having just as many problems with using sex in ways that damage us too. Sex that is sheerly rooted out of lust and greed and power is a universal issue.

            Does that make sense?

          • Christy

            Firstly: ADD doesn’t belong among any of the others that you listed.

            Secondly: Mental illnesses are diverse, usually resulting from a combination of nurture and nature, environment and chemistry and DNA, or are a manifestation of another contributing health issue or can be situational or idiopathic. Many types are born out of the mind’s (albeit often unhealthy) coping mechanisms for dealing with unresolved internal pain and conflict. In avoiding confrontation and directly dealing with the pain of our reality, an alternative reality is created in our mind under which we live. When this unreality becomes too cumbersome, it interferes with life.

            Thirdly: At their heart, the Ten Commandments and Jesus’ Greatest Commandment deal with putting God and others before ourselves. Sin is about selfishness…..and the harm that comes from our selfishness. Wherever sin is mentioned one can usually replace it with “ego” or the concept of ego: self-centeredness. And wherever God or the Divine is mentioned one can usually replace it with “love” or the concept of “compassion” – selfless, unconditional love.

            People fall in love with people. Within that concept, whether heterosexual or homosexual, there is not sin. There is not selfishness. There is no harm to the other.

            Lastly: I take issue with the phrase “God creates people with….” Let’s neither blame nor give God direct credit for what ails us. God does not create people with cancer, nor does God allow people to get cancer. Cancer happens. God does not create people with depression nor allow people to get depression. Depression happens… because we are human.

            Because of our humanity/sin/ego/selfishness bad things happen. God is not the author of our pain and suffering no matter the type of pain and suffering.

            I referenced this quote earlier elsewhere on this thread from Mother Teresa: “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

          • Soulmentor

            Dr and Brian….it seems to me that much of the reason for all this issue conflict goes all the way back to the possibly erroneous idea that God created everyone as they are. For heaven’s sake, examine that premise. Of course, a loving ANTHROPOMORPHIC god would not create mistakes. Only by thinking of God as a Cosmic disinterested creative force like that which destroys whole galaxies in super novas could one believe that God creates mistakes, then makes changes, like the dinosaurs maybe. But mistakes exist, so what does that say about that notion of what God does and does not create ? This and similar discussions are everywhere riddled with this repeating tape running thru Christian minds. We come to these religious/social discussions from an erroneous premise. COULD GOD’S METHOD OF CREATION BE EVOLUTION? Simply to ask the question presents us with a different perspective on human life.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            Brian: qualifying these kinds of conditional variants as normal or abnormal serves (for this conversation, at least) no purpose. Our relevant consideration about any given innate/God-given condition is to what degree it necessarily compromises quality of life: how big a challenge is it to overcome; what kind of obstacles does it present to an enjoyable or fulfilling life experience. If you have ADD, schizophrenia, one lung, bad kidneys, etc., etc., you’ve got yourself a challenge. You can win over that challenge, of course. But you’re going into the game (often literally, insofar as this conversation goes) handicapped.

            Being gay isn’t a handicap, at all-–outside of the one of having other people think it is. All the other kinds of conditions to which we’ve referred are actual, real, objective problems: people with bad hearts don’t get to run and play (as much) ; people in wheelchairs do have deal with all the places they can’t access; the blind are living without an extremely valuable asset. Those are real problems. Being gay, in and of itself, isn’t any kind of problem in any way at all. All the problems associated with being gay come from outside the gay person: they all come from other people believing being gay is wrong or evil. There’s nothing wrong with being the smallest in the litter: the smallest … I don’t know … lion cub, or whatever, is perfectly happy and sound. The problem comes when, because of its size, it starts being denied food, or … left out for the hawks to get, or whatever.

            There’s nothing wrong with being gay–beyond that it rouses in so many people all kinds of hostility and anger. Then it’s a problem. But not before. Not in and of itself.

          • Brian W

            DR and John,

            With a moist eye, thank-you both for answers with substance that I can deeply muse on.

          • DR

            Listen, you’ve stayed in these conversations like a champ. I know you’ve been yelled at, you’ve been called names and a lot of us have lost our temper with you. That you’re still here trying to figure this out is so encouraging, Brian. You’re an important part of our community here. I know you’re trying the best you can, we all are. Much love to you. Let’s keep working it out together, this is really hard stuff (and I’m learning from you too).

          • Diana A.

            Yes, I agree with DR. Thank you for your patience with us and your willingness to stick it out.

          • Christy

            I care very much about you, Brian, your happiness, and your well-being. I have been driven to frustration; this is true. But always, I come back to truly caring about you.

          • cat rennolds

            oh, and I’m in a hurry chasing a baby. But I’m sorry I blew up yesterday. Or whenever it was. I’ve had no sleep for almost 3 nights now. I should not type on mania and sleep deprivation.

            Keep on keepin’ on.

          • Soulmentor

            It’s ok, Brian. It really is so long as you come to understanding of yourself and what is really happening in your heart and mind. Note, I did not say “so long as you come to agreement with us”. Getting you to agree with us is not our goal. The goal for John and all of us (may I presume?), is to get someone like you to THINK about what is on that tape that has been looping so long thru your mind and the pain that has been causing, not only to gays and lesbians, but to society and to yourself, and indeed, to your faith.

            Welcome to the beginning of a stronger, more loving Faith, Brian.

          • Allie

            Well… being gay does make it impossible to conceive children with one’s preferred partner. Apart from that, I agree with everything you said.

            I can follow Brian’s point about pedophiles, and he has a point mainly because many of us here defending homosexuality have been sloppy in our arguments. Homosexuality is not a sin not just because it’s not a choice but also because IT DOESN’T HURT ANYONE. I used to be a CASA working with abused children. I have met many pedophiles who, as far as I could tell, wished sincerely not to be attracted to children. I don’t believe they were “born that way,” but at some point in their lives, they gained a fixation they could not overcome. They did have a choice not to ACT on their attraction – but as fundies are fond of pointing out, gay people also have that choice. So what’s wrong with the fundie argument that homosexuals should live in celibacy?

            Well, the difference is that unlike pedophilia, gay sex between consenting adults doesn’t hurt anyone. It makes the participants happy. Even more importantly, living without love makes people unhappy. Jesus was absolutely clear that when there is a conflict between ceremonial law and human happiness, the human happiness takes precedent. He made no other point so often and so clearly as he made this one: the laws of God are the laws of a loving father. They are an operating manual for how to be a human being. When specific circumstances make observing those laws harm people, the people are more important than the law. If a man – or even a sheep – needs saved on the Sabbath, that’s more important than keeping the Sabbath. If a man is hungry and wants to pluck corn to eat on the Sabbath, that’s more important than keeping the Sabbath. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. And Jesus extends this to all law – all the law and all the prophets, he says, can be derived from the two great laws, to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. Any time someone tells you something is God’s law and it contradicts one of those laws, that person is telling you about man’s law, not God’s law.

          • Dirk

            Well put.

            I have always felt that the major weakness of the conservative Christian argument that pedophilia and homosexual behavior are one in the same is the question of consent.

            A child is not capable of reasoned consent. Thus, any sexual handling with a child, even when that child has said ‘OK’ is still an act of violation. The child – or boxturtle, dog or napkin (or was it paper towel?) is incapable of consenting.

            Of course, as is always the case with conservative Christians, there is a second level to their lies here. Medical science has long since established that nearly all pedophiles are heterosexual men.

          • Neo

            So, to be consistent, would you also argue that consensual premarital (straight) sex is OK? If so, that’s another area where you would tend to disagree with most conservative Christians.

