Another Teen Bullied To Death; Another Reason for a New Christianity

Another kid has been bullied into killing himself. His name is Jacob Rogers. He went to Cheatham County Central High School, in Ashland City, TN. Apparently he’d been being pretty severely bullied for four years. It got so bad that around Thanksgiving he quit going to school.

A friend of Jacob’s told reporters, “He started coming home his senior year, saying ‘I don’t want to go back. Everyone is so mean. They call me a faggot, they call me gay, a queer.’”

Yesterday Jacob took his own life.

I’ve done a fair amount of writing on these sorts of tragedies (see this past Saturday’s Tell Me, Christian, That You Hear this Boy, Christians and the Blood of Jamey Rodemeyer, and My Gay Christian Cousin Committed Suicide, to name just three). And so I have no doubt that some will claim that the primary reason Jacob killed himself is not because he was bullied for being gay. They’ll say that we don’t know the whole story. They’ll point to the fact that Jacob lived with his grandmother, or that his family is poor, or anything else they can grab on to by way of “proving” that Jacob had problems that went beyond his being bullied.

And I will respond with what I always say, which is that certainly there are always myriad causes behind the suicide of any person. But that does not alter the fact that the root cause of kids being bullied for being gay is that strain of Christianity which continues to insist that homosexuality is an evil affront to God.

If Christians would actually read the Bible, instead of daring to insist that three or four isolated phrases within it justifies a theology that has no more to do with Christ than the KKK has to do with equality, we would arrive at a popular Christianity that is not, as so much of our Christianity is today, a pure affront to anyone with half a conscience.

And that Christianity would dissipate the motivation of those kids who bully in the name and spirit of condemning homosexuality. That particularly noxious train would simply come to a halt. Because there wouldn’t be left any enduring reason for anyone to ever condemn gay people at all.

Then gay people would just be  … people. You know: that thing God made in his own image.

Fellow Christians: will you please stop treating the Bible like it’s a permission slip from God for you to not only be just as ignorant and cruel as your scared little self wants to be, but to also raise your children to be just like you?

If not, then be sure to buy a new Bible every year. It’s a lot easier than having to keep washing the blood off your old one.

Please watch this till the end:

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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://kenreads.wordpress.com Ken Leonard

    Whoever the monster was who came up with the idea of proof-texting to support bigotry almost makes me wish that there was an eternal hell …

    Another brilliant post, John. I wish that I believed that this incident would, finally, wake people up. But as you noted in your video, bigoted Xians will make up reasons to believe that they’re not at fault. ‘Cause how could it be their fault when they berate people that the people they berate feelt bad?

    • Lymis

      As an aside, the thing that always torques me about proof-texting is that it bites it’s own tail. The Bible clearly states that it doesn’t include everything Jesus said, and it clearly states that Jesus will send the Spirit to continue to teach us after he returned to the Father, and that there are things we weren’t told in the Bible because we were not ready to hear them. So a literal view of the Bible would have to include the firm belief that the Bible is not the final say on things, and that yes, some of the things we think we know because of the Bible are going to be reinterpreted over time.

      • Diana Avery

        Thank you again, Lymis, for your insight.

      • http://kenreads.wordpress.com Ken Leonard

        Indeed. We certainly don’t have an exhaustive list of Jesus’ sayings … and if the printed Bible has everything we need to know, what’s the point in the Holy Spirit?

      • cat rennolds

        WOOT! Lo, I woot and thou wootest, and all together shall we woot, for lo, this is indeed woot-worthy.

        but seriously, Lymis, thank you. we need to copy this bit,

        “The Bible clearly states that it doesn’t include everything Jesus said, and it clearly states that Jesus will send the Spirit to continue to teach us after he returned to the Father, and that there are things we weren’t told in the Bible because we were not ready to hear them.”

        and just repost it about eight times every conversation on this blog.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tom.brisson1 Tom Brisson via Facebook

    what, actually read it? inconceivable.

    • William

      Personally, I have read it maybe 100 times, and in 4 different languages… oddly enough, nothing has changed in there in all the times I have read it.

      • Lymis

        Nor, apparently, has much of it sunk in.

        Try for the 101st time. God is patient. You’ll get there eventually.

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

          thank you, Lymis

        • http://kenreads.wordpress.com Ken Leonard

          I can’t tell you how much I wish I’d said that!

          Well said.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.k.lewis Elizabeth Lewis via Facebook

    I am still trying to figure out why some of my fellow “Christians” use Old Testament Levitiucs to comdemn homosexuals as the worst of the worst, but forget the rest of Lev and give pork/shellfish eaters a free ride.

    • William

      Uhm, have you read the New Testament ? it is in there was well… OR, did you skip over that part ? granted, NT views are not as harsh as the OT was… but none the less God has not changed.

      • Nathan

        William you have had fun trolling this morning, I see. I was up exercising at 7 a.m. this morning. I recommend it.

        • http://www.knnyc.com Rhys

          Best. Comment. Yet.

      • http://www.BuzzDixon.com buzz

        I’ve read the Bible straight through 2.9 times (finishing up the last letters w/Revelation on deck for the 3rd re-reading; hopefully before the end of the year) in a parallel translation (KJV, NIV, Good News Parapphrase, NKJV). I’ve read it in several other translations, have read individual books, chapters, and verses numerous times, read & re-read extensive exegisis & commentaries.

        Jesus, quoting Rabbi Hillel of a century earlier, boiled it down to this: Love God, love your neighbor. (To which Hillel famously added: All else is commentary.)

  • Rowan Canterbury

    I am pagan. My children were raised to believe that what you send comes back out to you three fold and that violence is not the answer and I agree that if more Christians actually read the Bible it may help to quell, this trend would subside. But I worry, would that then mean, again, pagan people would be discriminated against, have our rights taken away and Dare I say – bullied? I think all parents are responsible for actually RAISING their children. That it may be a good idea to take away the violent video games and send our kids outside for a change and make them aware of the living world and give them a love for living things. Teaching them to love fully be aware of empathy is every religions job..not just Christian. I refuse to have prayer taught in school because MY KIDS ARE NOT CHRISTIAN…but I do believe it is my job as a parent to teach them that to bully is WRONG…So maybe a wider point of view and let’s get together and help teach all children, Pagan, Christian, Hindu etc., to love and understand each other by leading the way with example…

    • Diana Avery

      I agree with you on this.

  • Linnea Lundeen via Facebook

    And don’t forget all those sinners shamelessly walking around in polyester-cotton clothes.

    • Connie

      Amen sister!

  • Wendy Young Callaway via Facebook

    My heart breaks for our young people who endure this kind of hatred. My son was subjected to the same kind if bullying, but thank God he had friends who defended him.

  • James Donadio

    Let’s see if we can hasten all Christians’ banishment to hell for murders of the innocents.

    • William

      Nowhere in the story did I read that those doing the bullying were Christians… this seems more of an assumption on the part of the author than actual fact.

      I did a Google search on “Jacob Rogers” hoping to find something in a news story that might confirm that it was in fact Christian bullies and not just random everyday run of the mill bullies… but sadly within the first 2 pages of hits it was all about an NFL player with the same name, and the 1 hit I did find did not mention any particular religion of the bullies in question.

      Hey, with all the talk of terrorism going on are we sure the bullies were not Muslim ? you do know that under Muslim law even to this day being a homosexual or a lesbian is punishable by death… so maybe they were Muslims and we just need to get rid of all Muslims and only then will the bullying and violence stop.

      See how asinine that is ??

      • Lymis

        You’ll note however, that nowhere in the stories of four years of bullying that were enough to cause a teenager to kill himself over it is there any mention of all the hundreds of his Christian fellow students who took a stand with him against the bullies and kept them from harassing him.

        Nowhere is there a mention of all the Christians who documented the abuse, made sure that the authorities couldn’t overlook it, and made sure that the poor, downtrodden, and oppressed among them got justice.

        Nowhere is there a mention of the Christians who took this issue to the PTA and demanded that their children be taught in a schools system that didn’t allow minority groups to be bullied and harassed.

        Nowhere is there a mention of the Christian churches in the area, who, when told by the kids and their parents who were part of this school that injustice was being done, made a huge outcry and raised awareness of the issue and demanded change.

        No, just the mention of a poor, lonely boy who lived with a grandmother who is too poor to even afford a funeral for him – and it isn’t even the churches who are offering to provide one, but a local tattoo parlor trying to raise the money for it.

        Even if the bullies were open Satanists, it doesn’t excuse the complete failure of any nearby Christians to do a damn thing to stop it.

        And before you decide to announce it wasn’t their business to do so, you need to review Matthew 25: 44-46. Jesus sure felt it was their job.

        • Diana Avery

          Yes he did!

        • Brian W

          Lymis,

          Nowhere is it mentioned that ANYONE did anything, so why single out just the Christians ? In fact it appears no Progressive Christians did anything either. NO. ONE. DID. A. THING.

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

            Brian and William,

            You have completely missed to point of John’s post.

          • Brian W

            Ric,

            Well, I miss a lot of things, my wife just pointed out I missed the toilet this morning and put the seat down!!! :-)

      • http://www.knnyc.com Rhys

        That’s not John’s point, William. John’s point isn’t that it was or wasn’t Christian bullies in the specific case of John Rogers. John’s point is that Christians, as a whole, have created this ambience – they have set the stage – for kids feeling unwanted and unloved by God because of their sexuality.

        And clearly, you have never had any homosexual feelings, because if you had, you wouldn’t be running around saying stupid, idiotic things like “being gay is not something you’re born with.” Well, that, or you HAVE. I always raise an eyebrow at the loudest, most vocal anti-gay bigots. They’re usually the ones who have something to hide about themselves. I mean, I’m just sayin.

  • William

    Uhm, so you do not think that homosexuality is “an affront to God” ? have you ever read the Bible ? did you skip over the part where he destroyed 2 complete cities because of their sexual deviance ? Did you skip over the parts of the Levitical Law where is expressly states that those choose to live a sexually deviant life by sleeping with the members of the same sex should be put to death ? Yes, I know what you are going to say “that is the old testament”. Do you think God’s point of view has changed since then ?

    Fact is that being gay or lesbian is not something that someone is born with.

    People are born male and female and everything that is external to that is done by choice, and to say other wise is ludicrous.

    Lets change it up a bit here and lets use another segment of society that equally feels slighted by God and Christianity… pot smokers.

    We all know that smoking anything is bad for the human body but there are people that no matter what you say will smoke not only cigarettes, but marijuana as well.

    Smoking pot is something that a person chooses to do as they were not born pot smokers, and it is an affront not only to God but the Holy Spirit to destroy the temple which God has given us [For do you not know that your body is the temple of the Living Spirit given to us by God].

    Simply put, God can not reside in a temple where there is sin and therefore one that is actively engaged in sin is separated from God in that respect.

    The thing is that it does not matter what the sin is whether it be cheating, lying, stealing, or what have you these are all things that are external to a person that they learn from the actions of others.

    A child is not born a liar but rather they learn to lie.

    A child is not born to steal but rather they learn to steal.

    Past being male and female we learn things that shape our choices in life, and some choices please God, and some choices do not.

    • George

      I dont see these Christians Trying to bring down Las Vegas .. or the people that visit the town !!

      • William

        And people that go to Las Vegas choose to go there of their own free will. Personally, I went there once for a religious conference and enjoyed my time there. Stayed at Circus Circus, ate their rather awesome buffet, took in a couple of shows, but never once gambled… why ? because I made the choice not to. It is not the city that is evil or wrong, but rather what people choose to do in the city.

        • George

          by you even being there you contributed . you paying for the hotel and eating there , do you think that money just stays there , it is then redistributed to the Casinos part of the hotel.

          • http://www.knnyc.com Rhys

            Yup. Spot on, George. But the thing is… people want to turn a blind eye to things. Pick and choose. Which is what they’re doing with the clobber verses in the Bible with bashing homosexuality. Same thing, same ole thing. And it’s the same thing here. It’s okay for William to judge all the heathens that go to Las Vegas and gamble, but it’s okay for him to spend his money there because he’s not giving it directly to the casino. (Even though he really IS). He’s choosing to ignore the facts, and choosing to be in the dark about where his money is going, because it suits him.

        • http://www.BuzzDixon.com buzz

          I don’t think it’s ever stated in the Bible that gambling (or gaming, as they refer to it in Vegas) is a sin; like drinking wine, it’s only a sin if you abuse it & allow your indulgence to harm others thru neglect (i.e., betting the kid’s heart transplant money on the roulette table). If you’ve got a few bucks in your pocket, your financial obligations are being met, and you’ve tithed/given to charity, feel free to indulge.

          It’s stupid, but it’s not a sin.

          • LSS

            it’s like i tell my students about the lottery: it’s just a tax on people who are bad at math.

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          You stayed in a casino and you gave your money to it. Which means you supported gambling and legalized prostitution. I realize you think you’re kind of making up the rules as you go along, but cause and effect doesn’t change because you want it to.

          • http://www.BuzzDixon.com buzz

            If he stayed in a casino in Vegas he wasn’t supporting legalized prostitution; Cook County isn’t a legal prostitution county in NV.

    • Amp

      The sin of Sodom was not homosexuality, it was greed, pride and lack of charity towards her fellow human beings.

      http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel+16%3A49&version=ASV

      • Kelly Thompson Turk

        Thanks Amp! I was just going to say that same thing. You beat me to it :)

    • Dirgham Tamas

      “Fact is that being gay or lesbian is not something that someone is born with.”

      Could you provide some scientific evidence to back this up?

      • William

        Harvard Medical did a study back in the 1980′s that showed that 87% of all subjects in the study stated that they were gay or lesbian because they were molested as children, and that of 87% eighty percent said that they were molested by a family member.

        There were about 1,500 people interviewed for the study one of which was my cousin who was sexually assaulted by an uncle on his mothers side of the family for a span of 12 years.

        Although I personally was never sexually assaulted I have had to make the choice myself as it was offered to me many times throughout my life time, and made my choice back when I was 14 years old.

        • Reed

          Gee, William, I plugged “harvard study 87% gay lesbian molested” into Google and came up with . . . nothing.

          So I think you just pulled that out of your ass.

          • http://www.knnyc.com Rhys

            I’m sure he did pull that out of his ass. But even if it was a real study, the operative words are “in the study.” It doesn’t say who was selected, how they were selected, and how many people were in the study. You can grab four people to do a study, and have three of them be such, and easily come up with results that show 75% of the study is X Y or Z. Duh.

            Poor William. I hope he is able to experience God’s love. Clearly he hasn’t.

        • Lymis

          So, your conclusion is clearly that straight people shouldn’t be allowed to raise children, right?

          The vast majority of those studies, if you are even correctly quoting one, were studies of people who were already in therapy for various reasons. It’s not a stretch to imagine that gay people who were molested as children grew up to seek therapy about it.

          That’s the main reason why homosexuality was removed from the lists of mental illnesses by mental health professionals – they found that healthy gay people didn’t seek therapy about being gay, so all the medical literature about gay people was skewed toward people who were messed up about it enough to go to a doctor.

          Better studies have pointed to the real possibility that it wasn’t that being molested made people gay, but rather that stereotypically gay kids were seen as more passive, more likely to be loners, more likely to be reaching out for love, and more likely to be already keeping secrets and not trusting adults.

          In other words, that far from kids being turned gay by being molested, that gay kids were more likely to be the targets of molestation.

          It’s possible that 87% of people under psychiatric care at Harvard medical for issues related to homosexuality reported being molested. It is not possible that 87% of the homosexuals in Boston in the 1980′s were molested as kids.

          • Nick K.

            Adding on to what Lymis has said, I believe that there has been research to suggest that LGBT people tend to be more open and honest about being abused as children if abuse has occurred. For instance, using your percentages, it is not that 87% of LGBT persons are abused, it’s more like that 87% of LGBT who were abused as children are more likely to report it/talk about it.

            However, I cannot cite the exact report or article. I’m more or less just going by something I read in passing not too long ago. If anyone can find reference to this is respectable scholastic journals, please feel free to correct me.

            Thanks.

          • William

            You sure do love reading things that really are not there.

            “those studies, if you are even correctly quoting one, were studies of people who were already in therapy for various reasons.” Hmmm, I do not remember saying that… how nice of you to assume I did.

            “It’s not a stretch to imagine that gay people who were molested as children grew up to seek therapy about it.” Uhm, again this is an assumption on your part and not something based on anything I wrote.

            “It’s possible that 87% of people under psychiatric care at Harvard medical for issues related to homosexuality reported being molested.” OK, but since one of the subjects interviewed was my cousin, and he was not in therapy at anytime for his sexual life style even due to his traumatic experience your assumption again is flawed.

            I am most certain that even to this day that the gay population of Boston is far greater than the 1,500 people interviewed for the study… it was just 80% of the 87% that stated they were molested by a family member.

            Now, I am sure that there are reading comprehension classes somewhere that you can take.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Before talking about peoples’ reading comprehension you’d be good enough to provide the actual study that you’re referring to? That might be a good start.

          • LSS

            just on gut instincts about people in general, i think the *target* hypothesis is very possible.

        • Dirgham Tamas

          You need to cite the actual paper for me to believe you. Actually, given that was in the 1980′s, and this has surely been a serious research topic since then, a more recent literature review would probably be in order.

          • Diana Avery

            But the more recent literature review wouldn’t say what he wants it to say!

          • William

            Actually, I asked 10 friends of my online who are gay and lesbian why they are such.

            Not one of them said they were born that way and reject that premise outright.

            8 of those 10 admitted to being molested as children.

            2 of them “experimented” with boys and girls, and subsequently chose their path in life.

            I was given the opportunity at the age of 14 to “experiment” but chose not to, but later chose to have sex with a girl.

            Just last week I was propositioned by a gay male.

            I respectfully informed him that I was not gay, and that I had no desire to be such.

            BUT, something that someone pointed out… was this kid actually gay ?

            OR, was it just a label thrown at him by those that were bullying him ? because when I was growing up I was bullied in similar manner even though I am not.

            What I see here is a lot of people assuming a great many things.

            Assumption #1: this kid was gay

            Assumption #2: those that were bullying him were Christians

            Assumption #3: Christians are the only religion that “preach” against homosexuality

            Assumption #4: If one Christian hates gays and lesbians that means that ALL Christians hate gays and lesbians

            Assumption #5: All kids that kill themselves did so because they were being bullied

            Assumption #6: if Christianity did not exist there were be no hate in the world

          • Mike H

            When did you decide to be straight?

          • William

            Wow, not only is hypocritical thinking an issue here so is reading comprehension… or did you miss the 300 times I said it was when I was 14 ?? AND, every time I am hit on by someone that is gay I make the choice.

            It would be like if at the age of 14 I made the choice not to eat bacon… and then every time after that when someone offered me bacon telling them that do not eat bacon, and have no desire to eat bacon.

            And just in case you miss that one I was hit on just last week by a gay man, and I told him that I am not gay, and have no desire to engage in such.

            BTW, I do eat bacon.

          • http://www.knnyc.com Rhys

            So were you gay from birth to 13?

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            So we’ve moved from a (non-existant) Harvard article as proof of your assertions about homosexuality being a choice to now polling a few of your friends? William seems to be all over the nap here but I needed the chance to laugh in this thread and this was it.

            William, if you were in a Harry Potter book your patronus would be a horse’s ass. And that’s a personal attack you can take to the bank. You’re welcome.

          • http://www.cindymurphythinkingoutloud.blogspot.com Cindy

            For someone who suggested to someone else that they take a reading comprehension test, you don’t seem to have very good skills at such yourself. Not one of your assumptions that you claim others are making have been made by either John or the many people that have attempted to engage you in conversation. Quite the opposite, many of them have been refuted multiple times while you ignore what is actually being said and continue to beat at your little straw men. Interesting tactic. You strike me as someone trying to convince yourself. Which makes a lot of sense as I’ve been down that road. Oh and point of interest, not many straight people are repeatedly propositioned by gay people. We usually have pretty good gaydar :-)

          • LSS

            yeah i wondered about that, too!

            just read the other day that a new study suggests that gaydar is a real scientific phenomenon, happening because glbtq folks tend to have a more precise detail-oriented awareness.

            which would partially explain some other stuff, such as why a lot of us neurologically divergent (autistic, ad[h]d, ocd, etc.) folks often get along well with glbtq folks. maybe we really are, on a brain-level, seeing the world in a similar way.

        • Dirgham Tamas

          Also, I came up with this, which is not an academic journal article but at least cites a lot of papers: http://www.pandys.org/articles/csaandsexuality.pdf

          “Within the scientific and social science literature, there is a myriad of research claiming to have identified the direct cause for homosexuality. One of the hypotheses regularly tested is that of whether sexual abuse itself can be the cause of homosexuality in adult life. The results of this research is inconclusive since some research finds a direct correlation between child abuse and homosexuality (Macmillan, 1997; Tomeo et al, 2001; Holmes et al, 1998; Doll et al, 1992; Soukup, 1995; Shrier et al, 1988; Dickson; Finkelhor, 1984), whereas other research expressly denies any correlational link (Ridley, 2003; Balsam et al 2005; Bell et al, 1981; Hammersmith, 1982; Peters & Cantrall, 1991; Slap, 1998).”

          In other words, evidence is conflicted on whether there is even a *correlation* between childhood abuse and homosexuality. Note that this does not even address what *causation* is involved. In other words, even if there was a strong correlation between sexual abuse and homosexuality, it could be the case that something about the children’s homosexuality was increasing the rate of abuse.

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          Would you please provide this specific citation because I just searched for this in Google and couldn’t find it. Thanks.

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

          Your ignorance is only outdone by your insensitivity. Your are, right here, one of the bullies. It is made all the worse because you are blind to this fact.

    • Jackie

      Thank you so much for being a mouth-piece for God, I’m sure He/She/It enjoys your help. Question for you: Have any tattoos? Nope can’t have those under Leviticus. Do you eat shell fish or pork? Can’t do that either. Do you touch a woman or allow her to cook for you when she’s menstrual? Nope can’t do that either. Do you wear clothing made of two different fabrics? Nope not allowed. Have you ever talked back to your parents? Then you must be killed. Have you killed anyone else who worships differently than you do? Your allowed to do that. When Jesus came these old laws were thrown out, we live under the blood now, not the law. One more question what of those people who are born with both genders? Are you saying they are less than in God’s eyes? What we are talking about here is coming to the realization that God might be able to make mistakes, in our perception. Because people are born different they must therefore be wrong or somehow less than. Nope wrong again there William. Look at nature and all its splendor, there are ‘mistakes’ in nature but it doesn’t make it any less than, it only makes it more diverse. Oh yeah, as for the two cities you’re talking about, they were destroyed because of ALL their sinfulness not just the perceived homosexual acts.

      • William

        Tattoos ? nope.

        Piercings ? nope.

        Shellfish ? only on Porpoise… no, not really as I hate seafood.

        Pork ? bacon makes everything better.

        Letting women cook for me ? I am single, and a trained chef… so, no.

        Wearing 2 types of fabric ? no, mostly cotton… hate poly blends.

        Talked back to my parents ? nope, I was raised in a very loving and respectful home.

        Killed someone who worshiped differently than myself ? nope.

        As for people born with both genders it is something like 1 in 800,000 that is born that way, and yes even for them there are choices to be made, things to learn.

        And I never said that anyone was lesser in God’s eyes for the choices they make in life… that is what you read into what I wrote… that is on you as it is your choice to read it that way.