            (Full disclosure: I’m bi, but have concluded that sex is only appropriate in heterosexual marriage. I already believe that homosexual relationships can be loving, committed, and non-dysfunctional, and would love to believe they are God-honoring, but reading both sides of the scholarly debate has not allowed me to come to that conclusion. That leads to all sorts of difficult issues when it comes to people not attracted to their own sex. The short version is that I believe they’re called to give and receive love in exclusively non-sexual ways in the context of Christian community, but a lot of Christian communities have a long way to go to do a good job of that. I have the same belief about heterosexuals who for whatever reason don’t find Christian marriage partners.)

          • Dirk

            Neo,

            I confess to being curious. How can someone disciplined in the real sciences (oops, I mean ‘trained in the natural sciences) come to such a conclusion as ‘sex is only appropriate in heterosexual marriage?’

          • Neo

            Dirk,

            It comes almost directly from believing that the Bible is authoritative when properly understood. Studying arguments from both sides, I’ve found the arguments for sex only in marriage to be more persuasive than the “as long as it’s consensual and doesn’t harm anyone” ones.

            What part of my being in a technical discipline (I didn’t say “science” – there are other technical disciplines like mathematics, statistics, computer science, and engineering that are closely related to the sciences but that I wouldn’t directly classify as “natural sciences” like chemistry, biology, and physics) makes you think I couldn’t come to such a conclusion?

            Is it a question of how I am a Christian in the first place, given my education? I don’t actually believe that the Bible, properly interpreted, and the scientific findings, properly interpreted, really conflict. But that gets into all sorts of issues that would be hijacking this thread to discuss in depth. (I’m not your typical “fundamentalist” in a lot of ways – for example, I’ve looked at enough of the evidence to conclude that the universe is pretty clearly billions of years old, not thousands.) And of course the whole “why be a Christian in the first place” is a big question that I could summarize my answer to here, but that would itself be a big post and wouldn’t address everything.

            Or is it the issue of homosexuality in the animal kingdom? The thing is, I don’t think animal sexual behavior should be normative for people. Many species are not monogamous, but I believe people are to be monogamous. There even exist species where the female kills the male after mating – we would never consider that behavior acceptable for a human woman. So we have to look somewhere other than animal behavior to determine what is moral for people, and my understanding comes from what I understand about the Bible.

            I will point out that when the question changes from “what is moral” to “what should the government enforce,” my philosophy is much more in line with the “no-harm principle.” I don’t think the government should be the sexual morality police, and I believe that meaningful religious freedom means freedom for people that I disagree with, including denominations that celebrate same-sex marriages.

          • Allie

            Neo (sorry but postings have gotten so nested that I can’t reply under your post) – my feelings on premarital sex are mixed, and still evolving. The issue is not, however, whether it’s “wrong” in some theoretical way, but whether it harms, or is likely to harm, the people who participate in it. And the answer is, well, yeah, a lot of the time it does. But a lot of the time marriages go bad too. And a lot of premarital sex is joyful and, as far as I can see, blessed.

            The laws of the Bible were written before any reliable means of birth control. What the Bible says and what Jesus said about premarital sex can’t be divorced from reproduction. And casual reproduction is not a good thing. It’s impossible to know what Jesus would have said about sexual conduct in the era of the pill.

          • Christy

            Allie and Neo, from Biblical scholarship and historical study there’s actually a school of thought on this that believes the laws about adultery had much to do with cultural Jewish law regarding property, contractual agreements, and inheritance. So, adultery (cheating on one’s spouse) did all of these things: broke a contract, defiled another man’s property, and, in the era before DNA testing and birth control, put inheritance validity at risk. Jewish law said that men only had a financial obligation to their legitimate children. Illegitimate ones – not so much (see Ishmael). So, if your wife cheated on you, there was no way to tell if the resulting pregnancy was really your child or the other man’s. Stoning adulterous women solved the problem of being unsure of the paternity of your children and the resulting possibility of having to divide one’s property among children that weren’t really yours. Thus also the importance of marrying a virgin. Morals? or money? You be the judge. Nowhere, that I am aware of, does it say in scripture that the man had to be a virgin at marriage.

          • cat rennolds

            the nesting thing again – I’m actually responding to Allie, Neo, and Christy on reproductive morals.

            The thing about heterosex, marital or otherwise, is this: No matter how careful you are, pill, condoms, rhythm, withdrawal, avoiding intercourse, NOTHING is 100% at preventing pregnancy. So never sleep with anybody you wouldn’t want to spend the rest of your life with. whether you marry them or not, if you co-parent children, that’s a permanent commitment. At least, best case, it should be.

            Where love and not just property and inheritance law comes into it is, if there’s no legally enforceable commitment between people who sleep together, you run the risk of damaging any children you do have. Emotionally, socially, financially. That commitment before the community slows you down enough to think before disrupting the lives of small people who don’t understand why Daddy doesn’t live here anymore. I don’t know what research shows about the effects of divorce on kids, but I know from personal experience it ain’t pretty, and it’s lasting. Not judging people who choose divorce; it might be the least possible evil. Just saying, there’s more than legalese going on with this.

            Where this applies to LGBT, by the way, is that if you have kids, and you have a committed partner, and then break up, doesn’t matter whose kids they are, it hurts.

          • Dirk

            Brian,

            There is a strong scientific argument to be made for the existence of male homosexuality across all high-level mammals.

            It has been shown in independent, peer-reviewed, properly documented and properly repeated studies that those lions/wolves/dolphins/humans who have more of their offspring live to the age of reproduction also have gay relations on hand.

            The same relationship, by the by, which is found holds true for families with a grandmother around.

            All your comparisons are to genetic defects. There are only three types of genetic variation from the norm. Those variations which do not increase survival of the species (not the individual, the species). Those which have no effect on survival of the species. Those which lead to a higher survival rate of the species.

            And that’s the one and only set of criteria which Mother Nature applies.

            We gays advance the survival of the species, thus we are permitted to continue to be born into each generation.

            Your previous comments lead me to believe your knowledge of genetics is limited, if not, in fact, constrained by the misapprehensions of the 19th century.

            Gay men do not pass on the ‘gay gene’ (nor is there any one single such gene, goodness, we just recently had to throw out the entire ‘certain knowledge’ of the double-recessive blue eyed ‘gene’).

            The ability to have a gay male child is determined through a complex series of interactions which play out in some, but not all women. For those women capable of having gay sons, there is a statistically relevant and demonstrably higher rate of their heterosexual offspring attaining reproductive age.

            Period.

            I’m overjoyed that you are open to learning.

            Given the appalling death of Jamey Rodemeyer (buried today by the very church which actively agitated and agitates towards our torture), I think all conservative Christians need to stop and look at the blood on their hands. They may pretend it isn’t there, but God knows. As he notes the falling of a sparrow, ‘even’ us gays and lesbians and the transgender matter to Him.

            There will be a reckoning at the end.

          • Soulmentor

            I saw on MSNBC this morning that even now, even in Jamey’s death, the bullies at his school persist in their appallingly hateful verbal outrages. His sister was driven home in tears from a dance by those who were expressing that it was good he was dead.

            One can only look on in dismayed wonder.

          • Diana A.

            Pure evil. Those bullies need to be expelled.

          • cat rennolds

            Point one. Normal is an imaginary line, a mathematic word for average. It’s by definition ABNORMAL for humans to be gay. Anything that only affects 10% of a population is not the norm for that population. Bear with me guys, I’m bi, so I’m supposedly more abnormal than any of you at 1%, except the transgendered. But just because something is rare does not make it unnatural or dysfunctional. It doesn’t make it wrong. Diamonds are rare too. And there is only one Christ. Jesus was NOT normal.

            DR’s handled point two, that sexual orientation, unlike the rest of these things, is not a disorder. Being born gay is more like being born short, or blond, or a twin. can be good or bad, depending.

            Physical disorders? like being born blind, or with one short leg? So what? It’s just a body. You rise to the challenge, we help each other, we work around it. But if you’d been taught all your life that having six fingers on one hand meant that Satan was your father and your mother was a witch, (which was believed in the Dark Ages, mind you) you’d think THAT was abomination, too, but we know better now.

            Inborn, organic mental disorders like schizophrenia (not dissociative personality, which is acquired) I think really just need to have spaces made for them in our culture where they can contribute without shame or fear. it’s not crazy to hear voices, it’s crazy to tell the doctor you hear voices:) What makes them so awful is that people don’t understand them, they get scared and isolated. Aboriginal peoples, for example, quite often turned their madmen and idiots into priests or shamans, and the entire tribe would care for them, and take inspiration from their apparently nonsensical behavior. We could let bipolar people work for 2 weeks straight and then sleep for a week, for example:) (hint, hint).

            Point 3: Most human disorders, physical, mental, emotional, come from a POSITIVE trait in the wrong place and time, or one that has been warped or broken into something dangerous and harmful. Cancer is growth and healing gone wild, fire really is beautiful to watch, and ADD is a very useful condition to have if you are a hunter-gatherer looking for dinner or standing watch over your tribe at night. You never miss a noise or a wiggle in the grass. Not so much in public school or corporate America.

            Point 4: did God make them that way?

            God made the WORLD. People included. He made mosquitoes, viruses, plagues, famines, physical diseases and suffering and disasters of all kinds. But when we love and are loved, when we are not AFRAID, when we trust in God and take care of each other, pain is just pain and death is just death, and disasters are something you grieve a while for and then get over. It happens, we don’t like it, it isn’t fun, but it’s not evil, and it’s not soul-destroying.

            But when you are talking about emotional disorders like multiple personality, where a person has suffered so much horror and emotional suffering that they have to create different personalities to deal with it all, or kleptomania, where the person is stealing to deal with inner emotional pain, or pyromania, where they are destroying outward things, or teen suicides or cutting behavior, or alcoholism or gambling, it’s rarely due to a single act of God. Genes may contribute, but when people are abused or neglected or trained to worthlessness, it’s somebody’s free will imposed on somebody else’s. or somebody misusing their own free will on themselves. or somebody not helping when they could.

            and God didn’t make them that way.

          • Dirk

            Well put.

            By the way, even the Americans are finally beginning to admit that the ’1%’ nonsense is totally wrong.

            There is a wide variation in the assessment of how many of us are not heterosexual and not bisexual. Real scientists currently place the number at not lower than 7% and not higher than 11%.

            That extraordinarily weak social studies project out of California placed the number at 4%, but, as with all non-hard sciences, that’s just a piece of literature research.

            Do our numbers matter? To mother nature, obviously. Now that it has been established that children born into families with gay males have a higher survival rate than those born into exclusively heterosexual families, I think it is time for the conservative Christians to accept that we are a positive piece of nature.

            Then again, they reject global warming, a round earth, the heliocentric view of the universe and actually ‘know’ the earth is less than 5,000 years old.

            Sigh.

          • cat rennolds

            Thanks. I was actually quoting the last number I saw YOU use – my personal experience gives me different numbers. And I’ve lived in two countries and eight states, seventeen different schools and I’ve lost track of the towns, so my sample is a little broader than most people’s.

            The biggest problem in the research is self-reporting. We have no idea how many are unreported because they’re in denial or in the closet.

          • Lissy

            I call “BS” on all your questions. I’ve looked at the wording you use. I hope I am wrong.

            “non “pro-gay””, “it originates from a sinful heart”, equating pedophilia with homosexuality, the “celibate pedophile”.

            I truly hope I am wrong. But I call BS. And I do not do that lightly.

          • Mindy

            Then search your heart and mind and figure out why you asked that question when you asked that question. If God made man, God made all men. Pedophilia is a mental illness that causes an adult to VICTIMIZE a child for power and control. It is not an orientation, it is not a state of being. Your true colors keep showing, Brian.

          • Brian W

            Ok what about a celibate pedophile? A person with a sexual attraction to kids, but they don’t act on it, are they still a pedophile? If so, did God make them that way?

          • DR

            What is the purpose of you bringing up pedophilia in a conversation about homosexuality?

            A pedophile is a rapist. A “celibate” pedophile is one whose mind no longer wants to commit violent acts with children using sexuality and pedophilia has no scientific cure. They can only be kept from children.

          • Christy

            It is still, at its heart, about power and not about sex.

          • Dirk

            Precisely. I don’t see Brian or any of the other conservative Christians here arguing that heterosexual men are debased.

            And yet, nearly all pedophiles and virtually all those who rape women are heterosexual men.

            The lies of the conservative Christians get more and more outrageous with each passing month. They know that they are losing the battle, their days of raping, beating, torturing, murdering us are numbered.

            Unless, of course, we lose the presidency and senate to them in 2012. Then, they will see to it that the supreme court is packed with more Scalias. Can you say Nazi Germany redux? Sure you can.

      • Diana A.

        Yes, pedophiles too, though the pedophilia is not part of God’s character.

        Pedophilia is a form of rape. Rape is not about sex, it’s about power. In rape, sex is used as a weapon. The most common form of pedophilia is adult male against female child. The next most common form is adult male against male child. The least common forms are adult females against male or female children.

        To associate rape (whether the rape of children or the rape of adults) with the GLBT community is slanderous and libelous (depending upon whether you are speaking or writing.) GLBT’s are no more likely to be pedophiles than heterosexuals. You would do well to educate yourself on this issue rather than sticking with your stereotypes and prejudices.

        • Christy

          Amen and amen.

          Diana speaks the truth. As a medical professional, I affirm her assessment.

          Brian, please consider reading the books I listed elsewhere on this thread: “How to Love” and “Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart” by Gordon Livingston and “The Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck or other mainstream books about the essence of healthy communication and relationships.

          • Christy

            Brian, here http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2011/09/20/christians-and-the-blood-of-jamey-rodemeyer/comment-page-2/#comment-93407, you said: “What a person says or writes is a reflection of their heart,”

            Yes, you are correct.

          • Dirk

            The FBI has kept careful records on pedophiles. The records were collected in the certainty that they would show that gays are pedophile, the FBI was not at all pleased to find out that the exact opposite situation holds.

            Averaged against share of the population, here are the safest and least safe people with whom to leave a vulnerable child:

            -German Shepard or similar ‘family’ breed

            Lesbian Woman

            Gay Man

            Straight Woman

            (The variance among these four is almost negligible and any stranger belonging to these groups may literally be trusted not to hurt a child).

            Then at a rate several hundreds of times greater than all the above, together:

            Straight Men.

            And still, that percentage is a tremendously small number of the entire population of straight men.

            Now, the Catholic church tried hard to pretend that all those child raping priests were also gay men. Finally, their own commission demanded that this lie no longer be repeated.

            It speaks volumes that so many Catholics in America still perpetuate the lie.

            Brian, comparing us to pedophiles is not only insulting, it is to bear false witness.

            Now, to your question. Did God create the pedophile? Yes, He did. Did He will the pedophile to rape? No, He did not.

            Which you very well know. I suspect this was the beginning of one of your straw-man arguments in which you try to say my near 30 year marriage of love, loyalty, trust, monogamy, commitment and being true is trash and vile while Newt Gingerich’s dumping cancer ridden wives on their death beds left and right is a good thing.

        • cat rennolds

          I think with a possible rare exception, people aren’t born pedophilic. I think they are very early twisted that way. That’s true pedophiles; people who are attracted to children because they have not themselves matured enough, because adult relationships are terrifying to them, because they can only be attracted to someone who can’t have any power over them. Someone they can control. The sin is in whoever twisted them that way in the first place…but they’re broken. yes, a celibate pedophile is without sin, but he’s probably also suicidal.