        BUT, there are choices that will separate a person from God… does God like it when someone separates themselves from him ?? no. Is he gonna force us to choose him ?? no.

        “What we are talking about here is coming to the realization that God might be able to make mistakes”… Uhm, what ?? then if that is the case he is not God and all your rantings about people that believe that he is are for naught, and my argument stands.

        For is God is not God then all you are left with is hateful people that you can no longer label.

        People are born different.

        Some are born male, some are born female.

        Some are born white, some are born brown (as in my 49 years of life have yet to meet someone that was truly black), some are born milado.

        Some are born with brown hair, some with blonde, some with red, some with black.

        Some are born with blue eyes, some with green, some with brown, some with hazel.

        Some are born in hospitals, some are not.

        Past all of this everything that is external to a person is learned.

        • Lymis

          And some are born gay.

          That apparently, is something external to you that has yet to be learned.

          • William

            Impossible.

            A person can be born a black woman.

            If she wants to be a white man she would need to get a sex change operation, and go through pigmentation alteration.

            Since this is external to that person it is a choice.

            If a white man wants to be an oriental woman he would need to get a sex change operation, and go through pigmentation alteration.

            Since this is external to that person it is a choice.

            I was born a white male.

            If I wanted to be a black woman that would be something I would have to choose since I was not born as a black woman.

            BUT, by the supposed logic shown in this forum if people are born gay or lesbian then I guess following that logic that people can also be born pedophiles and rapists.

            OR, maybe those that are into bestiality are also born that way ??

            See, because if people are born with a certain sexual propensity then it removes any/all responsibility, whereas if it is a choice then you are responsible for what you do.

          • Brian W

            Bill,

            Really, you should read more, post less before you make a complete embesil of yourself. There is just too much evidence and too may personal accounts of homosexuals that clearly prove that the vast majority DID NOT CHOOSE to be gay. If they COULD choose, they (most anyway) would have chose to be straight, but it is against their nature.

          • cat rennolds

            You are conflating orientation with behavior. What you are born with does not remove your responsibility for what, as an adult, you choose to do. Positive or negative.

            the difference is, whether the orientation is inborn or not:

            The performance of bestiality and pedophilia must, by definition, involve at least one partner who is incapable of choice. This is not inherently the case in homosexual behavior. Most pedophilia occurs with a heterosexual orientation.

            the very sad part is that, although it is unlikely pedophilia is inborn….it does appear to be completely incurable, so far. So the Christian obsession with consensual adult homosexual behavior really needs to be re-focused on something that needs to be FIXED.

          • http://www.knnyc.com Rhys

            DO NOT liken gay people to pedophilia or bestiality. JUST DON’T.

            I’m gonna be straight up with you, William. I’m transgender, and I bet George W Bush and his proper, Texas wife have way freakier sex than I ever have or will. I’m just really pretty vanilla. I say this because in no way would I be considered a sexual deviant. At all.

            Pedophilia is a serious illness. Bestiality is also an illness. But for me to love someone of the same biological sex? No. That is no illness.

            I truly feel so sorry that this is your reality, William. It was once mine, too, before I left home and learned to think for myself. Oh, how much brighter my world is. Yours could be, too. And I’ll tell you from personal experience- the view is great from up here. I hope you’ll see it, too. Your life will be so enriched and more fulfilling when you allow love to eradicate the hate.

          • LSS

            i really didn’t want to EVER have to imagine Dubya and Laura nekkid, first thing in the morning. you glbtq folks really *are* traumatizing straights, left and right.

          • http://www.knnyc.com Rhys

            Sorry, I was just trying to make a point… that gay sex isn’t some freaky, deviant thing.

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

          William: Watch yourself, okay? You’re fine; I appreciate your passion and articulateness. But just be sure, please, to keep what you say within the range of respectful exchange. Don’t get so riled up you end up sacrificing civility for anything like strident anger. Engage, rather than fight, okay? That’s how we do it here. Thanks, buddy.

          • William

            I am playing nice… even though there have been several rather nasty attacks thrown at me.

          • cat rennolds

            yeah, one was mine. I apologize.

          • Alexander

            One was mine too, I, however, will not apologize until you apologize. Hate is hate regardless of how much you sugarcoat it. I am simply being more straight forward with my hate towards homophobes than you are with your homophobia.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            The only “nasty attack” that’s been thrown at you are people who are directly challenging you, countering each and every point you make, asking you for specific information that you’ve let to provide and through all of this dialogue, showing you the mirror of who you really are. You’ve actually compared being gay to pedophilia which is sick and evil. The only “nasty” you’re experiencing William is the nasty in your head and heart that you’ve revealed to everyone here. And you chose to do that all on your own.

        • http://www.knnyc.com Rhys

          But then why aren’t you out there condeming and bashing and telling all the people who have tattoos and piercings that they are sinners and going to hell? That is a contradiction. You don’t get to pick and choose, William.

          Also, it’s not 1 in 800,000 that are intersex. Don’t just go spouting some numbers without legitimate sourcing. It only adds to the already obvious lack of credibility you have. And please… don’t act like you know anything about this subject. I am transgender, and possibly intersexed, and I can assure you that you just look silly talking about something you know absolutely nothing about.

          • http://www.knnyc.com Rhys

            That was a legitimate question, William. I would truly love to know why you claim to not eat shrimp (I have an eyebrow raised there, too, CHEF), but you’re willing to just shrug your shoulders at others who do… and then you want to wage war with the gays, and seek them out to preach about how they’re sinning.

            Please, enlighten me. Enlighten us.

          • William

            I will prepare whatever you want… does not mean I have to eat it.

            If a person wants to be gay or lesbian it does not effect/affect my life in any way, that is their choice not mine.

            I do not seek war with anyone, nor do I seek people out to “preach” to them… not my style.

          • Diana Avery

            Then what are you doing here?

          • Alexander

            Very good question…

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Then why in the world are you even here? Of what benefit is any of this to you if you in the end, believe that someone being gay does not effect/affect your life in any way?

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            You’d prepare food for someone else that you believe is against God’s law? That’s like saying you’re against being gay but you’d set up your two gay friends on a date because you know, you’re not going on one yourself. What a slippery morality hill you live on.

          • http://www.knnyc.com Rhys

            Yes, William, what ARE you doing here, then? Seems to me like you are doing just THAT.

          • William

            Let me see if I can explain this to you from the Jewish perspective (being born and raised one myself).

            The Law of Moshe (what you call the Levitical Law) was written for the Jew not the Gentile, but if a Gentile converted to Judaism they would thus then be under the Law of Moshe.

            Hebrews were forbidden to mark their body in this Law, and to this day I do not have tattoos… it has nothing to do with this Law, but the fact that I have a real low pain threshold.

            BUT, if someone wants to get a tattoo fine by me… it’s not my body… if they are Jewish they can rule out being buried in a Hebrew cemetery.

            You are aware that the vast majority of Jews do not believe that Yashua bin Yosef was Mashiach ?? and therefore are still under the Law of Moshe.

            I personally am not under that Law as my Lord is Yashua Ha Mashiach… Jesus is the guy that does the lawn every other Friday.

        • http://www.BuzzDixon.com buzz

          “Some are born male, some are born female.

          Some are born white, some are born brown (as in my 49 years of life have yet to meet someone that was truly black), some are born milado.

          Some are born with brown hair, some with blonde, some with red, some with black.

          Some are born with blue eyes, some with green, some with brown, some with hazel.

          Some are born in hospitals, some are not.”

          “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

          – Galatians 3:28 (NIV)

        • Lynette

          Okay, so hold on a minute. You’re single, but you’ve had heterosexual sex, which you mention to prove the point of how manly and heterosexual you were to make the choice not to engage in gay sex? You casually mention, without any sign of remorse or repentance, having committed fornication, which is on many, many, many lists of sins that will preclude you from the Kingdom? And we’re supposed to take your example as being a good Christian stance? You took something from that girl that she can never get back and that was meant only for her husband! Shame on your for your callous, casual, and apparently unrepentant sin.

        • LSS
      • William

        OH, and in case you missed it… not only was it not acceptable under the OT law… it was not acceptable after Yashua Ha Mashiach came to be.

        1 Corinthians 6:9

        • http://www.BuzzDixon.com buzz

          Here’s what Mark Sandlin, ordained minister & Biblical scholar, has to say on that verse:

          “…1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy…both use a particular Greek word in a particularly similar way. The word is arsenokoitēs and it means ‘male prostitute.’..Actually, it could also mean ‘the customer of a male prostitute,’ or ‘boy molester’ or ‘someone who abuses themselves with a man’ or ‘using sexual manipulation to acquire money’…the word in these two verses, that is frequently interpreted as ‘homosexual’ (which is absurd because, in Greek, it is clearly only a word referring to men)…is really difficult to translate…So difficult, in fact, that scholars can’t agree on a single best translation. What most biblical Greek scholars can agree on is that it is not meant to be a blanket statement about a male-male sex act…

          “There is another word used in 1 Corinthians 6:9: malakos. The good news about this word is that it is found in lots of literature, so there are plenty of references about its typical intended meaning. It literally means ‘soft.’ Some say it means ‘soft’ as in ‘effeminate, but not in terms of sexual orientation.’ Others, say it is connected with being wasteful of sexual and financial resources. Still others convincingly point to it singling out a particular type of male prostitution involving young boys…Like with arsenokoitēs there really is no expert consensus on this.

          “Malakos was a word that could be used to refer to things as diverse as men who were weak in battle (or who were ‘soft’), to men who lived extravagant and pampered lives (or who were… well, ‘soft’). It was not specifically about sexual relationships. If Paul was actually trying to describe something about a submissive male in a male-male relationship (which is still not the same as homosexuality as we understand it today), it’s very likely that he would have used kinaedos, which was frequently used to describe that very relationship. But he didn’t. So, stop acting like he was.”

    • Ben

      If you read other works by John, you’ll find he has addressed much of what is in your post, specifically the references to homosexuality in the Bible. I’d also like to point out that simply saying something is a “fact” (in this case, the posit that people are not born gay) does not make it so. See, watch:

      Fact is that being gay or lesbian is something that someone is born with.

      Bam! New fact. But in seriousness, at this point in history, no one knows why people are gay. I realize that even admitting, even in the smallest possible way, that people could be born gay complete destroys the belief system you have created for yourself, but you are confusing fact with belief.

    • LTR

      Thank you William!!!

      • Alexander

        You spelled “Fuck” wrong.

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

          lol

    • Alexander

      Why do Christians always focus on what the bible says about just gays? I mean really? Yes, the bible does state some things about gays, but it also states a lot of other things that no one ever brings up. For instance, where are the outrage against people who eat shellfish? (Leviticus), or against people who wear two different types of clothing material at the same time, or against football since the bible states that one should not even touch a pig’s skin? Or why aren’t you lobbying for slavery to come back as it clearly states in the bible that it’s ok? Seriously, you people are so f-ing hypocritical that it kills me.

      You have no scientific facts to back up that being gay is not something a person is born being. Whatever study you cited from Harvard can be disputed with a ton of other studies saying the complete opposite. The fact is, no one knows exactly how homosexuality comes to be, but it is a FACT that it’s not only among humans that it occurs. It occurs in life forms as small as insects… do you propose that they ‘chose’ to be gay as well?

      What you really need to do is to read the bible more carefully and either practice everything it preaches or shut the f— up. I’m so sick of you hypocritical assholes trying to justify your hatred towards a certain group of people (or cover up your own latent homosexual thoughts) with a 2000 year old book that includes so many rules about so many things that you don’t care about at all.

      You’re the asshole here, no one else.

      • Lymis

        “Why do Christians always focus on what the bible says about just gays? I mean really?”

        Because it is always much more comfortable condemning others for perceived sins you are not yourself tempted by. If homosexual acts can be raised to be the most abhorrent sin, then by extension, every other sin is less bad.

        And of course, God would want us to put all our efforts into the very worst sins, and wait to work on the other ones (the ones we might be subject to ourselves) until the worst ones are completely eradicated.

        And, when you can go far enough to make those sinners “other” enough – to be able to actually toss them out of the Church, and even get them afraid enough to hide in civil society, well then, you can make up whatever crap you want about them without any possible repercussions from actual people.

        The pesky thing about gay people, of course, is that unlike convenient racial minorities, gay people are bred by straight people – so you have keep doing the weeding, or they pop up right amongst you again. So, unlike running the coloreds out of town, you have to keep up the pressure about the the gays, or their parents are at risk of actually doing something unforgivable, like loving their kids.

        And, of course, there’s always the smug self-satisfaction in knowing that however unloving, unjust, dishonest, unfaithful, or just plain mean you are, hey, at least you aren’t a faggot.

        See also: Planks in your own eyes versus specks in others’.

        • Alexander

          “And, of course, there’s always the smug self-satisfaction in knowing that however unloving, unjust, dishonest, unfaithful, or just plain mean you are, hey, at least you aren’t a faggot.”

          hahaha

        • http://kenreads.wordpress.com Ken Leonard

          That is EXACTLY my theory of the heirarchy of sin.

          Sins are always worse if we’re not tempted by them.

          A lot of Christians shrug at premarital sex and online porn. Why? Because even if we haven’t indulged ourselves, we certainly understand that temptation.

          Adultery, of course, is a little worse, since most of us wouldn’t do that.

          But homosexuality? It seems kind of icky, so obviously that’s WAY worse.

          Never mind that that’s a self-centered view and completely un-Biblical.

          Of course, Jesus actually took the time to condemn greed, and somehow most of us don’t get worked up about that. Why not? Because we all experience greed.

      • William

        OK, let me state this once again and maybe you will catch it… everything that is EXTERNAL to a person is LEARNED.

        Including religion.

        People are not the sum of their religion, and their religion is not the sum of them as well, BUT people make choices based on what they are taught, and what they learn.

        If a person wants to wear poly blends more power to them… you will never catch me where such.

        If a person wants to eat shellfish, great as I do not so that means more for them.

        And where is the scientific proof that people are born gay or lesbian ?? there is none.

        OK, so you wanna bring up the “it happens in nature” argument… really, do you wanna go there ?? in nature when male animals have sex with other male animals it is not done out of mutual love and respect for each other it is done out of aggression and the need to dominate the other.

        Is that what you are saying homosexuality is about ?? AND, you will never find 2 female animals that engage in sexual relations as it is only the male of the species that does this.

        “I’m so sick of you hypocritical assholes trying to justify your hatred towards a certain group of people”… WOW !!! that statement there sure sounded a bit hateful. Yet, I have not said one hateful thing to anyone in this discussion this entire time, and you on the other hand have come out and attacked me.

        Pot meet kettle… WHAT, YOU’RE BLACK !!!

        • Dirgham Tamas

          William, you claim that in nature male animals only have sex with other male animals out of aggression and the need for domination, not mutual love and respect, and that there are no cases in which two females engage in sexual relations.

          This is not true: With bonobos, a type of chimplike ape, it is common for both males and females to have sex with other apes of the same gender. There, the reason in both cases is social bonding.

          Cite: http://discovermagazine.com/1992/jun/13-whatslovegottodo56/?searchterm=bonobo (Note: this may be a bit too graphic for some peoples’ taste.)

        • http://www.knnyc.com Rhys

          I’m still waiting to hear why it is you are so hellbent on bashing and condemning gays, and why you’re willing to sit here and go “if people want to eat shrimp, let them.” You don’t get to pick and choose. You just don’t.

          You also continue to make claims without legitimate sourcing. If you are going to sit here and demand scientific proof that people are born gay, then you need to provide proof when you make claims like “it is done out of aggression and the need to dominate the other.” (Which actually, is not true. I saw an entire exhibit on homosexuality in nature at the museum of sex in NYC. But whatever.)

          I’d also like to add that I have no idea why you feel the need to make all this commentary on something that you haven’t personally experienced. It’s easy for you to sit here and say that people aren’t born gay, but the truth of the matter is… you don’t know that. (Or maybe you do, and you’re exhibiting internalized homophobia. But whatever.) You don’t know what it feels like. Just like I don’t know what it feels like to be black. Or Asian. Or weigh 650 pounds. Or have a disability. Or be stuck in a wheelchair. Or be deaf. Or blind. Do you understand what I’m saying, William? YOU. DO. NOT. KNOW. The asinine thing is that you are sitting here making claims and judgments on others’ lives that you have never experienced. I would never, ever, in a billion years go on a website that is a community for deaf people and start telling them that maybe if they would just try this or that, maybe they could get their hearing back. Or if they would pray hard enough, they might experience a miracle. No one can, and should, ever, ever, ever make judgments and claims about something that they don’t even know what it feels like. Because you can sit there and talk about it and make commentary on it until you turn blue in the face, but you’ll never know what it feels like. (Unless, of course, you, well, know what it feels like.)

          • William

            “I’m still waiting to hear why it is you are so hellbent on bashing and condemning gays, and why you’re willing to sit here and go “if people want to eat shrimp, let them.” You don’t get to pick and choose. You just don’t. ”

            What ?! Really, I do not get to choose ?!

            Actually, yes I do as everything that is external to me presents a choice.

            I do not like seafood… some people do, and that is fine.

            I am a heterosexual… some people are not, and that is fine.

            “If you are going to sit here and demand scientific proof that people are born gay”.

            I would never demand such as it does not exist.

            “I’d also like to add that I have no idea why you feel the need to make all this commentary on something that you haven’t personally experienced”.

            In which are you claiming I have no experience ?? being bullied or being gay ??

            If the former then you are incorrect in that assertion.

            If the latter then you are correct, and I have no desire to gain experience in that regard… BUT, if I did it would be by CHOICE.

            “Or maybe you do, and you’re exhibiting internalized homophobia. But whatever.”

            AND THERE IT IS.

            Of course if I do not lock step with what others think about this then I am homophobic… I was wondering when some hate monger was gonna come out with that one.

            “Just like I don’t know what it feels like to be black. Or Asian. Or weigh 650 pounds. Or have a disability. Or be stuck in a wheelchair. Or be deaf. Or blind. Do you understand what I’m saying”.

            Yes, and everything that your stated you can experience… THROUGH CHOICE. You can become black just by pigmentation alteration… Michael Jackson became white so why can’t you become black ??

            You could easily become 650 pounds by choosing to stuff your face daily with food, and not exercise… Hell, I had and aunt who weighed close to that… it was her choice to live her life that way.

            As for being in a wheelchair, deaf, blind… these things can still happen to you.

            “I would never, ever, in a billion years go on a website that is a community for deaf people and start telling them that maybe if they would just try this or that, maybe they could get their hearing back”.

            But you just proved part of my premise with that one statement… people can in fact be born deaf.

            NOW, if that person became deaf because they stuck something in their ear that ruptured the drum then that was their choice to do such.

            People can also be born blind, some people are born without various limbs… I bet if you asked any of these that if there was a way to change their lives where they could see, hear, or walk they would gladly jump at the opportunity.

            “No one can, and should, ever, ever, ever make judgments and claims about something that they don’t even know what it feels like”.

            Ya know, I do not know what it is like to shot myself in the foot… BUT, I do not need to experience it to know that it would fucking hurt.

            Let me ask have you ever died ?? I have. SO, I guess by your logic you can never know what it is like to be dead, or how it would feel to be dead.

            Whatever.

          • LSS

            there are many PWD who would *not* change their experience and who would not seek a cure if one existed. (there are also many who would)

            most (but NOT all) of the people i have encountered who would not seek a cure are those with neurological differences. this is possibly because that’s the majority of the PWD that i have contact with.

            anyway, the thing is that many differences have the positive and the negative aspects just as interconnected as … the positive and negative aspects of being human in general.

            https://ballastexistenz.wordpress.com/2006/10/22/hey-watch-it-thats-attached-2/

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

            dang, William doesn’t expect us to read all of that, right?

          • http://www.knnyc.com Rhys

            I sure didn’t. ::yawn:: Total waste of my time. I’m done feeding the troll.

        • Alexander

          Being gay is nothing external.

          So you’re ok with people doing all these things that the bible condemns, but it’s not ok to you for people to be gay? That’s the hypocrisy. Besides, you most likely do a variety of different things that the bible condemns, like shaving your beard or cutting your hair on the sides. What I’m saying is that you can’t pick and chose what you want to focus your hatred on, it’s either all or nothing or you become a hypocrite. Simple as that.

          What you say about aggression in the animal world is completely untrue. It may be true in some instances, just like it’s true in some instances in human society as well (i.e. rape). For example, there are numerous cases of gay penguin couples living happily, and even raising baby’s they’ve ‘adopted’ from single mothers. Another example is dolphins where there have been a lof of studies done on same-sex couples living happily together. Don’t talk about things you know nothing about.

          You haven’t said anything hateful? Just because you wrap your hate in sugar doesn’t mean what you’re saying isn’t hateful.

          • Lymis

            Alexander, while I (obviously) agree with you, I’d make a distinction that I’m sure you agree with.

            It isn’t even the picking and choosing that constitutes the hypocrisy, I’ll be perfectly willing to support the Bible’s condemnation of murder, for example, while ignoring the one about pork, and I don’t see that as hypocritical.

            Because I don’t see the fact that murder is wrong as being purely because the Bible says so, as if that reason stands in isolation. Murder is wrong for lots of reasons, and the fact that the Bible says so too (in places) is a reflection of that.

            The hypocrisy comes in saying that people can eat pork because that was a historical misunderstanding or a reflection of how easily pork spoils in a desert, or that slavery is wrong, even though the Bible supports it, because we have a modern and nuanced understanding of things, and then switching to “The Bible says so, so that ends the discussion, the word of God never changes” when it comes to homosexuality.

            Sure you can pick and choose from what’s in the Bible. But you don’t get to pick and choose WHY you can pick and choose what’s in the Bible. It’s either all literally and irrevocably the eternal word of God, or it’s all up for nuanced discussion with new understandings in a changing world.

        • Soulmentor

          Heh! Now you really stepped in it.

          Check this source and then never mention the subject of homosexuality in nature again the way you do.

          http://www.amazon.com/Biological-Exuberance-Homosexuality-Natural-Diversity/dp/0312192398

          Author Bruce Bagemihl http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Bagemihl

          Now go away and educate yourself on something besides your extensive reading of the Bible (which you’ve proven even to be not very good at) and come back when you have something sensible to say.

        • http://www.cindymurphythinkingoutloud.blogspot.com Cindy

          First of all, because I have this tendancy to get annoyed when I see people making statements about something not existing simply because they are not aware of it, allow me to point out that your emphatic statement : “AND, you will never find 2 female animals that engage in sexual relations as it is only the male of the species that does this.” is not a fact but a falsehood. Do me a favour and do a quick search on bonobos (they are a primate in which female to female sexuality is commonplace and believed to be a form of social bonding). Perhaps the next time you feel the need to make an emphatic statment about something not existing simply because you are not aware of it you can think about the bonobos and realize that you aren’t an authority on what can and cannot be found in nature (or whatever else you happen to be making such blanket pronouncements about at the time).

          That out of the way, I would like to address a couple of other things that you have said over the course of this conversation:

          You asked earlier (in what was clearly meant to be a rhetorical question) whether or not God has changed his point of view from the Old Testament. I get the impression that you think that any rule in the bible is in place for all time because, after all, God doesn’t change. Ignoring for a moment how completely contradictory that would make the whole bible, I’m curious as to why you think God has changed his point of view on the consumption of pig (being the bacon fan that you are)? How do you justify to yourself that this may have changed but another specific rule such as a man not lying with a man (the OT interestingly has nothing to say about women lying with women; perhaps its writers did not believe such a thing existed amongst humans just like you didn’t believe such a thing existed amongst animals)? Or, do perhaps believe that every time you eat a piece of bacon you are doing something detestable in the sight of God (since his attitude never changes) in the same way you believe that two gay people having sex are doing something detestable in the sight of God. And if that is the case, why does that not bother you or cause you to stop choosing to eat bacon?

          Your reference to 1 Corinthians 6:9 suggests to me that you either assume that not only did God write the bible but he also translated whichever version you choose to read so that your current translation must be perfectly accurate. Or, alternatively, perhaps you’ve just never bothered to check out any sort of scholarship on this particular issue (since it doesn’t really affect you specifically though it seems important to you). If you would do just a little research, you would quickly learn that the use of homosexuality in that list is fairly recent and that the word being translated such is certain modern translations is one for which the meaning is highly contested in biblical scholarship as it is an obselete greek word for which there is no clearly identified definition today. Normally, meanings for obsolete words are determined by thier contexts but this one lacks such a context to tell us anything (being included as part of a broad list of sins cannot tell us what it is) not only within the bible but within other writings of the time period. You need to cut us some slack, those of us that don’t trust someone’s guess about what it means enough to let it run our lives or cast judgement on the lives of others.

          Finally, to your constant insistence that all things external are learned. How do you determine that sexual orientation is external? Just because it isn’t something you can see physically? Is that it? Are you one of those who takes an extreme position on the nature versus nurture debate with regards to other things such as personality? You believe everything is learned? Becuase most people, while they may lean more toward one side or the other, will admit that there is at least some balance of the two that make us who we are. Not everything about you (outside of the physical) is learned behaviour. I will grant you that it is a choice whether or not I have sex with my wife, and it is a choice whether or not I pursue a relationship with any particular person, but if you really believe that we get to choose who we are attracted to or who we fall in love with, then you sir have never been in love nor even been wildly attracted to anybody.

    • Erin

      William,

      If you don’t mind sharing, could you please tell us of the day when you chose to be straight as opposed to gay? I ask because I missed that day. Or that moment came too quickly for me to recognize it, not sure which. Since so many people tell me that my sexuality is a choice, I’m just wondering why I didn’t actually get to choose.

      • William

        Exact day ? nah, really can not pin point an exact day or time of day… but, even at the age of 14 there were offers from other kids to engage in gay sex… and I chose not to.

        BUT, later that year I did lose my virginity… to a girl.

        • Lymis

          To whom, I presume, you were not married. Under the same Levitical law that you quote against me, she should have been stoned to death, assuming you didn’t pay her father for her and marry her yourself.

          Shall we dust off Leviticus again and say how it still applies today? We can wait until you get that plank out of your eye if it will help.

        • Diana Avery

          You fornicator you!

        • Alexander

          More proof of your hypocrisy…

          Ps. I also lost my virginity to a girl, but even before that happened all I could think about was guys. It’s not like you chose to have sex with a person of a certain sex and all of a sudden you are either straight or gay. If, hypothetically, you would have sex with a guy tomorrow, would that make you gay?

          • http://www.BuzzDixon.com buzz

            Y’know, I hear the term “lost my virginity” and I imagine a buncha moms going to the school office after class:

            “Hi, my daughter lost her virginity today. May I look in the lost and found bin for it?”

            “Sure. What color was it?”

          • Alexander

            Mine was pink ;)

        • cat rennolds

          yes, but did you WANT to engage in gay sex, I mean, earnestly desire it, and choose not to? Or did you choose not to because it didn’t seem desirable? Homosexual orientation is determined by what you desire, not what you choose. Homosexual behavior can be chosen. Or not.

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          But you chose not to because you had already chosen to be straight – right? I’d like to hear about that day that you chose to be straight as well. The story you’ve offered – who you chose to have sex with – only demonstrates the result of this choice you must have made to be straight.

    • http://www.knnyc.com Rhys

      1. Leviticus 25:44 states that i may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. Should I purchase Mexicans or Canadians?

      2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

      3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – lev.15: 19-24. The problem is – how do I tell?

      4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

      5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

      6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, lev. 11:10, It is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

      7. Lev. 21:20 States that I may not approach the altar of god if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

      8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

      9. I know from lev. 11:6-8 That touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

      10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 By planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

      • Alexander

        It’s funny how William isn’t answering this post.

        • Brian W

          That’s because all the questions in relation to the verses are out of context.

          • cat rennolds

            yes, dear, we know. So is quoting Leviticus to Christians and non-Christians who were never Jewish.

          • Alexander

            Out of context to what? It’s quite clear what the verses are saying. Once again, you can’t have it both ways. “All of the things I enjoy doing are out of context, but these other things that other people enjoy doing but I for some reason find appalling is not”.

          • Brian W

            Verses have to be read in their historical and grammatical context, not as a stand alone statement with a somewhat sarcastic comment that follows. If not exegeted correctly, your final interpretation can result in a “flawed theology”.

          • cat rennolds

            that’s what this post is designed to show people. how terribly wrong it can go if you once start taking verses out of the Bible in isolation. I mean, take this literally “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder,” and it becomes sinful to ever use a knife, a hatchet, or a pair of scissors.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            But that’s the game, Brian. The Romans verses, the Leviticus verses about being gay – all out of context. One set of rules applies to the other (when the foundational rule is flawed to begin with).

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

            Exactly, DR. Thanks for stating the obvious.

          • Brian W

            DR,

            Yea, some things are just best left to the theologians to debate…

    • Lymis

      “Yes, I know what you are going to say “that is the old testament”. Do you think God’s point of view has changed since then ?”

      Well, no, I don’t think God’s point of view has changed. But I don’t think God wrote the Bible, either.

      But if you are going to treat the Bible that way, yes, there are things in the New Testament that stand in direct contradiction to that – or, if you will, that express that the coming of Christ wiped away those aspects of the old law in favor of the new law.

      Among them, but not limited to them, are the statement that in Christ, there is neither male nor female – if God can’t see the difference between male and female in our souls, He’s unlikely to condemn us because of how we arrange our human relationships based on gender. There’s also the extremely clear statement that “anyone who loves is born of God and knows God” – again, raising the love and human emotions as appropriately more significant than plumbing as the basis for judging a relationship.

      Toss in a few “judge net lest ye be judged” and “whatsoever you do to the least of your brothers” and yes, there’s a pretty clear case that Leviticus is not the final word on gay relationships.

      For that matter, Leviticus does not condemn “gay sex,” much less a “sexually deviant life” – it condemns lying with a man the way I would with a woman. And trust me, when I have sex with my husband, it isn’t at all like the way I would lie with a woman.

      Besides, I’ve met God, and He’s not at all like the way they wrote about Him in Leviticus.

      • William

        It’s not the final word.

        1 Corinthians 6:9

        • Lymis

          Ah, yes, the ever-popular mistranslation of “malakoi.” Nice try.

          You know what, though? I have a living Savior. I have the eternal Spirit of God in my heart and soul. That trumps a book any day.

          If that means I’m not Christian, I’m fine with that. My allegiance is not with a fan club. It’s with the Star.

          • cat rennolds

            Can I join your Star-watching club?;)

          • Lymis

            Absolutely not.

            But you are absolutely welcome to engage in your own relationship with Him, and if that means our paths run in parallel, I’ll happily walk alongside you.

            I’ve been on the receiving end of too many clubbings, thanks.

          • cat rennolds

            I was thinking more about hanging out on the back deck with the telescope, coffee and popcorn:) You can have the good chair.

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

          Hysterical. The final word on homosexual relationships is a verse that is not even about homosexual relationships. Unless of course you’re writing a 3rd grade research paper on it…

          BTW, I call the verse the 69 verse. It’s a mnemonic that helps me remember the verse location.

    • Soulmentor

      *****did you skip over the part where he destroyed 2 complete cities because of their sexual deviance ? Did you skip over the parts of the Levitical Law where is expressly states that those choose to live a sexually deviant life by sleeping with the members of the same sex should be put to death ? *****

      And just when I was beginning to think you were a serious thinker. OH PLEASE!!! Must we keep going over this?

      THERE IS NO MENTION OF HOMOSEXUALITY IN THE GENESIS STORY OF THE DESTRUCTION OF THE CITIES. It is an interpretation of the phrase “to know” which may or may not have a sexual connotation. There is also the possibility that they were merely demanding knowledge of the reason for Lot’s visitors in the city, an important social custom in those times, a reason that Lot and his visitors apparently refused to offer. The story is quite abbreviated when you think about it and it must be assumed that much of the confrontation and dialogue is not recorded in the Bible and, btw, who initially recorded it anyway if all the people were destroyed. Lot? His daughters? There is no mention of who recorded the event first hand. Moses? That would have been generations later. Like he would have had knowledge of the conversation!!

      One may choose to accept the sexual interpretation of the story, but it remains just that, a choice….that begs the question of WHY one makes that choice over the other. Because it suits the prevailing traditional prejudice? The epitome of circular “reasoning”.

      • Soulmentor

        As for Leviticus……must we keep dealing with this false reference as well. Yes, the verse states that, but the Levitical Laws state many other reasons for the death penalty that we conveniently ignore, so what’s the big deal about this one? What makes THIS reference so much more un-ignorable?

        Kindly answer that question or stop referencing the verse.

      • http://www.BuzzDixon.com buzz

        Well, Soulmentor, it is pretty clear they wanted to gang rape two strangers whom they perceived to be men but were actually angels (tho technically, depending on how the term “angel” is being used here they could have physically been men, but that’s another issue…).

        But that happened AFTER God had already pronounced judgement on them.

        It’s like that scene in THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY where they’re fixing to hang Tuco (Eli Wallach). They read off a long list of his offenses starting with murder, rape, robbery, etc., finally working their way down to “…and contrary to the laws of this state, playing with a marked deck of cards.”

        Attempted gang rape was just the icing on Sodom’s cake.

        • Soulmentor

          How is it “clear” that the intent was to rape Lot’s visitors? The phrase “to know” is the only indicator of any kind of intent and that is wide open to interpretation. That you (apparently) and anyone else CHOOSES to make a sexual interpretation says more about you and your complicity in prejudice than the Bible says about that incident.

          So, please explain….by what convoluted reasoning to you come to your CHOICE of interpretation? And don’t point to the tired response that it must be true because Lot offered his daughters for gang rape. By itself (and that’s all there is), that does not necessarily mean the crowd had a sexual intent, only the Lot knew it would distract them from whatever impending violence they had in mind which, duh, it surely would have accomplished.

          Why you ignore that “clear” atrocity while arguing for an interpretation that is questionable at best betrays your hypocrisy.

          • cat rennolds

            Um, cause the phrase “to know” is generally used across the rest of the Bible, in several of its English translations, to mean “to have sex with?” All through the begats, for example. Now without going back to the original I don’t know that the translators in this specific verse were translating the same word that was used in the begats. but if they were, then it IS clear. They may not have “intended” to actually rape Lot’s visitors, maybe just rough ‘em up, but the threat is at least implied.

            “Hey, throw them strangers out here in the street with us nice friendly guys! Or else! Really, we just want to get to know them!”

            Why is it so relevant? Sex, violence, in this passage it’s all about power and fear, and THAT’s the wrongness.

          • Diana A.

            Thank you, Cat!

          • Soulmentor

            I have not denied the possibility of sexual intent, I have simply presented that it is an interpretation and that there is another equally valid and that an interpretive choice is being made and one choice, despite it’s uncertainty, is being used to unjustly condemn a class of people. Unjustly, I might add, whether there was sexual rape intent or not because it is a reference to sexual violence as opposed to loving, caring sexual behavior.

            And I still insist that those who choose the sexual intent interpretation at least acknowledge that it is a choice and examine their own reasons for that choice. Are they choosing that interpretation because if supports their pre-conceived prejudice, or because they think thru it as you illustrate?

            If the latter, then thinking thru it can lead to only one honest conclusion: There is uncertainty in interpreting that story and therefore no justification to use it as a rationale for anti-gay prejudice.

            And as for the use of “to know”…..I read somewhere in the past that it is found many times in the Bible (more than 400 if I recall correctly) and in only a very few instances it is a sexual reference. It’s been awhile since I read that and I can’t link it now.

          • Lynette

            “Homosexual” rape is historically usually committed by heterosexual men as a way of shaming and demeaning others. It’s common in cases of military victory and even occurs today in all-male prisons, gang warfare, and military situations outside the Geneva Convention. The city was already condemned, but this final act– that they would choose to rape strangers to their town– showed the sinfulness of the city, NOT because it was “gay” but because it was RAPE. There’s a very similar story in…. Judges, I think, where the men of the town actually do get hold of the stranger’s concubine and spend the night gang raping her to death. No one uses that as a proof text that heterosexuality is wrong, because it’s obvious to them that the problem is rape, not sex. So anyone who tries to use the Sodom story as a proof text against homosexuality is, in essence, implying that rape is okay, so long as it’s man-on-woman.

          • Lymis

            How clear was the intent to rape? Well, it seems extremely clear that they were up to something seriously unpleasant, because the proposed solution of the only Godly man in the county was to offer his daughter to be gang-raped to prevent it from happening. It’s really sort of hard to put any other spin on it.

            And, since it’s not really the point, it isn’t particularly important a detail to pin down.

          • http://www.BuzzDixon.com buzz

            The gang tells Lot they want to “know” his guests.

            Lot offers to let them have his daughters, who have “known” no man.

            If in this case “know” = “learn about”, then there’s not much point ignoring two potential spies in order to talk to two teenage girls if the objective is learning what the spies are up to, right?

        • Brian W

          Buzz,

          Good point

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      William, I have no problem if you want to believe all of this nonsense and if you want to express it. That is your right as an American who enjoys religious freedom. But it also means that you have to accept responsibility for the impacts your beliefs have had on our culture and specifically, on this community.

      These are the kids I dealt with for years who were either kicked out of their christian homes for not “stopping their gay behavior” or who ran away in shame and terror. They were raped. They were exploited. Some were killed. Many killed themselves. I dare you to spend a month at a homeless shelter for kids facing the impact of your theology. I dare you. Because here’s what I think – I don’t think you *know* anyone who is gay that you’ve chosen to know. That you moved toward first. So do it, put your money where your mouth is. There are a million christian shelters for kids, let me know the state you’re in and I’ll find you a few good ones. Come back in a month, come back after you’ve held these Christian kids in your arms who sobbed, crying “Why won’t He change me, I want to go home, I want to go home.” Because it’s that kid who Jesus came to save, William. I wonder what kind of Jesus he sees in you.

      • Brian W

        DR,

        Reading this gave me tears……where is a shelter in the SF Bay Area you know of

        • cat rennolds

          Brian? I love you. If you don’t find a shelter near you, you can always volunteer for one of the telephone hotlines for gay teens.

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          Brian there’s a shelter called New Horizon in the SF area but if you contact the Trevor Project they can put you in touch with places that you can serve in and support. xoxo

  • Jim Farris via Facebook

    Continuing thanks for your work, John.

  • Steve Peck

    I believe that homophobia, bigotry, and bullying are incompatible with the teachings and way of Jesus. Bronze-Age, toxic theologies must be purged from “Christian teaching.” Such ignorance is an affront to God.

    • Connie

      Amen.

  • William

    Oh, and while I am at it.

    You might as well blame Christians for Hitler as well, and why stop there ? lets blame Christians for Osama bin Laden, and Saddam Hussein, and Atilla the Hunn, and Joseph Stalin, and Fidal Castro, and all the other ruthless dictators throughout history.

    Hitler was a Jew… and killed Jews.

    Both bin Laden and Hussein were Muslims… and killed Muslims (and others as well)

    Stalin was Russian… and killed Russians (and others as well)

    Castro is Cuban… and killed Cubans (and others as well).

    Point is that even if Christians came around to your way of thinking to appease your guilt ridden mindset the violence you see will not stop simply because there will always be people that will want to do evil, and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

    Can you prove that the kids that bullied him were Christians, or is it pure speculation that they might have been ?

    It’s extremely convenient to blame the entire worlds woes on a single group of people instead of focusing on the individual that perpetrated the act.

    • cat rennolds

      the point is, it doesn’t matter if these particular bullies were Christian or not. What matters is that in this country, in this time, we are suffering from a cultural ideology INFORMED by so-called Christian values. Meaning, the bullies in this place and this time have a ready-made set of slurs to throw, ones they can throw and have grown-ups pretend they just didn’t hear it.

      Sure, if you take the negative meaning out of the words, “gay,” “queer,” “butch,”

      “dyke,” “fairy,” “Faggot,” etc, the bullies will still bully. But if they use these words to do it, and there’s no cultural support for them, they don’t get the silent “attaboy” that most of them are looking for. They can’t fool themselves that they’re some sort of vigilante heroes.

      See, bullies pick on people they think no-one else will protect. They’re not interested in picking on people if there’s a decent chance they’ll get busted for it. So as long as “good Christians” look the other way, or silently cheer, or AUDIBLY cheer, gay kids (or any kids that get called gay) are legitimate targets.

      What I want to see, regardless of who’s being picked on or why, is a culture where bullying is immediately called out and prevented. This means when you’re a teacher, you can’t assume teenagers – or heaven forbid, younger kids – can mind themselves for a few minutes while you leave the room. It means monitoring your OWN kids’ Internet presence. It means if you have a kid, you make sure he or she is SAFE at all times. It means don’t assume the moody is just teenageriness. It means teaching your kids to report bullying the minute they see it, and letting you know about it. and it means if said kid tells you “Well, I told the teacher, but they didn’t do anything,” you go to the school with it, and escalate it. And keep escalating it until it works.

      I pulled my middle child OUT of school because of bullying. We homeschooled him for a while. A culture where bullying is ignored or tacitly approved is not a learning environment. At least, not anything I wanted him learning.

  • Connie

    It’s interesting.

    I was taught in the 60′s and 70′s in Sunday school, church, and confirmation classes as a teen in the Lutheran Church….”though shall not judge”. “Love thy neighbor”. “Do unto others, as you would have done to you”. You know…the ten commandments that some “Christians” want to be placed in public…b/b they don’t live by them in their hearts and lives. I was taught…to be e a good person, worry about your own door step, it’s none of your business, and when in doubt…God has it under control.

    No where do I remember (after reading the Bible completely and being tested on it)….damn your neighbors…judge everyone publicly….HATE people who are not like you….to help God out when making all those decisions…about forgiving sins. Sins of ohhhh …you know…pot smokers, gays, wife cheaters and beaters, child molesters, porn using, gossipers, alcohol drinking, polyester blend clothes wearing….oh yes…it says in the Bible to blend fabrics is a sin! It is also a sin to pick and choose phrases or words from the Bible and take away from…or to ADD YOUR OWN WORDS to.

    So unless we are all Amish persons….I guess we should all shut up and get back to Gods word…about loving one another, taking care of the poor and needy, not judging anyone in Gods name. B/c talking about and judging others is a sin! And I don’t want to sin…especially online…I think he has internet!

    GOD forgives sins…..NOT mere humans… who say they are “Christians” and then spew their hate filled judgement…as God said…A SIN!

    May god forgive us all.

    Have a lovely day!

    • Lymis

      Amish people eat pork. The heathens.

  • Tasneem

    I’m not Christian,I’m Muslim ,but I don’t think it has much to do with religion- because Christians do a lot of things that their religion tells them not to do-,I believe it’s a culture thing, also I am not sure a kid his age should be having sex at all. The matter should be investigated. Unfortunately in US, some one has to be bullied, for any reason, I don’t know why are the kids so angry .

    • Lymis

      There’s no indication in anything I’ve read that “the kid” was having sex. Or, for that matter, that he identified himself as gay.

      People are gay whether they have sex or not, and gay teens are still gay when they are virgins. Being gay is about who you are attracted to, not about whether or not you have had sex. Straight people don’t become heterosexual when they lose their virginity.

      He was bullied because other people thought he was gay.

      • Tasneem

        so they bullied him bec they thought he was gay, it keeps getting worse I think

        • Lymis

          I should be clear. I don’t know that he didn’t openly identify as gay. He may well have. Or he may have said something to someone that was spread around so that he was known to be gay without being “open” about it.

          The articles I’ve read were silent on the issue.

          What I objected to was your assumption that it was a given that the boy was sexually active. I knew I was different from other boys from about age 5, and I knew just what it was that was different about me – that I was gay – from around age 13. I didn’t have sex until I was 28 years old, but I was gay the whole time.

        • Sami

          Yes, Tanseem it is getting worse. I don’t see how it matters if he was sexually active or not. I do lik your point about kids here being so angry. I’ve traveled a good part of the world, and the children of India were very poor. But, the happiest children I met. India is also a good comparison because they exist with Hindus, Christians and Muslims. Wiping out or “taking on” a religion isn’t something I support. I call out Christians because they are “my brothers and sisters in Christ”. Taking on Muslims would not be the same and frankly I think it arrogant to even suggest. Just like all Christians aren’t fundies all Muslims aren’t either. Maybe visit a mosque and interact with your local Islaamic community before saying such things. (Sorry, the last half directed at an earlier comment)

    • Soulmentor

      *****I believe it’s a culture thing,…*****

      Yes, Tasneem, it is indeed, in part, a culture thing. But religions play a very significant, perhaps the MOST significant role in the development of a given culture. Yes?

      Anti-gay attitudes trace back to a religious source, and here in America, that source is Christianity. Can anyone suggest another viable source for anti-gay attitudes?

  • Molly by Golly

    This collective freak out within the Christian community over homosexuality is the visible edge of a faith working to reintegrate sexuality and divinity into some healthy configuration. With limited exception, sexuality has been kicked to the sinful end of the street. “Unrepentant” queers are treated badly by some Christians and welcomed heartily by others because they refuse to adopt a foundational assumption of personal shame relating to bucked gender roles and expressed sexuality. Their mere existence kicks out the legs beneath a particular understanding of what Christianity means. What if sexuality is not inherently sinful? If we begin to take sexual “transgressions” off the table of sin, and we have been doing so for at least six decades here in the US, we may eventually begin to take seriously the sins of both social inequity and “peace” maintained at gun point.

    • andrea

      “unrepentant” queers” are you tryin to be derogatory?

      • Molly By Golly

        Derogatory? Some fundementalists have no problem with celebate homosexuals but take issue with anyone in the LGBT community who is queer and unashamed, “unrepentant”. My use of the word “queer” is positive, as reclaimed by the LGBT community over the last two decades.

    • LSS

      this is an interesting tactic and (as a recovering prude) i kind of like it.

  • https://www.facebook.com/mitchellcountygsa Mary Vogel

    William,

    We are currently in the midst of developing our new GSA: https://www.facebook.com/mitchellcountygsa, formed in response to the hateful anti-marriage amendment in NC. Out first meeting in Nov was met with 50+ protesters bussed in from 2 Baptist churches in the county. Luckily a supporter interviewed many of the protesters on video. The ignorance was astounding, all bible based. The video is dark and grainy, but interesting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfUf56lTcKI

    Most of the people at our meeting were straight, but supportive. The many conversations I’ve had with non supporters is that; 1. It’s a sin and 2. It’s a choice. The LGBT community and straight supporters do not agree with that thinking. By comparing us to the people who learn to lie and steal is, well…stupid.

    I don’t know why one is born different (minority) than others (majority), but instead of this awfully hateful rhetoric, can you not find something to celebrate? What has made you feel this way? Were you raised in a like minded household? Are you from an area that is so insular that that is all you know? Have you not seen the contributions that all people make in this life. Do you really think the LGBT community is going to ruin your life? Which begs the question: How?