          I do distinguish between true pedophiles and people who are attracted to legal children who are physically adult. That’s a cultural distinction. It’s actually biologically healthy to be attracted to persons who have just come out of puberty. We don’t do it in this country and time, and it isn’t LEGAL, but it’s not pedophilia.

          • Diana A.

            Yes. I agree.

      • http://somaticstrength.wordpress.com somaticstrength

        And like conservative Christians do anything to protect kids from pedophiles, aside from massive victim-blaming and ignoring of the problem. Like pedophiles aren’t more comfortable in church than people who CONSENSUALLY have relationships with those of their own gender.

        This is where the “all sin is equal” thing is really gross and not elevates good things to some massive moral crisis, but also dismisses real crimes as not that bad.

        I do not want to be anywhere near your god or the people he accepts into heaven.

        And sorry for plugging my own blog, but I don’t feel like retyping the same argument. http://somaticstrength.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/dear-christians-your-god-needs-to-get-his-priorities-straight/

        • DR

          Honestly, no one could blame you for not wanting to get near someone who would actually equate being gay with pedophiles, any reasonable person would run the opposite direction (including me).

          I’m sorry we’ve not made our voice louder and we’ve not shut down those who make that suggestion. With exception of John and a few others, we’ve not countered that in a public, expansive and vocal way that would assure you that it’s something that comes from very fearful people encased in their own emotional and character issues. We’ve allow ourselves to be run over by this and we’re paying the price for that now.

          I’m so sorry you had to read that.

          • http://somaticstrength.wordpress.com somaticstrength

            I just find it incredibly disgusting of Christians who pull comparison of pedophiles and being gay when all it is is to have some “gotcha” moment, considering that as a group, conservative Christianity in no way takes a stand against it, and is actually quite willing to overlook it and let victims lives be destroyed for the sake of being able to keep their child molesting rapist friends.

          • Dirk

            You have to remember, somaticstrength, the overwhelming majority of American conservative Christians actively support torture.

            Why should they blink at raping, beating, murdering us gays when they think torture is a good thing?

          • Neo

            Dirk, do you have evidence for that claim? The overwhelming majority of conservative Christians I know don’t support torture. And the churches I’ve been a part of do tend to take measures to avoid molestation – for example, adding windows to doors and such.

            The vast majority of conservative Christians I know also would also oppose raping, beating, or murdering gays.

            Are you saying my experience has really been that atypical, despite having gone to a Christian college and been to churches of several different denominations in different regions of the US?

            I’m certainly not saying that people are perfect or have the appropriate attitude towards gays, but the claims you’re making are precisely the same form of slander that some of the more public anti-gay figures make towards gay people.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            “A whopping 62% of white evangelical Protestants think that torture is justified in most or many circumstances.”

            Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/progressiverevival/2009/05/mainline-protestants-americas.html#ixzz1ZAFn57CU

            http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1210/torture-opinion-religious-differences

            Adding windows to doors is a nice touch. So are federal background checks on anyone coming in contact with children, including and especially volunteers. But awareness and information and a “I know how molestation works and am telling all my friends about the signs and symptoms to look for” warning label is the best defense against child abuse in churches.

          • Christy

            Neo, those with a “God the stern judge/retributive justice/hell and damnation” view of religion are also more likely to support capital punishment and corporal punishment. The two go fit and fiddle.

            This disparate view of God is what distinguishes liberal from conservative religion and shapes not only our faith but our worldview – our politics: Grace vs. Punishment, Restorative vs. Punitive, Unconditional vs. Conditional love, God the long-suffering, forgiving, compassionate parent vs. God the wrathful, the vengeful, the jealous, the punisher. This, along with the idea of merit: Good people deserve to be treated well and bad people do not. Thus the Pat Robertson’s of the world who see natural disasters as punishment for bad behavior.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            “President Of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Says Death Penalty Is About Affirming The Sanctity Of Life”

            Read more:

            http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2011/09/23/327627/bapist-president-death-penalty-about-life/

          • Diana A.

            Mohler scares the cr@p out of me.

          • Neo

            Christy,

            Thanks for the reply. I hadn’t seen that Pew research study. I have to admit, I’m surprised those numbers are as large as they are. I guess that’s because torture isn’t a topic that has been discussed extensively in the Christian communities I’ve been a part of. I would assume that most people see it as a necessary evil in response to injustice (such as terrorism, which is when I’ve heard the issue brought up in political discussions), rather than something that is itself good. I suppose you could say that this view “supports torture,” so in that sense, I stand corrected. However, I’m not sure that Dirk’s claims in particular were fair. He claimed an “*overwhelming majority* *actively* support torture,” which I don’t believe to be true. Furthermore, his views about how conservative Christians want to treat gay people might apply to some, but not to most conservative Christians I know, especially the younger generation.

            Interesting thoughts on our view of God. I tend to think that seeing God as only one or the other misses things – He is both perfectly just (which means punishing sin) and perfectly merciful. He’s certainly given me grace I don’t deserve and shown Himself to be a loving father. I think a view of God as a taskmaster who loves conditionally leads to a horribly weak and insecure faith – I’ve talked to many people who have dealt with that themselves. On the other hand, I do believe the Old Testament to be the Word of God (although incomplete without the understanding brought by the New Testament), and there is a lot of discussion of God’s wrath towards injustice, and jealousy for the nation of Israel. These are hard to balance, but I don’t think that giving up on one aspect of God or the other is the solution.

            I don’t believe in the merit idea – the Bible is pretty clear that there are no good people, just sinners saved by grace.

          • Christy

            Contextually, Neo, torture isn’t an everyday topic of conversation around here either. It was, however, a huge topic during the Bush administration as its policies regarding the treatment of detainees and non-enemy combatants (so named to purposefully avoid granting them POW status which would have permitted them greater human and legal rights under the Geneva Convention, the UCMJ, the Rules of War, and the Army Field Manual) during the Iraq and Afghan Wars.

            It was notable that, at the time, those who were most outspoken against “enhanced interrogation techniques,” extraordinary rendition, and indefinite imprisonment were more left-leaning while those who were most outspoken in favor of it or who didn’t mind so much or didn’t see what the big deal was were more right-leaning within the religious community (and without). The more frequently one went to church and identified as a white Evangelical Christian (ie: Conservative Christians) the more likely they would be to be in favor of these policies including physical torture. The Left, both politically and religiously, were quick to point out that it seemed painfully obvious that this flew in the face of the teachings of Jesus, and, seeing as it was endorsed by the highest office in the land, by a President who had built a coalition of support for his election and for the war from the Religious Right by using familiar idioms like “wonder working power” and “crusade” and “evil-doers” in a not so subtle attempt to connect with his base and because that is simply who he is, was horribly inconsistent from the self-proclaimed “Pro-life Party.”

            The topic may have died down in the ensuing years around the water cooler, but with the recent release of Dick Cheney’s and Donald Rumsfeld’s memoirs **cough: revisionist history** and their recalcitrant unrepentant positions on prisoner treatment (which more and more evidence is pointing toward gross injustice and macabre, inhumane cruelty) and for which neither of them claims regret (though Cheney did recently say that he felt “embarrassed for his country” when America’s credit rating was downgraded following the debt ceiling debate, but on issues of torture – not so much. Which only reinforced the Left’s position that too many people in this country care more about money than people) the issue has recently resurfaced.