    The LGBT community is just as diverse as any other, we all have something, no matter how small to contribute. We don’t go to your churches and protest on your steps, why do you harass us in word if not deed.

    I have met some wonderful Christians in my community that are very supportive and secretly tell us that the protesters are the ‘lunatic fringe’, not reflective of the Christian community as a whole. I have changed my tune about what I think of Christians and living rurally because I now see the whole picture. It took this new GSA and the protest and the public response for this to make itself known to me. See, good things come out of ugly.

    Our second meeting next week has promised more of the same protests, wow.

    • William

      I do not know how to put it more simply than whatever is external to a person is learned.

      A person is not born Christian, Jew, or Muslim as these things are learned.

      A person is not born a vegetarian or vegan as these things are learned.

      A person is not born a scientific genius as it is something to be learned.

      I was born the son of an Irish Catholic father, and a Lithuanian Jewish mother.

      Today, I am neither Catholic nor Jewish.

      If I could choose not to be of Irish or Lithuanian decent then I would.

      I wanted to be an artist while growing up in Boston, but got into technology instead as I started to learn about computers and electronics in the late 70′s, and it was what I chose to do with my life.

      Past the Age of Reason a person consciously chooses what they will do with their life, and most of that choice is based on what they were taught prior to that point.

      What I find offensive in all of this is that people sit here judging people that they do not even know based on an assumption that these bullies were Christians, and nothing nowhere has even remotely suggested this.

      Are there Christians that are hateful ? yes.

      Are there gays and lesbians that are hateful ? yes.

      Are there Jews that are hateful ? yes.

      Personally, I do not judge Christians, Jews, Muslims, Gays or Lesbians as a group by the hateful things done by a small segment of people.

      If I follow that mindset then as a Jew I should hate all Germans for what was done to several of my relatives back in the 1930′s and 40′s in concentration camps, but it was not an entire race of people that did that it was a small segment of them that were wrong.

      You spend all the time focusing your hatred on the entire religion and not the individual that did it… that is why the US is currently involved in 2 wars and is about to get into yet another.

      • andrea

        william, at the end of the day, i just hope that the love you have in you heart for yourself and others outweighs everything else about you that people may or may no like. i do hope that you truely do not judge groups on what they do, and just kudge the individual, though it is not your place or my place to judge anyone.

        no matter what, no child, not one, deserves to be treated so poorly that they feel the only way out is to end their own life. and i hope that at the end of the day you feel this way and you can do your part to help make this world a better place for everyone.

        but you are wrong about one thing, we CAN stop evil, if we love enough. are you going to be the one to produce some of that love?

      • Jake

        William, I don’t think he is necessarily blaming the religion. He is blaming the people who are voicing this opinion based on their belief system.

        And he is saying:

        If Christians would stand up for what it is the Bible actually preaches, there wouldn’t be this societal “okayness” with bullying someone for being gay. The kid might not have been gay, in fact. But they used those words to punish him for their amusement. It would be the same if they called him the “n” word. Whether he was black or not, the intention behind it would be hurtful. Our society has put a stop to the use of this word and to differentiating a person’s worth by skin color. So now it is time for us to do the same with orientation. And it will take Christians to actually lead that charge since they are the prevailing voice behind the opposing side.

        • Diana Avery

          This is true.

        • William

          Guess what ?

          I was bullied as a child.

          And here I am.

          I was called gay, but I am not.

          I was call a fag, but I am not.

          I was called a nigger lover because my best friend was black and because I stood with him when kids abused him.

          I was beaten up on a weekly basis at the Catholic school I attended.

          Do I hate Catholics for the abuse I took ? no.

          Do I hate those children that bullied me ? no.

          I watched at the young age of 6 as my friends family was killed when their home was fire bombed simply because they were black.

          I watched an entire riot break out in my own neighborhood between balck kids and white kids based solely on the difference in their skin color.

          Their hate was taught to them.

          They learned their hate.

          And it was to their destruction.

          Personally, I look at people as individuals and not as part of a larger whole.

          There are good white people and there are bad white people.

          Should we then conclude that since there are bad white people that ALL white people are bad ? no.

          There are good black people and there are bad black people.

          Should we then conclude that since there are bad black people that ALL black people are bad ? no.

          Same can be said for any religion that exists.

      • Lymis

        “Are there Christians that are hateful ? yes.”

        Ahem.

        • William

          I think you meant to say Amen.

          • Lymis

            Once again, how astonishingly able you are to choose to misinterpret.

      • LSS

        the thing you’re protesting is not even what he’s doing in this article or in this blog in general.

  • Leslie Marbach via Facebook

    And another reason to stand up and say, “Enough!” We cannot, as a society, continue to allow the bullying, bigotry, and hatred to run rampant without doing everything in our power to stop it. So many people say gays will lead to the destruction of our civilization. I say this religious-based hatred will destroy us.

  • Mike Little via Facebook

    Keep up the good work John.

  • William

    So, after we get the Christians to cave in and go against their God we then need to focus on the Muslims because they to this very day still put gay and lesbian people to death for their life style choice.

    I mean if we are gonna blame entire religions lets not hold back.

    • andrea

      i thought you guys had a clause in that book of yours that said something about not killing people. and i thought you guys didn’t like muslim because they don’t believe in jesus and the whole christian god thing. i’m confused. do you mind if i ask what sect of christianity you are. assuming you are christian of course

      • William

        Muslim believe in Yashua bin Yosef as a prophet of Allah and he is mentioned multiple times throughout the Q’ran.

        I personally do not hate any person.

        I do not attend any specific church.

        I do not belong to, nor am I affiliated with any one religion.

        I do however believe in Yashua Ha Mashiach.

        I do believe in Yahovah the creator of all that is.

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

      Helpful, William. thanks.

    • Sami

      Wiping out or “taking on” a religion isn’t something I support. I call out Christians because they are “my brothers and sisters in Christ”. Taking on Muslims would not be the same and frankly I think it arrogant to even suggest. Just like all Christians aren’t fundies all Muslims aren’t either. Maybe visit a mosque and interact with your local Islaamic community before saying such things.

    • Ben

      I think you are being a bit disingenuous, William. No one is blaming an entire religion, and you yourself know that even as you typed it.

      But the point remains that a vast swath of Christians spend a whole hell of a lot of time pointing fingers and judging others while they need to be worrying about themselves. It is also known that a lot of times it is their gay and lesbian brothers and sisters who are at the end of the pointing fingers.

      Morality and homosexuality isn’t the worst thing facing Christians in our day and age. Christians themselves are the worst problem facing Christians today.

      • William

        Really, I am being disingenuous ?? the entire discussion on here blames Christians for the bullying this child took over a multitude of year.

        It blames Christians for the torrent of hatred towards gays and lesbians.

        Or did you miss that ??

        Hate is not something that is exclusive to any one group of people or religion… my point is that to this very day Muslim law states that those that have sex with those of their gender are to be put to death… and it actively happens.

        I would think that people would be more than upset at that… but I guess I was wrong.

        • Soulmentor

          ****8Hate is not something that is exclusive to any one group of people or religion….*******

          I agree, William (my name too), but here in America, it is the Christian religion that is the source of anti-gay attitudes. It simply is and there is no way around that fact. All anti-gay attitude traces back to that source.

      • Brian W

        Yea, what you said

    • http://kenreads.wordpress.com Ken Leonard

      Yeah. You might consider John’s advice and actually read the Bible.

      Loving one another is not going against God. Also, John isn’t attacking Christians. Being a Christian himself, he’s kind of pro-Christian. And I say that as a Christian. He’s just anti-hate.

      Kind of like Jesus, actually.

      • William

        I have read it more than 100 times and in 4 different languages.

        I have study Hermeneutics and Biblical Eschatology.

        I attended 4 years of Seminary.

        I have not now, nor have I ever bullied anyone.

        I have not now, nor have I ever protested against gays or lesbians.

        I have not now, nor have I ever signed any documents that would remove rights from any specific segment of society.

        I do not attend any specific church.

        I do not belong to, nor am I affiliated with any one religion.

        I do however believe in Yashua Ha Mashiach.

        I do believe in Yahovah the creator of all that is.

        I do believe that a person is born male and female.

        I do believe that past that everything that is external to a person is learned.

        That includes hate.

        • Soulmentor

          OK. Now we know you are a knowledgeable man. So if you have done all that study and have so much knowledge, how it is you seem to not agree that here in

          America, anti-gay attitudes spring from Biblical (read “Christian”) misinterpretation?

          • William

            Misinterpretation yes, but hate does not spring from that.

            When I was child being bullied it was not because of Christianity.

            When I was being called a nigger lover because my best friend was a child was not because of Christianity.

            Bullies come in all arrays of religious backgrounds, and to pin the entirety of the worlds hatred on one select group is unacceptable.

            Might as well just blame the Irish.

        • http://kenreads.wordpress.com Ken Leonard

          You’ve read it 100 times and never noticed that Sodom wasn’t destroyed over homosexuality? Perhaps you should read less quickly and more carefully.

          I can claim to have read things, too, but it won’t have a lot of credibility if I get the facts that far off.

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      William,

      Perhaps after your pity party (for one) is over you’ll consider the reality that Muslim-Americans make up about .03% of the voting population here in America while Christians make up about 59%. Quite the influencing majority there, dear. But nice try.

  • O Damba Soyombo via Facebook

    Norman J. Shore: King of Metaphors

  • http://pegkerr.livejournal.com Peg

    John, I wonder if you have seen this article, which has some Dos and Don’ts about how to talk about suicide which might be pertinent here.

  • Bryan F Cummins via Facebook

    John, why do you think people that refer to Sodom and Gomorrah to defend their stance on Gays always leave out the part about how once the fires destroy the cities and the king and his daughters escape, they fornicate with him while he is unconscious so they can all get pregnant to help repopulate their kingdom? So rape and incest are okay in that instance but homosexuality is punishable by death? Give me a break.

    • Brian W

      BF,

      Rape and incest is NOT ok. The Bible doesn’t cover up the faults and sins of people. Lot’s daughters were NOT doing what was right. They thought the whole world was destroyed and they alone escaped judgement. Knowing their father would never commit incest while sober, they got him drunk and laid with him. It was a grave sin they committed to their father.

    • Soulmentor

      Lot was not a King, but no matter. What is so hypocritical about christians using that story against gays is that there is no mention of gays OR homosexuality in the story while they ignore the blatantly obvious abomination of Lot offering his daughters for gang rape.

      Yes, no clear reference to homosexuality in that story. It can be interpreted so, but it remains an interpretation that begs the question of WHY one chooses that interpretation over another which is that the men of the city merely wanted “to know” the business of Lot’s visitors in an age and culture when that was a very important consideration.

      • Brian W

        I agree, the root of the sin in Sodom and Gamorrah was NOT homosexuality

  • Nathan

    I have a hard time with the excuse that administrators didn’t realize the extent of the bullying. Of course they did. As did parents, students, teachers, etc. Trust me, they knew about it. I can tell you right now all the kids in our community who people say are “gay” or “femmy”, and even share instances where their own siblings deride them in front of others. As a pastor who works with youth, you constantly battle against the word “gay” as an insult, even a common slang term meaning ‘stupid’. But it feels like fighting a losing battle when others ignore the slights as ‘kids being kids.’

    Sadly it takes tragedies like these to point out the fact that when people see evil, they often stay quiet until it is too late. Rather than blaming the Church as outright persecutors, I think John’s point is that many Christians stand by as these things are happening. Doing nothing in many cases is just as bad, if not worse than being a persecutor. How many of those who observed this bullying did nothing because of the homophobia they learned from their parents, their church, and their culture? How many fellow students failed to speak up just once against someone who called this boy names? The entire community shares blame and responsibility.

    Heck, I am in the process of unlearning a lot of what I have learned, thanks in part to John’s Blog and his other writings. I have to fight this everyday in the church I serve, whether it is the racism of older generations who were appalled that we took kids into a bad (in other words poor, non-white neighborhood), the bias against ‘female’ pastors (when was the last time anyone referred to me as a ‘male’ pastor?), or even the xenophobia of small towns who distrust all outsiders. It is a constant struggle against our biases and I have learned that the worst possible response we in the Church can have is “its not our problem”.

    • Brian W

      Pastor Nathan,

      Nice post. It isn’t just Christians “sitting around doing nothing” a LOT of people are doing likewise. I saw bullying way back when I was in school and did nothing about it because if I had, the bullies would have kicked my butt. Bullies generally posses a physical dominance over their victims and over those wanting to step in, but won’t out of fear of reprisals.

      The answer isn’t legislation or letter writing or protesting, the issue is, its a heart problem, people need the Gospel of Jesus Christ to free them of their hatred. In 1962 the Gospel was declared illegal in our schools and a generation later, we see the results – hatred and suicide.

      • LSS

        i was bullied in a christian school by a teacher and (briefly) by the principal.

        • Brian W

          LSS,

          I’m sorry to hear that.

          • LSS

            so having the bible in your school … doesn’t help.

            having decent people running your school, that helps.

            people who treat people right no matter where they learned it.

            … people that won’t put a kid with a superior level IQ back a whole friggin grade level for blowing her nose too loud and not being able to copy spelling words fast enough on the first day of 3rd grade.

          • LSS

            while the specifics of my story are clearly included mainly for comic relief, i hope the point is still clear: if their bible didn’t stop them from being such jerks to me, when i was only odd, imagine how they would treat a kid that they considered “an abomination”?! obviously their bible didn’t help them overcome any of the conformism in our culture, or even help them to just be reasonable people.

          • http://www.knnyc.com Rhys

            Here’s what I don’t understand: people running around using the word “abomination” interchangeably with “unforgivable sin.” PEOPLE. That is not what abomination means, and frankly, it makes people who are claiming to be so studied in the word of God look silly. Abomination simply means that someone broke the cultural Jewish holiness code. Sorta like a faux-pas. Like today, you wouldn’t go to a church service dressed like a stripper. I mean some might, and frankly I don’t think God would really care if someone did if they were there to worship, but the point is that there is an expectation in many churches (especially the ones I grew up in) that you dress a certain way out of respect for God. Just like shaving one’s head was considered an abomination because many pagan people shaved their head and could be associated with that, if someone came to church dressed like a stripper, people would probably make assumptions about that person and may associate them with questionable activities. That said, an abomination is not an unforgivable sin, and I wish people would stop using that word incorrectly. It just means that someone broke that cultural code. That’s it.

            End rant.

          • Diana A.

            Unfortunately, common usage of the word becomes that word’s definition, even if it might have meant something altogether different when it was first used.

          • Brian W

            LSS,

            Agreedm when you say “them” and “they” you mean other kids or the school administration? Just because a kid is in a Christian school, doesn’t make him a Christian. Jujst because someone has a Bible and reads it, doesn’t mean they live by its precepts.

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        Brian the answer *is* legislation and letter writing and protesting. It is all of those things and it is also a heart problem. You need to consider the reality of how change and progress occur in a broken, sinful society – Blacks were allowed to vote because of a lot of protesting. Your emphasis on the heart is the right one but be careful not to overemphasize it to the degree that you diminish the power of our legal system as well as the power of civil disobedience.

        • Brian W

          DR,

          You’re right, the power of civil disobedience works. Ideally they should work in conjunction to change society – the Gospel of Jesus Christ and civil change.

    • Soulmentor

      “it’s not [their] problem” is part of it, but I think a bigger part is that they fear to speak out because it will sound like they are contradicting their own church or “faith” or their sense of traditional christianity. They are so deeply invested in this christianity vs homosexuality meme that they can’t get past it without feeling like they are harming their religion. Christianity pretty much gotten past race and misogyny, but homosexuality is the last big dilemma for THE CHURCH to resolve. When it does, it will shake the foundations of Christianity precisely because it has been so deeply invested in it as a foundation of “faith” and “truth”. It has been the greatest lie of the church.

      • Brian W

        I suppose its possible, but highly improbably that they don’t speak up because it will contradict “their faith”, since Biblical Christianity wouldn’t condone bullying to begin with. Sticking up for those that can’t, is not a cntradiction of Christianity, it is part of the essence of what Chrsitianity is at is core. Helping those in need

        • Soulmentor

          Your comment is valid if we are talking about bullying in general, but MY comment is valid when it is about “gay” bullying.

          • Brian W

            agreed

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

          Brian,

          This comment has a swell pie-in-the-sky, felt-board Sunday school feel to it:

          since Biblical Christianity wouldn’t condone bullying to begin with

          But here’s the rub. It is okay to have righteous indignation. Jesus even taught us this when he cleared the temple with a whip. It is not bullying IF the group of people with whom you’re disgusted is clearly guilty of sin.

          So if we are going to lump homosexuality in with sin (heinous, disgusting, or otherwise), we should not be (or act) surprised by the righteous indignation (a.k.a. bullying) that will inevitably follow.

          • http://www.cindymurphythinkingoutloud.blogspot.com Cindy

            Are you actually suggesting here that bullying can in any reasonable way be seen as righteous indignation or has any similarity to Jesus driving out the money changers in the temple? There is one huge difference between the two. Righteous indignation is always aimed at powerful forces that are oppressing people. Bullying involves targeting the weak and defenseless and IS the oppressing force. The two could not be on more opposite ends of the scale. When Jesus drove the money changers out of the temple it was because they were taking advantage of people and cheating them and turning the temple into a place of oppression. The money changers were the bullies in that story, not Jesus. Nothing that involves preying on the weak or ganging up on an individual can ever in any way be viewed as “righteous indignation”. That is beyond ridiculous.

          • http://www.cindymurphythinkingoutloud.blogspot.com Cindy

            Also note that the “righteous indignation” of Jesus was never aimed at sinners. It was only ever directed at religious leaders. So even if we were to accept the flawed premise that homosexuals are automatically sinners, that lead anybody with any understanding of the teachings of Jesus to bully them. Sadly, too few Christians have any real understanding of the teachings of Jesus…

          • Diana Avery

            Thank you, Cindy. This is true.

          • Diana Avery

            I see your point, Ric. As long as we buy into the notion that homosexuality is a sin, it doesn’t take much to then conclude that harassing gay people is a work of God. This is wrong, of course, but you’re right that it does happen in precisely that way.

          • Brian W

            Now THAT would be flawed theology to believe that harassing and bullying people because of sin is a “work of God”…That would mean we should harass and bully everyone because we’re all sinners. God NEVER commands believers to harass people because of thier sin, we are commanded to bring the Gospel to a sinful world.

          • Diana A.

            But you’re being logical, Brian. A lot of people aren’t logical. They just grab a hold of the first seemingly viable excuse for their behavior and go with it.

            “Oh, I don’t hate gay people, but homosexuality is a sin. It says so right here in the Bible. And what kind of Christian would I be if I didn’t proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ by telling all these gay sinners out there that if they don’t repent and get right with the Lord by stopping all this gay nonsense that they will spend eternity in Hell! This is the Lord’s work that I’m doing here!”

            Do you see how it happens? How believing homosexuality is a sin gives a person license to behave abominably toward gay people–and all the while call it “loving God and loving my neighbor as myself”? Because “I know that if I was committing an abominable sin toward God and that I was on a one way track to Hell, I’d want somebody to tell me. That would be the loving thing to do. Not remaining silent and letting me remain on the one way track to Hell. So I’m being loving when I behave like this. They’ll thank me later. I know they will.”

            See how it works? Logic has nothing to do with it. Sound theology has nothing to do with it.

          • http://www.cindymurphythinkingoutloud.blogspot.com Cindy

            I could concede your point and chaulk it up to a completely illogical belief that harassing sinners is the work of God if, and only if, the Christians that mistreat gay people treated other “sinners” the same way. That has not been my experience however.

            I will never forget the conversation I had with my father shortly after I came out. He stated quite emphatically that my wife (then girlfriend) would never be welcome in his house and that he would never come to visit me as long as I am living with a woman. I pointed out to him then that there was more to this than him just believing that what I was doing was sinful since when one of my brothers was living with a woman that he was not married to at the time and my father believed this to be sinful it did not stop him from welcoming them into his home and going out of his way to visit them in their home. Thankfully, my father has since come to see that he was not treating me in a loving manner and has since apologized and welcomed my wife into his home even though he still believes homosexuality to be sinful.

            The behaviour that my father exhibited is sadly not atypical behaviour amongst very conservative Christians. There is no shortage of stories similar to mine and even worse where the parent would even go as far as to kick out a teenage child upon finding out they are gay or stop speaking to them if they are already on their own. Most of these people would not treat their children the same way for committing other sins, not even sexual sins which always seem to be in a special category amongst ultra conservative Christians.

            In general, the way a large section of the church treats gay people is distinct from the way they treat any other people they have identified as being sinful. Given that, it is illogical to conclude that simply believing that homosexuality is a sin leads people to treat gay people so deplorably. Clearly there is more to it than that…

          • Brian W

            Cindy,

            Wow this really opened my eyes more, that’s why I like coming to this blog. I’m sorry for how your dad treated you, so sad and to his daughter. Thanks for sharing and making some very clear and logical points I have not seen or realized before.

      • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

        What I find weird is that it has nothing whatsoever to do with core ideas like “salvation” or “the existance of God.”

        It’s kind of like the abortion issue (I won’t take a side here – my thoughts on it are complex enough to make both “sides” of the issue hate me)… I just find it weird that “abortion!” is the thing that many people think defines you as Christian-or-Not and it’s a freaking political issue.

        Like gay marriage – I like to argue that even if someone thinks homosexuality is a sin, that the marriage issue is a political one – a straight up civil-rights issue that shouldn’t even have anything to do with religion.

        Personally, I think I’m at a place where I’m spiritually a Christian, but “politically” not one. This is a weird feeling.

        • LSS

          have you read Frank Schaeffer on abortion? he manages to make a case for being pro-life AND pro-choice at the same time and he makes a lot of sense at it. just wanting you to know you are not alone in this corner of politics and religion.

          • Soulmentor

            Frank Schaeffer make a lot of sense in everything he writes. He comes from a background that gives him special insight into fanatical christianity, after all.

      • LSS

        i would throw ableism in there, too, as another last dilemma. actually disability rights and gay rights movements have a lot in common … one article i read said that the thing the *people* of those movements have in common is that “our parents wish we had been born somebody else”.

        the problem PWD have in the churches or with religious organizations is usually a kind of invisibility (unless they are in the spotlight as “an inspiration”, which is a way of making them invisible as a PERSON), as opposed to how the religious problems with glbtq are too much in the news in negative ways.

        sorry for the tangent but i think parallels can be useful in such discussion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dwayne.g.mason Dwayne G Mason via Facebook

    Thank you, John, for continuing to be the voice of reason and compassion. Keep up the fight!

  • https://www.facebook.com/mitchellcountygsa Mary Vogel

    Bravo Nathan and Rys….

  • http://www.facebook.com/ccoppenbarger Chris Coppenbarger via Facebook

    Christians are not to blame for anyone taking their life. And there are many Christians who really do read their Bibles and they God at his Word. Calling those who call Homosexuality sin bullies, bigots, etc. is not helping the cause at all either.

    • William

      Exactly.

    • LSS

      read this and see if you get it.

      (it’s from a different branch of advocacy, but human rights is human rights so the same concepts apply.)

      ” A spot of light in the darkness is invaluable, but it’s just that–a small spot of light. I’m not writing about the spots–I am writing about the overwhelming, consuming darkness.

      I really don’t understand how we’ve gotten to a point where some sort of acknowledgement is expected for the teachers, professionals, and parents, the service providers and the allies, who manage to show some basic human decency. Such a state of affairs is an insult to everyone involved.”

      http://juststimming.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/congratulations-on-your-human-decency/

  • http://Facebook.com/flipsteroo Flip

    God? God is love. Pure, unconditional and man cannot experience the fullness of God’s Love. Hate in any manner is not supported in any religion. I grew up in a small town in Northwestern Pennsylvania and attended school in a school that turned it’s head when I was called a faggot everyday. I dropped out in 11th grade and achieved my GED. I would have killed myself if I continued to go to school. I believed there is a God And he gave me the strength and wisdom to forgive all the kids and their parents for what they did to me. The parents of the children that are known to bully should be more aware of the situation so they may correct flaws in their parenting as its clear in all of these happenstances that it’s the parents to blame. No parent wants to hear they need to correct a flaw in their children because it questions their parental compass. However, no parent wants to find their child dead either.

  • William

    OK, so what have we been able to learn in all of this ?

    - Nowhere in the article (nor anywhere on the internet) does it state that those doing the bullying believed in any one religion.

    - People who call Christians hypocritical for hate are themselves guilty of the same hate towards Christians… sounds like a double standard to me.

    - Bullies are mean

    - People kill themselves

    Personally, I could care less if a person wants to be gay or lesbian… it is my choice not to be… I do not judge them for being such.

    BUT, if we are going to blame Christians for this then that leads to the assumption that the God of Christians exists, and that what he says is law regardless of when it was stated.

    If we are to go off that premise that God does exist and is opposed to gays and lesbians… mind you this is not my point of view, but that of God… then his word is law.

    Further, If we are to go off that premise that God does exist and that the Bible is truth then in the end it will not be me or anyone else walking the face of this planet that will judge us… hell, I don’t even want the job now.

    I have not now, nor have I ever bullied anyone.

    I have not now, nor have I ever protested against gays or lesbians.

    I have not now, nor have I ever signed any documents that would remove rights from any specific segment of society.

    I do not attend any specific church.

    I do not belong to, nor am I affiliated with any one religion.

    I do however believe in Yashua Ha Mashiach.

    I do believe in Yahovah the creator of all that is.

    I do believe that a person is born male and female.

    I do believe that past that everything that is external to a person is learned.

    That includes hate.

    • Lymis

      Such a short post, and yet so very much that is wrong with it. I’ll just sum it up:

      I believe that you are wrong.

    • Lymis

      Let me also take the opportunity to point out that you are posting all this in a thread discussing the fact that a teenage boy felt so hurt and abandoned that he killed himself in his senior year of high school.

      Even if every word of your posts is theologically accurate and valid, going on this rant in this context is a pretty seriously dick move, like the Phelps people protesting at funerals.

      Even if your theology is accurate, you should really examine your compassion. Or your timing.

      • William

        People die every day.

        Some by natural causes.

        Some by the hand of another.

        Some by their own hand.

        I had a friend and co-worker that went through a similar situation and demise, and to this day I remember him, but I also face the reality of it all.

        To blame an entire religion for this childs death is ludicrous and is just as hateful as the hate you say Christians have… there is that old saying about how 2 wrongs do not make a right.

        PLUS, if you are gonna go off against a religion that hates gays and lesbians why are you not railing against the Muslim religion that to this very day actively practices the putting to death those that are such ??

        Are you certain that those that were doing the bullying were Christian ?? how do you know they were not Muslim ?? or Wiccan, or Atheist, or Hindu ??

        BUT, it’s just one more bandwagon for people to jump on to espouse their hatred of Christians.

        • Diana Avery

          The reason why the majority of us are not railing against any religion other than Christianity is because most of us are Christians. We are attempting to clean up our own house before knocking on the doors of other people’s houses asking if they want their houses cleaned. Or worse yet, ramming in the doors of their houses and pushing our way in without their permission.

        • Lymis

          I haven’t seen anyone here say a word about blaming an entire religion for anything. We’re pretty much holding individuals responsible for their own beliefs and actions. You seem to be the one conflating it into a condemnation of Christianity as a whole.

          And seriously? You’re going to try to float with a straight face that there’s a remote possibility that roving bands of Muslim bullies or Wiccan terrorists are causing suicides in central Tennessee and it wouldn’t BE the headline?

          Yes, I’m certain that the bullies weren’t Muslim, Wiccans, or Hindus, because there’s no possibility that the news reports would have skipped over that little tidbit. FOX news would be running 24 hour live updates on it. In that case, what would be left out of the reports would be that the victim might be gay.

          • LSS

            this almost made me laugh out loud literally, except it’s so true it’s not even funny.

          • http://www.cindymurphythinkingoutloud.blogspot.com Cindy

            So true…

        • http://small-letters.com Mindy

          William, read this: http://small-letters.com/2011/11/13/i-choose-love/. It’s from my own experience, and it is the best thing I have to offer to explain why I can hold anti-gay Christian theology (and those to hold to it) at least partly responsible for this boy’s death and dozens like him, even though I never met him.

          Anti-gay Christian theology gives permission to exclude and outcast and mistreat.

          If my own story doesn’t move you, try this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gareth-higgins/tyler-clementi-death_b_751354.html.

    • Soulmentor

      Now we know what you DID NOT do. So what have you DONE?

      Have you had occasion to STOP bullying but did not?

      Have you ever protested anti-gay legislation?

      Have you signed any petitions or documents AGAINST anti-gay legislation?

      Have you shot down gay jokes among your acquaintances, family or friends?

      Have you written your Congressperson to put an end to anti-gay legislation?

      Have you written newspaper opinion letters condemning anti-gay violence or countering anti-gay letters?

      Have you contradicted Rick Santorum or Michelle Bachman publicly among your family, acquaintances or friends for their anti-gay comments, or criticized them on their web sites?

      Have you considered that if Yahovah is “the creator of all that is”, “THAT”includes homosexuals and homosexuality?

      Have you ever considered that what you read in the Bible is external and LEARNED by and from other humans?

      Have you given thought to the words of this song?

      “You’ve got to be taught

      To hate and fear,

      You’ve got to be taught

      From year to year,

      It’s got to be drummed

      In your dear little ear

      You’ve got to be carefully taught.

      You’ve got to be taught to be afraid

      Of people whose eyes are oddly made,

      And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,

      You’ve got to be carefully taught.

      You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,

      Before you are six or seven or eight,

      To hate all the people your relatives hate,

      You’ve got to be carefully taught!”

      You can listen to it here http://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/southpacific/youvegottobecarefullytaught.htm

      Have you thought about where that teaching comes from?

      And finally, HAVE YOU BOTHERED TO GET PAST THE ROTE PARROTING OF THE TRADITIONAL RELIGIOUS PARTY LINE AND DONE SOME OF YOUR OWN INDEPENDENT STUDY OF CHRISTIAN HISTORY AND EXEGESIS AND INTERPRETATION?

      Let me recommend some resources for that. Start with John’s books you see here in this site and this article. Move on to WHAT THE BIBLE REALLY SAYS ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY by Daniel Helmeniak, a former priest. Then graduate to some serious historical studies by John Boswell, “Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality” and “The Marriage of Likeness: Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Boswell#Books

      It would help too, if you would listens less to what you have “externally learned” and give more thought to Jesus teachings of Love.

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      How about you leave your hyperactive, fragile ego at the door and realize that this is about (another) dead little boy who was bullied for being gay – the gay that christians introduced as being “bad”. Consider for just a few seconds, that this is not about *you*. Try looking at life through the lens of this not being about what you’re losing, your reputation, your church, what’s important to you, how people perceive you, you you you you you. Consider it.

  • Nick K.

    As much as I disagree with what William has posted here (like 99% of it), he does raise one good question here: were the children who bullied Jacob Rogers indeed doing it on behalf of their supposed Christian beliefs? This is something that is rarely talked about in these bullying suicides. In every instance of bullying suicide that has happened, from what I’ve read on various blogs, posters tend to automatically assume that all the bullies were indeed devout Christians and that they were quoting Bible verses to their victims as they made his life a living hell. Now, I do not discount that in most instances, extreme Christianity was a mitigating factor, but is that always the case?

    Speaking from personal experience, I grew up in a culturally Catholic suburb of Chicago and attended the small public high school there in the early 90′s. At that time it would never have been safe to be out. However, it was not the Bible beaters or the religious Catholic kids that did the bullying (or rather silent intimidation of gay kids to stay in the closet). Instead it was the tough as nails jocks who never went to church or cracked open the Bible. They made daily slurs against gay people and harassed those they thought were gay because it was to prove how masculine, macho, and straight they were. Hell, I even remember an atheist classmate of mine telling me how she wished we could just round up all the gay people and send them to Wyoming or something.

    My point here is not to be an apologist for Christians, but to point out that non-religious bullying of LGBT students goes on as well. I know that the overwhelming majority of bullying inside and out of high school comes from the Christian community. However, if someone has made up their mind to hate a group of people, in this case LGBT kids, then they will use anything, religious and non-religious, to justify their actions. We should be confronting all types of bullying to prevent tragedies like Jacob’s and providing solutions, not just finger pointing.

    • William

      Yup.

    • Brian W

      Nick,

      I was thinking the same thing, why is it always the fault of (conservative)Christianity when a kid commits suicide from repeatedly being bullied? In fact as you pointed out, non-religious bullying occurs as well. I would say that bullying is primarily, if not almost exclusively, from the non-religious types or religious hypocrites, not true followers of Christ. In other words, wolves in sheeps clothing. Since this bullying is occuring in primarily government schools, why isn’t the government doing something to protect these kids?

      Based on the videos posted on here and YouTube, the victims rarely claim it was regular church going kids bullying them. A genuine born-again follower of Christ would never bully and in fact would stand-up for them.

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        Brian you are on some seriously thin ice. First, the government *did* try to enact federal legislation that prevented bullying and your precious conservative christian coalition shut that down. Second, it’s the fault of conservative Christianity because conservative Christianity INTRODUCED the idea that “gay is evil”, it created an atmosphere where being “gay” is a slur and so far they as a group have done absolutely nothing in trying to repair the damage to this community. Their most vocal representatives actually declare that there is some kind of “gay agenda” that apparently means gay people are trying to take over the world when with all due respect, they want absolutely nothing to do with conservative christians or just christians in general (thanks for that conservative christians!) And their more moderate conservative christians still vote against gay marriage and quietly refuse to talk about this in ways that will rock the boat or cause controversy. They just have “lots of gay friends” and don’t ever talk about it.

        This has all been discussed time and time again. If conservative christians want to believe that being gay is a sin against God and express it then for God’s sake, stop acting like such fucking children who are magically exempt from the consequences of your actions. It’s like your brains have all turned off the second someone gets angry with those of you as we are direct about the impact you’ve had on this group of people. Would you please at least consider FACING some of the responsibility you have for stating “homosexuality is a sin against God”. You loving Jesus and not intending to hurt anyone does not – in fact – make you exempt from hurting people.

        • Brian W

          DR,

          Haven’t I been on here for months conversing with people openly and hopefully, intelligently? I have come and gone like so many other narrow minded fundies. The local school district doesn’t need federal funding / legislation to protect kids from bullying, it is their responsibility now to do that. I agree and jump up and loudly proclaim that demeaning those in the LGBT community is WRONG as is bullying because one is gay or using “gay” in a Derogatory manner is wrong, I say it all the time and have said so to many people I come in contact with. I’m not guilty of the transgressions of every evangelical Christian regarding the LGBT community. People who are gay are a person like me and deserving to be treated as Jesus commands me to do. I treat gay people like I treat straight people, no different. Everyone needs the Gospel

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            You have done beautifully and I know you – like me – will continue to struggle together. I’m direct with you because I trust you and I want you to trust that I adore you and believe with all of my heart that you are a man who loves Jesus, who loves the GLBT community but also will stand behind the courage of his convictions. Always know when I push you that I’m coming from this place. xoxo

          • Brian W

            DR,

            thanks, I needed that, I love you too….

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            I know I can be tough and please tell me when things are feeling too aggressive for you, ok? You’re an important part of our community and it’s important to me that you feel respected and heard.

    • Lymis

      If the ship is sinking because there is a forty-foot gaping hole in the side and someone left a tap on in the mens room, isn’t it more appropriate to address the hole than the faucet?

      It’s pretty much impossible to hear the oh-so-concerned voices saying “To be fair, we don’t know if THESE bullies did it because they were Christian, even though we admit most of them are” without hearing an echo of “because whether they were or not makes a difference.”

      Because I guarantee you, the ONLY voices saying that it’s a good thing that Jacob is dead are sayings so with religious justifications.

      The only voices saying that he deserved what he got are saying so with religious justifications.

      The only voices saying that anti-bullying initiatives need to be fought tooth and nail are saying it because it would inconvenience “good Christians” and be an infringement on their religious liberty.

      The point is not at all whether or not the bullies were Christians. The point is that the environment in which they felt this bullying is okay, and in which the authorities felt it could be overlooked, and in which Jacob felt so hopeless and hurt that death was his best option is one that is being created and supported by people speaking in the name of Christianity.

      Yes, there are atheist and non-christian homophobes in the country, and in our schools. But the national organizations, including one of two major political parties, the groups that speak loudest in the media, the groups that pay for and run ads and spread lies and cheer the bullies on ARE all doing it in the name of Jesus.

      It would be additionally sad, and additionally an indicator of what John’s point is, if it did develop that the bullies were Christians, or quoted Bible verses at him while taunting him. But that really isn’t the point.

      The point is that if a couple of jerks spouted off, and every Christian student, teacher, and faculty member at that school stood up and said to them, “How dare you!” and turned to Jacob and said “We love you” this never would have happened.

      THAT’S where the Christians are at fault. THAT’S John’s point as I see it.

      Why does everyone on all the blogs assume that the bullies were Christian? Maybe because those of us who were on the receiving end of it are bright enough to have noticed that everyone who ever got in our faces about it said they were.

      • Brian W

        Lymis,

        In all due respect, I disagree with this statement of yours:

        “The point is that the environment in which they felt this bullying is okay, and in which the authorities felt it could be overlooked, and in which Jacob felt so hopeless and hurt that death was his best option is one that is being created and supported by people speaking in the name of Christianity”.

        NO ONE, other than the bullies themselves think its “ok”. Alluding that Christianity fuels and accepts this behavior is absurd.

        • Lymis

          It’s cute that you think so.

          • Brian W

            it is, isn’t it? ;-)

        • Christelle

          Brian,

          Bullying is bred into the fundamental Evangelical Christian way of thinking. It is passed down through generations. They don’t realize that they are, indeed, religious bullies. See, it starts with the pastor teaching that being gay is a sin. It then sifts down to heads of families who whisper jokes about the gay culture while sitting at a restaurant when a gay couple walks in (or look down upon them in disgust). Finally, the children, not yet able to think for themselves – run into other children who are gay and begin to make fun… Why? Because their thinking is not yet mature… They’ve been taught that the LGBT community is inferior… they believe they are superior, better, etc…. It’s a disease that continues to spread through families. THAT is how fundamental Christianity IS ABSOLUTELY to blame for this. BECAUSE their twisted ideas are being sifted into homes… It’s a brainwashed, manipulative, and almost cultlike mentality. (Yes, I said it!) But the mentality can stop. Ignorance can stop. Education!!!

          “A genuine born-again follower of Christ would never bully and in fact would stand-up for them.” They believe they ARE genuine. They believe that those of use who stand up to them are not genuine and in fact will state that they are praying for our lost souls. My former friends who have been bred into this culture have warned me that my kids lives are going to be destroyed because of my gay friends. They also told me that my kids will be gay. They called my gay friends “f*@#!ts”. ALL in the name of Jesus. These same people have kids who hear them talk… THIS IS WHERE bullying begins…

          • Brian W

            Much of what you say I believe it to be true, what I can’t quite connect is how a preacher that believes and preaches that the Bible says that even a loving monogamous homosexual relationship is sin, is a license to bully LGBT people. I just don’t see that. Children run into gay children and they know they’re gay and then bully them because adults make sly remarks about gays? Most gays have to “come out” before anyone even knows they’re gay, yet you claim children know who gay children are and then bully them, really? EVERYONE is at fault when bullying occurs and they do nothing at all about it, regardless of what religion they claim they are, or are not.

          • cat rennolds

            yes on everyone being at fault who doesn’t actively intervene.

            Kids bully other kids using “gay” as a slur, meaning powerless, different, worthless, bad, ugly or otherwise just wrong. It’s irrelevant to the bullies whether the target is actually gay or not. Sometimes the kid using the word doesn’t even know the ACTUAL meaning of the word. They picked up their meaning of that word from their parents and other adults who picked it up from the church.

          • Brian W

            Cat,

            Agreed, but using “gay” as a derogatory slur is learned from society more so than at home. Kids hear gay (in the negative) sense in the media, music, movies, jokes and everyday conversation at school. They hear it more from PEERS than they do at home or church. Only the wacko extremists use the word “gay” in the negative way.

          • LSS

            false. the moderate wackos (which i think are still a majority among the “inerrancy” and otherwise conservative christian crowd) also use it as a negative. i was taught at home “any time you start to think that homosexuality is ok, you just have to think about what gay men do with each other and you will remember that it isn’t.”

            (sorry to my gay friends for even typing this)

            but what i mean to say is, there are several factors contributing to homophobia in our society. conformism and hatred of those who are perceived to be different is part of it. but nobody can deny that some kind of christian tradition is still a major cultural force in USA, more so than in a lot of countries. some people say that the conformism is even tied to the cultural christianity, which is a pity, because Jesus was totally a nonconforming type. but definitely the homophobic part is tied to the cultural christianity (and the mistaken idea that religion has to contradict actual science): notice how people still illogically think that same sex pairings are “unnatural” when they exist in so many hundreds of animals species?!

          • Brian W

            Ok, yes, no problem with what you said, except we’re not animals so justifying our actions by the “brute beasts” of nature means nothing.

          • cat rennolds

            then saying it’s “UNNATURAL” should also mean nothing, and shouldn’t be used as a justification AGAINST homosexuality either.

          • Christelle

            The children, not yet mature enough to think for themselves… base their slurs on stereotypes… Come on Brian… You and I come from the same background… I was bred into the Evangelical Christian church as well… My grandmother was an evangelist, my grandfather a worship minister… and I- was once a Women’s Ministries leader working with many churches throughout the country within one of the most homophobic Evangelical Christian organizations around. I went to Bible college … I’ve lived in the most liberal of states (theologically and politically) and most conservative of states… AND guess what… Every evangelical church was exactly the same! Some proclaimed their homophobic views loudly, some barely whispered… but the mentality was always there. ALWAYS! Like I said before, the view is generational- it’s been inbred and passed down for generations… By stating the lifestyle is a sin and that those who are gay are living in sin, the evangelical organization is basically saying that they are superior and gays are inferior. AND let’s be honest… they don’t stop there. They proclaim the lifestyle is an abomination. They show their disgust… no, not everyone… but IT DOES exist at some level in every evangelical church whether loudly or in whispers. And I’d say the whispers are more dangerous than the yells… I could equate the mentality to racism that still exists in the south (and of course elsewhere) in that it is a generational idea that needs to be broken… It’s a new era and us former fundies need to stand up to our people… because we can speak their language and we know exactly where the stigma comes from!

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          Wrong. You’re simply choosing the Christians in Christianity who are against this. You need to open your eyes to the fact that the church is not filled with just the people who you know, Brian. There are “Christians” who absolutely fuel this fire, if you want to deny they are there – despite HUNDREDS of gay men and women telling you they had to contend with them? That’s entirely your issue and you are dismissing their testimony as you deny it.

          Wow I thought we were dealing with a Brian who had some kind of change, I’m so surprised to be seeing this.

          • Brian W

            DR,

            I agree there are undoubtedly THOUSANDS of so called Christians fueling the fire, I know that and admit that, but it is not exclusively Christians nor even primarily Christians that stoke the flames of hate and bigotry. Unbelievers by far are the biggest offenders and peddlers of hate. As a note there are people who call themselves Christian but are actually and effectively unbelievers because of their actions and lack of “spiritual fruit” that Jesus said was evidence of true believers. Yes I have changed more than you’ll know, really.

          • Christelle

            Brian, I respectfully disagree. I’ll admit, I’m basing this on my own experience… but it has been my experience that my non-believing friends are much more accepting and less hateful than my Christian friends. And what makes Christian hate so horrible is that they hate in the name of Jesus… using the Bible to back up their hate… of course- they wouldn’t call their ideas and beliefs HATE- nope, they are merely “calling sin- sin” so they would say… but they are alienating entire people groups, calling them sinners and an abomination- I call THAT hate…

          • Brian W

            Agree, but your non-believing friends are not indicative of all non-believers because you probably don’t handy with those that have beliefs majorly different than yours, just as someone pointed out that my Christian friends are not indicative of all Christians. The Bible says all are sinners and certain behavior is an abomination (human sacrifice, idol worship, murder, etc.) but to me that doesn’t mean hate. When the Bible says all are sinners that doesn’t mean God “hates” everyone and if a Christian says that homosexuality is sin, that doesn’t mean they hate homosexuals. My goodness everyone is a sinner!! We all need salvation by grace through faith in Christ Jesus.

          • Christelle

            agreed, Brian (to most of what you said)… and I’ll state again… what I say is based on my own experiences… However, and unfortunately… the evangelical Christian organization breeds hate. What the Bible calls an abomination is Pride, Self Righteousness, Not taking care of the poor, widow, and orphan… God is not the one who shows hate-NO, it’s the evangelicals who take God’s words and the Bible out of context who breed hate… By the way, I appreciate your respectful comments… I’m engaging and learning along with you… It’s been a long road for me as I also have done a 180 coming out of my former fundamental evangelical point of view into what many would call a Liberal Christian point of view…

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            I agree. There’s no one but Christians who are suggesting that gay men and women who want equal rights under the law and are talking about that are promoting a “gay agenda”. There’s no one but Christians who suggest that being gay is equal to pedophilia or that we have to protect our children from the gays because gay men and women “recruit” children at a young age. It’s all sick and evil and it stems directly from Christianity. You’re not wrong here.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Brian, this is just wrong. I’m sorry but you’re wrong. Unbelievers aren’t the ones who are saying that being gay is sinful! This doesn’t even makes sense. I think you want this to be true but it’s not. Those who don’t believe in God have absolutely no belief system around homosexuality, other than that it is a state of being that has no “good” or “bad” connected to it. Christians are the ones who’ve introduced gay = sinful! Why won’t you acknowledge this?

          • Brian W

            DR,

            You’re right, I agree, of course unbelievers don’t believe homosexuality is sinful, they don’t believe in the whole concept of biblical sin, that’s why they’re unbelievers. Yes, Christians would be the only group of people claiming homosexuality is sin. OK, but there are vast amounts of unbeleivers that believe homosexuality is “unnatural” (for humans, perhpas not brute beasts of nature) it is just “wrong”. I say this because most gay bullying is from non-believers, Prop 8 in California was approved primarily due to votes from non-believers. Even as pro-gay as California is, same -sex marriage was voted down.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Brian, I’m just kind of stunned by your conclusions. Gay marriage was voted down because of the millions of dollars pumped in to the media by conservative christian organizations. The area that was polled in California that was responsible for the majority of the Prop 8 decision was conservative christians who were also Republicans. You’re going to have to show me some of your data to help me understand how anyone who isn’t Christian would be motivated to keep marriage to the Biblical standard of “one man, one woman”. Non Christians have no Biblical standard – why would they care about upholding the Biblical definition of marriage? I want to believe you but I’m going to need some specifics in order to do that.