            When those who have been paying attention to and connecting the dots over a period of decades combine this with the recent GOP public debate debacles of audiences cheering for the death penalty, the death of an uninsured man, and booing for an active duty gay soldier, and everything else we talk about here on John Shore’s page……these are not viewed as individual isolated incidents, but as a pervasive mindset among a certain group of people……who happen to overlap with those who claim to be among the most religiously observant and claim to hold the capital T Truth on the only one right way to understanding Jesus and connecting with God. And those of us who are observing all this and follow Christ are unwilling to stand by silently any longer and allow them to have their cake and eat it too: claiming Jesus as their own but not acting like him. It is what author Robin R. Meyers calls: Saving Jesus from the Church.

          • http://somaticstrength.wordpress.com somaticstrength

            So is believing victims. So is not deciding that “forgiveness” means that you’re just going to ignore everything they’ve ever done. So is not keeping your children in the dark so that they’re perfectly ignorant enough to never be able to tell anyone what’s happening to them. So is not raising boys to think that they have a right any girl no matter what she wears or whether they think that’s causing them to “stumble.” So is realizing that this is a huge crime and that it is a huge part of Christian culture and if it’s that wide, asking yourself, “What am I doing to contribute to it?” which of course, I doubt any Christian would. Because it’s always “those other” Christians. So is not requiring a victim to repentant. So is not having a culture that makes a victim think she should repent or else god will never heal her (me). So is never saying to a victim that god allows these things for “growth and teaching.” So is never telling your daughter that she’s not allowed in the house with your son because she’ll make *him* uncomfortable with her inability to “let it go.”

            Most Christians I know are the biggest group of rape-enabling, victim-silencing and victim-blaming that it has ever been my displeasure to have been in the presence of, all the while they decry being gay because “OMG sexual sin.” They do not help victims, they do not care, except for caring about their precious rapist friends feelings.

          • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

            Somaticstrength, I can tell you know this first hand…..as do I. It is a crime. It is precisely the taboo nature of the topic of sex in the church which leads to the abuses and coverups of which you speak and too many have experienced. From Artemesia Genteleschi to Susanna and the Elders to Tina Anderson to my 13 year old friend and 8 yo relatives….patriarchal and paternalistic authoritarian institutions protect their own: men with power at the expense of the weak. We survivors must tell our stories so the truth is known.

            This One’s for the Girls

            http://leap-of-fate.com/?p=2420

          • http://somaticstrength.wordpress.com somaticstrength

            I tell my story on my blog. But it can be disheartening because silence isn’t just about not being able to talk. It’s also about not having anyone who listens; and I know a few people listen. And that’s how the church perpetuates silence; not just in making it so survivors can’t talk, but also by not listening when they do.

            This is my story: http://somaticstrength.wordpress.com/my-story/

          • Christy

            So telling. So familiar. So desperately wrong and despondently sad.

            I believe you, and I don’t know you and that is what hurts the most.

            There is a helpful book for daughters whose mothers weren’t there when they needed them: “Motherless Daughters” by Hope Edelman.

            The avoidance of dealing with suffering leads to so much more suffering and makes us miss out on encountering the wisdom that is waiting on the other side. It takes courage to face it head on. May we all find that courage. Blessings to you ss.

          • Neo

            Wow, some good thoughts on dealing with the issue of abuse here. I have to admit that I only know of one acquaintance who I know has been involved in child molestation. It seemed like his situation was handled well from what I could tell (professional help was certainly involved), but I wasn’t close enough to the situation to know or do much, and I didn’t know any of the victims at all.

            I do agree that people need to learn to respond more effectively, and talking about it is no doubt the way to do it. I think that not talking about the gay issue (from the perspective of actual non-heterosexual people) has really contributed to the sorry state of how that is handled, and I’m trying to do what I can to help break the silence there – talking about my own bisexual feelings with a growing group of friends and acquaintances, bringing people’s attention to resources on issues about anti-gay bullying, suicide, etc. (Things like http://slaggetyslagg.blogspot.com/2009/07/hopefully-well-crafted-sentences.html and http://disputedmutability.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/my-day-of-silence-2009-post-a-year-and-a-month-late/).

            So I’d like to see more people talking about other important issues like sexual abuse, and breaking the horrible silence there. Thanks so much to both of you for being vulnerable and sharing about your own experiences! The way a lot of the people you’re talking about have protected their own power, and ignored the victims, is clearly not Christian and grieves me. I hope that more people such as yourselves talking about it brings about a cultural change, where people can deal with these things in a redemptive way.

          • Neo

            Christy,

            True. I do think it’s worth pointing out, though, that a growing number of theologically conservative Christians, particularly among the younger generation, are separating from the right-wing Republican politics of their parents. When I speak of evangelical or “conservative” Christians, I’m thinking of people who believe the Bible to be authoritative, believe in a literal virgin birth and Resurrection, the necessity of the sacrifice of Jesus for our salvation, etc. Not all such people vote Republican, and even those who do don’t necessarily agree with things like torture of prisoners.

            Some of this may be from my perspective as a younger person (graduated from college a couple years ago). I have noticed that older generations of Christians seem more likely to be aligned to Republican politics.

          • Neo

            Sorry, that got attached to the wrong post. My bad.

          • Diana A.

            I think you’re right about this.

  • NS

    I”m fairly certain that I don’t believe in sinful souls, but I think Brian W has a point there about intolerance. (I have no idea where the earlier comment makes any sense.) Intolerance doesn’t emanate from religion, it emanates from people who fail to live up to the ideals of that religion.

    The trouble comes in the institutionalization of that intolerance, enshrined in communities that might otherwise truly practice loving their fellow neighbor.

    The trouble comes in through ignorance, which spreads as a distrust of information is mistakenly viewed as strength of faith.

    The trouble comes in when we would rather hurt others than admit the possibility that we have erred.

    And perhaps an unwillingness to admit error is the definition of a sinful soul.

    • Christy

      Thank you. Yes, this.

    • Diana A.

      Yes, I agree.

  • Maggie H

    What can we do to stop things like this from happening?

    • cat rennolds

      You stand up and shout about it. In church. In real life. Not just on the Internet.

      • Maggie H

        I am not currently attending a church. I just moved away from home to attend college. I have been attending the Baptist Collegiate Ministry here, but I’m a coward I guess. I’m scare of bringing the issue up. Ive gotten into many discussions with some of my Christian friends about this issue. I want to do more, but my fear gets in the way…

        • Simeon Beresford

          Find a church where you are not afraid to talk abut it. A church where you are afraid to talk is not your church.

          • Diana A.

            So true.

          • Maggie H

            Ah… Thank you. For some reason, I have never thought about it that way. I will do my best. :)

    • Soulmentor

      Next time your minster rants on about homosexuals, stand, shout your outrage, symbolically shake the dust from your feet, and walk out suggesting everyone familiarize themselves with Romans 13:10. Then maybe stand at the nave door, turn and look silently back and just stand there, not saying word, letting them squirm. Then walk out.

      • Maggie H

        That sounds wonderfully dramatic!

  • MdAlias

    I think it’s not just the Christians. Other religion too forbid being gay or lesbian or homosexual. What makes you think you have the right to change your sex gender? Are you saying God is blind and is to blame for bringing onto this world with a wrong sex gender?? Be content with yourself and people will respect you for it.

    • cat rennolds

      mostly the big 3: Jews, Christians and Muslims. others are now beginning to do so that did not originally do so.

      Is God to blame for making some people born with birth defects? Should we not do surgery to fix those either?

      • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

        Cat,

        We Christians have an answer better than surgery. We can pray.

        If we just pray, God guarantees that He’ll repair all birth defects. And if it isn’t happening, then we must not have faith. Keep praying.

        That is, after all, the approach that the church has. “Gosh, has it been decades and you still aren’t attracted to the opposite sex? Don’t blame God; clearly he wanted you to be single or he wouldn’t have made you gay. Otherwise, guess you aren’t praying hard enough. Now please go because I don’t want you around the children.”