          • Brian W

            Sure money was spent on the proposition on both sides but still people think for themselves when they vote, it was voted in by voters, most of whom are not Christians (especially in uber liberal California). I can only surmise that non-Christians approved Prop 8 because they must believe that marriage is a covenant between a man and woman, I don’t know what else it could be. Voters are not so easily manipulated and stupid to vote based on who spends the most money, they vote based on their beliefs.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Brian, California – the actual districts that came out strongly against Prop 8 – are known conservative districts. We voted Arnold in here, it’s not the liberal bastion people imagine. Southern California, a hugely conservative area that’s well-documented. I’m just still very confused as to where you’re getting your data, I would encourage you to Google Prop 8 California and see where people voted in ways that resulted in the decision we got.

            Your premise isn’t logical. People who don’t believe in God are not going to care about something being a covenant or not, we’ve now seen hundreds of atheists on this forum weigh in on this issue and not one of them have lined up with any kind of marriage = man+ woman. It’s just not logical and as one who appeals to others for rational discussion (a reasonable request), I’d reconsider this line of thinking.

          • http://www.cindymurphythinkingoutloud.blogspot.com Cindy

            While I wouldn’t say that anti-gay behaviour is strictly a Christian problem, I have to speak from my own experience. As a gay person who came out only about 3 years ago in a very liberal society (I’m Canadian) I personally have yet to meet one non-religious person (not including virtual meetings on the internet) who has had anything degrading to say about my being gay. Not one. That is not to say that they are not out there (I am not foolish enough to believe that my experience is perfectly representative of the whole), but not having met one of them in the 3 years that I have been out has to say something to me. And lets face it, when it comes to the highly vocal groups that are out there public fighting to keep gay people from sharing the same rights as others in the US, they are everyone of them to a man religious and the vast majority are self-proclaimed Christians (it is not my place to judge whether they are “true” believers or not, I’ve spent enough of my life messed up in beliefs and yet receiving welcoming mercy from God that I refuse to ever again proclaim that someone isn’t a real Christian even if I think their theology is totally screwed up. The condition of their heart is between them and God). I have to think that claiming that unbelievers are the biggest offenders and peddlers of hate is a scapegoating technique which denies reality. At least from where I stand…

          • Christelle

            Thank you for sharing your experience, Cindy.

            “I have to think that claiming that unbelievers are the biggest offenders and peddlers of hate is a scapegoating technique which denies reality. At least from where I stand…”

            agreed.

        • LSS

          pretty sure there are a whole bunch of people running for president who think it’s ok. would candidates make anti-gay ads because they think gay-bashing is UNpopular?!

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

          Brian, I don’t think anyone is ‘alluding’ at all. We are actually connecting the dots: flawed theology leads to hate. fuels it. encourages it. sanctions it. history has taught us this time and time again.

          No one here just thought this up. We are simply stating what was taught to us in middle school. We were not the ‘bad guys’ in the examples given during those lessons then, for obvious reasons. However, the lessons become all the more relevant once we realize the antagonist has come home.

          • Brian W

            Agreed, I know it may be knit picky but flawed theology leads to say infant baptism, not hate, seriously heretical doctrine leads to hate and bigotry (ie Catholic Church against Protestants and any other non-Catholic) I don’t know where or when you went to middle school, but even in the early 70′s when I did, we were never taught hatred and bigotry of gays. It was just never really talked about actually.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Brian, the evangelical presence – even mainstream presence – won’t even allow gay men and women to serve as leaders in church. If this isn’t serious, heretical doctrine and bigotry on a massive level then I don’t know what to say to you.

          • Brian W

            DR,

            If a church or denomination believes homosexuality is sin ( based on thier interpretation of the Bible) and therefore forbid gays from leadership positions, I wouldn’t call it “seriously heretical theology”, but that is my opinion only. Personally, I lable “seriously heretical theology” only that theology that applies to the essential doctrines of the faith, like the Deity of Christ. That is only my opinion, that is indeed subject to change :-)

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Got it. I think we have different definitions of what seriously heretical theology means.

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

            Your literal reading of my comment is telling.

            Let’s go with your words: “…seriously heretical doctrine leads to hate and bigotry.” Agreed. This is the lesson taught in middle school.

            Taking this lesson home has a convicting and uncomfortable feeling. If I see how my words injury in any way, I am left asking myself if any of those words are rooted in flawed/heretical theology. I, and millions of other Christians like me, have concluded that the current bullying/discrimination against LGBT is rooted in our collectively flawed/heretical theology.

            The lesson is simply cause and effect. The application that lesson is simply and humbly admitting the obvious.

          • Brian W

            Ric,

            What middle school is teaching hate and violence to LGBT people? If a theology teaches to bully anyone, it is flawed. Christians are not to bully or hate anyone and if they’re being taught that (or its implied that it’s OK) then their teaching is flawed and unbiblical

          • Ric

            Argh.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Brian I think what people are trying to help you understand is that children will hear “being gay is sinful” and in their little, one-dimensional brains, can’t sophisticate that in the ways adults can (well, educated adults). Children will immediately relate a “sin” to something “bad”. Like being fat is “bad” They don’t – for example – use blonde hair as a way of teasing or bullying because our culture has not made having blonde hair “bad”. That’s the point people are trying to make to you – that sometimes it’s the Christian kids doing the bullying. And sometimes it’s not. But the people who introduced “gay” as being bad – as being sinful – is us. And we continue to. For kids, love the sinner hate the sin is way too sophisticated a concept for them to hold, let alone apply.

          • Brian W

            Ok now that is logical and makes sense, I have a better understanding, thanks. Yes kids can easily equate sin with bad. I never realized this.

          • cat rennolds

            most people, as per other parts of this conversation, equate sin with bad. In fact, define sin as bad, as shameful. there’s a whole different emotional connotation with the word “wrong” than there is with the word “mistaken.”

            And that’s quite deliberate on the church’s part. You motivate the masses with emotion, not reason. Most people don’t want to be Bad or do Wrong, so they’ll try not to, or at least not be seen doing it. but hey, everybody makes mistakes, right? So there’s not the force behind avoiding mistakes that there is behind avoiding Sin. besides, avoiding mistakes requires thought. Avoiding Badness just requires following rules.

          • Christelle

            Ric, perfectly said. thank you.

      • Nick K.

        Lymis – You raise some excellent points here. Most of which I wholeheartedly agree with. But, please do not mistake my questioning as trying to shift the blame here. If Jacob’s bullies were indeed “Christian,” and given the location, historical precedent, and vocal “Christian” attitudes towards LGBT’s you are probably correct in that assumption, then we need to address their use of religious texts to justify hatred accordingly. However, if it was due to non-religious reasons, such as machismo, then I think we should address this tragedy in that light.

        Furthermore, I do like your analogy:

        “If the ship is sinking because there is a forty-foot gaping hole in the side and someone left a tap on in the mens room, isn’t it more appropriate to address the hole than the faucet?”

        However, why can’t we do both? Shut off the faucet AND plug the hole. Why do we have to choose one or the other? Fighting homophobia and bullying should not be a zero-sum battle. Addressing all causes of homophobia and fighting them appropriately will lead to better long-term solutions.

        • Soulmentor

          *****However, if it was due to non-religious reasons, such as machismo, then I think we should address this tragedy in that light. ******

          Often, I think, the distinctions are blurred to the point where the machismo doesn’t recognize it’s own development. Perhaps even machismo stems from religion. It’s a learned attitude, yes? So where does it come from initially?

          • cat rennolds

            i can’t remember the exact title, but John did a post on the sources of machismo itself, men being big and strong and powerful, and women being weak, and why Gay is Wrong because men have to be Men, dammit.

        • Lymis

          We most certainly can do both. However, the proper response when it happens is not to try to slam a hold on all efforts to patch the hull breach until it is sorted out who left the faucet running – which is what all the handwringing “what if they aren’t actually Christians” is all about.

          Far too often “why should we choose one or the other?” is the language of the people who really mean “let’s not stop either one.” I have no idea whether that’s your motivation, but if it isn’t, please understand you are using the language of those who do.

          If we can mobilize Christians to stop anti-gay bullying, it will stop both Christian bullies and the far less numerous non-Christian ones.

        • LSS

          it’s not individual religious beliefs that’s being blamed for bullying and its consequences. it’s a pervasive culture of hate or fear (which has been called “hate frozen solid”) or even just … avoidance.

    • http://www.BuzzDixon.com buzz

      I went to high school in a small town in East Tennessee, so while my experience is not necessarily 100% universal for the region, it’s a fair sampling.

      Virtually every kid was culturally Christian: i.e., they came from families that identified themselves as Christian, specifically Protestant. There were no Jewish, Catholic, or non-Christian families in our community. The few kids in school who espoused non-Christian religious beliefs were typically working their way through some adolescent rebellion; I don’t know if they remained pagans / wiccans / whatevers but the streams did not appear to be running awfully deep.

      There were a few atheists insofar as they said they didn’t believe in anything, but again, that seemed more like adolescent rebellion than a carefully worked out personal philosophy.

      Of those who were culturally Christian, the vast majority belong to a local church. However, a pretty big swath (I’d say 30-40% minimum) were what we’d call “unchurched” (i.e., no formal membership anywhere). They had a vague idea of Christianity, knew about Christmas and Easter, but otherwise were pretty pig ignernt re matters theological.

      Of those who attended church regularly (i.e., every other week minimum), most were just going through the motions; their knowledge was slightly broader than the unchurched, but not any deeper. They were, for those of you with a literary bent, babbits.

      Those who attended regularly & made some effort to understand what the Bible was about tended to be among the more straight arrow types. I can’t imagine any of them participating in systematic bullying of a weaker kid (which is not to say they were absolutely incapable of it, just that it wasn’t in their nature to do so on a continuing basis).

      Depending on how good an example their parents set, the ones who went to church regularly but didn’t really connect also tended to be pretty straight in school. A few more of them might have been bullies but not a lot. Being a bully was viewed as something low-lifes did.

      That leaves the unchurched. While a few came from well-to-do families, most were stereotypical trailer trash rednecks, and they could & would be relentlessly vicious against those they didn’t care for.

      Again, I’m not claiming this is universal, only typical.

    • http://kenreads.wordpress.com Ken Leonard

      The rules of society have generally been defined according to traditional Christian thinking.

      Don’t believe me? Check the hours of your local shopping mall. Notice how it’s different on Sunday?

      Whether these bullies were devout Christians or not doesn’t matter. Our society turns a blind eye to anti-gay bullying because it’s been sanctioned in Christian circles for too long.

      • Brian W

        Ken,

        the rules of society USED to be based on “Christian thinking” that’s why sores were CLOSED on Sunday, not just reduced hours. Our society has move far away from a Christian tradition. There are some remnants, but for the most part, society is extremely secular in nature, not Christian.

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          Oh my God. Brian – open your eyes. That kind of institutional religion doesn’t go away, it’s entirely embedded into our culture! If I’m wrong, then tell me why those we vote for are pressured to declare their religious affiliation. The only “secular” part of our country that exists are some of the freedoms and rights that non-Christians have won which are so few and far between.

          • Brian W

            Ok ok there is some still in society, it certainly isn’t absent by any means but in one generation it has change dramatically. It wont be long that we will have a non-Christian president ( Mitt Romney perhaps)

            Rights and Freedoms are Constitutionally based, not religiously based so it doesn’t matter what religion you are, all rights are for all citizens.

  • Lymis

    The news reports include the fact that Jacob’s grandmother can’t afford a funeral.

    A number of gay blogs have gotten together and created a PayPal account to donate to the funeral fund, with any excess funds going to the Trevor Project to help fund hotlines and support for suicide prevention for troubled LGBT kids.

    Dan Savage at SLOG: http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2011/12/08/bullied-teenager-takes-own-life-in-tennessee

    Joe My God: http://www.joemygod.blogspot.com/2011/12/tennessee-high-school-student-commits.html

    Gay Blog Towleroad: http://www.towleroad.com/2011/12/help-pay-for-funeral-for-bullied-gay-tennessee-teen-jacob-rogers.html

    • Lymis

      Actually, more detail: Anything over that $5000 amount will go to the Trevor Project, GLSEN, and the It Gets Better Project.

      • Dirgham Tamas

        According to those sites, the donation goal was met within 3 hours of the donation button going up. Go team!

        • Lymis

          And as far as I know, donations are still being accepted to benefit the other support organizations.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ccoppenbarger Chris Coppenbarger via Facebook

    Who’s silent? Define bigotry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ccoppenbarger Chris Coppenbarger via Facebook

    Who’s silent? Define bigotry.

    • Melody

      Saying, “Well it’s sad, but he was still a sinner.” That’s a cop-out for saying you really don’t have any compassion for those who are different from your preconceived notions of people’s orientations.

  • http://www.facebook.com/roger.mcclellan Roger McClellan via Facebook

    I am so fucking tired of people perpetuating hate in the name of MY Jesus.

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

    PLEASE don’t engage Chris Coppenbarger. He’ll never stop.

    • cat rennolds

      John, isn’t his precisely the voice we’re TRYING to engage? Isn’t that why you wrote this? Our answers to those who will not change their minds are heard by those who might.

      • Soulmentor

        John has a point, but I agree with you, cat. I often find myself writing, knowing I’m not changing the mindset of the person I’m commenting on, but for the readers who still THINK.

        That said, there ARE those who are just simply to wearisome to continue to respond to.

    • DR

      You are right it’s just so fucking creepy and unsettling to watch him respond on these threads. It’s…..reptilian, the lack of compassion. But you’re right this is a just attention for him or ego or something I don’t understand.

      • cat rennolds

        Plus, the longer we keep him engaged, the more obvious he makes himself. The more he unmasks. It gives people a chance to see what’s really under the pat conventional answers. And the next time they hear one of these lines IRL, they will have this whole set of responses to draw from.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ccoppenbarger Chris Coppenbarger via Facebook

    Not a troll. Just trying to set the record straight.

  • Mindy Brown Carney via Facebook

    You can’t set the record “straight” if you are wrong, Chris. And no matter how many times you repeat yourself, how many times you troll around trying to start an argument or how many different ways you say it, you will still be flat-out, dead, 100% wrong.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ccoppenbarger Chris Coppenbarger via Facebook

    And what am I wrong about? As others pointed out on the blog post, there is nothing to indicate that Christians were responsible for the bullying. In fact, I didn’t see anything that indicated that student was gay. Only that he was called gay slurs. While all bullying is wrong, who is ultimately responsible for this kid taking his life? Where are his parents? Why are they hardly mentioned? Why were they not talking to the school or mentioned talking to the school? What about issues of gays/cross-dressers bullying others such as the case in California? The kid who lost his life was the bully, yet he is made to be the victim. That doesn’t make the murder right, by any means, but why is the bully the victim in that case? Do you see the point yet? It’s not Christianity that’s the problem. It’s human nature on both sides of the aisle that’s the problem. It’s called sin.

    • Eric

      “The kid who lost his life was the bully, yet he is made to be the victim.” -

      He was MURDERED. I’ll just suppose that it’s NOT ok to murder someone… isn’t that in the Bible somewhere? This is the kind of thinking that scares me most.

      • Eric

        Whoops.

    • http://ThymeAndSeasons.biz Anna Thompson

      Can’t you just be sad — full of sadness — that the kid, who had a NAME, Jacob, who was a person, was bullied, that he died, that no matter what the pressing issues that you feel you need to defend (instead of this kid’s life), he was a human, he should have been loved, he wasn’t, he felt unbearable pain which he got no relief from without the thought of suicide; he isn’t here anymore, and it’s not about *you*. Have some kindness in your heart to grieve that something tragic happened to a human.

    • DR

      Oh we know, Chris. It’s that other group of people who have massive, historical power whose religious belief introduced the idea that. Ring gay is evil into our culture that in turn, created license for bullies to use gay” as a slur. Not to mention the homeless gay kids out there who GRT booted out of their loving fundamentalist Christian” homes.

      The willful ignorance you and others show as you try to pick apart each and every post to defend your belief system is embarrassing to watch. It only illustrates the frantic, defensive denial that we as Christians introduced the idea of gay as being bad. Which in turn has created an atmosphere of permissiveness for society as a whole to use being gay as a slur. If you aren’t humble enough or committed to Christ enough to put your own ego aside and admit our culpability then fine, who cares. You’re just another Christian who uses his faith to manage his own poor character. But if you have any decency – and I’m serious, this is a serious appeal- you’d leave these threads alone , stop making this about you and allow those of us trying to make amends to this community do so. Thanks.

  • http://thewaterisfine.wordpress.com Rachel

    Rest in peace and rise in glory, Jacob.

  • Wendy Young Callaway via Facebook

    Chris, my ex-husband is a right-wing fundamentalist christian and I had to hear the most vile things come out of his mouth regarding gay people. How do you think that made my son feel when he was being bullied? He couldn’t even tell his father and I can’t tell you how good it felt knowing my son could come to me. The ones who were the worst offenders were the kids from “good christian” homes. They heard the hate at home and church, God knows *I* heard it enough at the horrible church I went to.
    Oh and did I mention my ex was a middle school teacher? I hope to God none of his students ever went to him when they were being bullied.

    • http://ThymeAndSeasons.biz Anna Thompson

      Wendy~ When I’m ….’less scared’ of people… I would be honored to be able to connect with you, given that we have shared some of the same hurts, and mine are still not just raw, but bleeding. [Hence not wanting to connect 'too soon' and overwhelm you, but wanting to find a safe place]

      • cat rennolds

        Anna, there are plenty of people on here who have time and ears, feel free to tag any one of us at any time. If we’re overwhelmed, we will let you know. Don’t be alone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ccoppenbarger Chris Coppenbarger via Facebook

    How do you define “hate” in this instance? Is it simply calling homosexuality a sin? Or is it more than that? If it’s the former, then you need to revisit your definition of hate. The latter, then one is looking at possible bigotry.

    • DR

      Honestly, the degree of arrogance and lack of compassion you demonstrate on these threads about dead kids is repulsive.

  • cat rennolds

    Hey, defensive Christians? Instead of trying to shift the blame, why don’t you try this: If you stop denigrating the LGBTQAI community as a whole with your mistranslations of your own theology, then nobody CAN point to the bullies and say, This is your fault.

    Yes, bullies are going to bully. Don’t give them God’s name to do it in.

    • http://kenreads.wordpress.com Ken Leonard

      Alright, I have to ask … LGBTQAI ?

      What’s the AI? And is the acronym just going to keep growing so that I’ll never get it right? I only just got used to GLBT when I was told I should change the order and add a Q (which I understand) … what’s the AI?

      • Melody

        “A” means asexual, and “I” means intersex. An easier term would be QUILTBAG, as it’s obviously easier to read and say.

        • cat rennolds

          My 17yo son had an idea which I think I will tack on to yours. He says if we add an S for Straight, then we’re inclusive and not bigoted, and everybody’s sexuality is worthy of Pride.

          So that would make it QUILTBAGS.

          He’s starting a support group at his high school. He’s straight, BTW.

          • Melody

            Your son is a hero, cat, and has a great deal of insight. God bless him.

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

          So if the ‘U’ is not already spoken for, I vote for uber.

          • cat rennolds

            Unrepentant:) I think he’s a hero too. He likes QUILTBAGS. think of it….lots of little pieces of different colors and shapes, all tossed in together to make something big and beautiful….

          • cat rennolds

            okay, so now my daughter reading over my shoulder wants to know why we left out P for Pan.

            We can put it on the front and make it silent…….

          • http://small-letters.com Mindy

            hee!

            Ok, “eewee” ;)

            (my *favorite* line!)

      • Diana A.

        A for asexual?

        I for intersexed?

        • William

          I was leaving a New Jersey Devils game where Miraslov Satan of the Calgary Flames scored the winning goal, I was passing through Intercourse Pennsylvania when I got stuck in a 4 way Intersexual on my way home to Hell Michigan.

          So, I guess we should not have a problem then with pedophiles either since they were born that way, or are they not included in the choices of acceptable sexual life styles ??

          • http://www.BuzzDixon.com buzz

            You’ll love John Forster’s “Entering Marion”

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5T9eiWDuMU

            (Relax, it’s a cute, funny song.)

          • Diana A.

            That song is all wrong but really funny. Faved!

          • cat rennolds

            I guess we shouldn’t have a problem with stupidity either, but I confess to some bigotry on that account.

          • http://www.cindymurphythinkingoutloud.blogspot.com Cindy

            Where’s the “Like” button. John needs to add a like button. You’re comment cracked me up. Thanks :o)

          • vj

            ditto!

          • Lymis

            You really don’t get the idea of consenting adults, do you?

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            You didn’t just compare pedophiles to gay men and women, did you?

          • Melody

            Of course he did. Typical homophobic cop-out so he doesn’t have to see gay people as just people. He has to see them as filthy GAY people. Teh horrorz!

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            The longer someone talks (writes), the more they reveal who they are. And seemingly, the less they actually see of who it is they are revealing. It’s so unsettling to watch.

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

            First of all, everyone has been extremely patient with William, especially Lymis.

            William, by likening gays to pedophiles, you and all other Christians who do the same are giving everyone the permission to bully, beat, and kill gays. Witness the latest blogosphere writings on the Penn State fiasco. Nearly every Christian blogger/comment had something along these lines in their posts or comments at some point:

            If anyone ever touches my kids, I will hurt you. I know that’s not right but, if I’m honest, that is how I feel.

            and then 10 Christians respond with:

            Amen.

            I hear you, bro.

            You see, (I feel like I’m explaining this to a grade school class…) we generally agree that it’s perfectly NORMAL to hate people who have sex with children. And I am perfectly fine with that particular normal, by the way. But now we have to be care not to transfer the validity of that feeling to other people who have sex with a consenting adult in a loving relationship. If we lump the 2 into the same bucket we are saying it is okay to hate homosexuals because they are no better than x, y, or z.

            Remember Martin Luther? Smart guy. Brilliant Theologian. Father of the Reformation. Awesome. Until around like the last 3 years of his life when senility and frustration and his cultural biases trumped his understanding of the gospel. His antisemitic, On The Jews and Their Lies is simply repulsive. That flawed theology of his time and that he perpetuated eventually became part of the German laws. Laws set up to discriminate against an entire people. Eventually, of course, this lead to the holocaust. (you brought up the nazis already, so they were already on the table.)

            See how flawed theology fueled and encouraged persecution?

            I can give flawed theology examples for slavery, interracial marriages, and women as well. In all cases, persecution of a people can be traced back to flawed theology.

            I am very confident that God sees the same huge difference between the relationship of two consenting adults and the raping or a child. To presume that he does not and to perpetuate that flawed theology, fuels and encourages hate — especially among children, who are far more literal than us seasoned adults. Well, most of us.

          • http://small-letters.com Mindy

            Thank you, Ric. Beautifully said.