        • Soulmentor

          I was so tempted to quit reading your comment half way. Glad i persevered thru the last paragraph. I was about getting ready to pounce.

    • Dirk

      Oh, well, then.

      Since all the neighbors have joined the Nazi party, I guess we should, too.

      Conservative Christians lost any claim to standing for ἀγάπη the day survey results revealed over 2/3 stood for torture.

      It doesn’t matter one bit what ‘all’ the others are doing. What counts is what you do.

      • vj

        “It doesn’t matter one bit what ‘all’ the others are doing. What counts is what you do.”

        THIS, really, should be on a bumper-sticker!

        • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

          I dunno… Elijah always went with what everyone else was doing. So did Jesus. God really respects conformity – especially religious conformity.

          • Dirk

            Oh, Timothy.

            Your sense of humor is wonderful.

            So sad that we are discussing the same problems after all these years.

            Not only has nothing changed, but it has gotten much worse in America.

            I figure the conservative Christians know they only have to win the 2012 elections and we have lost everything for decades to come.

          • Soulmentor

            ********Not only has nothing changed, but it has gotten much worse in America.*******

            Such hyperbolic generalizations are not helpful. Of course much has changed and that “worse” you are referring to is, hopefully, not an actual “worse”, but the death rattle of a dinosaur.

    • danielle

      Are you to say that God didn’t bring someone into the world precisely as they are because part of that soul’s journey is to become who they are on the inside? Who are you to claim to know the mind of God?

  • Lance Williams

    I think that politics is framing this discussion not religion. In truth the Bible is clear on two things specific to this discussion: 1. God loves everyone regardless of lifestyle choices. 2. The Gay/Lesbian lifestyle is not a good choice.

    Hating someone because they make a choice different than God’s best is wrong. Hurting someone because they make a choice different than God’s best is wrong.

    Hating someone because they point out a choice is different than God’s best is wrong. Hurting someone because they point out a choice is different than God’s best is wrong.

    It is time we get real about this issues and quit allowing politics to take place of common sense and real religious tolerance.

    • cat rennolds

      I appreciate your attempt at tolerance, but it would be worth more if it were based on truth and not ignorance.

      What, if anything, do you know about the “gay/lesbian lifestyle?” I mean, I’m not sure, but I don’t think an apartment, two jobs, two cars, three kids, a dog, church on Sunday and a 2-week vacation in the summer at Grandma’s house is particularly objectionable to the Lord, do you?

      Oh, wait, that’s not the gay lifestyle? then what did you mean? Did you mean the Hollywood lifestyle? Don’t have to be gay for that. The promiscuous, druggy, drinking, tattoo and leather lifestyle? Don’t have to be gay for that.

      What you MEAN is gay sex. and you’re basing “that’s not God’s best” on centuries of prejudice. Don’t quote me “The Verses,” I know them already, we ALL know them already and probably better than you do. They don’t mean what you have been taught they mean. Pray for the Spirit and read more about this before you judge what you do not know.

      John’s politics – if any;) – come from his Christianity and not the other way around.

    • DR

      Lance, many dispute your #2 conclusion and the certainty with which you claim it. That is actually the heart of the issue here, if Christianity has been wrong about this claim, we’ve devastated thousands of people. So no, it’s not that simple (though that would be lovely).

    • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

      I apply your principles to all my lifestyle warnings:

      The black lifestyle isn’t a good choice.

      The Jewish lifestyle isn’t a good choice.

      The women’s lifestyle isn’t a good choice.

      The Catholic lifestyle isn’t a good choice.

      The immigrant lifestyle isn’t a good choice.

      The Gay/Lesbian lifestyle isn’t a good choice.

      The Asian lifestyle isn’t a good choice.

      The disabled lifestyle isn’t a good choice.

      Yes, indeed, that all works about the same. And I feel extra-special holy for having brought it to your attention.

      • DR

        Yes. This.

      • Neo

        You’re lumping a bunch of different issues together here. Technically, the word “lifestyle” would seem to imply you’re talking about behaviors. I suppose each of the categories you listed has cultural norms associated with them, but Catholicism, Judaism (the religion), immigration, and homosexual practice involve choice and behavior, whereas being black, ethnically Jewish or Asian, a woman, disabled, or having a gay/lesbian orientation are traits that don’t imply any specific behavior (other than stereotypical cultural-type things.)

        So one could actually make claims about Judaism, Catholicism, immigration, or homosexual practice, and it’s in a different category than the other issues. Throwing them all out in one list confuses the issue.

        If your point was that Lance was already confusing the issue by ambiguously saying “gay/lesbian lifestyle,” then I agree with you. I just wish people would speak more precisely – Lance being almost as much at fault as you (although I could read between the lines and figure out that by “lifestyle” he meant behavior). Maybe that’s just me, though, being that I’m an academic in a technical discipline where precision matters.

        • danielle

          Being gay isn’t a choice, Neo. I agree that Lance is probably making that presumption, however, realize that it makes his life much easier if he sees it that way. If he has to admit that it’s not a choice, then it means that God made someone that way… then the hard questions begin.

    • Christy

      Asking someone to repent for being gay is like asking you to repent for having the color of skin that you do and telling you that God loves you, but God hates the color of your skin….. and you will go to hell if you don’t repent for having the color of skin that you do. It is both impossible to execute and impossibly cruel.

    • DR

      It is time we get real about this issues and quit allowing politics to take place of common sense>>>

      Lance, it’s actually conservative Christianity that’s allowed politics to replace the pure, unfiltered experience of Jesus as it relates to gay men and women. It’s this group that’s demanding that the GLBT community should not be able to legally marry because of what God says. That right there? A pure injection of “God” into the politics of the legal and social contract of marriage. Those who are “anti-gay lifestyle” suggest that there’s some mysterious “gay agenda” where gay men and women want to shut Christianity down and throw Christians in jail for not wearing a pin that says “Gay is OK!”.

      From what we can tell, gay men and women want nothing more than to just live their lives enjoying the same rights that those of us who are straight get to enjoy. The only reason why they are thinking about us or talking to us about it is because *we* as Conservative Christians have lobbyists representing “Family Values” advocating all sorts of things against gay rights. This is cause and effect – we are causing the problems and they are reacting. We’re not quite the center of the victim universe that we like to think we are. I suspect a lot of gay men and women would love to have absolutely nothing to do with the Christian community, they just have to because we’re hurting them with our theology.

      • vj

        What DR said.

      • Soulmentor

        You have a way of using words like a scalpel, Dr, cutting to the heart of the issue. Almost as good as John. Eloquent and concise. Thank you for being.

    • Lymis

      The Bible isn’t the least bit clear on the idea that the gay and lesbian lifestyle is not a good choice – nor can it be, because being gay or lesbian isn’t a choice in the first place, nor is it true that there is a single gay or lesbian lifestyle.

      All that the Bible has about “the gay and lesbian lifestyle” is a group of out-of-context quotes that are either complete mistranslations or part of a larger set of holiness codes that have been otherwise discredited.

      If you want to say that the Bible condemns gang rape, hatred of strangers, religious prostitution, child rape, or the worship of idols, you won’t get a lot of argument.

      If you want to say that gay people don’t get a pass on lying, or on stealing, or on promiscuity, or anything else that applies equally to straight people, then you can make that claim. But just because there is a consensus about what people think the Bible says, or how what it actually says “obviously” applies to people today doesn’t make it so.

      People point to the story of Sodom, as though a mob demanding the right to gang rape some angels has anything to do with the gay couple next door hosting a brunch or joining the PTA. People point to Paul, as though God punishing people for their idolatry and immorality automatically applies to the lesbian teens who want to go the the prom. People point to the death penalty in Leviticus but conveniently ignore everything else in Leviticus.