  • Dave Huff via Facebook

    >laughing @Coppenbarger<

  • Natashia Hardin via Facebook

    Bullying to cause someone to kill themselves and make them believe that noone loves them, EVEN GOD HIMSELF, that created all of us, that defines Hate. Not everyone says ” OH being gay is a sin”. No, I have been to many places that say “GOD HATES GAYS’ “WE HATE GAYS”. it is absurd! Only God can judge us and knows who we are and what we go through, what we are suppose to do? IS LOOK TO GOD AND PRAY FOR OTHERS. Not be a cult against gays, I don’t see so many protestors or as much hatred and violence towards Murderers, rapists, nothing else.. It’s all a sin. Noone should ever have to feel as if God himself doesn’t love them, or anyone else on this earth. I have 4 best gay friends,and they have a better heart than everyone I know. Hate the sin, not the sinner. PRAY ABOUT IT. Don’t be a bully.

    • vj

      “Noone should ever have to feel as if God himself doesn’t love them, or anyone else on this earth.”

      Exactly. To all those who are trying to absolve conservative Christianity of taking responsibility for the suicides of bullied kids – to the extent that any church leader or religious organization perpetuates the idea that God ‘hates’ anyone, they are responsible. People take their own lives when they believe that they are inherently unlovable (who among us could stand to live with the ‘knowledge’ that God hates us?), and yet Jesus gave us His own life to demonstrate that God Himself loves every person. To preach hatred instead of love is to distort the Gospel beyond all recognition, and people who profess to know Jesus should know better than that!

  • Wendy Young Callaway via Facebook

    Some people are ao clueless.

  • Wendy Young Callaway via Facebook

    *so

  • Dave Huff via Facebook

    “Suffer not a witch to do unto others as you would have thy father and mother do unto thy neighbor’s ass”.

    • cat rennolds

      *choking with hysterical laughter*

  • Natashia Hardin via Facebook

    If we went by a lot of things on the bible, if you ever worked on a sunday, YOU SHOULD BE STONED TO DEATH AS WELL. It also says to not punish the son for thy father, OR punish the father for thy son, BUT then it says that whatever man shall put another man to death, his children should be punished to the 4th generation. This could go on and on and on. I believe in God, but I don’t need a messenger in a church to talk to God for me, I can do that myself, and I don’t need someone to try and brain wash me into barbaric beliefs, when in fact, that same preacher of mine was having sex with all of the teenage girls in my church, and did they have as big as a fit about that as they do towards gays? NO. They sure didn’t, they voted him out of the church, and said, we should all pray for him and let God do his work on him. Let GOD do his work, not everyone else try and be God.

    • http://www.BuzzDixon.com buzz

      I >think< the verse "punished unto the 4th generation" doesn't mean "you shall punish them unto the 4th generation" but that shame & consequences of the crime would follow the family for 4 generations.

  • Natashia Hardin via Facebook

    If we went by a lot of things on the bible, if you ever worked on a sunday, YOU SHOULD BE STONED TO DEATH AS WELL. It also says to not punish the son for thy father, OR punish the father for thy son, BUT then it says that whatever man shall put another man to death, his children should be punished to the 4th generation. This could go on and on and on. I believe in God, but I don’t need a messenger in a church to talk to God for me, I can do that myself, and I don’t need someone to try and brain wash me into barbaric beliefs, when in fact, that same preacher of mine was having sex with all of the teenage girls in my church, and did they have as big as a fit about that as they do towards gays? NO. They sure didn’t, they voted him out of the church, and said, we should all pray for him and let God do his work on him. Let GOD do his work, not everyone else try and be God.

  • Dave Huff via Facebook

    That’s a quote from the Book of Reverbs, I think…

  • cat rennolds

    Amp said this: “The sin of Sodom was not homosexuality, it was greed, pride and lack of charity towards her fellow human beings.”

    Also the willingness to threaten violence if their desire to commit gang rape wasn’t immediately complied with.

    Oh, wait. You mean the sin of Sodom was….bullying?

    • Donald Rappe

      Both bullying and looking away and not seeing the bullying.

  • ChaliePie

    Coppenbarger picked up on the question that came to my mind. This poor soul attended a PUBLIC school, did he not? NO ONE confirmed his “gay” status (although how anyone can call this ‘gay’ is beyond me.)!

    Doesn’t it strike anyone as odd that this tragedy is dumped on “Christians” with NO evidence except in the minds of the bloggers?

    (My beloved cousin was “gay” and murdered by others in that “community”)

    • cat rennolds

      Once again into the breach, dear friends. Let’s see how simple we can make this.

      We don’t know if he was gay. It does not matter if he was gay or not. What matters is that his bullies CALLED him gay as if it were a bad word. As if being gay were so ugly that he should just go home and die.

      We don’t know if the bullies were Christian. It doesn’t matter (to the rest of us) if those bullies were Christian or not. What matters is they were using a Christian idea to make Jacob hate himself and his life so much that he just went home and died.

      This tragedy, like all these tragedies, is being “dumped” on Christians because THEY ARE THE ONLY ONES STANDING UP AND SCREAMING THAT GAY IS A BAD WORD. So bad that even God hates it.

      So if Christians don’t want to get labeled as bullying children to death, maybe they should tell other Christians to stop standing up in public, in the pulpit, on the Internet, on the radio, on the television, and telling people it’s bad to be gay.

      • cat rennolds

        Oh, and before anyone else says it: Yes, in Muslim countries and some others you can be legally put to death for homosexuality. But in this country by and large they do not yell it out in public. By Jewish law, same-sex behavior is prohibited, but they don’t preach about it all that much either. Well , Mormons, technically a Christian subset. All children of Judaic law. The old law that was meant to ensure the survival of a very small tribe in a very harsh climate.

        If there’s another religion that has rules against it, I don’t know it. Speak up, by all means. But if I don’t even know about it, you can hardly blame American bullying on it.

      • Brian W

        Cat,

        They were using a “Christian idea to make Jacob hate himself”, really? Can you quote any Scripture to back that up. I’ve studied the Bible for nearly 30 years and never found any verses remotely encouraging an “idea of hate” towardas anyone, in fact the contrary is true. Love your neighbor as yourslef, not HATE.

        • cat rennolds

          Yes, really! Oh, Brian! Behave! I’ve studied the Bible just as long as you have, if not longer, so stop trying to one-up. Cultural, popular Christianity – ie, how actual Christians actually behave – is not the same as Biblical Christianity (the written law that says how they’re supposed to behave), nor is it the same as spirit-filled Christianity (ie, how the Holy Spirit explains the law, if they listen), and you know that perfectly well.

          Christians for many centuries have spread the idea that Gay = Abomination. Eeeeevil. Doomed to HELL. Is this true? Were they right? Do ALL Christians today endorse this idea? It doesn’t matter. That’s not the point. The point is, if the Christian Church as an entity over all that time had not perpetuated this idea, people couldn’t use Christianity as an EXCUSE to hate.

          Christianity doesn’t cause hate. Hate will take any excuse. Christianity is supposed to STOP hate. Get on with it already.

          • Brian W

            Cat,

            Saying a person or an action is sin does NOT equate to hate. If God says unbelief is sin, thats doesn’t mean believers HATE atheists. Even if the Catholic Church over the centuries had an offical position that gay = abomination, that doesn’t mean HATE. We’re all sinners and we’re all deserving of teh penalty ofr sin, ALL of us, gays and straights alike. I don’t know why so many people equate sin with hate. There is no excuse to hate, no Scripture anywhere endorses to hate anyone.

          • Diana A.

            Because too often people who call themselves Christians behave not merely as if homosexuality is a sin, but as if it is the only sin that matters. Some people who call themselves Christians give themselves license to be downright abusive toward gay people. This is why the rest of us Christians give need to stand strong against the abuse, regardless of whether we think homosexuality is a sin or not.

          • Brian W

            Diana,

            Ok, yes I agree with this and unfortunately it is true with a small minority of evangelical Christianity

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          Brian,

          We’ve talked about this. Conservative Christianity is responsible for introducing the idea of gay being “bad” according to God. Period. Because of that, that idea is out there, that belief is out there and it’s created a permissive atmosphere that also allows people to be diminished and bullied. *This* is the responsibility that any Christian must face while at the same time, wanting to express the belief that homosexuality is evil. It just is, there are consequences to expressing one’s beliefs. There are impacts, impacts that are not intended that one is STILL responsible for!

          Why those of you can’t make that connection is so concerning for me. It’s like the Catholic priest denying that the Catholic church is responsible for the sexual abuse occurring in such a widespread manner because he as an *individual* priest wasn’t responsible. Or even that the *majority* of priests aren’t sexual predators (which is true). It doesn’t matter – priests *who are Catholic* must accept responsibility for how the larger Catholic church acted. They must. And as a conservative Christian, so must you with gay kids who are hurt because of the way you have historically interpreted the Bible and the impact on the GLBT community as a result.

          • Brian W

            Evangelical / conservative Christianity doesn’t claim homosexuality is “bad” or evil, they believe it’s a sin. I suppose they take issue with people that demand they must change what they believe about what the Bible says. The Bible is Gods Word to a sinful people and it doesn’t always make a person feel all warm and fuzzy and want to hold hands and sing Koom-bye-ya, it is the truth of God’s eternal redemptive purpose of His people as embodied in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that truth cuts to the very depths of one’s soul. You know sometimes the truth hurts, it’s certainly better than the alternative, separation from God’s love.

          • DR

            Brian, how is sin not bad or evil? Sin separates us from God, it’s very nature is bad and it originates in evil.

          • Brian W

            DR,

            Sin CAN BE evil or bad, but not always, the biblical definition is “transgression of God’s law”. For example gluttony and covetousness in most cases is sin, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad or evil.

          • cat rennolds

            The original word simply meant “error” or “mistake.” Which is why no human being is free from sin. When you’re not omnipotent OR omniscient, you are gonna screw up.

            That said, sin easily LEADS to evil. which is what makes it a mistake.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            Let me think about that. I can’t wrap my head around something that is not of God, but has the ability to contain any good.

          • cat rennolds

            all things work for good to them that love the Lord. Count it all joy.

            There isn’t anything that is not of God. It’s impossible by definition. But there are lots of things that make it difficult for US to see God, hear God, stay connected to God. Sin is defined for our good. God can handle anything.

          • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

            To me, this conflates good and evil. I don’t believe God created sin. I think sin is a result of the parts of our lives that are not fully aligned with our original Design.

          • cat rennolds

            How can there be anything, anything at all, that is not part of the Design? If God is eternal and omniscient, how can there ever have been? How could there ever be? It just looks completely different from inside time.

            As an adult, I am permitted to engage in behaviors I don’t permit to my children, which would be harmful to my children. Which would be Bad for my children, but not for me. Caffeine, for example, which is healthy in moderation provided you’re not actively growing.

            As an adult, I tell my kids what is bad for them to do….and sometimes I know perfectly well that they are going to try to do it anyway, and sometimes I let them, if it isn’t likely to kill them outright. And they LEARN.

          • Melody

            Hate to break it to you, Brian (no, really, I do), but I grew up Southern Baptist (and remained so until I was about 25). I was 11 when the SBC made the “brilliant” decision to boycott Disney for hosting Gay Days and allowing gay employees in their studios. At the time, living in a tiny, rural town in Mississippi, I didn’t know it was even possible for someone to be attracted to the same sex. So when my mother explained why there was an uproar, she told me, immediately prior to telling me about homosexuality, that it was “evil” and “weird.” (Thankfully, she has backed off that position significantly, but I digress.) And about a year and a half later, in #1997, when the boycott was finalized, my pastor preached a sermon on the topic. I moved back to Texas a few years later, but never heard a pastor say that God loved gay people until I was about 20, the year Massachusetts legalized yay marriage. My pastor said, “God loves homosexuals, and we do too, but he hates their sin.”

            All my life, I was taught that no one deserved to go to heaven. If the worst thing you’d ever done was steal a pencil, you were still going to hell, because sin is unacceptable (same thing as bad or evil) to God. SBC is one of the most powerful evangelical churches in America. I promise you, evangelicals as a whole see gays as evil, whether they admit it or not.

          • cat rennolds

            I can’t discuss the SBC and remain loving. I can’t do it. According to them I’m damned on so many counts I’ve lost track.

    • William

      “Doesn’t it strike anyone as odd that this tragedy is dumped on “Christians” with NO evidence except in the minds of the bloggers” ?

      Which has been my point all along.

      • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

        Do you seriously not understand now Christianity is largely responsible for introducing the idea that gay = “bad” into our culture at large? Are you denying that?

    • DR

      Please identify the group of people other than Christians in America who have introduced the idea of being gay is evil into our society. The group with ability and power to organize and influence on an institutional level. Thanks.

      • Brian W

        I don’t know of any C hristian group that claims homosexuality is evil or to hate LGBT people. At most they simply claim it is sin, but not evil or bad. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any, I just don’t know of any that promote the belief that homosexuality is evil.

        • cat rennolds

          well, I do.

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          Would it be fair to say – based on the number of gay men and women who’ve spoken pretty extensively about their encounters with these groups, these churches, these people – that they exist outside of your community? I’ve no doubt you’d hang out with really loving people and would shun those who would call someone evil for being gay.

          • Brian W

            Yes it is not only possible, it is certain they exist, sadly

        • Melody

          See my comment above. Many do, sadly.

  • William

    The paradox.

    “Hate is wrong. But, I hate Christians because they hate gay and lesbians”.

    Uhm, you do see the double standard in that ?? if not then carry on and nevermind.

    It’s childhood mentality that thinks that such a position is a logical one… “I hit him, because he hit me first”… then what happens ?? someone hits back, and then the other person hits back, until both are lying there bloodied saying “hate is wrong”.

    Just saying.

    • cat rennolds

      It’s not hypocritical if you aren’t Christian. Christianity is the only religion that professes love as its highest value. So when Christians are hating, that’s hypocrisy. I’ve never claimed hate is wrong and then turned around and done it.

      Do I hate Christians? No. Humans make mistakes. I just hate their sin.

    • Lymis

      It’s a grotesque misinterpretation of our position. Saying that the current public expression of Christianity as practiced by a significant number of Christians (even if we are talking about standing by and doing nothing to prevent other people’s bullying) has direct consequences that do harm to people is not “hating Christians.”

      For that matter, the most common rhetorical dodge used against gay people is the old “love the sinner, hate the sin” idea – which is exactly what you are claiming is impossible or paradoxical. (Which I would say gives the lie to the whole shell game, really.)

      But saying that people’s apathy, or even their active and vocal disapproval of gay people is costing us the lives of our brothers and sisters isn’t “hate.” Just what are Christians, or any decent people supposed to do and say in the face of that sort of evil?

      And it’s childish to try to reduce a complex issue to a cute little tautology just for the purpose of shooting it down. You use “hate” in two entirely different senses and then try to claim they mean the same thing.

      Because, even though absolutely NOBODY on this board has said what you claim, if someone WERE to say , “I hate Christians because they hate gay and lesbians,” besides being grammatically inaccurate, what it would mean is “I am unwilling to stand by and fail to condemn people who attack others who did them no harm.”

      “Hating” someone for a real harm that they are deliberately and consciously doing to innocent people, harm that destroys lives, and claim that they have no choice but to do so because of their interpretation of Christianity, is an entirely different thing than “hating” people who have done nobody any harm, who are just trying to live their lives, and who have done nothing to the people who are so dedicated to harming them.

      Your absurdity is like saying that there’s no difference between hitting someone to stop them from assaulting someone who can’t defend themselves, and the actual assault in progress.

      For that matter, show me the Christians who are dropping out of school and killing themselves because people disapprove of their bullying and maybe we can talk.

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

      out of the mouths of babes.

  • Vanda Law via Facebook

    Another important posting by John shore!

  • Vanda Law via Facebook

    Another important posting by John shore!

  • http://ThymeAndSeasons.biz Anna Thompson

    Thanks for saying that John. I read stuff from people defending christians on an essay about the death of a child/ teen, and I feel *so* sad. But it also reinforces my fear of christians and ability to re-engage ….well, life. I was way too deep in the christian sub-culture, with the abusive parachurch minister and nowhere to go. One of the only points of the bible that I can still take as ‘hope’ (what very, very miniscule bit I have) is the piece about the sheep and the goats. There are people I know who want nothing to do with church, but they lovingly feed, clothe, house, help others in so many ways. *If* there is “a Day”, sometimes I’m scared for those who ….. ….but right now I just live in fear too much myself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/phil.brucato Satyros Phil Brucato via Facebook

    Nicely said, john. Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Reed-Boyer/1019995702 Reed Boyer via Facebook

    MUCH stronger ending.

  • Wendy Young Callaway via Facebook

    Amen John!

  • Crystal Holt via Facebook

    i think that should be the opening

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Randy-Pyles/1159190419 Randy Pyles via Facebook

    Dang! Tell it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/pat.schutz Pat DeYoung Schutz via Facebook

    powerful ending

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

    thanks guys. i wrote the original at 3 this a.m., and I could tell I just hadn’t dialed it in quite right. but haven’t been able to get back to it until now. so … i just thought it was too soft/disjointed. or maybe i’m just angrier than I was. i dunno. i’m so exhausted with these fucking DEATHS. Anyway, right. Sorry. Thanks for kind words.

  • Wendy Young Callaway via Facebook

    It scares me because it easily could have been my son. God bless you John.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anna-Thompson/1570335653 Anna Thompson via Facebook

    the deaths and the pain *are* exhausting. and to fail to respond with sadness, but to respond with arguing ‘faith’ / ‘right and wrong’ (homosexuality as sin, not bullying) is painful to read, know exists, and live in a world that holds such ‘righteousness’ high. if we are HUMAN, we should weep over those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.

  • Robert

    Hi… as a gay person and an ex-believer of jesus as christ… (still believe in him as a man… just not as a god)… I am exhausted that a book that began as an oral tradition and was likely first written in the 7th century BC with the scribes adding alot in that the then king wanted added in… and then re-edited a few hundred years later in the babylonian captivity (old T)…. and the New Testament was written a generation after Jesus died and edited for the next couple of hundred years… (and hundreds of texts were excluded and lots of christians were killing christians at this time)… how any of this can be seen as the authoritative word of “god”… I am exhausted that most christians remain willfully ignorant of the history of the text… and then claim to believe it literarily… (and not follow most of it)… it makes me a little crazy.

    Also, I don’t hate Christians… but I am getting a little annoyed when one of them says to me… “Well, Robert. I jsut wanted to let you know that “I” think you’re ok… even if my pastor says you’re going to hell.”

    It is like telling a black person… “Well, I think you’re ok, no matter what the grand master of my branch of the KKK says.”

    • Brian W

      Robert,

      Most Christians believe that God providentially preserved His Word through all these events you detailed in the thousands and thousands of manuscripts we have today (over 5,000 full and partial manuscripts). The consistancy in the texts themselves is truly remarkable, especially considering the vast time frame and geographic area of the manuscript sources. But that is a different subject altogether. When I use the term “literal” I mean (as do most Christians) that people lile Moses literally existed, as did Abraham, Isaac, David, et. al. Through systematic exegisis of the text and biblical hermeneutics do we get the meaning and interpretation of the Scriptures. There are many literary styles in the Bible that can not be taken “literally”. I’ve studied the Bible for nearly 30 years and there is still MUCH for me to learn and yes my beliefs HAVE changed over the last 30 years too, as a result of study and prayer.

      • vj

        Amen! :-)

  • Jeffery

    I don’t think the problem is that people don’t really read the Bible. I think the Bible itself is a big part of the problem. Revealed religions with their holy books are dangerous precisely because they have these scriptures that are held up as the authoritative voice of God that cannot be questioned, and people hang on every verse like mindless zombies. Scripture is just words on paper, yet to so many, lifeless words are worth more than the lives of human beings. Sad.

    • vj

      Except that, if people did take the time to *really* read the Bible – meditatively, in context, completely – they might discover that the _overwhelming_ theme of the Bible is Love: of God hating those who do evil and promising blessing to the peacemakers; of a God who identifies so much with the poor and marginalized that He became the ‘least of these’ among us, and calls upon us to ‘break the yoke of oppression and set the captives free’; a God who elevates the needs of the poor, the widow, the orphan, the foreigner above the petty greed of the fortunate few. A God who requires us to ‘do justice, seek mercy, and walk humbly with Him’. If everyone who wanted to live according to God’s Word would conduct themselves according to *that* revelation, I think the world would be a very different place…..

  • http://www.facebook.com/joanne.kirschner Joanne Kirschner via Facebook

    John, you are awesome.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lauri-Beamish/526473298 Lauri Beamish via Facebook

    I am so glad they are cracking down on this type of thing and cracking down on the school authorities that don’t pay attention. What is really sad is the parents that still don’t hear.

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

    Thanks you guys, very much

  • Buz Stewart via Facebook

    Grace and peace to you Mister John. Thank you for this article.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kentspeedway Kent Grimes via Facebook

    Wonderful change to the ending. So many “Christians” let the killing go on because of their homophobia and then try to wash their hands just like Pilate.

  • David

    Thank God for your words, John.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christy-Emigh/1618140991 Christy Emigh via Facebook

    Thank you, John!…….I’m a mom…..

  • Micah Sheppard via Facebook

    Thanks for being appropriately angry. Thank God someone is.

  • InIndiana

    I am so glad you touched on people saying how “we don’t know the whole story.” I’m sick to death of that, as someone who has struggled with personality disorder since adolescence (my condition is almost definitely linked to the bullying I endured in middle school (I don’t happen to be gay, FWIW)).

    Our culture has this tendency to pathologize suicide and yet, when someone kills him/herself the blame is put on that person for making a “choice.” Even our nation’s suicide “advocacy” group pushes this attitude. People who commit suicide do so because they are very ill, and yet, somehow it is still on them – THEY should’ve gotten help. THEY should’ve made a different decision. THEY should’ve foreseen all the rainbows and unicorns that would be in their future if they’d just hung on.

    Suicide DOES result from being very ill. But we do not develop extreme mental illness in a vacuum – no more than we catch a cold in a sterile room. The medical establishment puts so much emphasis on brain chemicals that it is chipping away at our humanity as it fosters the attitude that if others suffer from the violence to which we subject them, then that is their fault and they were just too weak. Just like white settlers in North America gave smallpox-infested blankets to indigenous people, people abuse others knowing it will harm them in serious ways and the repercussions will last far into the future.

    I have had suicidal ideations in which I watched helplessly from outside my body as my mind screamed at me to jump – often over truly petty things. It was like watching a movie and yelling at the protagonist not to do it – I was lucid and yet not in control of myself. If you don’t consider this “very ill,” then I’d like to know what your definition of “very ill” is. But I didn’t get here alone. I may have had predispositions, but THIS was inflicted on me through the kind of social violence being perpetrated against these gay teens.

    It breaks my heart to hear people saying we don’t know “the whole story” or “people don’t kill themselves because they’re being bullied, they kill themselves because they’re depressed.” We live in a social environment. The need for social acceptance is hardwired into us and has serious evolutionary significance. We need to acknowledge that our actions affect others, and that these kids DO kill themselves at least in part due to the torments they suffer. Until we start holding people accountable for psychological abuse, we will have more and more people like me, and more and more kids dying.

    • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

      I’m not gay but had been picked on throughout my school life since the first grade for being “weird” and overemotional. I’m bipolar now. I don’t think there’s a thing you just said that I don’t agree with.

      Particularly striking is your description of the lucid psychotic experience. I’M NOT ALONE! Thank you! I’ve been reading a little bit online about the mind/brain connection and I recalled my experiences with manic/anxiety attacks. When I undergo a severe one, I can *hear* my voice change and I can feel my body *contort and spasm.* I’m pretty sure that there are some people out there who’d think I was demon-posessed or something seeing me in the throes of an attack… yet, I’m always still “me” inside. I feel like I’m trapped within myself. My personality doesn’t change with my spazzing brain-chemistry – it’s more like “I’m still in there even though my thoughts are racing all around me.”