      Not, the Bible is not “clear” about it at all. What is is clear is that people will be judged and condemned or saved based on how they treated their downtrodden neighbors. Are most Christians prepared to have their salvation judged on how they treated the gay people among them? “I was sick, hungry, and in prison…. what you did not do for these, you did not do for Me.”

    • http://YouTube.com/gaychristiannetwork Brandon

      If being gay was a choice then he would have chosen to be straight a long time ago! Don’t you ever take this into consideration? Gay people are hated by everyone! So why would they choose that? Why would they choose to be bullied into scuicide?! It makes to sence to say that even though all of the world bashes them but yet they still choose it. Chistianity is wrong about gays, we have translated the Bible wrong about the subject for decades, probally even centries! You have no choice to fall in love with someone of the opposite sex. Humans have no choice who to love! Even if you don’t want to be attracted to such person. So why all of a sudden gays choose to be attracted to, and fall in love with the same sex? You answer that question. In what universe do people choose to be attracted to someone? YouTube.com/gaychristiannetwork

      • Allie

        The idea of people chosing to be gay is so nonsensical that it only makes sense if the person who says that is closeted and in denial.

        After all, straight people know perfectly well they could not choose to be gay. Are you straight? Right now, choose to be gay. Let me know when you’ve done it. I’ll wait.

        • Lissy

          “After all, straight people know perfectly well they could not choose to be gay. Are you straight? Right now, choose to be gay. Let me know when you’ve done it. I’ll wait.”

          SOOOO gonna use that now with people who think being gay is a choice!! Brilliant!

  • writer from ireland

    I’m only back from holiday and just read this post and it just made me cry. I cannot imagine the pain of his mum and dad. And to even contemplate Jamey’s pain is nearly more than I can bear. Poor wee soul! How cruel we are.

  • Cerynean

    I read this whole thread. Most of the conversation was informed, well-thought out and compassionate. I was truly impressed by how it seemed like the people who spoke were inspired by the story of Christ to strive to be more Christ-like in their own actions and thoughts. Who wouldn’t want people to strive to be more loving and accepting, no matter what inspired them? So, thanks for that. It was lovely to read. If you don’t mind an outside perspective though, there is something I noticed that no one really addressed in this discussion.

    I think one of the reasons that non-Christian people are sometimes uncomfortable around Christian people, even “tolerant” Christian people, is that they often take it upon themselves to be the judge of everyone else’s choices and behavior.

    I’m not an expert on the message that Jesus is trying to impart in the Bible, but it seems like it was mostly meant for people to apply to their own lives to better themselves. What business is it of yours if other people make “bad choices”? If making bad choices needs to be judged at all then isn’t that something that’s up to your God, rather than you, to judge? If they’re not hurting other people then who cares if other people have tattoos, or drink, or ware leather, or don’t have two kids and a white picket fence? Not liking those things comes from your own social values and it doesn’t seem to me like those opinions have a place in an ideology about tolerance and acceptance any more than disapproving of being gay does.

    Sincerely,

    A mis-judged feeling person.

    • Dirk

      There’s a lot to you analysis which rings true to me.

      One of the greatest distinctions between American Christianity and Christianity in western Europe is the approach towards others you describe: You must believe as I do (never, of course, do as I do) else you must be punished.

      This is the hallmark of American Christian belief.

      I fought the whole ‘you can’t be gay and a Christian’ battle for many decades. Finally, after my parents were threatened with physical violence, I stopped trying.

      American Christians have lost sight of what Christ meant. Any group who endorse torture – as over two-thirds of conservative American Christians do – is beyond reason.

      There will be many more such deaths as that of this poor young man. None of them will lead to a change of heart among American Christians.

      • http://leap-of-fate.com Christy

        Dirk, I believe there is an Americanization of Christianity as well. It has been evolving over time. How could it not? Religion and culture are intimately linked. A link that has married rugged individualism and pull yourself up by your bootstraps Puritainism with free will and salvation by grace THROUGH faith with the economic ideals of the success of “self-made men” through free-market capitalism. The belief that we are participants in our own salvation vs. God being the one doing all the “work” through grace alone. A belief that the harder one tries and the more effort one puts forth is a reliable measure of the earnestness of the individual’s heart and will reap the greater the reward. It is this marriage that has allowed Early American catch phrases like Ben Franklin’s “God helps those who help themselves” to be wrongfully presumed and touted as scripture and has led to a worldview that increases the burden of personal responsibility for one’s failures as well as one’s successes squarely and solely (souly?) on the shoulders of the individual while diminishing the role and influence of society. Sink or swim, it is your own doing. It gives a different, but equally chilling, perspective to “Arbeit macht frei.”

        Interestingly, this all coexists within a religious paradigm structured on the idea of outside invisible forces, both good and evil, at work on us, the culture, and the world. With an understanding that places these forces of Good and Evil outside of oneself, one’s psyche is able to put the responsibility for the effects of such forces also outside oneself…..thereby abdicating some responsibility that the same group so easily claimed and results in the converse assumption: What I do affects me and me alone. There exists an entrenched denial about how we influence society and how society influences us. When ego gets involved in this paradigm, it’s easy to see how one arrives at this Americanized Christianity.

        At its heart this is about a worldview of where evil and good live – within or outside of us. This is about control and surrender to the power of self as well as what is beyond our power; it is about taking responsibility for both the individual self and seeing how every personal choice and action has a ripple of effect that extends beyond ourself to touch and affect others…..and connects us.

        It is this disconnect of the individual from society, in understanding both the positive and negative impacts of individual behavior on the whole, that I believe has contributed to the growing chasm between left and right, both politically and spiritually.

        Am I my brother’s keeper? was not just a rhetorical question in Genesis, but was a deeply insightful commentary on the role of the individual in society. I fear a large portion of the faith has lost what Mother Teresa said was so vitally important to the cause of peace: an understanding that we belong to each other.

        • Dirk

          Well said!

          When my husband and I return to freedom in Europe, we go to church and we are Christians.

          In America, I do not wish to be known as a Christian. The very word connotes everything Jesus came to set aside. Here, I’m a follower of Christ.

          We are very nearly at the point at which such efforts as John is making here are futile. I read the comments in the gay blog-o-sphere about his attempts to express Christ’s love for us. They pretty much all explained that there is no path to reconciliation left.

          I have read the comments in the conservative Christian blog-o-sphere on this poor child’s death. At best, they blame him. Most typically, they are happy he is (to their mind) rotting in hell.

          I fear it is too late. We gays, lesbians and the transgender face a perfect storm in 2012. If (when) we lose the senate and the presidency, there Republicans will see to it that the supreme court is packed with justices who hate women and us.

          This all feels very very much as my German relatives described the late 1920′s as being.

          • cat rennolds

            i’m scared, too.

    • usingmyvoicewell

      Bravo, Cerynean; well said.

      Sincerely,

      an ex-Christian now Christ-follower

  • http://a-bright-blog.blogspot.com/ Jason Bachand

    John, I urge you to consider the role that publicly funded youth organizations play in inculcating intolerance and bullying in our children. I’m thinking of the Boy Scouts of America in particular. Please have a look at my latest blog post – I think you’ll find that if we want to decrease bullying of LGBT kids, we need to start with the BSA right now.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      You did a really nice job on that post, Jason. I’ll go link it up.

  • Ken

    Sometimes, people do bad things. Really really bad things. Sometimes those people are Christians, and sometimes not. (I’m not sure, in this case, if any of this child’s tormentors were actually religious or not). Regardless, as a community of the faithful, we just have to try our best to lead by example to do better for the sake of all the innocents.

    My question is: Where does all this hatred come from? I think it’s not just Christianity or any particular religion. The “rap” sub-culture is certainly not LGBT friendly. And the news of what happened on the day of the wake, as told by the lad’s mother on NBC’s Today Show, if reported truly, is deeply disturbing:

    “It was the first day of his wake. And my daughter, we let her go to the school event because it was homecoming week that Jamey was looking forward to. We thought it would be great for her to be with all her friends and she was texting that she was having a great time and all of the sudden a Lady Gaga song came on and they all started chanting for Jamey, all his friends and whatever, and then the bullies that put him into this situation started chanting you’re better off dead, we’re glad you’re dead.”

    Where does this come from? Let’s be real, we’re not THAT religious or faithful a nation.

    • cat rennolds

      Ken, first, do some reading on the rest of this site. There’s a lot of discussion on this topic. but the short version is, our culture is informed by Christianity, whether any one person is Christian or not, so when hate surfaces, it often uses Christian values to justify itself.

      that’s where LGBT as a target comes from. where HATE comes from – well, mostly from fear. People fear what they don’t understand and can’t identify with. And it’s really hard to identify with a group that makes up only roughly 10% of the population.

      fear turns into hate when that fear is fed and agitated, either because you can’t escape the object of the fear, or because someone keeps telling you repeatedly in a loud voice how terrifying the thing is (which is the same as not being able to escape it.) Nobody hated gays when nobody knew any. As LGBT becomes more visible, the issue’s polarizing, because paradoxically, the more you know, the less afraid you are; BUT; the harder the issue is to ignore, and the more it challenges the comfortable, familiar beliefs of those who would prefer to remain ignorant than to have to admit they were wrong.

    • DR

      Huh? Christianity is embedded to every American institution we have: our legal system, our educational and political systems. Who started the notion that homosexuality is “bad” if not those of us who are Christian?

      • Ken

        The same “culture that is informed by Christianity” is the same culture that in Europe birthed the Enlightenment, that birthed this nation, that birthed the Civil Rights Movement, that in many ways birthed both progressive ideals and in a fashion even secular humanism. Thomas Jefferson’s slicing up of the New Testament is part and parcel with, say, today’s Mary Gallagher slicing and dicing of the Old Testament to justify her views. But I would argue that neither action is rooted in Christianity or any unique cultural artifact. Both actions are rooted in humanity.

        Part of my issue is that blaming or criticizing a body of faith for a given outcome is a bit like blaming the gun in a murder trial. I think the issues, the motivations, come from someplace else. In this case I confess I wonder if by focusing on Christianity or certain religious figures or presumed teachings, we are in fact failing to look at the true issue- a love of hatred and a society that so celebrates the individual it isolates people from people who are different or who disagree. This, compounded by American exceptionalism may manifest in a kind of undue sense of entitlement to doing what feels good regardless of who gets harmed in the process (at least until one side or the other calls in the lawyers). But look at Nigeria – there culture has very different roots and we still see the same sort of thing when it comes to LGBT persons.

        Or maybe not, I don’t know.

        Cat’s point, about visibility and fear and hatred is certainly valid. But maybe what Cat points out so eloquently is a symptom, not a cause.

        De Tocqueville argued that the war between haves and have nots, insider and outsider, was eternally embedded in the fabric of America, and that assuming all matters of material health and prosperity could be resolved by American ingenuity, he foresaw wars about eye colour breaking out simply because there was nothing else left to fight about. He was of course making that argument a bit tongue in cheek, both praising and condemning the vibrant youthful nation which so fascinated him. But considering how many of his observations have proven true and guide policy makers to this day…

        Again, I come back to the idea this is not a Christian problem, though it may be one that Christians of conscience should address. Are we looking at the gun, and failing to see the hand that pulls the trigger?

        • Christy

          Yes. Ultimately this, for me, from where I stand looking at this mountain, is about ego. Or, more ironically, it is about sin….but not the sin the self- righteous are denouncing, but their own sin of thinking too highly of themselves while missing, all the while, the forest for the trees. It is about a painful lack of self-awareness…..whose pain affects us all; the cause of which is difficult to remedy, for those who suffer from it are oblivious to their plight.

  • http://jasonjdotbiz.wordpress.com Jason Galvez

    Hello:

    I have been reading the paper and watching the news regarding Jamey Rodemeyer and the one missing component that I am not hearing is anyone distinguishing Homophobic Bullying from other types of bullying as they are completely separate. I wish to include a portion of my graduate thesis http://jasonjdotbiz.wordpress.com/ if for no reason than to raise awareness. Thank you

    “Homophobic bullying is not like other types of bullying. If a student is bullied based on race, religion, their weight etc., they can run home to an understanding (often relatable) parent/family who understands their pain and can console them. Gay youth do not have that refuge as they 1) Are usually not out to themselves yet, and 2) fear being thrown out of their homes and family. This pent up frustration, hurt and anger eventually leads to what has (sadly) been happening in the media as of late.”

    Jason Galvez

    • Amanda McKim

      I’m totally with you 100% about gay bullying.

  • Jenelle

    I’m very offended by this. I am a Christian and I don’t believe in homosexuality. But as a Christian I know to love my neighbor like I love myself. Just because I don’t like it and think it’s wrong does not mean that I’m responsible for the poor boy’s death.

    • Melody

      You don’t believe in homosexuality? So in other words, it just doesn’t exist? Wake up, honey, time to acknowledge reality. People are gay, whether you like it or not. And if you’re telling gay people that their sexuality is an abomination, then you’ree calling the people themselves abominations, because a person’s sexuality is as much a part of them as being left-handed or red-headed. That’s how people like you are, however indirectly, responsible for these suicides.

      • Melody

        *Some people are gay. Obviously I’m not speaking for everyone or for myself.

    • DR

      I don’t care that you are offended. Pay attention to the fact that your injured feelings about how your belief system is driving gay kids to suicide is the first thing you talked about instead of the tragedy of this little boy. Your feelings are secondary if even on the map when kids are dying as a result of you believing they will be eternally condemned if they don’t “repent” from something they havee to ability to change and causes absolutely no harm to anyone (except you).

    • http://thesewingexperiment.wordpress.com/ Sensible Seamstress

      You “don’t believe in homosexuality”?? I’m not even sure what that means…

    • Derek A Collins

      Dear Jenelle,

      I’m afraid it does. There is a direct and palpable link between Christians who claim that the Bible condemns stable, loving relationships between people of the same gender and the actions of the bullies who drove this boy to his death, Christians who demand that gays are rounded up and executed and governments who make laws depriving LGBT people of their rights and prescribing the death penalty for their love. The opinions of people like you are profoundly influential on these other people; they hear you saying that gays are sinful, sick or disordered and they think it’s fine for them to say and do the thinks they say and do. Until you actually stand up and say that the Bible does not condemn stable, loving gay relationships, that any discrimination against LGBT people is wrong and contrary to the Gospel of Jesus of Nazareth, then this boy’s blood will be on your hands. I’m only telling you this because I care about your ultimate salvations and want you to be aware of your sin.

      in love,

      Derek

  • Patricia Boese

    Every time I read about Jamey my heart breaks again. Because of his death my own gay son changed his major in college and decided to go into Public Health with an emphasis on sexuality studies with the intent on working in the public sector to change policy in sex education and health in schools because of the ignorance around our LGBT youth. Thank you so much John for your unapologetic stand on this issue. Christians who don’t accept and love their gay children, or brothers and sisters are doing irreparable harm to them and isolating them in egregious ways that they have NO qualifications to do so. I am dumbfounded by this continued prejudice and bigotry and supremely grateful that an ever increasing number of Christians are finding the true message of Christ and embracing gay people as one of their own. Christ’s message of love needs to be heard. Once again your message is perfect.

    • Bruno AGAR

      Dear Patricia, thank you for your kind message. Congratulations to your son for changing his major in college for such a noble reason. I wish him every success. All the best from Bruno, France.


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