      I thought I was alone in this, weird.

      Misery loves company?

      • Sil in Corea

        I worked in mental health for ten years. I’ve had many people tell me about feeling like their brain was screwed up and they knew it but couldn’t stop ”the voices” or the impulses. It’s like there’s a sane part of the mind that KNOWS! Social workers and counselors really need to try to get through to that ”Sane Observer” and work with it. When one of my patients was having a psychotic episode, I could usually get in touch with the sane part by talking about something the patient cared about a great deal when they weren’t psychotic, their children, their dog, etc.

      • cat rennolds

        Nope, not alone. I’m bipolar, and I know exactly what you’re talking about. As a matter of fact, most of my childhood memories are in the third person. In extremis, my Sane Observer is occasionally capable of locking me down so that I do not act, at all, until it’s at least safe to do so……but other than that, until a given bizarre physical-emotional episode is over, all I can do is watch and ride. Logic and reason can be screaming away inside my head, and it might as well be talking to somebody else for all the difference it makes physiologically.

    • Lymis

      You’re reacting to one of those things that I keep running across that always make me go “Yeah, so?”

      Not in any way to minimize the pain, confusion or other issues of people with depression or other medical mental or psychological issues. God, no.

      But you’re reacting to the people who say – and some of them just. keep. saying – that “it isn’t the bullying that killed them, it was something else about them that killed them, because a lot of people who are bullied don’t kill themselves.”

      Yeah, so?

      If I’m on a stairway and rudely push my way past people, most of them will be inconvenienced, think I’m rude, or maybe even drop a package. But if I do exactly the same thing and push my way past someone who needs a cane, or is on pain meds, or is elderly, my push might be just enough to send them over the edge and fall down and be badly hurt or even die.

      And if I hadn’t pushed them, the could have navigated things just fine. They may even have been on that stairway with someone to help them, someone whose help I pushed out of the way.

      Would anyone say that I wasn’t responsible? Would anyone believe me or be in the least bit supportive of me if I said “It wasn’t my push that killed her, it was the fact that she was 80.”

      So, even if there was something else going on in Jacob’s life, or any of these other kids’ lives, that made them more susceptible to bullying and more sensitive to the hateful attitudes, the fact is that if they had been supported and accepted, if they hadn’t felt alone and isolated – if they weren’t in a culture that was pushing them all the time – chances are very good they never would have died.

      So if someone is dead because of something you did, and wouldn’t be dead if you hadn’t done it, how exactly is it that you aren’t at least partly responsible?

      • Diana A.

        Your metaphor, as always, is right on the money.

        The bottomline, to me, is that it doesn’t matter if someone commits suicide over being bullied or not. Bullying is still wrong. That we have vulnerable members of society who can be bullied to the point of killing themselves makes it that much worse, but even if no one ever killed themselves over having been bullied, bullying would still be wrong.

  • http://www.facebook.com/phil.brucato Satyros Phil Brucato via Facebook
  • Judith MacKay Dahlen via Facebook

    Biff!!! POW!!!! Yayyyyyy!!!

  • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

    Back from work and skimming… struck by this thought for some on the blog today:

    The power of life and death is in the tongue (or in the case of Internet forums, in the typing fingers). You as an individual may not be particularly responsible for anything atrocious, but every time you speak your mind on something in any public space (meat or cyber), whenever you share an opinion good, bad or ugly, you are contributing to the climate of the culture.

    Currently, we live in a culture that encourages suicide in a lot of people. Currently, we live in a society with particularly vunerable categories of people.

    If you know you have said anything hurtful to anyone or toward any group, don’t weasel out of it by playing a game of “but I’m not as bad as the next guy.” It may be true, but you still have contributed to your culture by increment.

    Stand up, take your medicine and move on.

    • vj

      Shadsie, you are amazing – you have such a deep understanding of humanity and of faith, and of how the 2 work together. You speak from the heart, with a wisdom born from actually living out your Christian faith from the ground up – I’m pretty sure that when God looks at your life, He thinks ‘this is My beloved servant, with whom I am well pleased’.

      Keep it up!

      • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

        Sweet of you to say.

        If so, it’s come through PAIN! and STUPIDITY! And the PAIN of realizing my own STUPIDITY!

        Then of course, I’m inspired to write stuff out of who knows where. I’m reviewing/re-editing a novel I wrote some years ago (never published, no one wants to publish my stuff…) and… I’ve been coming across little philosophical bits of it and thinking “Hey, this is cool. I wrote this? How?”

        When I wrote the above post, I was thinking “How? How is this coming from me?”

  • Brian Jones via Facebook

    more praying less thumping

  • Bobbi

    I sit and read the debate that rages back and forth in the comments. As I do I think to myself that I read and reread this same debate over and over again. It saddens me.

    The important point here is not what my, or your religious, polititical, dietary or choice in wombats are. What is important is that Jacob Rogers is dead because we as adults did not do enough to ensure that kids have an environment free of fear to be educated. We do not stop blathering long enough to hear when our kids are hurting.

    I enjoy a good debate as much as the next liberal christian transwoman heretic. but I also know that we need to shut up on occasion and listen. If adults around Jacob had listened and looked than he might still be alive.

    The problem here is not christianity it is humankind allowing a child to feel so completely devoid of hope; of feeling so hated and alone that they feel they have no other option but to end their life rather than face anymore hatred. I pray that God is holding Jacob in a warm embrace and that he is feeling no more pain. I pray that people will learn that Jacob is far more important than a creedo, dogma, theology or anything else. No matter how much we agree or disagree we can learn that a child is far more precious than religion. I pray that we can all agree that if we do no good in this world we at least should do no harm.

  • Rob McClelland

    John, Thank you for the article. This is another horrible loss that could have been averted if parents and adults around the situation stopped for a moment and listened to this hurting teen.

    I am unsure though how you make the jump from this story to the attack on Christians who have strong beliefs about sexual sin. This story does not reference this at all, other than he was bullied for his sexuality. Would it matter if it was atheist kids bullying him? no. He still was hurting. That is the issue, not a faith based argument. After working with teens for 20 years in the church and outside the church, and dealing with teens like Jacob, I can tell you wholeheartedly that parents have abstained from their role of raising their children. They expect the schools, churches, sports teams and day cares to do that for them while they play on their iwhatevers and work way too much. If anything needs to change, it is parenting in this country. We are seeing the schools fail, the sporting establishment fail, the day cares fail, and even the churches fail at things they were never designed to do…which is raise a child for the parents. All were designed to come along side the family and assist with the process, not take the place of. Let’s call a spade a spade and call parents to accountability! It is time for them to step up again and get involved in their student’s lives.

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

      If you trace persecution of any group of people back through history, you will find the acceptance of hate rooted in flawed theology.

      • vj

        Perfectly said, Ric!

    • cat rennolds

      while i disagree with you about Christian ideology’s impact on these kids – read the rest of the thread – I do agree with you about parents desperately needing to be involved in their children’s lives. but there’s way more to it than that. I have very strong feelings about people who COULD be home with their kids, and aren’t, but a whole lot of people don’t have the option. i was in that boat, used to work daycare, never, never again. i worked hard to arrange my life so I could raise my children. but it wasn’t, and isn’t, easy. we don’t have extended family living together anymore, and we don’t have safe neighborhoods, and a mom at home by herself with kids has to really search to find other moms. Plus she’d better have a car if she wants to get together with the other moms. our culture has really made it very, very hard to take care of our own kids.

      it doesn’t have to be the mom, by the way. My neighbors’ gay best friend has lived with them for years and helped to make sure there’s always a grownup there for those kids.

  • David J Martin

    I am not sure the problem of gay bashing/hatred is one of supposed Christians (they are not in truth) not reading their Scripture but of misinterpreting to suit their stance or not really understanding the Word – with their hearts. More to blame – those who are the root cause of this evil stench – are the “pastors” – wolves who deliberately instill this hatred into their flocks – leading Christ’s people away from Him. As He warned, false prophets would arise. What is sadder is that the heaviest toll – suicide – is exacted on those least able to confront such violent attitudes – our children. Although gay bashing of any person is an “abomination”- our children are the least able to deal with it. All teens have identity issues. hormones raging, etc. but the gay teen has the added issue of dealing with a society which rejects and humiliates them. Thus, the more gay adults “come out” and refuse to be suppressed, the more their presence will be felt. When everyone is related to or close friends with a gay person, this curse will be silenced. It has happened with the KKK, skin heads and other hate groups…while racism has not ended fully, it has become a social stigma. With prayer to our Father who loves and accepts all His children we can do this – but only through His graces.

  • Brian

    People like you I have hope for in Humanity. :] Whats left of it. You just get it. My views your views. I pray that you will be heard national through your book. :]]] I pray you expand your bubble of influence nationally. :]

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

      I DO enjoy having my bubble expanded!

      Wait. That’s not right …

      • cat rennolds

        snort

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

    It is sad how easily and willfully we choose ignorance of history. I long for a new day, where children are safe.

  • Patty Cross via Facebook

    John, you’re the best. Thank you for putting it all out there for us.

  • Soulmentor

    I am gay and I am not being an apologist for anti-gay Christians in what I say next. In all discussions about societal anti-gay attitudes in any forum, not just this one, I have come to the conclusion that the word “hate” is being used to carelessly. “Hate” is too strong a word for what many anti-gay Christians feel toward homosexuals. To honestly believe homosexuality is wrong and a sin is not the same as “hating” the homosexual. My evangelical sister and I have had such discussions and she remains firm in her thinking about it despite my efforts to get her to see the inconsistencies in her thinking, but she also remains very loving toward me. It’s actually more frustrating than if she actually did hate but, like me, hate is not in her.

    That said, it remains that her attitude as it is pervasive among Christians, does indeed lead others mistakenly to actual hatred of gays. It causes them to somehow FEAR homosexuality and homosexuals and fearing something enuf can lead to hating it. That pervasive attitude is often deliberately held in the face of irrefutable evidence, fearfully held, I might suspect. In that intellectual dishonesty lies the culpability of many good Christian people in their mistaken, stubbornly held “traditional” Biblical interpretations.

    • http://www.BuzzDixon.com buzz

      I grew up in the Old South during the cusp of the civil rights movement; I remember segregated bathrooms and water fountains and public transportation.

      The overwhelming majority of white Southerners did not hate African-Americans in the same way the Klan hated them. Indeed, most of them viewed themselves as quite progressive regarding the “nigra” problem (as they “politely” pronounced the word).

      Absolutely they had the right to work anywhere they wanted…

      …just as long as it wasn’t alongside a white person.

      Absolutely they had the right to live wherever they wanted…

      …just as long as it wasn’t next door to a white family.

      Absolutely they had the right to vote…

      …just so long as they didn’t, y’know, actually vote.

      These same people would gather food & clothes & toys at Christmas to be distributed among the black community. They contributed to free clinics for the poor, donated books to black schools, would often given used vehicles & furniture to black people they knew who couldn’t afford them on their own.

      (And they knew a lot of black people; the insanity of segregation was that it never ever kept us separated.)

      But their tacit approval of Jim Crow made lynchings and bombings and beatings possible.

      I have no doubt your sister loves you, God bless her for that love. And I’m sure she harbors no overt hate for gays.

      But as I’ve come to learn on my own person journey (‘cuz just a few years ago I was in the other camp re gay marriage [no pun intended]), it’s not merely enough not to hate; we can’t enable hate in others.

    • Brian W

      That is a very accurate summation indeed

    • Lymis

      Taken in isolation, I agree with much of what you wrote.

      A lot of people focus, in isolation, on exactly the sort of thing you’re talking about, usually, as you note, precisely AS an apology for anti-gay feelings.

      But as tidy as that is, it really doesn’t fly. Sure, for some people it’s an accurate assessment and a precise statement of their belief. And maybe “hate” isn’t the most accurate word for it.

      But the more telling thing – and the critical thing in this context, is to compare not only their statements about what they think they believe, but also how they put it into practice in their words and their deeds, compared to how they deal with other things they say the same thing about.

      “I just see it as a sin and as incompatible with my Christian beliefs.” Okay fine. Now lets compare that to what people do and say about things like adultery, premarital sex, or adherence to a religious tradition that doesn’t accept Christ as Savior.

      When asked, sure, people are happy to express disapproval. They may even base their personal friendships and close ties on those beliefs.

      But do we see huge national organizations spending millions to rewrite the Constitution of the states and to try to rewrite the Constitution of the US to outlaw adultery? Do people declare the end of marriage as an institution if divorced people remarry, and fight to ban divorced people from marrying? To keep Jewish people out of the military? Is anyone putting the kind of money or effort into anti- ANYTHING that they are putting into anti-gay efforts? Is anyone passing laws mandating that schools cannot mention that important historical figures were Jewish, or had affairs? Is there any other topic that people are passing laws mandating either that nobody in the school system can even mention the topic, even to someone it applies to, the way we’re seeing laws that forbid mentioning homosexuality, even with a gay child or the child of gay parents?

      The underlying emotion may be fear. It may be hatred. It may be boredom, confusion, sex-negativity, or just plain mean-spiritedness.

      But the ACTIONS are the actions of hatred.

      • Diana A.

        Yes, this is true.

  • http://www.rantingpanda.com Shane

    Another tragedy and yet the homophobic attitudes continue on. I am a Christian and worship in a Pentecostal church, yet I feel I am one of the few who believes that the scriptures are not condemning homosexuality. I am surprised by the number of times that I have been asked if I’m gay because I support same sex marriage and defend homosexuality … and that I dare to suggest that Christians can be gay and still be … well, Christian. (Apparently a straight guy can’t really be straight if he defends gays). I’m sick of seeing the message of love that Jesus preached, died & lived for being twisted into a doctrine of hate. You talk in here about a “new Christianity”, I think if anything, we actually need an “old Christianity”, the original one, not the one that has been reinvented by right wing bigots. Thanks for your books and articles, they are an inspiration to those of us who believe in bringing Jesus back into Christianity.

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      This is the kind of defiant, kick ass Pentecostal that puts the “fundamental” (back) into Fundamentalist. I adore this comment and the person who wrote it.

  • http://a-bright-blog.blogspot.com Jason Paul Bachand

    Someone on Huffpo posted this and I felt it deserved repeating:

    “You do realize that the end of this constant tweaking of christanit­y to make it more socially just and acceptable is a socially-c­entered atheism. Eventually­, your version of christiani­ty will be so far removed from its original source that it will no longer require the conceit of a christian god.

    It’s how I travelled from the pews of the church of christ into the wide world of humanism. I say keep going! We’re waiting for you on the other side! (to usurp a christian metaphor).”

    Amen.

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

      What arrogance.

    • Diana A.

      The heart of Christianity is still beating: http://www.youtube.com/​watch?v=ppOpOv_kv2s&feature=sha​re

    • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

      This comment only proves that arrogance and ignorance are the Laverne & Shirley of the Internets.

    • Lymis

      No, what’s true is that the “constant tweaking of christianity to make it more socially just” simply shares many of the same goals as socially-centered atheism, many of which are noble and necessary.

      Yes, christianity is constantly changing away from the limited views that were informed purely by the experience and worldview of a group of nomadic pre-industrial desert people and broadening to be something more universal, more modern, and more appropriate to our current understanding of science.

      Which means that it is constantly reacting to ongoing relationship to its ACTUAL original source.

      • Lymis

        Oh, and I’ll agree that the idea of God as somehow uniquely Christian IS a conceit. But that realization doesn’t necessitate chucking the very idea of God. Just humility.

        • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

          I don’t know if it’s a Western thing or an American thing, but it does seem like a lot of these “anti-religious” Internet ranters equate all religion and all concepts of God/gods to Christianity.

          Let’s just say, on Huff, I read a lot of different religion articles because I *am* interested in what people outside my “own” do and I’ve seen some of the anti-ranters get *laughed at* by Pagans, I’ve puzzled over why some ranter was spouting off on the folly of the Christian idea of Heaven on an article on Hinduism…

          And Islam… doesn’t seem to be understood outside of a minority people feel the need to be politically correct to or “Ooh, scary terrorists!” who are always attacked along *with* Christianity because the religion people grew up around is always the culprit in everything somehow. Or something. Rant against what you know, I guess.

      • Laura A

        The idea that a hateful and angry Christianity is better than a loving and compassionate atheism just astounds me…but it’s the accepted belief of our culture. To be an atheist is to have all your charity and love dismissed. To be a Christian is to have all your invective and selfishness validated.

        Unfortunately, there is little that atheists can do to change this. After all, no matter what they do, they are automatically morally suspect. Which is ironic, really. Because, as Hal Sparks pointed out:

        “I think atheists and agnostics make moral choices all the time…Frankly, the more moral choice is if you don’t believe in heaven and hell….You’re not making a moral choice if there’s a cop nearby. If I’m not killing you cause there’s a cop nearby, that’s not a moral choice–I just don’t want to get a nightstick up my ass. If he’s NOT there (which is what atheists believe) and I don’t kill you because it’s not right, THAT’s a moral choice.”

        Atheists are often morally superior to many Christians precisely because while Christians (some of them) think that what they believe makes them more moral, atheists understand that all the belief in the world doesn’t exempt you from acting in a moral way. Atheists often take Jesus’s words to heart in a way that their Christian counterparts sometimes don’t: “By their works, ye shall know them.” Actions speak louder than words. Or beliefs.

        Until Christians themselves begin to embrace the idea that atheists and agnostics are capable of being, and frequently are, the moral equals or even superiors of Christians, then they are helping to support a system in which terrible acts can be praised because they are done in the name of Christ (like hounding a young gay person to death) and wonderful acts of compassion are condemned solely because they are inspired by a love of one’s fellow man rather than current Christianity’s system of reward and punishment.

        It simply comes down to what Jesus said about works. What you believe doesn’t matter unless your works back it up. If something one does is right, it is right regardless of whether it is done in Jesus’s name. And when one does something wrong, something hurtful, it is not right, even if it is done in Jesus’s name. If you are doing something that, had you not invoked His name, would be considered wrong, then YOU ARE DOING WRONG. Christ is not your moral shield or excuse. End of story.

        So as a red-letter Christian (closest description to my beliefs) who is an agonostic, let me appeal to you more traditional Christians: embrace moral atheists and agnostics as your true brothers and sisters in Christ, and reject those Christians who act in immoral ways. Not just in yours hearts.

        Do it openly.

        Do it at your church.

        Do it in front of your children.

        Do it when your pastor justifies hate.

        Do it when your friend trashes atheists.

        Do it because it is the right thing.

        Do it because it’s what Jesus did.

        Do it because until YOU take a stand, evil will continue to be done in the name of your savior.

        Christianity has the ultimate excuse not to listen to those of us outside the faith: it calls it persecution and wears it as a badge of honor without ever asking if the criticism is valid. Only Christians can get around this. Only Christians can save Christianity. As an agnostic, I’m begging you: The world needs a return to the words of Christ. And Buddha. And Mohammed. Because they all spoke the same words: Love your fellow man.

        • http://brickandtimber.wordpress.com/ DR

          This is perhaps, one of the most powerful comments I’ve ever read on this forum. Thank you!

        • Molly by Golly

          Mainstream, protestant Christians in North America, as a rule, do not assume a that social morality flows from professed belief and feel blanket condemnation of entire groups is wrong headed.

          • Laura A.

            Molly, I’d like to believe that that’s true, but that is not the message that atheists are sent everyday by Christians, nor the cultural assumption about atheists. The number one question that atheists (or those who are perceived to be atheists) get from Christians is: “But how do you live without a moral system?” As though they have none.

            If you’d like to see this in action, watch Morgan Spurlock’s show “30 Days,” episode 203, “Atheist/Christian” (available on Netflix). Perhaps the most telling moment in the episode is when the Christian mother meets the children of the atheist and expresses, at great length and in great detail, her complete and utter amazement that they are very polite, intelligent, and (gasp) moral. How could an atheist possibly raise moral atheist children?

            You could be correct. That COULD be what the average Christian feels about atheists and agnostics. But the fact that that’s not the message that gets back to us is exactly what my post is trying to point out: until the average Christian makes his or her voice LOUDER than the hateful minority, then that hate or lack of understanding or disrespect IS what Christianity puts out there.

          • Dr

            Laura there are a lot of us who couldn’t agree with you more. That those of us with a belief in God sometimes believe that morality magically increases as a result of said belief delude ourselves. As a matter of fact I’d argue that those who do the moral thing with no thought of eternal payback (good or bad) are perhaps, even more chartered by hose of us who do it in fear of God or to please God. It’s easy to do the right thig when you’re afraid of hell. It’s quite another to do he right thing, simply because it’s the right thing. I also find that athieists are far more willing to make amends for damage done instead of thinking a “sorry forgive me” wipes the slate clean. Forgiveness and trust are earned, there’s no expectation that pain is all magically erased. We’d do well to learn from the morality of atheists, it’s not the other way around.

          • Laura A.

            I hadn’t thought of the forgiveness angle, but I think you may be right about that.

            It does figure into my own issue with certain forms of Christianity: the idea that you are ALREADY forgiven for any transgression you might commit simply because you’re saved. This seems problematic in two ways. First, if the only reason you are moral (or the only thing which you BELIEVE makes you moral) is fear of heaven and hell, but you believe you’re already perma-saved (and therefore not facing hell), then what IS keeping you moral? There’s far less reason to actually be moral. Second, and most importantly, MOST sins are not just about you and God. Most sins are committed against someone else. Yeah, you may be good with God already, but what about the person you sinned against? They are under no obligation to recognize God’s forgiveness, let alone to decide that it trumps your moral duty to make things right in relation to them.

            This is not to say that this is how things actually go down when this type of Christian does sin. Just pointing out that, philosophically, it’s contradictory and allows for a lot of abuse.

            And yes, please understand that I am not talking about all Christians, or even the majority. I am lucky enough to some very good, very Christian friends, people who I feel Jesus radiating through. I was, myself, raised a Christian of the hippy Jesus-Freak(tm) variety and it breaks my heart that I see so little of the Christ I knew in contemporary churches. My Christ loved gays, transsexuals, prostitutes, EVERYONE. He was a force of love, acceptance, and compassion. I desperately wish He would make a return appearance, if not in the flesh, then at least in the expression of mainstream Christianity.

        • Diana A.

          I think I agree with you. That is, a person can claim to believe something but what people do is the proof of what they really believe. That is, a person can do something right for all the wrong reasons and can do something wrong for all the right reasons, but most of the time what a person does reflects what s/he truly believes.

    • Heidi

      If you really look at what Jesus taught, with an open mind, all your so-called “tweaking” is actually bringing us closer to His intent. Jesus wanted us to be active in social justice. Jesus wanted us to love one another and to care about one another. He never put any stipulations on who we were to love. He didn’t say love everyone in this town; everyone in this country; everyone who shares the same religion. He never said love only those who think/act/dress like you do. If you are a Christian, then you follow the teachings of the Christ. He never asked one person he helped what temple they went to. He never actually tried to convert anyone. He said, “If you cannot believe in me, believe in the work I do.” This “progressive” Christianity isn’t progressive at all. It is actually rethinking the words of Jesus and actually taking them to heart.

  • Hannah

    I am a Christian, and I believe homosexuality is a sin, but God doesn’t call us to harass sinners. If someone believes God ‘hates’ homosexuals, then they don’t worship the same God I do. My God loves everyone, and hates the sin in their lives. Everyone sins in one way or another.


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